Holiday Fare: Pan-Seared Sea Scallops with a Champagne Truffle Cream

Pan-Seared Sea Scallops with a Champagne Truffle Cream

Pan-Seared Sea Scallops with a Champagne Truffle Cream
Wilted Butter Lettuce and Generous Shaving of Pink-Veined Italian White Truffle


White truffles are very perishable and very delicate with an intense perfume reminiscent of earth, garlic, shallot and grana cheese. This gem arrived just a few days before our holiday party from my friends at Gourmet Attitude in NYC.

I wrapped the truffle in a paper towel and refrigerated it, in a large glass jar with fresh eggs. My house guests were treated to a special breakfast the morning after our party – poached eggs intensely flavored with truffle! The musky aromas penetrate through the egg shells, and after a simple 3 minute poaching… et voilà heavenly truffle eggs! The tip I learned from the truffle experts at Gourmet Attitude – to eschew standard wisdom and never store truffles in rice as it will dry them out. Store them with fresh eggs and extend the party into the next day.

Pan-Seared Sea Scallops with a Champagne Truffle Cream was the first course in our 5-course holiday dinner earlier this week. Champagne/Truffles/Scallops – a fantastic way to begin an elegant holiday feast.

Holiday Table

Continue reading “Holiday Fare: Pan-Seared Sea Scallops with a Champagne Truffle Cream”

A Trip to Little Saigon & The NYE Repas du Soir

southeast asian table setting
A Trip to Little Saigon
The New Year’s Eve Repas du Soir
New Year’s Day Fabulous Leftovers Brunch

Best friends, great memories, stellar food – that’s how we celebrate the New Year! The old gang is together again, this time we take A Trip To Little Saigon & cook a NYE Repas du Soir together! My old dear friends, dating back to our restaurant days in the 80’s, are visiting for the holidays.

It was Tori’s idea to spend the day in Little Saigon. Eating lunch, laughing, taking photos, getting massages, and shopping. It was her idea that led to the inspiration to cook French/Vietnamese for dinner. We picked up authentic ingredients for our repas du soir and returned to my home in LA in the late afternoon to drink Champagne and create a six-course meal together.

southeast asian table setting

The dinner table was pre-set in a casually elegant Southeast Asian style with orchids, bamboo, and the color red to symbolize wealth and prosperity. We cranked up the holiday music and started cooking; everyone participated in the creation, photography, prep, and execution of the menu. We had a blast!

I had no intention of submitting this outing for the Foodbuzz 24X24 event until I read that the folks over at Foodbuzz were interested to see how Featured Publishers would be spending the last day of 2011. We had terrific culinary/cultural plans that turned out to be a fantastic way to ring in the New Year.

Extending a very special thank you to my friends FA, Al, Kirk, Tori, and Tom for your love & friendship and sense of humor & adventure! Thank you to Foodbuzz for choosing A Trip to Little Saigon & The NYE Repas du Soir as a participant in December’s 24×24 event. Foodbuzz 24×24 showcases posts from 24 Foodbuzz Featured Publisher bloggers, highlighting unique meals occurring around the globe during a 24-hour period.

Continue reading “A Trip to Little Saigon & The NYE Repas du Soir”

The Stuffing Everyone Loves

classic stuffing
♡ The Stuffing Everyone Loves ♡

Is stuffing the overwhelming favorite Thanksgiving dish? According to the Foodbuzz Poll it is. I had no intention of posting my unfancy traditional stuffing recipe until I saw the poll results tweeted yesterday. If stuffing is indeed the jewel of the holiday buffet, we certainly can’t keep “The Stuffing Everyone Loves” recipe to ourselves…

What makes this stuffing different than the ubiquitous mushroom sage stuffing served on dinner tables all over the country at this time of year? Not much, and that is the beauty of it. It’s just like mom’s, only better. And everyone loves it. Ciabatta, lots of fresh parsley and butter-fried sage, fresh-made rich flavored giblet stock, a higher vegetable to bread ratio, lots of crispy crust, plenty of butter, no “surprise” ingredients – it simply exceeds expectations.

Continue reading “The Stuffing Everyone Loves”


A wonderful wintery dish!
A tartiflette is made with Reblochon cheese, potatoes, bacon, onions, garlic and cream. A favorite in ski areas and winter wonderlands everywhere for it is a hearty, warm and rich dish. We served it as a side dish in this holiday menu:
Champagne Reception
Veuve Clicquot Rosé
Shrimp Cocktail
Gouréres au Cumin
First Course
Nigl Grüner Veltliner 2007
Moules å la Mariniére
French Baguette
Salad Course
Chèvre Chaud, Green Salad, Dijon Vinaigrette
Main Course
Domaine Henri Jouan Chambolle Musigny 2005
Filet Mignon Chausseur
Tarragon Horseradish Crème
Side Dishes
Carottes de Bébé avec du Miel
Vol-au-Vent with Winter Fruits and Vanilla Yogurt
Coffee & Tea
Chocolate Candies

And while we were in the kitchen prepping our holiday meal, look who came to visit Susan’s back yard. Those are ornamental deer under the arch, and their live counterparts came by to check them out! See the three deer in the right of the photo? Magical!

Reblochon is a raw cow’s milk cheese from the Alps region of Savoie. It is creamy, nutty, with full-flavor (somewhat stinky). In the middle-ages, farmers there were required to pay rent to the landowners in the form of milk and cheese based on production. The crafty farmers would hold back some of the milk until after the tax collector had left, then go back to finish milking the cows. This second-milking produced a richer milk, and was used to make their special Reblochon cheese. Cheese made from unpasteurized milk aged less than 60 days is not legally imported into the US, so we used a substitute cheese, Fromage de Savoie, made in the same manner but with pasteurized milk.

We had a fabulous time visiting Susan in New Jersey. We woke up early, had our coffee and began cooking. Everyone had an assignment which was loads of fun (and I sure appreciated the help)! Here my brother and sister-in-law are working on their projects. Don is making dessert; cooking quince, pears and oranges in a sugar and cinnamon syrup. Kristy is cooking the bacon for the tartiflette, and in the foreground, I am working on leeks and celery for the mussels.

Meanwhile Susan is prepping the goat cheese medallions with egg wash and panko breadcrumbs. It will be refrigerated and ready to fry in peanut oil later on. And a big thanks to Esther (in the back) who is helping everyone keep a clean workspace.

Kristy’s tartiflette turned out great: Sliced waxy potatoes are boiled in water until al dente. A sprig of fresh rosemary adds a nice essence. Sliced onions are sautéed in some of the bacon fat until golden brown, minced garlic is added at the end and cooked for a few more minutes.

Layer potatoes in baking dish, then onions with garlic, then bacon. Season with a little salt and fresh ground pepper.

Repeat. Then about a half cup of cream is poured over the top.

Top with sliced Reblochon/Fromage de Savoie. We recommend leaving the rind on.

The tartiflette was baked at 400°F early in the day. Later we would put it back in the oven to heat right before dinner. I first saw this dish on Fiona Beckett’s blog and knew immediately it would be a big hit around here. For a more detailed recipe and if you are a cheese aficionado, do check our her blog and her excellent book, Cheese: From Fondue to Cheesecake which has inspiring recipes and beautiful photographs.
I was wondering why I hadn’t had this delicious tartiflette before, as I lived and skied in Aspen for 4 years after college. It is supposed to be a favorite of skiers after all? Fiona answers that question for me in her book, apparently tartiflette was invented by the local cheese commission in order to sell more Reblochon cheese, in the 1980’s! Well, that explains it.
Please come back soon to read more about the special dinner later that evening at Susan’s…

Happy Holidays to All!