Holiday Entertaining: Foie Gras with Sweet & Salty Palmier Cookies

Foie Gras with Sweet & Salty Palmier Cookies, Passionfruit, Pistachios

Whole Duck Foie Gras
Warm Sweet & Salty Palmier Cookies
Passionfruit & Pistachios

The second in a series of four impressive Holiday Entertaining dishes, here luxurious Whole Duck Foie Gras is the shining star. Whole duck liver that has been poached in a bouillon flavored with authentic Périgordian seasonings has a velvety texture and is an extravagant delight for the palate.

Warm-from-the-oven palmier cookies are simultaneously sweet and salty. Each bite of foie gras and palmier cookie, composed with a small spoonful of tart tropical passionfruit and a sprinkle of pistachio nuts, is a melt-in-the-mouth experience of immeasurable pleasure.

Foie Gras with Sweet & Salty Palmier Cookies, Passionfruit, Pistachios

Holiday Entertaining: Oysters with Caviar

Holiday Entertaining Series

Hors d’oeuvre: Oysters, Ossetra Caviar, Crème Fraîche (here)

First Course: Foie Gras with Sweet & Salty Palmier Cookies

Holiday Side: Asparagus, Hollandaise, Caviar (here)

Holiday Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs, Chives, Caviar, Crème Fraîche (here)

How to Make Sweet & Salty Palmier Cookies

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Puff au Chocolat avec Fraises, Basilic, Fleur de Sel

puff au chocolat avec fraises, basilic, fleur de sel

Puff au Chocolat avec Fraises, Basilic, Fleur de Sel

Celebrate Cupid’s holiday with Puff au Chocolat!  Heart-shaped, check. Chocolate, check. Strawberries, check. Plus somethings a bit unexpected on Valentine’s Day – basil and salt. But the combination really is stellar. And you’ll have plenty of time to spend with your sweetheart, as this recipe uses store-bought puff pastry and takes only about 20 minutes (active time) to compose.

You might serve some creme fraiche on the side or pair with a glass of sherry. We like Bodega Dios Baco NV Oloroso Sherry from Jerez, Spain which has wonderful aromas of nuts, vanilla and caramel with rich semi-sweet creamy flavors. Oloroso sherries offer a terrific balance between sweet and dry.

xoxo

Puff au Chocolat Recipe

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Mango & Cream Vol-au-Vent

mango and cream vol-au-vent
Mango & Lime Cream Vol-au-Vent

A Flaky Puff Pastry Shell
Filled with a Lucious Sweet Blend of  Sour Cream & Whipped Cream Cheese with Lime
Golden Ripe Champagne Mango, Lime Zest Garnish

I dedicate this recipe to all the non-bakers of the world. Those (like me) who were born sans the baking gene, and without a sweet-tooth. But who still love to entertain, and just so happen to have friends and family who actually like dessert. A lot.

Preparing this delightful mango & lime cream vol-au-vent takes no particular skill what-so-ever. Follow instructions on a package. Peel a mango. Zest a lime. Whisk sour cream with cream cheese. That’s pretty much the extent of it.

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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.

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Persimmon Tarte Tatin, Crème Fraîche

persimmon tarte tatin

Fuyu Persimmon Tarte Tatin

Persimmon is a most understood fruit. Those who “hate” persimmon probably do so as a result of a confusion between fuyu and hachiya varieties.

If you attempted to eat an unripe hachiya, that is certainly the cause of your disgust. An unripe hiachya is super-tannic and can taste like chalk or bark. Or worse. Its astringency makes it totally unpalatable. A fully ripe hachiya, however, has the consistency of jelly and is sweet and rich. And a ripe fuyu has a firm texture and tastes like a honey-flavored apple. Now, who “hates” that?

Persimmon has the pizzazzy color and flavor of autumn and makes a great fruit for a tarte tatin. Be sure to use fuyu persimmons and save the RIPE hachiya for something else.

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Lincoln Dinner at Delmonico’s, February 12, 1900

Bacon Wrapped Filet Mignon
Red Wine Mushroom Sauce
Spinach in Puff Pastry

Served on an authentic reproduction of the Lincoln Presidential dinner service plates.

Abraham Lincoln Presidential China

The Lincoln China was the Kennedys preferred pattern for dining in the White House.

Mary Todd Lincoln was renowned for her enjoyment of shopping, thus she selected the Lincoln White House china shortly after her husband’s inauguration. An elegant French design, the Lincoln china combines the American eagle with various decorations in a brilliant color called “solferino”. This purple-red hue was invented by the French in 1859 and was very popular among the fashionable hosts of the Lincolns’ day. Authentic reproductions can be purchased at the JFK Museum Store here.

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A Peachy Dessert

Fresh Local Peaches
Puff Pastry Filled with Peach Jam and Brie
A Drizzle of Honey
Whipped Crème Fraîche

We made this dessert when I was in Chicago visiting my family. We were shopping at Whole Foods Market and asked the produce manager what his favorite fruit was that day. He said, “Local Illinois Peaches.” So that is what we bought and how this dessert came to be.
Initially we were going to grill or sauté the peaches in butter with sugar, but they tasted so delightful as is, we decided to leave them as nature intended. What shall we serve to complement these beauties? Last month I made a Baked Brie in Fillo with Preserves, that became the inspiration here. Tangy whipped crème fraîche would provide the perfect balance to the sweet fruit.
The photo above is of my neighbor’s peach tree here in Los Angeles. They told me to help myself. YAY! More peachy desserts are on the way! And a big thank you to my generous neighbors!

Cut puff pastry sheets into squares. Fill each square with a generous spoonful of peach jam and a piece of brie. Fold the corners together. Brush the pastry with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until puffed and golden brown.

Slice the peaches and arrange on the plates. Place warm puff pastry in the center, drizzle with honey then top with whipped crème fraîche.
A Splendid and Easy Peachy Dessert!

Happy 200th Birthday Mr. President

Abraham Lincoln
16th President of the United States
February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865
Dear Mr. Lincoln,
Happy Birthday, Sir. Thank you for your inspiration and service to our Country. In honor of the 200th anniversary of your birth, I have made a dish I think you might appreciate. In reading about your life, I see that you are a small eater, but enjoy apples and chicken fricassee. So today I have prepared this dish as a tribute to you, and served it on an authentic replica of the Presidential China chosen by Mary for the White House in 1861.

Abraham Lincoln’s
Chicken Fricassee in Puff Pastry
Served with Sautéed Apples

An apple is cut into slices and cooked over low heat in a non-stick pan with a little butter until softened. Finished with a drizzle of honey.

A chicken breast is cut into bite-sized pieces, seasoned with salt and pepper, dredged in flour. The chicken is sautéed in half butter/half olive oil until golden brown, then removed from the pan and kept warm while the sauce is made.

A little more butter is added to the same pan. White wine added, brought to a boil and reduced. Add cream and fresh grated nutmeg. Stir until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.

Finish the dish by returning the chicken to the pan to heat through, along with lots of fresh chopped parsley. Overfill warm puff pastry shells with chicken fricassee.

The Eagle and The Shield

Prepared with the greatest admiration, gratitude, and respect. Happy 200th Birthday, Sir.
Yours sincerely,
Lori Lynn
“That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Abraham Lincoln
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
November 19, 1863

Caramelized Apples in Puff Pastry Shell

Caramelized Apples Flambéd with Cognac,
In a Puff Pastry Shell with Crème Fraîche


This is a great dessert especially for those of us who are not advanced bakers.
Pepperidge Farm even tells us which side of the pastry is up. haha

Bake the Puff Pastry shells at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes.
Use a fork to remove the T O P.

Melt butter and brown sugar, cook the apples until soft.
Add a pinch of salt.

This is also a great dessert for those of us who like to light our food on fire.
Add Cognac (or Calvados) to the pan to flambé.
For tips on flambéing, go here.

Ladle the warm apples and sauce into the shell and finish with a dollop of crème fraîche.

Six Ingredients, Fancy Dessert:
  • apples
  • brown sugar
  • butter
  • puff pastry shells
  • cognac or calvados
  • crème fraîche