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Emeril's New Year's Eve Party
by Chef Emeril Lagasse
New Year's Eve has always been for me an event that calls for a bash and you better believe this year will be a celebration kicked up to powers unknown to mankind!
Rather than invite a cast of thousands, I personally prefer having a smaller group, say about 20 or so of my nearest and dearest to share this special event. It's an occasion that calls for the best of everything!
Good Champagne, the best you can afford, and plenty of it should be well chilled several hours in advance. Go for it and purchase or rent good champagne glasses called flutes that allow the bubbles to bubble. Hire a bartender to tend a full-service bar that offers brand name scotch, bourbon, vodka, gin, rum as well as crisp, white wine, dry red wine, cold beer, and non-alcoholic beverages. Don't forget to have plenty of crushed ice, assorted mixers like club soda, tonic water, colas, ginger ale, and lemon-lime soda, dry vermouth, lemons, limes, and olives. Of course, you'll need plenty of highball and rock glasses, wineglasses, and martini glasses. Be sure to have lots of beverage napkins for the bar.
I'm a big fan of fresh flowers and lots of candles. For this special gala, I'm thinking exotic orchids or maybe dozens of sweet-smelling roses. Bring out the gleaming crystal or silver candelabra for long, tall tapers. Tuck votive candles here and there to give the party space a golden glow.
Now to the most important aspect of this blowout---the food! As you may or may not know, I go for the gusto! Nothing is too good for my friends and I'm going to give it all I've got for this very special evening.
There are times that I prefer a sit-down dinner during which my guests and I can relax and enjoy each course with the wines I've paired with it, but babe, this isn't one of them.
What I plan to do is really do this up in style. I like truffles, caviar, and foie gras, not necessarily in that order, give them to me all at once!
To pass when all of the guests, Champagne glasses in hand, assemble a caviar parfait made with a smooth Champagne cream mixture, caviar, and the traditional garnishes of finely chopped hard-boiled eggs and red onions. Wow! Not only is it fabulous tasting, it's pretty too!
Next is one of those dishes that makes me happy, happy, happy---angle hair pasta tossed with truffle oil, freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, snipped chives, and shavings of black truffles. Oh yeah, babe!
But the piece de resistance is the fois gras terrine that I call my over-the-top celebration dish. It's going to cost you a pretty penny, well, lots of pretty pennies, but hey, your friends are worth every cent!
Here we go!
Foie Gras Terrine
3 foie gras (about 1 1/2 pounds each)
4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cracked black peppercorns
4 cups port wine
1 recipe Port Wine Reduction
Season the foie gras with 2 teaspoons of the salt and 1 teaspoon of the cracked pepper. Put them in a large plastic storage bag or a large shallow plastic bowl. Pour in the port wine. Refrigerate for 12 hours, turning them about every 2 hours.
Remove the foie gras from the bags or bowl and discard the marinade.
Season the foie gras with the remaining 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon cracked pepper. Cut each diagonally into 4 pieces, each about 1 inch wide.
Line a classic terrine mold (12 x 4 x 2 1/2 inches) with a sheet of plastic wrap, leaving enough to overlap the edges by about 3 inches.
In a large skillet over high heat, sear the foie gras, 4 to 5 pieces at a time, browning them evenly, 30 to 45 seconds per side. Drain the fat from the skillet after cooking each batch and strain it through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.
Arrange a layer of the seared foie gras in the bottom of the prepared terrine. Pour about 1/2 cup of the strained fat over the layer of foie gras. Arrange the next batch of foie gras in another layer, pressing it down gently but firmly so that there are no air pockets. Repeat the process until all the pieces are in the terrine. Reserve 1/2 cup of the remaining strained fat and discard the rest. Refrigerate the fat.
Fold the plastic wrap tightly over the foie gras. Wrap the entire terrine tightly with another large sheet of plastic wrap. Weight the top with a brick or two wrapped in aluminum foil. Refrigerate for 12 hours.
Remove the terrine from the refrigerator and briefly submerge the bottom in hot water, then carefully lift it out of the mold, grabbing the plastic wrap. Melt the reserved 1/2 cup fat and generously brush the sides, top, and bottom of the terrine. Wrap the terrine tightly in fresh plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 12 hours more.
To serve, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Serve with the croutons and drizzles of the port wine reduction.
Yield: 18 to 20 servings.
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1/2 cup Champagne
2 1/2 cups milk
3 tablespoons cornstarch
4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups finely chopped hard-boiled eggs
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cup sevruga or osetra caviar
1/2 cup salmon roe
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the salt, white pepper, Champagne, and 2 cups of the milk and bring just to a boil. Mix H cup of the hot milk mixture into the beaten egg yolks and whisk to blend. Mix this into the hot milk mixture remaining in the pan.
Dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining H cup milk, add to the pan, and cook, whisking until the mixture thickens slightly, 6 to 8 minutes. Pour into a glass bowl, place a sheet of plastic wrap over the surface to prevent a skin from forming, and let cool. Refrigerate for 4 hours.
To assemble, remove the Champagne cream from the refrigerator and whisk until smooth. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the chopped eggs into the bottom of a parfait or wine glass. Then layer 1 teaspoon of the chopped red onion, H teaspoon of the chopped parsley, 2 teaspoons of the caviar, 2 tablespoons of the Champagne cream, and 1 tablespoon of the salmon roe on top. Continue layering, using another 1 tablespoon chopped eggs, another 1 teaspoon red onion, H teaspoon parsley, and 2 tablespoons Champagne cream mixture, then another 1 tablespoon chopped eggs, 1 teaspoon chopped red onion, H teaspoon parsley. Top with 1 teaspoon of the caviar. Repeat the process to make 7 more parfaits. Cover and chill completely before serving.
Yield: 8 servings.
Angel Hair Pasta with Black Truffles
4 quarts water
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound angel hair pasta
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons truffle oil
1/4 pound Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup snipped fresh chives or finely chopped green onions or scallions (green part only)
1 black truffle, shaved
In a large pot, bring the water and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 4 minutes. Drain and place in a mixing bowl. Add 1/2 cup of the truffle oil, 3/4 cup of the cheese, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, the black pepper, and chives and toss to mix.
To serve, garnish with the shaved truffle, drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons truffle oil, and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Serve immediately.
Yield: about 12 small servings.
Lemon Icebox Pie
FOR THE PIECRUST:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
FOR THE FILLING:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup water
6 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
FOR THE MERINGUE:
6 large egg whites
1/4 cup sugar
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Make the piecrust. In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter, mixing to blend.
Put 1/4 cup of the mixture into each of eight 4-inch individual fluted tartlet pans with removable bottoms. Using your fingers, press the crust into the bottom and up the sides of the pans. Put them on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
Make the filling. In a medium-size saucepan, combine the sugar and cornstarch and whisk until blended. In a small mixing bowl, combine the lemon juice and water. Slowly whisk this into the sugar-and-cornstarch mixture. Over medium heat, bring to a gentle boil and whisk occasionally until the mixture begins to thicken, about 5 minutes.
Add 1/4 cup of the hot mixture to the beaten egg yolks and whisk to blend. Add this mixture to the saucepan and whisk until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes.
Pour about 1/3 cup of the mixture into each of the tart shells. Place them on a baking sheet and refrigerate until the filling sets, about 2 hours. Carefully remove the tarts from the pans and place on a baking sheet.
Make the meringue. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Combine the egg whites and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat on high speed with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Spread the top of each tart with an equal portion of the meringue. Bake on the top rack of the oven until the meringue is lightly brown, about 6 minutes. Let cool before serving.
Yield: 8 tarts.
All of these recipes are from Chef Emeril Lagasse's Holiday Guide.
Emeril's There's a Chef in My Soup! Recipes for the Kid in Everyone
by Emeril Lagasse
"Notches-Unknown PBJ," "Gone Fishin' Fish Sticks," "Pokey Brownies,"
"Make-Lots-of-Friends Oven-Baked French Fries." Even the pickiest eaters will
perk up their ears at these irresistible dishes from acclaimed chef and TV
personality Emeril Lagasse.
Packed with 75 fun, tasty, and even healthy recipes,
the New Orleans chef's cookbook for kids is sure to inspire feats of culinary
greatness in the youngest aspiring epicure. The big, colorful volume features
clear, step-by-step instructions with a strong emphasis on safety, preparation,
cleanliness, and fun. Sidebars provide the yield, ingredients, and tools needed
for each recipe, and small pictures illustrate some of the trickier steps,
demonstrating, for example, how to brush the "Cheesy Star Snacks" with egg
white before baking. A prominently placed Caution bar at the top of the page
uses icons (knife, flame, oven mitt, etc.) to let young cooks know how careful
they need to be. The exuberant chef sprinkles his well-known Emerilisms--"kick
it up," "oh yeah, baby," "bam!"--throughout the pages, and clever illustrations
by Charles Yuen use photos of Emeril's head with cartoonish drawings of his body
and the foods he celebrates.
Let's Get Cooking!
While there are many reasons for teaching kids to cook -- less expensive than eating out, preserves family heritage, etc, the most important
reason is that by teaching your child to cook, you're giving him a better chance to be a healthy grown-up. Enabling your child with the ability
to appreciate freshness and to transform ingredients into tasty foods opens their eyes to making wiser choices about what to eat...