Funny how many times this week so far I've heard "Oh, I'm so glad everything is back to normal", or "thank goodness that's over". And here I am, back in my pattern of reporting the results of Wednesday prix-fixe menu. We didn't even have a prix-fixe for the past two weeks to report about anyway, so the routine has been seriously upset. Still, I did enjoy the break from the "usual", especially when it included champagne and eggs Benedict and such!
Anyway, last night's menu was pretty tasty:
Kevin made tomato pasta and served it with fennel and oyster mushrooms (plus a little tiny bit of cream!). The pasta - tagliatelle - looked beautiful, and Kevin deemed it the best pasta he has ever made, due to the perfection of its consistency. He thinks he knows why it turned out so unusually well, but until he perfects it, he is holding his method close to his chest.
The main course was beef brisket, slow braised and served with a rich reduction of tomatoes and mushrooms in the braising liquid. The first few diners got the added bonus of mashed potatoes! On a chilly winter night, this was a go-to meal. And go to it people did - we ran out at the ungodly hour of 6:40.
In other news, Kevin's new piece of kitchen equipment - arriving by sleigh this most recent Christmas - has proven to be a useful tool. We used pressure cookers all the time in my childhood kitchen, cooking everything from peas to potatoes in it, but it was nothing like this 21st century appliance. No clattering weights, no fears of explosions. The one pictured above is shown at full pressure, as indicated by the colored rubber ring which rises up out of the handle.
Here's a closer look. (That's a reflection of the ring in the lid that you see underneath.) So far he has made a couple of stocks in the cooker; so far he has been very happy with the result, especially the turkey stock. He's still fussing with the duck stock procedure - trying different methods of prepping the bones and how much vegetable to include. The texture - gelatinous quality - of the results have been more than satisfactory. The time saved is the main thing, that and of course the ensuing energy savings. For instance, this morning there are black beans in the pot. After leaving them to soak overnight, it takes 8 minutes to cook them in the pressure cooker. That's close to 2 hours less than the usual amount of gas burned for the same end results. In 8 minutes the beans are creamy and nice. One of the added benefits of this would be under the unusual circumstances that one forgets to cook the beans needed for lunch service...