Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Special Meal

On Saturday I had a decadent, rich, and memorable meal that was undeniably filled with love and prepared by a chef with so much passion. I wish I could say that it was at a restaurant I can frequent again soon, or an event of which I can easily obtain the catering information. No, this was a meal prepared for us by a friend who's love of all that is food propelled her to put her established Law practice on hold and recently attend Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Los Angeles. Hearing of this moved me and after chatting with her over the past few months I knew I HAD TO TRY HER FOOD! Thankfully and probably suspecting how much I would LOVE it, she invited my husband and I and over for dinner.

I was so excited about Saturday I couldn't wait! Knowing Yana (she's a zealous, outspoken, kind, spiritual and colorful New Yorker) I could only imagine the larger then life meal she would create. Oh boy was I right! I somehow doubt that it was her newly acquired culinary techniques (I hear she's always been an incredible cook) that made this meal special. A meal of epic proportions in both flavor and size that was intended for 3 couples but had enough delicacies for 10. Ooohhhh, the leftovers!

Crab Salad Spring
Rolls with Ponzu

Salmon Cakes with Spicy
 Mayo and Masago

Grilled Heart Of Palm with Mango
Crab, Roasted Corn and Avocado

Mascarpone & Smoked Salmon
"Cream Puff" with Carmelized Onion

The four starters above could have easily been enough as they had so much flavor and substance. The heart of palm salad had an herby, spicy and tangy kick that was so refreshing and unexpected. The crab salad spring rolls melted in your mouth and the citrus of the ponzu with the creaminess of the spicy mayo, and the julienne of crisp cucumber and sweet carrot in the filling was delicious. I had to stop myself from having more and more as I needed to leave room for what was to come. Salmon cakes were super moist on the inside and perfectly crispy crunchy on the outside and her play on the classic "cream puff" with mascarpone and smoked salmon was cool, refreshing and a great compliment to the warm and crispy salmon cake. 

I devoured the appetizers but knew I had to show restraint as waiting for me was the most perfectly cooked piece of meat, on a gorgeous plate accompanied by a puff pastry filled with petite peas and pearl onions, and a creamy sweet potato gratin.

Main Course

Completed Main Course With
Herbed Mushroom Tarragon Cream Sauce

I generally like my steak prepared in its purest form, grilled with just a touch of salt and peppercorn so I can really embrace the flavor of the meat. Last night however, Yana took my pallate on a roller coaster ride with her steak preparation and let me tell you, I was thrilled by every drop and sudden turn. The meat was PERFECT PERFECT PERFECT.

Initially I ate just half as the portion was GINORMOUS, but my body needed and wanted more. I tried pushing away these thoughts as I knew that finishing everything would just make me sleepy. Besides, I  wanted to save room for desert. I did not succeed and not only did I finish every last morsel of the steak and creamy tarragon mushroom sauce, I leaned over to my husbands plate, and consumed all remaining bits of tender goodness he managed to leave behind. Oh and as for the puff pastry with peas which by now was a faint memory (I ate every last bit of that before I even got to the steak) and the sweet potato gratin that was cheesy goodness I regret not finishing. I could have IF I WANTED TO EXPLODE!

We finished the meal with a Salted Caramel Apple Pie. I swear I just drooled as I typed, no joke. I am very serious about this pie, as it was a VERY SERIOUS PIE. Buttery crust, moist tangy sweet apples, and the star flavor SALT. What a tickle in my mouth, such a tasty and comforting and unexpected combination of flavors. I felt teased, I needed more! My stomach was weeping STOP THIS, YOU MUST STOP, but I couldn't. I just couldn't. 
Yana, I THANK YOU wholeheartedly for taking me on this deliciously Gluttonous ride!!!!!

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