Appreciation dinner- 3/10/12

The set up

The food

Behind the scene

Because we are having a 6 course dinner not counting cheese and dessert I purposely served only a platter of cold cuts to greet our guests just so we can have a bit of food with our cocktails.  I don't like to drink with an empty stomach so I always make sure we have something to munch with our drinks. 

Tonight cocktails are prepared by Hoa - Specialty of the house Gin & Tonic. 


Now that everyone is here, we are now sitting down for dinner.

Let's begin!

Tuan is passing out white wine glasses to go with the Amuse bouche.


Miriam brought out the amuse bouche on a tray.


Before we start with the Arpège egg, I am explaining the origin of the name Arpège. 

Arpège comes from the name of a commercial perfume created by Lanvin in 1927.  Story goes that Jane Lanvin offer to her daughter Marguerite the brand new and un-named perfume as a 13th birthday and asked her to name it.  Marguerite being an accomplished musician called it Arpège which is derived from Arpeggio.  Arpeggio are notes in a chord that are played in sequence, one after another, rather than simultaneously.

We also have our own accomplished musician: Spencer!  So as soon as Spencer heard that Arpège came from Arpeggio he exclaimed: "yes, of course it means broken eggs".


Arpège is still one of the 3 best known perfumes in the world beside Chanel #5 and Joy from Patou.  Lanvin original slogan was: Promise her anything, but give her Arpège.

So I am re-using the slogan and reformatted to fit my dinner theme. I told my friends: " I promise to be a good host tonight, so I give you Arpège egg.

I guess everybody like my slogan, so you can see them clapping here after I finished my slogan!

Click on link  to see the commercial for Lanvin with the famous slogan back in 1987.


1-AMUSE BOUCHE: Arpège egg

Now that you heard all about Arpège egg, let's start!

I wanted to start dinner with something unusual so I selected to serve Arpège egg, an amuse bouche that I had a long time ago at  Manresa restaurant, the 2 Michelin stars restaurant in Los Gatos.  Arpège egg is one of their signature dish and after many years I can still remember the dish because it is quite special, unexpected, and delicious!


This dish has all the contrast combined in one little bite size!  At the bottom of the shell is a warm and runny egg yolk, layered with a cold whipped cream with a bit of sherry vinegar, and a drizzle of maple syrup (sweet).  So you get a hot/cold- salty/sweet combination all in the same bite.


2-Appetizer: Crab Mayo with avocado served with crab toast

For the second course I wanted something fresh so I prepared a Crab Mayo with avocado served with crab toast.

A layer of puree avocado at the base of the glass, another layer of fresh crab meat mixed with mayo, a little spoon of salmon eggs, and a bit of crispy rice to add a bit of crunch is served with a piping hot crab toast!



The dish is very colorful so I served it in a glass so that the color can be seen.

Click on link to see preparation of the dish.


Main Dishes:

3-Crab chowder with corn purée

This dish is a hearty and rich soup that is thickened with corn puree and topped with fresh lump crab.  The soup is unusual in a sense that I spiced it up a bit with star anise and lemon grass.  You cannot really taste these 2 ingredients in the soup but there is  a lingering taste that you are not quite sure what it is...

The corn puree is sweet and so flavorful.  I use fresh dark crab meat so they are sweet and compliment the soup so well.

The soup is brought out and serve without the broth because I wanted my guest to see the sweet corn puree and the crab meat before covering it with the soup.


I really enjoyed this soup.  It took me at least 3 to 4 hours to make this soup but the flavors are coming through and it was worth the effort.

click on link to see preparation


4- Pan seared Foie gras with balsamic vinegar reduction & sautéed blueberries

The last time I served Foie gras was for Huyen's birthday back in Nov. 2011, which I made two types of foie gras and I think all of us were OD'd with Foie  Gras after that meal.  After 4 months I think it is time to go back to indulgence so Foie Gras re-appeared back on the menu and we all agreed that the Foie Gras was delicious!



I cooked Foie Gras different ways but to me the best way to have Foie Gras is to pan seared it with a nice caramelization.  I served the Foie Gras with a balsamic reduction and sautéed blueberries in butter is brown sugar!

All of us really enjoyed this dish after taking a little break but after 4 months it was a nice welcome back!

click on link to see preparation of the Foie Gras


5- Crispy pork belly with quail stock reduction, sautéed squid tentacles with Basquaise sauce, and Spaghetti carbonara.

Pork Belly!  Who doesn't like Pork Belly especially when it is crispy and simply irresistible!

Here I paired the crispy pork belly with a sautéed squid tentacles with Basquaise sauce( made with red bell peppers) and a bit spaghetti carbonara.

Click on link to see preparation of the crispy pork.

Click on link to see preparation of the Spaghetti Carbonara

By the time we were done with this dish everyone was so full but since I already prepare the next course, we decided that to share the dish.


6- Chartreuse of quail

Chartreuse of quail is a fancy dish from Tony Bourdain the famous American chef, author and television personality.

Chartreuse is the name of a French liqueur called Chartreuse which come in green and yellow.  I assume this dish was called chartreuse because of the color of the cabbage leaves which resemble the color of the Chartreuse liqueur. 

This dish has 3 main ingredients: quail, foie gras, and cabbage that are cooked separately and then assembled in ramekins.  They are baked in the oven and are un-molded to a very impressive presentation.  This dish is packed with flavors and is simply delicious.

The chartreuse is served with a quail stock reduction. Underneath the cabbage is a piece of crispy bread, and on top of the chartreuse are the quail's drumsticks.

It is a really beautiful dish!

Here I am cutting the cabbage package in half so you can see the inside.

By the way, this portion is for two people but we were so full so we share it amongst 4 or 5 people. The rest my friends took it home for the next day!

Click on link to see preparation of the Chartreuse


 1-warm and crusty date pudding

We were so full so we had to wait for a few hours before we could nibble on desserts.

The warm and crusty date pudding is perfect with a cup of hot coffee.  The top of the pudding is crusty while the center remains warm and soft and gooey. 


This recipe is from Tyler Florence and I referred to him as my "boyfriend" because he is handsome and he is really fun to watch on the food network.

So because this dessert is made with dates and I am playing with words, I refer to this dessert as my "date" with Florence Tyler.

By the way, this is a really great dessert!

Click on link to see preparation


2- Orange curd layer pudding

Orange curd layer pudding is an old fashion English pudding!

The pudding came out to a delicious light soufflé sponge on top, with a thick zingy curd sauce underneath. 

It is recommended to bake this dessert in a glass to reveal the appealing layers as you can see in these pictures.

The meal is now complete so let's take a look at what was going out in the kitchen and see behind the scene.

Click on link to see preparation


Next.. Behind the scene



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