Winter Wonderland -Elephant gift exchange- 1/25/2014

Set up The food Gift exchange Behind the scene

The Food

The holidays bring family and friends together but it also bring lots of opportunities for socializing, eating, and drinking.  The holidays are about indulgence and even the most disciplined people struggle with temptation during this time of the year. Once the holidays are over and you have to face the scale, it is time to cut back all the excess.   

  I am so glad that we postponed this party to the end of January (4 weeks after the holidays) giving us the time to work out, going on a diet or eating meager meals just to get back into shape.  Okay, I might exaggerate a bit but you know what I mean about New Years' resolution that nobody can really stick to it.  Anyway, after 4 weeks of restraint and  starvation we are all looking forward to have a feast again.  I promised a decadent meal and that's what I am going to deliver!

1- Oysters 3 ways

For this dish Hoa and I we went to a wholesale seafood place in San Jose to buy a case (60 counts) of Miyagi oysters.  Miyagi oysters (AKA Japanese oysters or Pacific oysters) are the most widely farmed oysters in the world. Known to have High salinity, sweet with complex fruity undertones, ultra creamy, metallic finish, with a really wonderful and solid punch of flavor.

Serving oysters 3 ways.


1- Cauliflower chaud-frois with celery emulsion foam served with fresh oyster on the side.  I let my guests spoon the pre-shucked oyster from the half shell onto the top of the cauliflower chaud-frois.

Chaud (hot)- Frois (cold) simply mean that the food was cooked hot and then served cold.

2-I served the fresh oysters with lime juice.  Making it simple to let the flavor of the oyster shine.

3- Baked oyster in butter, shallot, and parsley.

Oh so delicious.

Hoa and Tuan

The group sitting down for dinner.

This is an nice picture of everyone!

Starting the first course.


2nd Course: Tuna

Thinly pounded tuna served on top of a toasted bread with foie gras.

I ate this dish at Le Bernadin and I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to re-create it for my friends.

 Buy a good quality Tuna, crispy toasted bread, and a good smear of Foie Gras make and you will get a really extraordinaire dish.


3rd Course: Pan Seared Foie Gras with balsamic reduction sauce and sautéed blueberries

This is a classic dish that we could never get tired of it.

As you know Foie Gras is banned in California so before the ban Phuc and I we ordered each a huge lobe of Foie gras and saved it for the right occasion.

  I used mine a while ago so I asked Phuc for his lobe and he happily gave it to me so I can prepare this dish . 

It's been a while since we ate pan seared foie gras so we were all looking forward to have pan seared foie gras on the menu.

Because the lobe is so huge, over 2.75 lbs, each portion was very generous and I still have left over foie gras for another dish.


4th Course: Foie gras in Almond ganache served with duck confit and sautéed cherries in balsamic sauce.

This dish is from Chef Marcus Samuelsson from Aquavit and can be seen as a judge on  Top Chef, Iron Chef America, Chopped.

The Foie gras ganache is his signature dish.



Imagine a chocolate molten cake where the center is oozing out, this is the same concept but made with foie gras, almond flour, and butter.

This dish is very rich and decadent so that's why I have two people sharing one serving.  I added a crispy duck confit and sautéed cherries in a balsamic reduction sauce.


5th Course: Grilled Wagyu culotte

Grilled Wagyu culotte courtesy of Phuc. 


I served the grilled waygu culotte steak with a bone marrow foam.  We are talking about indulgence so everything is rich and tasty.


6th Course: Lobster pot pie

Lobster pot pie from Michael Mina.  I dined at Michael Mina's restaurant in San Francisco a few years ago and I was told this was his signature dish.  I did not order it at the time but I always wanted to make it and share it with my friends.


Breaking the crust and putting it on a separate plate.


Inside is a whole lobster served with a variety of vegetable and a reduced creamy lobster stock from the French Laundry.

After reading the recipe, I liked everything with the exception of the preparation of the sauce.  Sorry Michael Mina, I substituted your sauce for Thomas Keller's creamy lobster broth and I am very happy with the outcome.


I prepared a few desserts but everybody was so full that we all skipped dessert (that's a first).

To sum up our dinner tonight: I served oysters 3 ways, Foie gras 3 ways (in the Tuna dish,  pan seared, and ganache), wagyu culotte, and lobster pot pie...

Well, I did say this meal is all about indulgence and I definitely succeeded in delivering a feast!


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