Saffron, Saffron, and more saffron -10/20/20178

My cousin Doan came back from Dubai and gave me 2 jars of saffron (10 grams in total). Saffron are usually sold in a jar of 2 grams (I basically got 5 jars) and since I got so much, I invited the group for dinner so I can use the saffron.

After doing some research and perusing my cookbooks, it toook me a while to come with a menu and a concept.  I was debating for while if I should only do a few dishes with saffron but in the end I went with the Iron chef's concept, meaning that every single dish will feature saffron in it.  However, I told everyone there will be a little twist so watch out....

To keep up with the saffron theme I am going to use mostly yellow and orange.

We are in autumn now so it is also perfect to embrace the rich colors of fall.

 

Table overview-Tonight we are having 16 people for dinner so I have to add an extension to fit everyone.

By the way, on the right is Taz our new Sharpei.

 

Flowers and pine branches from our garden.

 

The main centerpiece.

More decorations on the table.

 

Everything is ready for our guests....

 

 

Maple leaves are added just for a flash of color.

 

Menu is printed...

 

Close look at the menu

 

From the left: Loan, Tuan, Maily, Doan, Tuan, Tuan and Hanh

Far center: Huyen & Phuc

On the right: Minh, Annie, Duy, Ha, and Trung

 

We are about to start the first course!

1st course: Winter Squash with cocoa cream.

The dish is brought to the table with a doll up of cocoa cream, croutons, and chives.  The soup (broth) is brought out in a small pitcher so that each person can pour their own soup.

The cocoa cream melted as the steaming soup is poured into the bowl just like marshmallows in a cup of hot chocolate.

This is first time I am making this dish and it was simply amazing!

 

I told everyone that we are going to have a twist tonight and not to look further as this is it!

I told everyone that Saffron has a gold color so we are starting our 1st course with the right color even though there is no saffron in this dish.

 

2nd course: Grilled octopus, bacon, saffron shellfish reduction sauce, crispy confit potatoes, fried Brussels sprouts, squid ink reduction

 

This dish was inspired by Iron Chef Jose Garces but I took it a bit further by adding the fried Brussels sprout and I grilled the octopus instead of serving it like a ceviche.

This was a complex dish with so many components and labor intensive but in the end this was probably the star of the evening.

 

3rd dish: Steamed clams with Spanish chorizo, citrus and saffron aioli.

 

This is Spanish dish that uses an almond saffron aioli that is incorporated in the broth and makes it rich and unctuous sauce.

Once all the clams are gone, and thick slab of bread is used to soaked up all the goodies.

The group eating the clams dish....

Seems like everyone is digging in..

 

4th course: Fettuccine with sautéed assorted mushrooms, bacon, in a saffron creamy sauce.

 

This is the simplest dish but the saffron in the sauce is shinning through and the mushrooms were delicious.

5th course: Crispy roasted duck leg, spinach fondue, saffron roasted cauliflower

 

By the time we got to this course I was a bit full.  Good thing this is a portion for 2 people.

The saffron roasted cauliflower was simple but it complimented the spinach fondue and the roasted duck.

 

Dessert

Raspberry financier, saffron crème Anglaise, served with a scoop of rum & raisin Ice cream

 

Close look at the dessert

 

Having our desserts...

This is what I get back by the time we are done...

I also served a bunch of crème brûlée but I forgot to take a picture. The crème brûlée was also eaten and there are probably a few spoons left.

Well, that pretty summed out our dinner.

 

As usual, a friendly game of poker is always a must after dinner...

 

Not of us play poker so we gather around the kitchen for more conversations...

Coffee, Tea, and whiskey are usually served after dinner.. The evening ended around midnight!

It has been a very long time that we have 16 people for dinner and it is really nice to see everyone.

With a bit of planning I was able to pull off a nice seat down dinner and everyone enjoyed it.

Thanks to Doan and Tuan for the Saffron, without it this evening would not be feasible.

Cheers!

 

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