Valentine's Day is right around the corner, and you know what I'll be up to this weekend - cooking up our 5-course meal for friends and strangers alike (but let's be honest, there are no strangers after a meal at Cow by Bear). We'll be hosting our traditional Friday and Saturday dinners, of course, but this Sunday we'll also be serving a one-time-only menu for 20 special guests. For those of you that won't be there with us, I wanted to send along a couple recipes in hopes that they'll enhance this Lover's Day for you and your special someone.
This is our take on the classic French 75, rumored to be Hemingway’s drink of choice (Though I’ve heard that about five different cocktails...Papa liked to drink!). I sub in Morris Kitchen’s terrific Grapefruit Hibiscus Cocktail Mixer (which you can purchase here or locally at Pigment) instead of simple syrup. Use the best gin you can find. I prefer the batch made by Wishkah River Distillery up in Aberdeen, Washington. I discovered it on a recent fishing trip to the great Pacific Northwest. Let me know if you’re desperate and I’ll hook you up with a bottle.
Ingredients (Makes 2)
2 oz. gin
1 oz. lemon juice
2-3 oz. Morris Kitchen Grapefruit Hibiscus Cocktail Mixer
(use 2oz. for a more tart, 3oz. for more sweet, or split the different like I do).
In a cocktail shaker with ice, shake the gin, lemon juice and mixer. Pour into the glasses, top with champagne and garnish with a lemon twist.
Lemon Raspberry Parfait (Makes about 8 servings)
I made this a few days ago on the CBS morning show. This one has several parts to it, a raspberry mousse, milk crumbs, lemon curd and homemade whipped cream. Don't be intimidated by all the steps, you can make any of it in advance if you'd like. It's a dessert that makes for a great Valentine’s Day treat - whip it up for your significant other or, better yet, make it together.
2 tsp. unflavored powdered gelatin
2 Tbsp. cold water
5 cups fresh raspberries
¾ cup sugar
2 large egg whites (at room temp)
1 cup heavy cream
Pour the water in a small bowl, and sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Let stand until softened, about 5 minutes. In a blender, puree 4 cups of the raspberries with ½ cup of the sugar. Strain the puree into a bowl through a fine sieve. In a microwave oven, melt the gelatin for 10 seconds on low power. Whisk the gelatin into the raspberry puree.
In a large bowl set over a pot of simmering water, whisk the egg whites with the remaining ¼ cup of sugar until warm to the touch. Remove the bowl from the heat. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat the egg whites at medium-high until stiff and glossy. Fold the egg whites into the puree.
In the same bowl, beat the cream until firm. Fold the whipped cream into the raspberry mixture.
In a small bowl, coarsely mash the remaining cup of raspberries. Fold them into the mousse. Scoop the mousse into individual bowls or glasses and refrigerate until set, at least an hour or overnight.
¾ cup milk powder
¼ cup flour
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. kosher salt
4 Tbsp. butter, melted
3 oz. white chocolate, melted
Heat the oven to 250. Combine ½ cup of the milk powder, the flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Toss with your hands to mix. Add the melted butter and toss more, using a spoon, until the mixture starts to come together and form small chunks.
Spread the chunks on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Cool the crumbs completely.
Crumble any chunks that are larger than about a half inch, and put them all in a medium bowl. Add the remaining ¼ cup milk powder and toss together until it is evenly distributed throughout the mixture. Pour the white chocolate over the crumbs and toss until they are totally covered. Then continue tossing every 5 minutes until the white chocolate hardens and the crumbs are no longer sticky. You’ll have crumbs leftover with this recipe, and they will last for about a month in the fridge.
Lemon Curd (1 pint)
5 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
4 lemons, zest and juice
½ cup butter sliced into ¼ inch pieces, chilled
Add about an inch of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, combine egg yolks and sugar in a medium size metal bowl and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute. Juice the lemons, ideally 1/3 cup worth. Add cold water to the lemon juice if there isn’t enough, and add the juice mix and zest to egg mixture. Whisk smooth.
Once water reaches a simmer, reduce heat to low and place bowl on top of saucepan (the bowl should not touch the water). Whisk until thickened, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter one piece at a time, allowing each to melt before adding the next.
Remove mixture to a clean container and cover by laying a layer of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd. This will keep up to 2 weeks.
Homemade Whipped Cream
1 pint of heavy cream
2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
Place all ingredients in bowl of mixer and whisk until light and fluffy on medium-high, about 5 minutes. Chill.
To make the Parfait: This is the fun part because after all that hard work, you get to decide how to load it up. After the mousse is set in the bowls/glasses you’re serving, layer on a portion of the crumbs followed by the lemon curd and whipped cream. You can also add fresh berries and/or edible flowers if you'd like.
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