Today was a lazy, mostly rainy day that I spent working on the menu for the tasting party I am giving for my lunch group in November.  I also did a test run of a couple of items that I wasn’t sure about.  The menu is still a work in progress, but the two items I tested passed with flying colors, so I will definitely be using them.

As of now, this is how the menu looks.  It looks like a lot of food, but remember that this is a tasting event so the amounts of each thing will be very small.  As it stands now, this is just my first pass at a menu, and probably there will be things left out and other things put in.  After all, there’s a lot of time left before the event.


Amuse Bouche
Sauteed shrimp on a bed of leeks, homemade cheese cracker, and persimmon mousse
Crab and green apple on potato nests
Beet mousseline on puff pastry with lime sour cream and bacon bits
Figs wrapped with bacon in balsamic reduction
Roasted red pepper soup with orange cream

Arugula, quinoa and cannellini beans with roasted tomatoes and smoked paprika dressing

Chicken and prosciutto agnolotti with Marsala sauce

Seared salmon with caramelized onions, spinach, and preserved lemon on corn blini

Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon with mashed potatoes and citrus green beans

Vanilla, salted butter caramel, and chocolate mousse
Cranberry orange tassies with nutmeg whipped cream
Pumpkin mini-cakes with pumpkin cream filling
Choux puffs with fruit
Assorted confections: Oreo mint balls; strawberry fudge balls; white chocolate lemon truffles

I was anxious to try the dessert creation of the amazing Helene Dujardin of the blog Tartelette: Vanilla, salted butter caramel, and chocolate mousse.  It looked more involved than her offhand presentation made it seem, and it turns out I was right about that.  I had a few issues with the caramel, but in the end it turned out wonderfully.  I have to admit that I was also anxious to get to taste it.  It is definitely a keeper.

Vanilla, salted caramel, and chocolate mousse

Isn’t it gorgeous?  And a note about salted caramel–a Google search on that phrase will net a plethora of entries.  Salted caramel is the big thing right now.  I’d never had it on anything but I have to say I really see why it’s popular.  The salt enhances the taste beautifully.

In any case, I’m glad I did a test run of this recipe to work out the kinks.

The other thing that I test drove was the potato nests, which will form the base of one of the amuse bouche items.  They will be filled with a crab and green apple salad and topped with creme fraiche.  I was concerned about whether they would be difficult to remove from the molds, but as it turned out they came out with no problem at all.  They are cute and I can see all kinds of possibilities for them as a base for appetizers.

potato nests

So that’s what I did today.  Tomorrow I plan to try the corn blini to see if they will hold up to, and complement, the salmon that I have planned for them.  I will also try out the tassies, because I have all the ingredients on hand to make them.

Good times.

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15 Responses to Practicing

  1. Evelyn Olivier says:

    OMG! You are an amazing chef. Would love to taste anyone of these dishes. As for salting sweet things I learned to do that with ice cream. At an olive oil tasting in Napa we had vanilla bean ice cream topped with about 1 t. of blood orange flavored olive oil and a pinch of salt. We do this all the time now and also do blue bell ice cream topped with store bought caramel sauce and sprinkled with salt. Yum!

  2. pat brown says:

    Oh my goodness what a menu. You are a genius. The potato shells look amazing as well asthe dessert. How will you be able to make d
    So many wonderful items?

  3. Julie says:

    I am so jealous. That mousse looks ravishable.

  4. huntfortheverybest says:

    wow the mousse looks divine!

  5. Ineta says:

    It’s a pity but the link which you provided isn’t working for me..:(( I’d like to make this wonderful dessert so much. Could you give me the recipe?

  6. sbuent says:

    Hi, Ineta–
    I’m so sorry about the link–you’re right, it wasn’t working. I’ve made a change and I believe it is fine now. If not please let me know and I’ll send you the link directly.

  7. Bec says:

    Your food looks stunning! Will you be able to share the recipes, please? Thank you in advance if you do! 🙂

  8. sbuent says:

    Thanks, Bec! I usually do provide the recipes–the triple mousse has a link in the post because the recipe is from another food blogger.

  9. OMG the mousse looks way to tasty!

  10. where can I find the recipe to the potato nests?

  11. rottingpost says:

    what time should i be over for dinner? 🙂

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