|Bonjour Mes Amis,
I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! I’m back to work today, feeling rested after a wonderful break with my husband. Christmas Eve, we continued our tradition of the Feast of the Seven fishes, only the theme this year was Japan (inspired by our 2014 trip to Tokyo & Kyoto.)
Kusshi oysters with shiso-yuzu ‘snow’
spicy clam miso with garlic butter, chile threads
crab & mitsuba gyozas
sushi -otoro, Saba, tamago
tempura prawns and maitake with soba
black cod sake kasu with shiitake and carrot ‘stars’.
But I have lots of French ideas for your New Year’s Eve fete, so read on!
OPEN NEW YEAR’S EVE, REGULAR HOURS, 10 AM TO 6 PM.
à la vôtre !
Gougeres adapted from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan
This recipe is perfect for a New Year’s party as it can be made in advance & goes swimmingly with Champagne.
Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
Bring the milk, water, butter, and salt to a rapid boil in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over high heat. Add the flour all at once, lower the heat to medium-low, and immediately start stirring energetically with a wooden spoon or heavy whisk. The dough will come together and a light crust will form on the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring—with vigor—for another minute or two to dry the dough. The dough should now be very smooth.
Turn the dough into the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or into a bowl that you can use for mixing with a hand mixer or a wooden spoon and elbow grease. Let the dough sit for a minute, then add the eggs one by one and beat, beat, beat until the dough is thick and shiny. Make sure that each egg is completely incorporated before you add the next, and don’t be concerned if the dough separates—by the time the last egg goes in, the dough will come together again. Beat in the grated cheese. Once the dough is made, it should be spooned out immediately.
Using about 1 tablespoon of dough for each gougère , drop the dough from a spoon onto the lined baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches of puff space between the mounds. Using about 1 tablespoon of dough for each gougère, drop the dough from a spoon onto the lined baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches of puff space between the mounds. Slide the baking sheets into the oven and immediately turn the oven temperature down to 375 degrees F. Bake for 12 minutes, then rotate the pans from front to back and top to bottom. Continue baking until the gougères are golden, firm, and, yes, puffed, another 12 to 15 minutes or so. Serve warm, or transfer the pans to racks to cool.
Gougères are good straight from the oven and at room temperature. I like them both ways, but I think you can appreciate them best when they’re still warm. Serve with kir, white wine, or Champagne.
The best way to store gougères is to shape the dough, freeze the mounds on a baking sheet, and then, when they’re solid, lift them off the sheet and pack them airtight in plastic bags. Bake them straight from the freezer—no need to defrost—just give them a minute or two more in the oven. Leftover puffs can be kept at room temperature over night and reheated in a 350-degree-F oven, or they can be frozen and reheated before serving.
Mini Pissaladieres from Saveur
MAKES 32 MINI TARTS
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. minced fresh thyme
2 large red onions, halved length-wise and thinly sliced
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
10 salt-cured black olives, pitted and minced
2 (9″ x 11″) sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
8 oil-packed anchovy filets, drained, cut into 4 slivers each
Minced chives or flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
1. Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium heat. Add thyme and onions and cook, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until very soft, 30 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, add sugar and vinegar, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until caramelized, 12–15 minutes. Stir in olives, remove from heat, and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, heat oven to 400°. Roll out puff pastry to ⅛” thickness. Using a 2½” cookie cutter, cut out 16 circles from each sheet. Transfer pastry circles to 2 parchment paper—lined baking sheets and prick each circle all over with tines of a fork. Cover circles with a sheet of parchment and another baking sheet; bake until light golden brown, 15–18 minutes. Uncover and bake until golden brown, 2–3 minutes more. Transfer circles to a large serving platter, spoon about 1 tsp. onion mixture over each, and top with a sliver of anchovy. Garnish with chives.
Aubry Champagne Brut $43
“This contains just one-quarter each Chardonnay and Pinot; 45% Meunier; and a mixture of Arbanne, Petit Meslier and Fromenteau (a.k.a. Pinot Gris). Nearly half of it is reserve wine, and more than half of that from a solera going back to 1998. If that sounds like a recipe for delivering complexity, you’re right and won’t be disappointed! Bittersweet perfume suggestive of gentian and iris mingles with intimations of fresh lime and sea breeze that in turn manifest themselves on a seductively silken palate in both juicy, vivacious exuberance and mouthwatering saliva-inducement. A scallop-like sweetly saline and mineral amalgam takes hold in a vibrant finish that leaves me caught between the urge to linger and the urge to take the next sip. This exceptional value by appellation standards is almost sure to prove worth following for several years, even if, sadly, few wine enthusiasts are likely to put that prediction to the test.” – 92 points, Wine Advocate
P. Gimonnet Champagne Brut 1er Cru Blanc de Blancs $48
“A wafting and distinctly cool nose featuring essence of white flowers and Meyer lemon slides gracefully into bright, clean and utterly delicious middle weight flavors that possess lovely depth and length on the markedly dry finish. This is dry but not aggressively so and I very much like the yeasty character that adds significant interest to the finale. For my taste this is drinking perfectly now though it could easily be held. Lovely and understated.” – 93 points, Burghound
Gaston Chiquet Blanc de Blancs d’Ay Gran Cru $65
One of only two all-Chardonnay Champagnes made from Ay vineyards in Gran Cru sites. A pioneer in Champagne, Nicolas Chiquet does not employ any oak aging at Gaston Chiquet; he believes that concentration, fruit maturity and malolactic fermentation impart enough body and texture to make aging in barrel unnecessary.
“Pale straw. High-pitched aromas of lime and lemongrass, with chalky mineral and floral notes adding complexity. Taut, incisive citrus fruit and mineral flavors show impressive clarity and pick up notes of green apple and honeysuckle with air. Clean and nervy on the mineral-driven finish.” –92 points, International Wine Cellar
Belberry Cucumber Vinegar $13.99
This jade-colored vinegar from Belgium makes the perfect mignonette or granita for oysters.
Cheese to Go With Champagne
Le delice du Jura
Brillat Savarin with Truffle
We have a huge selection of craft cocktail components…
Misc. Bitters (too many to list):
Small Hand Foods Orgeat, Gum Syrup & Grenadine:
Small Hand Foods was created by the bartender at San Fran’s Slanted Door, and has garnered an immediate following for her cocktail ingredients.
Toschi Amarena Cherries in Syrup
Griottines Wild Morello Cherries in Kirsch
A DECADENT BEGINNING TO 2015
We have a freezer packed with whole lobes & foie boards from La Belle Farms & Hudson Valley Duck Farms in Upstate NY.
White Toque Escargot Bourgogne dozen $11.99
Made in one of Burgundy’s oldest snail factories. Wild Helix snails are cooked in an aromatic bouillon, frozen in-shell with snail butter, ready to bake. I served these on Christmas, & the room was perfumed with garlicky goodness.