bosk pear, and chopped pecans. I made a simple vinaigrette of date vinegar, sesame oil, and a little sugar and salt.
While simple, the vinaigrette really highlighted the sweetness of the pear, and the pecans added a really nice textural contrast to the pear and the lettuce.
This was a nice opener, really whetting the palette.
For starch, I made couscous flavored with onion, parsley, and berbere, an Ethiopian spice mix. Berbere is wonderfully complex, and fairly hot.
The spouse had picked up some wonderful asparagus. This is just about our favorite vegetable. I just lightly grilled it, to get a little char, but keep it al dente. I do not like my asparagus limp. I went with a classic, and made hollandaise to go on the asparagus. It was the first time I have tried it, but I followed this recipe by Tyler Florence, and it was really easy.
ChocoVine, a kind of cream liqueur flavored with red wine and chocolate, made in Holland. I used it to make a sabayon, adapting the recipe from the Moscato Zabaglione I made for my wine class last November. I garnished it with some ripe strawberries macerated with a little sugar, and piped a heart of dark chocolate.
The acid in the strawberries helped cut the heaviness of the sabayon a bit. The dark chocolate brought out more of the chocolate flavor of the ChocoVine.
All in all, I was very satisfied with this meal. I got the steak cooked to a perfect medium rare, the hollandaise had a nice tang, and really complemented the asparagus well. The sabayon was thick and creamy, and not too sweet.
Date Vinaigrette4 Tbsp. date vinegar
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Whisk all ingredients vigorously until an emulsion forms.
Cocoa Rub4 Tbsp. cocoa powder
2 Tbsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. chili powder
Mix all ingredients together thoroughly. Liberally sprinkle on steaks at least five minutes before grilling.
Simple Hollandaise4 egg yolks
2 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup melted butter
In a double boiler over barely simmering water, whisk together egg yolks, lemon juice, and salt until thick and doubled in volume. Slowly drizzle in melted butter while whisking, until butter is incorporated and sauce is thick and smooth.
ChocoVine Sabayon6 egg yolks
3/4 cup ChocoVine liqueur
1 cup heavy cream
3 large ripe strawberries, sliced thin
2 tsp. sugar
In a small bowl, mix together strawberries and sugar. Set aside.
Whip cream to medium stiff peaks. Set aside.
In a double boiler over barely simmering water, whisk together egg yolks and ChocoVine together until thick and smooth. Place bowl with egg mixture in an ice bath, continue to whisk until room temperature. Fold cream into egg mixture. Pour or spoon into serving containers. Garnish with strawberry slices.