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Really outstanding recipes that are worth the effort

misquote May 31, 2009 05:20 PM

My friends who are far more ambitious cooks than I have offered to make a birthday dinner for me, the only limit being availability of ingredients (we have a Wegman's near by, and a good international community), not cost or time. What recipes are totally stunning and worth the labor and expense of ingredients?

I've started browsing through the French Laundry Cookbook, the Gourmet cookbook, and my mind is reeling with joy. I'd love your help! The only thing that comes immediately to mind is osso bucco, but that's not really all that challenging.

  1. g
    ginnyhw Jun 9, 2009 03:27 PM

    Definitely Tourenado's with several sauces. Bernaise, Madeira, maybe something with truffles. Get out your early Julia Childs cookbooks for sauce possibilities..

    1. JungMann Jun 9, 2009 08:22 AM

      When it comes to impressive mains, my go-to is rellenong manok: a whole chicken that has been deboned and refilled with ground meat and savories. It is somewhat akin to a sausage with the chicken body acting as the casing. When sliced, the presentation should be a beautiful riot of colors with pale ground chicken and pork accented by bright chorizos and egg yolks. The soy sauce butter gravy completes the dish.

      1 Reply
      1. re: JungMann
        roro1831 Jun 9, 2009 09:40 AM

        Stuffed boneless chickens are wonderful. But the turducken is a sight to behold when cut as well.

      2. c
        cimui Jun 6, 2009 11:13 PM

        lechon baboy


        whole suckling pig (or lamb, if you don't eat pork), wrapped in banana leaves and barbecued in a stone fire pit over wood that you've burned down to charcoal, yourself

        5 Replies
        1. re: cimui
          Cinnamon Jun 7, 2009 10:42 AM

          I would rec. the OP to request this of the accomplished-cook friends, either for the result or just to see what happens.

          1. re: Cinnamon
            cimui Jun 7, 2009 02:04 PM

            =) you need the patience of a saint to hand crank that lechon or keep that fire pit fed all night long. if the OPs friends do that for her, they are worth their weight in foie gras and caviar!

            1. re: cimui
              JungMann Jun 9, 2009 08:24 AM

              Lechon might be tricky, but I've seen some younger suckling pigs on sale at Western Beef that would fit into an oven and could make for a phenomenal Chinese-style roast suckling pig.

              1. re: JungMann
                cimui Jun 9, 2009 09:33 AM

                the OP did ask for something challenging... :)

                you've seen whole suckling pigs, really? i've seen a LOT of interesting things at western beef, but not whole baby Wilburs.

                1. re: cimui
                  JungMann Jun 9, 2009 09:54 AM

                  Check the back of the Chelsea location if you want to tear into Babe's younger cousin. I've debated getting one for a mid-summer fiesta.

        2. j
          Joebob Jun 6, 2009 10:02 PM

          They might start with Julia Child's lobster souffle.

          1. c
            Cinnamon Jun 6, 2009 09:36 PM

            This is not all that complicated to make, but the sauce is a can't-get-enough-of-it type. I've made this a few times and just love it.

            Duck with blackberry sauce

            You could make it harder to make by insisting that all the stock used is freshly homemade and the blackberries freshly-picked. This was (I think) phenomenal with canned/frozen ingredients. I'm going to have to make this with all-fresh and see how that ups the tasty factor.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Cinnamon
              Amuse Bouches Jun 6, 2009 10:58 PM

              I was going to recommend that same recipe. It's pretty amazing. You can also sub in raspberries for the blackberries.


              1. re: Cinnamon
                Caitlin McGrath Jun 9, 2009 03:31 PM

                I third this recipe. Absolutely delicious, and the sauce can be made ahead and rewarmed.

              2. m
                marcif Jun 6, 2009 11:34 AM

                For a really spectacular and memorable birthday dinner, make the Foie Gras au Torchon on page 106 of the French Laundry Cookbook. Yes, it takes 4 days to make, but it is so worth the effort; I've made it several times, and each torchon has turned out better than any I've had in restaurants! For hors d'ouvres, try the Parmesan Crisps on page 37; exceedingly easy and delicious!

                1. mrbigshotno.1 May 31, 2009 06:34 PM

                  Any fine rich dessert. Napoleans for example or homade peach ice cream where you sit on top of the freezer and crank it by hand.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mrbigshotno.1
                    Ali Jun 7, 2009 12:58 PM

                    Along this line, how about a baked alaska completely from scratch? It's an old fashioned dessert, but it's a goodie.

                    Homemade vanilla ice cream form the core. Lemon and lemon basil jelly (from scratch, of course) spread atop a genoise sponge cake. All topped with Italian meringue.

                  2. b
                    bjclark May 31, 2009 06:22 PM

                    Go exotic, Moroccan food has very interesting flavors. Vietnamese is always a winner too.

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