One Day You’ll Follow Me

Saffron & White Chocolate

One of my biggest challenges when cooking is being creative in the kitchen. When it comes to following a recipe I’ve got it down; I can pretty much replicate someone else’s dish to the smallest detail. However, when it comes to creating a dish with the random ingredients in my kitchen, I’m at a loss. Due to my lack of creative juices I try to put my own spin on the things I cook, I’ll copy a recipe but make a few changes. I figured this a great way of teaching myself how to be a better cook so hopefully one day I wont be following the leader.

A few weeks back I was in New York and decided to pay a visit to Top Chef alum, Dave Martin’s Crave on 42nd. It’s not a bad restaurant if you like your food sweet! Everything was coated in either sugar or cinnamon; the sugar high upon leaving was unbelievable. But Dave’s signature black truffle mac n’ cheese was amazing and I knew I had to recreate this.

On the bus ride back I was perusing Food & Wine magazine and came across this white chocolate coated grapes with an orange curd from Citronelle DC’s, Michel Richard. I knew I had a meal in the making.

Luckily, I had just been asked to cater my boss’ baby shower — a perfect opportunity to experiment with these two new recipes. Although I couldn’t stick my boss with the bill for the pricey black truffles, I did manage to find a worthy substitute.

The recipes and pictures after the jump.

Black truffle oil, courtesy of my local Whole Foods, sufficed as the alternative to the real shrooms. I basically followed the recipe from Dave but instead of the EVOO I replaced it with the truffle oil. To carry the flavour through, I also lined the dish with a coating of the oil. I skipped on the sherry but decided to add a few extra “dashes” of cognac in its place.

Parm, Cognac and Truffle Oil Mixture

Above is me adding the herb, garlic, parmesan, cognac and truffle oil mixture. You can see that I added a little extra oil to enhance the flavour.

Below is the final product, almost, it has ten minutes to go in the oven. Yes, I used that much cognac, the bottle was full… Oops.

Finished Product

The curd was the aspect which I changed for the grapes, actually making it a little fancy. Saffron (apparently I can’t afford truffles but saffron is no big deal). As the orange was reducing I added a few pinches of saffron, this actually made the orange less sweet, when the curd was finally done it had a bitter-sweet taste to it.

As I cooked this for a baby shower including a beautifully glowing pregnant lady (yes, my boss is going to read this post) I wanted to make sure that the eggs were fully cooked so I blasted them in the microwave for a minute or two before adding the orange, to be on the safe side. This had no effect on the curd so if you are inclined to do so then go for it. I’m not sure what difference this would have made if I hadn’t.

Orange-Saffron Curd

Above is the orange reducing, I took the photo about ten seconds after adding the saffron.

Below are the grapes, kinda complete. Not the prettiest looking and not completely coated but the white chocolate was a nice pairing with the grapes.

White Chocolate-Coated Grapes

The white chocolate grapes were simple, who can’t coat grapes in chocolate, apparently ME! They didn’t turn out too bad but I basically failed to dry the grapes sufficiently so the chocolate didn’t stick, I also didn’t have any parchment paper thus using foil instead. Rookie mistake. I hope Michel Richard doesn’t call me out on this the next time I’m in Citronelle. I actually kept the grapes as the recipe dictates, I mean what else can you do with white chocolate coated grapes. Actually, after the fact I had thought about chopped nuts, would have been a nice touch and crunch.

Apologies for not listing the ingredients etc, I figured it would be easier for you to just check out the links directly and then read what changes I made. For the record, I will be trying the grapes again, I can’t get those wrong again, surely!

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One comment

  • BS April 9, 2008  

    damn! you fancy, b! let us know if you give the grapes another try.

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