Valentine’s Day Dinner 2014

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It’s become a tradition in our house to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a celebratory meal at home. This year’s dinner focused on elements that would evoke meals we enjoyed over the year, including culinary-life-altering, transformative, turn-you-over-on-your-head trips to Piedmont and Copenhagen, where we ate at René Redzepi’s Noma. 

The main course was a pan-roasted lamb loin and tenderloin crusted with a spice mixture of ground juniper berries and black peppercorns, ginger, smoked paprika, garlic powder, kosher salt, and cayenne pepper. The tenderloin was served with a red wine and lamb stock reduction, and the loin had an herb sauce of thyme, oregano, arugula, carrot tops, and grape seed oil. The accompaniment is a homemade beef and lamb merguez and navy bean ragout with escarole, as well as roasted, glazed carrots.

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The meal started with seared foie gras served with toasted brioche, quick-pickled kumquats, apple, and a Calvados sauce.

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The second course was mushroom agnolotti filled with a purée of sautéed king trumpet, beech, and maitake mushrooms and leeks, with truffle pecorino and a little heavy cream. The sauce is a reduction of a broth made with white wine, leeks, chanterelles, and chicken stock. Garnished with the tops of pea shoots.

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The meal concluded with an apple crostata and homemade red beet ice cream, garnished with candied pecans. The mix of savory and sweet for dessert was something instructive from Noma, and the choice of beets was influenced by a wonderful meal we had at The Pass in Houston. The ice cream recipe is Thomas Keller’s, and I found it on the White on Rice Couple website.

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