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Happiness Commando
Feb 1, 2002
$$ joy at gunpoint $$



I invited a beautiful woman to eat dinner with me. "You see," I definitely didn't tell her, "there's this dead comedy forum online, and they have cooking competitions sometimes. That's totally why you should come over for a dinner date!"

And so she did. And a good time was had by all. I wasn't expecting any of these dishes to be as good as they were, really. Except for the veggies. Those were kind of underwhelming, and I'm not sure why. The sauce was loving amazing on its own - not really a star of the dish, but nonetheless. I will have to figure out where I can use it, because it really is great.

Anyway. I present to you luminaries A Night of Lemons and Three Ways. Please don't presentation-shame me and be nice to me since I was entertaining a not-quite-date and also taking pictures for all you dumbos at the same time.

App: Lemon-chevre bruschetta three ways
Side: Three brassica with roast lemon chili sauce
Main: ThreeTwo-zucchini lemon risotto
Dessert: Lemon trinity tart



App

This was where the seed of the threesome idea came from. Well, that and, you know, the other one. Anyway. I wanted to impress my lady friend, of course, and I wasn't sold on any one of these bruschettas. So I made a bunch. The preserved lemon one was by far the best, but she liked the honey one more. I was expecting the roast lemon one to be super loving boring, but it was actually straightforwardly intense in a really pleasant way - "This is what I am, and I'm excellent at it. If you dont like that, don't put me in your mouth". Jeez, these jokes just write themselves. All the bruschettas were from a grocery store baguette because of reasons. My lady friend provided the lemons. She preserved them herself.

1.
Mince up a preserved lemon. Mix it in with the goat cheese. Don't take any photos.
Reduce some balsamic vinegar into a glaze.
Drizzle it on top
Eat. Sex in your mouth, in the good way.

2.
Roast some lemon slices. Get distracted by an hour long phone call with a friend. Roast some more lemon slices. Look at their beauty.
Taste the slices whole. Decide that citrus peel has a gross texture and that this idea was dumb and lovely.
Carefully tease out the roast flesh and indecorously lay it on the cheese.
Eat. Lemon punch in the mouth, in a good way

3.
Mix some lemon juice, olive oil, and honey until the texture is mostly right. Then add more lemon because you are dumb. Say to hell with it. No photos.
Lightly distress some fresh basil, in the chiffonade sort of way.
Place and drizzle each appropriate element.
Meh. Good, but in a lackluster sort of way.


Side
The day before, roast some whole lemons with garlic and olive oil.
Taste it. Be amazed by how bright and intense and complex roasted lemon as
Don't take pictures of the travesty that is trying to blend 1/4 cup of sauce in a 10 cup food processor
Put it in a mug, use an immersion blender
Add some chilli powder (New Mexico) for some darkness
Taste it and be amazed. It's like your happy go lucky friend started hanging out with a bunch of rabidly militant anarcho-primitivists and now he won't stop talking about the decay of modern society at the hands of capitalism. And he also made a really delicious roast lemon-chili sauce.



The day of, start roasting your brussel sprouts, because they are going to take longer than the rest. Whatever you do, don't take any photos of the roasting. It's an exercise for the reader.
Add the broccoli and the white broccoli when the time seems right.
Actually, the time was right. The brussels cooked up just crispy enough, and the broccoli wasn't too done.
Apply the sauce. Really good. Really intense. I think roast brassica wasn't the right vehicle for this sauce. Maybe closer to a savory roast-lemon jam, or some kind of animal protein glaze. Not sure.


Main
Let's get this out of the way at the beginning: I'm not eating meat right now, and goon voting biases will be whatever they will be. Anyway. I make risotto very rarely. It's really good though. I used store bought stock because the last times I've compared homemade to good store bought ones, there hasn't been an obvious difference in quality. Draw whatever conclusions you choose about my stock or my palette. This stock listed literally only vegetables (and mushrooms) in the ingredient list. I did zing it up with salt, vinegar (a trick I learned here!), and some lemon juice.

Saute some zucchini in butter and set aside. It was supposed to be three different kinds, but the green one was old and gross. I normally don't cook with butter, and after tasting the zucchini, I now know why, if there is one reason that Anthony Bourdain was a better cook than me, it was definitely not because of how much butter he used, but if there were thirty or forty, butter was probably on the list somewhere.
Add more butter, saute some shallots and garlic. Add white wine, and then arborio rice, then once its nice and aromatic, start ladling in the hot stock.
Go for a while until the rice is just on the undercooked side of toothy, and lay it on a sheet pan to cool. I've never tried parcooking risotto before, and starting early so I wasnt rushed was a great reason to try.
Heat it back up, finish it with more stock until its just done enough. Mix in zucchini and a very healthy handful of parmesan. Adjust the texture with a tiny bit more stock until its super creamy.
Garnish with some lemon zest because why not.
This was so unctous and rich and lemony and intense. I said "gently caress this is so good" multiple times as I tasted it to get the cheesiness and texture right. This was really really good.


Dessert
This was what I thought would go the best. In fact, it was really good. But everything was pretty drat good, except for the brassica being underwhelming, and nothing was head and shoulders above the others. Anyway.

The day before, make some lemon curd. Juice a whole bunch of lemons, add eggs and sugar and butter and stir a whole lot until it gets thick enough. I was actually worried that I overcooked it and it would come out like solid jello. In fact, it came out like really thick lemon curd. I love lemon curd. It's so good.

The day of, make some pie dough. Normally I follow Bertinets sweet pastry recipe. This one I followed some random internet recipe. It came out fine. I added some lemon zest in the crust because of my dumb mini theme of threesomes. It ended up not being noticeable at all.
Blind bake it in whatever tiny ramekins we have in the kitchen.
Sprinkle some blackberries with sugar to get the juices flowing
Arrange them at the bottom.
Cover with lemon curd
Wait until dessert time, sprinkle with sugar and torch those suckers.


"But wait! Where did you get those sugar pieces?" I hear you asking. Well, let me tell you a story of how citrus peel is gross. Like I said, I was going for the threesome mini theme. So I decided I would candy some lemon peels. In fact, candied lemon peels (at least mine), have a crappy texture and an underwhelming lemon taste. But you do end up with a bunch of lemon infused simple syrup. So I just reduced it some more, poured it out like the hack of a candy maker I am, and broke it into pieces. It tasted much better than the peels, but my lady friend wanted some too. So she got a foursome lemon tartlet.


Happiness Commando fucked around with this message at Sep 27, 2018 around 04:40

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TychoCelchuuu
Jan 2, 2012

This space for Rent.

That all sounds pretty great. I've never parcooked risotto because I just pressure cook it if I want to make it without babysitting it forever. Did it work well?

Ben Nevis
Jan 20, 2011


I'm curious about the brassica and lemon flatness, because that's usually such a great combo. I feel like it'd definitely go if they'd been lightly steamed or even shaved into some sort of salad/slaw. Still, nice looking lemon party!

Happiness Commando
Feb 1, 2002
$$ joy at gunpoint $$



TychoCelchuuu posted:

Did it work well?
At least as well as every other time I've cooked risotto while babysitting it. Texture was perfect.

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