I invited my family and sent out invitations with the menu printed on them. We dressed to the nines! The meal took 3 days to prepare and cost me hundreds of dollars. It was the best money I ever spent in my life and I will cherish the memory forever. Building memories with your family is the best investment you'll ever make! The menu read like this:
Coquilles St Jacques
Salade d'en Hiver
Remise en Bouche
Fromage et les Fruites
I set the table with all my very best linen and china and paired each course with a different wine and we topped it off with champagne for a toast to our future. And who could have ever know what wonderful futures lay ahead of us on that night? Of course the girls put their forks down the first chance they could and threw on their coats to dash off and meet their friends! Fair enough. I planned on that! And I might as well tell you that the menu is mostly smoke and mirrors. The Salade d'en Hiver is just French for a winter salad. And for that I just made a watercress salad with oil and balsamic vinegar and sea salt. The Remise en Bouche is just a palette cleanser, so I made a lime ice with champagne. The fromage was a platter of the best cheese I could find along with some fruit and walnuts and port. It was actually the best course in my opinion, but you don't need a recipe for that. I've already shared my Chateaubriand recipe in this blog. So tonight, we're going to make the Crepes. (Another Mad Men retro recipe to be sure!) You can make the crepes a day ahead of time. Here is the crepe recipe:
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 tablespoon of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 cups of milk
2 tablespoons of melted butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla
Mix all of your dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk all of your wet ingredients together in a separate bowl. Add the wet to the dry and whisk it all together until its smooth and sans lumps. (French for no lumps!)
Heat a NON STICK skillet over medium heat with some butter on it. Just enough to cover the surface. When it bubbles up, add just 1/4 cup of batter and immediately swirl the pan so it covers the bottom of the pan. This will be very thin. We're making crepes here, not pancakes! After a minute or two, you'll see it all bubble up in the middle. Loosen all around the edges and flip it over and cook the other side. Cook only one at a time and put a little more butter in the pan with each new one. For sure, the first couple you do might be looking like a horror show, so just throw them in the garbage until you get the hang of it! Reduce your heat a bit if they are scorching. The main thing is not to get stressed because in no time you'll have the hang of it and you'll be wanting to quit your day job and start running a crepe food truck all around the city! As they come off the pan, separate each one with parchment paper or waxed paper and just pile them up in a stack. Now you have crepes! At this point, you can ditch the idea of making them into Suzettes and just fill them with fruit and whipped cream or Devonshire cream and have a perfectly wonderful dessert. BUT if you made the homemade Grand Marnier, then you'll want to forge ahead here. And the Suzettes are flambeed, so only a coward would turn back at this point in the game! Who doesn't love to flambe?
So here's the sauce recipe:
2/3 cup of butter
grated zest and juice of an orange
1/4 cup of sugar
1/3 cup brandy
1/3 cup of Grand Marnier
Heat the butter, zest, orange juice and sugar in a 10" skillet. Stir once in a while and let it boil for a minute or two until the sugar melts. Reduce the heat to low. Fold the crepes into fourths (so in half and then half again) and using 2 or 3 crepes per person, lay them into the sauce around the sides of the pan. Leave a space in the middle. In a small saucepan, heat up the brandy and Grand Marnier, just until it's hot but not to a boil. If you're ready to serve dessert now, pour the brandy mixture into the middle of the crepe pan and ignite it! For God sake, use a long barbecue style lighter! Be Careful! Keep your body well away from the pan! While it is still aflame, spoon the flaming sauce over the crepes. The flame will die out fairly quickly. Serve 2 or 3 crepes per dessert plate with some warm sauce spooned over each one.
This is another one of those recipes that will put you into the hall of fame of culinary skills among your family and friends. These are fun and oh so delicious! Or as I like to think of this one - a memory builder!
I'll be posting photos of this recipe next week when my LadyGirls arrive home for Christmas. I didn't want to make this one just for the blog with nobody to share it with! It's way too special for that. Hug your babies and share in the special joy of the season friends!