So I was watching "French Food at Home", the Woodland Feast episode on the cooking channel, and this week's Friday Night Menu was born. I made everything on the show except for the fiddle head soup. I am sure it's delicious but it was an extra course that seemed too warm and unnecessary for this night's dinner.
Stuffed Mushroom Caps
I am loving mushrooms lately, but it small bites. I wasn't sure if I should do these (big bites), but they have goat's cheese at the base of each cap and a crunchy top which sounded appealing to me, not to mention the balsamic glaze on the side to dip each bite into. I wasn't sure if the sprouts were necessary or if it was mostly a garnish, but I liked that too! Here is the recipe. For the balsamic glaze I poured maybe 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar into a small pot and put it over med-high heat until it reduces or cooks down about 2/3rds of the way. It will become thicker and more concentrated then add about a Tbsp of cold butter into the vinegar and swirl the pan off the heat until the butter melts. This thickens it further, add shine and stops it from cooking down any more (butter always makes it better too). I loved them!
I always do what I can for Friday Night Dinner early in the day and start to bring everything together just before we eat. This whole menu really had to wait until later, and everything was very fast, I was board! I started this part with the beer bird around 5:00 and 15 minutes later I was done, it went into the refrigerator to wait. That's good for most people. The recipe is made with a guinea hen cut up, but I just used 4 bone-in chicken thighs and 4 drumsticks. The combination of ingredients makes the house smell fantastic, so if you want people to come into your house and say "Oh it smells so good in here", make this recipe. It's garlic, bacon, bay leaves, rosemary, juniper berries and beer. She says on her show that it doesn't matter what kind of beer you use anything will work. But in her book (It happened to be in the one cookbook I have of hers), she says to use a double malt beer. I can see how that would give even more flavor then the Corona beer I used. She also says if it doesn't reduce into a thick sauce in the oven you may have to transfer the liquid to a sauce pan and reduce it on the stove top, and that is what I had to do. Loved this one too!! Here is the recipe.
I love celeriac. You treat it as you would potato, for mashed potatoes. It takes slightly longer to cook then potatoes. I never did the trick that she describes to make the final puree very white, so I had to try it. She says to put about 1/4 cup of milk into a sauce pan along with the juice of a half a lemon, salt and water, enough water to cover a celeriac that you've peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks. Boil until very tender and drain. Blend with heavy cream and butter and puree in a blender or if you have a stick blender (which is what I used) use that until it's a very smooth puree.
Blackberry Millefeuille [meel-FWEE]
This is so simple and light and perfect for a summer dessert. You buy the phyllo sheets in the freezer section of the super market and defrost them. Lay out one sheet at a time, brushing with butter and sprinkling with sugar and chopped hazelnuts in between. Cut into desired size and bake them off. Whip the cream and then it's just assembling a phyllo layer, then whipped cream then blackberries, more whipped cream and top it with another phyllo layer. Dust the top with confectioners' sugar and enjoy. Here is the recipe.