This year, I was privileged to be invited to Le Marmitons New Jersey Valentine’s Day event, which was held on Saturday, February 12th.
Now, I realize that Valentine’s Day is February 14th, a Monday in 2011. But this minor technicality aside, and throwing chronographical details to the wind, the Jersey Les Marmitons cooked up their usual storm, this time in appreciation for their significant others who are usually left out of the events because the organization is strictly a men’s cooking club.
Are you ready for a blow out Valentine’s Day Dinner, Jersey Marmitons Style? Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below.
The carte for the evening.
Tables set and ready to go.
Nice wine to start the evening off.
The star of the evening was Sous Vide, a French cooking technique invented in the 1970s which uses vacuum-sealed proteins and vegetables that are bathed in a warm water immersion using a special temperature-regulated microprocessor-controlled cooking vessel for several hours, sometimes even longer. Professional sous vide cookers are very expensive and are used primarily by very high-end French and European restaurants for special dishes. The technique is now gaining wider adoption in American restaurants.
Sous Vide cooking can be done inexpensively as well, and skilled amateur cooks have started to use ingenious methods such as by employing computer-controlled thermal immersion circulators combined with beer coolers to cook food in controlled temperature water baths.
The entree of the evening, Beef Wellington, was mostly prepped using the Sous Vide technique. Entire beef tenderloins were vacuum sealed and cooked in their own juices for several hours in order to bring them up to rare cooked temperature. These were then let to rest and then covered with a mushroom duxelles and wrapped in prosciutto. The Asparagus as well as the Potatoes for this dish were also cooked Sous Vide.
Final Beef Wellington prep, wrapping it in pastry dough.
Wellingtons ready for the oven.
Quail eggs, which are an ingredient in the Hash Trio course.
New Jersey diver scallops
Performing final scallop inspection, making sure the abductor muscle is fully removed. These guys are perfectionists.
The Puerto Rican-style pork hash and a traditional Corned Beef hash.
Jumbo Lump Crabmeat hash.
Les Marmitons NJ President Efrain Raices thanks his members and their loved ones for sharing the evening with them.
A parade of roses are brought out to the valentines by each Marmiton.
First Course/Amuse Bouche, a mousse of smoked salmon topped with black caviar.
Second course, seared scallops over a shallot cream sauce and topped with a tangerine reduction.
Third course, trio of hashes topped with quail egg and three different types of hollandaise.
Main course, the Beef Wellington with sous vide filet of beef, asparagus and yukon gold potatoes.
“Cheese” course, a custard of parmgiano cheese over crouton and dressing with a deconstructed ceasar salad, with parmigiano frico and balsamic vinegar. Based on a Thomas Keller recipe.
Dessert, freshly-made rum raisin ice cream with lace cookie topped with dark chocolate slivers, served with a Hungarian Tokaji dessert wine.
A selection of petit fours to end the evening.
Happy Valentine’s Day!