mother's day brunch

Last weekend, Russell and i prepared a Mother's Day Brunch in honor of Laverne and Freida. Unfortunately, only Laverne & Andrea were able to attend. Nonetheless, we had a truly lovely time. The menu:

Champagne et Fraise
Mt. Tam cheese & crackers

Puff Pastry Rounds with Jean-Pierre's Cured Salmon, Asparagus Pesto, and Créme Fraiche

Crab, Green Garlic, Asparagus, and Shiitake Tarts
Melon with Rosemary-Mint Syrup
Salad Verte

Coffe with Cream and Sugar
Chocolates from Joseph Schmidt


I made the purée for the cocktails by grinding up a ton of fresh strawberries with some sugar and Grand Marnier, and forcing it through a fine strainer to remove the pulp and the seedy bits. A little bit of work, to be sure - but so much less than the straining for a pot of jelly! Added the purée (some with OJ, some without) to the champagne in a cocktail strainer, and decanted into flutes. Russell had a version with ginger ale substitued for the champagne, and an extra hit of Grand Marnier.

The puff pastry was the last from NYF; i cut it into small circles, baked it at 500, and let it cool. The cured salmon is a Chez Panisse recipe; the asparagus pesto a standby from The Tra Vigne Cookbook. I'll post both of them soon. I was VERY happy with this app - the flavors definitely melded & gave more than the sum of their parts. (And there's just something about bite-sized food, no?)

I also owe you a long posting on the method for the breakfast tarts i keep posting about. They're truly versatile, and a lot of fun. Today the filling started with a few eggs, some sour cream, and some heavy cream whipped together. I folded in sautéed shiitakes, green garlic braised in butter, blanched asparagus, the meat from two crabs, and thyme from the garden. Plated them on a little salad. The melon dish is the one that Todd & i created for brunch a few weeks ago. Infuse a simple syrup (1:1 sugar and water) with a handful each of mint and rosemary for a half-hour, and strain. Dress your melon, and chill well before service. I served this course with a Viognier from Paso Robles.

I think Carol would have been pleased with my dessert. I used the lovely demitasse cups she gave me for Christmas to make something i called "coffee with cream and sugar" - a bi-layer créme brulée with the bottom layer flavored with coffee, and the top layer flavored with vanilla. The idea melded from several recipes in Claudia Fleming's The Last Course and the French Laundry's signature "Coffee & Doughnuts" dessert. The chocolates were wee caramels covered in dark chocolate from Joseph Schmidt.

Posted by shock on May 18, 2003 | TrackBack

...and here i am drooling again, before 10am.

i have presentation envy. the puff pastry is just *so* pretty with all the colours and texture contrasts!


Posted by: naomi_traveller on May 19, 2003 8:09 AM

The brunch really was fabulous. I could have eaten a whole meal of the appetizers (not that I would have wanted to replace the tart!).

meriko, thanks again for wonderful meal and for inspiring me! I made the asparagus pesto the next week -- maybe it's just food envy, but it's not as good as yours. I can't wait to make the tarts...soon.


Posted by: andrea on May 26, 2003 6:37 PM
Post a comment

Email Address:



Type the characters you see in the picture above.

Remember info?