Nice vegetable tarts, with chard, eggplant and sweet banana were the third course. I blanched the chard, deep fried squares of eggplant and cut pieces of fresh, sweet banana. I made a custard from 3 eggs and a cup of cream mixed with some milk ( to lighten the custard ) tarragon, nutmeg and thyme. I used a nice unsweetened pie dough and put sauteed onions and leeks in as well. I had some Spanish sheep cheese called I diazabal hanging around in the fridge, so I put that in too. I thinned some goat cheese with cream and used that as the sauce. I made some orange syrup, with which I decorated the goat cheese cream sauce. It was a tart and refreshing foil for the cheesiness of the dish.
Lime Sorbet was served after the veg tarts. I have a marvelous Lello Musso brand Ice cream maker from Italy, which I fell in love with when I was pastry chef of the Lighthorse Tavern here in Jersey City. They still have their machine, I purchased my own. Sorbet is made with fruit juice and sugar syrup. I make the syrup with half sugar and water. For a lime or lemon sorbet, or the wonderfully sour passion fruit, I squeeze the fruits and use it in equal proportion to syrup. I always check before spinning in the ice cream freezer to make sure it is not to tart or too sweet. The recipe of 1/2 cup juice, 1/2 cup syrup is just a guide.
The main course was capon, stuffed with onions, leeks, goat cheese, and spinach. This was served with potato galette and brussels sprouts.
I called my butcher ( Ottomanelli's in Greenwich Village ) and ordered the capon and what is called a soup hen, or fowl to make the stock. The older the bird, the better. I made the stock overnight, at a heat so low that the liquid barely moved. There was just a single bubble or two slowly making its way to the surface. When you do this the stock does not acquire a muddy, overcooked taste redolent of the hapless disintegrating vegetables which boiling for extended periods produces. The meat ( and veg ) can then be used for something else, in my case I made creamed chicken from the dark meat and used the now too dry breast meat for cat food. The slow 'shimmering' method also produces clear, clean stock, with a minimum of sediment which can be used to make clear bullion and consomme.
I pounded the breasts of capon flat after removing the tenderloins and extra meat ( capons are huge ) which I reserved for another purpose. I kept the skin on. I then first added blanched spinach, layered on sauteed onions and leeks, and then herbed goat cheese. I tied them like a roast with butcher's twine. I sauteed them in olive oil, adding whole butter to make them a deeper and more delicious caramel brown. I added some stock and cooked them slowly in the oven for perhaps ten minutes. They are then put aside to rest so that they can 'bloom' to doneness. People invariably overcook poultry. They are well intentioned, but do not realize that if the thermometer stuck into a chicken reads 185, by the time it rests before serving it will be well over 200. The cooking times given in books are just plain wrong. Poultry is way overcooked at 185, or 165, the temperatures most books and recipes recommend. Of course this is a matter of preference, and I prefer the the meat of the capon to be slightly blushed with pink. The saute gives it quite a jump start, the meat is no more than a half inch thick, so no more than ten minutes should be allowed for finishing the roulade ( roll ). There is also no way you can stick a thermometer into less than 1/2 an inch of meat and get a reading, so it is better, using intuition and practice to err on the side of caution and take it out to soon. You can always cook it a little more. I then added all the pan drippings to the reduced stock and when it was nice and thick, not syrupy, I added fresh whole butter and boiled it briefly to mount the butter. The slices of roast were then sauced with this ambrosia.I sliced some unskinned russet potatoes and coated them with melted butter, nice olive oil, herbs, salt and black pepper. I layered them in a casserole and added some cream and baked them covered until they offered almost no resistance to a knife blade inserted into them. I then browned them under a broiler. This step was done the night before the dinner to let them set. before serving I cut little towers from the casserole and placed them on a tray to which I added some cream a baked them to heat them up.I then grated some potato into long skinny strips with a tool designed for that purpose ( a Japanese mandolin works too ). I added salt and pepper, and some corn starch and layered them onto my waffle iron to make the fantasy shapes seen in the pictures. I blanched and sauteed the brussels sprouts.
Lemon Chiffon Dessert:
I combined sugar and corn syrup and made a caramel which I then spun into art deco type garnishes.