Sunday, February 18, 2007

Happy Year of the PIG!

We at Pigtown Pigout are ready for a year of celebrations, the first of which was last night. Friends had a Year of the Pig dinner party at their house. When we all arrived, there was an array of wines in brown paper bags... now, we've been known to do this before on the streets, but never in a private home. It turned out that it was a wine-tasting, just to see how discerning our palates were.

K. brought a terrific starter - shrimp wrapped in bacon with horseradish, dijon and something green (perhaps spinach). The spicy heat of the horseradish was a nice counterpoint to the shrimp and bacon.

P. made me love him all the more when he brought out oyster stew! Oh. My. God! I love oyster stew but don't have it very often because it's a heart-attack in a soup-spoon! If you don't know, it's basically cream, butter, chopped celery and onions, a little Old Bay and oysters. You cook it to just below boiling and then add the oysters and cook for about one minute more. What a huge treat!

Dinner was a pork roast, because we didn't care if we ate the honouree, and risotto, carrots and green beans. All delish!

Before the chocolate shavings

I made a tiramisu for dessert and it turned out really well. I made the tiramisu in a springform pan, lining the inside with ladyfingers cut to fit the top of the pan. I basted them with the espresso so they would adhere to the rest of the dish. I could have added more coffee, but I just hate tiramisu that's got a puddle in the bottom of the dish. I went up to Trinacria yesterday morning to get the marscapone ($6.00/lb) and the Marsala wine ($9.00/bottle).

I could have used something other than Marsala, like Tia Maria or Gran Marnier but had a conversation with Mr. Rallo, of Rallo's, where the elite meet to eat, and he said that he'd not used Marsala before. (I made a small batch for him and took it to the restaurant.) I also had to go buy a mixer, since I had gotten rid of my 40+ year old Kitchen Aid Mix Master when I moved to the UK.

After the chocolate shavings

Making tiramisu is pretty simple - whip egg whites, mix yolks and sugar, add the marscapone and Marsala, add the egg whites, dip lady fingers in espresso, and layer. No cooking involved. I shaved chocolate on the top of the tiramisu, but you can dust it with cocoa. I think that the hard lady fingers work better than the soft ones. I used Aunt Enza's Tiramisu recipe from Epicurious.

The only thing you have to be careful about in any of the tiramisu recipes is adding the marsala to the egg and marscapone mixture. I have had it break. I saw a suggestion to add the Marsala to the espresso, but I like to taste marsala with the marscapone.

As for the wine tasting, we didn't like the least expensive and all loved the most expensive. There were also two identical bottles of wine, one of which we liked and one which we didn't!


Julie said...

Wow, that tiramisu looks great. How did you like Trinacria?

Fairfax said...

Trinacria's fine. Looks like a dump, but I like the inside. The bottle of marsala I bought had drips of paint on it. I managed to get in and out in five minutes because I didn't have to have anything weighed. I used to work on Howard Street, so went there a lot.

Anonymous said...

sounds like a great party- you all do the coolest stuff- and may I say , as someone who has made many a tiramisu- it looked pastry chef quality to me.