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Belgian birthday meal - report

Louise | Sep 11, 200508:48 AM

Hi all,

I did it! :-)

We had a great time last night and enjoyed a fine meal.

The menu was:

Salad of belgian endive, radicchio, celery root and pear with hazelnut dressing - great recipe from the Williams Sonoma website (presentation is really nice) - The recipe calls for 5 Belgian endives, 1 celery root and 1 radicchio - I used all but 1/2 the radicchio. There was six of us and that was plenty. If I did it again, I would double the dressing recipe (which was great, with shallot, sherry vinegar - I used apple cider - and hazelnut oil - I used tbe walnut oil that I purchased by mistake thinking that the recipe called for it.

Frites - not the most chowhoundish thing to do, but I used julienne cut McCain fries (in Canada). I do not have a deep fryer, so I baked in the oven.

Mussels - cooked with white whine, onions, shallots, peppercorns, bay leaves and a few branches of the celery root top. Very good, clean tasting and easy to make.

Dessert was an amazing Belgian chocolate ganache tart, which Candy suggested in an earlier thread. You can google the recipe and the source is Everybody eats well in Belgium. I used bittersweet Callebaut chocolate as the recipe recommended. I did not change much to the recipe other than infusing the cream with espresso coffee and then straining it. The recipe called for espresso powder and I did not feel like buying instant espresso powder. That did the trick very well. I dusted the top of the cooled tart with cacao and powdered sugar, and topped with star cutouts from the leftover dough (which tastes very buttery and rich, almost shortbread-like). The only thing that I should have done is take the tart out of the fridge at the beginning of the meal. Straight out of the fridge it is a little grainy, but becomes very smooth after resting at room temperature for a while. It is like eating truffles (lots of them!) in a pie. I will definitely make that recipe again.

So, thanks to all for contributing your ideas to my 34th birthday meal! :-)

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