Oysters Rockefeller Soup

Oysters Rockefeller Soup
Garnished with a Fresh Shucked Oyster,
Butter Lettuce, Creme Fraiche, and Salmon Roe

Oysters Rockefeller consists of oysters on the half-shell that have been topped with various other ingredients (often spinach or parsley, cheese, a rich butter sauce and bread crumbs) and are then baked or broiled.
The dish was created in 1899 at the New Orleans restaurant Antoine’s by Jules Alciatore, son of the restaurant’s founder. It was named Oysters Rockefeller after John D. Rockefeller, the richest American at the time, for the richness of the sauce.  (from wikipedia)

Sunken City Supper Club
The Soup Course

In the previous post I was so excited to share the debut of our Sunken City Supper Club: A place to mingle with friends and neighbors – to enjoy the camaraderie, great food, wine, and perhaps a little dancing to the awesome intimate jazz standards performed by Barry Anthony and Bill Ryan. Their band is The Swing Of Things.

I hope you have a couple of minutes to enjoy The Swing Of Things as they perform “I’ve Heard That Song Before.” The song, popular in 1942, is just so fun and lovely, it can put anyone in a good mood…


Our Oysters Rockefeller Soup Recipe
Puree a small onion, 1/2 bunch parsley, 3 scallions, and 3 large leaves of butter lettuce in a food processor. Add a pound of fresh spinach and continue to puree to a uniform consistency.
Melt 4 T. butter in a saucepan, add 4 anchovy filets stirring until dissolved. Add the vegetable puree and cook for 10 minutes over medium heat. Add 3 T. lemon juice and 3 T. flour.
Stir in one bottle clam juice, 1 c. chicken stock, 2 T. Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat, add 2 c. heavy cream and grated nutmeg.
Finish with 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Just before serving add a splash of Pastis and the liquid from the shucked oysters. 
Garnish with shredded butter lettuce, a fresh shucked oyster, a small dollop of creme fraiche and salmon roe or caviar of your choice. 
The initial idea for this recipe came from Barbara Kafka’s excellent soup cookbook, Soup A Way of Life.

Slide the fresh oyster onto the butter lettuce.

A soup inspired by a secret legendary old New Orleans recipe was the perfect one for the first Sunken City Supper Club dinner.

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Pomegranate

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta
Pomegranate Syrup
Pomegranate Seeds
Mint Sprig
Sunken City Supper Club Menu

SUNKEN CITY SUPPER CLUB
October 16th Menu
“THE BEST OF FALL”

Appetizers
Polenta Cakes with Cambozola and Shrimp, Roasted Chile Oil
Date Bacon Bundles
Pea Crostini Two Ways: With Prosciutto or Pears

Soup
Oysters Rockefeller Soup

Salad
Grilled Squash, Wild Baby Arugula
Warm Marcona Almonds
Shaved French Etorki Cheese
Almond Oil Late Harvest Riesling Vinaigrette

Main
Stout-Braised Short Ribs
Reginette Pasta, Gremolata
Horseradish Cream

Dessert
Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Pomegranate

Your SCSC Hosts
Sally, Gail, and Lori Lynn
We hosted a big party this past Friday night outdoors on my patio: 24 people, 5 courses, live music. It was the debut of what we are calling the Sunken City Supper Club. A place to periodically mingle with friends and neighbors – to enjoy the camaraderie, great food, wine, and perhaps a little dancing to the awesome intimate jazz standards performed by Barry Anthony and Bill Ryan. Their band is called The Swing of Things.
Here’s a sweet sample of their music when they play at The Sky Room in Long Beach with the entire band. Please click below to enjoy the tunes while reading the rest of the post, you’ll immediately get the feel of our supper club event!
My friends Gail and Sally and I held three test kitchen dinners with my Brother Bill and Barry and Al to decide on the menu. Then we shopped and cooked and decorated for 4 days. It was a lot of work and a lot of fun.

Organizing the china, glass, and silver.

Rosemary from Gail’s garden with roses from my garden.
Panna Cotta

I thought it might be neat to write about the dessert first.
After trying baked figs, puff pastry, apple crisp, mascarpone sorbet and other ideas in our test kitchen we decided on panna cotta with pomegranate. It was a huge hit!

In addition to trying recipes, we also tried out presentations. We had to be able to execute the dish for 24 guests and be able to get it to the tables in a timely manner, as well as have enough china and silver in my home to serve it uniformly.

Panna Cotta: We began by sprinkling 5 t. powdered gelatin over 6 T. cold water. Then 2/3 c. sugar and 1/8 t. salt are added to 5 c. heavy cream and 1 c. milk in a large pot. Cooked over medium heat to dissolve sugar. When bubbles appear on the edges the gelatin mixture is added, removed from heat, cooled slightly and add vanilla bean seeds from 2 pods. Pour into ramekins, cover, and chill over night. We made 2 batches for 24 servings.
To serve the panna cotta, run a knife around the edge, dip bottom of ramekin in hot water for 5 seconds, then invert onto a plate.
We doubled the usual amount of vanilla bean, which imparted a deep, rich, intense flavor to the “cooked cream.” And the tart bright concentrated flavor of the pomegranate syrup was the perfect for our “Best of Fall” menu, the pomegranate seeds were like little jewels.
Sunken City Supper Club

Please stop by Taste With The Eyes in the next few days for more about Sunken City Supper Club event. Thank you to all our guests, it was such a pleasure having you here! Your enthusiasm, excitement, and participation made this event a super success. We hope to see you at the next supper club gathering soon.
Lastly a special thank you to my Brother Bill, and dear friends Gail and Sally, to fabulous musicians Barry and Bill, and extra helpers Al and Troy and Marlene. What a super team!
More recipes from this event:

White Asparagus, Shaved Avocado, Tarragon Mayonnaise

Peruvian White Asparagus
Shaved Californian Avocado
Tarragon Mayonnaise
I was shopping at Whole Foods Market today for meat to make a very Autumn-Style dish for a big party this weekend: Stout Braised Short Ribs, a two-day process which we will be starting tomorrow morning.
Walking into the produce section, I noticed this big display of asparagus, the quintessential Spring vegetable, right? Turns out this asparagus was from Peru. Where Spring has sprung! In solidarity with my Southern Hemisphere Cooking Compadres, I picked up some asparagus to serve along side a Whole Foods pre-cooked smoked chicken tonight. Their smoked chicken is really good.
White Asparagus

Trim off the end of the asparagus, then shave the entire stalk with a vegetable peeler.

Place shaved asparagus stalks in salted simmering water with a bay leaf. Cook until tender, taste for doneness. This was about 8 minutes. When tender, place asparagus in an ice bath to stop the cooking, then dry on paper towels.

Mix mayonnaise with finely chopped fresh tarragon, salt and pepper, and a splash of tarragon vinegar. Tonight’s dinner had to be effortless, considering the upcoming party and all the cooking involved. But…
Mayonnaise aficionados might appreciate an “almost effortless” homemade version, compliments of Julia Child, that I paired with fresh swordfish here.

“Mayonnaise is one of the finest and most important sauces in classic cuisine. The shame is that few of us ever taste the kind of fresh handmade mayonnaise that deserves such culinary status – and even dedicated home cooks don’t realize that making their own is a simple process that takes only minutes and, if you use a food processor, almost no effort at all.” Julia Child

Shave a slightly under-ripe avocado into strips with the vegetable peeler. Season asparagus with salt and pepper, ladle tarragon mayonnaise over the center, top with shaved avocado ribbons. Add a tarragon sprig for garnish. This side dish was really simple and quite lovely.
Happy Spring to My Blogger Friends in the Southern Hemisphere!


For more information on Peruvian White Asparagus, please visit Gourmet Trading Company here.

Pistachio Crusted Opah, Pomegranate Nectarine Reduction

Pistachio Crusted Fresh Opah from Fijian Waters
Pomegranate Nectarine Reduction

Opah, also called moonfish, weighing up to 200 lbs., is harvested incidentally by long-line boats fishing for tuna and billfish in the Pacific. This fish does not swim in schools, so it is caught by accident. Historically, catching an opah was regarded as good luck and was given away rather than sold. The fishmonger at Bristol Farms poetically told me that the skin of a moonfish resembles moonlight dancing on the ocean. (photo from hawaii-seafood.org)
Opah has a rich, creamy flavor and firm, fatty texture, resulting from a diet of mostly squid. To make this dish: Combine pistachio nutmeat and panko breadcrumbs with rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper in a food processor. Dust the filet with flour, lightly coat with mayonnaise, then crust the filet with the pistachio mixture. Sauté in olive oil in a non-stick ovenproof pan until both sides are browned. Finish cooking the fish for just a few minutes in a 400° oven.
The folks at POM Wonderful sent me a few samples of their pomegranate products, one of which is this awesome POM Nectarine juice. 100% juice. I simply poured it into a pan and reduced it over medium-high heat to a syrup consistency. It needed nothing else, and paired beautifully with the fish! I am looking forward to trying this juice reduction with other dishes. And thank you POM Wonderful.

One of my favorite parts of hosting a dinner party is setting the table in the morning. Sometimes our dinner parties have themes, as in the Jackie Kennedy Dinner, or the Gourmet Retro Dinner Party, the Wolfgang Puck Austrian Dinner, or the All-Salmon Dinner Party. But this night was just about some good food and good friends. The inspiration for the table setting came from my garden, I just picked what was blooming!

A jaunty table setting with colors of the roses: red, purple, and white.

Etorki – Cheese of the Month

shaved etorki cheese
grilled sunburst and pattypan squash
wild baby arugula
toasted tamari almonds
 roasted almond oil & late harvest riesling vinaigrette
First brush sunburst and pattypan squash with a little olive oil, season with salt and pepper then grill.

Cline Cellars Late Harvest Riesling Vinegar

La Tourangelle Roasted Almond Oil
Vinaigrette: Steep minced shallot in late harvest riesling vinegar, then season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper, and whisk in La Tourangelle roasted almond oil in a 3:1 ratio of oil to vinegar. The riesling vinegar and this almond oil are a match made in heaven; delightfully sweet, bright, nutty, toasty. Very elegant.


Plate wild baby arugula with warm grilled squash and toasted tamari almonds. Then spoon vinaigrette over. Top with shaved Etorki cheese.

Etorki is a sheep’s milk cheese produced in the French Basque Country. Etorki has a smooth, velvety texture and rich, hazelnut (almost burnt caramel-like) flavor. Its aroma is sweet and buttery, and the cheese is voluptuous on the tongue. Because of its supple texture, you can bend it a bit without breaking so it is great for shaving with a vegetable peeler.

Etorki, which means “origin” in Basque, is a pasteurized sheep’s milk cheese that has been produced in the heart of the Basque region of southwestern France for over 4000 years. 
The cheese is made from local sheep’s milk in Mauléon, in the Atlantic Pyrenees. More specifically, Etorki is made from the milk of black- or red-faced Manech ewes. The ewes’ milk is exceptional, but there is only a scant supply; it takes 22 ewes to provide the same amount of milk obtained by the milking of a single cow. 
The scarcity of ewes’ milk and the limited milking season – December to July – offer a partial explanation for the higher price of cheese made from sheep’s milk in comparison to that made from cow’s milk. And Etorki is composed of over 98% ewes’ milk. For more on delicious Etorki, please visit the Ile de France website here.
My Cousin Vicki’s Wedding 
October 2008

What does Vicki & Jonah’s Wine Country Wedding at Cline Cellars in Sonoma, California last year have to do with the Cheese of the Month post?

Wedding Favors!

They chose to give an assortment of hand-crafted oils and vinegars as gifts. Great idea! Mine was the Late Harvest Riesling Vinegar. There was also Blood Orange Vinegar, Pomegranate Vinegar, and White Truffle Oil among others. Perfect wedding favors for foodies like us! Thanks V & J!

Dear Vicki & Jonah:
 Congratulations and blessings on your first anniversary!
Best wishes for many many more happy years together.
Love, Cousin Lori Lynn