At her recent dinner party, Julie Greenfield of Irvine led the evening with Bruschetta--an appetizer of bread slices topped with tomato sauce. A chilled pear soup, which can be prepared up to 10 hours in advance, began the sit-down dinner. The sauce for the next course--angel-hair pasta with sun-dried tomatoes, prosciutto and porcini mushrooms--also can be prepared ahead of time.
For the main course, Greenfield served duck, glazed with the French liqueur cassis, and a wild-rice dish. Guests were treated to a choice of two desserts: individual raspberry souffles and amaretto-Irish cream cheesecake. The latter was baked and refrigerated by Greenfield the previous night. Following are the recipes that Greenfield used in creating her six-course gourmet meal.
BRUSCHETTA From Judy Zeidler's "The Gourmet Jewish Cook" cookbook
Makes 6 to 12 servings
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons minced garlic
12 slices crusty Italian bread, cut 1/2-inch thick
5 tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
Freshly ground white pepper
12 whole, small basil leaves for garnish
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Heat olive oil and 1 tablespoon garlic in large skillet over medium-low heat. (Do not allow garlic to brown because it will become bitter.) Add bread slices in single layer and fry on both sides until crisp. Place tomatoes in small bowl, add remaining 2 tablespoons garlic, chopped basil, and season to taste with Parmesan, salt and pepper.
Place bread slices on large serving platter and spoon tomato mixture onto each slice. Garnish with whole basil leaves and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
PEAR AND SAUTERNES SOUP Ingredients
1 vanilla bean, split
1 750-milliliter bottle French Sauternes, Monbazillac or Barsac wine
2 4-inch strips lemon peel (yellow part only)
2 to 3 tablespoons sugar
3 large pears, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
Scrape vanilla seeds into 4-quart heavy non-aluminum saucepan; add bean. Add wine, lemon peel and 2 tablespoons sugar. Boil until reduced to 1 cup, 10 to 15 minutes. Add pears and simmer until soft, about 8 minutes. Add more sugar if desired. Remove vanilla bean. Puree pear mixture in processor until smooth. Cool. Refrigerate until well chilled.
ANGEL-HAIR PASTA Ingredients
1 pound angel hair boiled in salted water until al dente (1 1/2 to 2 minutes).
Strain and cover with sauce (see below).
Saute in 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil:
1/4 pound prosciutto juliennes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon garlic in olive oil
Add 1/2 cup dry white wine
Add 1/4 pound dry porcini mushrooms (that have been soaked in water), 1 cup baby peas and 4 ounces sun-dried tomatoes soaked in olive oil
Add 2 pints diced tomatoes and 1/2 pound butter
Add salt and pepper
Cook until creamy (5 to 10 minutes)
Toss the pasta and sauce together
Add 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan and some fresh ground pepper
DUCKLING WITH CREAM CASSIS Ingredients
4 ducks each weighing about 4 1/2 pounds
1/2 cup butter
3 shallots, minced
10-ounce jar good currant jelly
8 ounces creme de cassis
3 1/2 cups duck stock
2 8-ounce cans Bing cherries, drained
Cooked wild rice
Watercress for garnish
Place the ducks in a shallow roasting pan on a rack. Roast 2 1/2 to 3 hours at 375 degrees until tender, turning halfway through baking time. In a skillet or heavy pan, melt the butter and saute the shallots for about three minutes. Deglaze the pan with the jelly and creme de cassis. Whisk in the stock. Bring to a boil and reduce by boiling for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the ducks into serving pieces and arrange on a warmed serving platter. Stir the cherries into the sauce, then pour sauce over the ducks. Serve with wild rice and garnish with watercress.
WILD RICE WITH SNOW PEAS AND SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS From Bon Appetit magazine
1 cup wild rice
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup chopped peeled carrot
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup long-grain white rice
1 teaspoon dried tarragon, crumbled
2 2/3 cups beef broth
3 1/2 ounces fresh shiitake or button mushrooms, stemmed and cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
1/3 pound snow peas, stemmed, each cut diagonally into thirds
Add wild rice to medium saucepan of boiling water. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes. Drain.
Melt 3 tablespoons butter in heavy large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add carrot, onion and celery and cook until onion is translucent, stirring frequently, about 4 minutes. Add wild rice, white rice and tarragon; mix well. Add broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until all liquid is absorbed, about 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook until just beginning to soften, about 45 minutes, stirring frequently. Add snow peas and stir until crisp-tender, about 2 more minutes. Add to rice; season with salt.
AMARETTO-IRISH CREAM CHEESECAKE Ingredients