Friday, January 14, 2011

An Aphrodisiac Dinner for Your Valentine: Feb. 5

There's nothing that symbolizes romantic love quite like chocolate and wine. So, if you're searching for some seductive dishes that will let your honey know how you feel on Valentine's Day, come to the upcoming class presented by the San Diego chapter of Les Dames D'Escoffier International and Chefs Bernard Guillas and Ron Oliver of the Marine Room.

The class, "An Aphrodisiac Dinner for Your Valentine," will be held on Saturday, Feb. 5 from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at the Macy's Mission Valley Home Store School of Cooking. It will include a tempting three-course menu tasting and each course is paired with wine.

The menu comes from the chefs's recent cookbook, Flying Pans: Two Chefs, One World, and includes:
  • Cocoa Nib Spiced Spanish Tuna Crudo with Artichoke Asparagus Salad, Orange Gastrique, and Pecorino 
  • Achiote Rubbed Fillet Mignon, Ancho Cacao Sauce, Arroz Verde, and Pepitas 
  • Kona Kahlua Tart and Crystallized Ginger Creme Fresca (recipe below)
The doors open at noon so come early to participate in an opportunity drawing, gift certificate boards, and a food/wine/hospitality/arts-related silent auction.

A portion of the event's proceeds will benefit a variety of social and scholarship projects, including The Tomorrow Project, Rachel's Women's Center, the Culinary Arts Program at St. Vincent De Paul Village, the Organic Garden at St. Madeleine Sophie's Center, Olivewood Gardens & Learning Center, and the Culinary Arts Program at the Art Institute of California-San Diego.

Tickets are $40 each in advance (before Jan. 28) and $45 at the door. To purchase tickets, send a check to:

LDEI, SD c/o Carol Blomstrom
1762 Garnet Ave.
San Diego, CA 92109

Or go to the Macy's Mission Valley Home Store events page to view the flyer for more information about reservations.

And, here's a preview of one of the dishes you'll be sampling:

Photo courtesy of Gregory Bertolini

Chocolate Kahlúa Tart
Candied Ginger Crema Fresca
from Flying Pans
Serves 8

Walnut Crust
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, soften
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 cup all purpose flour, sifted
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup walnut oil
1 lemon, zested, juiced
1 large egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Butter 9-inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom. Combine walnuts and sesame seeds on cookie sheet. Bake 5 minutes until toasted. Cool. Transfer to food processor. Combine with flour, sugar and salt. Process until walnuts are finely ground. Transfer to large mixing bowl. Make well in center of mixture. Pour in oil, lemon juice and zest. Stir with wooden spoon until dough forms a ball. Transfer to floured work surface. Roll to 11-inch circle, 1/8-inch thick. Gently ease dough into tart pan. Press dough into the edges and sides of pan. Prick dough with a fork. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Line dough with parchment paper. Fill with pie weights or beans. Bake 10 minutes. Remove weight and parchment. Brush shell with egg. Bake additional 5 minutes or until golden. Cool on wire rack.

Chocolate Espresso Filling
5 ounces chopped dark chocolate, 72% cocoa
1/2 cup unsalted butter, diced
4 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup Kahlúa liqueur
1 cup espresso coffee, cold
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 envelope powdered gelatin

Lower oven to 350˚F. Add chocolate and butter to large mixing bowl set over pot of barely simmering water, ensuring bottom of bowl does not touch water. Stir until melted. Whisk eggs, egg yolks and sugar in mixing bowl until pale yellow and ribbony. Stir in Kahlúa and 1/3 cup espresso. Whisk into chocolate. Remove from heat. Strain through fine sieve into prepared tart shell. Bake 18 minutes or until set. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Combine brown sugar and remaining espresso in small sauce pan. Sprinkle gelatin over surface of liquid to bloom. Place over medium heat. Stir constantly until gelatin dissolves. Do not boil. Remove from heat. Cool to room temperature. Evenly ladle over tart. Refrigerate overnight. Unmold.

Candied Ginger Crema

1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup crème fraîche
1 teaspoon lime juice
pinch sea salt
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup diced crystallized ginger 

Whisk heavy cream, crème fraîche, lime juice, salt and honey in mixing bowl, just to combine. Cover. Refrigerate 3 hours. Fold in ginger.

2 slices candied ginger
8 sprigs fresh mint

Cut tart into 8 slices. Place 1 slice in center of large serving plate. Place a dollop of ginger crema on top. Slice ginger into fine strips. Lean atop cream. Garnish with mint sprig.

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