What a great weekend. Julie and Pete were down for the night and we had a great time catching up. And just as importantly, we had a great time eating.
We started off with a cheese plate with homemade toasts. We then moved to chicken dijionnase, squash-pear-pecan salad and maple butter carrots. And then for the pièce de résistance, wild berry crème brûlée. All this with a nice unoaked Chardonnay (Thomas & Vaghan). We were stuffed and, if I may speak for everyone, satisfied.
This chicken dijionnase was a new recipe for me, but I wasn't too worried about it; a riff off of many a chicken and sauce meals made. It was the creme brulee that made me pause. The creme brulee stirred fear in heart. I had never made a brulee and the whole thing seemed too delicate and finessed for by brute cooking skills. (And I'm dropping the accents on purpose - too much work to type).
Now for those who don't know, a creme brulee is a three part dessert; bottom layer is something fruity or sweet (berries, chocolate, or citrus are popular), the middle layer is a simple custard, and the top layer is caramelized sugar. If you have never had one, order it next time you are at a resturant or, better yet, come over to my place with a days notice and I'll get more practice making them.
Getting to the heart of the matter, brulee always seemed out of reach for my cooking. I was actually afraid to make it, putting it off and putting it off. I didn't want to try because I knew there was a good chance I would fail. And I didn't want to fail with all the implications that brought.
But it turned out to be a lot easier than I had anticipated. The custard didn't set quite as nice as it could have and it wasn't as snow white as I would have liked. But the berries on the buttom were very tasty and even the sugar behaved itself under the broiler. I will be making creme brulee again.
So now i am wondering what else I have missed because I have been afarid to fail at cooking it. Beef Wellington? Liver Pate? Turducken? The world of culinary arts seems to have just gotten larger...