DON'T HIRE A CATERER: STAYING COOL WITH SUMMER SOUPS

By Georgette Farkas

Georgette Farkas is officially our Culinary Ambassador at Great Performances, but we’ve also crowned her our Hospitality Maven. Drawing upon her experiences working at leading restaurants and spearheading her eponymous Rotisserie Georgette, she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience. In addition to everything she does at GP across all teams, she also regularly entertains at home, creating incredible dishes with that extra special touch that makes food even more memorable and delicious.

In this series, Georgette shares tips from the caterer’s tool kit to make entertaining at home (almost) effortless. From time saving shortcuts and grocery store secrets to garnishing hacks and presentation magic, she’ll help you host a party that’ll make your guests feel extra special and that you’ll actually be able to enjoy.

She’s also curated recipes for you, highlighting the tips she’s shared. Each month look for dishes and ideas that would be delicious on their own, but that together make up menus that will have you entertaining like a pro.

This month, Georgette finds ways to beat the heat both in the kitchen and at the table with some divine summer soups.

The success of these summer soups is in the bright, bold flavors, which you can adjust to suit your own palate. Serving them well chilled will make a big difference. You might even go the extra mile and chill your soup bowls. We suggest pouring the soups tableside so that your
guests will enjoy the garnish you’ve arranged in each bowl. Pour only enough to come just about halfway up the sides of the garnish so that the colorful fruits and vegetables remain visible. Alternatively, serve the chilled soups as an hors d’oeuvre, poured into shot glasses or small juice glasses. For the latter, select one of the garnishes, such as a cucumber slice or small melon wedge. Make a small incision and place a garnish over the edge of each glass.

There are several equipment options when it comes to puréeing the soups. Choose a food processor, a blender or even an immersion or stick blender. If using the  latter, be sure to use a high sided container to avoid splattering.

Check out the recipes below or download the recipe packet by clicking the button below. 

RECIPE: CHILLED CANTALOUPE, LIME & LILLET SOUP

Servings: 4 – 6

Ingredients

For the soup

  • 1 cantaloupe (or other ripe, orange-fleshed melon), chilled, peeled, and seeded
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • ¼ cup Lillet
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the garnish

  • 12 cantaloupe balls
  • 1 tsp lime segments, diced
  • 1 tsp Lillet
  • 12 petals from edible flowers such as nasturtium or marigold (optional)

Procedure

  1. Cut peeled and seeded cantaloupe into one inch pices. Place about 1/4 of the melon pieces in blender or food processor and process at high speed until puréed. Gradually add remaining melon, processing until smooth.
  2. Add lime juice and Lillet and blend briefly. Season with salt and pepper to taste and blend again. If desired, for a more refined consistency, strain soup through fine sieve or even a sieve lined with cheese cloth.
  3. Chill soup until ready to serve. Serve ice cold.
  4. Toss melon balls and lime dice garnish in just enough Lillet to coat. Arrange in individual chilled soup bowls. Arrange edible flowers over melon balls and lime. Pour well chilled soup around garnish.

RECIPE: WATERMELON AND THAI CHILI GAZPACHO

Servings: 4 – 6

Ingredients

For the soup

  • 6 cups seedless watermelon, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups seedless cucumber, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 5 leaves Thai basil
  • 1 tsp Thai chili paste (or to taste)
  • 1 red bell pepper, stems and seeds removed, coarsely chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Kosher salt to taste

For the garnish

  • 1 cup watermelon, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • ⅓ cup cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • ⅓ cup micro basil (optional)

Procedure

  1. Place watermelon, cucumbers, Thai basil, Thai chili paste, bell peppers, tomatoes and lime juice in a blender or food processor. Purée on high until very smooth. Add vinegar and olive oil, and blend to desired consistency. Season with salt to taste.
  2. Chill soup until ready to serve. Serve ice cold.
  3. Arrange garnish ingredients in individual chilled soup bowls. Pour well chilled soup around garnish.

RECIPE: CHILLED CUCUMBER SOUP

with Smoked Salmon and Dill

Servings: 4 – 6

Ingredients

For the soup

  • 2 long European hothouse cucumbers, peeled, split lengthwise
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp fresh dill
  • 1 tsp fresh mint
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Hot sauce to taste

For the garnish

  • 4 tsp cucumber, diced
  • 2 oz smoked salmon, julienned
  • 1 sprig fresh dill

 

Procedure

  1. Using a teaspoon, scrape seeds from the split cucumbers. Thinly slice cucumbers and blanch in boiling salted water for two to three minutes. Drain and shock in ice water.
  2. Transfer blanched cucumbers to blender or food processor. Add lemon juice, dill, mint and salt to taste. Purée until smooth. Add yogurt and two to three drops of tobacco sauce. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  3. Chill soup until ready to serve. Serve ice cold.
  4. Arrange diced cucumber garnish and a few strands of julienned smoked salmon in chilled soup bowls. Top with sprigs of dill. Pour well chilled soup around garnish.

DON'T HIRE A CATERER: SENSATIONAL PASTA SALADS

Georgette Farkas is officially our Culinary Ambassador at Great Performances, but we’ve also crowned her our Hospitality Maven. Drawing upon her experiences working at leading restaurants and spearheading her eponymous Rotisserie Georgette, she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience. In addition to everything she does at GP across all teams, she also regularly entertains at home, creating incredible dishes with that extra special touch that makes food even more memorable and delicious.

In this series, Georgette shares tips from the caterer’s tool kit to make entertaining at home (almost) effortless. From time saving shortcuts and grocery store secrets to garnishing hacks and presentation magic, she’ll help you host a party that’ll make your guests feel extra special and that you’ll actually be able to enjoy.

She’s also curated recipes for you, highlighting the tips she’s shared. Each month look for dishes and ideas that would be delicious on their own, but that together make up menus that will have you entertaining like a pro.

This month, Georgette keeps it cool with some make ahead pasta salads that use summer’s freshest produce and that qualify as show stoppers – without having to spend hours over a hot stove. Simple tricks like serving the pasta salads in a shallow bowl and reserving some of the add-ins to pile on top of the pasta turn these dishes from an afterthought to a star dish.

I like to make summer entertaining as bright and colorful – and as effortless – as possible. Fresh and healthy are also top priorities. Summer farm stand produce is the inspiration behind these pasta recipes. By all means, adjust them to what you find in your local farm stand, green market or CSA.

As for the pasta shapes, for these room temperature dishes, I suggest short pastas such as gemelli, rotelle, radiator and other bite sized varieties. I would simply avoid tube pastas such as penne or rigatoni, and long pastas such as spaghetti or fettuccine.

These can be made one day ahead, with only minor last-minute assembly, leaving you to spend time with your guests and not in the kitchen at mealtime. If you are making ahead, toss cooked pasta in olive oil and store separately from garnishes. When ready to serve, toss only about 2/3 of the vegetable garnishes into the pasta, leaving the remaining garnish to arrange over the top or around the sides. The exception is the pasta with pesto, for which all the roasted cherry tomatoes should be arranged over or around the pasts, as opposed to mixed in.

As with most dishes made to be enjoyed at room temperature, if making ahead, we suggest removing food from the refrigerator about an hour before serving. The flavors will come to life more readily when not ice cold.

Finally, arrange pasta on serving platters rather than in deep bowls. This enables you to feature the vegetable garnishes on top, rather than having all the best bits get lost at the bottom.

Check out the recipes below or download the recipe packet by clicking the button below. 

RECIPE: RED, WHITE AND GREEN GEMELLI PASTA SALAD

with Pesto, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Toasted Pine Nuts

Servings: 4 – 6

Ingredients

For the cherry tomatoes

  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the pesto

  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 Tbsp pine nuts
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, finely grated

Garnish

  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese, in shards

For the pasta

  • 12 oz gemelli pasta

Procedure

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400֯.
  2. Prepare the tomatoes. Thinly slice one clove of garlic. On a sheet pan, toss halved cherry tomatoes with sliced garlic, thyme sprigs, and ¼ cup olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake approximately 20 minutes, until the tomatoes are softened and beginning to caramelize around the edges. Set aside and let cool.
  3. Prepare the pesto. Reduce oven temperature to 300. Place pine nuts on a sheet pan and toast, tossing occasionally until golden brown.
  4. In small sauté pan over low heat add ¼ cup olive oil. Add garlic cloves and simmer gently, but do not brown. Set aside and let cool. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add basil and blanch briefly just until leaves are wilted. Shock in ice water, drain well, wringing the leaves to remove remaining liquid. Add blanched basil to bowl of food processor along with parmesan, cooked garlic and its olive oil and half of the toasted pine nuts. Process until smooth. Add additional olive oil as needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  5. Prepare the pasta. Cook pasta in boiling salted water to al dente. Drain and while still warm, toss with pesto. Place on a serving platter and arrange roasted cherry tomatoes around the pasta. Arrange remaining browned pine nuts and thinly shaved parmesan shards over the top (optional).

RECIPE: FARM STAND ZUCCHINI AND LEMON PASTA

with Roasted Yellow and Green Zucchini, Chives, Lemon, Toasted Pistachio, Ricotta Salata

Servings: 4 – 6

Ingredients

For the zucchini

  • 2 whole yellow and/or green zucchini, cubed -or- 10-12 baby green zucchini, halved lengthwise -or- 10-12 patty pan squash, halved
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 3 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced

For the pasta

  • 12 oz rotelle pasta, cooked al dente

For the salad

  • ⅓ cup pistachios, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 2 oz riccota salata, shaved

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 400֯.
  2. Prepare the zucchini. If using full size zucchini, cut zucchini in ¼ inch thick lengthwise slices. Cut each slice into long strips and then into small cubes. If using baby zucchini and patty pan, simply cut in half lengthwise.
  3. On a sheet tray, toss zucchini, thyme, garlic and scallions with just enough olive oil to coat lightly. Season with salt and pepper. Roast vegetables until a little softened and caramelized around the edges. Remove from oven and grate lemon zest over the vegetables. Add the juice of the lemon, salt and pepper to taste, toss well and adjust seasoning as needed.
  4. Prepare the pasta salad. Cook pasta in boiling salted water to al dente and drain. Toss pasta with approximately 2/3 of the vegetables and half the ricotta salata. Arrange pasta on a serving platter and spread remaining vegetables, ricotta salata shards and toasted pistachios over the top.

RECIPE: SUMMER IN SARDINIA PASTA

with Roasted Sweet Yellow Peppers, Tomatoes, Capers, Black Olives, Yellow Raisins, Anchovies

Servings: 4 – 6

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp capers
  • 2 Tbsp yellow raisins, soaked in warm water and drained
  • ¼ cup flat leave parsley, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup basil, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup pitted black olives
  • 4 anchovy fillets (in oil)
  • 2 yellow bell peppers, seeded and julienned
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ⅓ to ½ cup olive oil
  • 12 oz radiatore pasta

Procedure

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400֯.
  2. Coarsely chop together garlic, capers, pitted black olives and anchovy filets. Transfer to a sheet pan and toss together with yellow pepper, cherry tomatoes, yellow raisins, parsley, basil and 1/3 cup olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Salt lightly, given that the capers, olives and anchovies are already salted.
  3. Roast vegetables approximately 20 minutes until vegetables are softened and slightly caramelized around the edges.
  4. In the meantime, cook pasta in boiling salted water to al dente and drain. Toss pasta with approximately 2/3 of the roasted vegetables, adding a bit more olive oil, as needed. Arrange pasta on a serving platter and place remaining roasted vegetables over the top.

DON'T HIRE A CATERER: SUMMER BARBECUE

Georgette Farkas is officially our Culinary Ambassador at Great Performances, but we’ve also crowned her our Hospitality Maven. Drawing upon her experiences working at leading restaurants and spearheading her eponymous Rotisserie Georgette, she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience. In addition to everything she does at GP across all teams, she also regularly entertains at home, creating incredible dishes with that extra special touch that makes food even more memorable and delicious.

In this series, Georgette shares tips from the caterer’s tool kit to make entertaining at home (almost) effortless. From time saving shortcuts and grocery store secrets to garnishing hacks and presentation magic, she’ll help you host a party that’ll make your guests feel extra special and that you’ll actually be able to enjoy.

She’s also curated recipes for you, highlighting the tips she’s shared. Each month look for dishes and ideas that would be delicious on their own, but that together make up menus that will have you entertaining like a pro.

As the weather heats up, we can’t help but want to take the cooking outside. A couple summers ago, I hosted an online class, World Tour Brochettes. I stand by these recipes – they are timeless, delicious, and infinitely adaptable. Best of all, they are perfect for effortless summer entertaining.

Call them brochettes, skewers, kabobs, as you like. It all comes down to assembling well-seasoned ingredients on a stick to grill over open flames, ideally with a little char around the edges. Of course broiling is an option for city apartment dwellers. These recipes take you on a journey without ever leaving home. We could have chosen flavors from countless destinations, but landed in the South of France, Southern Spain and then Thailand.

I’ve paired each brochette with a side dish made with the same seasonings used in the marinades. This makes for a great menu and also simplifies the market list. I’ve also planned marinade quantities so that you will use only a part of it to coat meat and vegetables, reserving the remainder to spoon over the cooked brochettes.

I recommend flat surfaced brochettes, as they will hold ingredients in place when turning them on the grill. Whether rounded or flat, if using wooden brochettes, soak them first so as to avoid burning the ends. I treasure my steel brochettes with decorative brass finials, a souvenir from long ago summer travels in Turkey.

Each of these dishes can be prepared a day ahead to lighten your entertaining load. In fact, the brochettes will benefit from marinating overnight. Just before grilling, tighten up your brochettes, making sure the ingredients are closely pressed together. Not to worry if you’re not grilling outdoors, the broiler setting in your oven will do just fine.

Check out the recipes below or download the recipe packet here: https://docs.greatperformances.com/view/1031572904/

RECIPE: HERBES DE PROVENCE CHICKEN & ZUCCHINI BROCHETTES

Side Dish: Raosted Cherry Tomatoes

Servings: 4

Ingredients

For Marinade:

  • 4 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 3 Tbsp herbes de Provence
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 1 whole lemon, zested and juiced

 

For the brochettes:

  • 4 pcs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 whole green and yellow zucchini, sliced 1/4″ thick
  • 8 whole purple pearl onions, peeled and blanched

 

For the tomatoes:

  • 4.5 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

Procedure

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400֯.
  2. On a sheet pan, toss cherry tomatoes with 1 Tbsp herbes de Provence, 1 Tbsp chopped garlic, ¼ cup olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Cook cherry tomatoes until softened and slightly caramelized, approximately 45 minutes. Remove from oven, adjust salt and pepper. Set aside. May be made one day ahead and refrigerated. Remove from refrigerator at least one hour prior to serving.
  3. In a mixing bowl combine lemon zest and lemon juice with 1 tsp salt and ¼ tsp ground pepper. Whisk together to dissolve salt. Incorporate remaining garlic, herbes de Provence and olive oil.
  4. In a separate bowl, toss chicken, zucchini and pearl onions in just enough marinade to coat. Arrange them on brochettes, sandwiching each piece of chicken between two pieces of zucchini and placing a pearl onion between each set of chicken and peppers.
  5. Marinate covered in refrigerator for at least three hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator one hour prior to cooking. Just before grilling, tighten up your brochettes, making sure the ingredients are closely pressed together, as this will make for even cooking.
  6. On a heated grill, cook brochettes approximately five to six minutes on each side, until browned and the meat has reached an internal temperature of 165֯. If cooking indoors, arrange brochettes on a sheet tray and place in an oven pre-heated to 450֯ or place under a well heated broiler on high setting. Cook five to six minutes on each side.
  7. Place brochettes on a serving platter and spoon remaining marinade on top. Arrange roasted cherry tomatoes around brochettes.

RECIPE: GINGER-MISO CHICKEN & JAPANESE EGGPLANT BROCHETTES

Side Dish: Carrot, Cabbage, and Kale Slaw

Servings: 4

Ingredients

For the marinade:

  • 4 oz rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Thai chili paste
  • 2 oz Tamari
  • 3 Tbsp white miso
  • 2 Tbsp honey

 

For the brochettes:

  • 4 pcs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 whole Japanese eggplant, cut in 1” rounds
  • 2 whole green peppers, halved, seeded, cut into 1.5” squares
  • 2 tsp white sesame seeds

 

For the slaw:

  • 5 oz red or purple cabbage, fine julienne
  • 5 oz carrot, spiral cut or julienne
  • 2 oz kale, coarsely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp grated ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 oz sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp thinly sliced scallions
  • 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro

Procedure

  1. In a mixing bowl combine rice vinegar, Thai chili paste, tamari, miso, honey, ginger, garlic, and cilantro. Set aside. Can be prepared several days ahead.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine cabbage, carrot, daikon, and kale. Toss with half of the above marinade, or just enough to coat. This is best made the day before. Once slaw has marinated overnight, drain off and discard any excess liquid. Remove slaw from refrigerator at least one hour before serving.
  3. Whisk sesame oil into remaining marinade. Toss chicken, eggplant, and green peppers in just enough marinade to coat. Set aside remaining marinade. Arrange chicken and vegetables on brochettes, sandwiching each piece of chicken between two pieces of green pepper and placing a piece of eggplant between each set of chicken and peppers. Arrange brochettes on a sheet tray. Marinate covered in refrigerator for at least three hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator one hour prior to cooking.
  4. Just before grilling, tighten up your brochettes, making sure the ingredients are closely pressed together, as this will make for even cooking.
  5. On a heated grill, cook brochettes approximately five to six minutes on each side, until browned and the meat has reached an internal temperature of 165֯. If cooking indoors, place brochettes in an oven pre-heated to 450֯ or place under a well heated broiler on high setting. Cook five to six minutes on each side.
  6. Arrange brochettes on a serving platter and spoon remaining marinade over them. Arrange scallions, cilantro, and sesame seeds on top. Serve the slaw alongside.

RECIPE: SHRIMP, CHORIZO, AND SWEET RED AND YELLOW PEPPER BROCHETTES

Side Dish: Orzo with Safran

Servings: 4

Ingredients

For the marinade:

  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 6 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste

 

For the orzo:

  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp saffron threads
  • ½ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • ½ cup orzo

 

For the brochettes:

  • 16 ¼”-thick slices cured chorizo
  • 12 large shrimp, peeled with tail on (size U8)
  • 1 red bell pepper, halved, seeded, and cut in 1.5” square
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, halved, seeded, and cut in 1.5” square
  • 6 cippolini onions, blanched, peeled, halved

Procedure

  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup olive oil, garlic, thyme, paprika, tomato paste and chopped parsley with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. In a separate bowl toss shrimp, peppers, sliced chorizo and half the cippolini onions with just enough marinade to coast. Arrange them on brochettes, sandwiching each piece of shrimp between two pieces of pepper and placing a cippolini onion half and chorizo slice between each set of shrimp and peppers.
  3. Arrange brochettes on a sheet tray and refrigerate covered for at least three hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator one hour prior to cooking.
  4. Just before grilling, tighten up your brochettes, making sure the ingredients are closely pressed together, as this will make for even cooking.
  5. Bring salted water to a boil in a saucepan, add orzo and cook approximately 7 minutes to al dente. Drain, setting aside 1/2 cup of the pasta liquid.
  6. In the meantime, coarsely chop the trim from the red and yellow peppers and slice the remaining cippolini onion. In a medium skillet, add 2 Tbsp olive oil, remaining cippolini onion and chopped red and yellow pepper trim. Cook stirring over medium heat, until soft and lightly caramelized. Incorporate half the remaining marinade and saffron. Add orzo and just enough of the reserved orzo cooking liquid to loosen the mixture slightly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss in chopped parsley.
  7. On a heated grill, cook brochettes approximately five to six minutes on each side, until browned and the shrimp have reached an internal temperature of 165֯. If cooking indoors, arrange brochettes on a sheet tray and place in an oven pre-heated to 450֯ or place under a well heated broiler on high setting. Cook 5-6 minutes on each side.
  8. Place brochettes on a serving platter and spoon remaining marinade over them. Arrange orzo alongside.

DON'T HIRE A CATERER: EASTER & PASSOVER

Georgette Farkas is officially our Culinary Ambassador at Great Performances, but we’ve also crowned her our Hospitality Maven. Drawing upon her experiences working at leading restaurants and spearheading her eponymous Rotisserie Georgette, she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience. In addition to everything she does at GP across all teams, she also regularly entertains at home, creating incredible dishes that have that extra special touch that makes the food even more memorable and delicious.

In this series, Georgette shares tips from the caterer’s tool kit to make entertaining at home (almost) effortless. From time saving shortcuts and grocery store secrets to garnishing hacks and presentation magic, she’ll help you host a party that’ll make your guests feel extra special and that you’ll actually be able to enjoy.

She’s also curated recipes for you, highlighting the tips she’s shared. Each month look for dishes and ideas that would be delicious on their own, but that together make up menus that will have you entertaining like a pro.

Each spring I consider the proximity of the Easter and Passover holidays and the ways in which their two cultures intersect in the life of our city. Surely there are dishes that could grace both the Easter and Passover tables. This year the holidays fall from early to mid-April, when the new season’s vegetables have yet to be harvested. Yet, we are none the less hungry for a change in tone. I’m offering a trio of vegetable dishes that are a feast all their own. While they would also make delicious accompaniments to a roasted side of salmon, a chicken, or even a paschal lamb. I begin with asparagus and eggs, as I can’t imagine a spring menu without this classic pairing and harbingers of the season. The bright, bold pink of the red beet and pearl couscous salad is as pretty as any easter frock. Finally, the sweet roasted carrots offer a bridge between winter and spring and have a hint of the tzimmes that traditionally graces many a Passover dinner.

RECIPE: POACHED ASPARAGUS, TARRAGON CHOPPED EGG, GRAIN MUSTARD SAUCE

Serves 4 – 6

I can’t imagine a spring menu without asparagus or eggs, both harbingers of the season and also a classic pairing.

Three key steps to asparagus success: peeling, salting, icing. I like jumbo asparagus for their heft. Use a harp peeler to peel 12:45pm – 4:38pmhe outer layer from the bottom half of the stalk, which will make it tender, as opposed to stringy, and enables you to use more of the stalk. Trim off the woody very tough bottoms. Salt the poaching water generously, so that it tastes like sea water. Finally, plunging poached asparagus into ice water as soon as they are cooked, stops the cooking process immediately, preserving the vegetable’s bright green color and firmness. Once cooled, drain on cloth or paper towel. Very lightly coating the asparagus with a drop of olive oil just before serving gives them an appealing sheen.

As for the mayonnaise, I eagerly encourage you to whip up a homemade batch to avoid the sugar and emulsifiers in commercial versions. What a difference. No matter which route you choose, brighten the mayonnaise with freshly squeezed lemon juice, mustard and grain mustard.  My recipe quantities are just a starting point for making the sauce your own. The grain mustard seeds add a flavor and texture pop.

Ingredients

  • 20 pieces jumbo green asparagus, peeled, trimmed, poached (1.25 lbs approx.)
  • 1 tsp olive oil, to coat cooked asparagus
  • 2 eggs hard boiled, peeled, coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh tarragon, stemmed, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup mayonnaise, preferably home made
  • ½ tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Procedure

  1. Toss poached asparagus with a few drops of olive oil to coat lightly. Set aside. If preparing asparagus ahead of time, remove from refrigerator at least one hour before serving. Combine chopped hard boiled egg with lemon zest and tarragon. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Combine mayonnaise with lemon juice, mustard and grain mustard. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If you prefer a more liquid version, don’t hesitate to whisk in some water and then adjust the seasoning.
  3. On a serving platter, arrange chopped egg around the asparagus. You may choose to pour some of the sauce over the asparagus and serve the remainder on the side. I’m confident your guests will want to add more.

RECIPE: ROTISSERIE GEORGETTE ROASTED SWEET CARROTS

Serves 4 – 6

May be made a day or two ahead and reheated in the braising liquid.

  • Ingredients
  • 1 lb greenmarket carrots
  • 1 cup brown sugar + 1 cup water
  • 1 pinch ground cumin
  • 1 pinch ground coriander
  • 1 pinch espelette pepper
  • 1 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 pinch Fleur de Sel

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 325F. 
  2. Trim the greens from the top of the carrots.  Scrub, but do not peel the carrots.  This helps maintain a firm exterior as the carrots roast.
  3. In a small sauce pan, bring the water and brown sugar to a simmer to make a syrup.  Add a pinch each of freshly ground cumin, coriander, and espelette pepper.
  4. Toss the cleaned carrots in the syrup and then arrange them in a single layer on a sheet tray lined with a non-stick baking sheet or parchment paper.
  5. Roast for 35-45 minutes, or until the carrots are very tender and lightly caramelized.
  6. Arrange roasted carrots on a warm serving platter and pour the syrup from the roasting pan over the top.  Drizzle with vinegar, olive oil, and fleur de sel. Serve hot,

RECIPE: RED BEET PEARL COUSCOUS SALAD

Serves 4 – 6

If we eat first with our eyes, then this dish’s festive pink tones will surely delight. The sweet and sour pomegranate molasses vinaigrette brightens the vegetables, while the cucumber’s crunch contrasts nicely with the tender beets and couscous pearls.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 4.5 Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • ¾ cup + 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ¾ to 1lbs red beets
  • 4 to 6 oz yellow beets, poached and peeled
  • 1.5 cups pearl couscous
  • 1 whole English cucumber, seeded, cubed
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Small bunch watercress or other cress variety
  • ¼ cup pistachio, toasted, coarsely chopped OPTIONAL
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

Procedure

  • To prepare the vinaigrette, combine pomegranate molasses, sherry vinegar and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Whisk in olive oil to emulsify. Season to taste.
  • Poach beets in salted boiling water until tender, drain and peel.
  • Cook pearl couscous in boiling salted water until al dente, approximately 6 to 7 minutes. Drain well and toss in approximately one tablespoon olive oil to coat the couscous.
  • Turn about a quarter of the poached red beet into pulp using a plane zester or the smallest holes on a grater. You will need approximately half a cup. Toss the red beet pulp into the drained couscous and add approximately ¼ cup of the vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cut remaining poached beets as desired, whether thinly sliced or cubed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss cubed cucumber in lemon juice.
  • From here, the presentation is a matter of your own creative preference. You may choose to toss everything together and serve in a salad bowl. Alternatively, serve the red beet couscous on a shallow platter and place the vegetables around it. If you choose the latter route, drizzle some dressing over the vegetables and serve remaining dressing on the side. If desired, sprinkle chopped pistachio over the vegetables. It is best not to mix the toasted pistachio into the couscous, as the nuts would loose their crunch. Garnish with watercress sprigs.

Images courtesy James Beard Foundation

DON'T HIRE A CATERER: OSCARS 2023

Georgette Farkas is officially our Culinary Ambassador at Great Performances, but we’ve also crowned her our Hospitality Maven. Drawing upon her experiences working at leading restaurants and spearheading her eponymous Rotisserie Georgette, she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience. In addition to everything she does at GP across all teams, she also regularly entertains at home, creating incredible dishes that have that extra special touch that makes the food even more memorable and delicious.

In this series, Georgette shares tips from the caterer’s tool kit to make entertaining at home (almost) effortless. From time saving shortcuts and grocery store secrets to garnishing hacks and presentation magic, she’ll help you host a party that’ll make your guests feel extra special and that you’ll actually be able to enjoy.

She’s also curated recipes for you, highlighting the tips she’s shared. Each month look for dishes and ideas that would be delicious on their own, but that together make up menus that will have you entertaining like a pro.

“Do you really need all those ingredients in your sauce ?“ I asked Theodore. Yes, he did, to make his chili chicken wings bold and bright – and spicy. Chef Theodore Coleman was spending the day with us in the Great Performances kitchen to review his recipes for a “Beard Box” menu. The dinner kits were created by up and coming chefs in the James Beard Foundation’s Fellowship program. This particular edition was for an awards viewing party. If you follow the culinary world, you’ll know that we have our very own “foodie Oscars” hosted annually by the James Beard Foundation.

Working with Theodore and the James Beard Fellows was a pandemic silver lining experience that has left an indelible impact. The program transformed the historic Bead House into a hub of development for talented emerging chefs with the goal of fostering a more equitable and sustainable culinary industry.

We collaborated with the 15 young culinary talents as they pursued professional development courses in small business management, media and social media, wine knowledge, and leadership skills. Our Great Performances team then guided them through menu development and recipe testing. Now, those recipes originally created for meal kits shipped across the country during the pandemic shut down will come to life once again at the new James Beard “Good To Go” kiosk opening this coming April at Pier 57. We’ve chosen one of our favorites for you to savor as you watch the Oscars.

As the fellows were asked to create dishes reflecting their own cultures, we tasted flavors from Jamaica to Puerto Rico , The Dominican Republic, Mexico, West Africa, Vietnam, Malaysia and beyond. Theodore’s Chili Chicken Wings pack some serious heat, nicely balanced by the cooling notes of his Cilantro-Mint Chutney. So, by all means, taste, test and make it your own, just as Theodore would.

We highly recommend following Theodore and keeping your eyes open for his pop-up dinners.

@cheftheodorevictor

@L8RSVN

RECIPE: CHILI CHICKEN WINGS

By Theodore Coleman

Serves 4

May be made a day or two ahead and reheated in the braising liquid.

Ingredients

  • 6 pieces chicken wings, separated into 3 parts
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
Marinade
  • 2 ½ tsp ginger, grated                  
  • 2 ½ tsp garlic, crushed
  • 2 whole serrano peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  •  1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sushi vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp Szechuan sauce
  • 1 Tbsp red chili or chili crunch sauce
Cilantro Mint Chutney
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 small bunch cilantro
  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • 2 tsp ginger, grated
  • ½ tsp garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp palm sugar
  • 1 whole jalapeño, seeded and diced

Procedure

  1. Combine one teaspoon each garlic and ginger to form a paste. Combine remaining marinade ingredients in blender and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet over medium high heat add just enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add ginger/garlic paste and cook stirring for a minute or two, but do not brown. Add wings in a single layer and sear on both sides. Cook in batches, as needed, depending on the size of your skillet. Add marinade, bring to a boil, lower heat to a gentle simmer. Braise wings in marinade for approximately 15 minutes. Serve hot with cold cilantro-mint chutney on the side.
  3. Combine chutney ingredients in a blender until smooth. Add jalapeno last, and just a little bit at a time so as to adjust seasoning to your taste.

Images courtesy James Beard Foundation

TASTE OF TOMORROW CAREER DAY 2023

By Food Education Fund At Food and Finance High School, NYC

By Georgette Farkas

The whole wheat turkey and cheddar sandwiches and winter grain and butternut squash salads that Great Performances served this Saturday were not delivered to a typical event venue and were not destined for a typical catering client. In fact, the 750 bagged lunches were devoured by New York City high school students taking part in the Food Education Fund’s “Taste of Tomorrow” 2023 Career Day at the Food and Finance High School. Working with Food and Finance Highschool through student internships throughout the year has been the highlight of our ongoing workforce development and outreach programs. Witnessing their curiosity and engagement at their Career Day reflected, once again, just how fortunate we are to have these motivated young people in our culinary community.

Culinary professionals came out in force to share their skills and experience at this event open to all New York City public high school students interested in food careers. Cooking classes and interactive seminars, covering just about every possible food world topic filled every corner of the West 50th Street school.  Students practiced hands on in the kitchen with chefs including Omar Tate, Lena Ciardullo and Vera Kaltinik, as they shaped fresh pasta, prepared donuts, made mozzarella and discovered whole animal butchery and sausage making  and so much more.

NYC Schools Chancellor David Banks welcomed students from across the city before they fanned out to explore food entrepreneurship, brand strategy, marketing and restaurant operations. For example, the maître d’ from Brooklyn’s famed restaurant Francie, gave students a taste of real world customer facing front of house know how. Elsewhere, the likes of Pete Wells of The New York Times and Heath Goldman of TV Food Network provided an introduction to working in food media. Students could even opt for presentations on food photography and food styling. There was particular interest in community gardening, thanks to a team from Grow NYC, as well as a compelling food justice panel led by Rae Gomes.

On the catering front, Great Performances’ own Jenelle Cruickshank led an event planning seminar, giving students the opportunity to build a non profit gala from the ground up. The highschoolers plunged into the exercise head on, demonstrating their appreciatelion for the guest experience, and revealing some promising event planners of tomorrow in the group, as Great Performances founder, Liz Neumark, looked on from her very own schoolroom desk.

Food media leader Dana Cowin provided a career day highlight, with an inspiring panel and insights from a chef, a sustainability expert, a culinary editor, an influencer and an entrepreneurial blondie baker, all sharing their winding career paths to professional success. Unanimously, panelists recognized the Food and Finance High School’s unique value in providing exposure and opportunities they could not have dreamed of when they were starting out. As the day came to an end, Program Director Kat Taveras announced scholarship winners, reflecting the Food Education Fund’s drive to inspire students to continue their studies. Including those apples in the student lunches was clearly a very good idea.

Use this link to support the Food Education Fund or to take part in their internship programs.

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH PUREE WITH MISO RECIPE

by Georgette Farkas

Serves 6-8

The long, slow roasting emphasizes the squash’s natural sweetness, which then gets a touch of umami with the unexpected addition of miso. This silky smooth puree is a wonderful accompaniment to roast chicken or duck or would serve beautifully at the center of a plate of roasted winter vegetables. You could also use it as the base for a plate of gnocchi, or fold it into farrotto or risotto.

INGREDIENTS

PROCEDURE

  • 1 whole butternut squash, halved and seeded*
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp white miso, or to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Split squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds**. Rub cut surface with garlic, season with black pepper and sprinkle generously with olive oil. Line baking pan with parchment or foil. Place squash in lined pan cut side down and roast for approximately two hours, until extremely soft.
  • Using a spoon, scoop squash from the skin and place in food processor with butter. Process until extremely smooth. Add miso to puree a little bit at a time until you’ve achieved desired flavor. The miso should not dominate, but rather add a depth of flavor.

*An average butternut squash weighs about 2 ½ to 3 lbs. and amounts to approximately 3 cups of cooked puree.

** I often reserve the seeds, remove any large pieces of pulp, toss the seeds with salt and chili flakes and some olive oil and roast until golden brown. While the hulls can be a bit tough, the roasted seeds make for a tasty snack that I devour while preparing dinner.

More Recipes

CRANBERRY BRAISED RED CABBAGE RECIPE

by Georgette Farkas

Serves 8

This tender braised red cabbage is the perfect accompaniment to duck or pork or just about any kind of sausages. I have even spread it on a ham sandwich on toasted rye bread.  Be sure to use unsweetened cranberry juice, not cranberry “cocktail” or the result will be far too sweet. This is a  great make-ahead winter side dish and can be stored refrigerated for several days.

INGREDIENTS

PROCEDURE

  • 4 cardamom pods, finely ground
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, finely ground
  • ½ cup honey
  • 4 cups unsweetened cranberry juice
  • 4 oz bacon sliced and cut in 1“ pieces
  • 2 medium white onions, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 1 head red cabbage, quartered, cored, thinly sliced
  • 1 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • Preheat oven to 300°.
  • In a small saucepan, over low heat, bring honey to a boil. Add ground cardamom and coriander and cranberry juice. Simmer until reduced by about half.
  • In a large cast iron pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, cook bacon until translucent, about five minutes. Add onions and cook stirring occasionally another five minutes. Add cabbage and apple and cook stirring until softened, an additional 15 minutes. Add reduced cranberry juice and spice mixture and toss to coat. Cover and transfer to oven
  • Braise approximately two hours until cabbage is tender.

More Recipes

BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE POTS DE CRÈME

by Georgette Farkas

Serves 6

This is really just a very grown-up version of a rich and very dark chocolate pudding. Make it your own with more or less bourbon and espresso, or leave these out entirely if you prefer. If you like your chocolate a little less bitter, reduce the quantity of unsweetened chocolate from five to four ounces. Bake in just about any small oven proof porcelain or glass cup, from espresso or tea cups or coffee mugs to classic souffle ramekins. While you may need only two portions for Valentine’s Day dinner, you won’t regret making the whole recipe to carry you through Valentine’s week.

INGREDIENTS

PROCEDURE

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 4 egg yolks
  • ½ cup plus 1 Tbs sugar
  • ¼ cup espresso (or ½ tsp granulated instant espresso)
  • 1 Tbs bourbon
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 cup whipped cream as garnish
  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  • In a saucepan over low heat, bring cream to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate until smooth.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the yolks, sugar, espresso, bourbon and salt. Whisking constantly, slowly pour warm chocolate mixture into yolks.
  • Divide mixture among espresso cups or small ramekins, filling each about two thirds of the way, so as to leave room for whipped cream garnish later. Place in a roasting pan on center rack of oven. Add hot water to pan so that it reaches halfway up sides of cups. Cover with foil and use a fork to prick holes in foil.
  • Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until edges are lightly set but center is still runny. Baking time will vary according to cup size. Mixture will continue to set as it cools. Remove cups from roasting pan and let cool approximately 30 minutes, then refrigerate.
  • The dessert is best enjoyed room temperature, not ice cold. Remove from refrigerator about one hour prior to serving. Top with whipped cream or serve whipped cream on the side.

More Recipes

DON'T HIRE A CATERER: VALENTINE'S DAY

By Georgette Farkas

Georgette Farkas is officially our Culinary Ambassador at Great Performances, but we’ve also crowned her our Hospitality Maven. Drawing upon her experiences working at leading restaurants and spearheading her eponymous Rotisserie Georgette, she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience. In addition to everything she does at GP across all teams, she also regularly entertains at home, creating incredible dishes that have that extra special touch that makes the food even more memorable and delicious.

In this series, Georgette shares tips from the caterer’s tool kit to make entertaining at home (almost) effortless. From time saving shortcuts and grocery store secrets to garnishing hacks and presentation magic, she’ll help you host a party that’ll make your guests feel extra special and that you’ll actually be able to enjoy.

She’s also curated recipes for you, highlighting the tips she’s shared. Each month look for dishes and ideas that would be delicious on their own, but that together make up menus that will have you entertaining like a pro.

A Caterer's Tips for Entertaining: Celebrating Valentine's Day

As a longtime restaurateur, I have a special relationship with Valentine’s Day. Expectations are typically high, and more than any other, this holiday made me feel particularly responsible for my restaurant guests’ happiness. I don’t mind admitting that these days I embrace the joy of preparing Valentine’s Day dinner at home for my better half.

I begin the menu with a winter salad, all prepared in advance. This light, fresh and bright dish is an ideal lead in to the substantial main course.  Chocolate is a must for your Valentine’s Day dessert, and my pot de crème is as rich, dark and decadent as it is easy to prepare. And yes, it can be made a day ahead.

Cooking for someone I love means preparing a dish I love, and duck confit is at the top of my list of winter favorites. You might think it ambitious, but it’s one of those recipe that is far easier than its reputation suggests. I offset the duck’s richness with the acidity of cranberry braised red cabbage. While mashed potatoes would be a classic pairing, here I suggest a butternut squash puree. My trick is adding miso, lending umami to the butternut’s natural sweetness.

The duck and sides dishes meet my cardinal rule of choosing only make ahead recipes for home entertaining, even when only for two people. Both side dish recipes serve more than two, as I believe this is the most efficient way to cook, making the preparation time and effort worthwhile. The balance can be frozen for future use or enjoyed over the next several days.

Valentine’s Day Menu

Crisp Winter Salad, Spicy Lime Vinaigrette

***

Duck Confit

Cranberry Braised Red Cabbage

Butternut Squash – Miso Purée

***

Chocolate Pot de Crème

Three Ways to Think Like a Caterer

  1. Consider Contrast. Explore ways to incorporate contrasts in flavor, texture, color and even shape. This makes for menus that delight the eye as much as the palate. That said, avoid adding ingredients solely for aesthetic purposes. Everything on the plate should contribute to a dish’s flavor or texture.
  2. Shop Strategically. Don’t hesitate to incorporate “purchased” items to finish a dish, cutting back on your time in the kitchen, not to mention the number of ingredients and storage space. We want to make your home entertaining a pleasure.
  3. Create Kits. Caterers prepare each dish as a “kit” of components that can be prepared ahead and even assembled or plated in advance. This approach can facilitate your home entertaining, leaving as few steps as possible to complete just before serving.

Valentine's Day Recipes

Crisp Winter Salad, Spicy Lime Vinaigrette Recipe

This is intended as a salad with no lettuce. Instead, assemble a variety of crisp vegetables with contrasting flavors, textures and colors. At this time of year, I use cucumber, fennel and carrot, both cut in thin ribbons, celery and radish very thinly sliced, especially if you can find the colorful purple or “watermelon” varieties. Definitely include the celery leaves. For added crunch, garnish the salad with toasted sunflower or sesame seeds or some coarsely chopped roasted peanuts.

The dressing recipe is inspired by chef Shi Lin Wong, who recently completed her James Beard Fellowship. We worked with Shi Lin here at Great Performances on her Beard Box, a meal kit shipped nationwide. Shi Lin’s menu reflects her Malaysian heritage. I fell in love with her Spicy Lime dressing and have made it my winter salad go-to. Adapt the proportions to your own taste and also the potency and saltiness of the fish sauce you use. I always make more dressing than I need for any one meal and then store it in a jar for future use.

Spicy Lime Vinaigrette Recipe

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp birds eye chili or fresno chili, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup sesame oil

Procedure

Combine all ingredients except the sesame oil and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Whisk in the sesame oil. Strain out the chili pepper.

Applying Our Tips

Consider Contrast.

Contrast in flavors, textures, shapes and colors are the trick to creating a salad that’s particularly enticing. A variety of crisp vegetables brings texture and color this dish. The dressing is a balanced combination of savory, tangy, sweet, and spicy and enhances the vegetables beautifully.

Shop Strategically.

Purchase sunflower seed or peanuts pre-roasted.

Make Ahead.

Clean, slice and dice vegetables early in the day. Refrigerate covered with a damp cloth. Fennel, radish and carrots can be cut a day ahead and stored refrigerated in water. Make sure to drain well and towel dry before tossing in the salad.

Pro Tip.

Always make more dressing than you need for a single salad. Store it in a jar so you’ll have it to turn to all week long.

Duck Confit

Get the recipe for cranberry braised red cabbage here

Get the recipe for pureed butternut squash with miso here

This dish is a favorite for a variety of reasons. It ticks the box for a fancy meal that you can enjoy at home, but one that’s not especially complicated. Everything can be made ahead of time and warmed up, giving you plenty of time to relax before enjoying the feast.

Should you decide to take on duck confit, here are the basic steps, rather than a formal recipe.

Ingredients

  • Duck legs (with thigh)
  • Dry salt brine (kosher salt, crushed juniper, coarsely ground pepper)
  • Garlic
  • Bay leaves
  • Fresh ginger
  • Crushed juniper berries
  • Black peppercorns
  • Duck fat

Procedure

Prick skin side of duck legs with a knife point. Prepare a dry salt brine with kosher salt, crushed juniper and coarsely ground pepper. Cover skin side of duck with a thin coat of salt mixture, refrigerate overnight and then brush off salt mixture the following day. Place duck legs skin side down in a single layer in a heavy roasting pan or dutch oven, along with several cloves of peeled garlic, a few bay leaves, a few chunks of fresh ginger, crushed juniper berries and black pepper corns. Cook at 250° approximately one hour, until duck has rendered enough of its own fat to cover the meat. Increase oven temperature to 300. Turn legs over and continue to cook skin side up until the meat is extremely tender and leg and thigh bone are easily pulled apart. Total cooking time, four to five hours. You really can’t overdo it. Let legs cool to room temperature in their rendered fat and then refrigerate. Reserve excess rendered duck fat separately in jars and refrigerate for future use to cook potatoes and more. Remove cooked duck legs from refrigerator an hour before reheating. Reheat gently at 300° for approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Just before serving, place under broiler for just a few minutes to crisp the skin.

Applying Our Tips

Shop Strategically. Despite the simplicity, given the time it takes to prepare duck confit (including salting overnight and very slow roasting for four hours or more), purchasing ready made is a great option.  My preferred online sources are Dartagnan and Hudson Valley Foie Gras.

Make Ahead. Every component of this main course can be made several days ahead and will, in fact, benefit from the advance preparation. They also have the advantage of being cooked in the oven, as opposed to on the stove top, meaning they call for little or no intervention during the cooking time. All should also be heated for serving in the oven, which again, means less stove top maneuvering at dinner time.

Pro Tips

  • If preparing these recipes several days ahead, which I highly recommend, be sure to chill food to room temperature before sealing and refrigerating.
  • Warming these dishes in the oven, instead of on the stove top, will make for controlled, even heating and minimizes the risk of burning.
  • Use of a trick from the caterer’ tool kit by using a pastry bag to plate the butternut puree. It makes for a fun and clean lined geometric effect. If using a pastry bag, you can warm the butternut puree filled bag in the microwave just before heating.
  • Please, please, please serve the main course on warmed dinner plates!

Bittersweet Chocolate Pot de Crème

Get the recipe for the bittersweet chocolate pot de crème here

Make Ahead. Pots de crème can be made several days ahead. Be sure to cool to room temperature and wrap well Wrap well before refrigerating.  

Shop Strategically. Almost every dish benefits from a crunchy garnish as a finishing touch. In this case, store bought chocolate wafers, coarsely crumbled over the whipped cream will do the trick. By all means, succumb to decorating candy or chocolate hearts to add a festive note.

Pro Tips

  • Use the very best quality chocolate you can find, for example, Valrhona or Callebaut.
  • Be sure to remove pots de creme from refrigerator at least two hours before serving. The chocolate flavor shines much more brightly and the texture will be much silkier when not ice cold.
  • When garnishing with whipped cream, a rough dollop will do just fine, but smooth quenelles will elevate your game.