Today's feature in Easy Eats is not easy at all, but in celebration of Mr. B. and D.'s 7th Anniversary, I am sharing with you the 4-course dinner Mr. B. prepared tonight. Here they are in order of serving.
First Course : Cream of Broccoli Soup
The name may sound very simple but I was a witness to how Mr. B. turned 2 (yes, 2) heads of broccoli into only 2 cups of soup! Saute one diced onion and florets of 2 broccoli. Pour in chicken stock and cook until tender. Pour the whole mixture into a blender and blend until totally smooth. Strain and return soup to pot. Add one cup of all-purpose cream and simmer very slowly. Season to taste. Because the soup is so concentrated and made with chicken stock, no additional spices and flavorings are required. The result is a rich tasting soup with loads of flavors!
Second Course : Smoked Duck Breast Salad with Mandarin Orange
If you think Mr. B. would smoke his own duck breast, then you are very wrong! He bought one in a gourmet store. But what you need to do is pop the duck breast in the oven (very low heat) to warm it and get rid of the excess oil (yes, ducks are fatty!). Slice and arrange on serving plate with frisee lettuce and slices of Mandarin orange until it looks like a tacky work of art. No need to dress the salad greens on this one. The sweet juice of the orange slices and the saltiness of the smoked duck provide enough flavors!
Third Course : Crab Au Gratin with Prawns
The gourmet shop also had this beautiful crab au gratin which Mr. B. bought with the prawns (since D. like prawns). The crab au gratin is baked to perfection while the prawns are cooked in salted water until done. On the serving plate, Mr. B. got creative and arranged the the crab and prawn to look like some creature from outer space with 5 legs. Make sure your prawns are the freshest available in the market for this one!
Fourth Course : Braised Oxtail with Mash and Buttered Mushroom and Broccoli
This is the dish that took more than 5 hours to cook not including preparation time! First, brown the oxtail on both sides. While doing this, chop carrots, celery and onion. Remove the oxtail from the pot and use it to caramelize the onion with butter. Add in carrots and celery and cook until soft. Add the oxtail pieces into the pot and pour in beef broth (you can use water but using beef broth will have better, tastier result). Season with thyme. Simmer in very, very, very low fire for 5 hours or until the meat falls off the bone. You will need to occasionally stir the pot and add in more broth. After 5 hours, you get that heavenly melt-in-your-mouth oxtail meat perfect with creamy mashed potato. I don't have to tell you how to make mashed potato, do I? Just one secret, always use chicken stock to cook your potatoes and not water, and add cream while you are mashing to get that smooth consistency. There. Two secrets.
That's the end of a day of shopping, chopping, slicing, cooking and eating for Mr. B.
Happy 7th Anniversary!!