Orphan Gentile Passover/Easter Sunday Tasting Menu

Hi Foodies,

I was unable to travel to Montreal for Easter/Passover like I usually do thanks to a critical Easter weekend application upload for work that saw me working both Thursday evening and Friday morning early so I decided to salvage the weekend by inviting some heathen gentile friends over who didn’t have family to celebrate Easter/Passover and put on my first ever tasting menu.

And by this, I mean a complete 10 course tasting menu like you get in an upscale restaurant. The kind that costs you from $100-200 a plate setting and more if you start adding in wine flights. So off to work I went and here’s what I came up with:

  • Thai Golden Pumpkin Soup

  • Lobster Ricotta Ravioli & Butternut Squash Cream Sauce

  • Grilled Polenta with garlic mushroom cream sauce

  • Gravadlax with dill aioli

  • Minty Pink Grapefruit Granita in Limoncello (intermezze)

  • Deconstructed Caesar Salad with Romaine, Bacon, Homemade Croutons, Parmesan, Anchovy Fillets, EVOO, and Fresh Quail Egg

  • Thai Fresh Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

  • Amarone Risotto

  • Montreal Smoked Meat with Smoked Baby Bok Choy

  • Chocolate Panna Cotta, icewine poached pears, and flourless chocolate cake

  • Cheese board finisher with Muskoka berry compote and crackers – this doesn’t really count because everything was purchased by my friends as their contribution to the evening

While I have certainly thrown extravagant meals before and posted about them on this board, they have usually been far less courses or in cooperation with a partner such as Mike Grammer. This was all on my own as an experiment just to see if I could pull this all off.

All the shopping was done on Wednesday evening and prep started the same evening because I had to work on the Smoked Meat that day (see my other thread on this). That’s right, I actually did the four days labor for that in conjunction with the tasting menu. I’m a glutton in every sense of the word, for both food and punishment.

The only way of possibly pulling this off was to literally cook things in stages as opposed to one at a time. So I would make one item first while prepping another and then check off on a spreadsheet as each component was completed. For example, the Gravadlax was cured on Friday night but the dill aioli accompaniment was made on Sunday.

Basically, anything that needed time to cure/refrigerate or could be safely made days ahead without affecting its freshness or flavor was done first. It’s all a bit of a blur now but here’s basically how things went down:


  • Shop for all ingredients
  • Cure smoked meat brisket


  • Cure salmon for gravadlax


  • Prepare, fill and fold lobster ricotta ravioli and freeze
  • Make polenta and chill to set in the fridge


  • Smoke meat and baby bok choy on the BBQ
  • Bake flourless chocolate cake
  • Make minty grapefruit sorbet and throw in the freezer
  • Prepare panna cotta and throw in the fridge to set
  • Prepare butternut squash and mushroom sauces and throw in the fridge


  • Make Thai Fresh rolls
  • Prepare Golden Pumpkin soup, peanut dipping sauce, Amarone Risotto, dill aioli, whipped cream for cake topping, and bacon and croutons for the salad
  • Steam Montreal smoked meat brisket in the oven
  • Boil ravioli

Did I mention that I was also working a critical application upload while all this was going on? I literally stopped cooking just 1 hour before the 6 PM Sunday serving time.

Then, just to make my life complicated, half of the guests who were invited were held up in holiday traffic and would be 1 1/2 HOURS LATE so now I had to do TWO SEPARATE SEATINGS and keep track of who had what and catch everyone up to dessert. It was not until I served everyone dessert that I realized the second group never got their Gravadlax. Serves them right for being late, but not that they were complaining – everyone was quite full by evening’s end.

Oh yes, we did have some wine. I contributed a Krimsekt 2011 Sparkling Semi-Sweet Red and a Crown Bench Estates Ambrosia Chocolate Vidal Icewine. My friends brought an Obikwa 2013 Sauvignon Blanc wine from South Africa – a $10 bottle of wine that blew me away. It tasted like actual wine and not a grass smoothie and was quite drinkable. Nowhere near as good as the TENZ Project Sauvignon Blanc I had recently courtesy of Mike Grammer but it wasn’t trying to be. I’m glad I didn’t know the price beforehand as it removed any snobbery from the equation.

So how did everything turn out? Really great, actually. The only real hiccups I had was that the Polenta was so sticky it actually stuck to my deluxe high-end Teflon coated frying pan which suggests I needed way more oil to grill it than I thought I did. For the second seating, I didn’t even bother trying to get a crispy coating on the Polenta and was basically just lightly warming it up in the hot olive oil as opposed to trying to get a crisp coating on the outside.

Also, the Thai fresh rolls were not as flavorful as I’d hoped because I opted for the chicken version instead of traditional shrimp. The ingredients of fresh bean sprouts, carrot shreds, glass noodles and fresh rice paper actually muted the flavor of the grilled seasoned chicken strips and I see now why traditional rolls use cooked shrimp whose flavor can stand out more against the fresh vegetables and white rice-based noodles and paper.

Other than this, I was quite happy with how everything turned out. Quite a lot of labor but it was a really fun project to put together and worth the effort to see how it call came off in the end. And now for some tasting menu porn to finish this post with. [cheers.gif]



Also get a new camera :stuck_out_tongue:

More tasting menu porn, fixed now.

What Charlie said.

Also, try not repeating the same photos so many times Tran.

Hey guys, issue with the photos is fixed. Sorry, it wasn’t me. I only placed each photo inline once. For some reason, they kept repeating 3 times. Me thinks it’s a Firefox issue.

In regards to the camera, sorry, I had to shoot it on my Samsung Galaxy in order to be able to Tweet and post to Facebook at the same time.


So the wines you served that night were a Sparkling Semi-Sweet Red, an Ambrosia Chocolate Vidal Icewine & a South African Sauvignon Blanc?

And they were good matches to the food in your menu???

[shock.gif] [shock.gif] [shock.gif]

@Jorge: Yeah, I was kind of avoiding the mentioning of the wine pairing and how it worked. Thanks for ruining things :stuck_out_tongue:

Too be honest, the Krimsekt was a disaster with the food so we ended up drinking it as an aperitif only in between courses. I had never had it before and bought it out of curiosity. Bad, bad move. Live and learn, I guess.

The Sauvignon Blanc actually was a good match with the first 8 courses precisely because it wasn’t so grassy. For the Risotto and main course, I served the rest of the Tommasi Amarone half-bottle I used as well as some sparkling water and iced tea.

The chocolate vidal icewine was strictly for the dessert and did go well with it thanks to the flavors of chocolate, vanilla, cream and subtle sweet pear and cranberry which complimented the chocolate and fruit flavors of the icewine. That was actually the best match of the evening.

The idea behind this was actually to see if I could pull the tasting menu off, not necessarily to match it with wine. My plan is to tweak things a bit and then match it all up specifically to some wines which will be another thread in June when I pull it off. Since you’ve brought it up, my preliminary initial thoughts were:

  • Pineau des Charentes Vieux as aperitif wine
  • An organic Vouvray Demi-Sec with the pumpkin soup
  • An Alsace Grand Cru Pinot Gris with the polenta
  • A Marcel Deiss Grasberg from Alsace with the Gravadlax
  • A Riesling Spatlese with the Thai Fresh Rolls
  • A Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc with the Lobster Ravioli
  • A Schramberg Demi-Sec Cremant with the deconstructed Caesar salad
  • A 1980 Graham VP with the smoked meat and smoked bok choy
  • Leftover Amarone with the Amarone Risotto
  • And a Arygros 20 year old Greek vinsanto and/or a Lustau East India Solera sherry with the dessert