Monday, March 14, 2011

All things in moderation.

Friday evening found Mr. Awesome and me eating dinner at Michael Smith restaurant. We each opted for the five-course tasting menu, and were presented with a total of 10 dishes that were all beautiful and delicious. We had no idea what we would be served, which was exciting and fun. As each course came out we oohed and ahhed, and it was all we could do to not lick each plate clean.

His menu:

  • Braised Rabbit with house made potato gnocchi, shiitake mushrooms, leeks and shaved parmesan

  • Boston Bibb Lettuce Salad with cocoa almond, Roaring 40's blue and buttermilk chili dressing

  • Pastrami Rubbed Yellowfin Tuna with carrot-farro risotto, roasted root vegetable and green peppercorn salad

  • Pan Roasted Eye of the Ribeye with celeriac pierogi, black trumpet mushroom and cippolini onion

  • Lemon Pudding Cake with blueberry jam and fennel and grapefruit salad

My menu:

  • Sweet Potato-Ricotta Ravioli with maitake mushroom, duck confit and mushroom consomm√©

  • Roasted Beet Salad with pumpkin dressing, pepitas and goat cheese

  • Pan Roasted Wild Striped Bass with rosemary peanut potatoes, sauteed spinach, calamari and red wine guanciale reduction

  • Grilled Rack of Lamb with chorizo and semolina dumpling, crispy brussels sprouts and huckleberry gastrique

  • Chocolate and Vanilla Torte with candied blood orange

I loved every plate that was set in front of me. The ravioli was tender and pillowy. The beets were both savory and sweet and went so well with the pepitas and goat cheese. The calamari was tender, the lamb was perfectly cooked and completely won me over with the inclusion of brussels sprouts. The cake looked like it was going to be super-sweet and dense, but was actually light and chocolaty, without being cloying. It was a fantastic meal that I won't soon forget, and we'll most definitely make this an annual occurrence.

A note for those watching their waistline - when partaking in a meal like this, just let go. If these are special-occasion meals, then indulging once in a while won't hurt you. In fact, these types of experiences are great for the soul!

Between Michael Smith, Bluestem and Justus Drugstore, we've got most of our special occasions covered.

One more thing about our meal - I learned that, while their lemon pudding cake is good, mine is just as good AND contains hardly any fat.
Lynn's Lemon Pudding Cake
Servings: 4

1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2/3 c. granulated sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 c. low-fat buttermilk
2 tsp. grated lemon rind
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
2 large egg yolks
3 large egg whites
1/4 c. granulated sugar
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.

Lightly spoon the flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Combine the flour, 2/3 cup granulated sugar, salt, and nutmeg in a large bowl; add the buttermilk, lemon rind, lemon juice and egg yolks, stirring with a whisk until the mixture is smooth.

Beat egg whites with a mixer at high speed until foamy. Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Gently stir one-fourth of egg white mixture into the buttermilk mixture; gently fold in remaining egg white mixture.

Pour the batter into an 4- to 5-cup souffle dish, or 8-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Place in a larger baking pan; add hot water to larger pan to depth of 1 inch. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until the cake springs back when touched lightly in center. Serve warm with fat-free Cool Whip, if desired.
Good any time of year, with just about any meal. For variation, you can fold in  1 1/2 cups of berries to the batter before pouring it into the baking dish. Or, you can cook some berries on the stove with a little sugar and cornstarch to make a sauce that can be poured over the cake when served. A great thing about this dessert is that it's versatile, so play around!