I made it to Round 3! I made it to Round 3!
What a week! It was amazing to be on TV (but I didn’t plug my blog… DAMN!) and honestly, I am beyond exhausted from a weekend of perfecting the recipe and then getting up early to serve it all on live TV. It was SUCH an honor to serve my dessert to Gail Simmons (who is even nicerand down to earth than she appears!) and Johnny Iuzzini (who was as douchey as he looked, but still relatively nice) and, of course, Wendy (but HOW COULD SHE CALL MY BROWNIES DRY?!?!) It was such a blast, though. I’m not overly upset I didn’t win. It was just fun to have the opportunity.
But I DID advance to Round 3. And with Round 3 comes another challenge: Throw a luxury dinner party. Now in my mind, any time I can get together with my family and cook for them, that’s a luxury. And when it happens to be for my and my dad’s birthdays (we were born on the same date), it’s a SUPER LUXURY. So what to write about this time was a no-brainer. My sister has also moved back home from North Carolina, so it’s still quite the luxury that she can come over for dinner these days. And, of course, I was honored to cook some of my Grandma’s classics.
Here is the menu from our Daddy/Daughter Luxury Bday Dinner (template courtesy of Project Food Blog and our super cool sponsor, Buick Lacrosse. I always like when sponsors can make cool things happen. Maybe that’s the ad girl in me.):
We started our dinner with the corn fritters that we enjoyed a few weeks ago. Since I already blogged at length about those, here is just a shot of the prep with the beautiful colors.
I asked my dad what he wanted to eat for bday dinner and he said SCHNITZEL. Grandma used to make Wienerschnitzel often and it was always a family favorite. It was one of the last dinners I recall her making for us (around Chrismukah last year). And it was GOOD. So Schnitzel it was. I decided to make both veal and turkey (since my picky sister won’t eat veal).
We decided to fry them in a pan with butter (SO not diet friendly… but the only way to make it just right) and then finished cooking it in the oven so it stayed moist yet was perfectly browned.
We saw the idea for making a crispy cauliflower in Tasting Table and decided it would be the perfect way to finish the meal.
I wanted to make a sauce to go with the schnitzel and had fresh lemon leftover from the cauliflower. So I combined lemon with mayo and it made for a delicious citrus cut to the fried veal (and turkey).
It was a GREAT meal and everyone really enjoyed it.
We took a break between dinner and dessert for PRESENTS!
We asked dad what he wanted and he told us he needed a kayak skirt for his new kayak (the skirt goes around your waist in the kayak and keeps water out). We didn’t want to pick one out for him, so we gave it to him in a more creative way:
And then I got a present that I was so excited about that I even hugged it for the picture:
(this would be the aforementioned slow cooker I used in my last PFB post)
I had been plotting dessert for a few weeks and knew I HAD to try to make my Grandmother’s meringue torte. In my mind, this is one of those things that sticks out as quintessentially Grandma. A few years ago, she kept trying to make this cake again and it just never worked. She couldn’t figure out why, so I went into this fully expecting it to fail. Her problem with it was that it would somehow separate and all the sugar would stick to the bottom, so she’d have to make a trifle with meringue pieces. But I had to conquer this meringue… in her honor.
She used to stuff it with slightly cooked fruit, but I NYC Nom Nomified it a little and added balsamic to strawberries. Nom Nom Nom.
One of the first things Grandma taught me in the kitchen was how to perfectly peak egg whites to make meringue. I remember she had to pull a stool up to the counter so I could press the button on the Kitchenaid to turn it on and watch her make it. (In the next few days, I will be posting my first ever VIDEO BLOG that shows how to make this recipe… STAY TUNED!)
You have to pour it into a spring form, cook it on low heat for an hour and a half, then turn off the oven and crack the door and leave it over night. When I went to get it the next morning, I was nervous… but it turned out pretty much PERFECT. And, as it turns out, a hollow forms underneath so I could flip it over and had a perfect place to lay out the fruit.
Which is then topped with homemade schlag (whipped cream).
And then decorated with sliced strawberries.
The strawberries were so beautiful and fresh.
I was so excited when it worked out. And it tasted JUST as good as I remembered it. It was quite the luxury to have her with us, in spirit. And she always loved dinner parties and celebrating our birthdays.
I know I made Grandma proud.
Wienerschnitzel (AKA Schnitzel)
- 2 pounds turkey or veal
- 1 cup flour
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 4 cups bread crumbs (this might be excessive… add as needed)
- Salt & Pepper
- Olive Oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
- Place turkey or veal between 2 layers of saran wrap and pound until 1/4 inch thin or less (wine bottles work surprising well for the pounding part when you don’t have a meat hammer)
- Season with salt and pepper
- Place flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs in 3 separate, shallow bowls
- Dredge turkey/veal in flour
- Dip into eggs
- Coat with breadcrumbs
- Heat large pan and add butter
- Place coated turkey/veal in pan (it should sizzle) and cook until just browned (DO NOT OVERCOOK!)
- Place all turkey/veal cutlets onto a sprayed baking sheet (or lined with a Silpat)
- Bake for 6-8 minutes until cooked through
For the cauliflower recipe, click here.
For the corn fritter recipe, click here.
And for the meringue recipe… you will just have to wait until the video blog comes up.