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A Long, Long, Long Night to Remember

March 12, 2009

“Near, Far, Where…..Ever you are!

I cant believe it’s been over ten years since all the Titanic hoopla.  Leo! King of the World! I’m Flying! ! Hundreds of millions to make! Billions at the box office!

1997’s best, Titanic is a truly BIG BIG BIG(and did I mention loooong?) movie that deserves most of its 11 Oscars. Especially for Best Picture. Certainly Titanic is the most perfect date movie. Ever. Just in case you forgot the plot: Spunky gal (with a keen eye for art) longing for some independence meets vagabond artist (with a keen eye himself) falls in love, defies mustache twirling fiance, witness the iceberg of doom, defy death several times, sorta, reunite at the end, sorta. So it’s romance, action, romance–plus there’s some science and a major piece of jewelry added to the mix.

Some fun facts:

Dr. Bombay, Calling Dr. Bombay!  That great British character actor, Bernard Fox (Bewitched’s Dr. Bombay!) was in two of the three major Titanic movies  he played uncredited iceberg dead ahead spotter Frederick Fleet in 1958’s A Night to Remember and Col. Archibald Grace in 1997’s epic. Oh, and p.s. 1933’s best picture Cavalcade doesn’t count as a Titanic movie because their Titanic portion of the film is so slight and Cavalcade remains a really bad movie.

The 1953 movie Titanic won only one  Oscar: Best Screenplay. The only nomination (seemingly) that 1997’s Titanic did not get:   Best Screenplay.

Titanic also marked a big return for 1930’s actress Gloria Stuart as the 100 year old Rose.  In July of 2010, god willing, Ms. Stuart will be 100 years old in real life.

Titanic clocks in at 194 minutes (that about 3 hours 24 minutes) but it’s not the longest Best Picture, not even close. That other great date movie Gone With the Wind is still the champ at 224 minutes (3 hours 44 minutes).

For dinner we decided to go First Class and dine as they did on the Titanic.  I found a terrific book from my local library Last Dinner on the Titanic:  Menus and Recipes from the Great Liner. and prepared a 5 course feast.  No wonder thay sank : I tell you, these people on fancy ships liked to eat–there’s a lot of butter and eggs and cream in these recipes, so if the iceberg hadn’t gotten to them the cholesterol probably would’ve.

First course:

Smoked salmon in a mouselline sauce.

a mouselline sauce sauce is a hollandaise sauce that has some whipped cream folded in.  The best and easiest way to make a hollandaise without all that whisking and double boiler fuss is with a hand dandy blender.  Eric Ripert does it that way too.  Or so he said on a recent Top Chef episode.

Blender Hollandaise:

3 egg yolks
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. salt
Dash of cayenne pepper
1/2 c. butter

Put egg yolks, lemon juice, salt and cayenne in blender jar. Heat butter in small pan until bubbly. Do not burn. Cover blender and whirl at high speed for 2 or 3 seconds. Remove center section of cover or entire cover and at high speed pour in hot butter in a thin, steady stream. It will take about 30 seconds.

fold freshly whipped cream into the hollandaise, put sauce on plate with a little smoked salmon and some fresh dill sprigs as garnish.

Course two: Asparagus Salad with Saffron-Champagne Vinaigrette

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs asparagus
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1 1/2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Pinch of granulated sugar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 sweet red or yellow pepper, finely diced

Directions:

  • Holding asparagus halfway up stalk, snap off woody ends at the natural breaking point and discard.
  • In a wide, deep skillet or large pot of boiling salted water, cook asparagus for 3 to 5 minutes or until they are tender but not limp.
  • Drain the asparagus and run under cold water until completely cooled; drain well.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir saffron into 1 teaspoon of boiling water; let stand for 2 minutes or until the threads have softened.
  • Stir in champagne vinegar, mustard and sugar. Whisking, drizzle in olive oil.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add asparagus and diced pepper; toss to coat. Serve in individual dishes.

Course 3

Romaine Punch–kind of a palate cleansing sorbet

6 cups crushed ice
1 cup simple syrup (recipe follows)

2 cups Champagne or sparkling wine
1 cup White wine
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons White rum (optional)
Orange peel slivered (optional)

Simple Syrup:
2 cups sugar 1 cup water

In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring gently until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil and cook 1 minute or until syrup is clear. Remove from the heat and cool.
Makes 2 cups-Syrup can be stored in a sterilized container in the refrigerator for up to one month

Directions:

In a blender combine the crushed ice, simple syrup, champagne, white wine, orange juice, and lemon juice. Blend until mixture is well combined.
Spoon the mixture into individual dessert cups

Course four:

Leg of Lamb with mint sauce (my favorite moustache twirler sans moustache Cal actually orders this in the movie)

Mint Sauce:

1/4 c. water

1 tbsp. sugar
1/4 c. finely chopped fresh mint
1/2 c. malt vinegar
Leg of Lamb
2 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
Or 2 tsp. dried crushed rosemary
2 cloves crushed garlic
4 to 5 lbs. leg of lamb
Make the mint sauce first. Combine the water and sugar in a 1 quart saucepan, and bring to boil over high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves completely. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the mint leaves and vinegar. Taste and add up to 1 more tablespoon sugar if desired. Set aside at room temperature for 2 or 3 hours. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Combine salt, pepper, garlic and rosemary to form a paste. Using the point of a small knife, cut slits in lamb and fill slits with spice mixture. Transfer lamb to rack in roasting tin. Roast for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 375 degrees and roast for about one hour longer. (20 minutes per pound). Transfer lamb to a heated platter and rest for 15 minutes before slicing. Stir mint sauce, pour into a sauceboat and serve separately with the lamb.
Fifth course:
Waldorf Pudding

2 large tart apples
1/2 cup sultana raisins
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp crystallized ginger
1 tbsp butter
2 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar (granulated)
4 egg yolks
pinch of nutmeg
1tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup halved walnuts

1. Slice apples and stir in raisins, lemon and ginger. In skillet melt butter over high heat; add apple mix and cook one minute. Stir in 2 tbst of sugar. Cook, stirring often for 4 minutes or until apples are lightly caramelized. Scrape apple mix and syrup into a baking dish.
2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium heat, add milk, whisk in eggs until well-incorporated. Add nutmeg and vanilla and mix well. Pour over apple mixture.
3. Set baking dish in large roasting pan. Add water to the roasting pan. Set the oven at 325 degrees and roast for 45 to 50 minutes. Allow to cool and sprinkle with walnuts.


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3 comments

  1. Last Titanic survivor has passed. RIP Millvina Dean http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10575788


  2. I’m doing this project too, haven’t got very far.

    And Titanic’s a good film, but it’s very overrated and LA Confidental was kinda better.


    • Andrew, what’s the link to your site? I’d love to read it!



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