Valentine Dinner of Pate, Duck, and Pavlova Nests
From: The Hummers’ Critique Corner
From the Free Dictionary ….Usage Note: Critique has been used as a verb meaning “to review or discuss critically” since the 18th century, but lately this usage has gained much wider currency, in part because the verb criticize, once neutral between praise and censure, is now mainly used in a negative sense.
I do not normally like to criticize anyone; it is not my nature to do so. I more times than not will put my money on a sure bet (one that has had praise from others) do to the economic environment we are living in today. Every once in awhile the sure bet does lose….but could be because of many extenuating circumstances’. I like to try to find the best in all and hopefully I will hit the prize more times than not….
This year I decided to treat some of my friends to a Valentine Dinner. It was good to have them over and the dinner was a special treat for all of us. It had been awhile since we all got together and spent an evening catching up. Everyone has been so busy here lately, it was nice to just sit and relax.
I have wanted to order some things from D’ARTAGNAN’S for some time but I could not bring myself to pay the high cost of shipping it takes to get gourmet meats and such delivered over night from NJ to WA State. They are running a special with free shipping for the month of February. I decided to order the whole Lola Duck, it is a heritage breed which indeed does have incredible depth in its flavor as they state on their site. It was perfect, as was the D’ARTAGNAN Black Truffle Oil. I also ordered their French Pate Collection*: Pate de Campagne, a traditional country-style pate of pork, seasoned with herbs and spices, Mousse Truffee, a superb, silky-smooth organic chicken and turkey liver mousse studded with 2% black truffles and Portwine, and Pheasant Terrine Herbette, an amazing blend of pheasant, pork and fennel covered in fine herbs.
The free shipping could not have been better timing, I had volunteered to do the Valentine Dinner to get things rolling again with our amazing friends. Everything turned out without much planning and it was an exceptional evening of eating our way through baguette slices toasted with black truffle oil with dill and havarti cheese. I made a quick dish of double tomato for Bruschetta; it added a nice flavor to the mix. Cheese and crackers, with the three different pates to choose from and I had thrown together a wonderful mix of nuts with dried tart cherries and cranberries.
For the main dinner we had roasted Lola Duck (roasted chicken for those that did not eat duck,) roasted potatoes and carrots and steamed baby spinach with pearl onions with a slight trickle of Pomegranate Balsamic. I made a superb Blood Orange and Blackberry Glaze-Gravy-Sauce that was served over the sliced duck for those who wanted it.
The evening ended with desserts of Pavlova Nests filled with pastry cream, strawberries, blackberries, and with a choice of chopped macadamia or pistachio nuts. I then drizzled chocolate ganache over each nest. There too were large strawberries dipped in chocolate ganache for those that wanted just a small sample of dessert.
The evening was perfect. Everyone agreed that the Lola Duck was a hit and we all agreed collectively with giving D’ARTAGNAN 5 plus hummers for the duck and the same was voted unanimously for the French Pate Collection and again the same for the Black Truffle Oil. I also give Jacob, the salesperson that handled my order 5 plus hummers, he has to be their number one sales person and the PR he gives the company alone will undoubtedly keep customers coming back for more. Thank you Jacob for the wonderful attitude and making me feel so good while placing my orders. There was not one question that he could not answer. He was pure delight. This customer will be back and I will talk with Jacob each time. I recommend that you take a look at D’ARTAGNAN website, it is worth the time. www.dartagnan.com (Free Shipping until the end of Feb, 2011)
D’ARTAGNAN Lola Duck ~ 5+Hummingbirds
D’ARTAGNAN French Pate Collection ~ 5+ Hummingbirds
DARTAGNAN Black Truffle Oil ~5+ Hummingbirds
Jacob with PR plus ~ 5+ Hummingbirds
The Pate Collection ~ we could not decide which one we liked the best, each was it own, and each enjoyed as much as the other. We all took pleasure in eating another bite to see if we could decide and no one could put one above the other. Each was smooth and silky and a pleasure to the taste buds. Black Truffle Oil has its’ own essence and with each bite it did deliver an earthly delight with the added bonus of the truffle aroma that brought satisfaction to our palates. Lola was perfect; the aroma of her cooking was a pre-bouquet to her incredible depth of flavor. As each guest arrived they commented that if it tastes as good as it smells we are in for a real treat, and that she was.
The meal was complete satisfaction from the beginning to the very end. Nothing over the top, that was not the plan. It was meant to be something that would bring our friends together with anticipation that we would all enjoy each other’s company and the food while having a good time doing it all. That we did.. ..
*Each is made from D’Artagnan’s exclusive, traditional recipes using artisanal methods with only the finest ingredients. All are antibiotic and hormone free*, with no chemicals or fillers added