This week I am hosting a special little event for myself. Yes you read it correctly, I'm throwing myself a party that has nothing to do with my birthday and everything to do with pampering myself! I've canceled my Friday night plans, told my parents to go out to dinner (my treat) and will turn off my cell phone for a little solo time celebrating the most important person in my world: me. I plan on enjoying a luxurious dinner, followed by a little home spa action, a movie and a magazine. Today I am assembling a dinner menu that will start with a crunchy sweet treat and will be followed by a main course of one of my all time favorite dishes (
Crab Cakes With Herb Salad
) paired with an experimental recipe I've been wanting to make for weeks now (
Twice-Baked Goat Cheese Souffle
). The whole idea of this party is to choose a menu that suits you. So make your favorite dishes or those recipes you've been dying to try. For the recipes to my meal,
If you are making these recipes for just yourself be sure to cut the recipes down accordingly. Both the crab cakes and the souffle can be made ahead so I will still be able to enjoy myself without spending hours slaving over the stove.
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon minced green onion
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup minced green onions
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons minced fresh dill
4 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon
4 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound blue crabmeat or Dungeness crabmeat
2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs),* divided
2 tablespoons (or more) butter
2 tablespoons (or more) grapeseed oil
2 5-ounce containers herb salad mix
Fresh dill sprigs
Fresh tarragon sprigs
Fresh cilantro sprigs
*Available in the Asian foods section of supermarkets and at Asian markets.
- For vinaigrette: Whisk oil, lemon juice, dill, tarragon, cilantro, green onion, and mustard in small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. (Do ahead: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)
- For crab cakes: Line baking sheet with waxed paper. Whisk first 10 ingredients in large bowl. Mix in crabmeat and 1 cup panko, breaking up crabmeat slightly. Let stand 10 minutes.
- Place remaining panko on rimmed baking sheet, spreading slightly. Form crab mixture into sixteen 2-inch-diameter patties, using about scant 1/4 cup for each. Press both sides of patties into panko. Transfer patties to waxed-paper-lined baking sheet.
- Cover and chill at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.
- Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon oil in each of 2 heavy large skillets over medium-high heat. Add crab cakes to skillets and cook until golden on both sides, adding more butter and oil as needed, about 5 minutes total.
- Place salad mix in very large bowl. Add 1/2 cup vinaigrette; toss. Arrange crab cakes on platter. Garnish with herb sprigs, drizzle with some of remaining vinaigrette, and serve with salad.
3 tablespoons butter + butter for coating ramekins
1 cup dry breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons cake flour
1 cup milk
10 ounces soft goat cheese
3 egg yolks
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup egg whites (about 7 large)
- Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 425°.
- Butter eight 5-ounce ramekins, making sure to coat them well. Coat each ramekin with breadcrumbs then turn them over and tap out the excess. Reserve any remaining breadcrumbs.
- Melt the 3 tablespoons butter in a stainless-steel skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 20 seconds, whisking constantly. Whisk in the milk and cook for about 1 minute, whisking constantly, until the mixture has thickened to the consistency of a thin, pourable pudding.
- Crumble 8 ounces of the cheese into a large mixing bowl. Pour the hot milk mixture over the goat cheese and mix well. Add the egg yolks and mix again. Season with salt and pepper.
- Using an electric mixer with clean, dry beaters, beat the egg whites in a large bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold half of the whites into the cheese mixture to lighten it. Then gently fold in the remaining whites.
- Divide half of the souffle mixture among the prepared ramekins. Crumble the remaining 2 ounces of goat cheese and divide among the ramekins, then top with the remaining half of the souffle mixture, dividing it equally among the ramekins. Sprinkle the remaining breadcrumbs over the top.
- Place the ramekins in a large baking pan and pour in boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
- Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the souffles are golden. Remove from the oven and let stand, still in their water bath, for 15 minutes.
- Using a towel to hold the ramekins, run a knife around the inside rim to loosen. Turn out the souffles onto a baking sheet. The souffles may be held at room temperature for up to 6 hours before the final baking.
- When ready to serve, bake the souffles in a 425° oven for 5-7 minutes, or until deep golden brown.
What is your all time decadent dinner menu that you would love to enjoy all by your beautiful lonesome self? Tell me about it below. Come back later for the final part of this menu: a delectable dessert!