Mushroom canapés were a hit.
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Gogolin’s holiday menu began with butternut squash soup. Rather than boiling the squash, it is halved, brushed with melted butter and roasted at 400 degrees for an hour. The sweet, delicate flavor of the squash is intensified by roasting. When it comes out of the oven, golden brown and caramelized, sautéed apples, onions, chicken broth and sage and an immersion blender turn it into a thick soup, to be thinned with a little cream. What elevated this lovely soup to new heights was a dollop of plain yogurt – Greek works best – and a sprinkle of toasted pumpkin seeds. The ingenious soup team went the recipe one better by toasting and adding the seeds removed from the squash, a move Gogolin applauded. Mushroom canapés, comprised of crimini and button ‘shrooms, butter, red wine and puff pastry, was next. The tasty little bites were made even more savory with piped-on herbed goat cheese. With Craisins, pecans, applewood smoked bacon, gorgonzola and cranberries, the salad course had sweet and salty elements that nicely set off the slight bitterness of the mixed greens. The unusual vinaigrette of maple syrup and sherry vinegar was truly an inspired choice. Gogolin designated rack of lamb as the entrée because it evoked wonderful memories. “It was part of one of the best Christmas dinners I ever had,” he reminisced. The medium rare meat was napped with raspberry preserves in a veal demi glace, the only ingredient provided by the chef, since making demi glace is a long, drawn out project. Under the lamb was a bed of superlative risotto, made with both red and white wines, Arborio rice, shallots, mushrooms and stock. It was easily among the best of its kind I have ever tasted – unctuous and creamy, yet retaining enough
Published on Dec 9, 2013