1 These beautifully fragrant quince, which Pierre turned into an amazing quince sorbet for dessert, grew on trees that I planted at Turkey Hill, my old home in Westport, Connecticut. Levi, who was my gardener, still works there and thoughtfully gives me quince every autumn.
2 Pierre was able to find beautiful porcini mushrooms to serve with his saffron risotto. Porcinis are highly prized as an ingredient in many soups, pastas, and risottos.
3 He was also able to find beautiful and meaty orange chanterelles. With their fruity smell and mild peppery flavor, chanterelles are another terrific edible mushroom.
4 To make a great risotto, one needs to use a high-starch, short-grain rice, which has the ability to absorb liquids and release starch, giving a creamy characteristic to the dish. Arborio and carnaroli are both good choices.
5 Saffron risotto requires a good amount of vibrant saffron threads.
6 Other risotto ingredients included diced onion and a rich mushroom stock.
7 For the seared lamb chops, Pierre's meat purveyor provided meaty chops. Pierre neatly trimmed each one in the French manner, stripping the meat away from the bones, giving an attractive presentation when the food is plated.
8 Pierre browned all of the lamb trimmings with onion and then added water to make a rich lamb stock for a demi-glace.
9 One of the vegetables to be served with the lamb was a celeriac purée from the garden. Celeriac is a variety of celery, appreciated for its edible root, which has a pleasant celery flavor.
10 The celeriac was neatly trimmed and placed in a bowl of cold water to prevent browning before cooking.
11 There were also young carrots from the garden.
12 Pierre left the carrot stems intact, but carefully trimmed around them.
13 Did I mention that the quince were fragrant?
14 Here they are cooking down into a purée for the sorbet, filling the kitchen with an amazing aroma!
15 Pierre requested that apples be picked as well, for dessert.
16 Here he is peeling...
17 And trimming.
18 A little butter melted in a skillet
19 The apples, coated with sugar, were added to the melted butter.
20 The apples were tossed as they gently browned.
21 How beautiful!
22 Meanwhile, Pierre caramelize sugar in a saucepan.
23 A bit of that caramel was spooned into the bottoms of a muffin tin.
24 The sautéed apples were artfully arranged over the caramel.
25 And then baked in a hot oven.
26 Pierre saved all of the extra caramel from the sautéed apples.
27 A pâte brisée was rolled out.
28 Pastry rounds were cut.
29 The pastry rounds were placed over the baked apples.
30 The pan was returned to the oven until the rounds baked to a golden brown.
31 Next, the softened quince were blended.
32 The purée was passed through a chinoise, or China cap, which is made of a very fine mesh, producing a very smooth texture.
33 Pierre mixed the purée with water and sugar and when the liquid was quite chilled, it was placed in an ice-cream maker.
34 The ice cream maker transformed the liquid into an amazing sorbet, which was removed from the machine and placed in the freezer.
35 The porcinis were sautéed in olive oil.
36 As were the chanterelles.
37 The onions were sautéed for the risotto and the rice added to the pot.
38 Pierre pulverized the saffron threads to really bring out the fabulous flavor and color.
39 The saffron was added to the risotto.
40 And then some of the mushroom stock
41 As Pierre stirred and cooked, the risotto turned a vibrant golden color.
42 The porcini and chanterelles were combined and reheated.
43 The cooked risotto was spooned into individual serving dishes, topped with the sautéed mushrooms, and garnished with chopped parsley.
44 Pierre embellished with thinly shaved fresh porcini.
45 It was time to season the chops with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper.
46 Working with three hot skillets, Pierre seared the lamb on both sides over a very hot flame.
47 That searing process cooks the meat on the exterior. Pierre finishes the cooking just before plating the food.
48 The carrots were braised in a little water and butter.
49 The spinach was wilted.
50 The celeriac purée gently heated
51 The plated lamb chops with the celeric purée, wilted spinach, and baby carrots topped with a rich demi-glace made from the lamb stock - Perfectly delicious!
52 The tarte tatins were removed from the baking tin and inverted on their pastry bases.
53 The apple tart tatin with quince sorbet garnished with apple leaves - Perfectly refreshing!
54 The table was set with antique Wedgwood china with an elegant autumnal theme.
55 Another view
56 Sanu Sherpa and Laura Acuna love when Pierre comes to cook in the kitchen and he really appreciates all of their help!