Stuart AND LOIS Scheyer
Ducky Dinner Party
The Scheyers’ story dates back more than 10 years, but the memory, Lois Scheyer says, “has remained as though it was yesterday.” In her own words …
“We planned a Chinese dinner party for 20 friends for New Year’s Eve 1999. The invitations went out inside fortune cookies placed in Chinese takeout cartons. The menu was sweet-and-sour shrimp, spicy mini ribs, deboned and stuffed chicken wings, roasted Peking duck, green onion brushes, hoisin sauce, mandarin pancakes, duck soup, lychee cold soufflés and/or coconut or ginger ice cream and tropical fruits and, of course, Chinese tea.
“The guests were invited for 8 p.m., and at noon, we were in great shape. The table was set, the shrimp were ready to be sautéed and sauced, the ribs were marinating, the wings were deboned and stuffed and ready to fry. The lychee soufflés were in the freezer and the ice cream and tropical fruits were ready. The hoisin sauce and the onion brushes were ready, and the ducks had been dipped in a marinade and hung in front of a fan for 12 hours to dry. What a culinary genius!
“There was a great exhibit at the Art Institute, and because we had lots of time while the ducks were hanging, I suggested we go for a few hours, so off we went. We returned at 3 p.m. to a dreadful smell in the kitchen. We quickly realized that the ducks had spoiled!
“God bless Stuart, and what a great idea it had been to marry him! He jumped in the car and drove to Chinatown, about one hour and 15 minutes away. He returned at 7 p.m. with six perfectly roasted Peking ducks and all the trimmings. We quickly dressed, our guests arrived on time, and it was a great evening.
“No one ever knew what had transpired, but the drama was not over.
“After this feast, a dear friend insisted on helping clear the dinner dishes, then another friend loaded up to help as well. Our dining room was up a short flight of stairs. When the first guy was halfway down the stairs, the good Samaritan behind him tripped and stumbled right into him. Down they went, dishes and all. No one was hurt save my beautiful dinner service for 20, which became service for six in about 30 seconds!
“At midnight, Stuart and I fell into one another’s arms and breathed a sigh of relief. It was a happy new year, indeed.”
Giuliano Hazan and Family: Tradizione!
For Giuliano Hazan, the holidays are about “making tortellini for New Year’s with our girls; Gabriella is 12 and Michela is 8. It reminds me of when I would help make them when I was a boy.” And he graciously shares his recipes and photos.
From “How to Cook Italian” by Giuliano Hazan
Start to finish: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Serves: 4 as a main course or 6 as part of a multi-course Italian meal
2 ounces lean boneless pork loin
3 ounces boneless, skinless, chicken breast
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Freshly ground pepper
2 ounces mortadella
3/4 cup whole milk ricotta
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Egg pasta of Emilia Romagna made with 2 eggs and 1 1/2 cups flour
1. Cut the pork loin and the chicken breast into 1/2-inch chunks. Put the butter and the vegetable oil in a small skillet and place over medium heat. Add the pork cubes and cook, turning as needed, until cooked through, two to three minutes. Use a slotted spoon to lift the meat out of the pan and set it aside on a plate. Put the chicken cubes in the pan and cook, turning as needed, until cooked through, one to two minutes. Use the slotted spoon to remove them from the pan and set aside with the pork. Season the pork and chicken with salt and pepper.
2. Coarsely chop the mortadella and put it with the pork and chicken in a food processor. Chop to a fine consistency, but do not purée. Transfer to a medium bowl and add the ricotta, egg yolk, Parmigiano-Reggiano and nutmeg. Mix thoroughly, until all the ingredients are well amalgamated. Taste and season with salt if needed; set aside.
4. Roll out the pasta dough and cut the sheets into 1 1/2-inch squares. Put just more than 1/4 teaspoon of the stuffing in the center of each square. Fold the pasta square in half, forming a triangle, then wrap the two opposite points around the tip of your index finger, forming the shape of a bishop’s hat. Pinch the ends together to seal. As you make them, set the tortellini on a clean dry cloth. Continue the process until all the pasta and/or the stuffing is used up.
Note: Do not refrigerate and plan on using the tortellini within two to three hours. Otherwise, cook them partially, about one minute, then toss with some vegetable oil, cool and store in Ziplock bags in the refrigerator (do not freeze).
Tortellini in broth
6 cups homemade meat broth
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Bring the broth to a boil in a large pot. Collect all the tortellini on one towel, slide them into the broth and cook until the part where they are sealed is al dente, six to eight minutes. Ladle the broth and tortellini into bowls, and sprinkle some of the Parmigiano-Reggiano on each serving.
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