End of the World Menu- Part Two

The second menu from Epicurious.com is the End of the World Disaster.  Depending on how much and how fast you drink and whether or not you hydrate before bed and have to go to work tomorrow it could turn out to be just that as it features three drinks that I’ll arrange in order of destructive magnitude- the Tropical Storm, the Hurricane, and the Earthquake.  There’s also a drink inspired soup/appetizer Bloody Mary with Shrimp and Pickled Vegetables, Fire and Spice Nuts (to encourage more drinking), Iceberg with Bacon and Blue Cheese, Beef and Snow Peas, and Volcano Surprise.

Tropical Storm

(8 servings)

  • 2 cups fresh pineapple juice
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1 cup white rum
  • 3/4 cup high-proof dark rum
  • 3 tablespoons Campari
  • Orange wedges
  • Maraschino cherries

Mix ingredients in a pitcher. Cover and chill for 4-12 hours. Divide among ice-filled glasses. Garnish with orange wedges and maraschino cherries.


(Serves 1)

  • 1 ounce light rum
  • 1 ounce dark rum
  • 1 tablespoon passion fruit syrup
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 teaspoon superfine sugar, or to taste
  • Ice cubes

Mix all ingredients except ice in shaker. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add ice cubes, shake well, and strain mixture into a cocktail glass.

Passion fruit syrup can be hard to find, juice might be a little easier (you would need to use more or make a separate step out of reducing it).  In a pinch you can substitute Grenadine.


(Serves 1)

  • 3/4 ounce gin
  • 3/4 ounce whiskey
  • 3/4 ounce Pernod
  • 3 or 4 ice cubes

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Bloody Mary Soup Shots with Shrimp and Pickled Vegetables

(Serves 8)

  • 32 peeled deveined cooked medium shrimp
  • Pickled vegetables (such as carrots, celery, green beans, or olives)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes in juice
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (or more) low-salt chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vodka (or, you know, whatever)
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt

Toss shrimp with 1 tablespoon lemon juice in large bowl. Thread 1 shrimp and 1 vegetable on toothpick. Repeat with remaining shrimp and vegetables. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Place tomatoes with juice, green onions, 1/2 cup broth, Worcestershire sauce, vodka, horseradish, celery salt, and remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice in blender. Cover; blend until smooth. If mixture is too thick, thin with additional broth by tablespoonfuls. Season Bloody Mary mixture to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to pitcher, cover and chill.

This tomato-Worcestershire-vodka soup gets served in shot glasses for fun. Garnish each with shrimp-vegetable skewer. Serve remaining Bloody Mary mixture and shrimp-vegetable skewers alongside.

Skewers and soup can be made 1 day ahead. Look for the pickled veggies near the jarred vegetables in the supermarket.

Now that you’re thoroughly smashed, some food below the fold.

Fire and Spice Nuts

  • 2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (preferably chipotle)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 cups pecan halves
  • 2 cups walnut halves and pieces
  • 2 cups raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup matchstick-size strips crystallized ginger

Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in center of oven, preheat to 225°F. Line 2 heavy large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Stir first 7 ingredients in small bowl to blend. Whisk egg whites in large bowl until foamy. Whisk in spice mixture. Add pecan halves, walnut halves and pieces, and raw cashews; toss to coat completely. Sprinkle sugar over and toss to coat.

Divide nut mixture between prepared baking sheets; spread nut mixture in single layer. Bake until nuts are toasted and coating is dry, stirring every 20 minutes, about 1 hour 20 minutes. Sprinkle nuts with salt to taste, if desired. Transfer nuts to large bowl. Mix in crystallized ginger. Cool completely.

Five Spice powder is ground anise, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, and ginger. These will keep for a week before serving.

Iceberg Wedge with Warm Bacon and Blue Cheese Dressing

(Serves 6)

  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1 cup coarsely crumbled blue cheese
  • Buttermilk (optional)
  • 1/2 pound thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large head of iceberg lettuce, cut into 6 wedges, each with some core attached
  • 1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced

Mmm. Bacon.

Mix first 4 ingredients in medium bowl. Add blue cheese and stir until well blended. If too thick, thin with buttermilk by tablespoonfuls to desired consistency. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat until golden brown and beginning to crisp. Arrange lettuce on plates. Spoon dressing over. Using slotted spoon, transfer warm bacon from skillet onto salads, dividing equally. Garnish with red onion.

Beef and Snow Peas with Panfried Noodles

(Serves 8)

  • 2 (9-ounces) package fresh Chinese-style noodles (or 8 ounces dried noodles)
  • 4 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • 11 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 pound snow peas, trimmed
  • 6 scallions, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons minced peeled ginger
  • 2 pound flank steak, thinly sliced across the grain

Cook noodles according to package directions, then drain in a colander.

Stir together oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch, and water until smooth.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add noodles to skillet, pressing them with a rubber spatula to form a cake, and cook until underside is golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip cake over and drizzle 1 tablespoon oil around sides of cake, then cook until underside is golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer noodle cake to a cutting board and cut into quarters.

Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a wok or 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it begins to smoke. Stir-fry snow peas with a pinch of salt until bright green, 1 to 2 minutes, then transfer to a plate. Add 2 tablespoons oil to wok and stir-fry scallions and ginger with 1/4 teaspoon salt 30 seconds. Add half of beef and cook, undisturbed, 45 seconds, then stir-fry until beef is just browned, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to plate with snow peas. Add remaining tablespoon oil and cook remaining beef in same manner.

Stir sauce mixture again, then add to wok and bring to a boil. Stir in beef and snow peas, then serve spooned on top of noodle cake.

Volcano Surprise with Lemon Mousseline Cake

(Serves 10 to 12)

Lemon mousseline cake

  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup potato starch (3 to 3 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (for buttering pan and platter)

Volcano filling

  • 1 quart vanilla ice cream
  • 3 tablespoons cognac

Soufflé mixture

  • 8 egg whites from large eggs
  • 4 egg yolks, beaten with a fork
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • Hollowed-out shell of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar, for dusting the cake

For flambé

  • 1/3 cup warm cognac

As you might expect from a Jacques Pépin recipe, this one is complicated. It’s basically a Baked Alaska and the important part is that it all be very thoroughly frozen before it gets souffléed and popped in the oven. As near as I can tell there should be no visible ice cream (What? You think I’ve tried this? I can barely make a regular cake.).

To make the lemon mousseline cake:

Put the egg yolks, sugar, grated lemon rind, and vanilla in a bowl, and mix well with a whisk until smooth and thick. Add the potato starch and flour, and mix with a whisk.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until firm. Add about one-third of the egg whites to the egg-yolk mixture, and mix with a whisk to lighten the batter. Fold the remainder of the egg whites into the batter. Pour the batter into a buttered 9-inch springform pan.

Bake on a cookie sheet in the 350-degree oven for approximately 35 minutes. The cake should be nice and puffy as it comes out of the oven. Let cool in the pan in a warm place. The cake will shrink slightly but remain moist and spongy inside.

Prepare the base of the volcano surprise:

Butter the center of a round ovenproof platter and slice the cake horizontally into four layers. Place one of the cake slices on the buttered platter. Spoon the ice cream onto the cake slice, mounding it in the center, and smooth with a spatula.

Cover the top of the ice-cream mound completely with cake, breaking the remaining slices of cake into large pieces, as needed, to make them fit snugly and over the filling entirely. (Any leftover cake can be frozen for future use.) Sprinkle the cognac over the cake. At this point, the dessert can be placed in the freezer while you prepare the rest of it.

For the soufflé mixture:

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until firm. Meanwhile, mix the egg yolks and the vanilla in a separate bowl with a fork just until blended. When the egg whites are firm, add the sugar fairly quickly, and continue beating with the whisk for another 15 to 20 seconds to incorporate it. Gently fold the egg yolks into th egg whites with a spatula. Spoon some of the souffé mixture on top of the ice-cream cake, and smooth and round it into a conical shape.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. You should have approximately a 1-inch thickness of the soufflé mixture on the cake, with the soufflé higher in the center. Spoon the rest of the soufflé mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a fluted tip, and make a spiral decoration all around the bottom of the volcano. Continue decorating the cake as you like with the remainder of the soufflé mixture.

Embed the hollowed-out half-lemon shell in the center of the top of the volcano. Work quickly, so the ice cream and the soufflé coating remain firm. Bake in the 400-degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes. The outside of the cake should be nicely browned, and it should be just set inside.

To serve:

As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, sprinkle it with the confectioners’ sugar, pour the warm cognac into the lemon shell, and ignite it. Bring the dessert to the table immediately. Spoon the flaming cognac onto the cake. using a spoon, not your fingers. Scoop some of the soufflé, cake, and ice cream onto individual plates, and serve.

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