For the past year, music aficionados around the world have been celebrating the bicentennial anniversary of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's death Dec. 5, 1791. Wouldn't it be fitting to salute the fine art of music with the sublime art of cooking by giving Mozart a birthday party Jan. 27?
Announce the occasion by sending invitations written on a musical score sheet. For additional interest, substitute some musical notes for the alphabetical ones on the sheet music. For ** example, in the word "come," draw the musical note "e" in place of the letter.
Playing further upon the theme, arrange flowers for the centerpiece in a black top hat and attach a pair of white opera gloves in the rim. Cardboard top hats, which can be filled with a bowl and flower oasis, can be found at many local party shops.
The prelude for Mozart's culinary symphony is an egg, avocado and caviar mold served with crackers. A layer of chopped, hard-boiled eggs is shaped into a musical note, topped with a creamy layer of avocado and frosted with sour cream. The mold may be assembled one day ahead, and then capped with glistening caviar as close to serving as possible.
For the grandezza, present a delicious Austrian specialty, Wiener schnitzel. Marinated slices of veal are coated with layers of grated Parmesan cheese, egg and bread crumbs to make a crust, which prevents the juices from leaking out when the meat is sauteed. To form an effective seal, the coating must stick firmly to the cutlet. To ensure that it does, be sure to dry both
sides thoroughly. Then dip it into grated Parmesan cheese, which provides a good surface for the egg to cling to and add a flavor bonus.
Serve the cutlets with a rice and mushroom pilaf, a favorite green vegetable and a leafy salad.
Orchestrating all the details needn't be a big production. The cutlets can be sauteed until crisp about one hour before serving and transferred to a baking sheet, loosely covered with foil. Before serving, reheat to 400 degrees, uncovered, until cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes.
For the grand finale, take a deep bow and prepare for a standing ovation when the curtain rises on a chocolate hazelnut rhapsody. A feather-light hazelnut cake (almonds, pecans or walnuts may be substituted, if desired) is baked in a jellyroll pan, cut into three strips and filled with chocolate whipped cream.
Before assembling, if you don't have a long, narrow platter, make one by cutting a piece of heavy poster board about 5 by 18 inches and covering it with extra-heavy foil. Or, go to a cake-decorating store and purchase a cake board and plastic ruffling. Frost the cake with whipped cream and decorate it with strips of ebony chocolate.
Egg, avocado and caviar mold
4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
1 small avocado or 1/2 large avocado
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 to 3/4 cup sour cream
2 ounces black, gold or red caviar
assorted crackers and bread rounds for serving
To make the egg layer, stir together eggs, onion, sour cream, salt and pepper until combined.
To make the avocado layer, mash avocado with cream cheese until smooth. Stir in onion, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. To assemble, on a large oval or rectangular platter, spread egg mixture into a musical note as follows: Begin at bottom left of platter. Spread a 5-inch circle. Make the stem up the right side, 11 inches high and 3/4 -inch wide. Make curved part of stem, starting at top and spreading a 1 1/4 -inch arc. Spread avocado layer over egg layer, smoothing the top and sides. Refrigerate until serving. (For other occasions, spread the layers in a 6-inch circle.)
Note: The mold may be refrigerated, covered with plastic wrap overnight.
As close to serving as possible, spread the caviar carefully over the top. Serve with crackers or bread rounds.
Chocolate hazelnut rhapsody
4 eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely ground hazelnuts
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur) or Kahlua
FROSTING AND OPTIONAL GARNISH
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted, for piano keys (optional)
1 cup finely chopped hazelnuts, toasted at 350 degrees