New Year’s Eve at Harvest, a review

Last night, instead of NYE dinner at The Red House, we changed things up a bit and went to Harvest.  Both restaurants are in Harvard Square, Cambridge, but they are pretty different.  Harvest is fancier, the portions generally smaller, but still every bit wonderful and delightful.

I adore Harvest, even though I don’t eat there too often.  I’ve never been disappointed by their seasonal menus.  Although, I think my opinion of the restaurant is slightly skewed.  I took a special one-time cooking class with Mary Dumont, who is Harvest’s executive chef.  The class had a bonus appearance by Brian Mercury, who is  Harvest’s executive pastry chef.  They were both lovely people with infectious personalities and an obvious love for what they do.  It’s hard to dislike food created by them.

Last year, I had kicked myself slightly for not doing NYE dinner at Harvest.  The menu sounded amazing.  As such, I had my heart set on NYE dinner this year at Harvest from the get-go.  And it did not disappoint.

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A Harvest Thanksgiving

I took a CCAE class with Mary Dumont (executive chef at Harvest) and Brian Mercury (executive pastry chef at Harvest) recently.  I couldn’t resist.  I’m quite fond of the Harvest restaurant, even though I eat there very rarely.  It’s a place that’s a little nicer, a little pricier than what I do normally when dining out.  So I think of it as a special occasion place…  although I should probably check out their bar menu one day – I’ve heard good things about it.  I hate to admit it, but this might have been the last time I was there:

https://awesomesauceeats.wordpress.com/2009/03/26/restaurant-week-harvest-review/

As for the class, it did not disappoint.  So yummy! We made hen roulade, stuffing made from brioche/bacon/sage/scallions, a pear-apple crisp, and an indian pumpkin pudding. There was also an appertif made of Processco and some brandy stewed with spices and dried fruit.

Mary and Brian were pretty great.  The class was hands on from the get-go.  When I entered the room, cutting boards and knives had been laid out for student use.  Every student was expected to help.  Many cooking classes I go to is more of a “please volunteer” and demonstration class.  Since I like cooking, it was nice to have the hands-on experience.  On the other hand, I can see that it might intimidate new cooks but Mary and Brian were really supportive so I don’t think anyone was overwhelmed.  Also nice?  Everything had been measured out beforehand, so the flow of the class didn’t feel slow.  We mostly just dumped ingredients into mixing bowls and such.   At one point, we were killing time (waiting for the pudding to finish cooking) so Brian showed us how to make quinelles using one spoon.  As expected my first quinelle was not perfect, but I did get it right on my first try!

I was thinking about making a pumpkin chiffon pie for Thanksgiving because the BFF wants pumpkin pie, but I think it should now be the pumpkin pudding.  I thought it was that delicious. Plus, it will be easy to convert it into a gluten-free dessert.

Brian will teach again in January for a dessert class. Local people! Sign up!  I bet you will have fun.

“Sweet Romance: Dessert Ideas for Two for Valentine’s Day – Join Harvest’s pastry chef to learn to make luscious and impressive desserts for you and your valentijne. Recipes include Rich Chocolate Fondue with Fresh Fruit for dipping, Chocolate Covered Strawberries, Champagne Sabayon Trifle, and Chocolate Cremeux with Salted Caramel Center. Limited to 16.
Sec. 01: 1 Monday, 6:30-9:30 pm. Jan. 14, 42 Brattle St. | $83″

Reference links:

http://www.ccae.org/

http://harvestcambridge.com/