Tuesday, November 13, 2007

"Celebration of Life" dinner September 8th, 2007

"Celebration of Life dinner" @ the CVI...

In late august I was asked by the Culinary Vegetable Institute to be the chef (menu and food) for a dinner of six people, three doctors and spouses, who gather annually to celebrate life. The dinner took place in the small dining room at the CVI. Here is what I prepared for them:
Amuse course: Sweet Corn Shooter with Butternut Squash Confit, Curry Oil and Micro Chives

Course one: Heirloom Tomatoes with Frisee, Tempura Baby Orange Cauliflower and Wasabi Creme Fraiche

In the photograph on the left, you can see white sheets of paper I use to map out the plating for each course. These read a little like a recipe in that they list ingredients, garnishes and particular instructions in addition to a hand drawing of the food. This is chef Greg Bastien assisting.


Course Two: Sauteed Trumpet Royale Mushrooms with Vanilla Bean Oil, Carmellini Beans, Parsley Coulis, Petite French Breakfast Radishes and Baby Tatsoi
(Carmellini Beans, named by the Chef's Garden for Andrew Carmellini, are tiny haricots verts)
Course Three: Seared Sea Scallop with Purple Potato Mousseline, Reggiano Parmesan, Balsamic Reduction, Potato Crisp, Anise Hyssop and Micro Oregano

Course Four: Seared Tuna with Baby Dragon Carrots in Szechuan Glaze, Braised Exotic Baby Kale, Pickled Baby Red Onions, Fennel Pollen and Petite Bronze Fennel
(I seasoned the tuna with taragashi, grains of paradise and fennel pollen before searing.)

Here is Greg helping plate the tuna. Notice the wine glasses
in from of him. We tried a taste of the wines course by course.

Course Five: Goat Cheese Ice Cream with Fraise du Bois, Balsamic Syrup, Mint Salsa Verde, Coriander Tuille, and Grains of Paradise. (Grains of Paradise are a unique spice from the Congo, I believe. They have two tastes: one, very much like black pepper; and a second, distinctly floral. I have a pepper mill full of these and use them like pepper, but achieve more flavor dimension). I served a watermelon palate cleaner between the tuna and the dessert courses. The guests were a lot of fun. I really enjoy interacting with small groups.