Tuesday, August 20, 2013

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 True story. 

 We're sending passed apps during the cocktail hour of a rehearsal dinner last week.  A woman grabs one of my servers and announces, "I am allergic to tomatoes, garlic, green beans and corn, and, oh yeah, I don't do wheat either." 

  Gee, thanks for the heads up.  Don't bother with a phone call the day before, or even a couple of hours before, just announce to us right spack dab in the heat of the service your food phobias and we'll all stop trying to work for the other 47 people in the house right now to focus on your needs.

  Deep in the darkest parts of my mind I imagined myself dragging her by the hair to the alley out back and beating her senseless with the blunt side of my cleaver. Now, everyone put down your collective hands from your mouths because I would never do such a thing.  I don't look good in orange.

 Thanks for listening.

 On the other side of the pendulum lies the customers who trust us.  They will bring 10 or so of their friends and book the Space. (one grand minimum during the week ).  An adventurous group that if there are food qualms, we know ahead of time. Basically, they say to Tim and Vincent, let it rip. You see, we are at our best when set free. 

 We were happy to have such a group the other night.  We started them off with a little Charcuterie
On the left there is Rabbit sausage, in the center our own country ham, and in the foreground house smoked pistachio sausage.  There are also dishes of pickled vegetables.  For the first course, we have a medley of heirloom tomatoes.

 They are garnished with a fried squash blossom, basil, olive oil and  little pearls of balsamic vinegar ( a little molecular gastro trick).  Next we have seasonal Chanterelles paired with Diver Scallops.


That's a sweet potato coulis and sweet pecan dust also on the plate. Yeah, I know, the photo needs to be rotated.  I dropped off my photographer at college the day before so back off.

 Next is the salad course.  It featured "raviolis" (actually raw) made of thin sliced yellow beets filled with goat's cheese, and then endive, apple, arugula, pomegranate and more beets.

For the main course, we used local Rock Barn Pork Flank steak served over chiffonade of Kale, Lardon, red pepper and a sprinkle of corn.

Finally, a peach tart tatin topped with buttermilk sorbet.

We don't do these dinners for money, we do them because after 25 years, we still love cooking. It just needs to be on our terms.  Trust me, there is better value when we design the menu instead of you.  So the next time you have a group of friends and you want to go on a culinary adventure, drop me line and we'll be happy to cook for you. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Pop'n up and Popped Corn

Been awhile, no excuse.

Actually I have three.  Internet at the house out, been busy (that's good), and I've been in a bureaucratic wrestling match with the ABC trying to be properly licensed to do these pop up dinners I've been talking about.  You see, we are able to do private events at the Space Downtown, and we will continue to do so.

What we would like to also do, is to open every now and then with a special menu, like a tasting menu for the first 30 people who sign up, or a family style night of fried chicken and bubbly, or a vertical tasting of seafood paired with wines.  See where we are trying to go?

You know, a little of this

 and this
 and this
Get the picture(s)?

The suits in Richmond apparently don't.  I pretty much verbatim, told them what I just typed above.  Judging by their reaction, they more or less heard something like the following.

What we would like to do is a state of the art meth lab.  Now, I've already obtained the service of four of the areas leading chemists (two of them tenured at the University) in an effort to produce the most pure blue crystal Central Virginia has ever seen.  We of course intend to distribute, and my need for a license is also such that we can serve booze with our impeccable ice.  If possible, could we expedite this license as, I'm sure you can appreciate, I have quite the payroll on my hands and the sooner I get approved and up and moving, the better. What'd think?

Just kidding.  For twenty two years weve always found the ABC to be easy to work with. I think we've just thrown them a curve ball in the midst of some of their latest turmoil.  How many private dining places are there and now who want to open now and then? We'll figure it out. 

So while I'm working on the license and you are awaiting the first episode of the last season of Breaking Bad ( wow, the timing of this blog ), make yourself some healthy popcorn featuring olive oil and nutritional  yeast.

Here's our lineup

That's a cup of organic popcorn ( on sale at IY right now), a tablespoon of cumin, two tablespoons nutritional yeast.  You will also need three tablespoons olive oil, and salt to taste. Line the bottom of the sauce pan with olive oil.  Lay a single layer of popcorn in the oil ( easy here, it will feed four).

 Cover and turn the heat to high.  Add the cumin.

Once we start popping, drop the heat to low. The oil is plenty hot and and we just need to get the whole gang to explode.  Remove from heat and pour into an over sized bowl. Add yeast, cumin, and salt.

You're all set.

Enjoy the first episode of Breaking Bad.

and wish me luck!