11.18.2006

Left on a Spicy Note...


This post is about a dinner we just did reflecting the nuances, re-interpreted ideas and thoughts of Argentina, complete with wines and flavors of the Southern region of the Americas. It was melding of local ingredients, modern culinary juxtaposition and interplay of textures and flavors and a pouring of some great Malbecs. These flavors and food styles represent the bold structure that has become commonplace to South America, and one that allures the "tourist" and gourmand alike to the locales. It is one that I myself find intriguing and compelling. The warmth factor alone with spice brings notions of comfort, security, certainty and home. I am always excited to cook foods that allow us to bring out a nature in ourselves that are perhaps not always normal, or at the least, customary, yet perhaps innate. We make a culinary opening statement of an amuse; complete with a washed rind cheese, ok...so it's from Italy, a ripened cow's milk called Stationata. Very buttery and smooth, with a hint of Muenster. It was paired with a smooth silky Rose Hip puree, a bit tart and floral. We nestled a quenelle of Roasted Onion-Fig Jam, a poached baby crabapple, and spiced streusel along it's side. Fun. This is followed by a warm, simple taste of grilled, marinated Chukar Partridge breast, laced with savory and juniper, sliced and tossed in a wisp of Argan oil and placed atop a harmony of tastes and textures...a Pine Nut-Quince Pancake and "Malbec Melted" Cipolline Onions. A fragrant Rosemary essence encircled the galette wafting up aromas of the terroir. A few pluches of Micro Burgundy Amaranth and Fleur de Sel complete the works. Sorry...no picture as yet. Had to tend to the next dish! So, at this time, the "gaucho's" could be heard spreading their cheer and appreciation of the boldness previously aforementioned. It was a true party! We had planned to serve them up in a recognizable fashion...a very hearty, masculine slab of the beast, transported as an offering to the gods...a coffee and chili spiced Tri-Tip of Beef, seared a'la plancha to a charred desire of Aztec proportion and then finished in the oven. Sliced thin and beautifully cooked to a rare completion, it was brought to it's celebratory pedestal by means of a Celery Leaf Chimmichurri, a walnut laced Sunchoke Puree, Crosnes, Oca, and a smooth Chanterelle Flan. All the ingredients were honored by a rich, sensuous pool of sauce, made up of our own Blackberry-Cabernet Vinegar (with nuances of Lemon Verbena), Honey, Ancho Chilies and Thyme. That left you with visions of being somewhere around "del fuego" while watching the fire master slice off rations of the beast being cooked over the blaze. As they indulge in the wonderful Malbec that is poured, we bring out what is probably the most intoxicating and fulfilling of the soiree...the Food of Gods! A tantalizing and captivating piece of art, both for the eye and for the palate. It is a Toasted Brazil Nut rich, dark Chocolate Silk Mousse, with a spicy roasted chili ganache glaze. We have brought this to fruition with a roasted Liberty Apple Jam, Caramel Anglaise, with a thread of Orange, Confit of Grapes, with embedded flavors of Vanilla, Bay and Black Pepper, a Red Wine Syrup and lastly, a Dulce de Leche Ice Cream. Sheer goodness! So, in looking back, the flavors brought together and presented in a perhaps what some would call unorthodox for authenticity, was a success. We endured. We enjoyed. We learned. We conquered. We left them on a spicy note....

and until I can get the photo uploaded...you will have to only imagine the dish.

1 Comments:

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