The Burning Beast...revisited

“la cocina del fuego” for fire-roasted food junkies~ or so it is called for this outing…

And so it was, yet another night at the infamous fire pit, savoring the primal moment and cooking our hearts out as if in a land and time from the first dawn of man. Another wonderful and almost spiritual experience cooking over the blistering heat of flame and fire for the elite few who were able to dine there. In this case~ an auction package complete with a 7-course feast cooked entirely over the fire(with the exception of a few garnishes, condiments, and such) wonderful Betz Family Wines, beautiful ambiance and gracious service in a “one-of-a-kind” setting one could only recreate at home on a much lower scale. If you read back through the historic posts of this blog, you will discover various passion filled occasions of cooking over this beast of heat, and each one a bit different. The moods change…the weather presents itself differently…the group chemistry altered…the simple desire to cook the ingredients has transformed…and our evolution of skill as craftsmen working over an open fire has taken place. We learn through our mistakes. We take notes and think about the challenges as a cook when working in this type of kitchen…one without the luxury of space, crew, resources and equipment. We aspire to refine our work and do better as cuisiniers so as to continue to push forward and never settling for good enough, because it isn’t.

We set the stage on the hearth of this grand fireplace and created the extension of the “chef’s table” (in the kitchen) which by the way, was in full overdrive of it’s own last night, ran by our executive sous chef; Jim C. who had some wicked mojo of his own going on. Intimate, cozy, and warm. Exhilarating with passion and focus, the guests ate and drank as they watched this winter inspired menu unfold before them. We were “on fire” as we sweated through each wonderful course with the greatest of care and pride. There is nothing quite like this type of cooking and not one that you see every day, hell…not even once a year for most. I am too fortunate to be able to do this every couple months. Here is what transpired during the 4-hour feast~
For the reception, we passed some fresh baked Gougeres filled with Yellow Buck Camembert and Truffle Oil and some fresh Portuguese Sardines, which were dipped in buttermilk and spicy cornmeal, then fried and served with a little puddle of Yuzu-Fennel Pollen Aioli. Enter the degustation…

Amuse~ Spit Roasted Maine Lobster “Tournedo” with chilled Lobster-Citrus Salad, American Sturgeon Caviar and a Tangerine-Champagne Gelee

Warmed~ Braised Beef Short Rib-Horseradish Terrine, warmed Celery-Walnut Salad, Celery Root Remoulade, Onion Mustard Crème Fraiche and a Fig-Walnut Dressing

Seared~ Diver Scallops & Hudson Valley Foie Gras a’la Plancha, Fire Roasted Apples, Squash Sponge and a Butterscotch Caramel

Barbecued~ Black Bass, with Skillet Roasted Sunchokes, Cipolline Onions, Hazelnuts and a Red Wine Braised Frog Leg-Black Olive Sauce
Hearth Warmed~ Wild Mushroom Ragout, “Kiln Baked” Sweetbread-Tasso Sausage, Salsify and a Potato-Garlic Foam
Plank Roasted~ Douglas Fir Moularde Duck Breast, DF Honey Lacquered, Baby Turnips, Ember baked Fingerling Potatoes and a Wild Huckleberry Sauce
Potlatch Roasted~ American Bison Tenderloin, Cacao Nibs, Brussel Sprouts, Smoked Pecans, Celery Root Puree, and Blackberry-Smoked Chocolate Essence
Grilled~ Hazelnut Crusted Picandou Chevre & Delice d’Argental Cows Milk Cheese, Quince Jam, Preserved Bing Cherries, Poached Pears and Heather Honey

Fire’s Out~ Earl Grey Chocolates


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