Monday, September 1, 2008

Down the Hatch: Green Chile Dinner Pics

This meal launches our VIP Dinner service at the Cafè.

This menu was inspired by Hatch Green Chiles. I didn't want to beat folks over the head with HGCs but I wanted the food to play off of the experience of the morning at the festival. As much as was possible, I wanted to source my products locally. Here we go...

Course 1: Pixie Stix

Let's just start it off with straight HGC! I gelatin clarified roasted HGC, eye dropped it into tart Granny Smith juice and a sprinkle of wasabi. This was served in a long tube that reminded me of those Jumbo Pixie Stix when I was a kid - you know, the ones where we ate 2 cups of flavored sugar in one fell swoop.

Course 2: Pan de Vida

This is my sourdough shaped into chiles. I've had such amazing success with this sourdough and I owe much of it to hummingbirdkiss at eGullet. This was the first time I made a small bread out of it, normally making batards. It's turned upside down in this picture.

Course 3: Roasted Corn

This was the course I was most looking forward to making. A piñon tuile with a roasted sweet corn panna cotta served with fresh garden tomatoes and a piñon horchata soup.

Course 4: Sushi Nofishi

I pureed HCGs, added a bit of egg white and corn syrup, spread them on a silpat and slow baked at 175F until dry. I then cut them into nori squares, added hitomobore rice, fresh mango and some sodium alginate HGC caviar from my gelatin clarified batch. It would have been more visually stunning if I had used my non-clarified chile. And here is the nori by itself - beautiful:

Course 5: Tuna Tempura

I'm starting to have fun now! I wanted folks to expect the fish tuna, but instead I took prickly pear tuna. I seeded them, stuffed them with chuchupate, an indigenous herb infused into local honey, white chocolate and topped with blueberries. I tempura battered and fried them. They were served on top of an oil lamp chimney, which had an Everclear soaked square of green chile at its base. The burning chile gave a brief, but dramatic moment, but what I really wanted was that whisp of roasting chile.

Course 6: Red Sea Caviar

I had many failed trials working on this dish. I ended up with beet soaked tapioca pearls flavored with rice vinegar and soy sauce, set over a soft poached Guinea Fowl egg and a bit of gold leaf for good measure.

Course 7: Bison Under Pressure

This is the only course where I felt out of my element and it showed in the results. Sous vide bison tenderloin pan seared to finish with a molè verde, homemade ravioli with pancetta, parmesan and piñon, a light limoncello butter sauce, and a smear of morel infused ganache. The ravioli was the only self-anointed disaster of the night.

Course 8: Summer Fruit

I roasted some of my garden tomatoes, skinned, pureed, seasoned, gelified every so slightly. I served it with 25-year balsamic (guests said it was lost in the overall dish) and powdered basil oil.

Course 9: Curso Queso

Whiskey cheddar fondue with fried cornbread and microgreens. Just a transition course.

Course 10: Tooty Fruity

Hungarian sour cherry stuffed bao/bun served with lemon chantilly soup and sour cherry geleé cubes. I was afraid that this might be too bulky at this point in the meal, but none came back, so then I was worried that it wasn't enough

Course 11: Tamal Dulce

I re-created my dish from the eGullet Iron Baker Challenge, and made the orange infused masa tamale with mincemeat filling, pan seared to finish, served with sage/agave ice cream (very melted in this pic).

Course 12: Margaritas

A little after dinner drink. I had been chatting incessantly with the Chocolate Doctor, Kerry Beal, on this since I had never made a pate de fruit. In the end it was exactly the finish to the meal that I wanted. Margarita pate rolled in sugar, salt and lime zest.

Thank you to Chris Hennes for these fantastic pics! And thank you to our hosts, Mike & Cathy; and to our expert server, John, and his wife, my sous for the evening, Alysha! All were rock stars!


Manggy said...

(I was following the posts at the eGullet SW forum, but was afraid of sounding dumb...) That is just so wildly imaginative, Rob, you've really outdone yourself. Good job. Same as Larry I've been salivating at the green chile nori technique-- at the same time imagining how I would go about it with a mold and deckle, heh :) Also, I agree that the roasted corn presentation is gorgeous. As opposed to the tuna presentation, which is amazing ;)

How was the ravioli disastrous in your opinion? It looks good to me. Did you use steamed bun dough (man to) or thin dumpling wrapper for the lemon soup? I'm trying to figure out the scale...

Anonymous said...


It sounds like you had fun.

Gfron1 said...

Thanks Otta and Mark. Mark - I used steamed bun dough from Amernick's book. They were about the size of a golf ball before they expanded in the steamer. I had a huge steamer so I put all of my tamales in the bottom tray and the buns in the top tray. The ravioli was a disaster because it was way under-cooked. I boiled them for about 15-20 minutes and they were floating, but that wasn't enough. Unfortunately I didn't make an extra on those for testing.

bethanyjoy said...

This post almost made me cry to read b/c I could picture you in the kitchen, your excitement and focus as you made/served it all, and/or as you would have told us about it over pudding at church fellowship hour the next day. Congrats. And I love you!