I'm getting much more comfortable with these elaborate meals, and I now view every dish as a potential menu item when we start serving regular dinners. My main purpose is still to show fun and great food to folks in our area since we have slim pickins (see previous rant).
When I design tasting menus, progression/transition is the foremost thought on my mind. I regularly will have 20-30 more ideas than end up on the menu because they just don't fill a slot in the progression. And its also very important to me to find the right home, the right hosts, the right dishes, etc...to make the meal perfect. This meal was the closest I've come to what I was shooting for. I'll point out the weaknesses as I describe the dishes.
Not really a course, but I made purple potato chips sprinkled with vanilla powder and asparagus dust for folks as they gathered.
For the dramatic beginning, I modified a technique of Achatz. When guests arrived the tables were dressed only in white cloth with one spoon and one water glass. Then, in silence, I had the staff roll black vinyl sheets on to the table creating a stark black table top. Next, another staff walked out with one set of items (enough for everyone at the table) and I told staff to think Jackson Pollock and to simply place the item on the table in a way that makes them happy. Staff processed one by one adding items until all of the items were on the table. Finally I walked out and wrote in olive oil jam "Welcome" and "Fall." On one table I added "Happy birthday" for a birthday boy. The finished product was stunning.
I'll try to remember everything that we put on the table. The idea was that this would be their menu - each item eluding to something later to come.
In the foreground was a shot of Hacienda de Chihuahua dos años sotol tequila - possibly the best tequila I've ever tasted. Above that are organic local rose petals and local bee pollen. The whitish balls are lemongrass/coconut croquettes. The semi-transluscent pouch is a rosewater leather pouch filled with Jade Pearl Green rice that I puffed. I added dried cherries.
Continuing on...the brownish things below are salmon skin cracklin', to the right in a large geleé of cucumber topped with squid ink and bottarga.
Somewhere else in the picture is a terrine of yuzu macerated melon, sunchoke chips with curry, and manchego puffs.
And while it has been done to death elsewhere, I was safe in guessing that carbonated grapes would be making their inaugural debut in Silver City.
Alright - enough messing around. Time for some real food! Sunchoke soup with sweet potato gnocchi finished in browned butter with roasted pumpkin paper. Drizzled on were parsley oil and lapsong souchong oil. (Sorry for the bad pic) This was also the debut of my new lotus dish.
This was a chance for me to play with my new toy.
18 feet of continuous sweet potato strip!
I also made roasted pumpkin paper which I then ran through my computer printer with edible ink to print a poem - then forgot to get a picture of it.
Next was a variation on my previous avocado dish. This time we only served half a dipped the bottom in the coating. It was served on a basket of fried carrot threads, pork hibiscus adobo, and drizzled with prickly pear tuna tequila sauce. The sauce could have used a little thickening.
A while back I made a hot chocolate (more savory than sweet) with a salmon marshmallow which was surprisingly good. I re-envisioned that combination here with salmon crudo set in cocoa geleé with yellow tomato, goat cheese, red bell pepper, cucumber and mango. That was all set on top of a purple potato pedestal and savory lemon pudding.
For a bit more fish I had fresh hamachi flown in.
My fish processing skills need some work, but I managed to get some nice fillet off of this beautiful fish. That resulted in a pan seared hamachi set in pineapple broth, with muscat soaked melon and garnished with a purple seaweed/salt.
And finally the dish that inspired the whole meal - rabbit leg tempura. I sous vide cooked the rabbit legs for 10 hours, then finished with a quick tempura fry. These were set on top of a basket of fried carrot threads with banana pudding and banana foam, parsley and carrot dust and fried pumpkin seeds.
Some of you might not enjoy seeing this but...
The rabbits were harvested on Friday morning and and I processed them on Friday night. I had never done this before and became quite proficient at maximizing the meat, especially the long, tender loin. You can see in this pic how tired I was on Friday night.
And the final entree: Rabbit vin jaune, Israeli cous cous and fried shredded rabbit. The sauce is morel with vin jaune wine.
Now to slow things down and refresh the mouth a bit of cucumber sorbet served with tempura fried prickly pear tuna and black currant paper.
Our first dessert was a combination of salted coconut lime stick rice, chilled melon balls and necatarine basil compote.
And finally, two chocolate mousse - one flavored with my nocino liqueur and the other with Kahlua, and decorated with pistachio flags.
And that's that. Another meal under our belt and I think one of the better progressions. I hope our guests enjoyed.
BTW, just for Larry and Mark - here's one more toy that I bought for the dinner:
Dual tank, digitally controlled water bath - a great eBay purchase.
Swiss Alps Bakery – Albuquerque, New Mexico
5 days ago