Monday, November 10, 2008

A Cocktail Party

Friday night marked the execution of the Hansen cocktail party. As mentioned previously I developed their menu and executed the food as planned. Everything turned out great.

The Hansens are truly kind people. Not only were they extremely welcoming, they were kind and gracious as well. They own a beautiful home with an amazing kitchen! It was a pleasure, more like a pleasant dream to get to cook in such an equipped kitchen.

Throughout dinner people raved about the food. The butternut and apple soup was a huge hit, as were many others!

I prepped extremely long and hard for this event. I wanted everything to be my best work, and really wanted to exceed what the Hansens expected from me. Being that I have not made a name for myself yet, I am always striving to demonstrate my talents to my clients. That will hopefully ensure word of mouth advertising and repeat customers. What better advertising could you do then be at your very best? This is a picture of Irma, Myself and Jessica plating. Irma is a great friend of mine and a passionate cook. She always lends a helping hand when I do an event. Jessica is a culinary student of the Institute of Tech, so it was great to show and inspire such a young cook.
Brenda, standing gaurd next to the beautiful cheese plates.

Plating the course. I did the first and everyone then followed one job each to finish the remaining.
These above were olive oil shortbread, olive oil jam, nicoise olive puree, dried cherries and saffron. Absolutely amazing, salty up front and left a lingering sweet flavor of cherries on the end.
Pumpkin Consomme, Roasted Dates, Creme Fraiche

Brie Mousse, Beet Reduction, Baby Beets Sous Vide, Red Beets sous vide, Candied Apples Sous Vide, Garlic Crostini, apple fennel compote, arugula pudding, micro arugula, olive oil.

They look a little busy but I was happy with the execution and flavors of this dish. I found that each individual component eaten with the cheese alone was very good. All of them together a little bit much, so advised to each one bite at a time individually.

Chilean Sea Bass, Artichokes sous vide, pearl onions sous vide, agnolotti, barigoule, basil, lemon-Parmesan foam, Parmesan tuile.

Not my favorite plating execution. Could have been much cleaner and tighter, but we were rushed at this stage for this dish. There were a lot of components, too many in my opinion. Next time I will simplify. This is pan seared and roasted poussin that had been brined, chantrelle mushrooms, sous vide baby carrots, sous vide cippolini, pomegranate reduction, bordelaise, vanilla potato essence, candied glazed garlic. Carrot oil and powder. Whew... too many things. Sometimes a dish sounds good until you go to execute. Everyone loved this course however, so I believe it was liked. The bird came back with barely even any bones left on the plates! A good sign!

One of my favorite dishes of the night. A true pineapple consomme, infused with saffron, black peppercorns and lemon thyme. Coconut sorbet, caramelized bananas. Delicious!

Highland Farms lamb Sliders, Roasted Garlic Aioli, 4 hours caramelized onions, goat cheese, hand cut fries and Spicy Ketchup.

Milk chocolate creme brulee, chocolate truffles, brioche doughnuts, salted caramel, port poached figs, dark chocolate sorbet. MMmmmmm... good! Perfect doughnuts!

6 lbs of chilean sea bass, extremely fresh!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My next venue

I recently was offered a job for a client to do a dinner party for 24 people. It is a cocktail party that they wanted to serve food with. Well I cannot help myself whenever I cook for clients so I try to create a menu that will help the food to shine. I tried to develop a menu that would pair well with their choice of cocktails as well. I do not drink a lot of martinis, flavored or not, but have a good idea and a great source in Mom. The martini expert.


~Olive Oil Shortbread, Olive Jam, Nicoise Puree, Cherry, Saffron
~Butternut Squash, Apple & Vanilla Shooters
~Bread, Lucero Olive Oil, Balsamic Reduction
~Spiced Pumpkin Consommé, Roasted Medjool Dates

Brie Mousse
Candied Apples, Arugula Pudding, Apple-Fennel Compote,
Garlic Crostini, Red Beet Reduction, Micro Arugula
"French 75"

Chilean Sea Bass
Artichoke "Agnolotti al Plin", Barigoule Reduction, Basil Oil,
Parmesan Tuile, Pearl Onion, Lemon Essence
"Lemon Drop "

Roasted Poussin
Pomegranate Gastrique, Cippolini, Candied Carrots, Carrot Oil,
Caramelized Garlic, Pomegranate Pearls, Vanilla-Potato Essence
"Pomegranate Martini"

Coconut Sorbet, Caramelized Banana, Pineapple Consommé
“Siberian Princess”

Lamb Sliders
Highland Farms Local Lamb, Caramelized Onions,
Goat Cheese, Roasted Garlic Aioli, Pommes Frites, Spicy Ketchup
"Cabernet Sauvignon"

Dessert Trio
Milk Chocolate Crème Brulée, Brioche Doughnuts & Salted Caramel, strawberry oil,
Dark Chocolate Sorbet & Port Poached Figs


Chocolate Truffles, Blackberry Tobacco
These will be all small plates. The clients chose what they wanted and I think they did excellent. This is sure to be a fabulous event. I will keep the pictures posted after this Friday.
My biggest challenge with this event was finding a chef to assist me. Considering this is such a large event for myself to handle alone, I decided it a good idea to ask for some help. But where? To who? Ughh,,, I found a girl still in culinary school to assist with plating and prep and whatnot, but I need some good back up. Something I need to take care of if I keep getting gigs like this.
For this dinner I am introducing quite a few sous vide techinques, and a few other interesting ones. I am using Methocel F50 to create a vanilla or vadouvan flavored marshallow that will be dehydrated and become crispy and floated in the butternut squash soup shooter atop an apple brunoise.
Sous vide will be applied to baby artichokes, carrots, pearl onions, cippolini, all veggies basically. I will be able to cook them ahead at a very controlled temperature to achieve the perfect texture. Then I will glaze them to finish at service. I am also using my vac machine to infuse certain flavors, like marinated olives with garlic, citrus, coriander and herbs.
I am playing with dried ingredients as well, such as carrot and beet powder, marshmallows, cherries, and some others. This should be a lot of fun to get some new practice on techniques. Let you all know how it turns out! I am taking pics along the way......

Carpe Vino Gets 4 stars From Mike Dunne

This past weekend Mike Dunne finally released his review of Carpe Vino in Old Town Auburn. I was waiting to read this because not only are Courtney, Eric and Drew good friends of mine, I have also had the great opportunity to cook their under their direction. They are amazing Chefs, and I have stated before on this blog, in my opinion the best in all of Placer County.

Take a look at the review and don't forget to give them a try before Courtney leaves and the format changes in the dining room....

Carpe Vino on Urbanspoon