Anatomy of an Event: Part Two
Our Anatomy of an Event series continues with Chef David Frakes’ approach to crafting the menu for the event using seasonal ingredients to channel our theme: The Tastes of Winter.
Ingredients of Winter: Rainbow chard, ollalieberry, D’anjou pear
Pickled Estate Baby Beet Terrine
Laura Chenel Cabecou, focaccia croutons, mâche
Russian River Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir, 2012
For the Rosé I knew we would need something that was very light on the palate, especially with regards to the amount of acid and salt in the dish (because too much of either can wash away the wine due to its delicate nature). I chose the beet terrine because I knew the flavors would be complimentary and that the Rosé can handle that very light sweetness the beets offer. The wine is crisp and clean and I wanted the same from the dish….which also worked to give spring a wink and let it know that we are happy it’s coming soon (using mâche from the garden in addition to the pea sprouts also made sense because they are not astringent or peppery which could easily overwhelm the wine).
Celery Root & Garden Leek Chowder
Yukon Gold potatoes, red kuri squash, Black Pig smoked bacon
Russian River Valley Chardonnay, 2010
We had so many root vegetables that a chowder just made sense. I decided this because the weather is still cool and a hearty soup seemed comforting. The leeks, potato and bacon added the other elements I felt the chowder needed, and the Russian Rivery Valley Chardonnay can handle a dish with a little cream in it which can lend to a smoother mouth-feel.
Local Organic Lamb Shank
Braised in Pinot Noir, garlic & rosemary, salsify & rainbow chard gratin,
Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, 2010
Quail Hill Vineyard Block 10 Pinot Noir, 2011
The lamb shanks came from Superior Farms which is not called that unintentionally. The meat is rich in flavor and has no antibiotics or hormones added. Because it is winter after all, the entrée needed to be comforting as well. Meat and potatoes will always provide that feeling of comfort, but what meat, and which potatoes? I wanted to use the salsify somehow so I decided to layer it in the gratin with the potatoes. The cream needed to cook the gratin was a great way of infusing a plethora of herbs from the gardens…including lemon thyme, creeping golden marjoram, rosemary and bay leaf.
Moro Blood Orange Ice
The intermezzo was a way to highlight one of my very favorite seasonal flavors: blood orange. I could have used any other citrus to create a palate cleanser, but the mild acidity in the blood orange just offers so much flavor. Using a sprig of chocolate mint was another way of showcasing one of our 10 varieties, and the pistachio praline was added just for that light crunch providing some texture.
Poached D’anjou Pear & Pecan Frangipane Puff Pastry
Olallieberry coulis, feijoa syrup
Poaching the d’anjou pears in the Chardonnay with spices seemed like a great way to highlight both the pear and the wine and it allowed me to color the plate with the fruit sauces because the pear would appear white as opposed to brown if I had caramelized them. I definitely am a visual chef and the fruit sauces are some of the most unique and flavorful I have ever made which had a lot to do with me wanting to share that with our guests. The fact that olallieberries and feijoas grow here is just another amazing thing that I get to witness.
Ultimately, it was a great event which has helped to inspire me even further with our future menus. I look forward to sharing those soon.