Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Makings of a home cook

A year ago, I had the idea of doing a multi-course tasting menu with wine pairings.  The initial inspiration was a bottle of txakolina that I received as a gift, and wanting to really savor it, I began to dream up potential food pairings.  As I kept dreaming, life moved along at its unrelenting pace, and I had not, until now, found the time (or energy) to make a proper go at it.  I am by no means whatsoever accomplished in the arts of the master chef or sommelier, merely an amateur dabbling in the kitchen, so this dinner was also a test of both my technical abilities and creativity.  Thus, with the table finally set, as it were, I invited a few friends, who were so graciously willing to be my test subjects, over for a small dinner party.

Apple and delicata squash soup
Ameztoi Txakolina 2010
(Photo from J. Khaw)
(Photo from J. Khaw)
Kurodai sashimi, poached enoki, watercress,
soy sauce paste on dashi gelée
Martha's Vineyard bay scallops, abalone mushroom,
uni, ikura, Chinese chive flower

Served with Domaine de Vigneau-Chevreau
Cuvée Silex Vouvray 2010
Truffled maccheroni alla chitarra with truffle butter
and parmigiano cheese
(Prepared by C. Borges)

Served with Chanson Père et Fils Viré-Clessé 2008
Seared duck breast, confit, and cracklings
with sautéed youcai and shiitake-duck rice

Served with Michel Picard "Le Charmois"
Saint-Aubin 2006
From top left: aged gouda, gorgonzola, brie, parmigiano tuile
Rosemary crackers
(Provided by C. Borges, photo from J. Khaw)

Served with Lustau oloroso sherry
Pear poached in a syrup of pistachio
and Angostura bitters

Served with Taylor Fladgate 10 year
Tequila milk punch:
Hibiscus, pistachios, Chinese five spice,
burnt orange, burnt lime, cacao nibs
(Photo from J. Khaw)
Digesting with a nightcap - Aberlour A'bunadh, No. 41
While the experience certainly taught me that I do not have the chops to ever cook professionally, it reinforced my love for exploration in the kitchen. Some things worked, and others less so. By the end, even before the proverbial dust had settled (or perhaps I should say, before the dishes had been washed!), I was already giddy with fresh ideas for the future. 

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