(the evening before halloween. costumes encouraged. number 24.)
This was probably the weirdest Secret Restaurant we've ever done. But it was successfully seasonaly appropriate and all the reviews from guests were positive– so we feel justified in having put together a dinner under the absurd umbrella of Belgian/Indian fusion. Belgindian.
Home-brewed brown ale made by our friend Will Boal (who was our guest 3rd-cook on a number of dinners from January-April of this year, and who hosted us on the farm featured in dinner #22), in 22oz bottles.
A non-alcoholic option and also the opportunity to sort of recreate the last dinner's drink– Apple cider hand pressed by our guest Graham, who had made it on a friend's orchard! The same Buffalo Trace bourbon we had at the last SR. Points for us for not finishing it then and restraining ourselves in the interim.
A chinese-style steamed bun, made vaguely orange and pumpkinish with spices. The centers revealed savory pumpkin slam, prepared with oyster sauce and chinese 5-spice. Their creation was a grand adventure, far off the path of the crusty country breads I've been baking. They were delightfully light and tender.
Cippolini onion and garlic cooked lightly in butter, then dressed with milk, covered, and turned off to let the aromatics work. Insane quantities of fresh, local "red spinach" (still green) shredded in the cuisinart. The mixture was then slow cooked on low, with a touch of heavy cream, mexican sea salt, and cracked black pepper to finish. Served with fried paneer cheese.
Chicken of the Woods mushrooms, dry baked to increase their stringy, chickeny quality and to blacken around the edges. Dressed in a yogurt/african curry mixture, then sauteed in butter to rehydrate. Left out to dry again, and finished by broiling with water in the pan to rehydrate once more and crisp at the same time.
Yukon gold potatoes as well as orange and white sweet potatoes, partially skinned and french-fried.
Mussels cooked in a deep, winey broth with parsley, garlic, and onions. Served in a bowl on the side.
House-made, this project spanned the better part of the week leading up to the dinner. I used two giant yellow heirloom tomatoes in "saucing" condition. Also the last handful-size harvest from my backyard cherry tomato plants, one half of a Cox's Orange Pippin, and a whole Red Winesap apple. I used a red cippolini onion and white garlic, red wine vinegar, and plenty of fresh rosemary and sage from the garden. The ketchup was finished with white truffle oil and porcini salt.
Long broccoli stems stripped and dressed in garbanzo pakora batter without its indian spices, and fried up after the frites. Served with a raw green bean, just to be weird.
Ashmeade's Kernal apples from Old World Apples and Jerusalem artichokes grated and tossed with sea beans, dried currants and pickled peppercorns. Dressed with apple cider vinegar, lemon, and a touch of sesame oil.
Chai ice cream
Gary's Meadow heavy cream infused for a day with a chai spice mix that Aria gave me for Christmas last year, and finished with some lo-temp saucepan time steeping Market Spice orange ceylon tea. A custardy finish.
Vanilla/rum ice cream
Heavy cream, vanilla, rum baking liqueur, and white icing sugar. A fluffy finish.
Vegan! Made with flax seeds muddled in warm water instead of any eggs, and canola oil instead of butter. Chopped candied ginger worked in. Stamped with a maple leaf pattern.
Half of a Cox's Orange Pippin, brushed all around with melted butter and brown sugar. Slow baked until pipping hot and just starting to fall apart.