viand … 18 august 2007 … annotated menu

1 Amuse: Gorgonzola crostini with seared greens, raisins & pine-nuts… This version is done with kale, but you could easily use other greens, such as chard or spinach. The Gorgonzola is a Piccante, which is from bought at Bay Cities Deli on Lincoln Boulevard, a great source for food from all over the world. S

2 Watermelon salad … Watermelons from Greg at Rocky Canyon Farm, who also supplies our meat. Arugula from Maggie’s Farm. Citrus from Sycamore Canyon Ranch, Ricotta Salata cheese from Bay Cities Deli on Lincoln just south of Broadway in Santa Monica. Recipe from   DV

3 Summer roasted vegetables: The recipe is in the zine. Huge $1 zucchinis from Gutierrez Farm, onions and peppers from Kia Farm.  DV

4 Lamb Tagine taking a nap on a bed of couscous … This recipe never fails to delight. Tagines are known for having lots of flavors melded instead of just one thing that stands out. It has marinated overnight and cooked for 3 hours. I preserved the lemons for one week. T

5 Date & orange salad with feta and pistachios … This sounded like a nice compliment to the lamb tagine. The dates are organic Khadrawy from Bautista Family Ranch in Mecca, CA. The oranges are from Gless Ranch in Riverside. The pistachios are grown at a ranch in Santa Barbara. The feta is a Tunesian style sheep’s feta from Mom’s Products in Stanton, CA.(All vendors at Farmer’s Markets.) S

6 Potato-onion gratin … Starring those buttery Weiser Farms potatoes with three types of onions plus garlic in supporting roles. This dish is meant to be served hot out of the oven but in this weather let's try it cold.  T

7 Radicchio salad… we cribbed this from Barbonet in the East Village in NYC. it was supposed to be radicchio and fennel, but fennel is out of season (summer is too hot for it), so we substituted Persian cucumbers and tarragon, which has an anise flavor. (Radiccio and tarragon from Maggie’s Farm.) Barbonet used pecorino and kalamata olives, but we used our favorite olve, the castel vetrano available from Bay Cities deli, but even better ones can come from Joan’s on Third.  DV

8 Sweet potato on pear with cinnamon feta… this friday we had to find an inspiration for our 5th dish at the farmers market and we were drawn to huge, beautiful sweet potatoes at the Kia farmstand. in order not to make this dish too heavy and wintery, we serve the sweet potatoes on a slice of pear from Jim at Flora Bella farms with some tangy French Valbreso feta mixed with cinnamon. DV

9 Pan seared halloumi with fresh hot strawberry jam … I tossed a pint of sliced strawberries into a pan and cooked until they are jammy. No sugar necessary. A nice pairing with the salty halloumi cheese.  T

10 Vanilla Ice Cream doused with plum & bumble berry coulis … Plums are gloriously in season right now. This coulis is made with three kinds: the deep ruby red Elephant Heart Plum, the lusciously scarlet red Flavor King Pluot (which is a cross of 75% plum & 25% apricot) and the Emerald Baut Pluot, which is has a greenish-yellow skin and yellow flesh. A mix of berries is known as a “bumble-berry”. Tonight this consists of blackberries and blueberries, which lend a nice depth to the plum sauce. I then rounded out the flavor with a balsamic vinegar reduction. S

11 Dessert on Toast … if viand desserts are a bit too rich, we enjoy them for breakfast, spread on buttered toast. Without Parag’s decadent chocolate cake, we made do with Martha Stewart’s brownies. Made with Lily’s eggs, of course. DV

Refresco: “Better than Air-Conditioning”… Pomplemo is an Italian grapefruit soda, which is pretty nice all by itself. I like to make it blush with a splash of Campari, an Italian bitter that adds a nice complexity to this drink. Serve on lots of ice & adorn with maraschino cherry if you are in the mood. S

7.14.07 bastille day viand . “lesser known produce” or … what do you do with THAT?  . annotated menu .

 

0. Entry Ritual/Amuse Bouche … Fig-Pomegranate Tapanade with Chevre on Crostini… growing up we had two fig trees in our back yard. aside from making a terrible mess, they produced the most wonderful fruit (so much we had to give bagfuls away to all our friends and neighbors). unlike traditional savory tapenades whose flavour focuses on the olive, this amuse takes advantage of the sweetness of figs and the tang of pomegranate creating a dense, fruity spread.

 

1 White & Spiked Gazpacho … We have come to associate Gazpacho with tomatoes while in its countries of origin (Spain & Portugal) Gazpacho is traditionally a cold, bread-based soup. Tonights version is inspired by Southwestern Cuisine. It is unusual because it uses mostly green ingredients: grapes, cucumbers, cilantro, scallions, and jalapeno. Almonds & cream provide body and give it a light color.

 

2. roasted eggplant & sautéed lambsquarter. we love roasted eggplant. the secret is use a lot of oil and cook it forever… lambsquarter is a wonderful wild weed. it’s very mild; you can eat it raw (tastes like spinach) or cooked (doesn’t take long!)

 

3. vine leaves stuffed with wild rice and apricots … grape vine leaves are the beautiful wrapper most commonly found in mediterranean cuisine. this particular variant admixes the traditional rice filling with Royal Blenheim apricots and a lovely feta (straight from the greek deli!) to give us a savory, sweet munchie. these particular apricots (and those in the cake below) come from See Ranch in San Luis Obispo and will only be with us for one more week.

 

4. Kristen’s favorite BLD (Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner) sandwiches… Kristen was one of the first people we taught to cook, and this sandwich is her favorite food which crystallizes simple, seasonal cooking. heirloom tomatoes on great bread with a little parmesan (reggiano from Bay Cities Deli), basil leaves from our plants, maldon sea salt, and fresh ground black pepper.

 

5. EGGs&PLANTs …  purslane is another great weed; it almost looks like a succulent. weeds usually contain more intense nutrients than cultivated vegetables, and it helps the farmers to buy them since they grow them for free…  this salad is just hard boiled eggs, purslane, Persian cucumbers. dressing just rice wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

 

6. Pork Loin Stuffed with Figs, Olives and Almonds … Figs are finally in season! This dish is of Catalan influence where the combination of fruit and meat is common. The pork is from Rocky Canyon Farms in Atascadero, CA. You can find their products at the Santa Monica Farmers' Market on Wednesday and Saturday, and the Hollywood Farmers' Market on Sunday.

 

7. Tomato Cornucopia … Picked fresh from the Santa Monica Farmers' Market this morning. Side by side tasting of eight types of heirloom tomatoes: Crazy zebra, green zebra, cal-trans, ox heart, cherokee, persimmon, brandywine and pineapple. The darker the tomato, the less acidic and more sweet. I guarantee this week you'll be at one of the markets looking for your favorite.

 

8. Cheddar Corn Buttermilk Biscuits with roasted peppers …  we learned to make our own butter with raw cream from the farmers market, then wondered what to do with the leftover buttermilk. apparently soaking the flour in the buttermilk makes it lighter and easier to digest. unfortunately hot cows make less cream, so organic pastures was sold out before we got to it today. the biscuits have fresh corn and cheddar cheese from Jersey Hill, a small calironia cheesemaker who sells at the farmers markets.

 

9. Grilled Peaches kissed by Chipotle & Vanilla … Grilling usually does not come to mind when I'm thinking about what to do with the abundance of summer fruit. It offers an interesting taste twist, especially when preparing fruit with spices usually not considered "suitable" for a desert, such as salt and chile pepper. This dressing uses fresh serrano as well as chipotle and green chile powder from New Mexico. (Chipotle is a dried, smoked jalapeno). The smokyness of the chipotle nicely off-sets the sweetness brought to the dish by the vanilla bean and fruit.

 

10. Apricot Raspberry Chocolate Truffle Cake …this yummy dense chocolate cake started as a last minute birthday cake for a friend of mine and has since become my signature. despite that, i've never been able to replicate it. the first time i made it, i glanced through 6 recipes, picked bits i liked and hoped for the best. here's hoping tonight's goes well!

 

 

the viand . spring into summer (or… the triple bacon viand for stevie) . 6.9.07

 

the amuse: bacon & cherimoya. stevie is here tonight, visiting from switzerland. his birthday party and the seattle wto victory/n30 celebration was the very first viand. he loves bacon, so we're serving it three times at this viand. Cherimoya from Oliver at the friday venice farmers market.

 

asian-inspired ravioli: tonight we reinterpret the classic ravioli in cream sauce with won-ton wrappers and coconut sauce. these subtle inclusions from the east bring with them a pleasantly complex texture and flavour.

 

green goddess Salad: this is the essence of green served up in a salad bowl. It is one of my favorite new dressings from the Esalen Cookbook. The magic of the dressing is handfuls of fresh herbs, tempered with a bit of tamari & tahini. I used dill, mint & tarragon, but I find just about any combination of herbs works well. The greens and herbs are all from Maggie's Farm at the Venice Farmer's Market.

 

corn beef: smoked grass-fed beef from Greg at Rocky Canyon meats (Atascadero) and fresh corn, passed through a hot skillet. (not to be confused with beefed corn.)

 

pasta with zucchini flowers these flowers are the precursor to the zucchini fruit. The flowers with zucchini attached are the female while the lone flowers are the male. Tossed together with pasta they make a sweet combination. Zucchini flowers have a very short shelf life and usually need to be used within a day or two of being picked from the plant.

 

bacon, avocado, and tomato sandwiches on our homemade ficelle (mini-baguettes). funky-looking heirloom* tomatoes from Tutti Frutti Farms (Lompoc), Greg's "belly bacon" from Rocky Canyon meats, and avocadoes from the Hollywood Farmers Market.

*(these varieties are family treasures from american farmers)

 

friday morning farmers market salad: i started making this salad on a whim, inspired by the crispest things i found on friday mornings at the venice market: persian cucumbers (this time they're japanese), tart greek feta from ziad at mom's products, organic "snow grown" fuji apples from the mountains east of LA, arugula from Maggie's Farm. we use rice wine vinegar and olive oil as the dressing for this salad, but it's good with balsamic too.

 

asparagus with curry mayo and grapefruit: this adaptation of a Ferran Adrià innovation brings a fresh citrus zing to the lovely texture and subtle flavour of asparagus. by using a curry mayonnaise we imbue notes of spice to give the combination a more complex aftertaste.

 

cheese:  Colston Basset Stilton (cow's milk) Nottinghamshire, UK

 

hand-carried swiss melting chocolate with san diego strawberries from this morning’s Santa Monica farmers market.

 

cherry and apricot clafouti: I first discovered this recipe in a magazine pulled out of the ex-pat library stash in a church basement, while living in Italy years ago. It was a lucky find, because I have been making this dish ever since. My preference is for clafouti with cherries, but it is also very good with plums, and can be made with just about any fruit. Clafouti (sometimes spelled clafoutis), is a custard-like based French dessert that is typically made by baking fresh fruit (traditionally cherries) and a batter, somewhat similar to pancake batter, in a baking dish. Originally from Limousin, Clafoutis apparently spread throughout France during the 19th century. Purists strongly advise against de-pitting the cherries used in a clafoutis. According to them, the pits release a wonderful flavor when the dish is cooked. A traditional Limousin clafoutis contains pits. If the pits are removed, the clafoutis will be milder. Cherries & apricots are from the Venice Farmer's Market.

 

bacon fat ginger snaps: this is a recipe we kept from the New York Times Sunday Magazine --because it has bacon drippings, of course!. our latest life vision is to become our grandmothers, so we begin by saving bacon drippings in a can on the stove... the recipe is from Cathy Horyn for bacon fat ginger snaps, a swedish recipe used in her family.

the viand . annotated menu “layers” . 5.12.07

 

Vertical Pear i've always enjoyed the bite of ginger mixed with the sweetness of fruit. this simple stack can be served as either a palate cleansing dessert or as an amuse that admixes ginger's subtle bite, pear's soft sweetness with the cool and refreshing texture of a yogurt foam.

 

 "un-de-layered" fava beans Favas are important to farmers because they add a lot of nitrogen to the soil. Spring is the season that they can be harvested and enjoyed. But the customary way of eating them requires two peelings. We were thrilled to learn this recipe for eating fava beans whole, pods and all, from Nate Appleman, chef of A16 in San Francisco. Toss the beans in olive oil and broil about ten minutes until slightly charred. Give them a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, and chili pepper or chili oil.

 

one eyed open face(roasted poblano peppers and feta, topped with a fried egg) This concoction started out as one of our favorite midnight snacks. The poblano peppers were harvested in the fall and then frozen raw to be prepared and eaten the rest of the year. We roast the frozen peppers simply by throwing them directly onto the gas flame on the stove. A nice variation to this dish is to add caramelized onions. This is the first time we are serving Jim Lahey’s famous, no knead 10 minute bread at the viand. Check out the video at: http://www.viand.net/doughs.html

 

Tropical Salad of Avocado & Papaya, layered with Greens (brightened by a lime & papaya seed dressing) Whenever I am in a hot and sunny place like Mexico or Hawaii, I find myself eating papaya with avocado for breakfast. The coolness of the papaya plays well with the creamy-ness of the avocado. I choose this refreshing salad to compliment the rich flavors of the Cochinita Pibil. The lettuces are Red Butter and Forellenschuss from Coleman farms in Carpenteria. Buying lettuces from them is like choosing a bouquet of flowers, they are all so beautiful. Herbs and arugula are from Maggie's farms ( see zine article). The avocados are from Laura Ramirez of J.J's Lone Daughter Ranch. They offer Zutanos, Fuerte and Bacon avocados during the fall and winter season. Currently only Haas is available, it is a year round variety. Soon we will be seeing the marvelous big Reeds.

 

Cochinita pibil with pickled onions (Yucatan style pork) Sybs loaned me this recipe she eyed in the LA Times. The marinade is one of the most interesting I've seen lately with a color that is a bright and deep ochre. The color comes from the achiote paste that contains annatto seeds among other ingredients for layers of flavor. Marinated overnight and cooked slow in banana leaves for 4 hours. The onion gets pickled for a couple of hours in vinegar and salt. This recipe is adapted from the dish they serve at Lotería Grill.

 

Trilateral mashed potatoes (yellow, purple, orange yams) The potatoes are from Weiser farms. This dish was imagined as a colorful addition to the layered theme of the viand. We’re as excited as you are to see what it actually tastes like.

 

Roasted Vegetable and Goat Cheese Terrine These seasonal vegetables are from the Echo Park Farmer's Market (Fri 3-7 pm). Layers of roasted red beets, yellow beets, Mexican squash, spinach and herbed goat cheese.

 

Artichoke Asparagus Lasagna with Carmelized Onions and Fava Bean Sauce thoughts of lasagna typically float towards garfield munching down on a heavy concoction of oozing cheese, marinara sauce and some veggies thrown in for texture. in this variation, we focus instead on the complex and subtle interplay of flavours and textures of green vegetables, fava beans and caramelized onions for a lighter stacked treat.

 

Rolled & Tied - Stand Up Zucchini Ribbons - with mint, chili pepper and goat cheese The playful presentation is what originally drew me to this dish. It is featured on tonights menu, because you can find zucchini of all sizes and various colors at the farmer's market right now. I choose small ones, because of the tender and buttery flavor they offer.

 

Mushroom Leek Strudel strudels come in all shapes and sizes ranging from sweet dessert strudels to savory dinner strudels. this sensual strudel holds richly sauteed mushrooms and leeks in a flaky soft crust. sauteeing the mushrooms in a soy, balsamic sugar sauce brings out the flavour of the mushrooms while adding sweet notes to the strudel crossing the sweet/savory boundary.

 

Italian cheese torte  Grasping through time to a cheese shop on Grant Street in North Beach, San Francisco, we resurrect an image from childhood. A very white layered “torte”, traditionally prepared with mascarpone, we used Syrian luban, which we made by draining Pavel’s Russian yogurt through a cheese cloth. Chef D's exuberant culinary spirit insisted on replacing the traditional filling with cherry compote and fresh basil (really he wanted to use marmalade, but our citrus vendor brought cherries this week). served with our home-made flatbread

 

Rhubarb Napoleon baked strawberry, rhubarb, apple crisp has always been one of my favourite desserts. braised rhubarb has a clear and straightforward, but sophisticated flavour. by layering a lightly cooked rhubarb with vanilla flavoured mascarpone and crispy filo pieces to create a wonderfully textured napoleon. Oven-dried rhubarb strips augment the rhubarb flavour and add a further textural element. a mint syrup provides a touch of sweetness to counterbalance the slightly tart rhubarb sauce.