The Beet, The Whole Beet and, Nothing But The Beet and, Thats The Truth
This dish is a way of looking at a beet and seeing everything it has to offer. The main component is a roasted candy stripe beet. and it is glazed in a golden beet and black berry gastrique. The gastrique was seasoned with carraway and citrus an thickened with xantham gum. On the plate every part of the root is prepared, the leaves, skin, juice, meat, cooked, and raw. It was finished with chervil and orange rind.
Recently we were invited to do a dinner at Paradise Farms in Homestead Florida. The best way to describe what Paradise Farms is its a smaller more hippy version of Chefs Garden in Ohio. They grow everything from vegetables, lettuces, herbs, flowers, to star fruit and squash. My Favorite part of the day was being able to just go out and forage whatever we wanted to use for that nights menu.
We were paired up for the dinner with the Chef team from the Loews Hotel headed by Frederic Delaire. Jacob and I tag teamed the first course. We tried to use as much products from the farm as possible. The dish was a modern take a generally basic dish of “Tuna Nicoise”. Classically Tuna Nicoise always includes tuna, whether the tuna is poached, seared, or raw. The vegetables can array from; lettuces, artichokes, tomatoes, Haricot Verts (french green beans), potatoes, olives, herbs, sweet peppers, and more. There is usually a hard boiled egg and a vinaigrette of just lemon and olive oil. With so many options of what to do it was really hard for us to stop adding ingredients, especially with all the great items we got to forage before the dinner. This is what we ended up doing (imagine plating 55 of these at one time)
The tuna was presented in three different preparations:
Sashimi Yellowfin Tuna
Raw sashimi style with coriander salt
Smoked over moss and spices
Tuna Rillette Confit, slightly cured and poached SV in olive oil and aromatics in order to obtain the same texture that you would get from duck confit. This was pulled and folded with a fine’ herb aioli and sliced Haricot Verts (from the farm).
Other Components Include:
Organic 63C Egg Yolk Jam (Yellow sauce on the plate and Paradise provided the eggs)
Egg Yolk crumbs
Eggwhite and citrus Mousseline
Nicoise Olive Emulsion
Nicoise Olive Crumbs
Meyer Lemon Puree
Arugula, Mustard Greens, Borage Flowers (all from Paradise)
The second course was a local snapper ceviche with a really interesting presentation where there was sangre de tigre in one part and the guest was instructed to pour the juice over the snappper and enjoy in the the other cup (these were one time use and throw away after the dish was served). Kind of an interesting choice of service vessels since this was a dinner on an organic farm where everything that was not served on a plate was sent to compost for fertilization, and we were not allowed to use any land animal meat at all for the dinner including snails for the risotto (next course), but here is the pic.
The next course was one of my favorites and one of Joel’s signature dishes.
Carnaroli Risotto, Chanterelle Mushroom, Forest Floor, and Alba White Truffles
Chef Joel went around to each guest and shaved fresh white truffles onto each of the risottos. This pic only shows what goes under the bowl of rice and we placed hot rocks into the moss and aromatics then poured an mushroom and herb tea so the steam reminds the guests of the “Forest Floor”. Also he foraged nasturtium leaves, dollar leaves, and wood sorrel.
This was an awesome experience and I want to thank everyone that works and volunteers at Paradise Farms, the Chefs from the Loews Hotel and all the diners.
Last night was a dinner that I have been waiting for a few months to cook. We had 35 of the best guests from the local Cobaya diner group. Cobaya is a name for a guinea pig in latin america and this name suits the concept of the diners perfectly. They go around about once a month to another location eating a ‘underground’ dinner either at a restaurant, or art gallery, wine cellar, etc. There were a lot of Miami biggest foodies like TheChowfather, who is one of the organizers and the cities premier food blogger, with his partner Frodnesor but, the biggest name of the night is the host of Travel Channels Bizarre Foods, Andrew Zimmern. The whole camera crew was there throughout the afternoon and evening filming for the new season.
We served 8 courses and the dinner was a huge success. I can’t wait until July when it airs. Last time I had a chance to be on a show like this was when Anthony Bourdain came to L2o and I didn’t make it onto the show, even though I was in the kitchen the whole time. I wasn’t able to get a photo of each course but I do have a couple, and a link to flickr where you can see the whole thing (Flickr Link). We wanted to use interesting local produce and seafood. Trigger fish was one we really wanted to serve but is was unavailable (out of season I guess). Jacob Anaya did get some awesome Pumpkin Swordfish and made an awesome dish with it. I had never worked with it before but, it is amazing with the color of orange salmon and an awesome clean flavor. The Uni was harvested from Joel’s hometown in California by a childhood friend. The snails on the risotto are especially awesome, they are small and tender and are fed only basil. For the dessert the strawberries I used were from Dover, FL, and they had an awesome flavor and an interesting torpedo like shape, and the sour oranges were also from Florida.
Cobaya Dinner Azul
Liquid Nitrogen Cocktail: Mint Merengue, Cranberry Mojito
Santa Barbara Uni, Monstera Fruit Sorbet, Fresh Wasabi
Pumpkin Swordfish Tataki, Pickled Pumpkin, Pumpkin oil, Spiced Seeds
“Beetzanella” Beet in Many Textures, Wisconson Bleu Panna Cotta, Brioche, Gorgonzola Snow
Smoked Octopus, Cauliflower-Vadouvan Puree, Burnt Babbaganoush, Crispy Cauliflower leaves
Carnaroli Risotto, Basil Snails, 63C Organic Egg, Chanterelles, Nasturtium, Alba Truffles
Steamed Turbot, Caramelized Shallot Gremolata, Artichokes, Sunflowers, Meyer Lemon Puree
A9 Wagyu Strip, 72hr. Kobe Short Rib, Marble Patatas Bravas, Parsley Root, Castello Vetrano Olive
Whipped Sour Orange Curd, Sesame Toffee Sable, Strawberry in Several Variations, Anise Hyssop, Effervescents
Milk and Dark Chocolate Ganache with Tamari Soy Sauce and Olive Oil
Caramelized White Chocolate Ganache with Passion Fruit and Clove
The dessert was one of the dishes I was responsible for so I will go into a little detail about it. In the center of the plate is a sable butter cookie that is soft and chewy with chunks of toasted sesame toffee folded in. On top of that is a sour orange curd whipped in the ISI with three charges and garnished with a sliced strawberry. Draped over that is a strawberry and lemongrass consomme set with agar and low acyl gellan. The piping around the plate is a strawberry curd that almost tastes like a cheese cake filling. The shriveled up strawberry was cooked sous vide in a strawberry gastrique then dehydrated until it was one third its original size and then re-marinated back in the gastrique to make a sweet and sour flavor and chewy texture. There is a block of raw strawberry that is coated in dextrose, which gives it the same effervescent effect you get when eating a fun dip or pixy stick. A grey pile is on the plate of toasted black sesame seed oil and is to mimic the white sesame seed cookie. The final touches on the plate are anise hyssop, thai basil, and strawberry marinated cardamom shoots.
For some chef this can be a moment of rage or anxiety, but I take it as a challenge. We had a table of 7 guest and two of them had dietary restrictions and shared similar menus. I did not get a photo of each dish but I snapped one of the last savory course for the vegan diner.
I had a chance to showcase some of the beautiful produce that we currently have. Each vegetable or leaf was treated and presented in its own manner in order to showcase its natural texture or flavor. Then to finish the dish a mushroom dashi was poured tableside.
Chanterelle Mushrooms, glazed with olive oil and lemon jus
Raw Sliced Matsutake’ mushrooms
Organic Marble Potatoes, cooked patatas bravas style with a salt crust
Poached Carrot tips, from Sid Wainer
Poached and Seared Hearts of Palm
Garlic Confit in Olive Oil
Purple Mustard Greens
Tableside Mushroom Dashi, Toasted Garlic, Herb, Tamari Soy, Telicherry
Smoked Salmon, Tartare, Chorizo, Red Miso, Radish
Smoked Salmon Hache: Smoked Salmon Finely chopped folded with an aioli of red miso and chorizo drippings, sliced chive
Smoked Salmon and Compressed Radish Terrine
Compressed Radish pickled in ascorbic acid in different shapes and textures
Malabar Spinach Sprout
Compressed Pickled Shallot Ring