(june 2015. number 61.)
As a culminating event at the end of the week of Residency In The Garden, the Secret Restaurant crew worked with Hannon to put together a delightful garden party, with desserts.
Em Young, who was creating visual art around the garden while I worked on culinary art in the tent, showed her textile art on the trees, while the Secret Restaurant team showcased desserts. Lucas, Sofie, and I were joined by Holly Myers, our dear friend and increasingly frequent kitchen collaborator.
In Tandem with the week of lunches, all the desserts came from Elizabeth David's Summer Cooking. They featured fruit we had for free and in abundance from the Secret Garden.
The wine was generously donated by Amity Vineyards, sister company to Union Wine Co., whose wine we've featured in the past. Their owner, Ryan Harms, is a kind man whose sons I had the pleasure of teaching from 2010-14. We served it in this fun, giant 1950s Italian beverage dispenser Sofie and Andrew had found that week!
This dish is more like cobbler than what we think of as shortbread. No cookies, at least. You put raspberries in a baking dish with this, that, and the next thing, then make a shortbread dough that becomes the top of the crumble rather than getting compacted into a ball. The raspberry juice bubbles up in places appetizingly, and the result is thoroughly delicious, tart, buttery dish.
A delicious and bizarre dessert, especially for those of us NOT British, and in the current rather than 1950s culinary landscape. Essentially, you make a ridiculously delicious raspberry and red currant juice-on-its-way-to-syrup, then soak a bunch of crumbly white bread with the crusts cut off in it, in something that will give it shape (we used our longest loaf pan), until it becomes a sort of pink sponge cake.
We used Phillippe's Bread sourdough sandwich bread, raspberries from Secret Garden, and red currants from Ayers Creek Farm.
Tarte Aux Cerises
There are two cherry trees, a sweet and a sour, over in the Secret Garden. In 2013, we had a huuuuge harvest from the sweet, and the sour tasted bad-sour rather than good-sour. In 2014, we had a medium harvest from the sweet, a lot of which was preserved by doing some interesting pickled cherries for tabbouleh. The sour were either devoured by the birds or didn't really happen. In 2015, we had a couple large bowls of the sweet for eating, and a medium bowl more for cooking with. The tart ones? The hugest harvest, in the most gorgeous color I've ever seen, and with phenomenal flavor. Who knew?! I kind of love the mystery, year to year.
This was me making my own cherry pie recipe, rather than Elizabeth's, but a good 60% of it was the same!
Lemon Ice Cream
Holly Myers KNOWS her way around ice cream. One of her jobs is manufacturing ice cream (and designing flavors) for Fifty Licks. We just handed her Elizabeth's phenomenal recipe, and she produced a perfect representation of it. It featured a few unusual techniques (folding whipped egg whites into the near-finished cream, among them) that made us squeamish to try it, but Holly nailed it and it was certainly the best lemon ice cream any of us had ever tasted. We presented it as Lemon Semifreddo, as we had to make more than our small ice cream makers could handle– so we finished it in a large quite ceramic container the old fashion fork-through-the-ice-crystals way. In the end it was was actually quite smooth and so, so remarkably delicious.
Raspberry Stroopwaffel Cone Dishes
Sofie and I found a genuine, old, dutch stroopwaffel maker at Goodwill shortly before this event. For a long time, we've talked about making our own cones for an ice cream dish. Lucas had bought all these freeze dried raspberries to make 'raspberry dust' for the 50th SR, then done a lot of further experimentation with the weird ingredient. He made it again, and blended it into waffle cone batter, then made these dish-cones in the stroopwaffel maker, one at a time. We ran out pretty quickly. They were delicious!
Sand cake is a delicious, basic cake, and one of the only to be found in 'Summer Cooking.' It has a fair amount of almond meal, and the flour is about half cornflour, resulting in the accurate, actually-sandy texture. It was particularly delicious with the lemon ice cream melting onto it.
from a funny online wine merchant website, a fine summary: Ryan Harms has been friends with Myron Redford for a decade and knows he doesn't need to change much from the way Myron had run Amity Vineyards for 40 years. He is still espousing Myron's philosophy of letting the fruit speak for the wine without the interference of new oak and will continue to farm the 15 acres of vineyards under Oregon's Certified LIVE stipulations. He is also continuing to champion the Pinot Blanc grape, as Myron believed it to be better suited than Chardonnay in Oregon. This 2014 Pinot Blanc is the inaugural Amity vintage made by Ryan with a clear nod to Myron's great Pinot Blancs of the past. The nose exudes aromas of fresh juicy peach, pear and a touch of honey. Those aromas continue as flavors on the palate, in a little dialed back way from the super vibrant nose, but still expressing pure, clean, tasty fruit. The wine is light to medium bodied with a cozy, round texture. The finish is almost ever so slightly off dry yet concludes with nice balancing, refreshing acidity. This delicious Pinot Blanc goes ridiculously well with the Honey Bee goat milk cheese with which we paired it for our monthly wine and cheese flight.
No pro-words on this one, but many people throughout the night were to say, "Damnnnn! This is the best Riesling I've EVER HAD!"
Raspberry Water Ice (Cubes)
We made Elizabeth's recipe, but instead of making a sorbet-thing, Sofie had the great idea to make it in ice cube trays, as a treat addition to a wine glass.