My head has finally stopped spinning after the decadent Friday evening that was Botany in the Limelight at Peace Tree Farm. I can't really put to words how much fun I had putting this dinner together. I simply love bringing passionate people from the farming collective together and showcasing their amazing products. Its a real dream for a cook. That being said I have been getting a lot of recipe requests from guests and since I believe that cooking is a lifeskill that everyone is entitled too, I want to share some of my recipes from the dinner. Within all of these recipes, I would like to point out the importance of freshness in the ingredients. My food is good because I use top quality local products for my dinners. It is vital that the ingredients you use be of sound practice. The finest quality beef, dairy and produce make all the difference.
One of my favorite features of the dinner was our live salad bar from the green house. Alex cultivated all of our greens for that evening in the green house and we did not harvest until we were about to plate. We used a mix of pea shoot and spring mix as well as baby herbs like thai basil. Most greens that we get this time of year have been shipped out of from California and are at least 5 day old. The freshness makes all the difference!
I have also been asked how I put this menu together in terms of coursing. I love the tradition of ending a meal with cheese. I was taught this by many french chefs and always find that I experience the cheese more fully after a well balanced meal. Here are a few of my favorite recipes from the dinner:
Recipe Round Up
Spicy Ginger Simple Syrup
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
Combine sugar, red pepper flakes, ginger, and 2 cups water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat, cover, and steep for 30 minutes. Strain ginger syrup into a jar. Serve with seltzer or whisky, or both...
Alex's French Breakfast Radish with Fresh Butter
a dozen french breakfast radishes
1 pint good heavy cream (I used seven star farm)
salt to taste
In a mixer, mix cream on high, past the point of whipped cream, about 5 minutes. Roll radishes in salt and then spread a teaspoon of butter atop. Enjoy immediately!
4 cups venison scraps
2 cups venison stock
1 cups corn meal
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup lard
1 tbsp herbes de provence
salt and pepper, to taste
In a medium sized pot, boil venison scraps in venison stock. If chunky puree with immersion blender or food processor. Add corn meal and cook until boiled. Add buckwheat flour, lard and seasonings. Scrap into loaf pan and freeze. Cut to serve.
1 pound Puff Pastry
Cut 1/2 inch circles of the puff pastry with a cookie cutter. In a greased mini muffin pan, lay each puff pastry circle into pan creating a little dish. Poke with fork 2 times to allow air to escape. Lay a teaspoon of pate on base of puff pastry and then add a teaspoon of mushrooms. Repeat process till you run our of puff pastry! Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until golden.
Bleu Cheese Pecan Spread
8 oz good cream cheese
2 cups blue cheese dressing
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
4 oz crumbled blue cheese
Beat cream cheese in medium bowl until smooth. Add dressing. Stir in 1 cup pecans and crumbled blue cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread on fresh pears or apples.
16 shallots, cut lengthwise into rings
3 cups vegetable oil
In a cast iron skillet, place shallots. Add oil and bring to a simmer. Stir until shallots are golden. Remove and place on paper towel. Stay crispy for 3 days in airtight container.
Lavender Short Bread
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 pound butter
6 teaspoon lavender, roughly chopped
4 large egg yolk
4 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon flakey sea salt
Cream the sugar, honey and butter. Add lavender, egg yolk and vanilla. Mix till combine. Slowly add the flour and the salt to the wet ingredients. Lay out a piece of plastic wrap and roll the dough into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Freeze for about a half hour. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Remove dough from the freezer, slice, and bake for 7 to 8 minutes. The edges will turn slightly golden. Cool on rack and enjoy with tea or make an ice cream sandwich!
Photos by JOI Photography & Lloyd Traven