The date for the 9th annual birthday dinner for She Who Must Be Obeyed had been chosen months ago. Two weeks before that date, it was decided that the web site for Secret Internet Project (post to follow, I promise) would go live on May 1. My menu planning up to that point had been no more definitive than “scallops, carrots, maybe beef?,” so, with my brain screaming “May Day! May Day!” the entire time, I finalized a menu I’d be able to bring together in between answering tech support emails and identifying bugs for the programing team.
My goal every year is to not repeat any dishes from previous menus, but we’ll take is as given that we began with my traditional charcuterie board (representative photo here). It was accompanied by a lambrusco:
Also known as elBulli #1136, this was prosciutto consommé with suspended cantaloupe juice spheres. I got to use a new toy – a superbag – to clarify the ham stock and melon juice, as well as an old toy to make the spheres.
Egg, salt, pepper
Sea scallop crudo with shaved cured egg yolk, viking smoked salt, urfa biber pepper, olive oil, and chive. Served with a 2012 Peter Lauer Reisling “senior,” a crisp, mineral-y white that She Who and I had sampled at a tasting dinner.
Coffee, yuzu, pesto
Coffee-roated carrots with yuzu crème fraîche, carrot ribbons, and pesto made from the carrot greens. The coffee roasting technique is from Daniel Patterson of Coi restaurant, but the plating and garnishes are lifted from Journeyman.
Potato, mushroom, onion, garlic, marrow, bordelaise
Sous vide-then-seared beef tenderloin, potato mille feuille, grilled king oyster mushroom, spring garlic, pearl onions, bone marrow sauce, and bordelaise syrup. Served with a 2010 Domaine du Vieux Lazaret Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
From left to right: Hudson valley Kunik, candied walnuts, Humboldt Fog, membrillo, Jasper Hill Landaff. Served with homemade black pepper brioche.
Meyer lemon, single malt
Although I’ve baked this cake before, She Who took pity on me and made it while I mumbled incoherently about authorization tokens and GitHub repositories. Bourbon-soaked Meyer lemon marmalade cake with bourbon butercream icing, single malt vanilla ice cream, and a Côte de Pêche cocktail. (Homemade marmalade, Elijah Craig bourbon, cocktail recipe wheedled out of the bartender at Má Pêche.)
The meal went off without a hitch: no absurdly long waits between courses, and no forgotten plating elements. As my more athletic friends say, “Plan the dive, dive the plan.”