It was our turn to host Can’t Talk, Eating, the quarterly dining club we share with three other couples. Due to scheduling conflicts, we once again had the summer slot, which was the season for our first meal in the series. Not wanting to repeat the “summer harvest” theme of that dinner, we arrived at “summer picnic,” which works for certain values of “picnic.” If you are a person who uses “summer” as a verb, then nothing we served would have seemed out of place.
Gin and Tonic
What better way to start a summer picnic than with a cold G&T? Gin, yellow chartreuse, tonic, and cucumber juice bobas which stubbornly refused to stay at the bottom of the glass. This was a reverse-engineered version of a drink served at Aviary in Chicago.
If you had read my previous post, you would have remembered that I had a few liters of clarified gazpacho. We finally found the perfect opportunity to serve it, topped with some gazpacho foam and garnished with a cherry tomato on a rosemary sprig.
Not shrimp and grits, but grits made from shrimp added to vegetable stock and some freeze dried corn powder, garnished with pickled jalapeños and scallion greens. This is Wylie Dufresne’s recipe from WD~50.
The gazpacho and shrimp courses were served with a Domäne Wachau 2016 Grüner Veltliner.
Fried Chicken, Biscuit, Coleslaw, Watermelon
Buttermilk brined fried chicken coated with a reasonable approximation of the colonel’s secret recipe, buttermilk biscuit, coleslaw, and watermelon-sake slush.
The slaw is actually “cold slaw,” made from carrot juice, red cabbage juice, and green cabbage juice. Gelatin and seasonings were added to each of the juices, which were then frozen, grated, and flash chilled in liquid nitrogen. This technique was developed by Homaru Cantu at Moto in Chicago.
Lamb Belly Two Ways
Seared lamb belly, applewood smoked lamb bacon, pea and fava bean purée, and lamb reduction. If you summer on the cape or the Hamptons, this is still picnic food.
Served with a Ravenswood 2007 Belloni Zinfandel.
Before and After
Golden plum sorbet and a ripe whole golden plum, served as a palate cleanser.
Cake and Ice Cream
Peach and pecan cornmeal upside down cake with peach/brown sugar/bourbon ice cream. It wasn’t until I stared writing this post that I realized we served the same ice cream at the first dinner, a rare lapse of memory on our part. But at least the cake was different. We finished off with a shot of good bourbon, as should any picnic.
We’ve served one winter and two summer dinners. We hope to grab the fall slot next year. Stay tuned.