While this week has started out on the slow side, there have been no major problems, so there are no complaints to address today. Lucky you.
Wednesday night's prix-fixe menu was a hearty one. The starter was a sort of faux guacamole crostini, with broccoli standing in for the avocado. It was topped with a slice of fresh mozzarella, and while I was not in good enough standing to get a sample taste of the finished dish, I imagine the combination was acceptable.
I don't know where Kevin comes up with some of these ideas of his, to overcook broccoli - on purpose! - and mix it with roasted red peppers and onions to make a spread for crostini? Did he read about it in some on-line cooking column? "Help! I overcooked tonight's broccoli and I don't have time to make soup. How can I salvage it in time for our dinner party in 15 minutes?" I have no idea.
This appetizer was followed by St. Brigid's Farm beef stuffed with aged provolone cheese, spinach and pine nuts.
For this dish, Jay pounded thin the cuts of round roast, filled it with the stuffing and folded the meat into a sort of turnover. I only wish I had seen one cut open, with the filling oozing onto the plate.
I did not get a picture of the angel food cake with strawberry sauce that was offered for dessert.
There is other food news to report. I know I already posted a picture of the soft shell crab from Friday lunch, but here is another one, posed as a sandwich:
We hope to get more of these summer favorites on Tuesday, from Chester River Seafood. I'll be sending out a tweet if we get them in @Brooks Tavern.
Not everything that comes into our kitchen goes out into the dining room. Some stay with us. Like this pan of roasted lamb's quarter I made for our breakfast the other day. Apparently, roasting leafy vegetables, like you do asparagus, is all the rage in trendy dining cities like NYC, but here in Kent County we settle for roasting weeds. Usually I like to steam this green, but the oven method was actually pretty tasty - dressed with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and put in a hot oven for just five minutes or so, resulted in crispy leaves and perfectly cooked stems. Mixed with rice and with a fried Reed egg on top, breakfast was served. Don't you wish you could share that meal with us, here in the BT kitchen?
Another example of something which won't be leaving the kitchen today is: which biscuit pictured above? Yes, that would be the one on the right. The one that was in the first batch Cherelle made this morning, for strawberry shortcakes, that came out flat and heavy as bricks. Oh boy, was Cherelle upset. Kevin quickly surmised what the problem was - she forgot the leavening agent. I wrote a new name on the recipe, erasing "shortcakes" and putting "Baking Powder Biscuits" in its place. That being said, the heavy and dense version, while not at all suitable for short cakes, will probably not go to waste. With plenty of butter, they were similar in flavor (and texture) to a Maryland Beat Biscuit, of which I am quite fond. And seeing as the choice for dinner around here is weeds or tough biscuits, I'll take the latter...
Karen Dize celebrated a birthday last week at Brooks Tavern, and her husband Ben very thoughtfully arranged a special meal for her. The request was for lobster, and lobster they got. First course was the claws and knuckles, served with drawn butter in a very easy to eat wrapper of brick pastry. The tail was served as the entree, spread out on the plate and sauced with lemon butter sauce and the lobster roe. Not a bad way to eat lobster, and certainly an elegant birthday dinner!
Another of Kim's pigs from her Black Bottom Farm in Millington found its way through our back door, and a large portion of this 50 pound animal found its way into porchetta, which was our meat special over the past weekend. (I did take a picture of it actually plated, but it was so blurry as to be unrecognizable as food, so I won't share that.) The resulting meat was perfumed perfectly with rosemary, and while some may have found the fat under the crunchy/chewy skin a little disconcerting, others wiped their plates clean with their bread. What a way to prepare pork, eh?
These beautiful berries, direct from Redman's Farm down Route 20, are what we are serving this week for our fresh berries, and tonight as shortcakes. Tomorrow several quarts will find themselves in a jam pot as we prepare our annual batch of summer-in-a-jar strawberry jam. I really don't think there is much greater pleasure in January - or anytime, really - than a warm biscuit with plenty of butter and real strawberry jam slathered on top.
Bill also brought us in a case of fresh peas! These have already been shelled, blanched and quickly frozen for Kevin to bring out as a special garnish on special dishes. Last year they went in a crab pasta that was an immediate hit, but who knows where they will appear this summer. All I know is that I haven't had any.
And what is this? Some of you may recognize this dessert, which is making its debut appearance at Brooks Tavern tomorrow at lunch. There's a bit of a story behind it (of course). Chocolate bread pudding, made from a batch of burger rolls that were made with the wrong amount of flour. Perfectly tasty as bread pudding, but not so much as sandwich rolls. This recipe - which I doubled! - uses 32! egg yolks. Not too rich, eh? but very tasty. Of course I had a hard time cutting the portions small enough, so I think we will recommend this as a "share" dessert tonight.
I'm running a bit late, as I finish this Thursday post at 4:30 on Friday afternoon, so, Peace Out!
And keep dry!