Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Weekly Update

I asked one of our British regulars why they thought there was so much fuss about a royal baby, and they replied that it is much worse here in the colonies even than it is in England!  Funny, that.

Anyway, too much going on here, and I've got a lot of pictures this go round, since I studied the camera manual a bit, after my massive failures last week.  

We'll start with an employee update.  Eric, our walk-about cook who left the kitchen a Tuesday or so ago, without a word, never to return, came in for his paycheck yesterday during lunch.  His explanation - the job wasn't worth doing for $10 an hour.  Our response to that - we pay what you are worth.  Some are worth more, some aren't.  Nuff said.

On to the Wednesday menu.  I finally bit the bullet and called Corsica Tech about my Outlook problem, and after going remotely into our computer the technician changed a few port numbers around and got it all up and going again, which was worth whatever the bill might be.   I was finally able to send out emails, after an almost two week freeze.

 It was a terrific menu, lots of compliments, selling out for the first time in a few weeks. Plus I've got some half-way decent pictures for you, at least of the first and main courses...

Watermelon and feta salad with balsamic dressing was deemed menu-ready by many of our diners last night.  This classic pairing offers the sweet and salty combination that gets the palate going.  It was heavily praised last night, and we will more than likely see it again.  Especially if Redman's watermelon continue to prove to be as sweet and tasty as the first one I tore into on Tuesday!

The BBF pork and eggplant stack was a big hit as well.  I will tell you, when Kevin has to come up with a three course menu that is priced at $20.13, he needs to be really creative.  He can only use a certain amount of protein to prevent the meal from being a financial loser, but he has to be careful not to make it so the customer is the loser.  This dish was the perfect example of that balance - some roasted Black Bottom Farm pork, layered with eggplant and ricotta cheese, topped with his most recent version of sweet Italian sausage, baked together in the oven.  Big hit.  I thought maybe it would be hard to eat, but no one agreed with me on that.  The onion sauce underneath was the cement that brought it all together.

Since Cherelle needed to take a couple of "mental health" days this week (don't ask),  we ended with a rather lazy dessert of vanilla ice cream sauced with Cherry Heering.  Not bad, but not picture worthy either.

That doesn't mean there aren't more pictures.

We'll start off with the newest edition to the Crow Farm Winery line-up - Brooke and Brandon's baby boy.  We got a private viewing when they dropped off our first case of Crow Farm Barbera, which is currently among our wine selections and will be on the printed list this weekend.  Who ever would have thought that we would be serving a wine from a vineyard in our own zip code?  My father would be simply amazed - and a fan!

Next up - Cherries:

 I finally convinced Kevin that we would use a case of cherries, and when the price came down to a reasonable level, he ordered one from Teddy Bear.  We got in a most beautiful box of very fresh, very high quality Bing cherries from Oregon that we pitted over the next two days and used completely up with no loss of product.  Of course it took some pressure on my part, mostly on Cherelle who quickly realized that pitting cherries is no walk in the park, especially when your tool of choice is a hairpin.  Still, we all got the job done and did all sorts of fun things with the fruit.  The chocolate almond cherry torte that she made with the first ones helped to ease the pain.

Antwan got into the act; he's a seasoned cherry pitted at this stage of his career.

Although I did have to prompt for a smile!

One of the more interesting things we did was to make Cherry Catsup.  It turned out very well, and should be a fabulous addition to pork or duck later on.  The recipe came out of "The Art of Accompaniment" by Jeffree Sapp Brooks, and involved the usual catsup ingredients, only with the focus being sweet cherries rather than tomatoes.  You will be tasting it for yourselves eventually, when it finds its way onto a menu. 

This is what went into the spice bag - dried chiles, green peppercorns, whole allspice and nutmeg.  The pot simmered with the whole cherries until they were cooked and soft.

After that, you pureed the whole thing until it was relatively smooth, put it all back in a heavy pan, where it simmered.  And simmered.  For a few hours.

When it got thick enough, we parked it into the walk-in until we could can it yesterday, packing the jars away until further notice.  Maybe a future burger night?

We also started the pickle making process with a few quarts - we usually make cherry pickle with sour cherries, but they were in short supply this season, so we are doing the same recipe with the Bings.  I am curious how they will turn out, since I really love the tartness of the sour version.  We'll find out in a few months!

We'll also find out in a few months how the brandied cherries, in their gallon jar to the right of the pickles, will turn out.  They are currently brandy-ing in our basement.  It's just sugar and fruit doing their thing.  We've made these before, and served them on New Year's Eve, which may be where this batch ends up.  The alcoholic cherries are great on things like ice cream or pound cake, but you can't eat and drive!  In the end, I was very happy to get that case of cherries and even happier when they were all put to good use!

Our single cucumber had many brothers, and over the weekend we made a good harvest, with plenty more still coming along on the vine.  Yesterday it was sweet pickle chip time.

In other food news:

Here is a shot of Friday night meatloaf, very similar to the one on the previous week's menu, but a picture that isn't all blurry this time.   Better late than never?

One of the first tomatoes of the season - among those from Melinda - makes us want to find some lettuce and bacon to go along with a couple slices of toast and a generous slather of mayonnaise...soon, very soon.

Or, you could just layer it with eggplant and mozzarella cheese on a basil vinaigrette and call it a day.

We're not done yet!  Remember those veal shanks last week?  They were on the special menu for Saturday night.  They sold out, needless to say.

 While not exactly most people's idea of a light summer meal, combined with the bright flavor of fresh tomatoes, a green pea risotto and July's local sweet corn, the comparison could be made.

Lunch shall not be neglected on this post - particularly since the specials last week actually were a better reflection of the brutal heat that was roasting everyone on the outside.  (Side-bar: the drain work around the building was scheduled for last week, which involved several shirtless young men digging trenches and hauling stone all day long.  I must wonder if there was that attraction of eye candy that helped fill the dining room at mid-day, or was it just the need to escape the heat?)  The first  picture is a BBF ham salad with avocado, rice and balsamic vinaigrette.  Below that is a tomato - another beautiful example of the iconic summer fruit - stuffed with swordfish salad.  This week we are seeing shrimp salad stuffed inside a Redman Farms sweet cubanelle pepper.  We are happy.  

Although maybe not as happy as my Texan great-nephew with his gnawed ear of Eastern Shore Corn!

Finally (finally! I wish she'd never read up on that camera manual, they cry!) I leave you with a screen saver of summer in a pot - squash and tomato and sweet onion stew.

Is there ever enough summer produce?

Peace out!

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