Sailed through that green light the past two mornings, but today we got stopped by the red! Yay! A full crew this morning!
We'll start out with Abby's soup pot yesterday morning, taking on quite a seasonal glow:
There's been a lot going on around here this week, not the least of which has been Debbie's birthday. Or should I say birth week? I have not seen anyone who could get as much build-up out of her birthday as this one! She started informing us of her impending birthday sometime in late September. "My birthday's coming", she'd say, first thing every morning. When queried about the date, she told us "October 16th". This went on for several weeks, until finally the day before arrives, and she could tell us that her birthday was The Next Day. It was on a Wednesday, so Miss Debbie was off, but she invited every single one of her co-workers to her party!
Meanwhile, Cherelle and Tiffany planned on bringing in a cake for the celebration the day after - which they did, candles included. What they didn't know - and what I forgot to tell them - was that Debbie was off that day for a dental appointment! Cake went into the freezer, and came out this Tuesday, as the celebration continued into its second week. And there was more! This morning a gift from Abby arrived on the tall top, which delighted Miss Deb to no end.
Now that is what I call getting some mileage out of your birthday!!
Mostly though, there's been a lot of food going on around here. (Obviously.) Kevin not only got in that veal week before last, but he also got in his first ever whole lamb, from Church Hill's David King. 190 pounds of fresh lamb on a Friday meant Monday was another day "off" spent butchering meat. He sent out an invitation for people to come in on Saturday morning to observe some of the process, and he actually got one taker!
Erin Zierfuss answered the call, and showed up on Saturday morning to watch the lamb carcass become recognizable cuts of meat. Erin is very familiar with the way Kevin "is", since she was employed by us at the KVI back in the last century.
On Saturday night Kevin took the rib chops and paired them with the roasted shoulder for a beautiful "local lamb" special, which was a very popular choice for some very lucky diners. He had two chops left over, which I think he really coveted for himself - not for me, thanks! - but relinquished them to the Flannigans last night. There will be more King Lamb coming up on the special board in the weeks to come, so don't despair if you missed out this weekend.
Last night's prix-fixe was also delicious, at least according to those who partook. We started with a slice of sour dough toast (more on that later) and a roulade of mozzarella and roasted peppers:
This was followed by chicken prepared a la pork, meaning in the style of the Black Bottom Farm pork special we've been serving lately:
The chicken was roasted and pulled off the bones, then served with a black bean puree, roasted sweet potato and a salsa verde. It was a veritable treasure trove of flavor layers. Dessert was vanilla ice cream with amaretto apricot sauce, a quick change of plans when it became known that Cherelle would not be coming in as scheduled. Overall a tasty dinner and a busy night.
Besides meat fun, there's been other goings ons that have not been seen by the front of the house. For instance, pizza making. Cherelle brought in a recipe for pizza dough, and with some help from the Chef, produced a pretty nice pizza pie for the staff's snacking pleasure.
By the time I got back, here was what was coming out of the oven. Pretty nice, huh? And it was pretty tasty too, despite the fact that the crust lacked that crispy/chewy thing you look for in a thin crust pizza. You need a pretty hot oven to get that sort of success. I'm hoping they will try this whole thing again, now that the first lesson has been passed.
This week's photo ops are once again quite meat-centric, but hey, it's what we do! When you get in whole animals, you've got to use every scrap, not just the chops and roasts, and that is what Kevin loves about it - plenty of meat to use for sausage. With the veal, he made these white sausages, seen here served with spinach salad and roasted onions. One customer was so pleased, she ordered six more to take home with her! Today he is working on merquez - lamb sausage with all the scraps of lamb meat - which is something he has wanted to try his hand at for a while.
The calves liver is the first thing to get served from the veal, and last night it looked quite enticing under it's bed of bacon and onions. I am hoping to get some of my own, but so far it has been all about the guests.
I'd settle for duck breast.
Back to the sourdough - soon you will notice that our bread, always good, has a little extra zing to it, a little sour dough going on. Kevin has been working on a new starter for about a month now, after purchasing some organic grapes at Whole Foods as the first step. His old starter was killed by an uninformed (ex)cook, who didn't realize that you shouldn't add yeast to it... This one has been bubbling away in the office, and last night the first of a series of preliminary loaves was made, leading up to the final five days of the process when the starter will be the only leavening in the bread. Our Chef is pretty excited about this whole thing, and hopefully you will be too when you taste the bread!
In closing, I leave you with a picture - or two - of one of Cherelle's most recent successes:
The pecan cream cake, directly from the recipe in the November issue of Saveur. It couldn't have turned out better; it looks exactly like the picture in the magazine did, and tasted phenomenal. When we get our order of pecans from Millicans, this will find a semi-permanent place on the dessert menu.