culinary weekend part two

30Mar10

Mouths, get ready to water. It is my pleasure to present to you Ben and Aaron’s fancy five-course tasting menu. All credit, creative and otherwise, goes to the guys on this one. They whipped up this meal while Hathanh and I were responsible for photographing, blogging, and tasting. Such tough jobs! I’m liking this boys-in-the-kitchen-while-the-women-handle-the-technology set-up…

First Course

Roasted asparagus with fennel puree and porcini soil (it's not actually soil, but a powder of dried porcini mushrooms, flour, sugar, and...some other ingredients)

Second Course, Part 1

Tomato risotto...

Second Course, Part 2

...With roasted bone marrow (we forgot the toast to serve it with, so it went with the risotto)

Third Course

Scallop ceviche with blood orange vinaigrette

Fourth Course

Pan-roasted pheasant with apple bacon relish and pickled red onions

Fifth Course

Braised pork belly with parsnip panna cotta and rhubarb vinaigrette

All food photos by Hathanh…and one more hurrah for her photoblog!

It’s hard to pick a favorite of these dishes, but I am a sucker for well-prepared scallops. The ceviche-style heatless “cooking” left the scallops tender and juicy throughout, rather than searing which can leave the outside a bit too chewy. Everyone else gravitated toward the bone marrow, a real delicacy, but its butter-like consistency was just a little off-putting to me, infrequent meat consumer as I am. Perhaps it just needed the crunch of the toasted bread, which we forgot, to offset the gooey-ooey-ness of it all. The pheasant was also a mouth-watering dish — I think it was my first time tasting this bird — and I’m convinced that pickled red onions make anything taste better. I found myself pairing them with bites of every dish.

Chefs Aaron and Ben

These guys really know what they’re doing. Our friendship was solidified back in college when the three of us plus a few other friends would get together every Wednesday night to watch Lost and participate in themed cooking nights, from Thai and French to Midwestern, in honor of Ben’s Minnesota roots (and don’t underestimate the world-class tastiness of a good Minnesota Walleye Soup). Aaron and Ben have always been very able in the kitchen, but their culinary abilities have improved tenfold since those Wednesday night get-togethers, simply by keeping at it in their home kitchens (plus reading a TON of cool cookbooks — I’m putting it out there now that I would love a copy of The Flavor Bible for my birthday). I’m not sure I’ll ever be up to making parsnip panna cottas and porcini soil, but this weekend inspired me to keep up the cooking kick I have been on since moving into my studio.

And, with great thanks for filling my tummy this weekend, a very happy birthday to Ben! Or, “Ben?” — as the pastry lady decided to mark on his cake.

An existential birthday cake

P.S. All of the dishes this weekend came out of the boys’ heads, but if anyone is interested in a recipe, just ask and I’m sure I could get them to write down how the dishes might be recreated…

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2 Responses to “culinary weekend part two”

  1. The pictures are great, the titles sound creative, but I don’t think I’d enjoy anything on this list…save for the first course. Asparagus forever!

    Keep up the cool cookin’ you classy kid!

  2. Oh, trust me, it all tasted as good as it looks!! Being an adventurous eater pays off…


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