My wife brought home one of those precooked supermarket chickens. The idea was to have an easy Low mess meal. I guess I messed that up. Of course I had mashed potatoes, green beans, artichokes with homemade mayonnaise and a kind of banana foster on rocky road ice cream. Guess who gets to clean up.
Firestone Winery St. Ynez Valley Photo Michael Hutchings
Chef Michael, Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree, Host Craig Case
Craig Case, host of The Inn Crowd, welcomes Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree to the kitchen at the Crossroads Estate in the picturesque Santa Ynez Valley. Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree is one of Santa Barbara's most ardent benefactors to local non-profit groups and other philanthropic causes.
Less know is that Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree and an accomplished home cook and even hosted a cooking show in the 1970s in the Los Angeles area. I have had the pleasure of cooking in her home and have admired her collection of cookbooks and knowledge of classic cuisine.
I planned a menu that had the "royal" treatment. The first course is a watercress soup that Chef Albert Roux use to serve to the Queen Mum while he was a private chef to the royal household. The second course is a salad served in 1953 to Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of her coronation, hence the name "Coronation Salad." The dessert is a terrific bread pudding created by my chef-associate, Darren McGrady. Chef McGrady, know as the Royal Chef, cook for Princess Di and Queen Elizabeth in the royal household.
Our local farmers market in Santa Barbara is a chef's Disneyland. This past week, Roots Farm had a huge display of celery root. Celery root is a humble, unassuming vegetable. When given the royal treatment, however, it is delicious. It works well in soups, as a julienne nest for fish, chicken and pork and can make a delicious mashed vegetable foil for roasts. I have also made flan-like mousses with chopped truffles. Here are a pair of recipes featuring this under appreciated vegetable.
After being banned from restaurant menus for close to two years, a recent ruling in court has put the foie gras ban in the disposal. Gastronomes 1, PITA 0. While the ban was in place, it was still possible to order the delicacy from out of state sources. I treated friends to a foie gras feast for a birthday celebration last December. I simply sauteed the slices with salt and pepper and served a madeira sauce that my friend chef James Sly had made.
The luxury dish has been consumed for over 6,000 years. Egyptians and Romans were reported to have feasted on geese that fed on large amounts of figs. I have clipped the into from Wikipedia, see below, and included a recipe for a terrine.
Foie gras is a popular and well-known delicacy in French cuisine. Its flavor is described as rich, buttery, and delicate, unlike that of an ordinary duck or goose liver. Foie gras is sold whole, or is prepared into mousse, parfait, or pâté, and may also be served as an accompaniment to another food item, such as steak. French law states that "Foie gras belongs to the protected cultural and gastronomical heritage of France."
The technique of gavage dates as far back as 2500 BC, when the ancient Egyptians began keeping birds for food and deliberately fattened the birds through force-feeding. Today, France is by far the largest producer and consumer of foie gras, though it is produced and consumed worldwide, particularly in other European nations, the United States, and China."
My foie gras moment was in 1981 while doing a "stage" at Le Prés Catelan restaurant in Paris. The occasion was a dinner with a gaggle of ambassadors and the French president. The first course was a Terrine de Foie Gras. The wine was a 1970 sauternes from Chateau d'Yquem, the most renowned late harvest wine in the world. The then chef Patrick Lenotre, nephew of the famed Gastone Lenotre, treated me to a generous slice of the terrine and handed me a bottle of the Y'Quem. I scurried off to a far corner of the kitchen and savored the treat.
Here are a few Chateau Y'Quem tidbits from the Y'Quem website.
In 1790, Thomas Jefferson ordered thirty dozen bottles of Yquem for George Washington and himself.
"It takes three to appreciate the beauty and light that emanates when a bottle of Yquem is opened: the bottle, a friend, and oneself".
Thanks to an initiative of Emperor Meiji, Yquem was one of the first Western brands to be introduced to Japan.
A lover of Yquem's fabulous colour had a decanter specially designed to serve this great wine at the Tsar's court.
In the 1980s, a French astronaut who loved his country's great wines took some small bottles of Yquem with him on a mission to outer space.
The Inn Crowd is delighted to welcome my long time friend Archie McLaren, director of The Central Coast Wine Classic. Archie regales us with wine tales and his whit and charm. Mariculturalist Doug Bush drops by to deliver his farmed abalone for the first course. And naturally, host Craig Case is there to greet and eat.
The menu features my all time most popular signature dish, Cultured Abalone. The Cultured Abalone farm has been growing abalone for almost two decades. It's an onshore facility nestled by the coast in Goleta, California. The abalone are fed a natural diet of various types of seaweed and are marketed to restaurants after 18-36 months. The main course is braised, boneless beef short ribs, slowly cooked in a red wine broth until fork tender. Lastly, the great Sablé aux Fraise, created by chef Albert Roux of Le Gavroche is the featured dessert.
Put on your apron, fire up the oven and unsheathe the knives, it's time to get cooking. We'll supply the recipes and inspiration, the balance is in your frying pan.
The first show of the 2015 season of The Inn Crowd is now "in the can" as said in the film industry. I am delighted to be the Chef-Host of this food and wine show. Featured guest is Krista Harris, Publisher of Edible Santa Barbara. Krista brings a mindset that local sourcing of food products is essential for economy and ecology. We feature local farmed mussels, beef tenderloin from the * Watkins Cattle Company in neaby Ojai with Santa Barbara Farmers Market vegetables. We go off the farm for the dessert and feature a rich chocolate dessert. And naturally, host Craig Case is there to greet and eat.
I want to express my appreciate to Craig Case for inviting me to be the chef of record. I also want to thank the YTS video productions team of Gary, Harlene and William Conlin who bring the electron magic together. Lastly I want to acknowledge the Foley Food and Wine Society for providing sponsorship including the Crossroads Estate for our studio and selections from their fabulous wine portfolio.
Put on your apron, grab your food processor and hang on to your whisk. We have 30 episodes coming to you this year. I'll provide the recipes, the rest is up to you. See you in the kitchen.