We recently catered a wedding featuring an Armenian influenced menu. The food is typical of eastern Mediterranean cuisine. What made the menu work was that we prepared all items from scratch; i.e., from basic ingredients, not chicken feed.
My Berry Man Produce supplier representative, Melitta, even managed to find me authentic string cheese that resembles a tangled piece of salt water taffy gone wild. The meza table could have been a meal onto itself. My most liked dish on the menu was the pickled vegetables, Titvash.
I put my stamp on the recipe as usual. By blanching the vegetables, adding two vinegars and a little sugar, I was able to have them ready in two days instead of two weeks. I used rainbow carrots, a new-old heirloom variety for color.
The main meal started with a salad I composed of several dishes to keep in style with the rest of the menu. Roasted beets, tabouleh and a stuffed tomato flanked hearts of local bib lettuce tossed in olive oil vinaigrette.
We used 14 lamb legs, 25 pounds of chicken and 20 pounds of vegetables to prepare kebobs for the main course. We made some 245 kebobs to be sure everyone had what they wanted. We felt like Vlad the Impaler after assembling all of the kebobs.
The rice pilaf had toasted angel hair pasta, a new dish for me and I concocted a large zucchini stuffed with a ratatouille and topped with a breadcrumb crust.
The menu finished up with pastry chef Christine Dahl's wedding cake, gorgeous and delicious, swaddled in buttercream.
August 15 is Julia Child's birthday. It has been 10 years since her passing but she is still fondly remembered for her contribution to the world of food and especially French cuisine. French classics such as Boeuf Bourguignon, Quiche Lorraine, Cheese Soufflé, French Onion Soup, Crêpes Suzette, Cauliflower Gratin, Vichyssoise, Roasted Chicken, Cassoulet, Dover Sole Muniere and her Gateau "Reine de Sheba" are a representation of the vast repertoire Julia taught American cooks.
Chef James Sly, of Sly's in Carpinteria, CA is cooking up a culinary tribute honoring Julia's birthday (August 15, 1912). Chef James is featuring a few culinary gems from Julia at his restaurant. What better way to remember a culinary force that brought French food in to many homes and continues to inspire us today.
Happy Birthday Julia!
Memorabilia from Chef Michael Hutchings' Collection