Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Dusting Off Dinner

My nephew Steve (previously reviewed) is the food and beverage manager at a country club-resort in northern Illinois. As a certified sommelier, he's instituted a series of wine tastings and this is the menu from the third Bacchus dinner.

Just between us, I think the chef has quietly gone mad. These are extremely elaborate dishes. I had to look up several of the terms because I'd never heard of them. Two of the dishes are "dusted." Epicurious.com couldn't tell me how to dust a beet, but here's how you get lemon dust. Peel two lemons, making sure not to include any of the white pith. Boil these peels down in a sugar and water syrup, then slow bake them until they're crisp and THEN put them through a spice grinder to get "dust." It'll keep up to a month in the refrigerator.

On the other hand, perhaps Chef is trying to become the Thomas Keller of the Midwest.

Sancerre Domaine Fouassier (Sauvignon Blanc) with Purple Haze chevre (lavender and fennel pollen added at some point to the goat cheese) croquette with pine nuts, a watercress emulsion and candied fennel.

Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon, with roasted Galantine of Duck (breast of duck, de-boned and stuffed -- with foie gras in this case) and a caramelized shallot bread pudding garnished with beet dust.

Concha Toro Don Elchor Cabernet Sauvignon from Puente Alto, Chile, with a garlic-marinated Teres Major (shoulder filet) steak with rainbow chard (red, white and yellow chard,) grilled leeks with an arbequina olive dust and a ragout of giant white lima beans, chorizo vela and butternut squash in a Chilean cabernet reduction.

Dow's 2000 vintage port, Portugal, with silken dark chocolate over poached quince and walnuts.

Dessert was the only thing on the menu that I could instantly recognize the ingredients. It's a very rich and sweet menu -- carmelized this, candied that ... Perhaps the wines require both; I wouldn't know -- that's my nephew's business!

Incidentally, I didn't use Spellcheck, knowing the wines alone would have broken it forever.

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