And so it came to pass that yours truly took part in a truly unique cooking event set in the basement of art studio in Soho.
Kinda random, huh?
The event was sponsored by Electrolux, maker of fine kitchen appliances, and featured Executive Chef of Brooklyn’s River Cafe, Brad Steelman, preparing three dishes and (and several passed hors d’oeuvres) using Electrolux products.
Let’s get to it…
Here are the apps. Clockwise from the top, we have:
- Roasted duck with rhubarb chutney and chives
- Seared tuna on avocado/wasabi salad
- Lobster salad on a crispy lentil cracker
Of the three, the roasted duck was by far the tastiest. The savoriness of the duck was nicely balanced with the sweetness of the rhubarb. The lobster salad was also good, despite my general distaste for crackers as an appetizer base. It was light, slightly citrusy and refreshing.
As for the tuna, the presentation was more buzz worthy than the taste. You may not be able to see it in the picture, but each serving was placed on an absurdly large, silver plastic spoon. After working so hard to ingest the portion, I was disappointed to find the tuna to be slightly bland. I expected more from a ginormous utensil.
The first dish that Chef Steelman demonstrated was a Spring Asparagus Risotto.
Although asparagus is generally not part of vegetable arsenal, I can stomach just about anything that rides shotgun in the vehicle of risotto. After making an emulsion mixture of shallots, asparagus pealings, dill, spinach, broth and butter, the sous chefs added it to the already cooking risotto, resulting in the brightly colored, creamy mixture above.
Was it as delicious as it looks? In a word, yes. In several words, it was one of the lightest, most refreshing risottos I’ve ever tasted.
As good as the risotto was, it might as well have been dog food compared to the Colorado Lamb Roast that came next.
I’m not sure I would ever attempt this at home, but wow, I was glad Chef Steelman decided to do it for us. First, it requires a visit to a local butcher to get two boneless lamb porterhouses. As a spouse of a semi-vegetarian, I rarely visit the butcher. And when I do, I feel overwhelmingly intimidated. But I digress.
Once you have the right meat, you need to ground up the trim from the lamb in order to mix it with mushrooms, shallots and herbs. When cooled and spread out on plastic wrap, this mixture will serve as one layer of sealant for the loins.
The other layer? A little piece of anatomical genius called caul fat.
This web-like fat membrane occurs naturally in pigs and other animals, although I’m not brave enough to find out where. What happens is that once you wrap something (usually meat) within the caul fat, it will serve as a protective layer of moisture. It will melt right into what it’s wrapped around, helping to baste the meat.
As you can probably tell by the finished product, the rolls were cut into perfect little medallions and served with potato puree and caramelized spring onions.
I can’t really describe how tender the lamb was or how, despite all the preparation, it tasted effortlessly simple. Let’s just say, I could probably eat this every night for the rest of my life.
How’s that for hyperbole?
Was it possible to get better than the lamb? Probably not, but Chef Steelman got awfully close with this ridiculously simple Melt Away Cake.
Now, if you read this blog with any regularly, you’ll know that I’m a full-fledged, certifiable chocoholic. Even when a dessert is bad, if it includes a modicum of chocolate… it can’t really be that bad. And this thing was about as far away from bad as you can get.
The way I like to describe it is a seared dessert. The heat of the oven allows the batter to crust up around the still-rare innards. And then, when you cut through the crust… an eruption of chocolate nirvana. Just the concept makes me drool.
By the way, the little disk of chocolate on top of the cake includes a shimmer of gold dust. As if it wasn’t rich enough already.
Electrolux, Blog Buddies and Recipes
Ostensibly, this evening at Desiron Gallery was about the demonstration of fine Electrolux products. And in that regard, it was a success.
Although my current economic situation prevents me from investing in new appliances, I was impressed by Electrolux’s ICON line of:
- Induction cooktops. These things heat up fast, shut off automatically when you remove the pan, and don’t waste the energy that gas stove do.
- High-speed ovens. 12 minutes for the roast? 4 minutes for the cakes? I’d love to save that kind of time.
- Warmer drawers. Awesome for when you want to keep something warm without firing up the whole oven.
Of course, the highlights of the evening was the food and the camaraderie. I finally got to meet some of my fellow Foodbuzz bloggers, including
I hope I run into them again at whatever the next function may be. In the meantime, I’ll be following them on the web and attempting at least one of the previous recipes.
(Hint: it’s the chocolate one.)