Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ski Dinner wrap up

Appetizer trio:
Ginger Beet Soup with seared scallop, Pickled Salmon on cucumber with wasabe, roasted vegetable spring roll with sweet chili

The Homer High School Nordic Ski Team holds a fancy dinner fundraiser every season. In the past few years it has been headed up by my friend and mentor Sean Maryott and Diana Carbonell. It's always been a very well put together event with a reputation for really fine food. Last year I was honored when they asked me to help out, but the jig was up by the end of the night. As we were packing up and basking in the glow of a job well done, Diana, with a playful twinkle in her pale blue eyes, taps me on the shoulder and says "Tag, You're it!" I knew it, I was being chosen. To say I was flattered is an understatement. I was also scared to death! I know they were really ready to pass this one along, Sean's daughter Gillian had graduated the year before and my kids were just coming up in the program, so picking a new crew made sense...and when I thought about it, I realized it was just the challenge we were looking for. I say we because right after being given the job, I shared it with my colleague, Ryan Lee. Ryan and I had been talking about pulling together a dinner almost ever since he came to work at the bakery. He is the kind of creative and capable cook who can make you believe anything is possible. (I really like that in a person) While his 10 gauge earrings and mulitiple tattoos may take some folks time to get used to, the minute he starts cooking for you with deft hands and kind demeanor, even the most critical warm up and relax. (I really like that in a person, too) When the time came, the committee contacted me this past fall to say they wanted to do a valentine dinner this time. We went to work on the menu right away...though it took a while to finally come together, we came up with a set of flavorful, seasonal dishes that could be produced within the constraints of our budget and the space. We also recruited Melinda Zox-Rubino who has been helping us at the Bakery this winter (she runs Silver Fox Lodge in her copious spare time!), and the ever efficient Brianna Bryngelson, painter extraordinaire, to help with the cooking and plating. Held at our friends Pauli and Harmon Hall's beautiful post and beam 'barn' (they are also owners of the Quiet Place Lodge in Hailibut Cove...such a lovely spot!) it has a wonderful kitchen and an amazing view, one of my favorite venues ever. The food came together was so much fun, we look forward to doing it again next year...right guys?
The Salad:
Spinach with blood orange, candied almonds and warm balsalmic vinaigrette and sesame rice cracker

(my son charles saw the picture of this and said it looked too messy, I agreed, but I do think he's been reading the Alinea cookbook too much!)
Unfortunately, it was too busy at entree time to get a shot of the main bad. I was too proccuppied over saucing the first plates, so we had to scramble for enough sauce for the last plates, the one glitch in the night for me.
It was a play on 'surf and turf':
Pan roasted Cod with honey mustard crust, with a skirt steak skewer over a wild mushroom risotto all dressed with a miso-herb buerre blanc....again, sorry no photo!
I did manage to capture dessert, though:
Baby Boca Negra with creme angalise (thanks Ruhlman) and pomegranate jelly