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Saturday, May 29, 2010
Our sixth round of Memento took place tonight, hosted by Kristin - who selected the theme "The Food of the Royal Courts of the Middle Ages". The dinner took place at Gerald's new apartment up in Northgate.
David and Carolyn started us off with their tasty twist on a classic 'meat' pie - using Coho salmon with a variety of fruits, richly spiced, in a whole wheat crust, created in miniatures as a perfect 3 bite appetizer to get our taste buds warmed up. As you'll see, it was practically an amuse bouche - given a distinctive theme tonight.
In celebration of the royal courts of the Philippines, Gerald created their national dish - chicken adobo - the way it might've been enjoyed by medieval royalty: featuring chicken hearts, gizzards and livers in a vinegary sauce, with rice. This was Memento's first foray into offal - and nearly everyone cleaned their plates. I really enjoyed the chicken livers, and now want to explore other dishes that feature them. The hearts were a little dense (not tough, however) and it was definitely challenging to look down and see a whole heart on your plate - aortas and all.
Dan & I did a take on a medieval 'sallat', focusing on the preservation methods so integral to eating in the colder months in the days before refrigeration. We combined cured meats (salami & pancetta) with preserved fruits and veggies (kalamata and green olives, hearts of palm and capers), plus some fresh red onion and grapefruit - the latter representing the access to traded commodities that only the royalty of the era might've enjoyed. We topped it with some goat cheese and almonds that were toasted in pork fat and topped with sel gris (grey salt), and dressed it with a mixture of local honey, grapefruit juice, and white balsamic vinegar.
Anna & Jason presented a beautiful dish of perfectly roasted poussin (young chicken) on top of a medley of foraged mushrooms (including morel and king bolete) with house cured pig jowl (known as guanciale), a shallot infused potato crisp (cooked in pork fat, I believe), and a simple yet flavorful saute of carrots and foraged sea beans. True to the royal theme, they didn't do the foraging - they left that to the folks from Foraged & Found Edibles.
Our second entree (and second meat pie) was courtesy of our host, Kristin, who created a decadent layered pie of chicken, turkey and duck organ meats, dried fruits soaked in brandy, duck confit, nuts and cheeses, all thickened with trotter gear (aka pig feet gelatin). In the center of each pie was a large bone with breadsticks tucked inside for enjoying the amazing melted marrow.
And finishing us off with the closest thing to a meat pie one could reasonably pass off as dessert was Marcy & James 'Lombardi Custard' - a rich and lovely pie of dried fruits (figs, apricot and dates) with parsley and a secret ingredient that I saw James putting in the pie but still didn't recognize. While I was washing dishes, he was crumbling a bright pink pasty stuff on the pies, his hands covered in it. Never in a million years would I have realized it was bone marrow. Contrary to what you might think, it didn't lend a strong meaty flavor to the dessert - but certainly added some of the richness.