Spring Open House 2009- Re-leaf

With out a doubt, these open houses are my greatest source of pride and joy, as well as pain and suffering. On the one hand you have  decadent food, often chosen exclusively by me and my peers, new and exciting ideas crafted from the raw product for the first time ever! And then you have the fact that it’s all free to those invited and it comes directly out of the company’s food cost. A bit of a downer but with any luck we’ll be charging for these things in the future. Kinda like an advertising restaurant, hell, I’d be happy to break even at cost and not make a dime if I got to write the menus all the time.

Like all open houses there’s usually a skeleton crew as we never make any money on staff, despite what we charge, so it’s always stressful to prepare and present. Granted, the day usually ends with all the folks who worked the event, their significant others, and anyone lucky enough to know the boss to drink themselves silly and party like a rock star now that the event is over. I abstained this time mind you as the van still had to go back to Tacoma to be unloaded but even if not, getting up at 8 to put the event out the door at 2 just takes more out of me than it used to. And while my contemporaries would scoff at the fact that I lament my lack of resilience, they being much older, it doesn’t change the fact that I can’t drink any day of the week and come in fresh as a rose like I used to. Alas, time marches on as it does for all of us.

But enough whining, on to the food! (With apologies to all photographers and photography buffs, my skill and equipment are lacking.)
First up, my Green Goddess Canape
Rating: 5.5/10
This one wasn’t the win I was looking for. The original recipe was actually a chicken filling I adapted to a canape form because I had a lot left over. How ever, what I didn’t take into account was when you sub out fresh garlic and onion for powdered like I had in the recipe and leave off some of the panko for a more readily pipable product the garlic flavor gets WAY too strong. Even Moe our sales manager whom loves garlic to death was even thrown aback by it. How ever the color and texture were spot on so the next time I make it the dish should be perfectly palatable. The dish it’s self is presented in a phyllo dough cup and garnished with a cherry tomato quarter for color and just a splash of something fresh to compliment the spinach in the smoked gouda mixture.

Next, Mini-Cupcakes from Sugar Rush

Rating: 8.9/10
I will be the first to admit my skills are a baker are average at best and sub par most of the time, thankfully, there are those out there that have made it their passion and it shows in the delectable nibbles they craft for parties such as our party in the Chinese Room of the Smith Tower. Monica and Moe had raved about them all week prior to the event and now having finally sampled their work I can see why they’re such staunch supporters of these sugary confections. I’ve had good cupcakes and bad cupcakes, and these were the BEST I’ve ever eaten. I don’t normally endorse pastry students, out of culinary school rivalry, but I will always recommend them in the future. The chocolate mint was very moist and flavorful, not always easy as chocolate flavorings can dry out a cake. The lemon was nice, though lacking a little in the flavor department. But again, very moist and the frosting on both was complimentary not the main attraction. I can’t stand coconut or coffee so the other two remained untested but based on the fact there were none left at the end I can only assume they were a hit and with the discerning Seattle palate that’s a compliment in and of it’s self.

More bakery follows with Rolls from Baker Boys!

Rating: 7.5/10
I know what you’re thinking. “But Chef, how do you screw up a roll?!” Well I’ve seen it done and it’s an ugly sight. Either the bottoms are over cooked, the dough isn’t proofed enough and you’ve got a bread rock. Sometimes they put nuts or olives in so large it’s interupts the texture or tries to mask the flavor of substandard dough. Not with Baker Boys! Their light fluffy rolls are a welcome addition to any meal, and for what they charge easy on the wallet as well. As a testament to their staying power I had my first Bocca roll from them in 1998 and I haven’t changed since. In addition to the fluffy dinner style roll they have more rustic additions as well as a wide varriety of other items they can order from pastry companies for your consumption. Featured here are brioche, french, bocca, wheat, and some kalimata olive rolls I threw in for a change of pace.

And here we have Sole Amore in Passionfruit Burre Blanc

Rating: 7.3/10
Now this one surprised me, despite my PNW heritage and living situation I have never been a big fish eater. Something about the nightmarish dishes my old man would cook up put me off it for decades. But more recently, especially in the sushi department I’ve become more open minded and adventurous. Case and point, sole. It’s often over looked because like chicken it doesn’t have a huge whopping flavor like hailbut or salmon. It doesn’t have the texture of calimari or swordfish. It’s not even pretty like ahi or torro. Which makes it perfect for my flowers idea. You take a plain piece a fish and with a little marinade, some butter mixed with panko, and a flavorful sauce you have cute little preportioned tulips perfect for a seated meal or buffet. The trick to this one was to grind up mandarin oranges for the filling. The extra sugar makes for those browned tips giving it a more three dimensional shape. It was by far the most popular item by both staff and guests polled.

Another appetizer follows with the Award Winning Veggie Cakes
Rating: 6/10
Easily one of our more popular appetizers. With the clients because of the taste and texture, with me because they cost almost nothing to make. This is a varriation on a predicessor’s,I put flour and more onion in mine. Mostly because I don’t feel you should call something a cake unless it has bloody flour in it! Granted, panko is bread crumbs which is made from rice flour but it’s not the same. Besides, there’s a lot moisture that gets purged when you grate and shred the veggies and that extra bit of starch geletanizes it trapping in flavor and moisture. This fine dish, while not my favorite, is topped with a spicy sweet thai onion relish. Personally, I think the dish is missing something. Perhaps an herb cream on top instead of spiciness, as there’s already a bit of kick in the cakes themselves. Ah well, a work in progress.

Well, that’s about it. The only other thing I really wanted to report on was the Chicken Punjab I gave a shot at for the first time. Personally, I think they’d do better as a beef meatball alternative being mostly protein and panko, but it works as a skewer as well. Definately going to have to work on the mango dipping sauce. The ones I ordered were two woody and underdeveloped. But that’s what I get for not peeling my own.

KM CD out.


One Response to “Spring Open House 2009- Re-leaf”

  1. chefdudley Says:

    Yes, the topping for the veggie cakes was a bit spicy. Should probably retool that with more butter. That way I can pack in some extra flavor and cut the chili sauce.

    As for the pasta, I thought it was okay, but they’re fairly common. I know it was well received when a couple sought me out in the dungeon bellow the Chinese Room to thank me personally, and to tell me they want THAT one for their event. Didn’t have the heart to tell them I had no idea who they were or when their event was, but then again, that’s not really my department. . .

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