The Wine Dinner

Joined Dec 8, 1999
Just did a wine dinner last Friday featuring wines from Rancho Zabaco out of Sonoma ( ). Cape Chef asked about one of the courses; here's the whole menu with pairings:

Passed hors d'oeuvres and canape's

wine: Rancho Zabaco Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River

1st Course: Smoked sturgeon with pinot gris sabayon and macerated lumpfish caviar, garnished with chives and chopped cooked egg white and yolk.

wine: R.Z. Pinot Gris, Russian River

2nd Course: Black bear confit-style on soft polenta with black current demi and caramelized red onion.

wine: R.Z. Syrah, Dry Creek Valley

3rd Course: Arugula salad with seared, marinated duck breast, lightly dressed with red wine vinaigrette topped with poached apples with a gratinee' of house-made farmer's cheese.

wine: R.Z. Zinfandel, Dancing Bull

4th Course: Quartet of pork. Shank topped with pesto, wrapped in crepinette and braised, grilled tenderloin medallion, Braised loin back ribs, and house-made sausage; natural sauce for all. Served with braised savoy cabbage, haricot vert and baby green-top carrots.

wine: R.Z. Zinfandel, Heritage Vines

Dessert: Terrine of chocolate garnished with diced blackberry gelee', chocolate mousse, white chocolate and a chocolate and black pepper tuile.

wine: R.Z. Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley

Had Wednesday through Friday afternoon to prep it and the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner. On Wednesday, one of the cooks (there are only 2 full-time cooks at this club, plus me working on-call; the sous chef was on vacation) was 3 hours late and the dishwasher couldn't make it in. Thursday, again no dishwasher and the cook that was late couldn't make it. Friday, the dishwasher made it but had to leave at 10:00. The 4th course and the dessert were beasties to plate. It was still fun.
Joined Oct 28, 1999
Looks like a challenge. Especially when the help doesn't... well, show up to help.

Maybe I missed it... but how many people was this for? Can you tell me more about the "gratinee' of house-made farmer's cheese." ?

Joined Aug 4, 2000
Why the absenteesm with the cook if I may ask? Underpaid? I mean, to have the opportunity to express one's talents for this type of affair.
Joined Dec 8, 1999
The dinner was for 45 people. For the farmer's cheese I take milk and bring it to a boil, add lime juice (about 1/4c per gallon) and remove from the heat. Let it sit for 10 minutes and strain in a mesh strainer or through cheesecloth. leave it in the strainer till you have the consistency you want. We put it on top of poached apple halves and baked them, then under the broiler for the gratinee'. The macerated caviar was just lumpfish roe soaked in the pinot gris for a bit, then strained.

Both of the no shows were due to car trouble. We are all still underpaid, regardless.

Note: The menu was conceived in it's entirety at a bar over several pints of Summit Extra Pale Ale; the chef still has the original copy written on a cocktail napkin. I highly recommend this method of the creative process.
Joined Aug 11, 2000
i love the diced gelee.
Cheftalk has some GREAT menus stored in the if my computer skills were good enough to retrieve them....some of the recipes/menus I do are on the backs of recipts, propaganda from somewhere, scraps of paper handy in the bottom of my purse...I love restaurants that have paper (butcher) on the table and a set of crayons....some interesting notes have been scrawled over the table during meetings,Say noone is doing the butcher paper gig anymore, when did it go out of fashion?
I coordinated an event last weekend where my staff was cut by turned out fine, but was much more stress for me. My incredibly wonderful competint help has moved on to a more promient job ...hard to find great staff that is brilliant, resourceful(reallocates well) and has a ton of energy student helper is good but very unsure about herself and so I get alot of innane questions...which bowl does something go in....hmmm there are 3 sizes pick the one that works!
Where did you get black bear....I thought was endangered...which cut of bear did you use?Say isn't it the state of Cal's ciritter?
Joined Jan 24, 2003
Greg....very nice menu & fine selections of the wines but do you really eat bear ? whats it taste like ...gamey?
Joined Dec 8, 1999
The bear (a shoulder roast) came from Lombardi Brother's Meats, a local purveyor. It's not a stock item, though, and has to be special ordered. It's not endangered, but I think it is the California state animal.

The taste was not too gamey, but very rich and flavorful and very lean.
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