Bubbles and Oysters

This event was held on Thursday, November 10, 2016,

It was a hit!

Chef’s Creek Oysters
with Beet and Tarragon Mignonette
Waris – Hubert Grand Cru Chardonnay Brut Zero


Chef’s Creek Oysters Casino
Philippe Fontaine Brut Tradition


White Stone Oysters with
a Lemon-Chili Granita, and Cucumber
Billecart Salmon Brut Reserve

White Stone Virginia Oysters
with Garlic Herb Butter
Champagne Delamotte Brut Blanc de Blancs le Mesnil

Our wine tastings will resume in March of 2017.  


Spring Menus

atlanta fine diningMy favorite menu of the year is spring. Navarin of Lamb is coming back (Spring Lamb Stew with Vegetables).

But some of the other items Chef Justin and I are looking at: English Peas, Asparagus, Morels, Roasted Chicken, White Bean Soup with Pancetta, Tempura Baby Heirloom Carrots, Artichokes (best in May when the California crop comes in), Roast Pork with Dried Plums and Pearl Onions, Wild Mushroom and Mozzarella Flat Bread, Baby Spinach, Fava Beans, Baby Turnips.

We’ll see what makes the final cut.

Chalk Hill Vineyards

I had the pleasure of staying at the Chalk Hill Vineyard in Sonoma in Septmeber for a couple of nights. It was as beautiful as any place I have ever been. Went for an hour long jog, (ok plenty of walking) at sunset on a warm breezy evening. Each hillside offered another panoramic masterpiece. One hill was planted with Malbec, another with Petit Verdot, Merlot, Cabernet. The valley was for Chardonnay. The micro-climates and different soils were each planted accordingly. Chalk Hill has retired their Cabernet for the time being and has developed a Bordeaux style blend in their Chalk Hill Estate Red.

We are currently pouring the 2007 Estate Red. More that just a good year. Divine. Thanks to Amanda and Misty for the tours. We were treated like royalty.

A good Georgia Peach is hard to find…even in Georgia.

I have some beautiful peaches right now at Babette’s.  Running a dessert: Cobbled Peaches with Our Own Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.  Several of my customers have asked how to find a good peach.  They are finding mealy, mushy peaches in the grocery stores.  I often have the same problem.

The peaches that are shipped to grocery stores, even some of the ones from Georgia are picked too early,(very yellow) and chilled to just above freezing before they are shipped.  I think if they freeze, they become mushy when ripened.

My produce company buys the peaches from a local source.  They are a beautiful color.  Sometimes they come in a little hard, but they always ripen into smooth, sweet, juicy and luscious little gems while left at room temperature.  Small farmer’s markets should have good local peaches and they are worth the trip.

Sometimes I have luck in the stores by looking for a peach with good deep reddish color.  They should be mostly firm, with just a little softness near the skin.  Take them home and leave them on the counter until they are soft.  At that point, if you haven’t eaten them all, they can be chilled.

Really Cooking

May 12, 2008

Last week I had one of my occasional episodes where I find myself watching my hands work.  They are getting a little wrinkled, have some burns, and have very tough callouses.  They are exceptionally strong.  They don’t twist and turn like they used to though.  I’m having problems getting things opened especially those pain in the neck plastic rings around the milk bottles.

But these hands are very gentle with food.  I was going through a bushel of mussels with a line cook.  The mussels were soaking in a deep bucket of water.  I watched my hands scoop out a handful of mussels from the top of the water, gently rub the shells together to remove the sand, then inspect each one to make sure they were closed tightly, that there were no chips in the edges and to pull away any beards that were attached.  I watched as I gently laid them out in the hotel pan. I remember 30 years ago, not knowing the difference between a mussels and an oyster.

I was also watching my line cook quickly plunge his hand into the bottom of the bucket thereby stirring up the sand which was trying to settle down at the bottom.  Then, as he brought up two handfuls and tossed them into the hotel pan, picking through the mussels only then. Now he didn’t clean that many more mussels, his probably had sand in them and he missed a lot of damaged shells.  I know mussels are not diamonds, or pearls even: they only cost 15 cents each, but they are still important and looking at them carefully is even more important.

I watch my hands peeling carrots, no one is faster, rolling pie dough, mine are very tender.  Nothing is as wonderful as making gnocchi when the dough is the perfect temperature and consistency. Rolling, cutting, shaping and lining them up like soldiers in rows onto a sheet pan.

Last Saturday, I was home alone for lunch.  I put a (all beef) hot dog in the microwave.  I put it in an old, dried out hot dog bun with mustard and pickle relish.  I bit into it.  The steam squirted out of the end and burned my nose.

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