Fall/Winter Menu Preview 2008

Judiaann Woo / July 2008

Faced with the windfalls of autumn and the relative austerity that follows, seven chefs display equal measures of aplomb and flair.

Jonathan Wright
The Restaurant at Setai
"I really like well made broths. They're so light and flavorful. We spend a good deal of time and effort making complex, aromatic base stocks. It's worth the expense to incorporate the best ingredients we can when they form the foundation for so many of our sauces, soups, and broth-based dishes."

Clear ham broth with winter melon, Ibérico ham, king crab, straw mushrooms & ginger. "The base for this very clear ham broth is made using good quality, whole chickens from Four Story Hill Farms, ham bones and hooves from black Ibérian pigs, celery, the whites of leeks, white onions, and ginger. The Ibérico black pigs, or cerdo negros, from Spain are descendants of native wild boars, eat acorns, and are the most delicious pigs around, although they're often difficult to get a hold of. We're lucky enough to get them for the grill at our steakhouse, but they're also wonderful when added to this broth. Separately, slowly poach chicken breasts and place the shredded meat into the soup along with cubes of peeled winter melon, halved straw mushrooms, half-inch pieces of shelled king crab legs, bâtons of fresh ginger--blanched three times to take away some of the bite--asparagus spears, and flowering Chinese chives. The Chinese often eat winter melon during the cooler months to warm the body and clear the mind. Serve the soup in a covered bowl with shavings of white truffle and slices of dry-cured Ibérico ham on the side."

Cured Kobe beef rib shabu-shabu, red wine braised Walla Walla onions with bone marrow & mixed vegetables with oxtail bouillon. "For the oxtail bouillon, chop and marinate oxtails 12 hours in reduced red wine; sear. Add to a broth and cook three more hours. Strain; clarify with a raft of lean ground beef, egg whites, and thyme. Wine marinated oxtails are also braised in more wine with veal and chicken stocks. The meat is shredded, moistened with some of the reduced braising liquid, seasoned with a little black pepper and thyme, and rolled into one-ounce balls to be wrapped in wilted savoy cabbage. The oxtail balls are then wrapped tightly in plastic wrap to hold their shape. Peel and parboil Walla Walla onions in red wine and Port; let the onions sit in the wine 24 hours to take on the color. Cook slowly in a pan with a little sugar until tender. Trim the tops and core out the center to create a vessel to hold the bone marrow. Mix poached veal bone marrow with egg yolks, cream, salt and pepper, and a few drops of truffle oil to make a custard; steam until set. To serve, place bone marrow filled onion and warmed oxtail balls in the bottom of a cast-iron caldron along with an assortment of baby vegetables, including blanched romaine hearts, carrots, turnips, parsnips, celery, Brussels sprouts, and enoki. Pour a small amount of the oxtail bouillon in the bottom of the caldron; serve the rest in a Japanese teapot on the side along with an accompaniment of bonito flakes and fresh horseradish. The caldron is placed on top of a cast-iron burner to keep the pot hot. Slices of raw Kobe beef, cured 12 hours in a mixture of half salt and half sugar with black pepper, thyme, and garlic, are presented on a cold stone to be added to the hot broth shabu-shabu style."

Miso roasted black cod with langoustine har gau, pearl barley & black truffles. "To make the dough for the har gau, a dim sum dumpling whose wrapper turns transparent when steamed, knead together wheat flour, tapioca flour, a tiny amount of salt, and boiling water. Slowly work in a little grapeseed oil. Roll dough into small balls, then press dough flat. Fill with a mixture of chopped langoustines, sesame oil, chopped black truffles, chives, a little salt, and a tiny amount of cornstarch. Fold and seal dumplings to form a pleated crescent shape. Steam to order. Serve three har gau with a piece of Alaskan black cod marinated 12 hours in sake, miso paste, mirin, and sugar. Pan-fry cod skin side down in a nonstick pan with a tiny amount of oil until caramelized all over to a glossy dark brown color. Brush with more marinade; finish in the oven. Present cod set over two tender leaves of napa cabbage braised in chicken stock, thyme, ginger, and soy sauce over a bed of pearl barley cooked in chicken stock with thyme and bay leaf in a clay pot. Sprinkle dish with fresh marjoram and place three shavings of black truffles atop the har gau. Ladle an inch of Peking duck broth over the dumplings. Replace the cover on the clay pot to capture all the beautiful aromas. The fragrant broth is made starting with a bouillon from whole boiling fowls, turkey legs, beef shin, veal shin, onions, carrots, turnips, celery, garlic, mushrooms, ginger, and a little soy and oyster sauces. To that, add roasted carcasses from previously roasted Peking ducks; cook 30 minutes to infuse the flavors throughout. Strain, pass through cheesecloth, and finish with aged Madeira."

Quince tarte Tatin with green apple sorbet & hot apple jelly. "Gewürztraminer makes a wonderful complement to apples and quince. For this dessert, I use both fruits and incorporate the wine into the poaching liquid, the caramel for the tarte, and serve a glass alongside the finished dessert. For the tarte Tatin, peel and core quince, then cut into wedges. Blanch in salted water, refresh in ice water, and cook sous-vide until tender in a poaching mixture of Gewürztraminer, apple juice, water, sugar, star anise, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. To assemble, coat the bottom of an individual nonstick tart pan with buttery caramel; arrange quince on top in a tight, circular pattern. Cover with a round of puff pastry dough; bake until the pastry is golden and crispy. Unmold and serve warm with a quenelle of green apple sorbet, a garnish of crispy candied apple peel, bâtons of quince, quince seeds, a sauce of reduced apple juice, and a cube of clear hot apple jelly. To make the jelly, liquefy Granny Smith apples with a little water in a blender, allowing the solids to settle to the bottom; add agar-agar to the clear liquid that remains. Place in ice cube trays to set; heat apple cubes to order under a broiler."

Maria Hines
"Tilth is one of only two restaurants in the country to receive organic certification from Oregon Tilth. Our restaurant is located in a 1917 bungalow house set in the middle of a neighborhood. I didn't go out looking for a house to put my restaurant in. It just happened that way."

Porcini crème brûlée with vanilla emulsion & porcini dust. "Lucky for us, there are more varieties of wild mushrooms in the Pacific Northwest than in any other part of the world. Our porcini come from a local forager who collects them for us on the Olympic Peninsula. The crème brûlée base includes a porcini-infused cream made by simmering dried mushrooms in heavy cream for an hour before steeping overnight. The next day, the cream is gently reheated and strained before the egg yolks are added. Fresh porcini are then diced, sautéed in a little butter, and seasoned before getting pureed and added to the cream base. The custards are baked in ramekins in a water bath and allowed to come to room temperature before chilling. Cooling the crème brûlée to room temperature before refrigeration seems to result in a more supple texture. To serve, sprinkle the surface with sugar and a little fleur de sel for balance; torch to caramelize. Serve with a frisée salad dressed with lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, parsley, shallots, salt, and pepper; vanilla bean–infused whole milk frothed with a hand blender; and a dusting of ground dried porcini."

Braised rabbit with piperade, polenta cake & Parmesan broth. "Cure rabbit legs in a 50-50 mixture of salt and sugar with parsley stems, garlic, peppercorns, coriander, fennel seeds, bay leaf, cloves, yellow onions, and fresh thyme. After four hours, rinse, dry, and braise in duck fat until the meat is falling off the bone. Serve the legs resting atop a pan-seared polenta cake made from Anson Mills [Columbia, SC] stone-ground polenta flavored with minced shallots and onions in a shallow bowl. Garnish with piperade, the Basque dish of stewed roasted peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic, olive oil, and thyme finished with fresh parsley, chives, and Garnacha [red wine] vinegar. Ladle some Parmesan broth into each bowl."

Skagit River Ranch goat chop with preserved plums, baby chickpeas & black mint. "All the meat that comes out of Skagit River Ranch in Washington is awesome. To help tenderize the goat chops, soak them overnight in milk before seasoning and searing to medium. Serve them over braised baby chickpeas finished to order with shallots, minced garlic, white wine, butter, parsley, and chives. I always season my chickpeas after they've been soaked and braised be­cause adding salt too early seems to prevent them from cooking properly. For the preserved plums, poach Dandy Dapple plums in a simple syrup flavored with red wine, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, and thyme. Remove the skins, dice, and simmer for 20 minutes in the poaching liquid before serving over the chop. Garnish with a chiffonade of black mint and a reduction of the plum poaching liquid."

Apple/crème fraîche panna cotta with cinnamon cara­mel sauce, apple gastrique & streusel. "Sauté chopped Gala apples in brown butter with lemon juice and a pinch of salt until tender; puree; add to a base of warm milk, homemade crème fraîche, and bloomed gelatin; pour into molds; chill until set. To serve, paint plates with some cinnamon caramel sauce; unmold panna cottas; using an apple corer, hollow out their centers; fill the holes with some more cinnamon caramel sauce; cover the opening with crunchy, baked streusel crumb topping. Garnish each with a thin apple chip, and drizzle the plates with a syrupy gastrique of apple juice, sugar, and lemon juice."

Hugh Acheson
Five & Ten
Athens, Georgia
"I like to take a beautiful Southern idea and turn it into something a little more refined for fine dining. Take the boiled peanut, for example. It's so ubiquitous in the South. I like to see how I can use it in many different and unexpected ways, some of which I outline here."

Braised Berkshire pork cheeks with pepperonata, leek grits & simple jus. "People always think of the other cheeks when they read ‘pork cheeks,' but I like putting not-too-common items on my menu. As a working muscle, the cheeks yield a ton of great flavor when cooked this way. Sear Berkshire pork cheeks, then braise them in ham hock stock until very tender. Sweat diced leeks in butter and chicken stock before pureeing and folding into white grits, preferably from Anson Mills. For the pepperonata, use a variety of peppers in three different colors for brightness in flavor and appearance. Cut the peeled peppers into a fine julienne and macerate in Banyuls vinegar, good olive oil, rosemary, and parsley. Reduce some of the pork braising liquid for a simple jus to sauce the plate."

Seared day boat scallops with whipped boiled peanuts, roasted tomato, spinach, salmoriglio & Aleppo pepper. "Dry day boat scallops really well to ensure a nice char; sear while basting with hot olive oil and butter; finish in the oven. Arrange three scallops per order on a rectangular plate, each sitting atop a spoonful of whipped boiled peanuts and a small oven-roasted heirloom tomato. The peanuts are first cooked in their shells in salted water with star anise and a touch of vinegar until very tender before getting whipped into a smooth puree with chicken stock. Garnish scallops with a fine julienne of spinach dressed in a simple vinaigrette and sauce plate with salmoriglio, a Southern Italian olive oil–based sauce with lemon juice and zest, fresh oregano, marjoram, thyme, and mint. Make the sauce at least two hours before serving to allow the flavors to really come out. Dust scallops with Aleppo pepper."

Crisp North Carolina flounder with boiled peanut beurre blanc, Carolina Gold middlin' risotto with okra, country ham & shaved local filet beans. "Anson Mills carries a middlin' rice, also known as grits rice, which is essentially broken kernels of Carolina Gold rice that have been separated out for their imperfection. The broken kernels exude more starch and cook up much like arborio rice. Cook middlin' rice like a standard risotto--with butter, minced shallots, and chicken stock. When the rice reaches risotto texture, finish with sautéed sliced okra and finely chopped country ham--which we get locally. Crisp the flounder in a pan until golden and finish cooking in the oven. Serve the fish with a classic beurre blanc sauce with the addition of chopped boiled peanuts. Plate with the shaved filet beans--the South's version of haricots verts--blanched and tossed in a simple vinaigrette."

Roasted grape clafoutis with lemon balm ice cream. "I really like roasted grapes. The heat concentrates their flavors, making them intensely sweet and flavorful. I first saw Mario Batali do this a few years ago, and I thought it was a brilliant idea. Locate the best seedless red grapes you can find and toss them in a trace amount of olive oil. Bake grapes at 400 degrees on a Silpat-lined baking sheet for 15 minutes, and then cool. To serve, add a good number of roasted grapes--so you can really see them--to each floured and sugared ramekin and fill with a classic clafoutis batter of eggs, flour, heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla and almond extracts. Bake clafoutis to order, dust with confectioners' sugar, and serve with lemon balm ice cream. The lemon balm used to infuse the ice cream base comes from my garden."

Christpoher Kostow
The Restaurant at Meadowood
St. Helena, California
"I've only been here a few months now, but I just love it. The clientele here in the Napa Valley is exceptional in their knowledge of food and wine. We're growing much of our own produce in our one acre garden. For the fall we'll have many root vegetables, squashes, cauliflower, and pretty much anything else that'll grow at that time of the year."

Glazed kabocha squash velouté with vadouvan marshmallows, osmanthus flowers & lime. "I prefer kabocha squash to butternut squash because of its slightly more nuanced flavor. For this soup, melt butter and add brown sugar to make a caramel; add peeled and chopped kabocha squash. Deglaze with white wine and cover with chicken stock. Cook until tender. Puree while slowly adding butter to emulsify, season with salt, and finish with fresh lime juice. To serve, place three small rectangles of marshmallows in the bottom of a shallow soup bowl; top each with a fine brunoise of segmented lime. The marshmallows are made following a standard method only with less sugar and are flavored with vadouvan, the French equivalent of curry powder. Around the marshmallows, sprinkle dried osmanthus flowers. The flowers, which have a flavor similar to dried apricots, are ground while leaving some texture intact. I discovered them one day while hanging out at Le Sanctuaire in Santa Monica, California, the same place where I get my vadouvan--and I love them so much that I've incorporated them into two dishes on my menu. The hot soup is poured tableside, the heat just melting the marshmallows."

Poached & roasted bavette with brioche gnocchi, grilled chicories, chanterelles & foie gras emulsion. "When I worked in France, they always served bavette with shallots at staff meals. It's a real working man's cut from outside the skirt steak. It has a very gamey, strong flavor, which I love. For this preparation, pound the beef really thin and trim it into a perfect square. Use the trim to make a simple mousse with egg whites and cream. Smear the mousse on the square and grate a truck load of black truffles on top. Roll into a roulade, sealing tightly with plastic wrap to form a compact tube; cook sous-vide before slicing into perfect rounds. The gnocchi, made of brioche dough flavored with Parmesan, chives, and chervil, are sautéed to order in clarified butter with chanterelles and grilled chicories. The chicories, which include endive, radicchio, and other bitter greens, are marinated in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sugar, and salt before being grilled and then finished in the oven. The plate is dressed with a veal jus emulsified with raw foie gras with a bit of Sherry vinegar and more shavings of black truffle."

Composition of suckling pig with caraway scented napa cabbage, "candied apple" gelée & maple syrup. "The little pigs, about 25 pounds each, come in whole to be broken down into racks, loins, tenderloins, legs, and shoulders and cooked using three different methods. The racks are cut into chops, marinated in garlic, thyme, honey, and olive oil, and then pan-roasted. The loins and tenderloins are wrapped in very thin slices of bacon, formed into a roulade, and cooked sous-vide. The legs and shoulders are cured, cooked as confit, pressed, and cut into squares before the skin is rendered and crisped. The three preparations are accompanied by napa cabbage braised in chicken stock infused with lots of caraway seeds and a brown butter/potato mousseline made very smooth with lots of cream and a little brown butter. Also on the plate are little spheres of pickled apple, a drizzle of maple syrup aged in Bourbon casks called Bliss, and a cube of hot brûléed apple gelée, made possible by the hydrocolloid gel, which tastes just like a candied apple."

Forelle pears with walnuts & blue cheese. "This dessert is reminiscent of a cheese plate with its combination of pear, walnuts, and blue cheese. Small Forelle pears are a perfect size for individual desserts. Pick out the smallest ones you can find, core out the centers, and poach whole in a sugar syrup infused with cinnamon sticks, vanilla bean, and whole black peppercorns. Place the pears in the center of a caramel tube made by dipping a ring mold into melted isomalt with black pepper and pulling upwards to form a thin, hollow cylinder. Serve the poached pear with a warm walnut financier topped with micro shiso, a quenelle of caramelized cinnamon ice cream, walnut pralines, and a sauce of melted Fourme d'Ambert [a blue cheese] smoothed out with a little simple syrup."

Dante Boccuzzi
Valley View, Ohio
"When creating new dishes, I tend to look at classical recipes and techniques for inspiration. I then adapt them to what's available locally and seasonally. For the most part, I just cook food that I like to eat and what I'd probably make at home if I had the time."

Cassoulet soup. "Here in Ohio it gets pretty cold in the fall so a good, hearty, flavorful soup is always a popular item. I take all the elements of cassoulet and puree them into a soup to pour tableside around a garnish of all the cassoulet elements. The soup itself is finished with a touch of Banyuls vinegar and reduced cream to enhance the velvetiness of the texture. In the bowl, you'll find tender braised cannellini beans, a nice piece of duck confit, browned garlic sausage in tiny lamb casings for a roasted flavor, lardons of crisped pork belly that were first cooked sous-vide, diced and cooked carrots, thyme leaves, and bits of torn bread toasted with duck fat and roasted garlic for some rustic crunchiness."

Roasted squab with butternut squash/foie gras raviolo & pomegranate salsa verde. "Remove the legs from the squab, sear the legs, and braise until tender. Stuff the squab's cavity with fresh rosemary, thyme, and garlic; sear, basting with butter, until the breasts reach medium-rare. To serve, carve the breast meat from the bone; place in the center of the raviolo on top of sautéed arugula, and place the braised legs alongside. The raviolo, boiled and tossed in butter and olive oil, is a stuffed ring of homemade pasta filled with butternut squash and small pieces of foie gras deglazed with minced shallots in brandy. Spoon some of the savory squab leg braising liquid around the plate along with a tangy pomegranate salsa verde composed of ginger, garlic, olive oil, chopped thyme, chervil, parsley, chives, pomegranate syrup, and whole pomegranate seeds. Pomegranates are one of my favorite fruits. I think their fruity, acidic flavor pairs especially well with foie gras and squab."

Pancetta wrapped veal chop with porcini & Yukon gold potatoes. "The combination of veal and porcini always reminds me of my time working in Italy, where we often served the mushrooms roasted and tossed with freshly grated Parmesan. For my version of this traditional pairing, I layer a thin patty of veal sausage on top of a bone-in veal chop and wrap the whole thing in homemade pancetta before searing and finishing in the oven to medium-rare. The veal chop is served over a pool of Yukon gold potato puree enriched with heavy cream, extra-virgin olive oil, and chicken stock. The porcini, torn into big pieces, are roasted with sprigs of fresh thyme until brown, then finished with butter and tossed with Parmesan."

Sugar spiced Cortland apple/foie gras doughnuts. "This is my attempt at a savory dessert. It might sound a little weird at first, but trust me, they're pretty addictive. The yeast doughnuts are fried and filled two per order. The fillings include a sweet puree of Cortland apples cooked in butter and sugar and a savory puree of sautéed foie gras deglazed with apple brandy and finished with butter. The fillings are cooled, then piped, side-by-side, within each doughnut. The warm doughnuts are then rolled in a sugar and spice mixture of cinnamon, coriander, cloves, white pepper, cumin, and cardamom."

Christopher Lee
New York City
"Whenever a great spring or summer ingredient comes into season--whether it's ramps or Bing cherries--we try to get our hands on as much as we can before the season ends. This way we're able to incorporate them as pickled or preserved items in our cooking throughout the year."

Pastrami pork belly with rye gnocchi, pickled savoy cabbage, raclette & Russian dressing. "Once I got the idea to make pastrami out of pork belly, the rest of the dish came together pretty easily. I just followed the flavors of a classic Reuben sandwich. To make the pastrami, brine fresh pork belly two days in a sugar/salt mixture with aromatic vegetables. Rinse, dry, and coat with traditional pastrami spices such as black pepper and coriander. Smoke two hours over applewood, then cook in an oven at low heat on a rack set over two inches of water for six hours. Press, then refrigerate overnight. At service, steam pastrami; serve with brown butter sautéed rye gnocchi, pickled savoy cabbage, Russian dressing, and hot raclette foam. The gnocchi, which serve as the rye element, are made with a combination of all-purpose and rye flours, potatoes, eggs for binding, cocoa powder for color, and caraway seeds for flavor. The pickled cabbage consists of lightly blanched savoy cabbage, white wine, vinegar, sugar, and salt, with a julienne of jalapeños, carrots, frisée, and parsley. The Russian dressing is made from pork jus, Dijon mustard, heavy cream, cornichons, tomatoes, shallots, chervil, tarragon, parsley, and fresh lemon zest. Raclette adds the necessary cheese element in a nice hot foam. It's made by blending the cheese in a Thermomix with hot chicken stock, heavy cream, and methocellulose before dispensing from a siphon."

North Atlantic skate with mixed vegetables, apple/curry sauce, brown butter sauce & toasted almond foam. "The fish, a variety called North Atlantic spotted skate, is cut into six small portions and lightly coated in finely ground arborio rice for extra texture before being sautéed. It's served with three different sauces accompanied with roasted cauliflower and pearl onions, blanched haricots verts, and glazed baby carrots and baby turnips. The first sauce, a sweet-meets-savory apple curry, is made from a puree of cauliflower, onions, garlic, leeks, green apples, celery, a small bit of potato, vegetable stock, and cream. It's flavored with our house blend curry of coriander, cumin, fennel, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, turmeric, fenugreek, white pepper, ginger powder, yellow mustard seeds, and cayenne. The second sauce, a savory-sweet-tart brown butter sauce, is flavored with capers, pickled ramps, parsley, chives, and a brunoise of fresh Granny Smith apples. The final sauce is a toasted almond foam made by blending toasted almonds, almond oil, chicken stock, cumin, and soy lecithin."

Rack of Australian venison with carrot/root beer puree, red cabbage, baby leeks & brandied cherry jus. "Carrots and root beer might seem like an odd pairing, but they actually work quite well together. The carrots are first cooked sous-vide under steam in a combi-oven with a little Virgil's all-natural root beer, sassafras, and vanilla bean before getting pureed with some fresh root beer. The puree is served with slow roasted venison, cooked to medium-rare, along with some glazed baby leeks, roasted rutabagas, and braised red cabbage flavored with red wine, pork and chicken stocks, black pepper, juniper, and bay leaf. Game meats are classically served with something sweet, so to the brown butter mounted venison jus add chopped Bing cherries preserved in kirsch, brandy, Port, sugar, and vanilla bean to finish."

Fall berry salad with elderflower crêpe soufflé. David Carmichael. "In this part of the country, good strawberries are still available in early fall. Tristars are the best and worth freezing and making into a puree if you can get that many. For the salad, briefly blanch strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries; toss in warm acacia honey before shaping on the plate with the aid of a ring mold. Serve two crêpe soufflés alongside. The crêpes themselves are flavored with brown butter, Grand Marnier, and lemon zest. They're cooked, cut into perfect circles, and filled with a Chiboust flavored with d'Arbo elderflower syrup from Austria. Chill filled crêpes before baking to allow them to hold their shape better. Dust while still warm with confectioners' sugar just before serving. Pour huckleberry syrup tableside, and serve with thin rods of star anise flavored popsicles."

Galen Zamarra
New York City
"Building relationships with local farmers takes time. You have to go out there and find them, set up systems, and figure out where and who they are. It takes a lot of energy, but since we opened four years ago, I have to say it's gotten a lot easier. There are always exceptions to the rule, but for the most part, we're able to serve locally grown and sustainably raised food."

Spaghetti squash crusted shrimp with a salad of frisée & peppercress with Meyer lemon vinaigrette. "Halve the spaghetti squash; roast it with a little salt and pepper until very tender. Using a fork, shred squash into thin strands; mix in clarified butter, flour, and a little cornstarch. Essentially, I'm making a variation on a potato pancake, but because the squash has less starch, I have to add some to help it bind. Press the squash mixture into the bottom of a ring mold; top it with Gulf Coast shrimp cut lengthwise and arranged pinwheel style to produce an even layer on top. Remove the mold; sauté in a pan squash side down until brown. Finish in the oven until the shrimp is just cooked through. Serve with a ribbon of crème fraîche whisked together with some aged Sherry vinegar and chopped chives. Top the shrimp with a salad of blanched frisée, micro peppercress, upland cress, and toasted Marcona almonds dressed in a vinaigrette of Meyer lemon juice, mild local honey, crème fraîche, Champagne vinegar, and grapeseed oil."

Steamed venison in mustard greens with roasted cauliflower/horseradish gratin & Chiogga beet marmalade. "To prevent the venison loin from drying out, wrap it in blanched mustard greens before slowly steaming to medium-rare. Not only do the mustard greens offer a layer of protection, they also add a nice spicy bite to the dish, as well as some gorgeous color when sliced. For the gratin, cook cauliflower florets in rendered duck fat, starting on the stove and finishing in the oven, until tender and colored. Combine roasted cauliflower with horseradish-infused crème fraîche and grated Parmesan and Gruyère. Press gratin into two-inch ring molds; bake until the center is warm and unctuous. Top with more cheese, and brown under the salamander. For the beet marmalade, roast Chioggias, also known as candy stripe beets, until tender, peel, and chop. Cook in raw beet juice, Port, orange zest and juice; puree until smooth. Serve two small quenelles of beet marmalade on the plate along with the warm cauliflower gratin, sliced venison, and venison reduction."

Guinea hen with watercress mousse, smoked celery root puree, Brussels sprouts, stewed baby carrots & almond foam. "Guinea hens have great flavor but tend to have leaner breasts and legs that can be a little tough. Therefore, make a simple mousse with the meat from the legs and flavor with blanched watercress leaves and a little cream; pass the mousse through a fine chinois to ensure that it's perfectly smooth, and spread the mixture on the breast meat. Cook in a low oven until done. Visually, the breast will appear to have two distinct layers. Texturally, it will slice like one. For the smoked celery root puree, peel and dice celery root, and smoke it for 30 minutes over applewood chips using a hot smoke method before adding milk and butter to thicken. The Brussels sprouts are quartered and roasted in duck fat until nicely colored. The baby carrots, little round Thumbelinas, are also quartered and glazed with butter, white wine, and freshly juiced carrots. To make the almond milk for the foam, infuse milk with finely ground almonds for a couple of days before straining. Simply warm the almond milk; froth, using a hand blender to make the foam."

Valrhona chocolate torte with espresso ice cream. Catrine Oscarson. "The filling for this torte--Valrhona 66 percent dark chocolate, sugar, and eggs--is baked separately from the crust in shallow individual flan molds in a water bath to produce a soft dense ganache-like texture. The filling is then chilled, unmolded, placed atop a chocolate sablé cookie, and allowed to come to room temperature before serving with a scoop of espresso ice cream. Make the espresso ice cream by caramelizing the sugar before adding a combination of brewed coffee and ground espresso beans. Milk is then added to the base, followed by egg yolks. The base is then strained before spinning. I find the combination of coffee and espresso to provide an overall richer flavor than coffee or espresso alone. Also on the plate is a chocolate sauce of equal parts butter to chocolate, a sprinkling of cocoa nibs, and a sugar/chocolate garnish made with isomalt and cocoa powder."