Wednesday, April 20, 2011
The guest chef was Michael Schwartz from Geniune Food in Miami, and his focus is on locally produced food. What could be more local than the herb garden right outside my kitchen door? There is a plethora of mint, three kinds and all gone invasive, as mints will do. I plucked a lot of mint and steeped a quart of heavy cream with about a half pound of it. I dried the other half pound in the microwave--try it; it's very cool!--and ground that up with sugar. I made a Bavarian cream with all that minty goodness and poured it into a mold. Then, I took vanilla-infused Jack Daniel's, because that's kind of local, too, and made a Chibouste with that. I poured that over the frozen mint Bavarian and froze the whole thing. Then, I made a wafer that's similar to the center of a York peppermint patty to place the whole thing on. The garnishing sauce is a Jack Daniel's sabayon. What does that make it? Why, a Mint Julep, of course! Just in time for Derby Day!
Monday, the focus of the cooking school was our chef, Joseph Lenn. After his cooking demonstration, the students sat down to lunch, and I made a lavender honey cheesecake, from lavender in the same garden as the mint and honey from Maryville. It had a chocolate crust and a lavender syrup, garnished with Johnny Jump Ups from our garden and rose petals from my front yard. So pretty! The chocolate candy was flavored with rose water, so the dessert was called Flowers & Chocolates.
Last night was the finale dinner for the school, and even though there's not much local about chocolate and peanut butter, Little Debbie snack cakes are made right here in Tennessee. Melanie has been working on duplicating the Nutty Buddy bar with dark chocolate and our peanut butter. Here are her ideas combined with mine:
The slabs are chocolate blended with a little butter and some crunchy stuff from France called Feuilletine and some ground salted peanuts. The bottom layer is filled with Melanie's peanut cream and the top layer is milk chocolate ganache. The peanut butter cookies went on the plate, too, leaning against the dessert, sticking in a stripe of chocolate sauce. We put a small icy glass of Cruze Farm whole milk on the plate, too, because everyone craved it when they tasted the dessert.
So, no weaving. Maybe this afternoon, or maybe tomorrow. The house is a mess, it's pouring rain outside and I just need to sit and say, "Ah..." I hope you can do the same! Happy weaving!