As winters go, this one has been mild, no heavy freeze, very little snow, plenty of weekday customers at The Little Kitchen. A nice change from past winters filled with snow plowing, frozen pipes and empty dining rooms.
The same pair of swans move about on Hook pond enjoying the mild winter. My neighbor Lisa Ryan told me that another Dunemere Lane resident, Doug Mercer saved the frozen swan and delivered it to the wild life rescue center. Apparently the approach that worked involved walking out on the ice and placing a cloth bag over the bird’s head. This calms them enough to move to a safer place. As for the remaining pair they spend most of their time working in the same location of last springs nest.
In the last week of January on the 26th, a Saturday night we hosted a German Inspired Dinner featuring wines from the Wolffer Estate. I was pleased to watch as the reservation book filled up in the hours that followed the news letters release to the people on Wolffers’ List. In the end 65 people attended the 2 seatings.
We started with a butternut squash soup finished with croutons and pomegranate molasses served in an espresso cup. The first course was a sea scallop schnitzel, a suggestion form Charlie Palmer, plated with micro greens and a whole grain mustard hollandaise.
Course 2 utilized whole wheat pappardelle noodles tossed in a sauce made with shiitake mushrooms, shallots, chicken stock, herbs, sour cream and heavy cream. It was finished with a garnish of chanterell mushrooms that were tossed in garlic oil and roasted then rolled in chopped fine herb.
The meat course featured pork shoulder braised in Wolffer Big Apple Wine, served over greens from the Quail Hill green house with sweet potato batons and the apple wine reduction.
Dessert made use of Fuji apples from the Milk Pail in Watermill, tossed with cinnamon, raisins and walnuts and rolled in filo pastry brushed with butter. Roasted and cut into 2 inch cylinders, the “Apple Strudel” was plated with vanilla bean whipped cream.
For the Sea Scallop Schnitzel:
2 lb 10-20 sea scallops
3 cups squid bodies, sliced into thin rings
½ cup shallots
2 cups Wolffer verjuice
¾ cup egg whites
2 cups panko bread crumbs
½ cup chopped parsley & oregano
½ tablespoon sea salt
1 cup grapeseed oil
Combine the squid rings, shallots and verjuice (or white wine) in a sauce pan over low heat, bring to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and strain, allow the squid to cool then puree in a food processor or blender with egg whites. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the herb and salt.
Slice the scallops into 3 thin pieces, maintaining the round shape. If they still have the cartilage, remove those tough pieces first.
Set a baking sheet on the counter and then line the bottom of a foil cupcake cup with 3 pieces of scallop then add a spoonful of squid puree and top with 3 more scallop slices. Then flip the cup over onto the sheet pan and repeat until you are finished with the squid mixture. It should yield about 12 cakes.
Preheat the oven to 375 about 20 minutes before service and place ½ of the oil in a flat bottom skillet over medium flame. Now dust the cakes with panko and pat the breadcrumbs down then flip the cakes over and repeat. Place the cakes in the skillet 3 at a time cooking for about 2 minutes until brown on each side then transfer to a baking sheet in the oven (refresh the oil ½ way through) bake the cakes for 10 minutes, then serve immediately with a micro green and blanched celery salad in citrus vinaigrette.