Monday, July 9, 2012

The Chicken & The Egg: Summer Dinner Series #1

The Chicken & the Egg: Eggcentric Summer Series #1

All photos by the amazing Mr. Ryan Fish. To check out the full album please see the Special Snowflake Supperclub FB page

On Sat June 24 we hosted a small gathering of about a dozen people for an intimate supper to highlight the gorgeous eggs of Little Gnome Farm. Right now I'm obsessed with Rudolf Steiner (Waldorf Schools, Weleda grooming products, architecture, farming) and biodynamic farming. There's a great book about biodynamic wine growers in Oregon called Voodoo Vintners; also the work of Maria Thun is a compelling documentation of biodynamic farming practices. Little Gnome follows biodynamic faming principles and I can honestly say that their eggs are unparalleled, I have never tasted a richer yolk, encountered a more vibrantly colored and deeply satisfying egg. 

Over the past year, we've served up some large suppers (50 at our height) and we wanted to do something really focused and also that would feel more like a dinner party so we were excited to launch our summer egg-centric dinner series.

Our friend Tyler Hauptman, who works at Courier Coffee, recently completed his master sommelier studies and he brought the most amazing complements for the supper, see wine list below.

The final menu highlights both the chicken and duck eggs of Little Gnome Farm. We also branched out with flying fish roe infused with wasabi. We started off with chicken (confit, liver mousse) from Kookoolan Farms as a playful opening to the old "which came first?" question.

We made two different accompaniments for the chicken liver mousse and couldn't decide which to serve: I liked the maple vinegar the best and Cliff favored the pomegranate molasses gastrique. We put both out so guests could vote. They were all diplomatic and voted for, "both." Ha.

The Tao of Tea in Portland offers a really potent pine-smoked tea, aka lapsang souchong. We cold- smoked eggs with a mixture of sugar, tea, star anise for about 5 hours and then boiled them for 6:20 so they were still tender and the yolks oozed like a rich red-gold sauce onto the rice. In a nod to ochazuke, we brewed matcha (green tea) and poured over the rice.

Earlier in June we took an urban foraging class with Rebecca Lerner (her blog, Firstways is beautiful and inspiring), where we learned about the amazing edibles that are literally growing underfoot in our NE neighborhood. Inspired, we harvested Doug Fir tips from our neighborhood and used these to pickle mushrooms for the main plate. We intensified the locavore focus by decorating with flowers from Ariadne Garden, a community-based urban garden located just a couple of blocks away from us.

Cliff has just started making fresh pasta from scratch. He's a natural, and his pasta is so light and just beautiful to behold, especially as it's air drying in long thin sheets in the kitchen. It was fun to make pasta the Italian way and sauce it with spicy Korean red bean paste (gokulchang) and Bo Ssam-style beef. We amped up the egg intensity with shavings of cured chicken egg yolks onto the duck egg pasta. Yowza.

The vanilla bean and bourbon semifreddo is rich with egg yolks and formed the conceptual base for the "fried egg" visual for the dessert that is supposed to look like a diner breakfast of eggs, bacon and toast. The mango and saffron jelly made the "yolk," and rhubarb ribbon stood for the crispy bacon.

We're sketching the next menu and it might be a Momofuku meets the Lee Brothers (Korean plus Southern) mash up. It would be great to make ramen broth and we have this big ham in the freezer from our hog share and we're tossing around some ideas of what we'd like to do with it. Stay tuned!

Final Menu: The Chicken Comes First

Chicken Liver Mousse, Pomegranate Molasses Gastrique; Maple and Rum Vinegar 
Avocado Mousse
Chicken Confit
Little t's Baguette 
Pizzette with Anchovy and Oregano; Goat Cheese and Tomato


Pine-Smoked Black Tea Egg with Matcha Rice, Kimchi Cracker, Pea Shoot Tendrils

Cured Salmon, Wasabi Flying Fish Roe, Shiso, Aquavit Spritz

Tender Greens, Agricca, Salad Burnet, Sorrel, Cucumber and Tomato Waters

Duck Egg Pasta with Cured Chicken Yolk,  Korean Bo Ssam Beef, Pickled Mushrooms with Doug Fir Tips

Eggs and Toast: Bourbon and Vanilla Bean Semifreddo, Mango and Saffron Jelly, Rhubarb Ribbons, Toasted Brioche with Butter

Wines curated by Tyler Hauptman
Pazo Do Mar Ribeiro 2010
La Valentina Cerasuola Rosato
Chalone Estate Syrah
Rochette Morgon Micouds 2007