First, the menu (click on any image to make it bigger):
Soup Dumplings, xiao long bao. Soup inside a dumpling! I worked for weeks on these darlings. The finished dumplings:
My favorite part of the dinner was the Shanghai-style Hot and Sour Soup. Mostly because I like making soups, and also because this was one of the tastiest soups I’ve ever made. And because we had fun with the anise smoke for it. We set star anise pods on fire and injected the smoke from them under the lids of the soup bowls, so diners got a burst of anise-y scent when they took off the lids. You can see a little slideshow of the effect here if you scroll through the photos quickly.
Hand pulled street cart noodles
With XO sauce, Maine dulse, Taliaferro Farms arugula, Four Winds Farm wild watercress
and sous vide Four Winds Farm carrot transparency.
I discovered while coming up with this dish that deep-fried seaweed is the best nibble of all time. Try it! Soak seaweed in warm water, strain it (reserve the water for soup stocks!), pat it dry, and deep fry. I used dulse wildcrafted off the coast of Maine, but arame and hijiki are also nice.
Jacob was master of the Carrot Transparency, which I made from sous-vide carrots pureed with a little sesame oil and sea salt, then dehydrated until they made a carrot leather. Everyone really loved them, which is good because I was worried they would be weird.
We filled bowls with flowers from my yard and put them on the table as centerpieces, then told everyone to take a bowl at the end of the meal. Lucy and Jacob put the Congee into the center of each bowl, then poured hot water over the flowers, and each diner ate the rice as they inhaled the flower tea.
Green tea congee with peanut soil, red bean paste, and candied asparagus.
Coconut-corn ice cream with coriander caramel.
It was a lot of “C”s for Lucy to say every night. But she did it perfectly, as always.
Corn ice cream in the ice cream maker!
Mignardise: sesame nori crisps and sea salt shiitake truffles.
Ah, it was a good night.
Thanks to all who came!