Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sanderling Inn Menus

For those of you who might be interested in learning more about the Sanderling Inn, where Joel Sardinha is Chef de Cuisine, I offer you the link:

I always enjoy reading menus, so here's the Super Bowl menu from the Sanderling.

The Chef's Super Bowl Tasting Menu is $90.00

And here's the Valentine's Day menu.

The Chef's Valentine Tasting Menu is $90.00.
With wine pairings for 7 courses - $140.00

Here's the menu from The Lifesaving Station restaurant at the Sanderling Inn.

$25.95 per person for a 3-course meal.

They also offer a cooking class at the Sanderling.
I'd really like to go to this. I've never been to a restaurant like this before, and I'd love to see what it's like.
Now, if I can only get a designated driver for me, I'm set to go.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mr. and Mrs. Hawthorne Attend Cooking Class.

Today, Mr. Hawthorne and I went to the first cooking course of four offered by the North Carolina Aquarium. A different chef from one of the "better" local restaurants will be teaching each class.
Today, we had to go to WalMart and Home Depot before class, so we decided to share a quarter pounder from McDonald's before our Gor-May cooking class, since we didn't know how much food we'd be able to eat and/or sample,
and the class didn't start until 2 o'clock, and we were hungry.
So, after ordering our meal, we sat in the WalMart parking lot and ate our cheeseburger, and fed most of the fries to the sea gulls which are always in fast food restaurant parking lots down here.

It really doesn't take a whole lot to amuse us anymore.

Here, Mr. Hawthorne lures a sea gull to the truck window.

This little fellow decided to park his butt on the
hood of the truck.

Close up of a viscous rectal sea gull on our hood.

The gulls were taking the fries out of Mr. Hawthorne's hand.
Wish I could have gotten a picture of that but my shutter has a delay on it.

This guy stayed on the hood for quite a while as Mr. Hawthorne drove out of the parking lot.

After feeding the sea gulls, we went to pick up Glowria, so we could all car pool to Manteo to the North Carolina Aquarium, about 30 minutes away. We paid our $20 for the class and joined 20 other people in the class room. Our chef/instructor was Joel Sardinha from The Left Bank Restaurant at The Sanderling Inn in Duck, NC.

The Left Bank Restaurant

Chef Sardinha was preparing a cold seafood salad today,
composed of lobster, shrimp, and crab meat.

I wanted to ask him if the shellfish came from the aquarium tanks but forgot to since I was concentrating so hard on not saying EVOO when I wanted to ask him my question about extra virgin olive oil.

He already had his seafood cooked and proceeded to chop the lobster, shrimp, and crab meat.
One tip I will certainly incorporate into my shellfish cooking is what he told us about seasoning the water before you put the crustaceans in.
Chef Sardinha seasons his water with salt,
a sliced onion with skin on,
a horizontally sliced bulb of garlic with skin on,
and bay leaves.

He then simmers this for about 45 minutes.
After seasoning the water thusly,
he then adds the shellfish to cook.

After chopping and mixing the lobster, shrimp, and crab meat, Chef gently mixed them together and added a bit of garlic-infused extra virgin olive oil and some plain extra virgin olive oil and some chopped scallions.

I asked him about recommendations for the olive oil and he told me to look for a good Portuguese, Italian, or Greek Olive Oil with low acidity and a fruity taste.
He never mentioned a particular brand.
What I would do is go to a high-end supermarket and sample their olive oils with a piece of white bread. Lots of times they have tasting tables with different types of oils out to sample. When Mr. Hawthorne and I were in Greensboro back in late November, we were at a Lowes Supermarket and sampled a few olive oils and came home with Delallo Olive Oil, an Italian brand, pale green and extra light in flavor. I have tried some extra virgin olive oils which tasted like turpentine to me.
Quite unpleasant.
After listening to our instructor, I think this may be due to the acidity in the oil.

Go for low acidity and fruitiness.

I may need to go buy small bottles of various extra virgin olive oils to sample.
Mr. Hawthorne asked a good question: If you find an oil you like, will it be consistent? The answer is, no, it's like wine. It depends on weather conditions. You may have a good year. You may have a bad year.
Then, Chef Sardinha recommended the 2005 Tuscany wines.

OK, let's back up the truck a bit to the garlic-infused olive oil.
You heat the EV olive oil and add peeled sliced garlic to it. You do not fry or saute it. You just heat it for about 15-25 minutes, long enough to infuse the oil with the garlic flavor. After heating, discard the garlic, and you have garlic oil.

Next, Chef told us about his lovely green celery-infused oil, which he would be using in the plating. He blanched celery hearts and leaves, then immediately put the celery into ice water to stop cooking and set the color.
Next, he heated the extra virgin olive oil and added the drained celery to it.
Do not let it smoke, else you'll be losing the flavor in the smoke.
Just heat the celery for about 15-20 minutes.
Cool, then puree. And WALLAH! Celery oil.

This same method could be applied to numerous herbs: parsley and basil to name two very popular ones.

Herb infused oil is another thing from this class
that I will incorporate into my cooking.
The infused oils can be stored in the refrigerator.
Actually, Chef told us about some celery oil that had accidentally been placed in the freezer and it came out even brighter green.

Chef Sardinha then prepared his mustard emulsion. He put in a blender about 4 TB Dijon mustard, 4 TB vegetable stock, then added maybe 6 TB extra virgin olive oil, with blender going, to make an emulsion. Salt to taste.

Creme fraiche with lemon juice was also one of his ingredients, although he didn't tell us how he made it and no one asked him.
He offered that Harris Teeter sells creme fraiche.

Actually, I have made my own creme fraiche. I took 1 cup of heavy cream and added 2 tablespoons of buttermilk to it. Covered it and let set at room temperature overnight.
Then refrigerate the next day.
Chef did mention that he added lemon juice to his creme fraiche.

Chef Sardinha proceeded to plate his dish.
He used one of Mr. Hawthorne's tricks of taking a biscuit cutter and pressing the seafood mixture in it.
This is the way Mr. Hawthorne makes perfectly round, even crabcakes. Chef had a lovely little round of chopped lobster, shrimp, and crabmeat, combined with a few shakes of the garlic-infused oil and extra virgin olive oil mixed in.

He put a small dollop of the lemony creme fraiche on top of the seafood mixture.

Next, he took the mustard emulsion.
Scooped out a spoonful, plopped it on the plate,
then swirled it out.

Finally, Chef took his bottle of celery oil
and artistically dotted the plate.

Heh. I received my plate, went back to my table, and pulled out my digital camera and shot pictures. Everybody around me said, "Damn, look at her. I should've brought my camera!"

Glowria turned around and started laughing since she knew exactly where these pictures were ending up.

After leaving the classroom, Glowria, Mr. Hawthorne, and I decided to take a quick tour of the aquarium, or "aquorium" in Sandy-speak.

Look at all the pretty fishes.





More fishies.

A diamond backed rattler.
Sorry the picture is blurred, but I couldn't use my flash because of the glass.


Spiney lobster.

Moray eel.

Another fish.

More fishies.

Sea Horse!

Blurred fish.
But I likee.

Looks like a skate,
skating through the water.

Lion fish.

The kiddie pool.

Now, here comes the MOST EXCITING part of the

Can you guess who this is?????

Come on and guess!

OK, I'll give you a hint.

His name starts with "H."

Got it yet??

If you guessed Mr. Hawthorne, you'd be CORRECT!

Mr. Hawthorne was offered the opportunity by the aquarium workers to get INto the fish tanks and help them with vacuuming and cleaning and
basking among the sharks.
Here, Mr. Hawthorne swims with the fishes.
He grabbed the opportunity like a drowning man grabs a lifejacket.

ETA: It took Rosie THREE HOURS to post this.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Sunday Lunch.

Mr. Hawthorne cooked Curly, Moe, and Larry Saturday night.
Then I put them in the fridge, since Ticky and I had already eaten so much good
food that night (all of Sandy's wonderful arrusupppees).
We are saving the the lobsters for Sunday lunch.

First lobster is plated.
Look at the steam rising.

Three lobsters plated, steam still coming off,
and there's my cole slaw
in the foreground.

We're ready to crack some shells and dig in.
The cooking pot on the left is for the "lobster bones" as Sandy might call them.

Ticky is getting very excited now. This is her very first lobster. This is the claw meat. Ticky's a lobster virgin.

Ticky learns quickly, guided by Mr. Hawthorne's
astute instructions.
Here, she rips INto the shell!

Ticky separates the tail meat from its encasement.
Ticky loves her some tail.
Ticky is orgasmic.


Mr. Hawthorne is one big
badass pirate.

Clockwise from top left, Mr. Xmaskatie, Xmaskatie,
and GLowria.

That's a pirate ring in
Glow's nose.

Dixie, ever the gracious hostess, allows her cousin, Katie, to rest on her pillow, while Dixie takes the cold, hard, but beautiful, floor.

Glowria adjusts her nose ring as Mr. Xmaskatie looks on.
Xmaskatie made the kake.

Mr. Hawthorne is ready to cook.

Rosie and Ticky, oblivious to Xmaskatie's camera, are busy taking pictures of their wonderful skape.

Mr. Hawthorne's reaction upon hearing that we have plenty of Sandra's leftovers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner tomorrow.