Last evening's dinner was truly remarkable. From the hospitality of the guests enjoying the dinner to the vast array of exciting wines poured, this dinner epitomized the reasons why we love to cook. Our role was the creation of the food. What I found most satisfying was that at the meal's end I could easily relax and smile. We were very pleased with the results of our meal.
As I continue to reiterate, we have slowed down our creative process. In doing so we are utilizing our notebooks as evolutionary and inspirational tools, which we can use to support our continued culinary growth. While I state the fact that we have slowed down our creative process, I do not believe that is the most accurate description of what is happening. We are becoming more thoughtful in our choices and we are editing more easily as time goes by. We are learning to be more flexible with our building blocks and to listen more openly to each other's reasons to change and rearrange elements with less ego throughout the process.
I want to comment on the results. We are achieving a greater clarity in the flavors, the dishes, the progression of food, and the process of development and refinement. This meal started with an oyster. We served it with brown bread, cauliflower and mustard.
The dish's ultimate simplicity speaks of the process. The oysters were shucked and poached in their own juices at 48 degrees Celsius for twenty minutes and chilled. This firms the flesh of the oyster while reinforcing the briny taste of the liquor. The crunchy brown bread is a pumpernickel, raisin and eggplant puree which is then dried in a low oven to yield a wafer thin crisp. The cauliflower is made into a puree with hard cider and enriched with yogurt and whole grain mustard. We then set the puree with carrageenan to form small custard rectangles.
To serve the dish we add the oyster back to its shell and top it with a spoonful of the poaching liquor, a concentration of the oysters essence. We add the cauliflower to the lip of the shell and topped it with the brown bread. The diner is encouraged by the presentation to explore the contrasting textures and flavors, both singly and as a group. The different notes harmonize together beautifully. The high note though is simply the oyster.