Sunday, September 21, 2008

Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: From Provence to the Catskills - a Voyage from David to Bertolli

table cheers

You can sense it in American kitchens, our restaurant conversations, and across the food blogosphere: a newfound appreciation of good food prepared from fresh, local ingredients. This trend has been building for a long time, and no figure has played a more inspirational role than Alice Waters, chef/owner of Chez Panisse in Berkeley. Waters is part of a long lineage of culinary masters inspired by the food from the south of France - that amazing intersection of French, Italian and Mediterranean flavors, and where fresh and local are a way of life.

We were thrilled to participate in Foodbuzz's 24, 24, 24 blogosphere event, astounding in its scope, with 24 food blogs around the world experiencing and sharing 24 meals over a 24 hour period. What better way to take part than to celebrate Alice Waters and her place in this historical line of chefs bringing the south of France to the world. In doing so, we wanted to transport a taste of Provence to Stone Ridge, NY, a small town in the the foothills of the Catskill mountains.

We crafted a meal tracing the development of this movement, with each course inspired by one of four culinary greats, in chronological order:

24, 24, 24 menu
For those less familiar with some of the chefs named above, Elizabeth David first published Mediterranean Food in 1950, followed by French Country Cooking in 1951. In her foreword to the American compilation of David's cookbooks, Alice Waters writes that meeting David was "the thrill of my life." Waters was also tremendously influenced by Richard Olney, the American who lived near the Domaine Tempier vineyard (hence the choice of wine for the main course) in the south of France, and who wrote such well-known books as the incongruously named Simple French Food (his recipes are anything but simple). And completing the nexus of people around Alice Waters, we have Paul Bertolli, a well-known chef who worked for Alice at Chez Panisse before spreading his own wings. In 2003, Bertolli published the fascinating Cooking by Hand cookbook.

The Dinner
Our goal was to work with as local and fresh ingredients as possible. The growing season here in the Catskills is winding down, but still strong. We started out with a trip to a local farm, Gill's, and made our final meal decisions based on the bounty laid before us.
farm bounty

Also in keeping with the local theme, our pork came from a New York farm, courtesy of the fabulous Fleisher's butcher in Kingston. We fended off hunger in the countdown to dinner with a cows milk cheese called Toussaint, from the Sprout Creek Farm in New York.

We were joined at this feast by four good friends, Mike and Rebecca G, and Mike and Sumi D, who showed angelic patience as we cooked and plated and paused for a photograph here and there.

In order to keep length manageable, and thus this all readable, we have described each dish making up the meal in the six following posts, and listed out the recipes.

amuse grouped
Potato, Leek and Onion Soup, topped with alfalfa and cherry tomato

zucchini pudding
Zucchini Pudding

pork serving dish
Pork Shoulder Braised with Dried Chiles

shell beans plated
Fresh Shell Bean and Green Bean Ragout

risotto chard done
Chard Stuffed with Fennel and Lemon Risotto

panna cotta plated
Lavender Panna Cotta with Peaches


We hope you enjoy the above posts, which include more pictures and thoughts, and you can also see the full set of photos from the dinner at our flickr set. We will leave you with a few favorite shots.

sauternes and glasses
A taste of the past

morning after
Morning light and a memory of the meal

In Conclusion
I want to end by commending and thanking Foodbuzz for challenging its community to produce an ambitious global food event. This project was a huge undertaking, but tremendously fun at the same time. I can't wait to read the 23 other posts that all were written today, and I hope to update this post with links to the other 24, 24, 24 posts as soon as I can. For now, check out the list at Foodbuzz's 24 page.

29 comments:

Passionate About Baking said...

What a wonderful post...loved the last picture too; evocative of a great meal, celebrated & enjoyed! Congrats on being one of the 24!

Marc @ NoRecipes said...

Nicely done! I think we must have been on the same wavelength on the the whole "local" theme as well as the panna cotta. It all looks delicious!

noobcook said...

What a great dinner party! The food looks amazing, so are the wines and your beautiful dinner table :)

FoodJunkie said...

Everything looks delicious! Congratulations on the concept and the recipes

Marija said...

Beautiful story and post! Delicious!

Sylvia said...

Wonderful post, all looks delicious , great party and great wines.Congratulations

Helen said...

Congratulations! I had so much fun making my meal and it looks like you did too! I love the dessert especially as I am a massive fan of anything with lavender in it. What a fabulous meal.

Christie @ fig&cherry said...

Fantastic work! That pork looks so succulent and I love the burst of colour provided by the cherry tomatoes - that's the prettiest looking potato soup I've seen in a long while!

Jeni said...

Congrats on your participation and success in such an undertaking. It all looks like it was fantastic food and company :)

Núria said...

Wow! You guys know how to make people happy ;D... what a spread :D. Fantastic food and story!

Kian said...

What a great meal! You've really captured the essence of cooking with the Catskill's farm bounty. Great choice of recipes. The lavender panna cotta especially intrigues me.

Giff said...

Thank you all from Lisl and I. :) I'm hoping to do the full rounds of everyone else's 24 posting today as work permits. There were some amazing meals this weekend!

thehungryengineer said...

What a pretty spread! And nothing makes me smile like photos of beautiful produce :-) Fantastic post!

Deborah said...

Gorgeous pictures. That zucchini pudding is going on the list. Delish. It looks like you had a wonderful event. Congratulations.

Jo said...

beautiful... so well done :)

kellypea said...

Fabulous. A perfect decision to focus in on Alice Waters and her place in American Cuisine today. Your menu is fabulous -- I've got my eye on that panna cotta...

Brooke said...

beautiful. inspiring. and completely timely!

it truly is exciting to see the fresh and local movement touching so many tables!

congratulations on your 24x24 event!
Brooke

Stacey Snacks said...

Giff,
What a gorgeous dinner!

I had a dinner party this weekend, and I now I am ashamed to post it!

What an elegant meal....gorgeous pics.

You out did yourselves.
Beautiful post.
Stacey

Cynthia said...

Outstanding!

Michelle said...

Fabulous post and beautiful photos! I love the idea for this stemming from the local food movement, one that is near and dear to my heart. But I especially love that you even paired the drinks to go with it. Congratulations you two - this looks and sounds amazing!!

Giff said...

many thanks everyone for the comments :) you make our day!

The Residents of Château Petrogasm said...

Wow, what a beautiful meal! I especially like the Sauternes pairing! I bet it made the Panna Cotta taste really fresh.

Cheers to Foodbuzz and their brilliance!

Ben
Wine Reviews at Chateau Petrogasm
http://www.chateaupetrogasm.com

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

What a stellar line-up of culinary creators and menu items. I can't wait to try that zucchini pudding. Here's to the locally-grown, fresh movement!

Delfrankllyn said...

Yay!!! I'm so happy you've recorded the good lovin' that happens in that kitchen of yours. Kudos to 24 for bringing you on.

kat said...

What a wonderful meal!

maybelle's mom said...

i loved all of the pictures and the recap. i had that same feeling the day after our event.

Laurie said...

Everything looks gorgeous.. the colors are so vibrant and that pork shoulder and bean ragu are calling to me! Wonderful job!

Doug DuCap said...

You made so much good stuff...from the delectable looking Zucchini Puddings to the Lavender Panna Cotta With Peaches!

Ulla said...

that looks great! there is so much more food stuff happening in the catskills!:)