Did Someone Say Super Porkwich? Game On!

Chef de Cuisine Bradley Herron's daily game plan.

Later today, Hedy, Michael, and Bradley plus the peanut gallery of yours truly and Ellie, will get our pork on as the strategy talks continue for our offerings at Cochon 555, coming to Miami for the first time on April 1. See New York’s recent winner here, and stay tuned to the competition’s website for the announcement of our competitors and ticket sales.

More Bradley game-planning...

Of course it’s only fair that, in honor of the more imminent pigskin faceoff known as the Super Bowl, we share our winning game day pork recipe for your use at home.  I tested this puppy, a new one from Bradley’s arsenal including past winners like Honeycrisp Apple Salad, and it is as easy to prepare as it is delicious.  I used a standard, but no less delicious, ground shoulder from Publix, but you could get fancy with heritage meat if you can find it, like we get for the restaurant from Jim Wood at Palmetto Creek Farms. Try your hand — two are preferable — for a mid-game meal this Superbowl Sunday, and let us know what you think and send us a photo.  Mine was gone before I could snap one!

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Lemon Passion Fruit Meringue Pie Takes the Cake at Taste of Cayman

Back to the Future: Right, Hedy's winning Strawberry Basil Panna Cotta from 2010, and left, Adriana's winning Lemon Passion Fruit Meringue Pie from Saturday night's event.

For the second time in three years participating in the Taste of Cayman food festival at Camana Bay, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink has won best dessert by the judges, this time with Lemon Passion Fruit Meringue Pie.

Beth setting up the sweet station, with Adriana torching her soon-to-be winning meringues in the back! (photo credit to TGHG Director of Operations, Mr. Charles Bell!)

According to pastry chef Adriana Duran, the game plan was to offer a dessert that embodies what the Caribbean means to her – fruits and freshness.  Combining the tartness and acidity of lemon and passion fruit with graham crumbs and a thin white chocolate layer in the middle, topped off by smooth meringue was the right mix.

“I got the proposal to Hedy, she liked the idea and we just worked on it,” Adriana explains. “I guess that since the beginning I felt that we could win with this dessert.  Everything played a role, from its simplicity but bold ingredients, to the nice presentation.  My belief is that when you like what you do and you put enthusiasm and love into what you cook, you are one step ahead.”

Amen, Adriana!  For manager Beth Clarke’s photos from the event, including executive chef Thomas Tennant’s captivating lionfish chowder recipe demo, visit her Flickr set here.

[UPDATED] From Naples, Eric Larkee Conjures What to Watch in Wine in 2012

What will Eric pull out of his hat next?

Update: See Ellie’s documentation of the magical meal – including a live magic act performance – here!

The Genuine Hospitality Group Wine Director and Sommelier Eric Larkee is joining Michael and Hedy on the west coast of Florida this weekend for the Naples Winter Wine Festival.  The most successful charity wine auction in the nation since 2004 according to the Wine Spectator, it brings together the world’s finest vintners, chefs, wine collectors and philanthropists for a three-day gala hosted by the Naples Children & Education Foundation with proceeds benefiting local charities that assist underprivileged and at risk children.

With Larkee on pour patrol for a larger-than-life crowd at tonight’s vintner dinner for 30 featuring the wines of Shea Wine Cellars and Vega Sicilia with the genuine foods of chef Schwartz and pastry chef Goldsmith, we took the liberty of culling the essentials that you need to know from his noggin as we head into a brave new year of wine.  Below please find his four things to watch in wine in 2012, which you will find reflected in our restaurant group wine programs, and click here for tonight’s menu and here for background on the vintners. Continue reading

[UPDATE] What’s in the Walk-in: Selles-sur-Cher & 400 Pounds of Fish

New cheese of the week hitting the menu tonight.

Here’s how many of these items arrived to the table last week! We’ve got golden heirloom tomato chutney with the Selles-sur-Cher, a fregola, orange, and radish salad with the African Pompano, and housemade organic ricotta with meyer lemon jam. Heard that food porn Monday!

Selles-sur-Cher from fromagier P. Jacquin & Fils Depuis 1947  in France’s Loire Valley has an ash-covered rind that develops blotches of gray and blue molds as it ages.  The cheese is sweet, nutty, and peppery with mildly tangy acidity. The texture varies depending on ripeness, but it is typically dense and chewy. Bradley’s got it coming on as the cheese of the week  tonight. A first for us!

Like many goat cheeses from the Loire Valley, the outside of Selle-sur-Cher is coated in edible ash. The ash is flavorless but adds a stunning visual contrast against the stark white goat cheese.

So much fish came in yesterday that Bradley had to get cutting before he could store it all.

Line cook Trevor shows off the biggest pompano I've ever seen. Trevor is tall, too!

Our walk-in fish drawer couldn’t accommodate all 400 pounds of whole fish!  Three sources all came in with a variety of beauties, the most stunning being African Pompano from George Figueroa at Trigger Seafood.

“It’s a pelagic fish that migrates southern waters of the gulf stream in winter,” he explained via text yesterday.  “It falls into the jack and pompano family. Very cool looking. Mostly seen during this time of year.”

Pelagic fish live in open oceans rather than shallow, inland waters.  We also received cobia, myriad snappers, and yellow-dappled golden tilefish.

For more photos of what the kitchen was working on yesterday, see our set on Flickr. TBD on what accompaniment Bradley’s got up his sleeve for the cheese of the week and how the fish will become dinner…  We’ll tweet what we find out later this afternoon!

Taste Donna’s Soft Scrambled Farm Eggs & More on Slow Food Day

Our longtime intern, graphic designer Junior Narvaez, helped us with this ad running in the Caymanian Compass today!

Saturday, February 4, Grand Cayman’s first Slow Food Day, is fast-approaching and menus are set!  For the complimentary tasting at The Market at The Grounds from 9-11:00 a.m., all of our participating local chefs have done yeoman’s work connecting with their farmers and conceiving the local-ingredient-inspired dishes they will present, as follows:

Chef Thomas Tennant (Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink) + Farmer Donna Connolly: Donna’s soft scrambled farm eggs on garlic toast with grilled green onions & piave vecchio

Chef Keith Griffin (Private Chef) + Farmer Joel Walton + Rancher Paul Bodden: Island Spiced Pork with Scotch Bonnet ‘mustard’, fruity grilled plantation house vegetable salsa & sweet potato

Chef Sara Mair (Ortanique) + Hamlin Stephenson: Caymanian Sweet Potato Gnocchi with a Ragout of Pumpkin, Calalloo and Tomatoes Topped with House Made Goat Cheese Ricotta

Chef Nevin Patel (The Brasserie) + Patrick Panton: Patrick’s Farm All Natural Jerk Chicken with Heirloom Tomato, Chinese Long Beans and Local Eggplant Panzanella

Chef Paul Carroll (Hemingway’s) + Errol Watler: Pumpkin Soup with toasted coconut and Marinated Pepper and Tomato bruschetta with homemade cheese

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