Thursday, January 7, 2010

welcome twenty-ten


Yup, a night to remember! Wonderful friends... fantastic surroundings.... Incredible food... delicious wine... a birthday celebration... New Year's Eve spirit... dancing until 3:00 AM to DJ Lamont! Need there be more?

It will be impossible to forget the countdown to 2010! 12 Gallagher Lane, the hot new (so new it doesn't have a website yet) gallery space South of Market, was the perfect venue to celebrate New Year's Eve and my best chef friend, Gary Danko's birthday!

12 Gallagher Lane, - a Hunt Slonem Gallery is the brand-spanking-new event space devoted exclusively to Hunt's inspired paintings. Hunt, a prominent New York artist, is new to the SF art scene but not to the art world in general. His works are part of the permanent collection of more than 80 museums including the Whitney, Guggenheim and Met. I'm lucky enough to have one of my own, one of his vanda paintings, which welcomes guests in the entry of my home. We were all introduced to Hunt by Gary who owns several of Hunt's paintings.


So it comes as no surprise that we planned a huge New Year's celebration to commemorate the opening of Hunt's gallery and Gary's birthday. As guests walked into the gallery, it was like taking a giant step from a black and white world outside into HD technicolor. Each wall of the gallery is like a new painting, a new theme,-- whether it's Hunts parakeets, doves, butterflies, rabbits, or vandas. Hunt loves nature, color and repetition and not in any particular order.

For this celebratory evening, the center of the room was graced with a huge table filled a thousand red roses and Gary's delicious food. I cooked a couple of the dishes, rice olives and croutons with brandade, a salt cod, potato and garlic puree inspired by trips to Provence.

Gary's chefs turned out a million blini mounded with black Russian River Osetra caviar. Emmanuel Kemiji poured '06 Talley Vineyards Chardonnay and his Mission Ranch '07 Candela Pinot Noir with nice acidity and notes of red fruit. Veuve Clicquot Rosé champagne was flowing. And there at the end of the room was Gary, dressed in his whites, slicing, jamon Iberico. I quickly took the knife away from him and we toasted to his birthday and twenty-ten!


CROUTONS WITH BRANDADE

1 1/4 pounds dry salt cod
1/2 pound peeled boiling potatoes, cut into small chunks
3/4 cup cold milk
1 small onion stuck with 6 cloves
Few sprigs of fresh thyme or a pinch dried thyme
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg to taste
1 baguette, thinly sliced and toasted

Soak the cod in water for 48 hours, changing the water two times each day. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the potatoes until soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and discard the water.

Clean the cod of all bones and skin. Place the cod in a saucepan with 1/2 cup of the milk, the onion and thyme, and just enough cold water to cover. Place on medium heat and just as it begins to simmer, remove it from the heat and let it cool 30 minutes. Drain the salt cod and discard the thyme sprigs. Discard any additional bones and skin from the cod.

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Heat the remaining 1/4 cup milk, heavy cream and olive oil. Place the garlic and potatoes in a blender or food processor and mix at low speed just until mixed. Do not over-process. Flake the fish and add to the blender alternately with one-third of the warm milk-cream-olive oil mixture. Process for 1 minute and scrape down the sides of the blender. Process 3 minutes. Add some of the remaining warm milk-cream-olive oil mixture a little at a time, stopping from time to time to scrape down the sides of the blender. The blending process should last for 8 minutes. Turn the speed to high and process until the mixture is light, 2 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

This can be prepared 1 day ahead of time to this point. Bring to room temperature before the final baking.

Oil a shallow 2-quart baking dish with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Spread the brandade in the dish and bake 15 minutes, until hot. Serve with warm croutons.

Serves 24

1 comment:

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