July 2017 Full Moon Dinner – Thai One On

Sorry for the late post!  We have been working very hard in what is the busiest July I can remember, which is great, of course, but also comes at a cost: less time for the beach, friends, music, exercise, and obviously, blog posts.

We did still have time enough to throw together a Full Moon Dinner, and it was our most popular ever, with 70 guests.  Since I had just gone to Thailand and Vietnam to visit some family and had brought back authentic spices and ingredients, it seemed fitting to share that with our guests, especially since there are no real Thai or Vietnamese restaurants in the Virgin Islands, at least that I know of.  To keep the experience even more authentic, and to make it (a little) easier on ourselves, we decided to make the dinner family-style, since most meals in Thailand and Vietnam are served this way.  I guess that’s why I always want my girlfriend to split entrees with me when we go out.  I like variety.

Courses came out one after the other, and since we were in the kitchen getting things out in a hurry, I completely forgot to take any pictures of anything.  So, to fill whatever visual cravings you might have, I am going to post some pictures from my trip instead.  The trip inspired me to connect with more of my roots and family, and was an opportunity to show my son another side of the world.

We paired up with Southern Glazer’s and brought in a few different Sierra Nevada Beers as well as some Suntory Whiskey for the event.

Here is the menu we designed for July 10th, 2017:

In addition to the Curry Trio (Massaman, Panang, and Green), Green Papaya Salad with fresh, local Papaya, Spicy Beef Salad, Vietnamese Spring Rolls, Fish Cakes, Son-in-Law Eggs, Sticky Rice, Jasmine Rice, and Teas, we also had some some Bun (Rice Noodles), Tom Ka Soup, and array of sauces and pickled vegetables.  We also finished with a Thai Iced Tea Popsicle.

All of the food was born of the idea that we wanted to treat folks to an experience as close to what they would get in Southeast Asia as possible.  The extremely hot weather certainly helped us achieve our goal!

Here are some of the places, faces, and flavors that helped this idea come to fruition…

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‘Pon de River!

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The mountains above Chiang Mai

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Chatuchak Market

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Reclining Buddha

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Heart to the sky

 

Our journey to us first to Bangkok, where my son and I met up with many members of our family.  It was his first time meeting my father’s side, since we live so far away.  From there, we headed to Chiang Mai to spend some time connecting with even more family (28 members in all made it to this part of the visit).

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Lyric, Hua, and Nick enjoying lunch

 

A quick few days in Vietnam took us from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi to Halong Bay, and back to Ho Chi Minh.

With markets all over the place, it was hard to resist filling our suitcases with fantastic flavors.  We definitely did not bring back any fresh fruits or vegetables, as per the USDA regulations.  Wouldn’t want to risk losing our Global Entry statuses, after all.

 

Throughout, it was an amazing trip filled with new experiences that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.  Dreaming about going back as soon as possible and spending even more time there.

I hope that our guests enjoyed the evening and got the feeling that they were transported to another locale for just a few hours.

August’s Full Moon Dinner was another amazing time.  Stay tuned for the next update, soon come.

 

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April 2017 Full Moon Dinner – Raw Deal: Uncooked and Cured

April’s Full Moon is sometimes called the Pink Moon, and when I think of pink food, visions of rare or raw meat come to mind.  This was the premise for the FMD menu in April, and our chefs Vince Alterio, Ben Lewis, and Pat Ryan took the idea and ran full steam ahead with it!  This menu didn’t have as many items from our garden as last month, but Mathew Gibney has begun the replanting process.  We are also planning some changes for the garden space (more on that next month).

We don’t usually delve into the world of raw foods too deeply, but it’s so much fun to experiment and try new things.  Variety is the spice of life, right?  Check out the bill of fare we put out:

 

  • Beet-Cured Salmon / Cold-Smoked Salmon Roe / Shaved Egg Yolk / Green Goddess / Beet Chips
  • Chilled Raw Tom Ka Soup / Fresh Local Catch Ceviche / Coconut / Lime / Hot Pepper / Nori
  • Duck Breast “Bacon” / Iberico Jamon / Beef Carpaccio / Spicy Mustard / Pressure-Pickled Vegetables / Dehydrated Vegetable Crackers / Lettuce / Sundried Tomato
  • Compressed Fruit / Almond Milk Glace / Local Fruit Granita

 

I read somewhere that, technically, you aren’t supposed to heat any food over 108 degrees Fahrenheit.  We used a good amount of raw fruits, vegetables, and grains, with the idea is that heating food destroys its nutrients and natural enzymes, which is bad because enzymes boost digestion and fight chronic disease. In short: When you cook it, you kill it. Some fans of raw food diets believe cooking makes food toxic.

We also wanted to keep things interesting and so employed a variety of techniques that allowed us to use the foods in different ways.  Dehydration, curing, compression, and acidity were all weapons of the team’s arsenal this month.

And lucky us, we had the inimitable Holly Chipman along for the ride to help us out with some fantabulous mocktail concoctions.  However, it was reinforced and made apparent once again that St. John is far from a dry town, and most guests asked to have their mocktails “upgraded” to a full on adult beverage.  Holly incorporated the Raw concept into her drinks, and paired the flavors beautifully with the dishes.  She named them after restaurants she admires.

  • Russ and Daughters:  Cucumber Water / Dill / Local Grapefruit / Lemon
  • Tram’s Kitchen:  Lychee / Thai Basil / Ginger Limeade
  • Dish Osteria:  Black Tea “Sangria” / Cinnamon / Cloves / Allspice / Star Anise / Angostura / Pomegranate

Without further ado, here is the food porn, sans drinks (because all of us were too busy to remember to takes pictures of them).  But trust me, the drinks were BEAUTIFUL!

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The color on the Beet-Cured Salmon just pops so well.  We topped it with the dehydrated beet and cured egg yolk, and finished the plate with avocado, cold smoked salmon roe, and local greens with green goddess dressing.

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The Raw Chilled Tom Ka Soup, accented with Mahi Ceviche, Chili Dust, Cilantro and Thai Basil Flowers, Coconut, and Lime.  We realized at the last minute that Nori is actually toasted, so we chose to omit that piece in order to keep the dish truly raw.

 

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For the protein plate, we cured duck breast for nearly three weeks, pressed it, then added a cold smoke to it to give it a bit of extra flavor.  We sliced the Iberico Ham razor thin and instead of the beef carpaccio, decided to do a beef tartare.  For the pickled vegetables, we put them inside a chamber vacuum sealer to force the pickling liquid into the produce rather than cooking them.  The dish was accented with truffle aioli, spicy whole grain mustard, sun dried tomato salsa, and moringa powder.

 

 

Dessert was kept simple.  Again using our vacuum chamber, we compressed fresh fruit to give it a different texture and paired it with Passion Fruit Granita (garnished with fresh Soursop), as well as an Vanilla-Almond Milk Shooter.

All in all, another phenomenal dinner by our team of talent.  We also got to celebrate a birthday with one of the guests!  Next month, we will be Kickin’ Ash: Smoked and Grilled.  Pretty much the exact opposite of this month…

Thanks to all who participated and worked this event, and see ya next time!

Group Shot!

It’s Jill’s birthday!

March 2017 Full Moon Dinner – Ground Breaking

Every once in a while, we like to include our Vegan fans into the mix and do something that we feel is a statement of our culinary style while at the same time challenges what we normally do on a daily basis.  Basically, get us outside of our comfort zone.

For March, we based it on the “Worm Moon”, and since we didn’t want actual worms on the menu, we decided that because worms are known for helping aerate the earth, we should feature foods that also push through terra firma, hence the title for this month.  Ground Breaking refers to the roots and tubers that take the ground and make it their bitch home.

We had so much fun designing this menu and the lovely Holly Chipman came up with some fantastic cocktails to match, who worked with the energetic Paul Kessock, Jr. of Bellows and West Indies to curate the beverage selections.

Chef Vince Alterio and his associate Patrick Ryan also recently joined our team and are making tremendous contributions.  Ben Lewis is continuing his progression in our kitchen and with Mathew Gibney in the garden, our culinary team is looking as strong as ever.  Erik LaFontaine was also helping us for our dinner and we credit him with many of the photos you are about to feast your eyes on.  Pun intended (more to follow).

Check out a copy of the menu:

March 2017 menu

As you can see if you read the menu, Vegetable Puns were on our minds.  Dad Jokes aside, the food came out beautifully.

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The Artichoke Cup held a handful of White Beans cooked with Roasted Garlic.  It was a simple enough dish, accented with Green fresh from our Windy Level Garden, a Lemongrass-Sun Choke Shooter, and Sweet Potato-Hemp Crisps made to resemble bacon.  (EVERYONE likes the smell of bacon, even Vegans).

On the second course, we went with Radishes and Greens from the Gifft Hill School EARTH program, and substituted Moringa Powder (also from our garden) for the Beet Powder.  We really should just put an asterisk next to everything grown local; we use so much of it.

 

Course number three was hands down the favorite of the night for our guests.  The Celebration of Celery Soup was rich, but light; creamy, yet dairy-free; simple-looking, but complicated in flavor.

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So smooth, it was like eating silk, if silk were flavored like Celery Root and Truffles.

The “Main” Course consisted of another combination of mushrooms and white food.  That might sound boring, but it came out very understated and elegant.  See for yourself:

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One of the guests who attended was someone who was cajoled into coming, his reluctance coming from being a dedicated “meat-eater”, and he wasn’t sure if he was going to be satisfied at the end of the evening.  He even went so far as to ask, “Why is the main course the smallest?”.  At the end of the night, however, he changed his tune.

The dessert was an incredible Carrot Cake with a White Chocolate_Walnut Frosting.  You may have read about it when you looked at the menu.  We ended up taking Baby Carrots from our garden and doing a quick candy on them for use as the garnish.  They were “the most carroty carrots” some of the guests ever had.  Kudos to our gardener!

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All in all, our guests had a unique experience that they will hopefully remember for a long time to come.  Many of them came from St. Thomas and used our Free Shuttle Service.  We look forward to seeing them at our next event on April 11th: Raw Deal – Uncooked and Cured

https://www.facebook.com/events/1108579892604299/

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Can you find the gardener?

As a bonus this month, we are sharing our recipes for the cocktails, courtesy of Holly Chipman.  Some of them are easy.  Some of them are not.  Feel free to contact us with questions or to book your spaces for our next FMD!  340-777-5464

Cheers!

FMD Cocktails April 2017

 

  1. Not Your Mother’s Tiny Bubbles

1 oz Chopin Vodka, ¼ oz Carpano Antica, ¼ oz lemon juice,

Fill bottom of chilled champagne flute with mixed berry puree, top w/ booze and juice, fill with ginseng and mixed berry kombucha – garnish w/ lemon twist.

 

  1. Strong + Straight Up

1 ½ oz Chopin Vodka, ½ oz grenadine, ¼ oz lemon juice, squirt thyme simple syrup

Shake hard with ice – Serve in chilled martini glass with fresh thyme garnish.

 

  1. Cool as a Cucumber

1 ½ oz Hendricks Gin, fresh muddles basil, cucumber slices + fresh lime juice, apple juice

Muddle lime juice, cucumber + thai basil in cocktail shaker – Top with Hendricks and shake over ice – Strain in tall glass filled with crushed ice – Top with organic apple juice +garnish with fresh cucumber.

 

  1. Put on Your Smokin’ Jacket

½ oz Woodford Reserve, ½ oz Mezcal, ¼ oz fresh oj, squirt smoked maple syrup, 3 dash bitters.

Shake all over ice and strain over large cube in rocks glass – Garnish with fresh orange wheel.

 

  1. A Mule

1 oz Chopin, ½ oz fresh oj, splash fernet

Layer in the glass – vodka + oj then top with ginger beer – Splash fernet on top.