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.

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Keep the Romance Alive: Legendary Aphrodisiacs

February 2017’s Full Moon Dinner at the Windy Level put an emphasis on Valentine’s Day and the {ahem} spirit that it brings.

Throughout time, people have tried to figure out an easy way for their partners (and themselves) to get in the mood.  While researching the topic of foods that were purported to have the qualities of an aphrodisiac , we found that most of the common factors were a tendency to be heart-healthy, contain antioxidants, and get the blood pumping.

Before we get into the food and wine, here are some gratuitous shots of the Caribbean Sunset and Blue Water:

 

This was our menu (which was apparently too tongue-in-cheek to be approved for :

Baby, I Like It Raw: Oyster Three-way    Olive Pesto / Pickled Burdock Mignonette / Compressed Watermelon

You’re Really Hot, Honey     House Burrata / Avocado / Citrus Salad / Chili-Infused Honey / Basil

Nice Package!         Artichoke Strudel / Arugula / Fig Jam / Pepitas / Tomato

There’s Plenty of Fish…      Plantain-Stuffed Scottish Salmon / Ginseng-Coconut Couscous / Balsamic-Grilled Asparagus / Lobster Sauce

Warm, Sweet, and Creamy       Cinnamon Poached Pear / Vanilla Crème Anglaise

Take Me Home, Already        Surprise Parting Gift  (it was a Chocolate-Covered Long Stem Strawberry)

 

We partnered up with Dale Miller, owner of AB Cellars, who provided some great Italian selections for our meal.  We also welcomed chef Vinny Alterio to the team for his first dinner with us!

 

Oyster Course

We splurged and got some really nice product in for this one.  A trio of fresh oysters included Blue Point, Wianno, and Katama varieties.

 

We even had a Peeky Crab or two in the mix!  The Blue Points went with the Olive Pesto, the Wianno with the Burdock Root, and the Katama went in a Watermelon Shooter.

Plating was with some rock salt, grilled citrus, smoking thyme, and pickled watermelon rind.

Pairing: Calliope Prosecco

 

 

Cheese Course

We made our own Mozzarella Burrata, stuffed with Garden Herbs and Ricotta.

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Some fresh Avocado, a Citronette Salad, Habanero Salt, and Chili-Honey rounded out the flavors, and a Flax-Hemp-Chia Seed Cracker added the necessary crunch factor.

Pairing: 2013 Colli Vincenti Pinot Grigio

 

Salad Course

For our artichoke strudel, we took fresh Artichoke Barigoule and tossed it with caramelized onions, as well as roasted and pureed Bottle Gourds from our garden (locally called Sweet Go’, they can reach the size of an adult’s arm!) and put them mixture into phyllo dough.  They have been so abundant in our garden, we gave away three of them to guests along with four bottles of wine in our monthly raffle (Congratulations to Sharelle who won two bottles of wine and one bottle gourd!)

Finishing off the plate, we added locally grown Arugula, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes from our garden, Pepitas, and a Fig Jam for a bit of unctuous flavor.

Pairing: 2012 Cerretello Chianti Superiore

 

Fish Course

Normally, we like to serve locally caught seafood, but once in a while, it’s nice to mix it up and get in something special.  It was our first encounter with the Ora King product, and we couldn’t have been more pleased.  The organically raised King Salmon met every expectation of quality we could ask for, although it was quite pricey (but worth it).

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We figured it was best to keep things relatively simple, so we did a Coconut Israeli Cous-Cous, Lobster Sauce, Reduced Balsamic, Asparagus, and a Plantain Stuffing.  We kept the skin and crisped it up.  The flavor combo was amazing!  The salmon and plantain was seared and then lightly roasted to a medium temperature, letting the fattiness open up but keeping the flesh tender and flaky.

A non-traditional pairing of the 2005 Moro di Pava Super Tuscan was just what this dish called for, mixing the rich, hearty flavors of the food with the complex meritage of Merlot, Cab Franc, and Sangiovese.

 

Dessert Course (not pictured)

The Poached Pear we did was not overtly sweet.  The Sous Vide technique allowed us to reach the perfect temperature and texture while retaining the pear’s own juices.  Cooked with cinnamon and a touch of the paired Vin Santo dessert wine (made from Trebbiano Grapes), we plated it with a bit of Vanilla Creme Anglaise and some Aquafaba that we torched to a golden brown.

Pairing: Vin Santo Dessert Wine

 

Recap

All 44 guests left with a long-stemmed chocolate covered strawberry, and hopefully feeling a bit more amorous than when they arrived.  Below is a list of some of the ingredients that we used and their purported effects.  Thanks to everyone who attended and worked this event!  For March 2017, we will be doing a Five Course Vegan interpretation of the “Worm Moon” on Friday, March 10th. Come join us and experience the Windy Level for yourself!

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Aphrodisiacs

 

Oysters – Zinc (men) – men lose zinc with every climax.  Also contain Amino Acids

Pine Nuts – Zinc

Olive Oil – Healthy Heart

Burdock – Used for sterility and impotence in China

Watermelon – Lycopene (relaxes blood vessels)

 

Avocado – Vitamin E

Chili – Endorphins (Increased heart rate) Capsacin

Honey – Boron (regulates estrogen).  Mead (from Honey) was traditionally served on Honeymoon, hence the name.

 

Artichoke – Silymarin (heart health & liver function)

Arugula – Minerals and antioxidants to block contaminants

Fig – Potassium

Pepitas – Magnesium (raise testosterone)

 

Salmon – Omega 3 (heart health)

Plantain – Bromelain (triggers testosterone productions)

Ginseng – Saponins (increased energy)

Coconut – Increased blood flow

 

Cinnamon – Raises Body Temp

Vanilla – Stimulates nerves

Red Wine – Reservatrol antioxidant (increased blood flow)

 

Chocolate – tryptophan, is a building block of serotonin, a brain chemical involved in sexual arousal

 

 

January 2017 Full Moon Dinner

Well, the start of the New Year has begun, and to kick things off, we decided to pay homage to the guy who takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’: Father Time.

Aged and fermented foods were the focus of the menu for Thursday, January 12th, 2017, and Enrique Rodriguez from 3BV Distributors in St. Thomas helped us out on the beverage side of things with some of his imported selections.  Some of you may know Enrique from his other job: running Rodriguez Auto Parts.

We did a four course menu this time around and Enrique had fun raffling off lots of bottles for guests to take home.  Photographer Leah Randall was on hand to take shots of the space, the food, and the guests.

We also had our sails up over our outdoor space, which is really close to completion!  Just a few more tweaks here and there. Big shout out to Mathew Gibney and Ben Lewis for their parts in making it happen.

 

For the First Course, Chef Nils went with:

Pickles / Jamon / Smoked Salmon Rillet / Sourdough / Preserved Lemon Jam / Aged Manchego 

And Enrique poured a Witte Beer from Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, NY

 

David from Caravan Auto, who is actually quite an accomplished baker, hooked us up with some of his phenomenal Sourdough Bread.  We preserved our lemons and made our pickled items.

Next on the docket, we had:

Salt Fish Croquette / Island Chow Chow / Caviar / House Creme Fraiche / Mustard Greens

Enrique paired it with LaChouffe, a Golden Ale from Brewery Achouffe in Belgium.

Banana Leaves and Mustard Greens straight from our own garden!

For the main course, we did:

Dry Aged Beef Sirloin / Stilton & Cauliflower Gratin / Brussel Sprouts / Speck

We quick dry-aged our beef for about three days using a technique involving fish sauce and cheese cloth.  The result was just the right amount of funkiness coupled with a subtle hint of aged Stilton in the Gratin.

Our beer selection was the flagship beer from Brewery Duvel Moortgat, also a Golden Ale from Belgium but with less spice.

To finish things off, it was a

Pound Cake / Kombucha Gelee / Merengue / Fizzy Fruit

The Kombucha was made in house by Chef Mat and the fruit was made fizzy using CO2 and a whipped cream siphon.

The beer choice was probably the most popular because it was so unusual.  A Cuvee Brut from Brewery Liefmans, also in Belgium (I sense a theme here).  Lightly sweet and fruity, it was the perfect accompaniment to the dessert course.

Unfortunately, no one captured an image of the dessert or the beer being poured, so we’ll just have to stick in a picture that was ripped off of the brewery’s website…

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We also didn’t get a traditional group shot at the end of the evening (streak broken!), so in lieu of that, here are some shots of happy guests and staff throughout the evening.

 

Thanks again to all who participated, and we look forward to next month’s dinner.  The theme is: Keep the Romance Alive – Legendary Aphrodisiacs on Saturday, February 11th, 2017.

Thai Me Up! November 2016 Full Moon Dinner Recap

Wow, what a Super Moon (literally)! The closest one we’ve had in almost 70 years, and we were blessed enough to have great weather, during this otherwise rainy November, to be able to see it in all it’s spectacular beauty.

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“Hey, look!  The moon!  And some cars!”

We were also lucky enough to be able to get our new outside space pulled together just in time for a capacity crowd and our largest gathering to date, thanks to Mathew Gibney.  He’s our gardener AND handyman extraordinaire.  We think it came out pretty nice, and are looking to improve it even more for future events.  (REMEMBER: The Windy Level space is available for FREE* if you book a minimum of $2500 in catering services at our venue).

 

Onto the menu.  We’ve had a ton of requests for Asian-inspired food, so being the people-pleasers that we are, we developed a menu based on Mathayom’s childhood palate.  Here it is in all it’s glory:

Course #1 – Broken Summer Roll: Shrimp / Black Rice / Sweet Chili
Drink: Lemongrass & Thai Basil Mojito
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We wanted to make this one look like a “Shrimp Volcano”, with the Chili Sauce as the hot lava (not pictured)

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Apparently, it’s not pronounced, “Moe-JAI-toe”

Course #2 – Tom Ka Pĕd: Coconut Soup / Duck / Lime Leaf

For the soup course, we did a twist on the traditional Thai Coconut dish. Our version contained Duck Confit Dumplings, a trio of vegetables (Pearl Onion, Shiitake, Roasted Pepper), and fresh Lime Leaf from Chef Jeh’s garden.  We took some of the banana leaves from our garden, used them as covers, and added a touch of smoke to our version.

Course #3 – Pho Real:  Crispy Catch / Pho Fumet / Sweet Potato Glass Noodle
Drink Pairing: Spicy Mango-Tumeric Sour
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Chili threads accent the dish and add a pop of color

We got some snapper and created a glass noodle cake for the base.  For the sauce, Chef Nils made a local Wahoo Fumet and added some of the traditional spices and seasonings one might find in Pho, such as ginger, onion, garlic, star anise, and cinnamon.  We then reduced this down for an intense yet light flavor base.

Course #4 – 18th Parallel: Mango Pork / Purple Curry / Fried Basil
Drink Pairing: Lime Leaf Bourbon Ginger
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Purple Curry is the new Yellow Curry

For the meat course, we used a mixture of flavors that encompassed those found in both Southeast Asia as well as the Caribbean.  Because the climates are so similar, we have a lot of products that thrive in our respective environments, but are put together differently.  To make the purple curry, the chefs used beets, purple potatoes, coconut milk, and lots of love.  The pork shoulder was sliced, pounded, and braised with mango and spices, and we threw on some pumpkin for depth and color.  Thai Sticky Rice (sent down by Mat’s mom) and Fried Basil completed the dish.

 

Course #5 – Buddha Belly: Coconut Custard / Tea Redux / Rambutan Coulis
Drink Pairing: Spiked Thai Iced Tea

By the time dessert course came out, folks were busting at the seams, so we kept the portions small and manicured.  Chef Ben torched the tops of the Coconut Egg Custard to create a brulee effect, afterwhich the kitchen drizzled a jasmine tea reduction and rambutan coulis to add to the flavor combo.  The spiked Thai Iced Tea was a refreshing bit of caffeinated buzz to end the evening.

 

Of course, no Full Moon Dinner at #windylevel is complete without a group shot.  We had so many people, that we had to move everyone outside into the new area to fit them all!  Our free shuttle came right on time and got our guests back downtown, with tiny turmeric plants to commemorate the evening.

Next month: Winter is Coming! – Hearty and Traditional Fare with Silverado Wines on Tuesday, December 13th.  Make your reservations today if you will be on island and wish to join us!