June 2017 Full Moon Dinner – I Bahn Heh

Chefs: Mathayom Vacharat, Vincent Alterio, Patrick Ryan

Gardner: Mathew Gibney

The Crucian Dictionary defines the term ‘Bahn Heh’ or ‘Baan Ya’ as, “Born here. Native. Belonger. This expression, part of the vernacular since time immemorial, is increasingly heard as immigrant islanders assert themselves in the community. This is indeed unfortunate as one realizes that the most defiant shouters of ‘Baan ya’ are themselves children of an earlier wave of immigrants. [First seen in print in the St. Croix Avis, 18 Feb. 1868.]”

To that end, with St. John Carnival in full swing, we wanted the June Full Moon menu to celebrate what we felt was an amalgam of many of the different flavors that were brought to the Virgin Islands, added to the culinary melting pot, and presented as what are now considered local dishes.  We also wanted to use what is sourced locally, as is custom practice for our kitchen.

Of course, we had to put our own twist on things as well, so non-traditional was the norm.  We linked up with Bellows and West Indies to pick a variety of wine selections.

In keeping with our commitment to give back to the world community, we decided to match any contributions to our beloved Pan Dragons steel pan orchestra.  Our patrons generously donated at total of $325, for a grand total of $650 donated!  Thank you to everyone who gave.  Feel free to continue showing the music program some love here: https://www.gofundme.com/st-john-love-city-pan-dragon-steel

Without further ado, here is the menu:

SLOW SEASON: Windy Level Baby Romaine / Smoked Eggplant / Stuffed Crouton / Coconut Hot Pepper Sauce
Pairing: Ferrari Carano Fume Blanc

Flavor Injectors!

Smoked Eggplant, Stuffed Crouton, Hot Sauce, and Baby Romaine

The greens, including baby romaine and Swiss chard, were picked from our garden and shocked in ice water.  The eggplant came from the lovely ladies who have their produce stand in Cruz Bay Park, and we smoked it for about 2 hours.  The crouton was seared and then stuffed with a Buttermilk-Herb dressing.  The hot sauce was inserted into flavor injectors and positioned into the crouton.  Voila!

CARNIVAL TIME: Wahoo Kallaloo / Lobster Dumpling / Saltfish Escabeche
Pairing: William Hill Central Coast Chardonnay

Salt fish with a smoky essence, lobster dumpling in kallalo

I see food and I eat it!

A semi-traditional Kallaloo was made with Okra from Ridge to Reef Farm in St. Croix, celery, onions, flavor peppers, malabar spinach, lobster stock, and lots of love!  A dumpling with chunks of Rock Lobster tail was added at the end, and on the side, we served an escabeche of salt fish, topped with passion fruit from our vine, and placed under a glass dish filled with apple wood smoke.  Oregano was chosen for the garnish.

CORAL BAY MASSIVE: Salt Pond Salt-Crusted Pork / Pumpkin Johnny Cake / Jerk Mushroom Sauce
Pairing: Domaine Carneros Avante Garde Pinot Noir

Salt Pond is a treasure trove for harvesting our local salt supply, and our crew brought back about a year’s worth last month.  We decided to crust and roast a pork loin, then add a whole bunch of pumpkin flavor by way of pumpkin spice Johnny Cakes, pumpkin slaw, and pumpkin puree.  We finished the plate off with a Jerk-seasoned mushroom sauce, the ribs that were trimmed from the loin, and fresh scallion.

DRUNKEN GOAT: Mango Beer-Braised Goat / Green Pea Pastry / Oxtail Demi / Spicy Tomato Jam
Pairing: Achaval Ferrer Mendoza Malbec

We ended up using mutton instead of goat as our main protein, but then after making the oxtail demi, decided to mix the oxtail meat in with the mutton to create a delicious partnership of flavors.  Planning for something like a deconstructed Shepherd’s Pie, Chef Vinny took our peas and made a crispy flatbread from them.  The spicy tomato jam cut through the richness of the dish with spice and acidity, while hints of mango perfumed the meat.  A pistachio crust was then applied to brighten the plate and add a bit of crunchy texture.

RECOVERY AND THERAPY: Sweet Plantain Monfongo Napoleon / Champagne-Sorrel Sabayon / Chocolate
Pairing: Batsiolo Moscato Bosc D’La Rey

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We have had an abundant fruit season this year, and so plantains also made the menu.  Yes, it’s true that Mofongo is orginially from Puerto Rico, but since they are so very close and we are told to, “Love thy neighbor”, we figured why not incorporate the dish somehow.  Ripe plantains were cooked, mashed, and seasoned with a bit of chili, then formed into cakes seared.  Spiced Tuille Cookies were par-baked, cut, and finished off.  The Champagne Sabayon was infused with Sorrel Liqueur from St. John’s very own Sharelle Francis.  Plating involved Chocolate Ganache, and torching the Sabayon to create a burnt marshmallow flavor.  Eating it was like taking a weekend trip to visit Boricua.

Next month, for July, we will be exploring the flavors of Southeast Asian cuisine, and serving a fantastic family-style menu with beers and Suntori Whiskey.  Come Thai One On with us on Monday, July 10th.  Call our office during business hours to reserve a seat for only $55pp   340-777-5464

We are also SUPER excited at the prospect of having our first guest chef appearance in August by way of Digby Stridiron of Balter in St. Croix!  http://www.balterstx.com/ Saturday, August 5th is the date.   Mark it in your calendars now; it’s going to be epic.  We hope to have a guest chef about every three months.

We will be posting our upcoming concepts for the year very soon, so keep an eye on our homepage and our Facebook page for details.

Until next time, enjoy Carnival and the Holiday week!

 

 

Advertisements

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.

FullSizeRender

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.

IMG_20170310_201915_065

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:

IMG_20170310_205817_883

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!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

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/

20170310_215438

IMG_3209

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.

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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).

img_3051

 

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!

fullsizerender

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

 

 

Making it Your Own Part 2-Location

coral bay view

View from a formal dining event in Coral Bay

If you are having an event on island, you already know this, but this place is beautiful. Exquisitely so. With that said, there are an incredible amount of spaces in which to have your event–but you will want a location that reflects the purpose of the event and your own personality.

outdoordining close up

Outdoor dining from an event at Virgin Grande Estates

One of the most appreciated spaces is right at your own rental villa. If you are having a formal dinner for all of your travel partners, just make yourself comfortable in the indoor or outdoor dining space that the home offers. We will use the linens and table wear to create the scene for one of your most memorable meals.

Wedding in Upper Peter Bay

Wedding in Upper Peter Bay

The set up for a beautiful wedding poolside at a villa

The set up for a beautiful wedding poolside at a villa

 

If you are having a large event, be sure to check the restrictions on the villa when booking. Some will not allow any gatherings, some will limit the guest count to 20, so be sure to communicate this when planning your stay. Having the event at the villa you are staying at allows the party to come to you! We will bring all necessary tables, chairs, and bar set up to make sure that all needs are met.

Welcome party at Sirenusa

Welcome party at Sirenusa

A formal dinner at Grande Bay

A formal dinner at Grande Bay

Don’t have a villa but still want to have a gathering? We have worked with Sirenusa and Grande Bay if you are staying at one of the properties and can offer in-condo dining or with permission, access to outdoor common areas. We have even worked with bars like Dr!nk to host an event with appetizers or even full buffet menus!

A wedding at Oppenheimer Bay

A wedding at Oppenheimer Bay

How about having the event on a beach? One of our favorite locations for weddings to pig roasts is at Oppenheimer Beach. Only a few minutes out of town, this beach has everything you will need: an indoor area with full kitchen and bathrooms, plenty of outdoor space, access to the beach, and a fantastic sunset viewing spot.

If you are one for an adventure, consider dining on a boat, or even better, a helicopter! Just say the word and we will figure out all of the details.

outdoor peter bay dining

Dinner in Upper Peter Bay

Remember, its all about location, location, location!

Call to book your event today! 1-340-777-5464

Making it Your Own Part 1–Drinks

At St. John Catering, we want to make sure that your event reflects your style: from the setting to the main course to the bar offerings, and what better way to put your own twist on it than with a signature drink.

If you have a bar at your event, there are a few selections that most people like to include–mostly tropical drinks with a Virgin Islands staple: rum.

The most widely known is the Painkiller. It consists of both light and dark Cruzan rum, Coco Lopez (cream of coconut), orange juice and pineapple and is topped with freshly ground nutmeg. A great way to provide this for a party is to have the non-alcoholic version pre-mixed and to allow your bartender to pour the rum over ice and top it with the rest. This helps to ensure that guests are getting the right amount of alcohol for their own preference and to make sure that those who don’t consume can still have a taste of this delicious blend.

Dark and Stormy’s are also a favorite–traditionally done with Gosling’s Black Seal Rum, topped with ginger beer, and garnished with a lime. These no fuss drinks are a great way to get the party going.

Last but not least is a classic Rum Punch. Let your guests choose either light or dark rum and serve it over ice with a blend of pineapple, orange and cranberry juice with a splash of grenadine.

These drinks, along with a full bar, make your event complete–but how about making it one to remember?

By including a signature drink in your menu, your guests will have a chance to try something new, and remember it always!

We have done the simplest of cocktails like Cruzan Cherry Rum and Coke to twists on the favorites like a ‘Nilla Killa–a Painkiller with Cruzan Vanilla Rum to a special request that the bride called Stoli Doli–fresh pineapple infused Stoli on the rocks.

There are plenty of suggestions we have that were enjoyed in the past like a Coconut Mojito or a Passionfruit Margarita but the best part is that this cocktail embodies your special event.

Have something in mind? Just contact Mat to add your signature cocktail to the menu of your next event.

Can We Be Gluten Free?

Yes!

We work around food allergies and aversions every day in the kitchen. We can easily tweak menus for those who avoid gluten by using alternative starches like rice or potatoes, or grains like quinoa. If you check out our Guest Selection Formal Menu selections for our In Villa Private Chef Services, you will see that most of the dishes that are offered only need small changes to make it appropriate for a gluten-free diet.

Or, let us do what we do best and use our creativity! Selecting the Chef’s Choice option, we are able to use our skills to create something exciting with the most fresh ingredients.

That’s what Gluten Dude, the celiac food blogger, did on his trip to Virgin Gorda in the BVIs (we work on all of the Virgin Islands) this past December and he was NOT disappointed! In fact, he was so impressed he gave us quite the shout out in his blog.

Those who suffer from food allergies are at the mercy of a busy, distracted kitchen whenever they go out to eat and although your server may alert them, the chance of cross contamination is exponentially higher than when being prepared by a private chef. Gluten Dude opted to have a chef for multiple meals.He mentioned the ease of not having to explain his allergy every time they went for food and that he “Never got glutened. Heck…I never even got a stomach ache. Crazy, right?”

From breakfast with complete with GF pancakes to lunch where “we were met with one glorious creation after another” and even a round of sunset appetizers before dinner and dessert, Mathayom was able to impress in every course.

If you have a sensitivity to gluten, be sure to contact us for some of the best gluten-free dishes on the island.

 

 

10 Things to do with a Baguette

Mmmmmm…Bread.  Who doesn’t drool over a toasty, crusty piece of delicious bread?  It is cheap and versatile and can be put to use in so many different ways.  Here are our 10 favorite things to do with a baquette:

  1. French toast!!  In a shallow bowl whisk 3 eggs, ¼ cup of milk, ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract and a dash of nutmeg.  Dip slices of baguette into the mixture coating both sides thoroughly and remove allowing the excess to drip back into the bowl.  Place pieces into a hot buttered skillet, turning until both sides are beautifully brown- about 2 minutes on each side.  Serve with butter, maple syrup, fresh fruit, whatever you want!
  2. Pizza…Cut baguette in half lengthwise and pull out some of the soft middle to make a little “boat”.  Brush bottoms lightly with olive oil, spread a generous amount of tomato sauce on top of each piece of bread and cover with shredded cheese and your favorite pizza toppings.  Place pizzas on a foil lined cookie sheet and bake in 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.
  3. Bread Pudding.  Ridiculously delicious no matter how you do it.  You can make it sweet for dessert or breakfast or savory as a side dish for dinner.  This is basically a baked version of French toast and the options are endless.  Check out some recipes online at:  http://www.epicurious.com.
  4. Chocolate bread.  Seriously.  Need we say more? Cut the baguette lengthwise and lay pieces of semisweet chocolate on top.  Toast until the chocolate has melted and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and a little sea salt.  Warning:  This is highly addictive.
  5. Paninis.  Not as tricky as they’re made out to be.  Simply grilled, pressed sandwiches and the baguette is perfect for it, you just have to turn it inside out.  Slice the bread lengthwise and place your favorite sandwich meats and between the crusty outside pieces of bread.  Melt butter in a large hot skillet and place the sandwiches, bready side down in the pan.  Use another heavy pan or pot to weigh down the sandwich.  Cook for about 3 minutes on each side.
  6. Bruschetta.  There are literally a billion things you can do with this.  Get creative.  Slice bread into ¼ inch pieces and toast with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic and toast until crispy.  Cool and top with anything you like.  Some of our favorites:  mozzarella, tomato and basil (classic!); goat cheese, fig and balsamic; roasted eggplant, onions and peppers with hummus…the list could go on.
  7. Ever hear of panzanella?  Well, now you have…it’s a delicious Italian bread salad and it easy and versatile.  Cut bread into ¼ inch chunks and add tomato, cucumbers and onions.  Dress with vinaigrette, salt and pepper.  Done!
  8. Learn how toast was supposed to be.  Cut off a piece of baguette and slice it in half.  Spread with butter and toast in the toaster oven, regular oven, or on the grill. Simple.
  9. Make your own croutons.  With day old baguette, cut into 1” squares and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper (for extra love add garlic, thyme, rosemary, parmesan, red pepper flakes, or any other tasty flavor).  Place in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until crunchy and toasted.  Add to salads and soups.
  10. Breadcrumbs.  Cut stale bread into small chunks and get out the old food processor.  Add a little salt and pepper, your favorite seasonings like thyme, oregano, rosemary, garlic powder, etc…Whir quickly in the processor and there you have it.  Homemade seasoned breadcrumbs.  Keep in a Ziploc in the freezer until ready to use.