Project 5: A Brunch Menu

28 Nov

 

The French Culinary Institute’s Level 5 project is a taste what (F.C.I) students are made of. This project is for students in the classic culinary arts program (One level away from graduation) and is the most creative assignment of the year. Students write an essay, create a themed 4-course menu with wine pairings, and take pictures of their delicious fare.
Eat Life is showcasing select students so everyone can get a glimpse of the talent behind F.C.I’s kitchen doors. Introducing Deirdre Santos’ level 5 project, A Brunch Menu. 

BRUNCH MENU:
SWEET ONION AND ROASTED RED PEPPER SOUP WITH CROUTONS
BROWN BUTTER BASTED SCALLOPS WITH LOBSTER
WINE: 2006 BOUCHARD AINE & FILS MACON VILLAGES
CRISPY SOUTHERN FRIED CHICKEN WITH CORNBREAD WAFFLES AND WARM SPICY APPLE MAPLE SYRUP
POACHED EGG AND BRAISED SHORT RIBS OVER ROASTED POTATO HASH WITH HOLLANDAISE SAUCE
WINE: 2005 CHATEAU LA FREYNELLE ROUGE
PAN SEARED BABY LAMB CHOPS WITH BLACKBERRY BALSAMIC REDUCTION, AND ASPARAGUS
WINE: 2006 CONCANNON PINOT NOIR LIMITED
DUAL DESSERTS
GERMAN CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH COCONUT PECAN FROSTING
BLACK WALNUT ICE CREAM
WINE: 2005 QUADY ELYSIUM BLACK MUSCAT
WINE PAIRINGS:

Some of the course ingredients are rich and heavy making the accompanying of wine very important; not only to enhance the foods flavor, but to help cut the heaviness and fattiness of that particular course. Wine has been paired with four of the eight courses from this menu:

2nd Course – Brown Butter Basted Scallops with Lobster
This course was paired with 2006 Bouchard Aine & Fils Macon Villages. This wine pairs perfectly with any seafood and because of its higher acidity cuts the butter of this dish. This wine has flavors of pear, apple, and pineapple fruit. Has a crisp acidity, yet is in creamy texture with a medium finish. 

4th Course – Poached Egg and Braised Short Ribs over Roasted Potato Hash with Hollandaise
This course was paired with 2005 Chateau La Freynelle Rouge. This wine pairs well because it cuts the fat from the braised short ribs and the hollandaise sauce. This Chateau Freynelle is a blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon with a very intense spice, and flavors of chocolate and plums. On the palate the wine is well balanced with ripe, spicy fruit and a savory character, while the finish is long and elegant. 

5th Course – Pan Seared Baby Lamb Chops with Blackberry Balsamic Reduction & Asparagus
This course was paired with 2006 Concannon Pinot Noir Limited. This medium-bodied wine displays vibrant aromas of black cherry, ripe raspberry and strawberry as well as bright red fruit flavors that are balanced with hints of tar, leather and vanilla. It has a higher acidity to balance the flavor of the reduction. 

6th Course –German Chocolate Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting & Black Walnut Ice Cream
This course was paired with 2005 Quady Elysium Black Muscat, which is used to either accompany or replace dessert. It pairs well with blue cheeses, desserts containing red fruits (such as summer pudding), vanilla, dark chocolate and ice cream desserts. 

BRUNCH MENU ESSAY:

The influences of this menu include foods I ate as a child growing up in Mobile, Alabama, foods I have never tried and foods and flavors I enjoy. Some of the foods on this menu bring comforting memories of family and good times I had as a child. Food was always an extremely important component of my southern culture and I naturally wanted to bring some of that influence into my menu.

My menu theme is brunch. What is Brunch? The simple answer is a combination of breakfast and lunch, usually eaten sometime between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday brunch has become quite popular both for home entertaining and in restaurants. “Though brunch is thought of as an American tradition, H. L. Mencken tells us that it was popular in England around 1900 . . . Long before it reached the United States”. Culinary evidence confirms well-supplied leisurely enjoyed meals have been the privilege of the wealthy and noble classes since the beginning of civilization. Dining times, order of service, length of meals, and proper social etiquette vary with period and culture but one point remains constant: only the very rich could afford to spend extended time and expense indulging themselves in the pleasures of food. According to the food historians, brunch is a turn of the 19th/20th century tradition originating in Britain. 

Brunch is a favorite course of mine as it encompasses breakfast, which is my favorite course of the day, with lunch, which can include smaller portions of dinner items. One of the foods that say brunch more than any other is the “Waffle”. According to Larousse Gastronomique, “”The ancient Greeks used to cook very flat cakes, which they called obleios, between two hot metal plates. This method of cooking continued to be used in the middle Ages by the obloyeurs who made all sorts of oublies, which were flat or rolled into coronets. The oublie became the waffle in the 13th century, when a craftsman had the idea of forging some cookie plates reproducing the characteristic pattern of honeycombs, which at that time were called gaufres (from the Old French wafla).” 

“The word [waffle] is from the Dutch wafel, and first appeared in English print in 1735. The item was known to the Pilgrims, who had spent time in Holland before sailing to America in 1620, and waffle parties became popular in the latter part of the eighteenth century. Thomas Jefferson returned from France with a waffle iron, a long-handled patterned griddle that encloses the batter and gives it its characteristic crispness and shape. A century later vendors on city streets sold waffles hot and slathered with molasses or maple syrup. Waffles continued to be extremely popular breakfast items in the twentieth century, and electric waffle irons made the timing of the cooking easier. Then, in 1953 Frank Dorsa introduced frozen waffles into supermarkets, calling them Eggo Waffles. At the 1964 World’s Fair Belgian Waffles made with yeast and thicker than the usual waffle, were an immediate sensation, and they are sold today at stands, county fairs, carnivals, and other fast-food outlets.”

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