Saturday, March 5, 2011

Onions and Orchids

 The title is from the headline in a daily feature of the newsletter we received every day during my one-and-only week at summer camp.  Onions were the items listed as things the camp counselors didn't like; orchids were the things they did.  My footie pajamas made it on the orchids' side.
  This week has been a collection of onions and orchids.  Onions, literally, as seen here, draining from the Preserve Kitchen steam kettle.  I cooked these two cases of sweet onions--from Peru, not Vidalia, Georgia--all day yesterday, trying to get them to cook without color.  Dear Readers, I hesitate to tell you the truth, but I'm afraid I must:  these onions are for a dessert.  Every year, the Farm hosts a fund raising dinner for the local art museum.  The last four years, we've featured a guest chef.  This year, the guest chef wrote a menu of difficult recipes, weird food pairings and a dessert from his pastry chef that makes me want to wear a bag over my head.  Neither the chef nor his pastry chef, who shall both remain nameless, are making their food.  They've sent recipes, and I've talked with the pastry chef over the phone to clarify the recipe.
   These onions have now be gelatinized and are chilling.  Today, I will cut the onion gel-oh into squares.  Tonight, I will place a square of melted-then-hardened sugar over each square and, using a blow torch, will remelt the sugar.  Then, I will place a hemisphere of hominy ice cream (yes, you read that correctly) on top.  Next to that, I will place a cylinder of buttermilk panna cotta.  So, white onion gel-oh, white hominy ice cream and white panna cotta.  Light brown-to-beige sugar melted.  No sauce, no garnish, white plate, no change in texture, onions, onions, onions in a dessert.
  And at the end, we will all be asked to come out to the dining room to greet the guests, 250 of them.  In the other three times I've participated, we've been greeted by a standing ovation.  I'll be ashamed to go out tonight.
  But the job is going better, in spite of the onion unpleasantness!  And the rest of my life is very nice, indeed!  It's been a beautiful week, after the deluge of Monday, and I was able to go hang out with my weaving tribe, the Tuesday Weavers!  I gave Dustin the baby blanket and he loved it.  I've been knitting some nice things, too.  Here is a scarf I'm knitting from the Alpaca yarn Mom gave me for Christmas, in a pattern I got a couple of years ago from the Yarn Haven, a LYS in Cedar Bluff.  
  I've made several false starts on the socks, but I keep trying.  I am in search of a startlingly beautiful lace pattern that will show up in this dark variegated yarn.  The yarn is merino-alpaca-silk, and it's so very luscious!  It feels good to knit, but I need to stop reverse-knitting soon and get down to business.
  Well, I'd love to stay and chat but I have onion gel-oh to cut!  Have a lovely weekend!


Tina J said...

Eeeewww! I would so not be eating that dessert. You couldn't pay me enough money to even try it!!!!!! Everybody has something they just can't stand and onions are one of those things for me.
Knitting is beautiful, and that sock yarn looks comfy. Keep at it, it will turn out great!

LA said...

Was the guest chef trying to pay homage to the South???? Onion gel-oh with hominy ice cream???? That's almost like saying we all have barns and go barefoot all the time!!!!!! (But, I have to know...have you tasted this yet?) I remain in awe of your's beautiful!

Theresa said...

Surely someone MUST have veto power? That sounds perfectly awful, something I never expected to say in regards to anything you blog about. I like onions, I like hominy ( if prepared well) and I certainly like ice cream, I'm not sure about buttermilk panna cotta, but I do like it not buttermilk. Everything certainly seems to have a pretty bland soft texture. Are you serving a crowd of say over 80 who can't chew food. I give you the okay to put a bag of on your head, maybe with the effigy of the chef's face who dreamed this combo up? The knitting though, just lovely!

Sharon said...

I'm with Theresa, I like onions and I like hominy, with qualifications. Where would menudo be without it?! My mother always made pineapple sherbet with buttermilk, so I'm not ruling it out as tasty, but want to hear an update from you.

Bonnie said...

Oh, my. It really sounds bad. Who knows. I hope that you get to try it before you serve it. A bag might be needed to go over your head. Waiting on the taste test results.

Maggie said...

I'm sorry to tell you that the dessert was not only disgusting; it was hideous as well. The chef whose pastry chef designed the dessert stood with a scowl on his face and his arms across his ample belly as it went out. What a waste of 3 days of my life! I hope my boss doesn't eat it, but I'm afraid he will. Thanks for all the encouragement! Currently drinking a beer, trying to unwind and have good days off, with NO ONIONS!

Theresa said...

I'm so, so sorry to hear that it was terrible. I was hoping that maybe it wasn't so bad. Standing O here just for being a good sport about it, really. I can imagine that pastry chef will be getting an earful about it. What was he/she thinking I wonder.
Enjoy the MUCH deserved days off!

Bonnie said...

Had he not eaten or tried HIS chef's onion dessert?