Turning 1 is a big deal. For baby Ruby's birthday, Taste Workshop hosted an afternoon party for 60 guests. We served grapefruit mimosas and h'orderves. The center piece was of course dessert - a cake mobile, where we hung 100 cake pops (ruby red on the inside) and a small butter cake with beautiful layers made by Leah Rosenberg, We filled the space with colorful balloons, each with a woodcut elephant attached at the end.
The concept of Make & Taste was born five years ago, when I was working at Autofuss. I had gotten into a routine of bringing fresh ingredients to work and cooking my lunch every day. As my boss and co-workers sniffed, drooled and stared at my food regularly, I came up with an idea. Why don't we all make lunch together? And so, once a month, I designed a three-course menu and invited co-workers to help assemble the meal. I would provide printed recipes so everyone could jump in and tackle a portion. It always took longer than expected, but it provided a nice break to the work day -- away from the computer. And during this hour, we would collaborate, share stories, and connect with each other through food.
Fast forward five years and here I am, bringing it back, now at the Taste Workshop! The concept is the same, except since we have a small team, we invite friends over to join us. Here is the first one -
8 servings / adapted from Bon Appetit
10 ounces small potatoes
4 ounces haricots verts, trimmed
8 large eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons plus ¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup drained capers, patted dry
1½ pound skin-on salmon fillet
Freshly ground black pepper
6 anchovy fillets packed in oil
1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon sugar
½ medium shallot, finely chopped
4 cups mâche
¼ cup niçoise olives, pitted
Place potatoes in a medium saucepan and add cold water to cover by 1”. Bring to a boil, season with salt, and cook until fork-tender, 15−20 minutes. Transfer potatoes to a plate with a slotted spoon.
Return water to a boil and cook haricots verts in same saucepan until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl of ice water. Chill until cold, about 3 minutes. Transfer to paper towels and pat dry.
Return water in pot to a boil and cook eggs, 6 minutes. Transfer eggs to bowl of ice water and chill until cold, about 5 minutes. Peel; set aside.
Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a small saucepan over medium-high. Add capers and cook, swirling pan occasionally, until capers burst and are crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer capers with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Let oil cool; set aside.
Preheat oven to 425. Rub salmon all over with reserved caper oil and place on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast until medium-rare (fish will be slightly translucent in the center), 10−12 minutes. Let cool. Meanwhile, mash anchovies, mustard, and sugar in a large bowl to form a coarse paste. Whisk in lemon juice, shallot, then slowly whisk in remaining ¼ cup oil. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper.
Using a fork, break salmon into large flakes; discard skin. Halve reserved potatoes and eggs crosswise.
Arrange mâche on a platter; season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with half of dressing. Top in separate piles with potatoes, haricots verts, soft-boiled eggs, olives, and salmon. Drizzle salad with remaining dressing and top with fried capers.
Creamy Corn Soup
10 ears white or yellow corn, shucked
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups whole milk
1 cups chicken broth
Remove the corn kernels from the cobs. Set aside 1/2 cup of the kernels. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until foaming. Add the onions, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and a pinch of black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened, about 3 minutes.
Add the corn kernels, remaining 1.5 teaspoons salt, milk, and chicken broth and stir to combine. Increase the heat to medium high and bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the flavors have melded and the corn kernels are crisp yet tender, about 15 minutes.
Set a fine-mesh strainer over a large, heatproof bowl. Using a blender, purée the soup in batches until smooth. Pour the blended soup through the strainer, pressing on the solids with a rubber spatula; discard the solids.
Stir in the reserved 1/2 cup corn kernels. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with chopped chives, creme fraiche and serve.
Citrus Yogurt Almond Cake
8 servings / from offthemeathook
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
juice and zest from 2 Meyer lemons
juice and zest from 2 clementines or mandarins
1 cup flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
large pinch salt
2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
powdered sugar for dusting
1 pack strawberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Prepare a springform pan with cooking spray and a circle of parchment paper in the bottom. In a mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing very well after each egg. Add citrus juice and zest and mix again. (At this point it may look lumpy, but don’t worry.)
In a bowl, whisk together flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add half of the flour mixture to the butter and eggs and mix gently just to combine. Add yogurt and mix again. Add remaining dry ingredients and mix just to combine. (Don’t overmix or the cake will be tough.)
Pour into prepared pan and spread out evenly. You can also slam the pan on the counter to even it out. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick or knife comes out cleanly. Let cool, then unmold and dust with powdered sugar. Garnish with fresh strawberries and serve.
You know when you meet someone who inspires you and when you work with them and it's like the stars have aligned, you're feeding off each other's energy, there's an explosion of ideas, and somehow 1+1 equals more than 2? That's how I felt working with Leah Rosenberg.
I met Leah at Root Division's Taste exhibit in 2012. I was with the Thought For Food team, frantically assembling our installation and laying out 300+ cream cheese hexagon tarts onto the table. Leah had an amazing long cake on the wall and jumped into our mess, offering to help.
Working on Inter-courses was the most fun I've had in a long time! We were very fortunate to have this opportunity to dream up all sorts of things. It was tough to narrow down all of our ideas into one, but I feel we managed in the end. :)
Here's a little peek at our process...beautifully captured by Nicolas Bertelsen Estrup.
Experimenting with seesaw contraption, cheese balls, dips, and veggie sticks:
Charcoal pasta making:
Experimenting with cocktails: