Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Private Events at Park Kitchen

Although our private dining room is a popular location for special occasions, business meetings and wine dinners, today a small wren found an opening in the schedule and decided to host it's own special luncheon. It flew in without even calling ahead or filling out a contract (you can forget about a deposit!!!) and made itself comfortable amongst the fresh flower arrangements and basked in the green afternoon light. 
We know a lot of you miss lunch here at Park Kitchen, but this bird took it to the next level by demanding a meal even though we were technically closed. We could not say no to this bird and it's tiny beak! Nic and David thoughtfully plated up a simple lunch of sunflower seeds scattered on Japanese ceramic for a pleasing visual presentation. The bird left the silverware unused, though this will not have been the first lunch eaten around here without the fuss of utensils. 

I am relieved to report that the room is again available and open for private events big and small. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Green Strawberries

What is the idea behind using unripe strawberries, you might ask? Indeed, that is the question my farmers were asking two years ago, when I first started asking them to pick their strawberries after they had fully grown, but before they could ripen into the familiar red jewels so widely known and loved. I first asked Leslie of Viridian Farms and Dave of Creative Growers. I remember being tickled by Dave's response, "What the hell are you gonna do with that?" Not entirely sure myself, I answered, "Think of it as an early gooseberry."

Guided by the beloved tradition of using green tomatoes at the end of the season, and making verjus from the unfermented juice of unripe grapes, it seemed to me there must be some virtue to unripe strawberries in the days leading up to the summer solstice.

Last year, the green strawberries were glazed in a piquant gastrique and served with duck breast, toasted buckwheat and chard. This year, they are gently poached and pickled in a chilled squid salad, with raw kolrabi and agretti (a crunchy green plant of Italian origin). The salad is dressed with lemon, buttermilk and arugula oil. It is a nice composition of green and white, with textures both crisp and supple.

Come try it soon, as green strawberries don't stay green for long.