Thursday, June 16, 2011

I have a good excuse, and I don’t just mean The Inn at Little Washington

It’s been a busy spring organizing my wedding and getting married at The Inn at Little Washington, one of my favorite places in the world : ) Please enjoy what a beautiful part of Virginia it is in, the simple elegance of the ballroom in which George Washington once danced, and if only I could share the food with you… I will get to the menu which included a few things I’ve made many times before, like the white truffle popcorn we’re enjoying below – read on for the recipe. When I was with another caterer we handled a 9 course plated dinner for 500 including world famous chefs, food critics and Washington elites at the Mellon building on Constitution Ave. [Photography by John Kirchner johnkirchner.com]

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To prepare Chef Patrick O’Connell invited a couple of us to spend the day in hisĀ exquisite kitchen cooking so we could master some of his recipes to be produced on a large scale. It was a wonderful day of cooking, followed with a change out of the dalmation chefs’ pants and into dining attire when Chef produced the entire meal for us that we would be recreating for his big event. It was such a joy and after telling my sweetheart about it, we both wanted to go there for our wedding. See my stunning little daisy cake?! As I walked through the ballroom to ‘go down the aisle’ the pastry chef who made this to match my description was taking pictures with his phone. I was so thrilled that he was happy with it!

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There were ten of us all together, gathered in the field behind the ballroom which sits across the street from the Inn, and at the foot of the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains. We had a brief ceremony and then canapes, including parmesan crisps, dime biscuits with Virginia ham, and white truffle popcorn with a stunning sparkling rose on the back patio.

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The Menu

Spring Pea Soup with local Spearmint (we made this for Chef with regular mint and he sent some of the spearmint from the farm next door and it came out perfectly)

Lobster Salad with braised celery hearts that were amazing

Seared Scallop and Ham ‘Sandwiches’ with Mascarpone Grits – the executive chef came up with this after I requested it – both my father and husband went to college in Tennessee and luuuv grits

Beef Shortrib on Creamy Polenta

Wedding Cake and Friandise – oh, and there was a mind-altering wine pairing with each course

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White Truffle Popcorn

Take the best parmesan you can find and grate it, then run it through a food processor until it’s as fine as you can get it.

Use an air popper to pop your popcorn while melting a good butter like Kerrygold or Plugra. As soon as the popcorn is popped toss gently with the butter and a touch of white truffle oil, Balleine sea salt, touch of freshly cracked pepper and some of the parmesan. Toss and lightly add the elements until you get the right balance and until you feel that you’ve gotten as much into the popcorn as you can without making it heavy.

Put your popcorn into a bowl or popcorn container and shave white truffle on top. If you are doing this for a special guest, take the tossed popcorn to the table, place it in front of your guest of honor and ceremoniously shave the truffle on top, the way Chef did for me my night at the Inn after cooking!

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