Archives for posts with tag: tasting table

recently i went to las vegas to visit my friend (and guest blogger) elia, who was in town to run the half marathon. you would think the night before her big run we would hit the best italian place for pasta, but thankfully we didn’t. we ate at tom colicchio’s restaurant craftsteak at the mgm casino. it was one of the best meals i have ever had. we let our server marvin run the show with the three course tasting menu and wine pairing. boy oh boy did he hook us up. it was an insane amount of delicious food, and the wines were perfect. after the meal i sought out marvin, because i was interested in the artist who painted the cow art on the walls. he came back with the artist’s card, and a bag with a complimentary copy of ‘craft of cooking.’ we were floored. not only did we just have a perfect meal, but our waiter gave us a gift? wtf?!

as we were packing to leave the next day we weren’t sure what to do about the cookbook. elia said ‘you should take it. i don’t want to lug it on the plane back to mexico city,’ where she lives, but i knew it’s because she’s incredibly generous and selfless. it dawned on me that we could share it. we decided once i made one of the recipes, i’d make notes and/or alterations in the book, and send it on to her. then in turn, she would do the same.

the first time around i was ambitious, and made four different recipes:

  • grilled hanger steak with bordelaise sauce
  • puréed parsnips
  • pan-roasted hen of the woods mushrooms
  • poached pears

the hanger steak came from mccall’s meat + fish. it was such a nice cut of meat it really just needed a little salt and pepper, and was put on the grill for less than 5 minutes a side.

the bordelaise sauce took quite some time cooking down, but was so flavorful it was worth it. i didn’t even use veal stock like the recipe called for, but just regular store bought beef stock from trader joe’s. i wonder how amazing it would be to use real veal stock?

the puréed parsnips were so simple it was ridiculous.

hen of the woods mushrooms are incredibly expensive, so i did a medley and added some oyster, yellowfoot chanterelles, and hedghog as well.

i also made a root vegetable and bok choy gratin from tamarind brought to me via the tasting table, which complimented this meal wonderfully.

i couldn’t find bartlett pears at the market, but there were bosc and red d’anjou, so i used them instead.

for now i just put my notes on post-its, but who knows how long this book will be passed back and forth, so i’m thinking i’ll just make the commitment and pen them in the book itself.

the whole meal was a huge success, and the only thing missing was my friend elia.


this recipe was adapted by tasting table from steven brown, chef and owner of tilia in minneapolis, mn. i also made a few adjustment to my taste, and frankly my pocket book. for instance, i am not too big on salt, so i reduced it in a few places, and chanterelles are just fucking expensive (not to mention halibut), so i easily cut the mushroom amount in half. unless i missunderstood my mushroom vendor’s math, they were selling chanterelles for $30/lb, and they had $5 bags ready to go, which means that would equal 1/6lb. it was a perfect amount for 2 servings, anymore seemed like it would be overkill and take away from the rest of the dish. the original recipe was for 4 and i made it for 2, so i have made all my adjustments above and a few others below. there are a lot of spices and ingredients in general, but this is actually a quite easy dish to make. i even made my own madras-style curry from spices i already had on hand.


  • 2 halibut fillets, 1/4 lb each
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp anise seeds
  • 1/4 cup mirin (japanese sweet rice wine)
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar

sweet corn curry-

  • 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • zest of 2 limes (or 3 kaffir-lime leaves, if you can find them)
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1 cup sweet corn, cut from a fresh ear
  • 1/2 jalapeño, seeded and diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp madras-style curry powder
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk (it’s what i had on hand, regular would be fine too)
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock

pickled chanterelles-

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp anise seeds
  • 1 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/6 pound chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned
  • 1/8 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 small carrot, thinly sliced into 2-inch-long slices

prepare the halibut: season the fish on all sides with the salt and anise seeds and set aside for 1 hour, allowing to come to room temperature. this is also a good time to collect and prep the rest of the ingredients. after an hour, in a medium bowl, combine the mirin and rice vinegar and dip the fillets in the mixture. remove and pat dry. set aside while you make the rest of the dish.

make the corn curry: in a medium saucepot set over medium heat, sweat the butter, garlic, lime zest, onion, corn, jalapeño and curry powder until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.

stir in the coconut milk and chicken stock and bring the mixture to a simmer.

simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and purée in a blender. keep warm.

make the pickled chanterelles: in a medium saucepot set over medium heat, combine the water, rice vinegar, sugar, sea salt, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, chile flakes, anise seeds and garlic. bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. place the mushrooms, onion and carrot in a medium bowl and pour the water-vinegar mixture over the vegetables. let sit to soak and marinate.

preheat oven to 375º. place the fish on a lightly oiled glass baking dish and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until the fish is opaque and warm all the way through. i used a glass pyrex pie dish with a bit of coconut oil smeared on the bottom.

divide the curried-corn sauce among 2 bowls, or deep plates, and top each with a halibut fillet. use a slotted spoon or fork to take the mushroom mixture out of the liquid and place on top of the fish. serve immediately.

well done steven brown. this is one of the best dishes i have ever made. although every single ingredient is a favorite of mine, i just wasn’t sure how it would all fit together in the end. the creamy coconut corn and the tangy earthiness of the mushrooms worked perfectly together with the light flaky halibut and the slight tinge from the anise.


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