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Old 07-07-2009, 12:20 PM   #1
TanithT
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Default Cigar dinner ideas (from the Candela thread)

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Originally Posted by Emjaysmash View Post
Ha, would you mind catering a CA cigar dinner? It sounds like you know the best cigar/food/drink pairings!
Been there done that. At this time I don't have a personal kitchen that is well suited for major multicourse cigar dinner catering, but if I had a commercial (or decently large/well equipped home kitchen) to work in, definitely do-able. Warning, serious foodp#rn follows.

Here's a sample toss-out of the kinds of pairings I like to do. This is a standard appetizer pairing, but either could be expanded into a meal.

Tropical "mahogany glazed" chicken skewers with fresh mango-lime compote, garnished with coconut dipped starfruit and shatter-fried basil. Drink pairing: Crisp, floral Gewurtztraminer. Cigar pairing: Candela (would have to hunt for a good candidate; I'm just not familiar enough with what's currently out there).

Miniature blue corn tacos with slow cooked beef brisket, cilantro, oven roasted tomatillos and a spicy corn and black bean salsa, served with a scoop of cold sour cream and ancho chile hot sauce drizzled on top, and chile-spiced sweet potato fries. Drink pairing: Negra Modelo beer or Cuban mojitos. Cigar pairing: Bucanero's "Salsa". This one's spicy enough to stand up to, and echo, the spice notes in this course.

After this you need a break. Palate cleanser course: strawberry and cracked black pepper sorbet drizzled with aged balsamic vinegar, paired with a grapefruit-tarragon sorbet garnished with fresh herbs.

Couple of main courses would be nice to add. Let's pretend we have an infinite budget. Though when the chef is working for fun (or cigar tips ) and the space doesn't have to be rented, you'd be surprised how little it actually costs per head to do this.

Seared venison medallions wrapped in cured duck bacon, blackberry-star anise sauce, sauteed wild spring onions and fiddlehead ferns, wild rice with tricolor peppers. Drink: Shiraz, a seriously intense red Zinfandel, or possibly a Haut-Medoc wine. Some Cabernet Sauvignons would also pair well here; we're looking for some dark juicy blackberry and anise notes to echo the sauce. Cigar: Bucanero's "Texas Star" as the "third sauce"; its flavor notes of smooth chocolate, aged whiskey cask and dark wild berries are a perfect match for this course.

Slow-cooked Kurobuta or Black Berkshire heritage pork with a dark whiskey-espresso sauce on batter fried green tomatoes, roasted root vegetable melange with "melted" foie gras and endive. Drink: Laphroaig whiskey. Cigar: NC Bolivar for its subtle coffee notes, and to be a mellow base for the acid in the green tomatoes.

Dessert and baked goods are actually my weak point, so in the past I've generally worked with a pastry chef who handled that end. If I'm by myself I can do a few standard tricks that make cigar dinner people happy, but I just don't have much of a repertoire in this department. Expect me to send out for bread; I can't bake for sh*t. I can do fancy ice cream, sorbets, chocolate, flans, cheesecakes and basic cobbler type stuff, so that's what I stick to if I don't have patissier backup.

Cigar infused bourbon ice cream, Madagascar vanilla/whiskey caramel sauce, served over hot spiced black bread pudding with oven-toasted walnuts. Drink: Irish coffee. Cigar: CC Bolivar to match the coffee and toasted nuts.

Amuse bouche/grace note: "Aztec fire" chocolate truffles infused with ancho and habanero chile spice, single-origin espresso served in a tiny sugared mug with a twist of yuzu lemon peel. Cigar: Fuente Don Carlos, a nice creamy rich smoke that won't match but will underscore the coffee and chocolate and spice. Alternatively a CC Fonseca or a Bucanero "Z" Churchill will do the same job and soothe palates that are going to be fairly tired at this stage with creamy woodsiness and quiet, elegant structure.

This is not my career path any more, and I currently have nowhere to seriously cook or to host cigar dinners. My wholesale food connections are out of date and not in this area. But should anyone feel sufficiently motivated to provide the kitchen, the dining space and at least two semi-competent potato peelers and dish washers the day before or earlier in the day, I can do this kind of gig for the wholesale cost of the food, drinks and cigars.

Basically everybody pitches in their share of the cost, and everybody contributes something exceptionally good to share (wine, spirits, cigars, etc) that I build the menu around. Also required are people to be responsible for the cleanup and carrying plates to diners; I can't do either as I'll be running most of the food stations. Service staff can be hired, but if you want the costs minimal, it's fine if folks volunteer to take turns doing those shifts.

If I have to serve more than 15 people, I will also require a sous chef who is competent enough in the kitchen to produce a properly finished product with no further explanation when I say "Blanch and skin 10 pounds of tomatoes, then julienne 8 lbs of parsnips and coarsely dice all the celeriac, then prep and shatter-fry this bag of basil." For smaller groups the prep is less intensive and can usually be managed with a smaller kitchen crew.

Is everybody drooling into their cigars now?
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Old 07-07-2009, 12:35 PM   #2
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Default Re: Cigar dinner ideas (from the Candela thread)

How about spam and mustard biscuits? They go great with Partagas Lusis........

Or so I hear.




Ha, Ha, Sounds like an exquisite meal! Thanks for making me hungry.....
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Old 07-07-2009, 12:47 PM   #3
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Default Re: Cigar dinner ideas (from the Candela thread)

Wow, I never knew that my little comment would spur a whole thread!
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Old 07-07-2009, 12:52 PM   #4
TanithT
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Default Re: Cigar dinner ideas (from the Candela thread)

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Originally Posted by Col. Kurtz View Post
Ha, Ha, Sounds like an exquisite meal! Thanks for making me hungry.....
Given that you're local to me, you have a pretty good chance of actually getting to dig into some of these dishes if we can find a place to pull this off.

I will not serve spam and mustard biscuits, but I did once get to enjoy some foie gras Southern style biscuits that were just amazing. Might have to try to duplicate that recipe sometime.
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Old 07-07-2009, 03:23 PM   #5
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Default Re: Cigar dinner ideas (from the Candela thread)

It's OK if you don't like Spam. Me, I'm having the Spam Spam Spam Spam Bacon Spam Spam and Spam.

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