Be prepared for the things ahead... they may frighten you beyond belief. It's our Halloween edition Paradigm menu, and it's truly scary. Some of the dishes below sent anxiety fear down our spines as we wondered if they would even be edible... let alone tasty. We took a whimsical child's point of view of this favorite of holidays. We used horrifying ingredients (well, maybe to a 2 year old) and had fun with some of the presentations. Actually, we were also going with a fall theme to a degree as we are enjoying some of the only fall-like weather we ever receive in south Florida.
The 'breakfast' dish for Halloween is a true child's favorite... cereal and milk. Dried sliced blueberries and some of Fabian's ground-up granola sat on top of an orb of frothed almond milk. The milk was made by spinning nicely toated almonds with water in a Thermomix at 80ºC for 45 minutes, letting it sit overnight, and straining it the next day. The almond was accented with agave nectar and sea salt then frothed and frozen into semi-domes which would later be melted in an honeyed algin bath.
"Severed Scallop" This is a scallop dressed up for Halloween. We tried to stick with black and red colors. The scallop was vacuum sealed and cooked with beet juice. It was then sliced (hence the severing) and laid upon a bed of black rice risotto. Blood orange fluid gel and a beet worm were added, and a froth of black radish milk was spooned over. Of course, bull's blood beet microgreens are the only other appropriate garnish here. Bloody damn beautiful.
"Pumpkin Pie Consommé" More autumnal notes. A hot pumpkin pie consommé is frenched into a bowl with turkey dumplings (made of a farce of ground turkey leg meat and pressure cooked turkey neck meat), graham cracker cream foam, a ginger flower and basil. Toasted pepita powder (from the hokkaido squash seeds) was sprinkled to the side of the bowl.
"Trois Foie" Tiny seckel pears from Josh's Organic Market (these pic's give a great image of what a farmer's market on the beach looks like) were poached, hollowed, and piped full of chicken liver paté. The pear was dusted with foie gras powder, and a cube of fried foie gras was set on the opposite end of the plate over wolfberry relish. The foie was fried using Alex & Aki's methocel recipe. The dish was presented upon a 'leaf' plate to frame the fall theme and colors.
The refresh... "Passion Fruit Puffs" Methocel f50 meringues of passionfruit are sandwiched with chocolate and candied black olives. Served on a stick the way all good Americans like it. Eat food on a stick... it'll make you smile.
Would a cow lick a frog? Good question. We gastronomically translated that idea into what was truly a scary dish... "Tongue-Wrapped Leg." We had an idea to take frog legs and wrap them with thinly sliced beef tongue. (If anyone was offended by the catfish wing as a desecration to God's creatures, then please skip this course and move on to the next.) Frog is a very tender meat and beef tongue has very little fat if at all. Dry cooking would definitely not work as a sole cooking method, so we cooked these sous-vide for a few hours before lightly grilling. I love the way the frog's little fingers curl up in a macabre manner. The other plate components are beer cheese fondue (made from some beer cheese that Tony at Culinaire gave us), compressed green apple, and an incredible quick bread by Chef K made from monstera deliciosa. That translates into 'delicious monster.' The monstera is the fruit portion of a very large philodendron that grows in south Florida. The flavor is often described as a cross between a banana and a kiwi. I'll post more on this specimen later with some interested stories told to us by Ms. Yvonne who grew it down in Homestead.
The flavors of this dish were based on a popular sushi roll from Hiro of Yakko San. Broiled conger eel, banana custard, Belgian ale nitsume, avocado, soy air, fresh abalone (thanks to Gary's seafood for this product), and cilantro. The combination of Japanese eel, banana, and avocado is refreshing.
We called this next dish "campfire stories," and it will require a bit of explanation. The idea was to make a barbeque sauce flavored marshmallow, and somehow toast it so that it would become the 'sauce' for the beef below. This entire dish was a result of Chef K and myself brainstorming a little too much, but I have to truly hand it to K for creating a marshmallow recipe that will truly go down in our notes (I'll do a post on this later with the recipe... promise). Interaction is always encouraged at Paradigm, so the plates were set in front of the guest with only the C-Vapped garlic flank steak with sweet potato pudding and cocoa nibs. Chef K torched each of the skewered marshmallows tableside and waiters carried the smoking marshmallows to each plate. Great simple flavors with an unusual delivery.
Mora Sorbet, persimmon, and campari reduction. The sorbet was set upon a green tea cake.
The final dessert... lemon froth sitting upon a bed of rice saffron crema (the mac 'n cheese looking element) and caramelized breakfast cereal (these crunchies were addicting). A raspberry gel and twisted chocolate on the other side. Fabian deserves real credit for persistence in his flexible chocolate trials. He's run through countless techniques for giving chocolate this pliability. More success with this method than with the last.
That's it. Happy Halloween. Be safe. Drive carefully, and watch out for kids. Don't talk to strangers. Don't tug on Superman's cape and don't piss into the wind.