Sunday, November 10, 2013

Well-Seasoned Chef at the Botanical Gardens (and Tomato Soup Recipe!)

Last month my bestie-best scored us some extra tickets to the "Well Seasoned Chef" series at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens.  Each week they highlight a local chef and do a little cooking class in the middle of the garden with several courses from the chef's restaurant and free booze.  So you know I was there.

As opposed to your other besties, a bestie-best knows significantly more about things such as your bathroom habits and irrationality.  My bestie-best happens to volunteer at the garden on her 23 minutes of free time each week and was super sweet enough to also volunteer her wallet for the occasion and get me and another girl friend front and center seats to the fat show.  Right where we belong.

The chef came from Cook Hall this time, in the W in Buckhead - used to be called Market, and luckily I was too busy slurping wine to do my usual foot-in-mouth routine of blurting out how much I disliked the crap food at Market.  Even though it was Jean-Georges, it was pretty blah.  Turns out it's the same head chef... 

 Happy to report his al-fresco-chefing was top notch.

It was four courses of delicious and fun, and we got to poke around the gardens afterwards checking out the Halloween contest awards and the beginnings on their lights for Xmas.  

Cook Hall menu and goodies

The best tomato soup you've ever had.  Recipe is below!
English pea gnocchi
Duck confit taco
Butterscotchy puddingish amazeballsness
Not sure why I thought neon and leather was appropriate for the garden.
At least bestie-best has some class.
T + C
The garden requested a likeness of my animal to create her, in grass.  She's so hot right now. 
Yes I made her pose like the grass in order to get her dinner.
This is Finnley's "shove it, Mom" face.

Cook Hall Cream of Tomato Soup, Sourdough, Basil & Chedder
Reprinted with zero authority to do so.

For Soup
2 each #10 can tomatoes, pureed with burr stick (um, what?)
1 qt cream
1 large onion, sliced
20 gr olive oil (I googled this for you, it's about 2 Tbs)
Sweat onions in oil and salt until tender.  Add tomatoes, simmer slowly for 40 minutes.  Add cream, return to simmer, then immediately remove from heat.  Puree in vita prep until smooth and strain through chinios (not sold at Gap).

For Grilled Sourdough
Drizzle bread with olive oil and season gently with salt and white pepper; grill until crispy.

For Cumin Oil
15 gr cumin seed, toasted, ground fine
350 gr olive oil
Combine toasted, ground cumin, salt and olive oil.  Bring up to gentle simmer and remove from heat.  Cool at room temp.

To Serve
6oz soup
Chiffonade basil
Micro planed aged cheddar cheese
1 piece sourdough
2Tb cumin oil
Heat soup, aerate with a few drops of olive oil.  Top grilled bread with micro planed cheddar, then plenty of chiffonade basil.  Hang off the side of the bowl.  Put cumin oil in the bottom of the bowl.  Serve soup on the side to be poured tableside.

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