"The idea for the "24 Meals, 24 Hours, 24 Blogs," was born out of our goal in wanting to create a global "blogging" event that would celebrate the scope, diversity and quality of our Featured Publisher Community. The "24, 24, 24" captures the cultural diversity and unique local perspective of our Featured Publishers: it's real food, experienced by real people shared real-time."
I'd planned for my "Found on Foodbuzz" menu to be inspired by mindlessly surfing the site - looking at photos, scanning restaurant reviews, browsing blog posts, and reading recipes. I wanted the meal to be an edible steam of culinary consciousness.
The deliciously diabolical feature of Foodbuzz, is the way you are teased and tempted to go from one piece of content to another - a photo takes you to a blog post, which takes you to a recipe, where you see a foodie's profile picture that you can't help click on, because it looks like bacon.
In no time, I had a notepad full of apps, mains, sides, and sauces. Clearly, seven courses weren't going to be enough. The menu quickly expanded to nine courses, then 12, and then I realized…Foodbuzz had taken control. My "24, 24, 24" menu was going to be 24 courses, and I was powerless to stop it.
So, without further adieu, I present my 24-item tasting menu, divided into three easily digested parts. The videos were shot over the course of the six-hour meal. Enjoy!The Beginning: Items 1 to 8
One: Caviar on Pringles
Is this the first time caviar has ever been paired with Pringles? Maybe. At the risk of seeming immodest, I think the footage of Nora tasting caviar for the first time is priceless.
Two: Tuna Poke
This diced sushi-grade Ahi tuna was dressed lightly with ginger juice, Sambal chili sauce, minced green onion, and a spot of soy sauce. As I spooned the glistening jewels of fish on to the crisp fried wontons, I wondered why I like poke so much more than tartar.
Three: Seared Tuna
A Nicoise-inspired tuna, featuring one of the kitchen's sexiest sights - the rare, ruby-red center of the loin, framed by seared, cumin and pepper flecked crust. It was really nice with the "just tender" green beans, which held the fragrant meat above a dark and delicious black olive tapanade.Four: Tuna Stuffed Tomato
I've never understood the tuna stuffed tomato. Why stuff, when you can just throw some tomato wedges in a tuna salad and tuck in? That being said, I can’t imagine this would have been quite the same. The tuna trimmings from the last two courses were slowly poached in warm olive oil, spiked with capers, garlic, and salt. When cool, the tuna was stuffed into small dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes from Wild Boar Farms. These were sublime.
Five: Smoked Salmon and Fried Capers
This smoked salmon, purchased at Whole Foods, bore the name of Chicago celebrity chef, Charlie Trotter. It had a great texture, with a nice balance of sweet citrus flavors. The fried capers were a perfect foil to the salmon's rich, oily, goodness.Six: Shrimp Cocktail on Tomato Ice
This may have been my favorite course. The sweet wild shrimp, buttery avocado, and homemade cocktail sauce, hot with horseradish, all sitting on an intensely flavored tomato ice. I was stunned at how beautiful the frozen, freshly squeezed cherry tomato juice looked. It was a color that can only be created with food.
Seven: Seared Salmon on Dill Cucumbers, and Smoked Paprika Oil
I loved the contrast of hot, seared salmon resting on cold, diced cucumber salad. The dressing, made from just two ingredients, yogurt and fresh dill, rewarded my self-control.
Eight: Butter Lettuce Salad with Sweet Herb Dressing
Sometimes you need a break from the ubiquitous baby mixed greens, and what better way than a head of soft, sweet butter lettuce?
The Middle: Items 9 to 16Nine: Chicken Wonton Soup
I know I fold them like tortellini, but who cares? The memory of that gingery chopped chicken, encased in tender, translucent wonton skins, bathed in the rich homemade chicken broth, is still so vivid.
Ten: Grilled Quail with Cherry Tomatoes and Curry Oil
Yogurt really is a magical marinade. Combined with an aromatic blend of curry spices, it made the sweet, delicate meat of the quail come alive.
Eleven: Chicken Ballantine with Dijon Cream
I couldn't decide what stuffing to use, so I decided to not use one; and it was spectacular. Salt, pepper, and fresh garden herbs were the reason this chicken tasted like…chicken. Also, I promise to show the butcher-tie used to truss this chicken. That reminds me, isn’t the Folsom Street Fair happening soon? (Preceding joke intended for Bay Area readers only)Twelve: Duck Confit with Arugula, Green Lentils and Berry Gastrique
I've done the gastrique recipe in several videos, and it has to be the easiest, most delicious sauce for game ever.
Thirteen: Wild Boar Sausage with Mission Figs and Balsamic Reduction
It really is surprising how differently wild and domestic pork tastes. The flavor of this sausage was so much bigger - it almost has a Pate quality to it. I say let the pigs roam free.
Fourteen: Pork Tenderloin with Sweet Pickled Peppers and Shallots
A quick pickle using sweet peppers made a beautiful base for the mild, tender pork. It was topped with caramelized shallots to balance the acidity. It was delicious, but as I ate, I thought how great the cold sandwich was going to be.
Fifteen: Pork Shoulder with White Bean Puree and Sage Jus
When you get to heaven, you and your God sit down on beanbag chairs, and eat slow-roasted pork shoulder. This includes everyone, even vegans.
Sixteen: French Onion Soup
Forget about muffin tops, what if we opened a store that just sold the top of the French onion soup? Now, what would we call it? The cave-aged Gruyere cheese, browned over soup-soaked bread, is unlike anything else in the world.
The End: Items 17 to 24Seventeen: Baby Romaine with Anchovy Citronette
Why is every salad that has romaine lettuce called a Caesar? And why are there so many ways to spell Cesar? If you've never made a citronette, check out the video recipe here.
Eighteen: Beef Tenderloin with Melted Leeks and Wild Mushrooms
This incredibly tender cut of beef gets no respect from the Ribeye crowd. They say it's too mild, to soft, to delicate. Well, for pairing with melted leeks and chanterelles, I say it's the perfect cut.
Nineteen: Dry-Aged Coulotte Steak with Potato Gratin and Tarragon Reduction
I love potato gratin so much, that I sometimes decide which entrée to order based on what meat is being served with it. This course was an experiment with the home "dry-aging" of steak. It was proclaimed a success by all present.Twenty: Braised Beef Short Ribs scented with Chocolate and Cinnamon
You have to taste this before you say it's "too weird." The spices do strange and wonderful things to the sticky beef, and you should be take advantage.Twenty-one: Selles-sur-Cher Goat Cheese with Frog Hollow Peach
As much as I love this funky fromage, it was almost an afterthought once we tasted the impossibly sweet and juicy "Autumn Fire" peach from Fog Hollow Farms.Twenty-two: Manchego Cheese and Membrillo
This course is an edible tribute to the expression, "the whole is greater than the sum of the parts." This is two great ingredients combining to make magic. I've also done a fantastic quesadilla using this combo.
Twenty-three: Flourless Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Ice Cream
I was concerned that after 22 courses this would be too decadent a dessert. I was wrong.
Twenty-four: A Single Macadamia Nut
Could you eat just one?
PostscriptI think this 24-item menu may be some kind of world's record for a video blog. If anyone wants to check with Guinness for me, I would really appreciate it. Tomorrow, I will attempt to link this post to previous video recipes for techniques used on this menu. If you want to see something demo'd from this menu, please let me know!
If you want to check out the other 23 bloggers that took part, you can find links to their "24, 24, 24" meals here. A very special thanks to Ryan, and the entire Foodbuzz team, for imagining and organizing such a unique event! It was an unbelievable experience, and I am so glad I got to participate. It was weeks of planning, two-days of cooking, six-hours of eating, and an almost all-night editing session to complete, but I can honesty say I enjoyed every minute.
An extra special thanks to my wife Michele. Without all her hard work I could not have pulled this off. Also, thanks to Tony and Nora for their help, and for sharing in this memorable meal.
Random Facts and Figures
- Approximately 45 Foodbuzz pages were perused in the planning of this meal.
- The menu was changed 7 times before this final version.
- 58 unique ingredients were purchased at 12 different San Francisco markets.
- Incredibly, bacon was not used anywhere in this menu. How was that possible?
- The misenplace took 18 hours of prep, over the course of four days.
- No fingers or hands were harmed in the making of this meal.
- The combined running time for these three videos is 18:04. This was edited down from 41 minutes of raw footage.