Last week I took a much needed vacation with my family. My mother has a few items left on her bucket list and she is trying to check them off rapid fire as she turns 85 this year. She has been trying to get to the Opera in Santa Fe, New Mexico for years and she invited Kaitlin and me to join her and my dad on their vacation. Kaitlin studied music at a conservatory and actually sang opera so the idea really appealed to her. To be honest, I was motivated mostly by green chili but the opera sounded good too. We saw La Boheme with a New Mexican sunset backdrop and it was truly magical!
Since Kaitlin and I watch a lot of food TV like the Iron Chef we like to experience restaurants headed up by famous celebrity chefs. We scoped out the restaurant selections and found “The Compound” owned by Mark Kiffin, a James Beard Winner, Best Chef of the Southwest in 2005. This restaurant was a lovely white adobe and the menu was very high end. We tried things we had never had like Beef Tartar with soft egg on top and then had some perfectly grilled diver scallops with fava bean, pea and asparagus emulsion with lemon vinegar. For dessert we had an unbelievable dessert that we thought we could adapt for using Oregon Fruit. It was a blueberry polenta cake with amaretto cream topped with carmelized plum sauce. WOW! is all I can say. I only wish I had the vocabulary to describe this dessert but what I did do for you is recreate it here. I think I came pretty close.
At the end of the week, we attended the Oregon Berry Festival with two of our blogger friends- Kimberly Morales from “Poor Girl Eats Well” and Leela Cyd-Ross from “The Kitchn” and shared a table with our new friends, Tim and Dani Vincent of Vincent Family Cranberries who are cranberry growers from the Oregon Coast. In the next week or two I will be sharing with you some more experiences from this event but for now let me say that we finished the week with a meal designed by Chef Philippe Boulot, James Beard Winner, Best Chef of the Northwest 2001 at the Heathman Restaurant and Bar in Portland, OR. Every course was designed around northwest grown berries and included an array of proteins from local goat cheese, to Chinook salmon, to lamb and finally Bison. The Dessert was truly the grand finale as it was a Berry Trifle with Blueberry, Blackberry, Strawberry, Marionberry and Raspberry compote layered with biscuits and crème chibouste. (None of us knew this word before either-thank goodness for the I-phone. It is a pastry crème lightened with whipped cream. I can’t wait to use this in conversation with someone).Tags: amaretto creme, Blueberry, blueberry polenta cake, plum sauce, purple plum