Tuesday, January 22, 2008

To Your Health (cough cough)

It could have been the change in temperature, or the sleep deprived, party-filled end to 2007. No matter the lame excuses, I was sick. With everyones' crazy schedule pushing Thursday Club to the back burner as of late, nothing short of a freshly severed limb would keep me from the first meal of the new year at Grant's. Here's what he served:

Scallop Ceviche with Melon, Chile & Mint.
Butternut Squash, Apple & Onion Galette with Stilton.
Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Chile Mustard Sauce, Bourbon mashed Sweet Potatoes & Carmelised Onions.
Rum & Butter Glazed Grilled Pineapple with Vanilla Scented Mascarpone.

The sickness I mentioned seriously impaired my sense of taste and smell so I was glad to see a lot of potent, hard-hitting flavors in every dish. Especially the spicy parts which cleared my clogged head nicely.

The scallops were doused in a sweet-sour citrus marinade which cooked them slightly, forming a thin membrane on the outside that gave way to the silky flesh of the fresh scallop inside. The mixture of chopped mint and chunks of jalapeƱo created a unique combination of tastes and added a nice bit of texture too. The sweet, juicy cantaloupe and excess sauce on the plate was especially tasty as it soaked up all the flavors of the dish.

Grant kept the meal rolling with a "dainty" galette. Like a mini homage to Mount Vesuvius, the overstuffed crusty butter pocket spewed a combo of soft, roasted squash, beautifully sweet caramelized onions and a sharp pungent slick of Stilton. A lesser group might have had the ingredients layered on a bite-sized cracker for a small pre-meal nosh, but subtle as a major coronary blockage, Grant went for the gusto and it proved to be delicious.

The pork tenderloin cuts were small in girth which really shortened the cooking time and helped the great, flavor-packed crust to see more of the meat. Peering into the spice cupboard, I noticed from all the half-empty jars that pretty much everything went into this spice rub. It was hard to decipher each individual taste for me, but it's not a stretch to say that a pinch of everything, and two pinches of the hot ones makes for an ass-kicking combination. From that mixture, what wasn't massaged into the pork was used to make the finishing sauce that coated the pork and a heaping bed of bourbon sweet potato mash.

Dessert didn't stray from all of the previous dishes when it came to big flavors. The grilled pineapple bursted with juice and was super sweet even without the aid of extra sugar. And of course, no dessert is complete without a liberal soaking of alcohol and thickened dairy.....in this case, rum butter and a fragrant vanilla Mascapone. It all became a melted slurry from the warmth of the fruit, but that didn't prove to be a problem. It just made the finger (or tongues for some people....ahem) equally as useful a untensil at our forks.

I think the old adage goes something like, "Feed a cold". I can't argue with that. After four healthy sized courses, I was feeling better than I did earlier. But definitely ready to call it a night though.

Ah, Molly the dog, always one step ahead of us.

She did have plenty to drink to be honest......

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