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Archive for March, 2010|Monthly archive page

In Honor of Eggs, Bunnies, Chocolates, and all that Jazz: Easter Dinner

In The Mount Veeder Blog, Uncategorized on March 30, 2010 at 2:52 pm

I cannot believe it’s almost here.  Easter is this Sunday, and the chef is already finalizing the menu.  Though there will be brunch in the afternoon, dinner is served all day. Many favorites and some holiday specials will be served. As a staple of the restaurant, the Connecticut clam chowder will be part of the menu and a soup of the day will be announced. The raw bar will include Rhode Island little neck clams, Blue Point oysters, jumbo shrimp cocktail, and a seafood assortment of all three. The seafood towers will be present in full force too.

The starters include jumbo lump crab cake with exotic fruit preserve, sliced avocado and lime; fried calamari with marinara sauce; and steamed mussels with white wine, shallots, tomatoes, and thyme. The ever popular sliced rare Ahi tuna with cucumber seaweed salad, lemon oil, wasabi, and soy is also on the menu. Asparagus Wellington with raspberry vinaigrette and baked brie encroute with Georgia peach sauce are special additions for Easter.

There are nine entrée options. Leading the way in holiday fare is honey baked ham and oven roasted stuffed leg of lamb. The ham will be joined by rutabaga, sweet potato, French green beans, fried onions, and natural gravy.  The lamb will have spinach, pine nuts, caramelized onions, golden raisins, mint jelly, and tatar tots.

Other specialized items include seared steel head trout with sautéed broccoli rabe, lemon olive oil and oven dried tomato; and crab crusted filet medallions with zucchini, garlic mashed potatoes and roasted red pepper cognac sauce.  The classic Saltwater sole with lemon caper butter sauce and texmati rice, and the Maine lobster tail and gulf shrimp with herb sauce, drawn butter and chef’s potato are also on the menu.

To see more options, visit the website: http://www.litchfieldsaltwatergrille.org/id85.html. Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made by calling the Litchfield Saltwater Grille at 860-567-4900.

The Hills Are Alive…

In Albe's Blog on March 29, 2010 at 8:04 pm

Spring in New England somehow seems to get shorter and shorter every year. Partially due to the east coasts unreliable weather conditions in March and April, winter has a tendency to drag on causing summer to arrive faster than expected. With this in mind it seems to me that right about now would be a great time to start planning how and where to spend my summer months.

One thing any good Connecticut Yankee learns after enduring many long winters on the east coast is, to enjoy the good weather when you can.  Summertime in Connecticut offers some of the best weather around, it’s exactly why we live in this area. Leaving town now, for the shores of Rhode Island or the beaches of Cape Cod, would be like eating homemade chocolate chip cookies without the milk, why bother? With everything that Litchfield has to offer, it looks like staying local this summer will allow me to enjoy the best of everything I could be looking for.

Litchfield, Morris, and Bantam have the state’s largest natural lake, “Bantam Lake” with its almost 1000 acres of summer water fun.  Known for summer home rentals on the lake, Bantam Lake offers fishing, boating and swimming at its best. The White Memorial offers miles of hiking, biking, fishing, camping and kayaking in one of Connecticut’s most picturesque public park settings.  Litchfield is also just a short drive to the world’s largest casino “Foxwoods” and Connecticut’s newest casino Mohegan Sun. Beaches like Sherwood Island and Westport’s Compo Beach are also within reach if you just have to visit the shore.

A little closer to home there is always great dining, shopping and walking on the Litchfield Green. In recent years the off the green expansion of restaurants, coffee shops and retail stores has widened the area that summer dwellers can enjoy. Two of the town’s biggest shopping plazas “The Litchfield Commons” and “The Village Green Shopping Plaza” offer some of the area’s best stores and restaurants.  Seafood lovers come from miles around to enjoy the amazing fresh fish and raw bar display at the three year old, award winning Litchfield Saltwater Grille. With its wonderful outdoor patio serving lunch and dinner daily, and its local professional late afternoon happy hour crowd, the SWG has become the areas hottest place to be seen this summer.

Theater lovers have a vast array of choices to keep them busy all summer long.  Movie theaters in Bantam and Torrington show all the latest releases, while the Warner Theater in Torrington and the Infinity Music Hall in Norfolk, stage many of the country’s best artists of numerous genres. The Abby Of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem also offers summer stock theater with shows ranging from Shakespeare to Satire, and from Opera to Musical revivals. There are also many local farms worth a days visit like the White Flower Farm in Litchfield, The Marble Valley Farm in Kent, The Hidden River Farm in Morris and the Arethusa Cow Farm in Litchfield.  Wine lovers will also enjoy the wonderful Connecticut Wine Trail with some of the east coasts most beautiful vineyards.

The Litchfield Hills are alive with the sounds of summer and summer will be here before you know it.  Take my advice if you want the world to be your oyster this summer, stay local, enjoy the lakes, farms, stores, theaters, and parks that are right here in the Litchfield Hills and be seen at the Litchfield Saltwater Grille as often as possible. This way your friends will know where to find you and while your waiting you can enjoy fresh Oyster, Clams and Lobsters at the best seafood restaurant around.  Enjoy your summer and hope to see you soon at the Litchfield Saltwater Grille.

Albe Galotta, SWG Blogger

More Links…Things To Do…

Sunset Meadow Vineyards

Miranda Vinayards

Arethusa Farm

Bantam Cinema

Warner Theatre

CT Wine Trail

Salmon Gravlax in the Wild

In Albe's Blog, The Kitchen on March 24, 2010 at 11:32 pm

After years of having enjoyed the pleasure of many long weekends spent fishing with friends, my list of campfire recipes has grown to a staggering abundance. Depending on the location of a trip different supplies would be packed in anticipation of the areas daily catch.  Enjoying a dinner of fresh local fish simmering with flavor and steeped in tradition was always a hit amongst our small group. Fresh rainbow trout (from the banks of the Esopus in upstate New York) and eggs for a mid morning breakfast, or fire roasted Striped Bass ( from Chatam Lighthouse) for dinner are two that stand out over all the years. If your lucky enough to enjoy Salmon fishing  anywhere in the US or Canada this would be a recipe that would set your skills apart from the other fisherman.

Plan to make this recipe when you are staying for at least 3 to 4 days on site. Pre pack all ingredients separately and keep dry.  Next it very important to catch a large Wild Salmon on the first day of your trip.  When returning to the campsite with your trophy, after showing it off, clean the fish by cutting off the head, and filleting the Salmon and remove all skin and bones.

Lay both filets gently down on a table on a clean towel.  Mix salt, pepper, sugar and dill in a bowl.  Rub Salmon generously with olive oil on all sides.  Pat salt mixture on all sides of the salmon. Drizzle more olive oil and pour brandy all over Salmon. Rearrange all ingredients so they are covering the whole fish.  Pour any remaining Brandy on the outside of fish “do not drink the remaining Brandy’”. Wrap the Salmon tightly in the towel and fasten with a few rubber bands.

Dig a large hole near your bunk approximately 1 & ½ feet deep. Place wrapped salmon in the hole. Fill the whole back up with dirt, pressing hard to make a tight refilled whole.

After three nights remove the Salmon from the earth. Remove towel. Separate Salmon sides and place on cutting board.  Brush away most of the remaining salt mixture. Slice thinly on the bias starting at the head.  Serve with mustard sauce and toast or crisp crackers.

EXTRA TIP… To assure a quality Salmon Gravlax in the Wild it would be a big help to say the “Gravlax Prayer” each night at midnight. This is why you should dig a hole close to your bunk. ….First  stand on the area above the buried Salmon and repeat after me.

SALMON, SALMON BENEATH THE EARTH

WRAPPED SO TIGHT AROUND IT’S GIRTH

BRUSHED SO GENTLY WITH BRANDY FINE

NOTHING BEATS GRAVLAX W/A BOTTLE OF WINE!

INGREDIENTS:

1 Cup xvoo

1Cup coarse kosher salt

1 cup chopped fresh dill

1 small jar Dijon mustard

1 cup butcher block grind black peppercorns

1 cup California Brandy

1 cup white granulated sugar

4 large rubber bands

1 clean white towel

Toast or Crackers

SWG Chef Albe Galotta

The Arrival of Spring

In The Mount Veeder Blog on March 24, 2010 at 3:03 pm

With the bouts of fresh, warm air we had been experiencing, the owners decided to open the patio. Dining al fresco was back. And it was lovely.

With about six tables and a heater, the patio came to life. Birds sang to our guests who ventured out, and the sunset charmed them. Though it was a touch chilly to remain outdoors once dark, the opening of the patio was a clear reminder that spring had arrived. Being stuck inside, I had mixed feelings.

Yes I love the sunshine, but when it arrives in full force, I feel abandoned as people head outdoors. On the upside, many retire to the lounge for after dinner drinks, and that is exactly what happened last week. Two kind ladies chit chatted over coffee after enjoying a meal befitting the beginning of spring. A chilled lobster cocktail had been shared along with shrimp and oysters. To start things off, they had enjoyed a new creation by the chef: peanut chicken lettuce wraps. This starter featured peanut sauce sautéed chicken mixed among daikon radishes, onions, and mushrooms. A variety of sauces were available to go with it: sesame seed, caramelized onion soy, and a concoction specially made by chef.

Filled with content, the ladies finished off their meal in the lounge with cups of coffee. I am sure that many people will soon join their routine. In the meantime, I will relish the sights, sounds, and smells in the lounge where many people visit for happy hour and a wonderful meal.

Easter is on it’s way…

In The Mount Veeder Blog on March 16, 2010 at 2:22 pm

With all the excitement of St. Patrick’s Day, I didn’t realize that Easter was getting so close until yesterday. As one of the girls turned the television on, a big white bunny with bright pink eggs showed up on screen to remind me. I did some poking, and it turns out that ideas for the special day have been brewing.

An a la carte Easter brunch will be served on April 4th from 11 am to 2:30 pm. There are several egg dishes to choose from: Huevos Rancheros, Eggs Tenderloin, and Eggs Benedict. The Huevos Rancheros features potatoes, fried eggs, salsa, sour cream, avocado, and queso fresco. The Eggs Tenderloin is served on garlic toast with filet mignon, sautéed spinach, roasted red peppers, poached eggs, mushroom demi glace, and whipped potatoes. The Eggs Benedict has Easter ham, Hollandaise sauce, and an English muffin.

Aside from eggs, there are pancakes, waffles, and even sausage. The pancakes have a blueberry coulis and whipped mascarpone. The waffles are accompanied by sliced bananas, fresh strawberry compote, and homemade whipped cream. Sweet sausage and goat cheese hash browns will be available with apple chutney too.

For those seeking a sturdier lunch, there will be lobster, steak, salad, and a Monte Cristo sandwich, complimented by sweet potato fries and local Connecticut maple syrup. There will be Rockefeller stuffed lobster tails, the Saltwater Lobster Roll, and a half chilled lobster with a citrus seafood salad. A New York sirloin and chicken Waldorf salad are also going to be available.

By the time Easter arrives, the flowers will be coming up and St. Patrick’s Day will be a memory. It’s going to be an exciting, busy day. I do hope we’ll see you.

Irish Flare: Bailey’s Chocolate Bread Pudding with Toffee Sauce By Chef Albert Clugston III

In The Kitchen, Uncategorized on March 15, 2010 at 6:56 pm

As featured on Fox CT News Monday March 15, 2010

Also Featured in the St Patrick’s Beer Tasting Events as the finale

Click here for the complete menu…

Step One:

Dice rolls into cubes to fill a large bowl.

Step Two:

In a separate bowl add:

12 eggs (whip separately)

5 cups sugar

1 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp vanilla

2 cups Bailey’s Irish Cream

½ gallon of half and half

1 cup Chocolate

Step Three:

Mix the items from step two together and whip well.

Add mixture to diced bread and toss together.

Put pudding mix in buttered hotel pan and pat down

Let stand for 45 min.

Cover with foil and place in 375 oven for 2 hrs.

Bake uncovered for the last 25 minutes over total cooking time.

The Toffee Sauce

5 cups granulated sugar

4 cups water

5 cups heavy cream

Cook sugar and water in a heavy pan over medium heat to a rolling boil.  Add cream in a thin stream while stirring constantly.  Cool.

Recipe Serves 50 hungry Irish Men

SWG Chef Albert Clugston III

Bread Pudding and Port…

In Sommelier Corner on March 15, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Seventh Course

Baileys Chocolate Bread Pudding, Toffee Sauce

Paired with Sandeman Porto Ruby NV

The finale!

Ruby ports are the most universally liked ports among port novices.  Since port is not one of the most common items ordered from the bar I thought it would be best to choose the most easy drinking one of the bunch.  Admittingly as a sommelier, port is not my specialty.  Yet ask any of the servers and bartenders at The Saltwater Grille about port and dessert pairings and you will be blown away.  Recently the staff had the opportunity to be trained personally by the Sandeman Port company.  Sandeman is THE port company.  The only thing I can think to compare it with is Jell-O.  Is there another company that makes Jell-O?  Honestly, there are other good producers making port but Sandeman is top notch.  Sandeman recommends pairing a ruby port with a rich, decadent dessert.  The Bailey’s Chocolate Bread Pudding with Toffee Sauce is a Irish holiday twist on our traditional bread pudding recipe (an in house favorite) and is nothing but rich and decadent.  The creamy chocolate and Bailey’s are soaked with cubed bread for over an hour and then baked in the oven.  After baking, a sticky toffee sauce is poured over the piping hot Irish treat and served with a small glass of Sandeman’s robust Ruby port. Yum.

SWG Sommelier, Brett Clugston

Corned Beef and Cabbage Wine Pairing…

In Sommelier Corner on March 15, 2010 at 6:03 pm

Sixth Course Choice of Either Entree:

Corned Beef and Cabbage, Boiled Potatoes, Glazed Carrots, Brussels Sprouts, Irish Mustard Au Jus

or Sheppard’s Lamb Meatloaf, Stuffed with Mashed Potatoes, Sage Derby Cheese, Lamb, Wrapped in Bacon, and Topped with Hot Horseradish Mushroom Gravy, and Fried Onions

Paired with 2008  Altos las Hormigas Malbec Mendoza Argentina

Corned Beef and Cabbage is soft and delicate after being boiled.  Even though it still  is a hearty dish a big Cab or Zinfandel might overpower it.  Instead a smooth Merlot or a more full bodied Pinot Noir will work.

I chose to pair one of my favorites “2008 Altos las Hormigas Malbec Mendoza Argentina” with the main course of this St Patrick’s Day Tasting Menu.  Malbec’s from Argentina are extremely soft and quite different from Malbec’s from France that are tannic and bold. The winery Altos las Hormigas in Mendoza Argentina focuses entirely on the varietal Malbec (always a good sign).  This Malbec is complex enough moving from flavors of fennel, violet, cherry, and even nutmeg to pair with the salty and soft corned beef and cabbage dish.

SWG Sommelier, Brett Clugston

2006 Bonny Doon Vineyards Le Cigare Blanc White Wine California with the Salad Course…

In Sommelier Corner on March 15, 2010 at 5:39 pm

Fifth Course

Mixed Dublin Greens, Sliced Apples, Grain Mustard Vinaigrette, Chopped Egg, Warm Bacon Bits

Paired with 2006  Bonny Doon Vineyards Le Cigare Blanc White Wine California

Bonny Doon Le Cigare Blanc is a blend of white Rhone varietals.  Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne, and Viognier are blended to create this interesting dry white produced in California.  The Grenache Blanc imparts a green apple quality, Viognier adds floral aromatics, Marsanne gives the wine a mineral quality, and the grape Roussanne balances out the acidity with honeysuckle as well as nutty nuances.  This is a complex wine to say the least.  And Randall Grahm, the wine maker is about as complex as wine makers get.  Go to the Bonny Doon website to learn more.

This wine is going to be great with the fresh crisp apple slices, oily bacon bits, as well as chopped egg yellows.  The zesty, tangy, and savory qualities in the whole grain mustard vinaigrette will be perfect with Bonny Doon’s interesting white blend.  Many chefs like to add a touch of Jameson’s Irish Whisky to their homemade whole grain mustard recipe.  Adding the whiskey makes the course and spicy flavor a bit more mild and delicate to serve with the salad.  This could be my favorite wine and food pairing yet!

SWG Sommelier, Brett Clugston

Colcannon Potato Skins with Petite Sirah…

In Sommelier Corner on March 15, 2010 at 5:36 pm

Fourth Course

Colcannon Potato Skins, Back Bacon, Scallions, Cabbage, Sharp Cheddar

Paired with 2007 Ravenswood Petite Sirah California

Syrah (French) and Shiraz (Australian) are not to be confused with Petite Sirah a separate unique varietal all together. Petite Sirah is a grape that began it’s roots in California.  Concannon (a popular winery on the wine list at the SWG) was the first California winery to bottle a wine with 100% Petite Sirah.  Prior to that it was mostly blended with other varietals.  Ravenswood Winery, popular for it’s red Zin’s has mastered this grape and (in my opinion) surpassed all the others with this fabulously popular Petite Sirah.  Petite Sirah is bold, spicy, dry, and fruit driven.  The spicy back bacon, heavy skins, and sharp cheddar will stand up to this not so little wine with jam packed flavor.

SWG Sommelier, Brett Clugston