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Posts Tagged ‘The Litchfield Saltwater Grille Blog’

Sunset in July…First Farm to Table Dinner of the Season

In The Kitchen on June 20, 2011 at 6:43 pm

The Litchfield Saltwater Grille is excited to announce the opening of the second Farm to Table Dinner Series season.  The first scheduled event is on Friday July, 8th at Sunset Meadow Vineyards in Goshen.  Last years dinners were hosted with March Farms (Bethlehem), Miranda Vineyards (Goshen), and Sunset Meadow Vineyards (Goshen).

Each menu is created by Chef Albert Clugston III and features fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs from Litchfield County Farms.  Some items such as a very special Muskmelon, Green Zebra Tomatoes, Rhubarb, Eggplant, and Squash Blossoms come from the Chef’s very own garden.  The July 8th menu includes grass feed beef from Litchfield’s Laurel Ridge Farm as well as dairy products from the highly acclaimed Arethusa Cow Farm (Litchfield).  East Coast Shellfish is always incorporated into the menu because there is such an abundant amount of fresh local oysters, scallops, clams, and fish to draw from.

The style format of each menu varies.  July 8th is a casual stationary style menu.  Check out the complete menu here… and remember menu items are subject to change in order to bring you the freshest ingredients available.  There are quite a few farm to table dinners being hosted these days and one of the most unique qualities about our dinner series is the variety of menu items offered.  The July 8th event starts with an iced down raw bar display.  Shucked to order by our raw bar chef guests are welcome to enjoy as much as they would like of Blue Point and Stonington CT Oysters, Baltimore Style Shrimp Cocktail, and Rhode Island Little Neck Clams.  Hors d’oeuvres are passed during the first hour followed by a dinner with two main stations. An Antipasto Bar Style station will include seven interesting dishes (Grilled assorted squashes from Sun One Organic Farm, and Prosciutto Muskmelon Carpaccio to name just a few).  The grill station will serve skirt steak with a green goddess dressing and Tuna skewers with a Ponzu, lime, cilantro vinaigrette.  There are so many different menu items that is hard to believe you could actually have time to try them all.

My favorite part is the strawberries with anglaise for dessert.  Mr. and Mrs. Skilton’s strawberry farm in Morris produces small strawberries that are so jam packed with flavor.  The anglaise sauce is made with local cream and poured while still warm on the strawberries then garnished with mint from The Saltwater Grille’s own garden.  The July 8th event will feature Sunset Meadow Vineyards wines by Goshen wine make George Motel. Tickets usually sell out fast so sign up early.  Sign up here…

View the complete menu here…

More info here…

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What’s the soup of the day?

In The Kitchen on March 25, 2011 at 6:16 pm

You would think soup was the only thing served at The Saltwater Grille.  All day long everyone asks, “What’s the soup of the day?”  The phone rings ten times every morning before we open for lunch and more than half ask “What’s the soup of the day?” Every great restaurant has to back their reputations by serving great food. What better place to start than with a bowl of soup?

Many famous restaurants around the world have found serving a great bowl of soup is worth its weight in gold. In New Orleans, the famous chef Paul Prudhomme at his very famous restaurant K-Paul’s, serves a bowl of steaming hot seafood gumbo with the gumbo poured over the rice tableside giving you a face full of Southern charm, a style chefs around the world love to copy.  Molyvos, in New York City, a bustling, longstanding and well received Mecca for great Greek food has served more Avgolemono soup (Chicken, lemon and egg) than you would want to count the calories in. Any great Jewish Deli or sandwich shop has its own famous “Borscht” fresh puree of Beet soup with sour cream, made their special way. Just a bit north of Santa Barbara in California in the town of Buellton you will find Pea Soup Andersen’s a landmark place serving hundreds of people a day, a place I’m sure you figured out  what their famous for.  And let’s not forget all the new kids on the block with their fast food menus and their relaxed spaces. Customers flock to Panera Bread Bakery for their wonderful Broccoli and Cheese soup. My favorite has to go to Maxim’s in Paris for serving the best French Onion Soup in the world in the most romantic location for over one hundred years.  With all that noted, here at the Saltwater Grille we pride ourselves on serving the most famous Clam Chowder on the east coast. Chef Albert’s Connecticut Clam Chowder has earned followers from all over the New England area making the SWG Connecticut Clam Chowder the famous Chowder that it is.   Using local clams and potatoes plus all the best of what the area’s farms have to offer, this satisfying soup really makes the grade.  The SWG kitchen also flavors this amazing crowd pleaser with special double smoked bacon made just for this recipe by our very own local, world famous smokehouse “Nodine’s Smokehouse” in Goshen Connecticut. With this soup you don’t have to ask me “What the soup of the day is?” just come in and order some. It’s available for sit down service along with take-out all day and every day.

The Saltwater Grille crew of hard working soup chef’s also makes great Bisques such as Lobster Bisque, Crab Bisque, and even Mussel and Purple Potato Bisque. Lately the rave has been about the Artichoke and Lump Crab Bisque; I am sure this one is going to be famous some day.   Seasonal soups are always the order of the day in this kitchen, making hearty bean and root vegetable creations, or soups with pasta or rice in the colder months and lighter versions in the summer. Cold soups always get a lot of attention in warm months using local fruits and vegetables when they are at their peak. Even the seafood used in our soup’s get’s chosen due to what comes off the docks that day.

Many times every day I get asked “What’s the soup of the day”? And every time I do I am glad to tell them what seasonal delight we have to offer. We do serve other things at the SWG but I guess everyone just wants to have a bowl of soup before they really get down to business. There goes the telephone, looks like I have to go, someone wants to know, “What’s the soup of the day?”

Chef, Wine Cellar Master, Albe Galotta

…Lovely Matches…

In The Mount Veeder Blog on December 1, 2009 at 4:14 pm

There is nothing sweeter than seeing true love. Go ahead, laugh. What could I know? I’m just the poster that hangs on the wall. But I see a lot. People come in droves to sit at the bar and enjoy a drink or dinner. They also come in on their own. And one afternoon, a man came in, though he was not looking for a mid day drink. What he really wanted was to design a very special birthday dinner for someone dear to him. And that is just what he did.

A few days later, the man arrived once more, but he was not alone. Six smiling people sat down at the chef’s table to enjoy a unique dinner. The owner of the restaurant and server introduced themselves and welcomed the party. As everyone settled in, mini acai martinis arrived to compliment the amuse bouche: double Brie with pineapple papaya chutney and chives. Yummy!

As the mini martinis disappeared, a bottle of 2003 Soter Beacon Hill Brut Rose Oregon Sparkling Wine was opened and poured by the owner. Having a great wealth of knowledge about wines, she told everyone about the drink and shared stories about the winery from which it came. The first course arrived as the last glass filled with bubbles, and I have to admit that I was jealous. I try to be good, but it is so hard to see such good food and know I cannot have any. As a California girl, I love sushi ensembles. It was Hawaiian tuna poke with Flying Fish caviar and crispy rice cakes. At least they got to enjoy it…

Next up was braised duckling with buckwheat soba noodles and peanut ginger sauce. Save a few noodles, the dishes were bare. The third course was preceded by the pouring of a 2007 Bernkasteler Riesling Kabinett Mosel Germany. This wine complemented the exotic mushroom vol-au-vent that had warm chevre and a Szechuan peppercorn cognac sauce very well.

After the vol-au-vent was cleared, glasses of 1999 Shafer Merlot from Napa Valley arrived as did a lovely Spanish onion soup with smoked sweet paprika, Madeira, saffron, and sharp Manchego. The soup’s spices made me feel as if I could taste it: absolutely delicious! As the soupspoons were laid to rest, it was decided that a break was in order. So much food with so little tummy space simply had to be accommodated with time. Presents and cards appeared on the table amid smiles.

A while later, baby arugula salads with fig and blood orange compote, grapefruit segments, white balsamic vinegar, toasted pine nuts, and Cabrales blue cheese made their debut. It was a very colorful dish. Once it was finished, the main course arrived: parsley and panko crusted trout with hot mango chutney and julienne endive. It was paired with a 2005 Breggo Pinot Noir from Anderson Valley, which was my favorite wine of the meal. Light and somewhat fruity, it had hints of honey and almond too. I would say it was a lovely way to finish the meal, but dessert was yet to be served. Mini bunt-shaped cream cheese frosted carrot cakes with Kona coffee ended the meal.

All in all, the dinner lasted about three hours and was a delight to behold. Between the wine and food explanations, a few of which were done by the head chef, the experience was both delightful and informative. But more importantly, it was something special, and I am glad I had the opportunity to be a part of it.

Happy Birthday Annie.

…With Time Comes Wisdom…

In The Mount Veeder Blog on November 10, 2009 at 3:04 pm

Somewhat quiet, but thoughtful. Occasionally quirky humor. Dave has been working here for over two years now. As the sole male server, the joke around the house was that he had lost his roost when two men were hired to work at the bar. His response? A mere shrug of the shoulders and laugh.145_mt_veeder.jpgfull

Dave married a bit later on in life and has a daughter in junior high at the moment as well as one in college. I have heard talk of him working as a massage therapist too. If I were 3-d, I’d definitely request his services… standing all day as a poster isn’t exactly easy work. Try standing and smiling like a statue for a few minutes. You’ll understand.

I remember one day overhearing a conversation of his with a new server. She was a little nervous. The lobster dinner special was on: soup or salad, lobster with corn on the cob and potato, plus dessert. It was the middle of the summer, and fifteen reservations were expected to walk in the door within the next ten minutes.

Sure there were three servers on, but five tables, at once, when you’re new… that’s something to get the jitters going. Dave looked at her, notebook in hand, and said that it would be okay. Just get to each table as they sit down, announce the specials, and get the orders in as quickly as possible. And remember to check the ticket in the kitchen… you know, make sure that everything is set to go. The new girl nodded.

Was the night busy? Heck yeah. Did Dave, the new girl, and other server take good care of everyone? Absolutely. Like Dave had said, everything was fine. Sure there had been fast feet and a lot of talking, but that’s how life in the restaurant is: it’s busy.

Dave can be reached for massage appointments at dchillmt@yahoo.com

Here’s one that will make you look good…

In The Kitchen on September 3, 2009 at 2:20 pm

How do you cut basil, sage, or any leaf herb or lettuce to make it look good and bring out its most fragrant aroma?  Stack the clean leaves then roll tightly into a cylinder shape. Cut very thin rows with sharp long knife right next to each other.  Do not re-cut, only one time thru. Do not mess up the pile.  Keep it nice and neat. Now, top off all your dishes with these sweet herb slivers.  That’s gourmet.

SWG Chef, Albe Galotta