The Flavors of Exploration

The Flavors of Exploration

You may recall that in last month’s recap of all things Gilded in 2006, I mentioned two areas we will focus on in 2007: Cuisines from diverse cultures and easy-to-make dishes that satisfy, yet still manage to bring out the sensualist in each of us. Take, for example, Lia Soscia’s Moroccan Spiced Smoked Salmon: With a simple stovetop smoker and some Ras al Hanout spice, you can evoke the feeling of Fez on a warm night, even in the dead of winter.

Since its inception, our Mise en Place section has been one of the most visited areas of The Gilded Fork. It gathers in one place all the elements you need to have a cozy little tête à tête, a gourmet picnic or a distinctive evening to entertain friends. As always, we’re focusing on the sensual pleasures of the food we make, and savoring the time we share together.

In keeping with our love of exploring ethnic, micro-regional cuisines, here are some of the menus we plan to bring you in 2007:

A Mardi Gras feast will kick things off, as there’s nothing like a good New Orleans style Gumbo to fill you up on Fat Tuesday! We’re making that along with Stuffed Peppers, Crab Cakes with Remoulade, and of course, the traditional King’s Cake (see if you’re the lucky one to get the prize baked into the cake and be “king” for the year).

As always, we will celebrate our birthday in February (how convenient that both The Gilded Fork and I were born in the shortest month…hint, hint) with some recipes that ought to be special enough for your own birthday celebration, whenever it may pass. Perhaps we’ll even share a decadent cake recipe from our Pastry Princess, Monica Glass.

We’ll celebrate Easter with the traditional Leg of Lamb, Cinco de Mayo with some flavorful and easy to make Mole, and Bastille Day with traditional homey dishes from Gascogne in the Southwest of France.

Our culinary road map will head north for a taste of Scandinavian Smorgasbord just in time for early summer, when the nights turn long and you can celebrate with light well into the evening, then we’ll head south again to give you more Moroccan recipes to match that spiced salmon we gave you this month.

We’ll take a side trip to Persia for a taste of some dishes that influenced cuisines all over the Mediterranean, then share some great recipes for Tapas for a girls’ night out that will impress your friends with your sublime taste in Spanish food and wine. To round out our Mediterranean tour, we’ll explore an ancient Roman feast that will make you want to party until the wee hours (this one will be courtesy of Jennifer, who is exploring her Italian heritage).

We’ll finish the year off with a traditional New Mexican Christmas meal straight from my Grandmother’s and Aunt’s kitchens with posole, tamales and biscochitos, and get you ready for your New Year’s Brunch with an easy menu that you can make ahead, then go party the night away. (We wouldn’t want a hangover to keep you from entertaining.)

Throughout the year, we’ll have our friends Damian Sim from Provocachic™ and Lenn Thompson from along for the ride to help with the spirits and grape juice. Lenn will tell us which wines to pair with our dishes to add a level of pleasure to your monthly menus, including notes on the varietals and why they pair so well with our dishes. Damian will honor our Main Ingredients and Indulgences by creating cocktails that will wow your guests with your mixology expertise!

So stick with us, baby, and you’ll have everything you need to entertain with ease!