Last month I attended the Cooking for Comfort fundraiser dinner at the Esperanza Mansion. The event was a fund raiser for the Keuka Comfort Care Home, a non-profit home where terminally ill people go to be cared for during their last living months (or weeks, days, or hours sometimes). KCCH runs on donations and fundraisers (they do not charge residents or insurance companies), and they have always done a great job of designing fund raisers as community events that are fun and benefit those who participate.
And I’m always open to good food, so of course I attended Cooking for Comfort… and this wasn’t “good food”, this was legit fine dining.
The appetizers floating around were Shrimp Siu Mai with Sweet Chili Sauce; Rice Flour Battered Quail with Black Pepper-Pineapple Glaze; Leaping Waters Pork Meatball Pearls; and Duck Potsticker with Chinese Black Vinegar. I could only get my hands on the shrimp and quail, both of which were delicious. I had Anthony Road Semi-Dry Riesling with appetizers.
The first course, which I didn’t grab a photo of was Velvet Parsnip Soup (Maine Lobster, Cipollini, Scallion Oil). But I’ve got something better! The recipe. I’ve included the recipe that was provided to all guests that night:
Velvet Parsnip Soup
by Chef Scott Drewno
1 small white onion
quarter point of butter
4 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups of heavy cream
Peel and rough chop parsnips, reserve. Cook inions slowly in butter (do not caramelize). Once onions are tender and become translucent, add parsnips. Season with salt and pepper. Add hot stock, bring to simmer. Simmer until parsnips are soft, add cream. Bring to simmer and simmer for 15 minutes. Puree in blender, pass through strainer, adjust seasoning. *May need to add extra stock/cream depending on size of parsnips.
The second course, Nantucket Lighthouse Scallop with curried muscles and acorn squash puree.
Next up, Creekstone Farms Braised Beef Short Rib with sweet miso, rutabaga puree, and baby carrots.
So here’s what happened with the fourth course. I think we got jipped on the baby carrots. And when you don’t frequent fine dining restaurants, you don’t necessarily know when what is on your plate doesn’t match what is on the menu. The short ribs were excellent, as expected. The rutabaga puree was interesting. That other thing there? Yeah, the red/pink colored thing. That. It’s not “baby carrots”. Chef Drewno “changed his mind at the last minute” and changed up the menu. And. Served. Us. Beef. Tongue. The tongue of a cow. He let us know after the course was finished. Well played.
The fourth course was the thing I was waiting for all night: “Twix Bar”. It was… way too delicious.
And then there was wine. Wine, wine, and more wine. More wine than I could drink in a week and remain sober.
I am a self-titled “wine noob”, meaning that I don’t know much about wine despite growing up in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I’m slowly learning though! But still, semi dry Riesling is my best friend and go-to choice. I only just tasted the others.
If you ever have an opportunity to feast on a Scott Drewno creation, I highly recommend it.