Swan Creek Chef Auction

September 10, 2009 at 10:35 am (Current Events, Our Favorite Things, What we are eating, What we're drinking) (, , , , , , , )

Recently, a local farmer suffered the tragedy of having his truck and all his produce burst into fire.  To help him out, 15 Chicago chefs donated a private, in-home dinner to an online auction on Twitter.  All proceeds directly benefit Swan Creek Farms and help the farmer to get back on the streets delivering delicious goods to our favorite dining establishments.

It just so happens that Carrie and Joe Becker bid on the dinner with Chris Pandel of The Bristol.  And, it just so happens that Carrie and Joe Becker are dear friends of the Lushes.  Ms. Erin, Ms. Jane, and Ms. Rachel were graciously extended an invitation to join in the dining and drinking extravaganza.  Of course, it was BYOB…

8 guests, copious amounts of food, and 14 bottles later…

Chef Chris Pandel arrived at noon to prepare for the evening, but many components of the meal had been prepped and slow cooked prior to the event, gaining serious flavor infusion and amazing texture.  He focused on fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients, but did throw in some phenomenal imports and game.

Carrie and Joe invited friends Ryan and Katie Stults, as well as Evan Ferrar, and the Lush ladies.  The Beckers provided a lovely selection of wines to pair with the meal, carefully chosen by collaborating with chef and Erin at Lush.  And, as typical lushes, we all brought additional bottles to play with and pair with…just in case.

FOOD and WINE:  Chef Chris Pandel served in a family style manner, bringing out courses and various heaping platters together to be passed and shared.  We anticipated 4 courses, but I think we had approximately 12 dishes.  I will do my best to recall each in order with the proper ingredients, but as you may have already gathered, we ate like mad and drank to match.  My apologies to the chef if I make a mistake.  And, we opened bottles, passed them around, and had several glasses going to play with pairings…so they are approximations!

#1  French breakfast radishes, Fleur de Sel sea salt, Woodrich Farms, Wisconsin butter [this butter may have been the element that was revisited more than any other…damn good]


White peach, ricotta, and  insalata with basil [ handmade by Joey Russo of BridgePort, Chicago]

[COCKTAIL: Aperol and NV Delapierre Cava; WINE: 2002 Domaine Huet Pettilant, Vouvray, France]

#2 Burratta drizzled with olive oil, crushed fava beans with shallot, toasted bread [I heart burratta!]

[WINE: 2007 Vietti Arneis, Piedmont, Italy]

#3 4 varieties of watermelon, 11 varieties of cantaloupe, and pickled musk melon served with Gaote black olive vinegrette, mint, goat’s milk feta, and capers

[WINE: 2007 Barth Carta Riesling, Germany; 2007 Skillogalle Clare Valley Riesling, Australia]

#4 Goat loin carpaccio served with pickled chantrelle mushrooms, handpicked in Indiana at a secret location, and purslane

[WINE: 2006 Odysseus Rosata, Priorat, Spain]

#5 Spanish mackerel, crispy skin and plums, mustard, and marcona almonds

[WINE: 2008 Sigalas Assirtiko Oak-Aged, Santorini, Greece]

#6 Handmade gnochhi with ricotta, heirloom tomatoes, parsely and a very light sauce

[WINE: 2007 Vietti Arneis, Piedmont, Italy]

#7 Quail legs, pan roasted


Tartine of quail with shittake mushrooms and shallots

[WINE: 2008 Dashe Cellars ‘L’Enfant Terrible’, Sonoma; 2001 Fra Fulco, Priorat, Spain; 1999 Dirler Pinot Noir, Alsace, France]

#8 Goat ribs and belly, frenched, in a Northern African/Sicilian style


Braised goat leg with coriander, a panise and a chickpea cake crafted from chickpea flour, milk, and butter


Fingerling potatoes with sardine and artichoke


Pattypan squash with yogurt, salt, and mint


Goat shoulder


Turnips roasted with tarragon


Eggplant, 365 days old, prepared as kimchi

[WINE: 2001 Arnaldo Caprai Sagrantino, Italy; 2006 Pax Kobler Syrah, Sonoma; 2003 Carm Reserve, Portugal]

#9 Raspberry tart, streusel oatmeal crust, with creme fraiche


Lime semifreddo with cream and meringue

[WINE: Vignalta Alpinae orange muscat]

YUM!  Great dinner.  Thanks to all for good conversation and outrageously tasty food and wine that sparked comment.

Cheers, RD


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