Monday, July 20, 2009

"Follow the Chef" Market Tour Desserts

Every Wednesday Chef Touhy takes a group of guests on a tour of the great farmer's market across the street at Cesar Chavez Park and then plans a meal for them based on what he finds fresh and in season. The menu always includes dessert so each week I plan something special for the guests. Last Wednesday I went across the street and picked up a box each of golden and red raspberries, tayberries, loganberries, blackberries and blueberries. They all came from Patrick's Garden, a local berry grower. They were beautiful and ripe and I wanted to serve them fresh, not cooked, so I combined all of the berries in a bowl and set them aside. I put equal amounts of sugar and water in a saucepan and brought it to a boil, then removed it from the heat and added fresh lemon verbena, a heavenly herb that infused the syrup with a lovely light lemony essence. I chilled the syrup then spooned some of it over the berries. While the berries were bathing in the syrup I made a sabayon with a brut rose sparkling wine and chilled that as well. I love to make sabayon - it's a magical combination of egg yolks and sugar whisked together over a hot water bath that can be flavored in a million different ways. To assemble the dessert I put a couple spoonfuls of the berries with some of the now red-tinted syrup in martini glasses, followed by sabayon, then another layer of berries. I used a propane torch to brulee the last layer of sabayon, then added a caramel lace cookie for a little crunch. The desserts were absolutely gorgeous, light and summery.

I don't know what I'll do this week ... maybe something with crepes? Come on the tour and find out!

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