NYC Part III- Eleven Madison Park

It has been two months since my visit to Eleven Madison Park, one of the top 50 restaurants in the world. The visit was truly an amazing culinary experience that I will not forget for a while! When I think back to my memories of the restaurant, not only do I recall each specific bite of food, but I also remember the emotion of eating there, the unadulterated rapture of tasting great (not just good!) food…

The tasting menu which consists of 14 courses of creatively prepared dishes was a gastronomic experience like no other. The presentation, taste and service were top notch; the pacing was on point due to the attentiveness of the staff. Everything on the tasting menu was decadent and delicious. Highlights of the meal included a little egg filled with sturgeon caviar, sabayon and chives, a caviar and cauliflower take on Eggs Benedict and a custard dessert made with a ball that shattered to spill honey. The relatively mediocre dishes in the menu would suffice as good or great in any other restaurant, but deemed to be overshadowed by the remarkable dishes.

Overall a truly whimsical, innovative, daring and phenomenal food journey…I better let the photos speak for themselves!!


Savory cookies made with apple and cheddar in stylish B/W and Sturgeon sabayon presented in an egg shell that was perfectly cut on the top and emptied.

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Oyster: pie and velouté. The velouté was creamy, and the crust on the mini pie was crisp.

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Scallops marinated with black truffle and leeks

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My absolute favorite! An upscale reinvention of classic Eggs Benedict made with caviar, cauliflower and ham, totally showcased the creativity of the Chef. The house made English muffins was a lovely accompaniment.

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House made rolls along with butters and sea salt.

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An interesting take on “surf and turf” made with perfectly seared foie gras with Brussels sprouts and smoked eel.

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Waldorf salad. The original recipe was invented in 1896 by Oscar Tschirky who was the head waiter at the luxurious Waldorf Astoria hotel at the time (which was later demolished in 1929 to make way for the building of the Empire State Building). The salad was prepared in front of you, combining multiple ingredients, such as celery root, walnuts, grapes and apple. The salad was served in a giant bowl which had two compartments, in the bottom there was a cold soup made of the same dressing as the salad.

The duck was roasted with honey and lavender; it was perfectly cooked and packed with flavors!

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The cheese course totally exceeded my expectation. It was a beautifully melted Cato Corner cheese fondue sitting in a squash, you simply have to dip the homemade pretzel bread in to enjoy it. And guess what: it was divine!

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Pre-dessert- Botrytis with Ice Cream, Bitter Almond, and Ginger Crumble. Inspired by the flavor of grapes lucky enough to have been infected with the fungus, also known as noble rot.

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Milk and Honey Custard with Bee Pollen Ice Cream. Shattered the honeycomb shell and you’d be thrilled to discover the honey inside!

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Dishes are playful and interactive from start to finish, the dessert ‘Name That Milk’- which came in an ornate wooden box containing four bars of specially commissioned Mast Brothers chocolate together with pencils and a card with four animal drawings totally blew my mind. Diners must taste each bar to determine which chocolate belongs to which animal: cow’s milk, sheep’s, goat’s or buffalo’s.

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Eleven Madison Park (elevenmadisonpark.com)

11 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10010

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Salt Baked Chicken Wings with Rosemary

Salt baked chicken is one of the most classic dishes in the Hakka repertoire. The dish is both clever and flavorful. Traditionally it is made by sealing the chicken with a tight cocoon of lotus leaf or parchment paper, which is then baked in scorching coarse salt. Despite the fact that the bird is packed solidly in a thick layer of coarse salt as it cooks, it doesn’t get unbearably salty because the salt doesn’t penetrate the wrapping. The salt coat mainly serves to retain heat and cook the bird evenly.

This week I tried to remake the dish by giving it a western twist – the chicken wings were marinated with cayenne, garlic and lemon zest, before it was baked in my reliable Staub cocotte. The unique cooking method locks in all the flavors and bastes the bird in its very own essence, the chicken turned out juicy and succulent. And once the ceremonious unveiling began, herb-scented steam curled out of the parcel of goodness, filling the room with gratifying aromas. =)

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Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 8 chicken wings (mid-joint)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 500g rock salt
  • Marinade
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp cayenne powder
  • 1 tbsp crushed black pepper
  • Zest from 2 lemons
  • 2 sprigs rosemary (chopped)

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Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 deg C.
  2. Wash chicken wings, pat dry. Mix with marinade.
  3. Wrap the chicken wings with tin foil.
  4. Whisk the egg whites until foams form. Add salt and mix well.
  5. Line a French oven with tin foil. Spread a layer of salt mixture. Put in the chicken wing wrap and cover it with the remaining salt mixture.
  6. Bake the whole French oven for 30mins. Do not cover up the French oven while baking, otherwise the salt mixture cannot be dried, making the chicken very salty.
  7. Smash to remove the salt on the surface. Take out the chicken wings and serve!
  8. Soak the French oven with hot water until the salt melt before washing.

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Baked Camembert with Rosemary & Truffle oil

Trust me when I say, there is nothing more decadent than this rich, fragrant, creamy wooden box of gooey goodness. In this recipe, my favorite cheese is baked to a pouring consistency and is then served with crusty bread. It is the perfect way to end a long day at work or brace yourself for an afternoon of shopping in the cold. If…that is, it ever gets cold in Hong Kong!

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Ingredients:

  • Camembert, in a box
  • 1/2 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • Few rosemary sprigs
  • 2 tsp white wine
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Drizzle of truffle oil
  • Pinch of freshly grind black pepper

Directions:

  1. Remove the cheese from the fridge 1 hour before cooking, so that it can come to room temperature.
    (otherwise it will take forever to cook)
  2. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  3. Remove any plastic packaging from the cheese and place back in its box, leaving the lid off.
  4. Poke the garlic and rosemary into the holes, pour over the wine and honey, then grind over some black pepper.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the centre of the cheese is melted.
  6. Remove from the oven and leave the Camembert to cool a little before drizzling with the truffle oil.
  7. Serve the bread with the warm cheese for dipping.

 

Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

Happy New Year everyone!! How has 2015 treated you? The start of a new year is always exciting, it is the perfect opportunity to wipe away everything from your slate and start clean. This year, instead of setting up long list of resolutions to be met, I have only one task in mind – be true to myself. Yes, we hear this phrase over and over again; it’s so overused that sometimes it loses its meaning. But admit it, there are times we do certain things, act or dress in certain ways, just because we want to be accepted. Ask yourself, are you staying with your boring job just because it makes a lot of money? Do you go to that party because everyone else does? Are you stuck in this stagnant relationship because you are afraid to be alone? Remember, there are too many wonderful things in this world that you could be doing instead- things that make you happy, things that make you come alive.

Be a beautiful cupcake in a world full of muffins!!

( Or be a fruitloop in a world full of cheerios for a healthier version =P )

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Ingredients (yields 10 cupcakes):

Frosting

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • Milk as needed

Muffins

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

Directions:

Frosting

  1. Place the butter and peanut butter into a medium bowl, and beat with an electric mixer.
  2. Gradually mix in the sugar, and add in milk one tablespoon at a time when it starts to get thick.
  3. Beat for at least 3 minutes until the frosting is fluffy and thick.

Muffins

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.
  2. Line muffin cups with baking cups.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, chocolate chips, and salt; mix well.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine milk, oil and egg, blend well. Add dry ingredients all at once; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.
  5. Fill baking cups 2/3 full.
  6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  7. Cool completely before piping the frosting.

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