Monday, June 9, 2014


Belmont Jewel

Waldorf Salad

Lobster Newburg

Unfortunately, California Chrome did not win the Triple Crown at the Belmont Stakes.  We were rooting for him since the Derby and continued with our own interpretation of the drinks and foods associated with each race.

Horse Racing and the Triple Crown are all about traditional drinks and foods. We all know that the Kentucky Derby is famous for its Mint Juleps and Hot Browns while the Preakness Stakes is known for its Black Eyed Susans and Maryland Crab Cakes.  The official drink of the Belmont Stakes kept getting replaced over the years and there are many dishes associated with New York.
The Belmont Jewel became the official drink of the Belmont Stakes in 2012.  It replaced the Belmont Breeze which became the official drink in 1978.  That one replaced the White Carnation which was another official drink.  Since there were three official drinks that kept replacing each other, we tried all of them.  Our favorite was the Belmont Jewel which we modified by using Cherry Pomegranate Juice and Woodford Reserve bourbon marinated cherries.

As far as the food goes, there are many dishes associated with New York.  The list is quite extensive including several classic old-style authentic New York City dishes such as the Waldorf Salad, Lobster Newburg and NY strip steaks.  There is also NY style pastrami, corned beef, hot dogs, Italian sausage, NY Style cheesecake, bagels and soft pretzels.  But we kept it simple and stayed with the old-style authentic Waldorf Salad and Lobster Newburg for our Belmont Stakes food. We also prepared a NY strip steak smothered in gorgonzola cheese with oyster mushrooms that were braised in butter and fresh thyme for someone who wanted a "steak".  And to start off the season, we enjoyed freshly shucked Kumomotos from Humboldt Bay, CA, and Shigokus from Wilapa Bay in Oregon.  At first, I thought about making Oysters Rockefeller, but the oysters were too beautiful to smother and bake, so raw was fine and delicious.

In 2012, the Belmont Jewel became the official drink of the Belmont Stakes. It was created by mixologist Drew Revella.  It is made with bourbon, lemonade and pomegranate juice.  We modified the drink by using cherry pomegranate juice, since cherries go well with bourbon, and the Woodford Reserve Bourbon marinated cherries just completed the drink to our liking.

1.5 oz Woodford Reserve Kentucky Bourbon
2 oz lemonade
1 oz Cherry Pomegranate Juice
Woodford Reserve Bourbon marinated cherry and lemon twist for garnish

Shake first three ingredients vigorously with ice and serve on the rocks. Garnish with cherry and lemon twist

This lobster dish was created at Delmonico's, the well-known New York City restaurant, in the latter part of the last century.  The dish is made with seafood, cream, and egg yolks.
This is a modified version of the original.  We purchased steamed lobsters so all we needed to do was retrieve the lobster meat.   Two 2-pound lobsters yielded about 2 cups of lobster meat. 

Lobster Place NYC

2 two-pound steamed lobsters
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons shallots
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Dry Sack Sherry
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon brandy
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 large egg yolk, beaten
Toasted brioche

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Break claws off of lobster bodies and crack them. Remove the claw meat and cut it into 1/2-inch pieces. Halve the lobsters length-wise along the undersides, remove the meat from the tails, discarding the bodies, and cut it into 1/2-inch pieces.

Heat butter in a medium saute pan over medium-low heat.  Add the shallots and season with cayenne and nutmeg.  Cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes, until the seasonings have colored and are fragrant.  Add the lobster meat and saute for 1 minute.  Add 2 tablespoons of the sherry and 3 tablespoons of the brandy and cook mixture stirring for 2 minutes.  Remove lobster meat with a slotted spoon to a bowl.  Add the cream to the Sherry mixture and boil the mixture until it is reduced to about 1 cup. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the remaining 1 teaspoon Sherry, and the remaining 1 teaspoon brandy.

Separately, in a small bowl, whisk egg yolk.  Add a ladleful of hot sauce to temper the yolk; whisk to combine.  Return reserved lobster meat mixture to saucepan over low heat; stir to combine. 

Set 4 6-ounce ramekins into a large roasting pan. Divide the Lobster Newburg evenly among the ramekins. Transfer the roasting pan to oven, and pour 1 inch boiling water into the roasting pan. Cook until the Newburg bubbles, about 15-20 minutes. Remove roasting pan from the oven, and transfer ramekins to serving plates. Serve immediately with brioche.

This apple salad got its name from the Waldorf=Astoria Hotel in New York where it was created in 1896 by the maître d'hôtel Oscar Tschirky.  There have been many variations of this salad since then.  
For Walnuts:
1cup raw walnut halves
1 egg white
1/2 tablespoon spice mixture (sweet paprika, cayenne, ground fennel seed, and ground coriander)
1/4cup sugar
For Dressing:
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 cup creme fraiche
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground white pepper to taste
1/4 cup hazelnut oil

For salad:
2 large granny smith/red delicious apples
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1 dozen red grapes, halved lengthwise
Romaine lettuce leaves

Make candied walnuts: Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a large bowl, combine walnuts and egg white; add spice mixture and sugar and mix until evenly coated. Spread walnuts into an even layer on a nonstick sheet lined with parchment paper; roast in the oven until browned, about 20 minutes.

Prepare dressing: In a medium bowl, combine yogurt with creme fraiche; whisk in lemon juice and white pepper. Add in hazelnut oil, whisking briskly to emulsify. Set aside.

Make salad: Peel, core and medium dice the apples. Place in a mixing bowl and mix wit lemon juice to prevent the apples from discoloring.  Before dicing the celery, blanch it in boiling water for 60 seconds and cool it with cold water.  This helps release its flavor and extend the shelf life of the salad.

Assemble salad:  On individual plates, place mixture atop Romaine lettuce leaves.  Top with grape halves and candied walnuts.

Nothing unique about a New York Strip Steak for the Belmont Stakes.  The steak was simply seasoned with Kosher salt, pepper, sweet paprika and cooked in a cast iron pan for about 3-4 minutes per side and then placed in the oven for about six minutes. We then topped it with fresh gorgonzola cheese.  The oyster mushrooms were braised in butter and fresh thyme with Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper. 

New York Strip with Oyster Mushrooms
On our way to the market, I thought about preparing another NYC dish:  Oysters Rockefeller.  But since the market had such beautiful Kumomoto and Shigoku oysters--two of my favorites--I did not want to smother them with spinach, etc., and bake them in the oven, so we enjoyed them raw while watching the pre-race show.

Kumomoto and Shigoku Oysters

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