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Report: 2010 Heartland Gathering

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I had a wonderful time eating, shopping and cooking in A2. If you can believe it, Tammy and I found the stomach capacity to return to Zingerman's Deli for tasting a bunch of stuff--the $150 balsamico, jamon iberico, assorted oils, vinegars, syrups, and about a dozen cheeses. Then we went next door and tasted chocolates. And then we had a cocktail and a salad at Zola nearby. I'm done eating for the next month, at least.

I was moved by the passion for food in Ann Arbor, a city I've passed through but never really visited. I appreciated Tammy's work in putting the event together. Also Lisa and Joe's organization of the Sichuan meal was great--my mouth was tingling for hours.

Kerry, it was great to work with you on the chiboust dessert--and thanks again for all your help with the bunny dish. (It was only bunny 2 ways, btw...)

I think I'm done with excess for quite some time. Good thing I get in $150 worth of produce tomorrow because I think that's the only thing I'll be eating for some time.

Thanks again for everything, Tammy.

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Host's note: for those who are already thinking about a Heartland Gathering 2011, we've moved posts on that subject to start the PLAN: 2011 Heartland Gathering topic.

Please continue to discuss the 2010 Gathering here!

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I am slowly getting my pictures up to Flickr in my Michigan set. I'll hopefully have all of them up by the end of the week.

But to tempt those who are thinking of going to next year's gathering.


Yes, that's Chef Crash's baklava. I have some pieces stashed away, but I won't say how many lest it make me look greedy. But it's gooooooood! :wub:

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I've been waiting until I could get onto an actual computer with keyboard (rather than just my smartphone) to post here.

Donna and I both had a *fantastic* time with our fellow eGulleteers on Saturday. The food was fantastic, yes, but even more enjoyable was the camaraderie we enjoyed from all the folks there who are just food junkies like we are. There wasn't anything (nor anyone) there that we didn't feel comfortable sitting down to, or with.

Tammy: thank you *so much* for your work in organizing. The Feast made both Donna and me wish that we'd been able to come to more of the stuff that had been planned for the weekend, but logistically-speaking, it just couldn't work. Donna was barely able to get those wonderful cupcakes of hers ready on Saturday, due to her traveling on Friday, and we really would have liked to participate more. Please know that you make one *heck* of a potent potable, and I'm not exactly a lightweight. You're an even better host/organizer, though, so thank you so much for the work you put in. Enjoy the Blenheim!

Tom: there are few things that are more enjoyable than really great bread. It's simple, it's tasty, it's satisfying. Your two types of bread could have been all I ate, and I would have been completely okay with that. And you are absol-stinking-lutely right: caramelized onions just make *everything* better. Thank you.

Kerry: we need more physicians like you. Your truffles rule with an iron scepter, and that's coming from a confessed chocoholic. Meeting you, speaking with you, enjoying your smile...lots of fun.

Rochelle: I sincerely hope that many, many more bunnies expire for your culinary purposes. I'm with Sam: the rabbit confit with homemade noodles were an exceptional highlight of the meal to me, and I hope that those in the DC area learn what an asset they have in your catering abilities. Let me just say that *I'd* hire you...and I'm picky. Those sorority girls that you cooked for? I'm just absolutely jealous of them, based on that dead, delicious bunny.

Richard: it was really great to see you again, and your salsa with basil oil was exquisite. I'm of the opinion that the shrimp didn't even need to be there...that salsa, and *especially* the basil oil were just amazing. I saw many, many folks there who were using Tom's bread to sop up every last drop, and rightfully so.

Steve: you, sir, fry up bunny with the best of them, and the fish-in-parchment was a nice, clean taste, owing to the freshness of everything there. So much to enjoy in that little pocket of goodness.

Crash: fatoosh salad, baklava, and more? I'll bet you could juggle five balls at once, as well! As well as being delicious, the fatoosh was one of the prettiest I've seen.

There were many, many others there who I met and enjoyed talking to, eating with, laughing with, drinking with. I'd be typing all day if I were to name and thank everyone, but suffice it to say that it was an absolute joy to spend the evening there, and to contribute in whatever small way I could. It's got me thinking about traveling for next year...I'm no longer a Heartland Gathering virgin!

Thank you again, everyone, for welcoming Donna and me into the fold. We came, we ate, we laughed, we waddled out. What more could one ask for?

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Donna and I both had a *fantastic* time with our fellow eGulleteers on Saturday. The food was fantastic, yes, but even more enjoyable was the camaraderie we enjoyed from all the folks there who are just food junkies like we are. There wasn't anything (nor anyone) there that we didn't feel comfortable sitting down to, or with.


Richard: it was really great to see you again, and your salsa with basil oil was exquisite. I'm of the opinion that the shrimp didn't even need to be there...that salsa, and *especially* the basil oil were just amazing. I saw many, many folks there who were using Tom's bread to sop up every last drop, and rightfully so.

Thanks so much for the detailed and kind report. I very much agree about the camaraderie. It was an easy Gathering to be at (and to isolate from for a little while, if one so chose, without anyone wondering why). Tammy did a yeoman's (yeowoman's? yeoperson's?) job of organizing the event.

Edsel's Vita-Mix must receive a portion of the credit for the basil oil, as should Tammy's filtering apparatus. I had made some at home that I intended to bring with me, but of course it became the inevitable forgotten item. Fortunately, the common house had a huge herb garden, so there was no shortage of basil. At home I used a KitchenAid blender and a fine-mesh gold-toned coffee filter, but the new combination was far superior, producing a deeper green oil with no discernable solids.

I took home the remaining oil and used it for a simple dinner last night: spaghetti with basil oil, butter, black pepper, and Parm-Reg. Tonight we'll be having a tomato-shiso salad with shallot dressing, the shiso courtesy of White Lotus's generosity.

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Just a quick thank you since the only Internet access I have currently is from my iPhone. My biggest thanks are to all the Ann Arbor folk who organized the whole weekend for us, every meal was incredible. Another thank you to all my housemates who made my weekend even more enjoyable than I expected. Finally thank you to all the members that joined us for our various meals, I truly enjoyed the conversation.

I apologize for not being as active in the kitchen but with a freshly broken toe small spaces with a lot of people carrying heavy things and knives was a scary place to be.

I will definitely be there next year!

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Here's the tasting menu from Friday night at Grange. Chef Brandon Johns introduced every course, plus he spent a good bit of time chatting with us before the meal. His dedication to cooking in general, and to locally sourced ingredients specifically, is impressive. He also cheerfully provided alternative dishes for two pescatarians and one person with a couple of food allergies.

I don't remember some of the details, so please feel free to add, subtract, or correct. The pictures are in Kerry's post (and perhaps others to follow).

Nose to tail house-made charcuterie

Peninsula Cellars Gewurtztraminer, Old Mission 2006

Clockwise from 9 o'clock in Kerry's picture: multi-pig-part terrine; thin slice of pig's ear something; coppa; a jam of some sort. In the middle are pea shoots with something else.

Walleye "brandade" fritters, green tomato jam

La Grave-Martillac, Pessac-Leognan 2007

Chef Johns preserved walleye for one month as if for salt cod, then proceeded accordingly. This food-wine pairing was the surprise hit of the evening for me.

Fried pig's head, mustard, sauce gribiche

Martin Codax Albariño, Rias Baixas 2008

Not the whole head on a platter of course, but cooked, shredded, battered, and fried.

Heirloom gazpacho, Michigan pickled shrimp salad

New Holland Golden Cap Saison, Holland, MI

Delicious, but for me the least interesting dish of the evening. Great ale, though.

Duck, peaches, coriander, honey glaze, whole grains

Duchamp Cuvée Trouvée Syrah, Dry Creek Valley 2003

Another great wine pairing. I think the whole grains were wheat berries and something else.

Whole roasted (beef) tenderloin, pickled oyster mushrooms, heirloom carrots

Starry Night Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley 2007

Two or three slices of a perfectly crusted tenderloin in a simple presentation.

Plum upside-down cake, goat cheese ice cream.

Frisk Sparkling Reisling, Victoria 2009 was on the printed menu, but for the life of me I can't remember anything about it. Did we actually get it? (Tammy just posted that we did indeed get it.)

Many of us arrived early and enjoyed a cocktail (or two) before dinner. I had a refreshing GGGinger--fresh mint, ginger syrup, fresh lime juice, Tanqueray, and ginger beer, with a crystallized ginger garnish.

Edited by Alex (log)

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Thank you all for your kind words. It was my pleasure to host all of you in Ann Arbor, and I'm glad you enjoyed yourselves so much - it was fantastic to have you here.

Alex - yes, we had that Riesling with the dessert, and it was very yummy. I should know, because I drank mine and most of Kerry's.

My "filtering apparatus" for your basil oil was nothing more than a jelly strainer bag, but I agree that it definitely does the trick for making nice herb oils!

Boagman - Glad you could make it! I am definitely enjoying the Blenheim, and using it for those potent potables of which you speak. Malawry and I used some to make Agony and Ecstasies on Sunday (gin, st. germain, grapefruit, ginger beer) and I used the rest of the bottle for a Gin-Gin Mule tonight. Very gingery - yum!

Prasantrin - you'll have to repeat that imitation for us next year in Cleveland!

Edited by tammylc (log)

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As always a pleasure to see you all at the Gathering. I'm just beginning to sift through the mound of photos, but I think this one tells the tale:


Caption: Steven "supervising" while malawry cooks and edsel takes photos.

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This one may tell the rest of the story. Channel Gordon Ramsey for a moment, if you will: "Hennes, put down the f^&*ing camera and f&*(ing plate these f&*(ing microgreens, NOW!!" (no he didn't say it, it was all in the look). Slave driver, he is...


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What an awesome experience, particularly for my wife who's not like us (you and me);)

Fantastic bunch of people. Looking forward to next year.

Kerrytown the site of the farmers market


Mennonites from Homer MI


Tom's fabulous bread. I he does a workshop next year, I'm in.


Beet chips that would later become a crumble.


Chris slicing his homemade Charcuterie while Sam fluted mushrooms




Malawry's cookies which were formed on a wooden spoon.


Malawry making pasta from scratch


Kerry Beal's works of art. Liquor filled truffles...


....and Almond chocolate clusters


Alton's brother held a staring showdown?


Kitchen action. Fat Guy and Chris Hennes helping Tammy.


Sam-I-am and Joyce


Some of the desserts


Dance, Elf and Joyce




Alex adding the element that pulled his dish together


FatGuy garnishing Tammy's entree which had to be the most complex dish of the evening


The finished plates


Kerry's cream of Kale soup topped with Chorizo renderings flavored foam


Edsel plating Hake and vegetable medley en Papillote.


Connie and Dance brewing teas


Wile Sam was grilling, Boagman and I were eying the bones.


Sam's wife Joyce expertly seasoning the Lamb


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Thanks for all those great pictures, CC. It was a pleasure talking with you and your wife.

IIRC, Kerry's amazing truffles were made with a maple liqueur, probably Sortilège. Kerry, please correct me if I'm wrong about that.

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Thanks for all those great pictures, CC. It was a pleasure talking with you and your wife.

IIRC, Kerry's amazing truffles were made with a maple liqueur, probably Sortilège. Kerry, please correct me if I'm wrong about that.

It was this one called Fine Seve (for fine sap). Made by the same company as Sortilege - but just the eau de vie - where the Sortilage is maple and whiskey.

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Here are some photos from the Market saturday morning:

A2 Farmers Market Sign.jpg

Food at the Market.jpg

Michigan Mushrooms.jpg

This is where the Bibimbop and Seoul Dog below were purchased:


Fish and chips from Monahan's Seafood:

Fish and chips.jpg





Tamale interior.jpg

Salmon belly and avocado (I think):

Salmon belly and avocado.jpg

Smoked salmon:

Smoked Salmon.jpg


Bop in a box.jpg

Seoul dog (Deep fried bacon-wrapped hot dog covered in kimchi):

Seoul Dog.jpg

A reuben:


Fish sandwich:

Fish sandwich.jpg

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And from the Main Event...

You know you're in for a good time when you've got one of these:

Disco ball.jpg

Edsel doing some veggie prep:

Edsel doing veg prep with Dance and Connie.jpg

The shrimp course:

Shrimp course plated.jpg

Edsel rearranging the berries on Tammy's course:

Edsel being edsel.jpg

Opening the fish en pappillote:

Edsel cutting open packet.jpg

malawry plating her rabbit course:

malawry plating rabbit.jpg

The completed rabbit plating:

Final plated rabbit course.jpg

Burn, baby, burn...

Burn baby, burn.jpg

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Sorry that I've been rather quiet on this thread, but I wanted to make sure that if people were interested, all three posts have finally published on my blog regarding the main events from this weekend.

First up, there was the seven course prix fixe at Grange Kitchen & Bar.

Second, there was my contribution of breads for the main dinner on Saturday night.

Finally, there was the Bacon Brunch we enjoyed at Zingerman's Roadhouse.

Feel free to click on one or more of the links to read about (and view) what I thought of the weekend.

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I had great fun going through all the descriptions and pictures! Wish I could have made it. Thanks for sharing!

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      There were a couple more dishes I had and you can see/read them on the picture link below. For the meal, I drank 2 glasses of wine. The first glass was 2010 Vincent girardin chassagne-Montrachet; it’s rich and creamy with buttery aromas. The second one was 2009 Black quail Pinot noir; it’s medium bodied with dark berries delicate fragrance and dry finish in slight acidity – a quite refined pinot noir that surprisingly went along nicely with my scallop dish (of course, better with the beef). Oh before I forget, this place only offers one type of bread and butter – to be exact warm mini baguette and salted butter served at room temperature – simple but good; I ate 3 baguettes if not mistaken. The meal ended with a petit four consisting of a green tea macaron and canele – both were fine.
      It was a quiet evening, about half of the restaurant’s capacity was filled. Probably most people were still busy to attend reunion dinner with their friends and colleagues. The dining room decoration was minimalist dominated by dark grey color for the walls (some paintings were hung on them) and medium lighting. This way guests would not feel overwhelmed and the food took center stage. The staffs were polite and helpful without being intrusive. Besides the sommelier, one friendly “Indian” maitre d’ and the greeter, most of restaurants’ FOH staffs were relatively new. Chef Hubrechsen, usually visiting the dining room to greet guests, explained that the staffs turnover at Singapore restaurants were still very high; he even did not have any permanent sous chef assisting him in the kitchen. So the good thing is that it’s almost guaranteed Gunther himself would always be in the kitchen daily to ensure food quality.
      I gave my overall meal experience at Gunther’s nearly 94 pts (a good 2 ¼* by Michelin standard) and it meant about the same level as Shinji by Kanesaka Singapore and Eric Frechon’s Le Bristol, seriously. Another lovely meal, and overall it ranked as the most memorable one I’ve ever had here. Well, there was no bad meal experience at Gunther’s. Hope I can return again sometimes next year, even better if not on my own expenses. Lastly, I prefer this place over Les Amis by a small margin. Check here for pictures, https://picasaweb.google.com/118237905546308956881/GuntherSRestaurantSingapore#
    • By Kerry Beal
      Today we started out with a trip to the college to start getting ourselves set up for tomorrow. Then at 10 am we met at ChocolateFX and started our tour. Of course hair nets are obligatory if you are going to go into a food manufacturing facility!

      Wilma and Art had the small pan set up so that we could pan some raisins.

      Here's Pat (psantucc), with beard appropriately netted, applying some chocolate to the raisins.

      Ava (FrogPrincesse's little one) preparing to add more chocolate, Kyle helping and FrogPrincesse awaiting her turn.

      The fancy packing machine.

      Listening with rapt attention to Wilma explaining the making of ganache truffles in the round silicone molds.
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