The weather was glorious, perfect for the Contadi Castaldi Franciacorta Brut that was served in the back garden to guests as they arrived, on time at 7. Sun warm and lowering on the horizon, the air dry, a slight breeze blowing. The kitchen was full of activity, the table was set, and The Brockhaus: A Truffled Affair was under way.

May 7

Eight guests … sipping Franciacorta while waiting on the final two diners.

We were partnering with Diane Roederer, the owner of  DR Delicacy, and cooking with some of her company’s wares — morels and summer truffles on this occasion. We started with raviolo and egg, plus truffle, then eased into butter-poached lobster. Snapper came next, topped with zucchini and mint, blessed with an agrodolce. A surprise course of scallop and a bacon/cream sauce followed, then came morel stuffed with foie gras. The next course was short rib over Acquerello risotto, and truffle. We ended the meal with bacon ice cream and a peanut tuile. Wines were our usual selections: value-priced bottles, not served for wow factor, but paired in a logical and confident manner. They hailed from Alsace, Tuscany, Sonoma, and a few other locales, and they were worthy pours.  A kitchen alive with orderly activity, a round table full of talk and smiles: That’s a beautiful combination.

Chris and I had begun prepping that morning, sitting down over our menu and devising a schedule, dividing the tasks. We filleted the snappers and broke down the lobsters, cleaned the morels and made the pasta dough. It was clockwork, and  fun. He and I have shared a kitchen on many occasions, beginning in Abu Dhabi, and I never tire of cooking with him. (I had made the dessert and cooked the short ribs the day before, so by the time the rest of the crew arrived we were in great shape for the service.)

And what a crew! Norma, Henri, and Aniva — the former a student at Culinary Institute LeNôtre, the latter two French interns at River Oaks Country Club — took over at the sink, washing and drying the myriad wine glasses and helping with the prep. Angela and Anna, two Brockhaus stalwarts, arrived later in the day and assumed their roles, which include hostessing, plating, and general troubleshooting. Diane took care of some last-minute logistics and presented the morels and truffles for my approval.

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The first course was to be served at 8 p.m., so Chris and I began rolling out the pasta dough and making the raviolo. Seven courses flew by, wines were opened and poured, courses went to table. Before we knew it, midnight arrived, and with it the departure of the guests.

Stay tuned for the next appearance of  The Brockhaus.

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