Just a quick post — pictures of last weekend’s party are online at Flickr. We began the event on Friday night at Steps Wine Bar and Cafe in Friday Harbor, where Chef (and good friend) Madden Surbaugh served 11 of us a spectacular tasting menu with venison, scallop-and-shrimp "lollypops" (watch for this on the upcoming menu), and Buffalo wing carrots (these were the hit of the evening, and are hard to describe but rocked). We drank Tempier Rose, the 1996 Classique, and a truly amazing magnum of the 1994 Tourtine, along with sparkling wine and a manzanilla sherry to start, with a late harvest Viognier to finish.
Saturday began at home with several of us doing another batch of black beans and getting the boar into my makeshift Alton Brown-style smoker (see pics, I’ll try to post a few more of the smoker itself). After 48 hours in the brine, I cold smoked the 33 pound boar for 8 hours with apple wood. I took advantage of the warm smoker box to also smoke 16 whole quail, which I then grilled to medium.
After a quick trip to the farmer’s market to pick up sugar snap peas, pay my bill on the previous week’s English peas, and pick up salad mix, we headed out to South Beach for a glorious early afternoon hike, swim, and a lunch on the beach. I served the quail quartered on a bed of Waldron Island salad greens, with local Quail Croft goat cheese, local strawberries, and a simple shallot vinaigrette. Tasty stuff.
By the time we got back to the house, it was time to fire up the pit with charcoal and dry hardwood, and as guests began arriving in the early evening we sandwiched the boar between diamond wire mesh and grilled it fast and hot (about an hour, maybe less). Served shredded and sliced, the boar was tender, smoky, and juicy — a big hit according to the diners. This was accompanied by rice, cuban black beans, fried plantains (done simply and as twice-fried tostones), and an ocean of Tavel rose, mojitos, and Hemingways (gin & tonic with coconut water and angostura bitters).
As the visiting guests filtered home by around midnight, those of us staying at the house (Kim, Kris, Fran, Tina, and myself) collapsed with a cup of tea and some cookies and slept in Sunday morning, which was well earned on all our parts. In all, a perfect weekend and celebration of two terrific years on the island. I can’t wait to plan next year’s party, in fact.