Hangin’ with Les Marmitons de Jersee Nouveau


Dinner with Les Marmitons, Oct 9 2009 by you.

I recently had the opportunity to be the invited guest of the president of the New Jersey chapter of Les Marmitons, an international social cooking club for male epicureans that has been in existence in North America for 32 years.

The October 12th dinner, which was held at the Don Bosco Knights of Columbus Hall in Port Reading, was a Beer-themed event in the spirit of Ocktoberfest, but with an Italian twist. The chef who prepared the menu for the evening was the young and energetic Dan Richer, proprietor of Arturo’s Osteria in Maplewood. Dan is something of a beer fanatic and was the perfect choice to select the dishes for the Marmitons to prepare.

Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

The carte for the evening.

Dinner with Les Marmitons NJ, Oct 9 2009 by you.

Efrain Raices, club President, with Eric Eisenbud, President Emeritus. While most of the Les Marmitons members do not have any formal culinary training or aren’t professional chefs, all of them are very serious cooks.

Dinner with Les Marmitons NJ, Oct 9 2009 by you.

Eric shows off his huge Craftsman box filled with kitchen knives and other culinary equipment. He comes prepared, even with a mini-blowtorch, which came in handy later.

Dinner with Les Marmitons NJ, Oct 9 2009 by you.

Service that evening was for 25 people. During monthly meetings, The regular members draw lots to see which team is to prepare which dish. Here is one of the members peeling butternut squash for the salad course.

Dinner with Les Marmitons NJ, Oct 9 2009 by you.

Eric can’t help but goof off.

Dinner with Les Marmitons NJ, Oct 9 2009 by you.

Squash Prep.

Dinner with Les Marmitons NJ, Oct 9 2009 by you.

Squash was peeled and cut into rings and discs prior to roasting.

Dinner with Les Marmitons NJ, Oct 9 2009 by you.

Eric paints the squash with olive oil.

Dinner with Les Marmitons NJ, Oct 9 2009 by you.

Abbondanza!

Dinner with Les Marmitons NJ, Oct 9 2009 by you.

Roasted squash dressed with balsamic vinegar dressing.

Dinner with Les Marmitons NJ, Oct 9 2009 by you.

Goat cheese and parsley which would be used for the fonduta, the creamy/cheesy element of the salad course.

Dinner with Les Marmitons NJ, Oct 9 2009 by you.

Chef Richer plating.

Dinner with Les Marmitons NJ, Oct 9 2009 by you.

Plated salad course, paired with a white ale from France.

Dinner with Les Marmitons NJ, Oct 9 2009 by you.

The main course was braised duck legs which were cooked in beer, stock and aromatic vegetables for several hours. This was started in advance of the evening event, late in the afteroon.

Dinner with Le Marmitons, Oct 9 2009 by you.

Gnocchi was prepared using ricotta cheese mixed with flour and lemon zest, and was piped out and cut into small pillows and dusted with flour and boiled in water for approximately 3 minutes. The cooked pasta was then tossed with chopped Prosciutto di Parma ham in melted butter and seasoned with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. The idea was to have a rich pasta dish that would pair with amber Japanese beer, analogous to eating Kasespatzele during Ocktoberfest.

Dinner with Les Marmitons NJ, Oct 9 2009 by you.

Plated Gnocchi second course.

Dinner with Les Marmitons NJ, Oct 9 2009 by you.

Bowl of Japanese shiitake mushrooms, which were finely chopped, sauteed in clarified butter and cooked with the duck braising liquid and barley to make a “risotto” to pair with the duck.

Dinner with Le Marmitons, Oct 9 2009 by you.

Barley Risotto preparation.

Dinner with Les Marmitons NJ, Oct 9 2009 by you.

Finished barley risotto.

Dinner with Les Marmitons NJ, Oct 9 2009 by you.

Plated main course, which was paired with a porter.

Dinner with Le Marmitons, Oct 9 2009 by you.

Cracking eggs for the Zabaglione/Sabayon. This was more of a very rich and thick custardy version than the type cooked with Marsala wine that is used as a sauce for fresh fruit or served in a parfait.

Dinner with Les Marmitons NJ, Oct 9 2009 by you.

Creamy Gorgonzola Cheese and Shaved dark chocolate for the dessert course.

Dinner with Les Marmitons NJ, Oct 9 2009 by you.

The finished custard was poured over a portion of the gorgonzola cheese in individual ramekins.

Dinner with Les Marmitons NJ, Oct 9 2009 by you.

Custard cooling.

Dinner with Les Marmitons NJ, Oct 9 2009 by you.

Finished dessert, which was dusted with dark chocolate shavings and then finished off with Eric’s blowtorch to give it a creme brulee-like crust. This incredibly rich dessert was paired with an Imperial Stout.

I was utterly blown away by the dedication and seriousness that the New Jersey chapter of Les Marmitons brought to their cooking, and I hope to attend more of their events in the near future. I’m also looking forward to checking out Chef Richer’s cooking at his Maplewood restaurant, as he sounds like a very serious pizzaiolo in addition to his mastery of pasta and Italian cuisine.

If you’re interested in attending a New Jersey Les Marmitons event or joining as a regular member, contact the club’s president Efrain Raices at eraices@yahoo.com

4 Responses to Hangin’ with Les Marmitons de Jersee Nouveau

  1. Carol Eisenbud says:

    Jason,
    Your food photos were exceptional as well as your choice of of the president emeritus at work.As I have never been invited to an event of La Marmiton i enjoyed your documentary. Keep up the good work,
    Regardez,
    Eric’s Mom

  2. Curlz says:

    Great piece, Jason! I had the pleasure of attending one of the Les Marms dinners, and I have to say that in addition to being a really nice group of guys who are serious about food/cooking/education, they truly embody the spirit of Les Marmitons–friendship through gastronomy. Now if they’d just let US join them more often…

  3. [...] Christine Nunn of Picnic, The Restaurant (opening June 2010), was the special guest chef at the New Jersey chapter of Les Marmitons‘ Spring event. We feel a bit of a Yenta’s pride in this as another OTB friend Eric [...]

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