In honor of Ubuntu receiving its first Michelin Star, I decided to attempt to re-create some of Jeremy Fox's brilliant dishes. Since his cookbook is not yet in print, I scoured the internet for some of his recipes and found several here and here, including his famous Cauliflower in a Cast-iron Pot. My friend Jesse had raved about this dish, but, unfortunately it was not on the menu during my visit. I also wish I could have tried the beloved strawberry sofrito pizza, because I am forever intrigued by fruit used in savory preparations. Strawberries and onions?! I don't knoooow...but I do know that I trust Jeremy Fox.
Lavender Marcona Almonds
Of course, I had to figure out how to recreate the Lavender Marcona Almonds even though you can purchase them, among other things, at the Ubuntu Annex.
Turns out, it's really more of a no-recipe recipe. To make things easier, I bought a bag of Marcona almonds from trader Joe's that are already lightly oiled and sprinkled with sea salt. In a mortar and pestle, I ground up about 1/2 tsp. of lavender and added about a tablespoon of cane sugar and ground it up a little more to mix thorough. Then, I mixed the lavender sugar with about 3/4 cup to 1 cup of almonds and added in 1 tsp. of good quality olive oil to moisten it all up. That's it! Note: Lavender in food is a bit of personal preference--it truly depends on how much you like the flavor of lavender. I use it conservatively,because I find that, if you use too much, your food might end up tasting like soap. Also, if you prefer the nuts warmed, you can lightly toast them for a couple of minutes before you mix in the lavender sugar and olive oil.
This salad looks extremely simple--delicately composed of simple ingredients, but I found it to be a little complicated once I added up all the individual steps. For one thing, trying to shave ripe plums on a mandoline proved to be a small disaster, so I ended up slicing them by hand. The salad was clean and fresh, bursting with intense flavors. Once again, in Ubuntu, we trust.
Grits Infused with Goat's Milk
I also tried to recreate a dish I had tried at Ubuntu: grits infused with goat's milk with domaine de la chance egg, homemade goat ricotta, green tomato jam, and autumn thinnings. In my adaptation, I cooked polenta in goat's milk whey (leftover from making some goat's milk feta) alongside some roasted tomatoes and sweet yellow peppers and topped it all off with a fried egg and a generous heap of parmigiano reggiano. While the dish looked beautiful, I didn't really like the flavor of the polenta, so I won't post the recipe here. Ubuntu is, by far, one of my favorite restaurants, and I can't wait to go back! After all, I do have a birthday coming up on November 28 (and that means fall season vegetables!!!)