In order of appearance:
First-time competitor Nora brought a cold soup of mixed greens served with a twist of yellow pepper, a play on the assumption that greens necessarily make for heavy cold-weather fare.
V- kept with her mini-food theme begun in Battle: Tapas and plated an inverted mini quiche made with fresh goat cheese, shallots and roasted garlic bacon with arugula tossed with vine-ripe raisins and vinaigrette.
Perpetual runner-up Noah gave us green-as-kryptonite spinach bread cross atop a not-so-purple-as-intended kale crème anglais and raspberry coulis.
Returning from his win last go with tea-smoked duck, Justin brought his take on beef wellington substituting chard for the traditional duxelles, with veal demi-glace and fluted mushrooms fired with calvados.
Cynthia came off a week of experimenting with recipes from southern France to bring us a sweet chard tart flavored with golden raisins, nuts, and a hint of orange which was plated with hand whipped cream and honeyed pine-nuts.
It was a strong field, but after the flames had died, the knives were sheathed, and the silly hats put away, Noah was our ultimate winner. The judges felt that although the bread was not necessarily the most original thing presented, it was a highly original approach to the theme. As someone put it, "I have never had anything that looked so verdant taste so sweet."
In the aftermath, Chuck suggested that it may be time to do a battle of champions, the rumor of which spread quickly enough that by the time I hit the next room, guests were already talking as though it was a done deal. The idea has some promise, but the first thing that went through my head was, "Have I really done this seven times already?" It’s an interesting and unexpected bit of continuity in my otherwise dillettantish approach to my interests. In case it needs be said, I’m grateful to all of you who have participated, whether at the head table, in the kitchen, or in the spaces between. I even love all of you following at home. It’s been a lot of fun, and I’m looking forward to the next seven and more.
I know there were cameras out, and I will let you know as I become aware of available photosets. Early in are here and here.