Gary Danko and Joanne Weir are best friends in the kitchen and in real life too. Their great dynamic made for a fantastic, fun cooking demo at the Williams Sonoma test kitchen last Saturday during SF Chefs. Weir and Danko took a controlled chaos approach to the flow of their demo, as they helped with cooking each other’s dishes during their demonstration and socializing with the audience. The demo showcased teamwork at its best.
When brainstorming what to present for their demo, they both agreed showcasing a seasonal summer ingredient was a must. They decided to focus their demo on seasonal summer berries, with raspberries being the star of the show.
The demo began with them describing how make a raspberry vinegar or Raspberry Shrub, as Weir and Danko called it. They combined beautifully ripe raspberries to make a raspberry vinegar reduction, which was used as an ingredient in each of their dishes. Before they added the shrub to anything they passed around a bowl of it for the audience to try. We all passed it around and dipped our little spoons into the deliciously sweet and slightly tart reduction and I think we all could have been content just eating it straight from the bowl the whole demo.
However, of course, our chefs had bigger and better things up their sleeves. First on the list was Weir’s grown-up Ice Cream Float with Raspberry Shrub and Peruvian Pisco Italiana. Nothing like some ice cream and booze to spruce up a Saturday afternoon. Glad you agree, Joanne, who is the author of newly released cookbook TEQUILA and likes to cook with alcohol as much as possible. My type of gal.
Loosened up from the samples of the delicious float, next up was Weir’s fresh Summer Fruit Salad which she prepared surprisingly fast. With the simple raspberry vinaigrette used as the dressing, this light summer dish couldn’t get any easier. The ripeness of the summer fruit really stole the show — the nectarine was almost freakishly ripe, and all the flavors of the different stone fruits with the vinaigrette really balanced each other well.
And then there was Danko’s Raspberry Tiramisu. Mmm hmmm. He made his tiramusu with the raspberry shrub, brandy (he likes to cook with booze too), mascarpone cheese, and Savoia ladyfingers (which I learned is simply a sponge cake made with no oil).
He took all of the ingredients and began the construction of this layered dessert. The end product was pure heaven. You could tell that he had made our batch more than 24 hours before, the lady fingers were moist and full of flavor, and the lightness of the mascarpone with the tartness of the raspberries was perfection. I was also impressed with how seemingly simple the dessert was.
“Cooking is not rocket science. Anyone can do it, I want to give people confidence to cook,” Danko said.
Look out for a new restaurant from Danko next year in the Fisherman’s Wharf area. While he couldn’t divulge many details at this point, Danko did reveal that it would be more casual than Restaurant Gary Danko…and that there will be a hamburger on the menu. 🙂 Here’s hoping raspberry shrub makes an appearance as well.
Recipe courtesy of Gary Danko and Joanne Weir
- 1 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 quarts raspberries
- In a non-reactive bowl, combine the vinegar and raspberries. Cover and let macerate for 3 days. (3 days makes it taste as great as it does, wait for it…wait for it.)
- Mash the raspberries in the bowl, then strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve lined with a cheesecloth. For every 1 cup juice, add 1/2 pound of sugar.
- Combine the juice and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Let cool, then bottle. (Can keep in fridge for up to 3 months).
Recipe Source: LickMySpoon.com.
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