The latest Dish and Design event landed on Wednesday, which was a very, very hot day, so it was no wonder the first topic of conversation was crisp, summertime beverages.
Executive chef of the Daxton Hotel and its signature restaurant Madam, Rece Hogerheide kicked the evening off with cocktail chatter, asking the crowd to name some of their favorite warm-weather drinks. Sangria, Aperol Spritz and gin and tonic were called out, to name a few.
For summer entertaining, Hogerheide suggested serving a beverage that can be made in a big batch in advance, and then giving your guest a chance to customize theirs with a garnish bar featuring frozen fruit or fresh herbs.
After demonstrating how to make the Daxton Hotel bar’s cocktail the Geode Spritz, Hogerheide and his team moved on to a grilling demo, crafting a rib-eye cap with pickled watermelon panzanella salad. They worked from the open kitchen of the venue, the Great Lakes Culinary Center in Southfield, which is outfitted with cameras so the audience can get a closer look.
Attendees were treated to samples of the perfectly charred and versatile steak as the chef described the benefits of saving watermelon rind to pickle and put in the salad, which also had an herb vinaigrette, hearty slices of seasoned tomato, toasted sourdough croutons and local feta cheese. The Michigan native also gave tips on purchasing meat from your local butcher and preparing it for summer grilling, including the importance of letting your meat rest after cooking it.
“Always let your steaks rest,” he said. “When we say rest, we’re letting it come to an even temperature.”
He said this allows for the juices to stay in the protein so the meat stays tender and delicious.
More samples followed with the next presenters, mother-daughter team Jodie Polk and Jessica Barris of Culinary Combo Bakery in Southfield.
They demonstrated an easy-to-make Key lime mousse that is great to assemble on a hot day because you can bake the graham cracker base ahead of time so you don’t have to turn your oven on the day of your gathering.
Polk said if you didn’t want to make lime, the recipe would also work with other citrus flavors or even something like pomegranate.
“When it comes to lime juice you can use traditional lime or you can use Key lime, the little lime. They’re a little more tart,” she said. “I’m going to add a little bit of food coloring, you don’t have to, but if you want your guest to know that it’s lime (flavored), add a little bit of green food coloring.”
The food talk continued with the greenery décor demonstration from Telly’s Greenhouse and Garden Center, which has locations in Troy and Shelby Township.
Owner George Papadelis demonstrated the joys of container gardening for herbs as well as decorative plants, and even touched on growing fruit trees in Michigan (just bring them in during the winter, “cross your fingers” and hope for the best).
“If you don’t have great soil, if you don’t have the will or desire to dig or plant into the ground, get a container like this that has drain holes, fill it with organic potting soil,” he said. “And people say, well what should I grow? And I say, well, what do you like to eat?”
Papadelis’ tips included pinching off the flowers that may grow on your herb plants like basil, and how to build an attractive container of decorative plants by choosing one taller centerpiece plant, some filler to go around it and foliage that dangles for the edges, which he calls “thrillers, fillers and spillers.”
Wednesday’s event was the second Dish and Design gathering for 2022, and the second in-person party since the pandemic. The event was sponsored by Busch’s Fresh Food Market.
“It’s so energetic and upbeat,” said attendee Kay Carpenter of Sylvan Lake, adding that she’s been to Dish and Design events before. “We love supporting our local newspaper.”
“The speakers were all amazing, but I think what I really appreciate is that they give you a sample of what they’re doing as well.”