Saturday, March 24, 2012

You Are What You Eat

Lisa and Sam Bracken own The Canebrake, an upscale eco-resort on Lake Fort Gibson near Wagoner. They're not just hands-on owners -- like the hokey-pokey, they put their "whole selves in."

Jack and I were there this week as I was researching for an article in an upcoming issue of Slice Magazine. I'll be writing about the wonderful facilities, the spa, the yoga classes and much more there -- and I'll get to write about the food, too, but space for both text and photos is limited so I wanted to share what Sam and his staff prepared for us for our evening meal.

My favorite feature of the dining room was the open kitchen -- we sat at the counter where we could watch the action and visit with Stacy Jordan, the garde manger, Sarah Leavell, the sous chef and Chef Sam himself.

Sam graciously fixed us small plates of a number of menu items starting with a salad of chablis-poached beets, house pickled red onions, baby spring greens, carrot curls and balsamic vinaigrette. Stacy proudly told us, "I worked eight months perfecting the brine for the pickled onions!"

The Canebrake specializes in local and organic products and is vegetarian-friendly. The vegetarian soyrizo empanadas featured a veggie-based chorizo substitute and queso fresco baked in pastry accompanied by a grilled fruit-habanero salsa (with just the right amount of heat) and lime cilantro crema.

Rather than the regular ten-ounce serving of Oklahoma steak, Sam sized ours down! The meat, cooked just like we like it, was served on grilled asparagus with crispy, thin-cut pomme frites. That's not a slice of salami on top, although that was my first thought; it's a round of cabernet-roasted shallot butter, good on both steak and asparagus.

This was followed by a single lamb chop (an entree-sized portion features a whole rack of juniper-rubbed, roasted lamb), roasted sweet potato mash and crisp fennel and snow pea saute. Sarah put a new spin on the usual mint jelly accompaniment to the meat -- she created fennel and mint preserves, a fresh idea, great taste! Sam used the bone sticking out of the chop to serve as a skewer for some delicate, fried onion rings.

Stacy was responsible for the rich clover honey-pistachio tart and she garnished it with a twist of blood orange, fresh whipped cream and blood orange creme anglaise.

Since we were served different desserts, Jack and I split and traded so we each got to sample two sweets. His was an apple trio -- apple cider sorbet, warm apple cinnamon oat crisp and apple cranberry pie served with a butterscotch sauce.

We were full and happy campers -- until I hit Weight Watchers this morning. Even with small portions, the calories can add up! Even a taste goes to the waist! But it was worth every bite!

No comments: