Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hobo Hogo

For TDN two weeks ago the theme was "Free Form", aka no holds barred, the old school way back in the day when Thursday Drink Night was just getting started. As David Wondrich reported a while back, there are some rums out there now that embrace, rather than shy away from, the funkiness that once marked rums of old. The particular funk that rum can have is known as "Hogo." The brawniest of the bunch, both in terms of Hogo and proof, is my favorite rum, Smith&Cross Traditional Jamaican Rum, in all it's pure pot stilled 114 proof glory. My favorite mixing rum anyway, for this one is not a sipper. Often the magic of sugar and lime is used to try to tame the Hogo in such spirits, but I wanted to embrace the funk so I chose to see what happens when the Smith&Cross is paired with the most funky of liqueurs, Luxardo Maraschino. I went with Meyer lemons mostly because they were in season and I was curious to try my hand with them, but I suspect either lime or regular lemons would work as well. I added some tiki bitters just for good measure, and the drink ended up with some rough edges which I enjoyed, much like I prefer the character in single malt scotches to blends.
Hobo Hogo
  • 1½ oz Smith&Cross Rum
  • ¾ oz maraschino
  • ¾ oz Meyer lemon
  • 2 dashes Bittermans 'Elemakule Tiki Bitters
shake and strain into chilled cocktail glass

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Brooklyn Brewery Brewmaster Dinner at Colicchio & Sons

Last week a few friends and I headed over to Colicchio&Sons for their inaugural Brewmaster Dinner of 2011, featuring Garrett Oliver and his Brooklyn Brewery beer pairings. Special diners like these can be hit and miss, and this one was a hit, a home run in fact. Considering the bargain price of $95 for 7 great courses each paired with a generous pour of some delicious difficult to impossible to get beers, I'd probably call it a grand slam.
Garrett Oliver set the tone for the evening by playfully scolding the servers for neglecting to bring him a beer as he was standing at the end of our table giving an introductory speech (Apparently they always forget the speaker's pours.) Garrett Oliver proved most affable once again, just as he did when we chatted with him about brewing at last fall's Brewer's Bash at Eleven Madison Park.
(I forgot my real camera, so you'll have to make do with my iPhone shots, and it was pretty dark in C&S's private dining room. Here are someone else's much nicer pics, including some of the beers which I didn't shoot.)
Not only was the food and beer excellent, but Oliver bestowed upon us copious knowledge both about brewing beer in general and concerning the particulars of each paired beer, eg did you know that Champagne bottles were actually originally used for beer and then the Champagne producer borrowed the form? We were having too good a time for me to take proper notes, but I'll leave you with a tidbit here and there. You can click on the top image for the menu, or here is one already parsed into text:
Nantucket Bay Scallop, Asian Pear, Black Truffle, Pumpkin Broth
Sorachi Ace
Butter Poached Lobster,Grapefruit, Cardoons, Long Pepper
Roasted Turbot, Seabeans, Coquillage, Vin Juane Sauce
Wild One
Scottish Partridge, Turnip Sauerkraut, Caramelized Chestnuts, Smoked Bacon
Local 2
Cervena Venison, Black Trompettes, Brussels Sprouts, Black Grapes
Black Ops
Forsterkase, Roasted Dates, Pine Nuts
Detonation Ale
Passion Fruit Tart, Hibiscus & Coconut Sorbet
Cuvee de la Crochet Rouge
Our first course was the Nantucket Bay Scallop paired with Sorachi Ace, a lemony saison, or farmhouse ale. The beer is named after the singular variety of hops used in its production, a strain invented in Japan by Sapporo I believe, although they never found use for it. The rare hops used by Brooklyn Brewery are sourced from a single farm in Oregon, and the beer is fermented with a Belgian yeast. It went quite nicely with the lovely scallop. (This pic is kinda a mess, but you can make out the scallop and the truffle if you look hard enough; the others turned out better.)
Next up was the lobster paired with Brooklyn's Blast! IPA. They don't make much Blast!, but unlike most of the upcoming beers, you can actually find it in a few places. The close to the brewery Brooklyn Bowl gets about half of it, check Beermenus for others. I often find lobster a bit boring, but this was among the better preparations I've had in a while. Its sweet meat was meltingly tender and the rich butter sauce played off the hoppy bitterness of the beer very well.
It was hard to pick a favorite dish because they were all so good; most of them garnered a vote of favorite of the night from someone at the table. The Turbot was no exception. Moist flesh, crispy skin, and additional teture from the shellfish in the exquisite vin juane sauce were beautiful. The buttery sauce made from oxidized wine reminded me of Jean Georges' signature Turbot in Chateau Chalon Sauce, one of my favorite dishes of last year which I still dream about. Jean Georges' version is slightly better, but it lacks the crispy skin so C&S's this night could contend.
And just because I never blogged about it last year, here's my pic of JG's:
Back to the near present. Paired with the turbot was Brooklyn Wild One (here's a rave review), which starts out life like the Belgian strong golden ale Brooklyn Local 1, but then is aged 9 months in Woodford Reserve barrels, and then undergoes bottle refermentation with Brettanomyces, aka Brett. This imparts a complexity and mellow tang to the beer and adornes it with layers of flavor. This is a special beer that you can not generally get except at special events; they just can't make enough of it. As Garrett Oliver told us, if you release such small production beers commercially, you make a lucky few people really happy, and a whole lot of people really mad.
Man, this is going to be a long post, I'm only on course 4 of 7. Next was the partridge, paired with Brooklyn Local 2, a Belgian Strong Dark Ale made with local honey. It clocks in at 9% alcohol (most of the beers tonight were quite strong) and if I'm not mixing up my sparse notes with another course the beer we were served was aged for 2 years, which causes the bitter components to fade somewhat. The esters and high alcohol content also makes this beer taste sweet, even though the sugar content is very low. The alcohol also helped cut through some of the rich and gamey flavor in the components of this dish. The partridge was fork tender, and the bacon an explosion of smoke.
None of the three final beer pairings are commercially available, for some of these Garrett Oliver dug into his personal stash to bust out for us. To go with the venison they poured Black Ops, a stout aged in bourbon barrels and then refermented in the bottle with champagne yeast. It was dubbed Black Ops because it was brewed in secret, it existence known to only 5 people at the brewery, and given away as gifts to employees for the holidays; that way no one could complain about the subterfuge. It clocks in at 11.6% abv, and its chocolate and coffe notes were excellent foils for the venison.
Even the cheese course got votes as favorite of the night. The forsterkase, or lumberjack cheese, is bound in pine bark for aging and captures some evergreen aromas, as well as a fine crystaline, sapps, crunch residue on the rind. Funky and delicious. Even the simple roasted dates were sublime. The Detonation Ale is the Blast! IPA's big brother. Not only is it brewed using seven varieties of hops, a nearly all American line up with the exception of the lone East Kent Golding from UK, which they refer to in this beer as ‘The English Aristocrat’, but it also is a hefty 10.2 % abv. Boom!
For the final beer, we got Cuvée de la Crochet Rouge, which is the most rare beer they make, having produced only a single barrel. This beer is another version of Local 1, aged in the barrel for 7 months on botrytized Riesling lees (leftover grape skins after wine making). Botrytis is a fungus that under certain conditions infects grapes (or other fruits) on the vine, but in wine making it is prized for making possible certain desert wines, eg Sauternes. The fungus plays a similar role as freezing grape in the production of ice wine, ie it draws out moisture from the grapes and concentrates the remaining sugars and other compounds in the shriveled grape, allowing intense and sweet wines to be produced. This was the one pairing that didn't quite work for me, however both the beer and the tart were excellent on their own. So I simply enjoyed the dessert, and then savored the beer separately. The beer was delicious, although I would be hard pressed to identify it as beer and not a wine, so profound were the effect of the lees on the beer. It retained very little carbonation, and the Botrytis imbued the beer with complexity and many flavors not normally found in beer. Excellent indeed.
Colicchio&Sons plan to do similar Brewmaster dinners monthly, the next one is Feb 20th with Ommegang. I'd be there,but I'll be in Vegas. Hopefully I can make March's. Brooklyn Brewery does similar events fairly often, consult their events page for details. Here is another review of our dinner, from a blogger who didn't pocrastinate quite as long as I did on the post.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sancho Potato

Here is another drink I threw together for TDN Europe, calling for drinks using an ingredient from Europe.  It's a play on my Don Sangria, subbing some European Jameson for the decidedly New World tequila, and also adding an Italian amaro for some added richness.  For what it's worth, I prefer the original Don Sangria, but if prefer Irish Whiskey to tequila, this might be more your cup of tea.
Sancho Potato
  • 1½ oz Jameson Irish Whiskey
  • 1½ oz fino sherry
  • ½ oz aperol
  • ¼ oz Ramazzotti Amaro
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • ¾ orange juice
  • ½ oz cinnamon syrup
  • 2 dashes Bitter Truth grapefruit bitters
Shake and strain over fresh rocks

Black Label Burger at Minetta Tavern

I am officially an idiot.  I can't believe I waited this long to go to Minetta Tavern to try their masterpiece, the Black Label Burger. I'd been reading about the glorious burger by Pat La Frieda made with prime skirt, brisket, and Dry-aged ribeye from Creekstone Farms even before the place opened, but I just never made it over there. Perhaps it was the stories I heard about how hard it is to get a reservation, or how clubby it is with a bouncer outside; I'm sure it didn't help that Minetta is not on OpenTable, as I am deathly allergic to phones nowadays. And honestly, I just didn't buy into the hype. I figured it was a quite good burger, probably even excellent, but I assumed it would not be head and shoulders above other great burgers of lore. Well I have seen the light and I am here to tell you to believe the hype, it is well deserved.
The stupid thing is how easy the place is to get into, despite my fears and assumptions. I simply walked in at the 5:30 opening a couple Friday's ago and got a prime seat at the bar no problem.
Granted it was a snowy Friday, but I think I got the single best seat, at the end of the bar overlooking the whole room, with a shelf behind me to dump my jacket and extra space with no one to bump into on my left. And there were still open seats for some time at the bar where a party of two, perhaps even 3 or 4, could snag a contiguous place to dine there. Luckily, no one really reads my blog, so I'm not worried on ruining it by spreading the word, it can be our little secret.
But back to the burger. Served with just caramelized onions, cheese is not an option, and keep the ketchup away. The onions and aged beef supply plenty of umami and ketchup would nudge the beef somewhat away from center stage, where it belongs.  (They do offer cheese on their less expensive Minetta Burger, which I hear is quite good in its own right, but it's the dry aged beef you want. I assumed I would eventually try both, but I find it hard to imagine not ordering the Black Label every future time. Perhaps I'll try a bite of the Minetta Burger if a future companion orders one.)
The Black Label is different enough from other burgers that it took a couple bites for me to fully wrap my head around. Even though I knew the burger contained aged beef, the extreme level of dry-aged mineral funk which it so familiar when diving into a steak at Peter Luger's was still surprising. After those first two bites when I had processed the deliciousness of this heavenly patty and recalibrated my expectations I was loving every morsel and could not get enough. I fear I have been spoiled for future burgers. In fact, I had a burger yesterday for lunch at Balthazar, another McNally restaurant which actually shares Executive Chefs Lee Hanson and Riad Nasr with Minetta, and the burger there was disappointing this time. This does not bode well for future burgers of a normal pedigree.
Even the Black Label's bun is something special; it is an ethereal creation that just barely restrains the power of the beef. In the picture above it may look too substantial, but once the ample juices from the burger interact with the bun it proves to be the perfect foil for the meat, a light but somehow sturdy enough shell to add a contrasting texture and provide a delivery system for the burger.  And once you've had a few bites of the burger, its intoxicating tangy aroma envelops you with each bite. The fries are pretty great as well.
As if the burger was not enough, Minetta's François slings a mean cocktail.
I was a bit disappointed by the Blood and Sand, as it was served on the rocks and was a little less robust than I prefer, but they made a nice Maple Leaf Sazerac (ask for it neat, I'm not sure if the default is rocks).  The best drink of the night was not on the menu and a suggested creation of François, a combination I believe of Cognac, Coruba, Grapefruit juice and bitters, agave, egg white and a touch of lemon. To make the cozy atmosphere even better, I was really digging the Sinatra heavy soundtrack.
Now my dilemma, in addition to the Black Label Burger's greatness, I've also read that the Dry Aged Côte de Boeuf for two (with Roasted Marrow Bones!) is perhaps the greatest piece of meat in the city. I had discounted this as hyperbole, but now that the burger has shown itself to be worthy of all the praise, should I really now ignore this other dish?
I did quite enjoy the Seared Veal Heart "Tartare" I got this time before the burger. And how am I supposed to go and not get the Black Label?  The only solution must be to get the burger to start and then the hunk of meat, right?  Ok, perhaps I can share a burger to start. Who's with me?

Here's my guess on approximate proportions for François' drink, I don't have grapefruit right now to test, but I'll update if I get around to verifying this works:
François Sour
  • ¾ oz Cognac
  • ¾ oz Coruba
  • ½ oz Grapefruit Juice
  • ¼ oz Lemon Juice
  • (scant*) ½ oz Light Agave Nectar
  • 1 oz Egg White
  • 2 dashes Grapefruit bitters
Dry shake, shake, and double strain; Flamed Orange twist to garnish

*UPDATE: I got a grapefruit and tried out my guesstimated recipe above, and it worked pretty well, perhaps a tad too sweet, so use a bit less than ½ oz Agave, and it's quite a fine drink:

Sunday, January 16, 2011

MxMo LIV: See You on the Flipside - Onaboat Flip

It's time for for the first Mixology Monday of the new year, a monthly event that never fails to lure me into making a drink and getting a post up on this blog of mine. January brings us the theme "See You on the Flipside" brought to us by our host Josh Cole at Cocktail Assembly. And how does one reach the Flipside? By having a flip of course. Back in the years of America's youth, a flip referred to a concoction made with hot ale mixed up with sugar and spices, some fortifying rum, and whole eggs, poured back and forth to mix and froth it up. These days, the ale is optional at best and flips are typically a spirit mixed with a liqueur or other sweetener, and the whole egg remains key; they are also now often served cold. If you are having trouble imagining, think eggnog with some extra flavor kickers. Flips are rich and hearty and smooth and creamy, and lend themselves well to winter drinking, although Josh likes 'em anytime:
That’s right. Flips. You see, I figure this would be a great time to strategically use all this combined creative and crafty brainpower to build up a list of recipes to keep me loaded up on flips the entire year. They are, after all, a favorite of mine. I’ve heard some say that it’s a fall/winter drink only. I disagree apologetically. The flip is one of those cocktails that so successfully defies the seasons. When it’s cold and the icy chill is tearing it’s way through to our bones, the heated flip opens it’s arms and embraces us like a warm blanket. When it’s hot, the cool flip lowers the heat and can bring back that spring day memory of a creamy shake enjoyed on a front porch. There’s never a bad time or temperature to enjoy the frothy glory that is the flip. And that, my friends, is our challenge this month.
I toyed with the idea of trying a hot flip, but since my only previous experience making one was cold (my Breakfast of Champions flip back for the MxMo Dizzy Dairy), I decided to first stick with what I knew. I then ran out of time and didn't try a hot flip; perhaps I will get inspired soon, but mostly seems like I would end up making a mess. Here is what I made:
Onaboat Flip
  • 1½ oz reposado tequila 
  • ¾ oz fino sherry
  • ¾ oz cinnamon syrup (or ½ oz for slightly drier flip)
  • 2 dashes Rhubarb Bitters
  • whole egg
  • Bittermens Xocolatl Mole bitters to dash on foam
Dry shake, shake with ice, and double strain; top foam with a couple dashes of the Mole bitters
I've enjoyed the combination of cinnamon and sherry (and tequila) in my previous Don Sangria, so decided to start there, since I've seen flips before that used both a spirit and a fortified wine such as port as their base. I went with Mole bitters for garnish in lieu of the more traditional grated nutmeg, and they played a similar role in that they lent a nice aroma upon first sipping the drink. The whole egg does a remarkable job of tempering both alcohol and sweetness, but with ¾ oz cinnamon syrup the drink is still pretty sweet and as such would be well suited for a nightcap. I had actually intended to use only ½ oz of the syrup, but didn't consult my scribbled plan and didn't notice until after I tasted it; after trying I think it worked, but I would consider dialing it back to ½ oz depending on mood. The tequila hangs in the background and adds some depth and it most apparent as a hint of flavor in the finish.
As for the name, the only things that occurred to me were the many "flip" references in the lyrics to "I'm on a Boat":
I got my swim trunks
And my flippie-floppies
I'm flipping burgers, you at Kinko's
Straight flipping copies

I'm riding on a dolphin, doing flips and shit...
Between that and the brininess I find in the fino, and lacking any better ideas, I dubbed the drink the Onaboat Flip. So there you have it. Plus, it gives me an excuse to embed it here:

UPDATE: Josh has posted the roundup, head over there to check out all the flips for the month.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Hmmm, it's been a while since I posted a new cocktail, busy with the holidays and all, so here's one for you, and I've got a few more coming when I get around to it.  Last week I joined the Mixoloseum crew for my first Thursday Drink Night in a while for TDN Europe, calling for drinks using an ingredient from Europe.  I took it further and tried to use many ingredients from Europe, as a quick glance around my bar showed how many options there would be to choose from.  Without further ado, this was my first drink of the night:
  • 1 oz Cognac
  • 1 oz Calvados
  • ¼ oz Gran Gala
  • ¼ oz Green Chartreuse
  • ¼ oz maple syrup (grade B)
  • ¾ oz lemon
  • 1 dash angostura bitters
  • 1 dash Bittermens Xocolatl Mole bitters
Shake and strain
The Bûcheron is part Sidecar, with the maple/Chartreuse idea cribbed from Lumber Jacques, a theme that I've been known to play around with, although I didn't use ginger in this one to complete the trinity.  I also used Chartreuse in a Sidecar variation for the "Plus One" TDN a while back for my Smartcar cocktail.  I was told the Calvados gave the drink an Old-timey flavor, which I took as an endorsement. Oh yeah, Bûcheron I believe is French for lumberjack, if you are wonder where the name came from.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Gastronauts Chevaline Dinner, plus Tonka Beans

In December the Gastronauts hosted a Chevaline dinner at The Meat Hook. Chevaline, for those of you, like me, who don't read French means horse. Horse meat is not really to be found at your local megamart in the US, so some enterprising members drove to Canada to procure some meat for our meal.  I had tried horse once before in the form of sashimi in an Izakaya on Tokyo's Ginza district, and found it to be not bad at all. Surprisingly mild and lean; quite clean tasting.  The dinner here confirmed my initial impression from years ago.
As an interesting anecdote illustrating unintended consequences of stupid government meddling, a few years ago bowing to pressure from Animal Rights Groups, congress killed the US horse slaughter industry. (They did it in a back-handed fashion to boot.  They didn't have the balls to stand up and ban it outright, so they pulled funding for federal inspectors for the facilities, which of course killed them because by law they must be inspected to allow human consumption of the product.  What slimeballs.)  Anyway, the small industry died, but now with no way to get rid of unwanted horses, they are simply abandoned or sold for practically nothing to be crammed onto trains and shipped to Mexico to be slaughtered, a trip that by all accounts is much worse than had they been dispatched at a nearby, presumably nicer, US slaughterhouse. There was a recent conference in Vegas with the goal of figuring out how to revive the industry. To add insult to injury, us taxpayers have been paying to house excess wild horses in unideal conditions for the animals:
While U.S. slaughterhouses in the past processed primarily domesticated horses, the conference in Las Vegas will also discuss the thousands of mustangs the federal government removes from Western rangeland each year to keep herds in check.
The government has had difficulty finding adoptive homes for the wild horses. Last year, taxpayers spent $37 million to hold nearly 40,000 animals in corrals and pastures indefinitely
The folly of our government will be a recurring theme in this post.

Ok, on to the food. Here's what we supped upon:
Chevaline Dinner at


Lemon Tonkatinis
Tonka Bean infused Vodka

Chevaline Carpaccio
Pecorino and Tonka Aioli

Tartare de Cheval

Coeur de Cheval
Butter Lettuce, Black Truffle, Egg, Heart, Roast Shallot - Aged Sherry Vinaigrette

Red Wine & Molasses Braised Flank Chevaline
Winter Vegetables, Horseradish & Fried Parsnip

Pan Seared Chevaline Rump
Braised Escarole, Sweet Onion & Tonka Hollandaise

Frozen Tonka Bean Creme Brulee
Chocolate Black Pepper Wafer, and Poached Pears

My first introduction to the Tonka bean was in a cocktail, as Lemon Tonkatinis made with Tonka Bean infused Vodka were available as we entered.  Tonkas are a bean from South America (wikipedia) which have a unique and intoxicating scent, the strongest note is reminiscent of vanilla, but there are many other layers of aroma going on, almond, cherry,'s hard to put your finger on it.  As the night would show me, I am a fan; they are quite intriguing.
Trouble is that Tonkas are illegal in the US because they containing trace amounts of coumarin, a substance banned by the FDA in 1954 for dubious reasons.  Naturally, they only got around to enforcing it relatively recently, raiding Alina and their supplier in 2006.  The ingredient is popular in France and can even be found in Achatz's Alinea cookbook.  On another note of government silliness, coumarin is also present in comparable amounts in Nutmeg, as well as cinnamon and many other common foods.  It is the reason that Żubrówka, or Buffalo Grass Vodka, is banned from import in to the US.  (The recent appearance in the US of Buffalo Grass Vodka is reformulated and coumarin free, aka fake.)  You can apparently buy Tonkas here for use next time you need to cast a spell for love or money, but not to eat.

Our first course used both ingredients; the Chevaline Carpaccio was a good way to start as it really let the meat stand out and let you notice the difference between horse and beef.  It was as I remembered, lean and surprisingly mild flesh, nicely aromatized by the Tonka Aioli.
Next we had the Tartare de Cheval.  This was really tasty, and while I liked it more than the previous course, that was only because I in general like tartare more than carpaccio.  Even though I liked this more, I am more glad I had the carpaccio to try the meat in a less aggressively seasoned form.  This was many people's favorite dish of the night.

After they were plated on the island in the room where we ate, we received the Coeur de Cheval with Butter Lettuce, Black Truffle, Egg, Heart, Roast Shallot-Aged Sherry Vinaigrette.  Here, the heart was prepared sous vide for 6 hours until it became quite tender before being sliced thin.  The texture was clearly not a normal cut of meat, but less dissimilar than other preparations of heart I have tried.  Even the horse heart is mild, but still quite pleasant.
Next up was Red Wine & Molasses Braised Flank Chevaline with Winter Vegetables, Horseradish & Fried Parsnip.  This was ok, but I think suffered a bit because the horse is so lean.  The flavor was good, but more fat in the meat would have allowed it to keep from drying out some.
The Pan Seared Chevaline Rump with Braised Escarole, Sweet Onion & Tonka Hollandaise was good, but again I think would have benefited from some more fat.  Pretty comparable to filet mignon.  The Tonka Hollandaise, however, was out of this world.  I could eat a bowl of the stuff.  The hollandaise and the next course really showed off how Tonkas can play well in both sweet and savor dishes and bring its unique aromas to the plate, and thereby bringing the dishes to another level.
Shockingly, the Frozen Tonka Bean Creme Brulee with Chocolate Black Pepper Wafer and Poached Pears might very well have been my favorite dish of the night.  I know, a plate with no meat, and a dessert at that, being my favorite might be a first.  I was simply intoxicated by the tonka.  So familiar, yet at the same time such utterly new tastes.  I can see why tonkas are used in magic love potions.  In fact, I just clicked on that link above and ordered some to play with.  But in food for me, not magic.

Monday, January 3, 2011

NYE dinner at home: Agnolotti that Tom Colicchio taught me to make

Firstly, happy New Year all, I hope 2011 brings everyone great times. This year we had a quiet dinner at home with friends on New Year's Eve, a departure from our party in Buenos Aires last year, but it was quite nice. It also gave me an opportunity to try my hand at a dish Tom Colicchio taught us a month or so ago.

"Wait, Colicchio taught you?" you ask? If you were paying attention, I hinted at it in a much earlier post, but back in 2009 we attended City Harvest's gala event, Bid Against Hunger, and at the live auction we won a package that included a cocktail party with Eben Klemm, a tray from Caviarteria, and a private cooking lesson from Chef Colicchio.
(We got a really great deal, it was the first auction item and it seemed that people were not fully paying attention and the gavel nearly fell with it going for a song, but the wife noticed and jumped in and scooped it up at a slightly higher but still surprisingly low price. It was not one of the later items you may have read about that went for crazy prices. I almost felt bad about our steal.) In any case, it is a great event with a mind numbing number of great bites of food from top restaurants, plenty of wine and cocktails, and fun auction items, all for a great cause; I highly recommend checking it out this year if you are into such things.  We hit the 2010 event as well.
When we ended up scheduling the lesson with Chef Colicchio, I was not sure what to expect, but the experience turned out to be much better than I had even hoped. Colicchio was extremely generous, both with his time and the food, and was thoroughly gregarious for the entire afternoon he spent with us.
We showed up at Craft's private dining room with little idea how the day would work. but that turned out to be because the plan was to walk down a coupe blocks to the Union Square green market and see what looked good and and what we liked and go from there.

Those Crosnes were destined to accompany the peak season Nantucket Bay scallops the Chef retrieved from Craft's walk in.  I had tasted an excellent Sturgeon dish with speck, beets, and horseradish prepared by him at both the first night of his Tom:Tuesday Dinners and at an Autumn 'Farm-Maker' Dinner I attended, and I asked if it might be possible to do something along those lines, thus the beets.  Mostly we just got what looked good and he figured out what to do with it once we got back to the kitchen.

We also got a tour of the downstairs kitchen and walk-ins when we went down to pick out the proteins.  This is when we grabbed the wrapped sturgeon, the bay scallops, and a thick pork chop.

Ok, on to the Agnolotti from the post's subject.  We also got some parsnips from Union Square, which would be the base of the filling for the pasta.  Colicchio peeled, roughly chopped, and boiled the parsnips until tender before mashing, seasoning, and mounting the puree with Crème Fraîche.  Meanwhile, he made fresh pasta and a simple accompaniment of rendered bacon with kale and leeks from the market.

As you can see, he drafted Craft's chef de cuisine James Tracy to lend a hand finishing the pasta, here's the play by play:
I need to study that sequence some more before I again make these, as you'll see in a moment, mine are not nearly as pretty.  Nor did I have a white truffle laying around to finish the dish:
Ok, let's see how I did.  I didn't remember the proportions for the pasta, so I used Batali's basic recipe but threw in an extra yolk and a pinch of salt for kicks.
So far so good.
Those don't look so bad.  (Although the other half still covered were rejects because they had parsnip blowing out one side or another.)  Oh yeah, I also added a splash of pasta water and some butter to the kale to bring it together before plating.
And finally my finished dish:
I used the same sprinkle of thyme and Parmigiano-Reggiano, but had to settle for a drizzle of truffle oil.  Shhh, I know it's sacrilegious, but what's a guy to do?  I have to say, it was a big hit and I was very happy, even if my little dudes were lacking in structural integrity and suffered some blowouts while cooking. 

I suppose this post is getting a bit long in the tooth, so I'll finish up with some quick hits covering the rest of our lesson with Colicchio.
He made us some pristine Nantucket Bay Scallops  that were perfectly in season, just quickly seared of with some leeks and Cosnes.  Even the wife, who normal dislikes scallops, enjoyed these. I normally love scallops, so I really dug this dish.  Colicchio offered more truffles for these but we passed, feeling we didn't want to take advantage of his generosity.  These very sweet and just slightly briny morsels were plenty delicious on their own.
Next was the sturgeon I requested, pan roasted over simmered diced beets hit with some grated horseradish.  There may have been more to the beet component but I can't find my notes on my mess of a desk right this minute.  But rest assured, it was as delicious as I remembered; I really enjoy the meaty texture of the fish.  Now I need to figure out where I can buy some good sturgeon in the city.
The final course was the pork chop, served with quickly sauteed Brussels Sprout leaves and a honey and vinegar roasted (Sweet Dumpling?) Pumpkin.  (I prepared some Butternut Squash for thanksgiving in the same manner.)
It was a great afternoon.  Not only did we eat great food, we learned about cooking picking up some great tips, all the while with lively conversation.  One thing the chef mentioned that intrigued me was that he has been working hard on a documentary that could prove to be controversial because it calls for getting rid of agricultural subsidies due to both the waste of money but more importantly how they distort the markets and lead to pretty awful unintended consequences.  Ok, when I say intrigued me, I really mean that I am in total agreement with Colicchio on the issue and when the topic came up I set upon a little rant against them.  In any case, look for it sometime this year.