October 28, 2014

Hosting a Benefit Dinner for Olana

Several times during the year, I allow a fund-raiser to auction off a dinner at one of my homes for a good cause. At a gala dinner to benefit the restoration of Frederic Church’s glorious home on the Hudson River, a home called Olana, such a dinner was purchased by a neighbor, Michael Altman and his wife, Alexandria. A date was settled upon, and a dinner was planned. The Altmans wanted to bring just two friends with them and said I should invite whomever I liked. Those who attended included several Olana board members, some local friends, and some friends from New York City, including the artist, Will Cotton.

I planned an autumn menu with Pierre Schaedelin, a fine chef who has collaborated with me often (www.pstailoredevents.com). We decided on a menu that included blini with caviar and marinated salmon, a pot-au-feu, and an apple tart with apple sauce and apple sorbet. Since we are still harvesting from the gardens here at the farm, we incorporated as much as we could that was fresh and homegrown: Apple cider was turned into delicious cocktails by adding bourbon and orange slices to sugar rimmed glasses; apples were transformed into a delicious apple tart, apple sorbet and pink apple sauce; and all the fall vegetables graced the bountiful platters of boiled meats—capon, sausage, beef, and veal.

Pot-au-feu, by the way, is a traditional French dish designed to use whatever the garden and farm provide at the moment. We took just a few photos for your enjoyment. Feast your eyes!