So we’re close to Mid-Winter here at the South Pole. The kitchen will be hosting an elaborate Mid-Winter Dinner for everyone on station.
Since I completely forgot to write about the Sunset Dinner at the South Pole a few months ago, I thought I’d catch up before I had two articles I’d be behind on.
If you don’t know what Mid-Winter is, I explain at the bottom of my post about my last Mid-Winter here. Also, this winter’s festivities should rival the usual holiday celebrations such as Christmas time at McMurdo! Here’s a link to what that’s like here.
Anyway, the festivities surrounding Sunset Dinner were a little more relaxed than the meal coming at the end of this week. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a lot of work, though.
The other two cooks and I started planning our Sunset Dinner a few weeks before the actual event.
We started by trying to find meals that complimented each other out of the special reserved food that we have for such occasions.
We started with an hour for Hors D’oeuvres at 4 PM.
The Hors D’oeuvres included:
A Cheese Platter with Shaved Prosciutto, 3 Olive Tapenade, and a Basil Oil.
Baked New Zealand Brie with a Mango Chutney
Rock Crab Cake with Cajun Imperial Sauce
After an hour of Hors D’oeuvres, we switched gears into a full spread of main courses. This included a variety of meats, sides, and desserts.
Our main proteins were:
Five Spice Duck Breast with Blackberry-Foie Gras Glace
Vanilla-Rum Poached Maine Lobster with Honey Parsnip Puree, Balsamic Reduction
What vegetables were good with that? We tried to deplete our fresh vegetables that we had leftover from the last flight of the season here at the South Pole.
Maple Roasted Beets, Parsnips, and Carrots
Kikorangi Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes
We also had a vegan dish for people that veered towards vegetables. We also have one vegan and one vegetarian on station.
Polenta, Beet, Avocado, Porcini Mushroom Napoleon with Charred Tomato Coulis
Unfortunately, our greenhouse that the South Pole keeps active with volunteers from the community had a disastrous microscopic bug destroy all the plants. This left us with no lettuce, tomatoes, and other vegetables to make a proper salad. In total, we ended up with 4 cucumbers and enough tomatoes for everyone to have one.
This made for a pretty dismal looking salad consisting of 3 slices of cucumbers, a cherry tomato, and a vinaigrette drizzled over it for each community member.
We also had a dessert display.
Applewood Smoked Bacon Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream (Phew…that’s a lot of words for ice cream)
Chocolate Praline Chiffon Cake with Pistachio Sugar Crystals
To wrap the whole meal up, we had a buttery dinner roll and an open bar that was graciously stocked by someone from the summer community.
I was directly in charge of the dessert, a nice dinner roll, executing a lot of the appetizers, putting together the puny salad, and helping make the rest of the food. Ryan, the other production cook, was in charge of executing the main parts of the meal.
Making Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream is always fun for me.
Instead of it taking hours I get to make ice cream in minutes. The liquid nitrogen was supplied by one of the science representatives, Tim.
Making the chiffon cake was a painstaking process, as most elaborate desserts are. It took me the better part of 3 days to plan, prepare, and execute 50 chiffon cupcakes and a two-layered cake. Along with the other components of the dessert, that aspect kept me busy. I also had to fed the rest of the community breakfast and lunch the days leading up to Sunset dinner while I did this.
Much of the community here at the South Pole pitched in to help with clean-up, do dishes, get the tables clean, and keep everyone happy. The kitchen staff was incredibly grateful for this, as we would’ve been in the kitchen a couple hours longer had the community not helped.
This week will definitely be interesting with Mid-Winter Dinner coming up and an array of unexpected events happening so I’ll try and keep everyone up-to-date as the week goes on.