I attended the *Boulder Blind Café tonight with a friend. One of the things that was mentioned in our introduction was that there would be something on the table that could be rubbed all over your body. I’ll follow up on that one at the end of this blog. I both helped to prepare the food in the kitchen (yes, the lights were on) as well as a participant dining in the dark.
What an eye opening experience! Picture having all your senses except for sight. We had taste, (of course) touch, smell and sound (there was poetry, and music). The menu was the brain child of Chef Marcus. Being in Boulder it was a gluten and dairy free vegan meal. Polenta, quinoa with veggies, fennel and apple salad, kale salad with goat cheese (acceptable among many dairy free folks) and a vegan chocolate mousse with coconut. Chef Marcus was awesome to work with, we cook a lot alike. There were plenty of other volunteers in the kitchen too and the whole event gave a strong sense of community.
A whole new light was shed within a perspective without sight. You have to have a good memory being blind. After we were led through the darkness to our table and fumbled for our seats, the food was already plated in front of us along with a water glass at 1:00, an Izzy soda at 12:00 and kale salad with goat cheese at 11:00. The fork and spoon were at 3:00 where you would expect them to be. It’s interesting how I used my pinky to find the edge of the table to measure where to put my silverware so I could easily find it. Shoveling food in mouth wasn’t as difficult as I had expected. I used my left hand to get an idea of what and where the food was. Then with my right hand, I slid the tang of my fork underneath the unseen goodness and with exemplary hand to mouth coordination was able to get a good mouthful without stabbing my lip.
The (blind) waitstaff (Rick and Gary) were excellent. They had some of the best attitudes I’ve ever seen. They really made us feel at ease with their wit, humor and appreciation.
I must say that this was an enlightening and visceral experience.
Chef Marcus was inspiring and one of the ingredients he used that I had totally forgotten about was fried capers. These crispy unopened flower buds of the Mediterranean caper bush add a distinctive and salty zest to many dishes.
Here’s my recipe for Grilled Grouper with orange Beurre blanc sauce and fried capers:
Grilled Grouper with Orange Beurre Blanc Sauce and Fried Capers
2 Grouper Fillets
Salt and Pepper
Preheat the grill to medium-high. Thoroughly rinse the fillets in cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.
Oil and salt and pepper the fillets and place on clean oiled grill. Cook fish about 10 minutes per inch*, gently turning it halfway through the cooking time until the flesh is firm and opaque and flakes easily when tested with a fork.
Serve with beurre blanc sauce and fried capers.
* Ten Minute Rule: Measure the thickness of fish at its thickest point & cook for 10 minutes per inch of thickness.. This rule applies to baking in a 450 oven, frying, broiling, steaming and grilling. If the fish is stuffed or rolled, measure it after stuffing or rolling.
Orange Beurre Blanc Sauce
½ Cup White Wine
2 teas. Minced Shallots
½ Pound Unsalted Butter (2 sticks)
Salt and white pepper
1. Mince the shallot and zest half of one orange (about 2 teaspoons) and juice the two oranges. Put the juice, zest, wine and shallots in a sauce pan on medium high heat. Cook until it is syrupy and equivalent of two tablespoons..
2. Cut the very cold butter into 1/2 inch cubes. On low heat, whisk in the butter with the reduction you just made continuously and vigorously, 1 cube at a time. Do not let the sauce boil.
3. Add salt and pepper to taste.
1/4 Cup Capers
1 Cup Olive Oil
Strain the capers through a sieve. In a one and one half quart sauce pan, bring the oil to a temperature where when you drop in a caper it immediately sizzles, opens up and floats to the top. Carefully add the capers to the hot oil (it will splatter) and cook until golden brown (about 2 min.). Strain the capers again through the sieve and transfer to a paper towel to drain and soak up any excess oil.
The something on the table that could be rubbed all over your body? It was a small slice of handmade soap from a local artisan. In total darkness it resembled the size, shape and texture of a complimentary piece of after dinner chocolate you might get at a restaurant. I wonder how many people sampled it?
* The Blind Cafe is NOT just a another dinner in the dark…it’s a community experience where people connect, learn and grow from working together to participate in something greater than themselves. The Boulder Blind Cafe is designed to help you feel more alive, awake, present and connected to your world.
A portion of the proceeds from this event will be donated to Boulder Guide Dog Puppy Raisers, a local organization that raisies puppies to become guide dog. Meet the puppies at the event!