The story behind a get-together at the d’Ablaing house is that there is one. I am a little bit country and a little bit Southern, my wife is Brazilian and our friends are an eclectic mix, so when I begin to plan what we are going to eat, what may seem like a strange combination to some is perfect for us.
I always start with something that doesn’t get enough love and attention. In my humble opinion there is nothing better than a tray of perfectly ripe fruit. This way nobody really misses dessert. People have asked me in the past how I get ripe tomatoes to taste like tomatoes in the middle of winter? My secret is to place the fruit in the sun for five days before the party. Hey, the sun may be bad for our skin, but at least it’s perfect for ripening fruit!
When I plan the rest of our menu, I take the simple approach. What sounds tasty to my guests and me? I like to prepare dishes that I know I can cook and plate easily, so I can actually enjoy myself while everyone is at our house. If we are having Brazilians over, we have to do picanha. It is a cut of meat in Brazil that butchers in the U.S. call coulotte. It is absolutely delicious roasted or grilled, next to a good green salad, then a little blue crab dip.
No, I do not know what a vegetable is—at least not for a get-together. There is always time for vegetables tomorrow.
I am always cooking when my guests arrive. Isn’t that the reason we spend so much money on maintaining a nice kitchen? After all, it’s the space where people congregate during a party, so I think the aromas of dishes should be filling the house. That’s also why I don’t fry anything, and why I don’t cook fish when it’s cold outside.
I will end with this. Enjoy cooking and always do it with loved ones. Most of us can agree that there is no better time than that spent in a kitchen with friends, family and a delicious adult beverage. It is all about the experience! Whether you come taste my food in my restaurant or spend an evening in my home, I strive to create a joyful, delicious and soul-satisfying experience for you.
P.S. Always season your food or you may end up with no guests!
As Charles d’Ablaing will tell you, he did not get his mad culinary skills from his mama. Actually, his mother’s lack of kitchen know-how is why Charles became so good with food so quickly, cooking up food for his family. At 19, using the last $400 he made from selling his motorcyle, he enrolled at the Atlanta School of Culinary Arts. And that, as they say, was that. He remained in the South after graduation, holding posts at restaurants in Savannah, Ga., and Atlanta. In K.C., he’s dished out at Fedora’s Cafe, Hotel Phillips, Webster House and Chaz on the Plaza at the Raphael. He recently signed on as executive chef at Rosso in Hotel Sorella, bringing an eye for colorful, visually appealing dishes that are flavorful, satisfying and creative. Guess we should all be glad he was able to get rid of that bike!
White balsamic vinaigrette
1 tablespoon shallots, chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 pinch fresh thyme
1 cup white balsamic vinegar
1½ cups olive oil
Combine all ingredients except oil in a blender. Blend on high, slowly drizzling in the oil.
1 cup strawberries, quartered
½ cup gorgonzola, crumbled
½ cup red onion, shaved
1 cup toasted pecans
½ cup croutons, fresh or store bought
In a large bowl, toss all ingredients with ½ cup of white balsamic vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper.
2 6½-ounce cans Miller’s select backfin lump crab meat, drained
1 pound cream cheese
½ pound brie, with rind
2 tablespoons shallots, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
In a saucepan on medium heat, cook the garlic and shallot in the butter for two minutes. Add everything except the avocado and turn the heat down to low. Stir constantly until all the cheese has melted. Garnish with the avocado, either sliced or chopped, and serve with pita chips or crackers.
Roasted Brazilian Picanha
1 3-pound picanha/coulotte roast
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large oven-safe skillet, sauté the onions, carrot, celery and garlic in vegetable oil for five minutes and then add wine. Rub the beef with salt and pepper and place on top of the vegetables. Roast for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice and serve with the roasted vegetables.
Brazilian Tomato Relish
3 Roma tomatoes, diced
3 tablespoons red onion, small dice
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Juice of 1 lime
Combine all ingredients one hour before dinner. Serve as a condiment with the beef and vegetables.