Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Fresh Origins

As an organizer for this year's eGullet Chocolate and Confections Workshop in Vegas in May I'm starting to get samples sent to me, and every now and then one stands out as something really special to play with.

Fresh Origins sells microgreens, edible flowers, and crystalized herbs.  The fennel is knocking my socks off and I can't wait to work them into my pastry and savory dishes.  Essentially flavored sugar, the texture is light, not dense, and the flavors and colors are bright and clear.  The ingredients show them at cane sugar but I'd love to have them use isomalt and offer a less sweet version.  Either way - cool stuff.

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Our little town was just listed as Smithsonian magazine's top 20 small towns to visit, and part of the reason was our little restaurant!  Here's the link - go to 18: Smithsonian Magazine

Curious Kumquat

Saturday, February 22, 2014

James Beard Awards - Best Chef Southwest

We always dreamed of this moment but never thought it would really happen.  I mean, how can anyone find a restaurant as remote as ours.  We're 3 hours to anywhere and no airport in site.  We're not on the way to anything!

But somehow we got on the semifinalist list for Best Chef - Southwest.  Honored.  Humbled.  Proud.

Curious Kumquat

James Beard Awards

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Recipe: Russian Medovic Cake

63 g                 Honey – the bolder the flavor the better
6.5 g                Baking soda
200 g               Butter flavored Crisco (haven’t tried butter yet*)
260 g               Sugar
2                      Eggs
530 g               AP Flour

In sauce pan, warm the honey and soda.  Once dissolved add the Crisco and warm til fully melted.  Add the sugar and stir until dissolved.  Transfer to the bowl of a mixer and when at room temp add eggs one at a time paddling just until incorporated.  Add the flour gradually and paddle just until homogenous.

Divide dough into seven equal portions of 160 g each, cover with saran.

On silpat or parchment, rollout each dough to desired shape (it doesn’t have to be perfect because the cake will expand as it bakes.  I did three rectangles of 4”x10” on each baking sheet.  Cover the dough with a second Silpat or parchment and set a second baking sheet on top to weigh them down – this will give you uniform flat cake layers.  Bake at 350º for about 10 minutes until lightly browned.  When all six layers are baked and cooled to room temp, bake the final dough darker than the first about 18 minutes.  Pulse that into decorative crumb.

260 g               Superfine sugar
500 g               Sour cream

Combine both in mixer and whisk on high until soft peaks.  Spread 125 g of cream mixture on each layer and top with next layer of dough, repeating until stacked finished with the cream.  Sprinkle the decorative crumbs on the top layer.  Rest all in fridge overnight to allow soaking.

*My concern with butter is that margarine or Crisco will leave the cake softer than butter, and I’m not yet sure how much soaking from the filling will effect the dough.

**My variations – a splash of vodka in the cream; fresh blueberries

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Recipe: Butterscotch Pie

I love butterscotch pie but I hate how most are made with morsels (chemical flavoring) or corn starch thickener (girtty).  So I've been working on my version which gets natural flavors and a smooth consistency.  Here it is:

90 g Muscovado sugar (if you don't have it use dark brown)
540 g Cream
180 g Yolks
2 T Butter
1/4 C Whiskey

Bring cream to a simmer and hold.  Carefully watch the muscovado as you give it the lightest of dry caramelization in a sauce pan.  As soon as the sugar is all liquid and slightly caramelized (don't burn it) carefully pour the cream in and whisk until smooth.  Pour a third of the caramel cream over yolks while whisking, and the return to the remaining cream (tempering).  Heat until slightly thickened whisking the whole time.  Finish with butter and whiskey stirring until smooth and creamy.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Chocolate Workshop - May 2014 in Las Vegas

I am co-organizing a chocolate workshop in Vegas for next May.  Its turning out to be a big deal.  If any of you are interested, check out the following:

We have some exciting developments for the May 17-18 2014 eGullet Chocolate & Confections Workshop in Las Vegas.

We have confirmed the use of Jean Marie Auboine's chocolate studio and the participation of Melissa Coppel, the 2013 Chocolatier of the Year!  These are two of the world's finest chocolatiers and both are very excited for us to use their space and participate with our group.

There will be a few changes this year since we're in Las Vegas, and we hope you'll appreciate the amazing opportunity we're being given which is necessitating some of these changes.

We anticipate the price for both days to be $160 per person if you register prior to 12/31/13.  After that time the price will increase to $250.  A $50 deposit is required to confirm your spot. We will have more details on this shortly. This deposit is non-refundable but will guarantee your spot.  This price includes use of the facility and a 3 hour demo by Jean Marie and chocolate and other supplies for use throughout the weekend.  Meals are not included in this price, but we're working on sponsorship for breakfasts and lunches.

We are also offering a master class for the first 10 people at an additional $130 on Friday afternoon.  This class will be taught by both Jean Marie and Melissa.  This class is intended for more advanced participants.  Registration for this class will require payment in full and is non-refundable.

All registrations will be opened to the general public (meaning non-eGullters and friends) on 1/1/14 to ensure that the workshop expenses will be met.

These are the most important items for now, but know that we're working on a super, value-packed weekend including:

•Printed recipes shared by the participants
•Plenty of giveaways
•Chocolate sampling panel so you can try as many chocolates and couvetures that we can get
•Friday night social
•Friday morning chocolate shop tour of Vegas
•The ever popular chocolate and confection sharing party!

Mark your calendars now.  Remember that we have hotel rooms blocked off. And watch for the next update for registration opening up.  
Here are the instructions for registering for the Workshop:
Go to chocolot/products-page/. At the bottom of that page are three options. The Master classDeposit for workshop and Pay in full for workshop. You need to be registered for the workshop in order to attend the Master class.
Please note that these moneys are non-refundable. We regret that, but the money will be forwarded to JMA for our deposit on the facilities. None of us are in a position to “loan” the fees.
If you choose the deposit option, the remainder needs to be paid by the end of the year, or the amount goes up. We will add that option once we have our numbers.
This is a bargain for any type of chocolate workshop. We are excited to be able to work with JMA and Melissa. Las Vegas is a fun destination and many of us plan to spend extra time. There are many excellent chocolatiers in Vegas that you will want to check out.
Please don’t put it off. There are only ten spots available in the Master class. 25 spots in the Workshop.
Once we get confirmation of registration, we will post them.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Recipe: Ginger Cookies

I'll start with an apology because I'm sure this recipe came in part or in whole from someone else, but we've made it so long I can't remember where it came from.  However, there was a recent request so here it is:

In mixing bowl:
775 g AP flour
4 t. Baking soda
1/2 t. Salt

In your mixer bowl:
345 g Butter, no salt, softened
350 g Brown sugar
1/2 C. White sugar
3 T. Ground ginger
2" Fresh ginger, grated
1/4 C. Candied ginger*
1 t. Cinnamon, freshly grated
1/2 t. Cloves, freshly ground

Mix with paddle attachment until light and fluffy.  Add directly into this bowl:

2 Eggs
1/2 C. Molasses

Mix until combined.  Add the flour mixture all at once but only paddle until is just combines - no more!  Do NOT overmix!  Use an ice cream scoop to shape, and chill at least one hour.

Every oven is different but we bake at 350º for 25 minutes on a silpat lined baking sheet.

*The candied ginger makes a big difference.  Store bought tends to be too sweet, so we make our own using fresh ginger.  This gives you a spicy hot ginger that's minimally sweet.