Monday, August 23, 2010

Two ends of the spectrum

This is my latest dessert - hazelnut cake with a very thin layer of tempered milk chocolate, creme brulee, milk chocolate rum mousse, sprayed with milk chocolate, garnished with a caramelized hazelnut and an aerated chocolate sphere.

On the other end of the spectrum...a hummus platter that we sent out at lunch. I don't know why, but when the customer asked for a double serving with no tomatoes or olives, it just struck me as funny.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Current Menu a few dishes: Summer 10

Here are a few of my current dishes. This menu is less technical and more focused on flavor balance.

Inspired from my favorite food when I did a climbing expedition to Peru a few years back - papas rellenos. A seasoned potato cube filled with picadillo, garnished with mango, minted sour cream and molé.

Cuitlacoche (Huitlacoche) Salmon with braised brussels sprouts. The plating has improved since this pic.

Showing off some Bauscher Contour plates, here is an unagi filled squash blossom.

Bacon wrapped bacon with my pork belly reduction on grilled cornbread planks.

100 Layer Pear - From our back yard, 100 layers of pear with ginger and ricotta cheese.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Book Review: Pastry In Europe 2010

Last year I reviewed the inaugural PIE09 both here and at eG, and it was the first time a publisher took the time to express their displeasure at my review. The basic gist of my summary is that the book is inspirational, packed with interesting ideas, but needing of a serious edit and organizational structure. Knowing that the publisher had received this feedback (not that I should be the voice of reckoning for any publisher), I have to note that there is nothing different in this edition.

Over 250 pages with over a hundred recipes ranging from molecular gastronomy-based dishes to historically important pastries, PIE10 still avoids serious consideration. I've now tested over 20 recipes - half worked fine, almost half needed some minor adjustments to work, and a handful were simply failures. I cook out of enough books from across the globe to account for regional variations in ingredients and the subtle nuances of recipe linguistics, and even so found this edition to be too problematic for me to invest much more time in.

Harsh? Yes, and I'll still be buying the 2011 edition. Why? Simply put, I think this is a stellar concept. The breadth of chefs, recipes and regions is sure to inspire any chef. However, the simple addition of a true Index would do wonders for this book. The 2010 edition has an Index, but it is in fact what most books call at Table of Contents. And that ToC is simply a list of the chefs. The chef is not my attraction (in most instances), rather it is the dish. An index would allow me to find the recipe I am seeking without flipping through 250 pages. Its a simple request - shoot, I'll do it for them for a free copy of the book! (And we all know that I'm anal retentive enough to do a good job at it.)

Let me put my views more directly. I think everyone should buy this book and attach a note with your payment saying, "I will not buy the next book unless you have your recipes tested and an Index included." I think that should make the point clearly enough.

(Note: The best value is to buy this book directly from the publisher with their reasonable shipping costs.)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Love Notes

I've mentioned some of my favorite compliments before, and we've had some amazing tips (cash and non-cash) from people showing their appreciation for our efforts in the restaurant. On Friday, we were left a couple of notes. The back story is that two young women came in and dined separately and alone. They were just a couple of tables apart and their courses were almost aligned in timing. With that said, enjoy the notes they left for us...

and this from Virginia...