Sunday, October 31, 2010

A quick update and ethical conundrum

First the ethical conundrum. Actually, its not an issue for me at all. On this blog I've gone above and beyond to appropriately credit. In fact, I only remember one recipe that I simply couldn't recall the source and stated so. But recently a chef emailed me asking me to credit their work which I photographed. The interesting question (at least to me) is that this chef was working in another chef's kitchen and had a peer assistant chef. The two assistants are the ones who created the work, but in the lead chef's kitchen. I can only assume that the lead provided guidance and possibly even direction, and possibly even a hand on. Whose work is this? I'll credit whoever wants to be credited, but wonder who really "owns" this work.

For the update. We're smack dab in the middle of restaurant award pre-season. Our on-line reviews continue to glow, and having dined at many award winning restaurants I'm comfortable stating that we're worthy of a nomination. A win...well, that's up to someone more experienced than me. But, we're definitely operating in the same caliber as other James Beard and Food & Wine magazine nominees. Our rural location will certainly not work to our advantage, but I'm keeping my knives crossed that some in-the-know food writer will stumble upon us and enjoy a good meal.

Today I wrap-up my next dinner menu which will launch in two weeks. This next cycle will focus on indigenous ingredients and historic Apache diets. Its been fun research to say the least.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine by René Redzepi is the culinary equivalent of one of those books you find in a museum gift shop – impressive, beautiful, inspiring… but not likely to get opened much after its first reading. And yet, this book will fill you with hope in our culinary future, inspire you to expect more out of your local restaurants, and re-examine the food on your plate.

Read the rest of my review at TheGastronomersBookshelf.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Recent Bauscher Submissions

Here is my latest round of pics for the Bauscher company dishes:
A new salmon mousse, lemon granite, powdered herbs, dried capers, dried candied lemon

Chocolate hazelnut

Armagnac soaked prunes, grevenbroeker blue cheese, acacia honey

Carrot mousse, lemon curd, ginger cake, caramel glaze

Another version of the salmon mousse

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Case of the Mummified Quabbit

I vaguely remembered a mummified dish in Under Pressure and it recently motivated me to come up with my own gruesome spin. Dig around in the bottom of the freezer and sure enough I happened to have bags of rabbit livers from my last batch of 4-H rabbits. Dig around in the top of the freezer and sure enough - quail. In my own Dr. Frankenstein manner...I've created Quabbit!

I started by making my house paté with the livers and painstakingly deboned the quail. The liver was piped into the quail and I did my best to reconstitute the quail to look somewhat birdlike. Not being a plastic surgeon, I wrapped the quabbit in a gauze, tied it into shape, incanted a few jumbled words and hoped for the best.

The quabbit victim was then stuffed into a canning jar with some duck fat (might as well go for the turkducken homage), added some quail consommé, and finally closed them up for cooking.

A quick flick of lightening and I unwrapped my first child.

I returned the quabbits to the consommé and fat and let cool.

He looked a bit peeked so I thought maybe some glaze would be appropriate for that healthy glow. The glaze was the reduction with a spot of dark muscovado sugar and about 10 shellackings.

Having that healthy glow, I returned the quabbit to its home, blew in some cherry wood smoke and off to the table for the townsfolk to stab with their pitchforks.

The first night of customers weren't so sure about this little creation of mine, but it quickly became the highlight of the menu and is now out of stock...its alive!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Recipe: Carrot Spice Tower

Carrot Spice Tower
Serves 12

Spice Cake
3 g Salt
125 g Bread flour
125 g Cake flour
8 g Ground ginger
3 g Freshly ground cinnamon
2 g Freshly ground cloves
1 g Freshly grated nutmeg
440 g Eggs
250 g Dark muscovado or dark brown sugar

Line half sheet and preheat oven to 320º/160º. Sift the flours and spices together. In mixer, whip eggs and sugar until ribbon stage. Carefully fold the dry ingredients into the sugar/egg mixture. Pour into pan and bake about 15 minutes. Once cooled, freeze. *Note: For soaked cakes I prefer to use a cake that does not have a fat included as it tends to soak better and have a better texture.

Lemon Curd
500 ml Lemon juice
225 g Butter
6 Yolks
6 Eggs
150 g Sugar< 2 Sheets gelatin (silver) Combine juice and butter in saucepan and heat until simmer. In mixing bowl, combine yolks, eggs and sugar and whisk until just combined. Temper egg mixture with hot juice and return all to stove cooking until thickened. Remove from heat and add softened gelatin and strain. Pour onto lined sheet pan and freeze.

Carrot Mousse
4 Carrots
30 ml Lemon juice
30 g Sugar
4 Sheets gelatin (silver)
30 ml Rum or Brandy
350 ml Cream

Cook carrots with lemon juice in covered saucepan until soft. Add the sugar and cook uncovered for an additional 2 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Soften the gelatin and clarify. Add gelatin and liquor to the carrots and process til smooth. Strain and hold. Whip cream to soft. Fold carrot mixture gently into cream mixture and hold in piping bag.

Caramel Glaze
8 g Salt
40 g Water
30 g Corn starch
495 g Sugar
125 g Water
415 g Cream
4 Sheets gelatin (silver)

In mixing bowl combine salt, 40 g water and cornstarch. In saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar and 125 g water. Cook to caramel (about 338º/170º). Heat cream and add carefully to the caramel, whisking. Add the salt/corn starch slurry to the pan and cook until thickened. Remove from heat and add softened gelatin. Cool to room temp.

Candied Nuts
150 g Unsalted walnut pieces, lightly toasted
100 g Sugar
45 ml Water
Pinch, salt
Pinch cinnamon

In saucepan combine nuts, sugar and water. Heat until the sugar liquefies then begin stirring. Continue stirring as the nuts crystallize and continue until the sugar re-melts, coating the nuts. Once completely melted and all nuts are evenly covered, remove from heat, stir in salt and cinnamon and turn out onto silpat to cool.

Pipe carrot mousse into pastry form. Cut curd and cake to size. Press in frozen curd disc. Press in frozen cake disc. Soak cake with lemon simple syrup. Smooth form and freeze. Once frozen, pour caramel glaze over mousse. Garnish with candied nuts.

[Note: Thank you to Carla for recipe testing at sea level for me.]

Monday, October 4, 2010

Recent Dishes

I'm still recovering from this weekend's dinner so here is my lazy post. In a day or two I'll post a new dessert that (if everything goes as planned) will be published in Pastry & Baking North America.

Braised oxtail in tempranillo on puff pastry

And its a beautiful puff isn't it?

Goat mofongo, fried plantain

Long Island Cheese squash soup, habañero, cranberry, olive oil powder, beets, lemon granite

A flavor goof around: Apple, balsamic, stout, pomegranate leather, fennel, leek and orange