Thursday, April 28, 2011

vegetarians are creeeeeepy part ii

This is an ad for an Austrian vegetarian restaurant.  Really weird if I do say so myself.  I saw this and just had to post it.  It's actually a few years old.  But apparently we as humans eat shit?  At least by the looks of the food chain.  Still they forgot to show us where the shit came from.  Wait!  Are they trying to tell me I eat my own shit? (hehe)
I thought this was fitting to go with the last picture.  I would say my sentiments exactly.  (hehe)

momentous occasions... just for the halibut

Alright not much going on here.  Not really a big deal.  I cut up my first whole halibut.  Hooray right(sarcasm is to be noted).  Well I have cut up tons of different fish(not an expert), but somehow never a whole 60lb halibut(hence the nostalgic looking photo).

Seriously though even these tiny seemingly insignificant milestones are worth noting.  Every moment of our lives contributes to the next, big or small.  There was always a first time for everything.  I don't think it's such a bad thing to record a few of these moments in our brains.  These are the momentous occasions I love.  Especially such a zen like artful task of cleaning fish or even making pasta.   These are the everyday tasks that make us what we are in the kitchen.  That make us feel like we do.  That make us yearn to do what we do.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

up in smoke

As you have probably noticed I've been all smoke happy for awhile now.  Here is some lamb bacon using the scrap from the racks(also with some help of activa).  Thy sat for two weeks will a dry cure of sugar and salt etc.  The two front ones received a little spice of smoked hot paprika and cayenne.  Lamb bacon is easy and a great way to utilize your scraps.

While I had the smoker fired up I always try to throw something else there for fun.  Besides the beet cured arctic char I smoked, I threw in some dark chocolate pistoles to cold smoke.  They still melted, but I still call it a success.  The chocolate received a really subtle deliciously appropriate smokey flavor.  Maybe I'll make a smoked chocolate sorbet.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

thanks for the snack

 This is the last sous chef's final contribution to the kitchen before he left town.  Nothing like ordering a freezer full of shit we can't use.  Two months later we're still indulging lol.  Thanks buddy for the final parting gift.  We didn't have any marinara so I grabbed some left over roasted red pepper & sambuca bisque to dunk these deliciously disgusting fried sticks of cheese in.  You know they're done just right when the cheese starts to bubble out ha!

so sad i've got the bleus

Yea so I've always got the blues, but today I got the bleus.  A three course tasting menu using bleu cheese.  I love bleu cheese and so decided to have a tasting of bleu last week.   

First up, the grilled bleu caesar salad.  Of course I fired up the smoker and cold smoked some delicious bleu.  The romaine head is doused in butter and s+p and thrown on the grill to char a little(mmm it's like the lettuce that falls off your big mac lol).  Toss it with some black garlic and pepper dressing and caramelized onions.  Meanwhile deep fry some polenta croutons that got a little smoked bleu cheese love. Top it with some more crumbles and there you have your salad.

Main course, is grilled bison NY strip with a yukon gold potato rosti, brown buttered brussels sprouts and a bleu cheese fondue.  My micros lady just dropped off some daikon sprouts so they made it in to the picture as well.

For dessert, the killer, black sambuca layer cake with bleu cheese buttercream frosting.  Odd combination, but seriously it's so f'n delicious.  Throw a little blueberry couli and some fresh berries and crumbles to finish it off.  No doubt the highlight of the prix fixe.  I will be using this again only next time serving it up with a black garlic ice cream.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

food cares? we're all gonna fry anyways

From the beginning I asked myself the whys, and I 
continue to ask myself. - Feran Adria

What's the point right?  Why do we do any of it anyways?  I'm so tired in general(by the way this is my blog so I'll write whatever I want and you can read whatever you want lol).  Sooner or later your left wondering when the recognition will come.  When will I get appreciated?  Reality is most of our efforts go on thankless.  But every corner leads to a turn(whatever that means).

The measure of achievements is not winning awards.  It's doing 
something you appreciate, something you believe to be
worthwhile.  - Julia Child

So it's for the love?  For the self satisfying pleasure, the inner gratification.  It's who we are.  Imagine this though.  Take away everything you love.  What's left?  Besides the depressing nature of it all.  What's left of you?  What are you?  Who are you now?  The obvious truth is we our love.  I love to cook therefore I am.  I love my support system(family), therefore I stand.  I guess what I am saying is without a love in our hearts and souls we have no identity.  We have no purpose.  I suppose that is why I get frightened by the future.  Frightened that I could fall out of love with myself(my profession).  Self doubt is a nasty foe, and I know I'll never be finished fighting those battles.

Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does.
Love is a battle, love is a war;  love is growing up. - James Baldwin

I feel it inside now.  I feel as if I am doing what I love.  Cooking is like breathing for me(and who doesn't love to breath lol).  And whether or not I like it life will send me curve balls.  Love will come and go.  I just hope I love whoever I am tomorrow as much as who I was yesterday.

We must become the change we want to see. - Ghandi

Thursday, April 21, 2011

i'll trade you my ken griffey jr. rookie card for your teenage mutant ninja turtles lunch box!

I love cookbooks.  It's like collecting baseball cards of your favorite players.  The difference being of course I can recreate all kinds of amazing dishes.  I can flip through all the amazing photographs.  Learn new ideas and techniques I've never seen before.  It's like looking into the chef's diary or notebook of recipes.  I can only hope one day to have my own cookbook to express myself in yet another way to the public.

And when I find out about new cookbooks to be released, I get really excited.  More specifically I speak now of Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook by Christina Tosi(milk bar pastry genius).  It comes out this fall on October 25th.  I preordered mine already!

Another highly anticipated cookbook comes from one of the most acclaimed and widely recognized modern restaurants, Eleven Madison Park of New York City.  I was (and am) so freaking pumped when I heard about this one.  I don't think I can wait until November 1st.

Jennifer McLagan, author of two of my favorites, Fat and Bones, has done it again.  I will definitely pick this one up following the trend of nose to tail eating.  Odd Bites:  How To Cook The Rest Of The Animal becomes available September 13th.

Honorable Mentions:  Heston At Home by Heston Blumenthal Oct. 25,  The Meatball Shop Cookbook Nov 1, Ritz Paris: Haute Cuisine Oct 18, The Kimchi Chronicles: Korean Cooking for an American Kitchen Aug 2, The Art of Living According to Joe Beef: A Cookbook of Sorts Oct 11.

And don't worry for all you ewoks and grilling fanatics Emeril and Flay have yet more cookbooks to try to sell you before the year's end.  And if your really good and watch the Food Network everyday Miss Paula might have one for you by January. (hehehe)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

breakfast of champions

Elk and bison chili cheese nachos!  Washed down with
an ice cold Mountain Dew!  Man I got to start taking better 
care of myself ha! 

Monday, April 18, 2011

inner pasta and garganelli peace

This week's lunch prep started with a 2 hour pasta making extravaganza.  Hand making pasta is so relaxing(especially after a long drunken weekend).  I had plenty of prep on my hands, but making pasta was on the top of my list.  I used whole wheat flour to make some wheat pasta.  Good stuff, a little chewy in texture.  I think next time I'll use a little more ap flour in the ratio.  I made garganelli with the dough, which is why it took so long.
As you can see they are little penne looking noodles only you roll them from opposite corners so the flap shows.  Really fun authentic looking pasta.  This was my first time making them so hence the documentation of the whole process(plus I think their real cool and not as well known).
The whole process of making a pasta dish from scratch is, without better words, heart warming.  It brightens my day to create something so delicious and time invested.  It gives me what I need to get through another day.  It is the epitome of cooking in general.  Okay enough.....
  After rolling out the pasta, you cut little squares and wrap each one around a little rod(width of a pencil or so) from opposite corners.  As seen, you can roll ridges into each one(I used a sushi roller, but quit after a couple, I just wanted to see if it worked.

An hour and change later I had me a bunch of garganelli.  They cooked up real nice.  I even tossed them in bacon fat instead of oil when I finished(I'm sick, I need help, I know.  I just love pig so much).  Using some pork I confit'd in some duck fat the day prior, I made my dish.
Garganelli with a Pork Ragu
First I sauteed some wild mushrooms in butter.  Then I added the pork confit along with some sun dried tomato soffrito condiment.  Which is very flavorful base of onions, tomatoes, garlic, herbs, and spices.  I deglazed with a little white wine and chicken stock, tossed in the garganelli with a little goat cheese and tossed quickly.  I plated with a topping of goat cheese and chopped candied bacon.  So good, I promise you.  I ate myself a dish of it and I was in heaven. There is nothing that can bring me down today.  Nothing!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

what up boar son!

Honestly, yes boursin cheese has no place in the kitchen.  Yet it's so delicious.  I love this stuff.  Put it on crackers, salami, burgers, steaks.  I even made fried boursin cheese curds once.  Everything's better deep fried.  Seriously though, I might get this for myself, but not for use in the kitchen.  Someone insisted on ordering it and we've had a bunch of it for a while.  So today I threw it in a pot with some cauliflower and made some cream of cauliflower soup with boursin cheese.  Regardless of how lame of an idea it was, it was still delicious, and I need to use it up.  Any suggestions, besides eating it all myself?

Friday, April 15, 2011

szechuan, snechuan yer all pricks in my book

Szechuan peppercorns, not really a peppercorn at all.  Rather the husk of a fruit off the prickly ash tree found in China amongst various other Asian countries.  The US lifted the ban on these guys in 2005 after regulations set forth to temper the husks to kill off the canker bacteria it may carry.  When you place the husks on your tongue they release an odd numbing sensation that leaves your mouth feeling like you just sucked on a 9 volt battery, or maybe a less sour warhead candy.  Some compare it to the feeling when you drink a carbonated beverage.

We are using these peppercorns to crust a wagyu strip loin to do a Japanese style au poivre for a sake pairing 5 course menu.  The dinner is our effort to earn money for a Japan relief fund.  As a result of generous donations from local purveyors, majority of the proceeds will go to the American Red Cross for Japan.  The menu goes as follows:
Hamachi Sashimi 
Asian pear, crispy chicken skin, kombu aioli, citrus essence

Firecracker Shrimp Roll
wasabi cream, tobiko

Yuzu Sorbet
yuzu powder

Szechuan Wagyu Au Poirve
matsutake and enoki mushrooms, sake braised bokchoy, soy porcini froth

Fried Daifuku 
strawberry sorbet, azuki bean paste, passion fruit soup

That is that to the best of my memory.  Should be a good time.  Got to go before my Burger Time gets too cold.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

monkey business

Checkout Stove Monkeys' website for more cool t-shirts for sale.  Really cool ideas!  I bet they make a bundle.  I got to get into the t-shirt making biz.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

thats a f@#%in' crepe!

If you haven't checked out the epic meal time series on youtube, the time is now!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

how do you make pickle bread...........?

Ha! That joke never gets old!  We used this pasta dough 
with a fish dish.
This is why you do what I f'n tell you to.  The abstract shapes 
worked out alright.  Pineapple-blueberry upside down 
cake, spiced with curry and cayenne, mmmm.
 The nicest quality photo I had.  This giardeniera killed it!
It was good enough to eat on it's own.

random crappy photo day...yay

Cleaning out the old phone camera.  So no I haven't got my camera fixed yet(sorry money isn't exactly falling out of the sky).  For now hear are some old pics to mull over.
 Yes nasty tuna.  I had to take this pic to send back to the
 fish company.  I was nastier than the fish.  
Hooray for free fish!
Yep, my dog's ass about ass appetizing as the last one.
Sorry, just had to throw that in there.
This is proof of how much I love pig.  I eat so
much I woke up one day and I had sprouted a tail.
Also a shameless Hanes promotion.
Lol! I found this cookbook in an old stack of books 
at work.  The funniest shit ever!  Even funnier I 
found a recipe I used!
Turducken!  Hooray for meat glue!  I love 
Cow tongue.  I take my profession seriously.  Doesn't
mean I can't have some fun. 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

damn it feels good to be a gangsta

Do you ever have days that you felt you just rocked it all day long?  Every move you made was timed just right to follow up the last move and so on and so forth?  Time itself stood still for you?  You were able to do things you've wanted to do but haven't had time or ambition for?  Everyone smiled and nodded as they walked by, thinking to themselves "This guy knows what's up!" me neither.  Okay it was an alright day.

I did have some extra time to play around a bit.  So with some inspiration from the book Ideas in Food, I smoked whatever I could today.  I cold smoked some duck breasts(nothing new for me).  Also some mozzarella and tomatoes for a little smokey antipasto.  I also smoked some flour.  We made some pasta out of it.  Smoked pappardelle with spicy beef balls.  I saved some smoked tomatoes for a vinaigrette to go with some cold smoked mussels for Monday(top it off with fried leeks).

The winner this week was the coconut curry chicken sandwich with grapes and almonds,  a handful of fresh cilantro, and a spicy corn chutney on a fresh ciabatta bun.  I probably sold a hundred of those suckers.   I always seem to have an excess of chicken to use up so this worked out fabulously.

For Monday, I will also start on some elk and bison meatloaf.  Local game of course.  I'll even wrap in our farmer's deliciously smoke bacon and serve it up with some yukons and some of those black trumpets.  And only because I love them so much I toss some lingonberries with some demi.

not so gangsta

On an entirely different note, who the hell is Curtis Stone?  And why is he all over my TV and computer?  I can't help but feel nothing but contempt for this d-bag.  What has he done besides be on every show on TV?  Besides he looks like a gay woman.

See what I mean? (sorry Ellen)  Either that or a gay porn star, not that I know what that might be(Vin Diesel).  Seriously though I promise you I am not a homophobe or a hater(thats exactly what one would say ha).  I'd like to quit the gratuitous slamming of Stone with one positive thing I was able to find that I find admirable of him.  He worked with the legend Marco Pierre White and even ran one of his kitchens.  To be honest thats definitely saying something(even though Marco of all people sold out as well, sooner or later money becomes the sole issue)(I can't say I wouldn't).  Other than that I can't find a reason why this guy got so famous.  Maybe he's doing good things, maybe he is in gay porn.  Either way I just want him off my TV.

especially not so gangsta

To keep it short I'll just say Shola from Studiokitchen, if he hasn't already, should make a new rule # whatever:  Celebrities should not make cookbooks.  This means you Quyneth Paltrow.  Thank you and have a lovely weekend.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Ahhh so you think you've reached the point of your career where double shifts for two different establishments is over.  Not so fast.  It's one thing to consult and aid in another establishment's success.  It's another thing to go to a mindless job without the chance to imprint your creativity.  So why put myself through it?  Friends!  Friends help friends out.  Also just getting to see some of my friends can be difficult when we all work a thousand hours at different jobs. It's nice to get to hang.  I just wish it was a little more fulfilling as far as my imagination is concerned.  Sooner or later it will have to give way.  Because if something isn't challenging my skills, my talents, feeding my brain, then it's just a waste of time.  Sorry fellows.  I love you, but work is work and my culinary hunger is larger than your spoon.  If you know what I'm saying.

On an unrelated note, a large load of black truffles, hen of the woods, black trumpets, and fiddleheaded ferns came in today.  Yea! Much fun to be had!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

people let me tell you 'bout my best friend....

I love pig.  I love duck.  Why not, right?  Maybe you remember the duck muffaletta sandwich with tasty capicola ham and duck confit, and of course the duck fat aioli.  Fantastic!  It sold pretty well.  This week the combo can live on with pork confit.  After brining some pork shoulder for a few days, I tossed it in some duck fat and confit'd that mutha.  Duck fat is just so versatile.  It works so well with so many things.  I then added some sheets of gelatin to some duck stock I made prior, using leftover carcasses(ya got to use it all folks).  I seasoned up my now pulled pork confit, added some pine nuts and dried currants, and drizzled in the stock.  I pressed the meat into a molding pan and weighted it down.  Today I uncovered it to see a perfectly solid terrine-like brick of pork.  I cut it into serving sized cubes and gave one a test drive.  I dredged in seasoned flour and flash fried it to give it good color and a nice crisp outside.  After finishing in the oven, I pulled it out gave it a try.  Delicious!  So moist and a perfectly crispy cube-like appearance.  I can't wait to serve this up with some brown butter applesauce, brussels sprouts, yukons, pickled mustard seeds and some crispy chicken skin.  I would have liked to attempted some duck chicharrones, but I had used my duck skin up on previous applications.

As it turns out pigs, ducks, and even chickens can all get along together.  If only I could live on the farm.  Well, my mother does often ask me if I were born in a barn, but then again she would know better than I. Right?

vegans are creepy..............creeeeepy

Absolutely appalling!  Vegans are a desperately disgusting breed with need for some reason to spread their disturbing propaganda.  Don't ask how I found this site.  I just stumbled upon it.  This is an older post, but this is a fully operational anti meat eaters site.  I made the link available for all who wish to check it out(along with a few more unnecessary laughable photos).

Although the photos were made most likely as an ad for meat eaters.  The author of the site would like to lend their idiotic notions that portraying these animals as "sexy meat"  is degrading to women.  They would like to have you believe that just as women shouldn't be looked as meat neither should these "non-human animals."  They went further to say the ads represent an algorithm, sex=meat=death.  The real joke here is simple idea that animals weren't put on earth to feed humans.  If humans didn't kill and utilize animals for the many many necessities we need them for today, think of the overpopulation of so many creatures.  The world we be a disaster(well a bigger one).  Think of a lion in the wild killing a zebra for food.  Is that against nature or is it the exact premise it.  You tell me.

And just one more thing.  I am not telling anyone they shouldn't be vegan or they have to eat meat.  Everyone has their say over their decisions and preferences.  All I'm saying is quit throwing it down everyone's throat.  Quit treating the human race like the enemy just for consuming animal products(there's much better arguments to be had).  But every loser with a computer has an opinion.  Including yours truly.

Friday, April 1, 2011

what kind of milk makes head cheese?

Not the head cheese I made, but a fairly close resemblance will suffice for the sake of visual stimulation.  It's just like the dating sites.  You're 10 times more likely to get a hit with a photo.  Not that I take part in the online dating community.  Okay I have, but not currently.

As my first time making head cheese, I'd have to say it turned out pretty damn good.  I used Fergus Henderson's book The Whole Beast:  Nose To Tail Eating as a reference guide.  Why not?  He seems To know what he's talking about(lol...duh!).  My plan was to make the head cheese with a crispy ear salad, but my pig head came with his ears clipped off.  Pretty disappointing, yes. Yet my farmer assured me she would get me another pig head with ears and all free of charge(really nice lady).  Instead of the pig's ear for the salad I tried to find something to take it's place that might be a similar look, taste, idea.  I took some of the whole slab bacon and roasted it and dried it and slice it thin and deep fried it.  My mock crispy pig's ear worked out ok for this application.  I served them on top of some thinly shaved romaine hearts with some raw turnips, fried capers, and a drizzle of apple and whole grain mustard dressing with the head cheese and cornichons on the side.  Not the biggest hit this week for lunch.  I only sold a few, but I assure you the few let me know they were pleasantly surprised to see it on the menu and enjoyed it thoroughly.

It bums me out when I make something that I put so much of myself into and it doesn't get it's just deserves.  What do I expect?  People aren't always up for the daring or the disgusting as some would put it.  I just call it delicious.  I won't let it discourage me though.  I'll make it again and again.  I only wish my grandmother was still around to teach me how she made it.  She would have loved that, and so would have I.  Now that I'm finally ready to give head cheese it's dues.  She would have loved this dish.  This I know.  So this head cheese, my very first head cheese I dedicate to you grandma.  I know you're proud of me.  I love you.