Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Texas Meat Market

So I'm in Texas right now doing some culinary demonstrations for clients in Dallas and we just found a meat lover's dream store. While driving to Houston, we made a pit stop at "Woody's Smokehouse" in Centerville, TX and walked in to find hundreds of assorted jerkys and sausages. After a half hour of debating and spending $65 we had a truckload of goodies. Peppered pork tenderloin, buffalo jerky, elk jerky, pork jerky, pralines, and Texas sized chewy pecans. I love being in Texas because its all about the meat, whether it's smoked, grilled, or dried.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Black Olive Caviar

I have a wine dinner coming up this Saturday 4/18 at the country club and I'm starting to play around with the dishes. One of the hors d'oeuvres is called "olive and crostini". The miniature crostini is topped with a fresh basil pesto and garnished with olive caviar. The caviar was fun to make since I got to teach some of the cooks about chemistry and cooking. We took some olive juice and blended it with sodium alginate until it was slightly thickened. After placing the puree into a squirt bottle, we dissolved some calcium chloride into cold water. By dropping the puree into the calcium chloride broth, it created a skin on the outside of the liquid encapsulating the puree into pearls of olive juice. This hors d'oeuvre will really make people do a double take when they realize they are not eating actual caviar but olive juice. I love playing around with all these new techniques.

Colorado Fusion Tasting

Here is a tasting dish of our new menu. This plate has three different dishes of the new menu consisting of "stuffed poblano chile with potato corn hash, buffalo short ribs w/ mushroom salsa, and pork adobo with grilled scallions". The dish cost only $27 and the portions are large enough to share. We considered doing this dish to allow guests to sample a variety of items while being price conscious. The flavors are bold and the colors are extremely vibrant. I cannot wait to start getting feedback on this dish.

Chocolate Coconut Smore

Here is a new dessert item that truly represents this new cuisine we are creating called "Colorado Fusion". We've defined it as a southwestern flare utilizing local Colorado ingredients. This dessert brought a lot of the staff back to their childhood with memories of campfires and marshmallows. I wanted to do a smore on the menu since it's such a big thing during the summer at the resort. We started with a graham cracker base in a tart shell similar to a cheesecake. Chocolate ganache was poured on top and garnished with toasted coconut shavings. After allowing the chocolate to set up, we topped the chocolate with whipped meringue and lightly torched it. The smore is served on a mango puree to really bring the color out. I think this is one of my favorite desserts and will be extremely popular during the spring/summer season.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Watermelon Salad

Sorry for the delay in postings on my blog, it's been a crazy few weeks. I went to Arizona for 10 days on vacation and came back to a new menu rollout, cooking classes, and high volume banquets. Here is a salad that I put together for the new spring menu. The salad is composed of fresh watermelon cubes, manchego cheese, toasted pumpkin seeds, spinach leaves, and shaved jicama. All the ingredients are tossed together in a honey cayenne vinaigrette that gives the fresh salad a nice bit of heat. This is probably my favorite dish on the new menu because of it's simplicity and compatibility to the seasons. I will be posting more of the new menu items over the next few days.