Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Achiote Chicken with Corn Salad

Here is an updated version of a current dish that simplifies the demand for "meat and potatoes". The chicken is marinated in a blend of garlic, vinegar, achiote paste, and oil for a minimum of 24 hours and then vacuum sealed to really intensify the color . We cook the chicken in the sealed bag for about 30 minutes at low temperature and then cool. The corn salsa is simply corn, peppers, cilantro, scallions, lemon, jalapeno, and salt. The colors are amazing on the plate and by simply piping some potatoes around the dish creates a nice visual appearance. For anyone that does not know what achiote is here is the definition:

Achiote Paste- this is a bright orange seasoning paste from the Yucatan made of ground annatto seeds; it is often thinned with vinegar or citrus juices for marinades and sauces.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mushroom Mosaic

A terrine is simple thing to create and all it takes is a little patience. This is an upcoming chilled appetizer on the new menu and it really showcases Colorado cuisine. The wild mushrooms are placed in a hot vegetable stock over medium heat to cook until tender. Afterwards, they are strained (reserving the liquid) and pressed until all the moisture is gone. The hot vegetable stock is strained and gelatin sheets are added after blooming in cold water. All the mushrooms are packed into a mold and the stock is poured over. After pressing the mushrooms down and weighing down overnight, it is sliced to reveal a beautiful mosaic of mushrooms. I lightly roasted some red bell peppers and pureed them with oil and white wine vinegar. The sauce was strained and 3 dots were placed on the plate. Some frisee lettuce was tossed in truffle oil to garnish the plate and give the refreshing crunch that was needed.

Monday, October 19, 2009

New Ingredient: Meat Glue

While working in Florida, I was introduced to Meat Glue (aka transglutamine activa rm). The "meat glue" is a powdered enzyme that binds proteins together allowing you to stick proteins together like bacon wrapped without a pick or casing-less sausage. After doing some research I found some techniques on changing the shape of meats, utilize leftover products, and merging hybrid fish like tuna and halibut. The "meat glue" cost me about $90 for 2.2lbs from a website called http://www.chefrubber.com/. Once it arrived, I set out to start playing around with new ideas for the kitchen. This is the first dish that was created with the meat glue Filets of Salmon with Pomegranate Butter. The procedure was fairly simple: lay out two filets of salmon and sprinkle with the meat glue, place on top of each other opposite directions to create an even filling (head to tail and tail to head), wrap into a perfect cylinder with plastic wrap and tie the ends, allow to rest in the cooler for at least 4 hours if not overnight. The next day, I came in and immediately ran to the cooler to cut the steaks. After slicing the salmon into individual steaks, they were perfectly round and consistent with each other. I made a simple butter sauce with pomegranate seeds and caramelized the fish in clarified butter. It's amazing what this means for future opportunities such as food cost savings and enhancing plate presentations. Meat glue has been in use since the mid 20Th century and was most commonly used in ingredients like chicken nuggets and imitation crab meat. I will be posting more in the future as I find other ways to use this ingredient. P.S. Meat glue needs to stay extremely cold to stay active, I broke down the 2.2lb package into smaller vacuum sealed bags and currently have it stored in the freezer.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Grilled Halibut with Saffron Banana Butter and Balsamic

Here is a dish that I came up with a few years ago and thought that it would make a good lunch today. Our butcher had some extra Halibut filets leftover from a party the other day and put some aside for me. I seasoned the fish with salt and pepper, brushed with a little butter and grilled on each side for about 7 minutes. The butter sauce is mashed bananas, white wine, shallots, honey, thyme, and saffron reduced down. A few drops of cream and cubes of chilled butter are whisked in at the very end to enrich the sauce. I drizzled some reduced balsamic vinegar and sprinkled some salt to finish the dish. The sauce is very complex in flavors and really blends well with the flaky fish. Overall, I love this sauce and enjoy putting it on most seafood because of it's appearance and unique flavors.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Bacon Jam

I've been buried in the office lately working on the recipe cards for the upcoming menu and came to a halt at the recipe for "Bacon Jam". The "jam" will be served with ruby red trout and roasted potato medley. My only problem was that I hadn't created the recipe yet and needed to ensure the amounts were right. I decided to go to the kitchen and make the jam while writing down the ratios for my recipe to ensure consistency. The result was amazing and I had to fight the staff off to keep the remainder for making the actual entree this weekend. I'm very impressed with the results and wanted to share this dish with everyone since it's bacon and nothing tops a good bacon dish. Here is the recipe and enjoy:

Bacon Jam

1/2 cup Pancetta

2 Tbl Canola Oil

2 ea Yellow Onions

2 oz Pomegranate Concentrate

1 oz Worcestershire

1/2 cup Brown Sugar

To Taste Salt

Procedure: In a medium sized saute pan, render the bacon with the canola oil until crispy. Add the onions and cook on medium heat until caramelized. Add the remaining ingredients and reduce until liquid is almost gone. Allow to cool before serving.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Lamb Shanks in Red Chile Mole and Potato Corn Hash

Here is the first draft of a new dish for the upcoming menu. The lamb shanks have been braised in a red chile mole sauce and served with a potato corn hash. The flavors are spot on when it comes to sweetness, spicy, and bitter. I am really a big advocate of slow cooking and love to show off this technique whenever possible. The mole was a blend of garlic, almonds, raisins, ancho chiles, chocolate, onion, tomato, and cinnamon. I simmered the mixture for an hour before adding the lamb shanks and braising until tender. As the lamb slowly cooked in the mole, the sauce itself reduced down and concentrated all the flavors. I will be shredding this batch and serving atop my last posting of "Manchego Cornmeal Biscuits" for the Signature Chef's event as a small bite. Overall, a success that truly captures the warmth of a dish on a cold day like now. It's starting to lightly snow and the temperature was a high of 37 degrees today, beautiful Colorado.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Manchego Cormeal Biscuits

These biscuits were made as an experiment to create a base for an hors d'oeuvre that I will be serving at the upcoming March of Dimes Signature Chef's event on October 29 here at the resort. I've been participating in this event for the past couple years between Colorado and Texas. We will be showcasing 20 chefs and their cuisines while serving to 400 guests. The biscuits are made with cornmeal, manchego cheese, rosemary, and golden raisins. I am braising some lamb shanks in red chile mole for at least 4 hours. Afterwards, the lamb will be shredded and placed on top of the biscuits. The biscuits are small, but pack tons of flavor from all the ingredients. I think that this will definitely be a hit with the guests that night and introduce the culinary passion of Cheyenne Mountain Resort.