Friday, April 23, 2010

Banana Split Cheesecake

Here is another dessert offering the will be making an appearance on the upcoming menu starting May 3rd. This idea started with the thoughts of a shared dessert and what could be more appropriate than a banana split. Our pastry chef made the comment that a cheesecake is always a big seller on the menu and we should consider having one. After going back and forth on different flavors and how to differentiate ourselves with a cheesecake; we decided on a banana split cheesecake. Our pastry chef made this beautiful Neapolitan cheesecake with layers of strawberry, banana, and chocolate. The sauces drizzled on the plate are mango, chocolate, and berry. Sliced bananas are placed on the plate with a coating of caramel sauce. A pile of candied walnuts were added for texture and it was only right to top the cheesecake with whipped cream and a cherry. This is definitely a beautiful dessert that will make people say "WOW" when it arrives at the end of their meal.

Fry Bread with Tamarind Honey and Jalapeno Jelly

One of my favorite food memories from living in Arizona was eating the warm fry bread at the state fair each year drizzled with honey and dusted with powdered sugar. It was extremely hot, puffy, crunchy, and delicious. The honey would be all over the place and your face would be covered with a mustache of powdered sugar. I wanted to create a cleaner version of this dessert for our new spring/summer menu in the restaurant. It's the perfect dish to eat during the warm season and a perfect representation of the "Colorado Fusion" concept. The fry bread dough is cooked in 350 degree oil until puffy and golden brown on both sides. After draining the excess oil, we drizzle the bread with a tamarind honey that is sweet and tangy. A traditional dusting of powdered sugar and a warm jalapeno jelly is placed on the side for dipping pleasures. This is by far my favorite dessert and has all the components I look for in a dessert: multiple layers of flavor, creativity, and the ability to trigger a childhood memory or feeling.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Colorado Lamb Chop

This was a simple dish that had lots of flavor to challenge the taste buds of each guest that night. The lamb racks were frenched to expose the bones and cut into single chops. The lamb chops were tied with butcher string to create a perfect coin and pan seared until medium rare. A simple polenta with creamy Gorgonzola cheese and curry spices was spooned in the center of the plate. A reduction of pinot and black figs served as the sauce and a garnish of mint oil brought the marinade of the lamb.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Oyster Rockerfeller

This was a fun dish that was quickly devoured by everyone once it was dropped on the table. I love fried oysters and wanted to bring the traditional flavors of a Rockefeller to the dish. The mixture of bacon, spinach, and cream baked onto an oyster is amazing and that's what I wanted. After scraping the oysters out of the shell, we breaded the meat in herb breadcrumbs using panko (a Japanese breadcrumb that is much lighter when fried). The shells were cleaned and reserved for presentation purposes. After chopping spinach and watercress into bite sized pieces, the greens were simmered in cream, salt, and nutmeg. A crispy slice of pancetta was placed in between the fried oyster and the cream spinach to create the same flavors of a classic.

Buttermilk Frog Legs

Here is a picture and description from the first course of the wine dinner on Saturday. Crispy Frog Legs with Shaved Tart Apple, Lemon Essence, and White Balsamic Raisins. Frog legs are a simple thing to make and don't require much work. They are fairly cheap and can be found at most Asian markets. I soaked these bad boys in buttermilk and then tossed them in seasoned flour before deep frying until golden brown (350 degrees). The salad was a colorful medley of shaved apples, cilantro, carrots, black sesame seeds, and golden raisins that had been cooked in brown sugar and white balsamic. This was my favorite course of the night because it was such a conversation piece and I was able to show off my southern cooking influences. For anyone that hasn't tasted frog before, I would say it's like a cross between catfish and chicken.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Amuse Bouche: Smoked Trout on Bagel Chip

Latest amuse bouche to hit the restaurant; Smoked Trout on Bagel Chip with Spicy Cream Cheese and Pickled Red Onion. This is truly a Colorado inspired snack that becomes a regular during the warm season for all the trout that will be caught in the local lakes higher up in the elevation. The trout is lightly smoked with hickory chips and then placed on a spicy cream cheese infused with chipotle peppers. The bagel chip is a fun touch that adds a great crunch and the small bursts of capers and cured red onion give the necessary balance needed to achieve a complete palate awakening. We also hosted the wine dinner at the country club last night to much success and I have some great food pictures for everyone that will be posted over the next few days. We totaled the night with 85 people whiles serving some phenomenal food and wine pairings. I'm looking forward to the next event and with the increase of attendees wouldn't be surprised if they become a frequent thing.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Amuse Bouche: Lime Chile Jicama

Tonight's amuse bouche is extremely simple (always my favorite type) and has amazing flavors. I've taken some fresh jicama and cut out coins that resemble scallops. The jicama is tossed in freshly chopped cilantro, lime juice, salt, and red chile flakes. The sweetness of the jicama is already great and reaches the next level when the salty, spicy, and sour flavors are added. While working in Phoenix, Arizona, my dishwashers would marinate everything from watermelon to cucumbers in this simple idea and devour throughout their shifts. I was so impressed that I made a salad of shaved jicama & watermelon to garnish a nice piece of halibut during those hot 120 degree summers. This amuse bouche works perfect for our concept and can be put together in a matter of minutes. Many people don't know what jicama is and cannot fathom what they are missing out on. A jicama is a root vegetable with a thin brown skin and white crunchy flesh. The flavor is like a cross between a potato and an apple. It's great raw or lightly cooked in a saute pan. Make sure to look for this lovely vegetable in your local produce section.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Amuse Bouche - Blue Potato and Corn Salad

A small bite to excite the palate before a meal is the best way I've heard an "amuse bouche" described. Every night we make a taste that is usually 1-2 bites as a complimentary starter from the chef. Tonight's amuse is a blue potato and corn salad that has some crumbled cotija cheese and roasted red pepper. The simplicity of this dish and intense flavors make it a perfect starter to introduce each guest to their awaited next course. I'm working on some other fun recipes to keep the people guessing what will be served.

Forest Mushroom Tostada

Here is the newest appetizer appearing on my upcoming menu; "Forest Mushroom Tostada". We have a beautiful medley of fresh wild mushrooms that are sauteed with chopped garlic, minced shallots, huitlacoche (corn truffle), grape tomatoes, and fresh cilantro. The aromatic mushrooms are tossed with crumbled Mexican cheese and stacked within the layers of crispy corn tortillas. A simple puree of cilantro and achiote oil are garnishing the plate. This dish is a great example of our Colorado Fusion cuisine which blends rocky mountain ingredients with a southwestern flare. The staff was really impressed with the sweet earthy flavors of the mushrooms and the salty enhancement of the cheese. Only 22 days left until our new spring menu is ready for everyone and I'm hard at work getting ready to start training my cooks and servers.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Green Chile Poppers

The spring time is officially here and it's time to start introducing new menus. The first area I'm working on is enhancing the bar menu. I want to create a menu that has familiar items that most bar patrons recognize. I needed to maintain my creativity while staying simple in the execution and preparation for the staff. The first idea to make the cut is "Green Chile Poppers". My wife is a jalapeno popper fanatic and I wanted to introduce my own version of this classic bar snack. The cream cheese is blended with green chiles and fresh chopped cilantro. After rolling the mixture into small rounds shapes; they are dipped into a tempura batter and deep fried until golden brown. The spicy cream cheese melts inside the light airy batter and creates an amazing popper that increases your craving for a cold beer. The staff love when we start working on new ideas and require guinea pigs for their taste testing services.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Country Club Wine Dinner

Sorry for the lapse in time of postings, but it's been extremely crazy the last few months. Between charity cooking functions, upscale banquet events at the resort, and a much needed vacation on the beach...I'm back. First thing on the list is my wine dinner at the country club on the 17Th of April. We are partnering with Trinchero winery to put together some amazing tastings. Each course is paired with a certain type of environment and the dishes reflect the bounties of those conditions. Reservations can be made by calling the Pineview Restaurant (719) 538-4088. I know that we are currently at 90 reservations and stopping at 100 so book now!!!

Crispy Frog Legs (Marshland)
Shaved Tart Apple, Lemon Essence, White Balsamic Raisins

"Organized" Oyster Rockefeller (Ocean)
Creamy Watercress, Salt Cured Pork Belly, Garden Herb Bread

Wild Mushrooms Strudel (Forest)
Haystack Mountain Goat Cheese, Tomato Confit, Micro Arugula

Colorado Lamb Chop (Mountain)
Blue Veined Polenta, Raspberry Glace, Mint Emulsion

Wagyu Beef (Prairie)
Fennel Bulb, Elephant Garlic, Yukon Potato, Opal Basil

Zin Port Poached Pear Tartlet (Orchard)
Black Forest Ice Cream, Pistachio Frangipane, Dark Chocolate