One lesson that I strive to teach my staff is too continuously challenge the techniques and flavors of what you are preparing. Tamales are classically made with masa harina (corn flour), shortening or lard, and liquid. After spreading the dough into corn husks, it's rolled and steamed for approximately hour. For this preparation I cooked some grits in milk with a touch of cinnamon, honey, and toasted almond. After spooning the hot mixture into softened corn husks, I placed some caramelized peaches in the center and allowed them to chill in the cooler. Once the grits were completely cool they became solid resembling the same results as using a corn dough. A simple salsa of strawberries and mint are used to garnish with a scoop of lime ice cream.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
After 3 years of requests, pleading, and begging; our garden is finally here. The resort has put together an amazing team of individuals who really made this project special. The engineering department has constructed 9 different raised garden beds and added a 9 foot fence to keep all the animals out. The grounds keeping team dug the area and installed an irrigation system with multiple sprinklers timed to start 5 times a day at 2 minute increments. Finally our club food and beverage manager (Steve "Saus" Kander) has organized and executed an abundant list of herbs, fruits, and vegetables. The thought behind how everything intertwines with each other is phenomenal and I'm looking forward to seeing the results. Partnering with a local organization (Pikes Peak Urban Gardens www.ppugardens.org) headed by Larry Stebbins has been not only been educational but also inspiring enough to start my very first garden at home. He has been involved in this project from the beginning to consult and ensure that we would see maximum returns from our labors. The list of ingredients that have been planted reach over 30 items but here are some highlights:
Berry Box: Alpine Strawberries, Blackberries, Blueberries, Raspberries, Currants
Mint Box: Ginger Mint, Apple Mint, Grapefruit Mint, Chocolate Mint
Herb Box: Pineapple Sage, Curry Plant, Stevia (Sugar Plant), Garlic Chives, Lemon Verbena
Vegetable Box: Spring Lettuces, Collard Greens, Carrots, Onions, Squash, Horseradish
Sunday, May 16, 2010
This dish was inspired by my good friend Ben Henion (http://www.chefbhenion.blogspot.com/) who started playing around with the idea deep frying avocados in tempura. The avocados are sliced and dipped into a light batter before being deep fried until golden brown. I mixed some fresh limes with sour cream for the base, a simple pico de gallo went on next, then a really nice jalapeno syrup was drizzled around the plate ( I boiled 2 freshly sliced jalapenos in a equal mixture of sugar/water). The creaminess of the avocados surrounded by a very light crunchy batter really pops in flavor when combined with the spicy/sweet jalapeno syrup and tang of the pico. I'm thinking about submitting this recipe for an upcoming contest, all of the staff who were fortunate to try this stated that it was a winner in their books.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Lately we've been bombarded by lobsters in the kitchen and what a great problem it is to have. Here are some pictures from a function the other day that required 400 live lobsters to be boiled and cleaned. It took a total of six chefs to complete this 60 minute task right before the guests arrived. We boiled gallons of water seasoned with salt to taste like the ocean and added the live lobsters for about 10 minutes. After they were cooked, we scooped them out and partially broke down the lobsters for the guest to easily access the meat. The tail was split in half and both of the claws were cracked. Cracking lobsters is a messy job and it always changes the atmosphere of the kitchen to fun. As an experienced chef you never realize that what we consider "common knowledge" when cooking, our younger chefs have no understanding. The basic anatomy of a lobster was a mystery to half of my staff since the economy has been in the dumps and nobody has purchased high cost items like lobsters, which enables them the education and experience. I wonder if any of them have actually smelled the sweet perfume of a large black truffle or tasted the creamy center of a seared piece of foie gras. Hopefully, the recent increase of purchased lobster dinners are a hint of a $$$ flooded market.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
I'm excited to finally have the pleasure of announcing our herb and vegetable garden at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort. We have built a 30 x 30ft garden that has 10 different raised garden beds and over 30 different vegetables and herbs to be planted. Having the option to walk out to the garden in the morning and harvest baby carrots, fresh basil, or garlic is a true pleasure for our chef's and of course myself. I cannot wait to teach the staff the importance of fresh product and have them understand how the food flows from farm to table. We will be planting next week and hopefully harvesting certain items within the next month. I plan on using these truly fresh ingredients primarily for the country club menu and a few specials at the resort. I will be adding pictures as soon as I get out there with a camera.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Here is new dish on the menu that truly represents our southwestern twist on Colorado ingredients. The lamb is frenched and marinated in garlic, rosemary, oil, and black peppercorns before being roasted to a beautiful medium rare temperature. A potato corn hash is placed in the center of the plate and covered with the lamb rack after resting for a few minutes. A red chile mole sauce is drizzled over the lamb and colored with a cilantro puree. The mole sauce (which means concoction) is made with ancho chiles, garlic, onions, raisins, almonds, water, and of course chocolate. All those amazing ingredients are simmered together and then blended until smooth. Salty cotija cheese is crumbled over the lamb to garnish before arriving at your table.