Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Quail Lollipop with Gooseberry Compote

I had a few extra quails that I decided to turn into a small bite for our diners last night. One of my daily goals is to show one of my staff a new thing in the kitchen and quail lollipops happened to be the technique of the day. The quails were split into 6 pieces and each bone was Frenched and skewered through itself to give the impression of a lollipop. I cooked down some fresh golden gooseberries with brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, Riesling, and marjoram. The compote had an amazing flavor that worked well with any game bird. The quail lollipops were lightly browned in a pan and roasted for a few minutes. Fresh chives were sliced to garnish the plate.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

From the Garden

My favorite part of the day is taking one of the cooks into the garden and letting them taste the true definition of fresh and local. Here are some of the first harvests from our resort garden that I picked yesterday. I went down to water the garden and couldn't resist the urge to pick some radishes that were popping out of the ground. The greens were vibrant and the bright red skin was begging me to pull them out of the dirt. The mixed lettuces were crowding each other and needed some thinning, so I cut off a few bundles and decided that it would be our amuse bouche for the evening in our restaurant. The radishes and lettuce were rinsed thoroughly and served with a simple lemon oil, cracked pepper, and a pinch of salt. It's amazing how buttery a radish taste right out the ground and finishes with an intense spiciness. The tomato plants are starting to fruit and the sweet 100's will be ready in another two weeks or so. The herbs are looking great and I officially have a new found respect for the clean intense flavor of dill. The alpine strawberry plants have little flowers all around them and will start turning into berries soon. Our peppers are starting to hang out the husks and grow into spicy fruits. I will get down there today to take some pictures of how the garden is progressing since we planted almost two months ago.

Monday, June 21, 2010

James Beard Menu Selections

Here are my menu ideas that I will be submitting to our corporate office and hopefully selected to cook at the James Beard House in December. I'm really happy with the outcome of all this brainstorming and will be able to feature some of my current dishes with a few new ideas as well.

Passed Hors D’oeuvres

Chorizo Stuffed Pheasant
Jalapeno Marmalade
Sopaipilla Dough

Saffron Poached Shrimp
Bloody Mary Gelée
Crystallized Celery

Pumpkin Cotton Candy
Ginger Honey Tuile

Salmon Pastrami
Rye Flour Blini
Pickled Leeks

Black Tea Stained Quail Egg
Beluga Caviar Crème Fraiche
Parsley Breadcrumbs

James Beard Ideas Continued

Celery Root Puree
Foie Gras Ravioli
Shaved Orchard Fruits
Rosemary Toasted Walnuts

Smoked Duck “BLT”
White Tomato Mousse
Tender Butter Lettuce
Olive Oil Toast

Striped Black Bass
Blue Potato Salad
Cilantro Emulsion
Crumbled Queso Fresco

Arabica Braised Buffalo Short Rib
Orange Chipotle Glazed Yams
Chimichurri Forest Mushrooms

“Haystack Mountain” Red Cloud Goat Cheese
Pale Ale Caviar
Black Truffle Pommes Anna

Chocolate Coconut Smore
Milk Chocolate Mousse
Burnt Coconut Marshmallows
Ginger Graham Cracker

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Arabica Braised Buffalo with Chipotle Yams

Here is the main course from my dinner the other night. The buffalo short ribs were seasoned with a ancho chile coffee rub and seared until caramelized on all side. The braising liquid is an extremely important part of infusing flavor and was based on cinnamon, orange juice, coffee, molasses, and beef stock. After four hours of slowly cooking the meat, it was fork tender but remained whole pieces. The yams were grilled on all sides and glazed with a orange chipotle honey to really enhance their natural sweet flavors. A salsa of sauteed wild mushroom, tomatoes, and cilantro chimichurri took this dish to a whole new level. This dish is really starting to become one of my signature dishes to give a first impression of my cuisine.

Colorado Bass with Purple Potato Salad

This was a fantastic course that really showcased many flavors for a single dish. The bass was really fresh and pan seared to give the skin a really crispy texture and leave the meat delicate and buttery. The potato salad consisted of purple potatoes, roasted corn, red bell peppers, cotija cheese, and red onion. The sauce was a spicy puree of cilantro, avocado, green onion, jalapeno, and lime juice. The colors were vivid and the presentation was simple enough to really impress the guests. I will be submitting this course as one of my upcoming James Beard Menu selections and hopefully it will get picked.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Smoked Duck "BLT"

This was the salad course that I put together for a dinner yesterday at the country club. The duck bacon was sliced extremely thin and layered upon a white tomato mousse and warm brioche. The natural sweetness from the maple syrup glaze on the smoked duck complimented the buttery flavor of the brioche. The bitter greens and creamy tomato mousse really made you feel like the salad was an actual "BLT". I harvested the greens from the garden right before the dinner and simply tossed them in extra virgin olive oil. A grind of black peppercorns, salt, and thinly sliced tomatoes really transformed a commonly known sandwich into a show stopping salad. Everyone enjoyed this course and I'm proud to add it to my repertoire.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Smoking Duck Breast

I'm working on a salad for a dinner tomorrow evening that will require Smoked Duck Bacon as a component and decided to give everyone a glimpse at the process of smoking meats. I took about 10lbs of duck breast raw and completely buried it in a mixture of 1lb kosher salt, 3lbs brown sugar, and 1/4 cup of ground black pepper, this is called a dry cure. After allowing the duck to cure for 24 hours, I rinsed them completely and tossed in maple syrup. I set up my smoker with some hickory wood chips and placed on high heat to really get the smoke going. All the duck breast were placed on the racks and smoked on medium high heat for 30 minutes. The results was a beautiful golden brown duck breast with a sweet bacon flavor that I've chilled down. The salad is what I'm calling a Smoked Duck "BLT" and will consist of freshly harvested lettuce out of my garden, a white tomato mousse, and olive oil toast. I'm really looking forward to smoking other meats over the summer like chickens, ribs, brisket, and pork butt.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

First Round: Colorado Goat Cheese "Twinkie"

Here is the first batch from experimenting with this cheese course. The cake is still a little off with the amount of air from the egg whites and I'm working on bringing it up another level. The lemon zest and dried lavender inside the cake are a perfect compliment to the whipped chevre. I use a paddle attachment and beat the chevre until completely soft which acts as a perfect cream filling. I made the molds by folding foil around a spice jar to resemble the twinkie. I also found out that Williams Sonoma sells a baking pan containing 1 dozen slots for twinkies. I'm thinking that I will make a trip to pick one up and really get that nice crust on the outside. I might also try leaving the egg whites out of the recipe and backing off some of the sugar.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Colorado Goat Cheese "Twinkies"

I'm working on a new dish for a cheese course and have decided to take the fun route. I was thinking of dishes that are mainly composed of cheese such as a quesadilla or a grilled cheese. Eventually, I thought about the cream filling in a twinkie. It made me compare the texture and color to really good chevre that is always locally available in the rocky mountains. The cake is a simple pound cake with whipped egg whites folded in. I'm going to infuse lemon zest and lavender into the batter and fill with a really tangy goat cheese spiced with crushed black peppercorns. The plate will be garnished with a red beet syrup and fresh arugula. Give me a few hours and I will have some pictures to post.