Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cheese Amenity

Yesterday, I was working on a few cheese amenities that would blew some clients away upon their arrival. I thought it would be nice to add some unique colors by placing some rainbow swiss chard from the garden as a base under the cheeses. There were 3 types of cheese on the plate which were a cambozola, wedge of brie, and a sliced of herb chevre. A few pieces of fruit and the end result was beautiful. I was truly amazed by how much the rainbow chard enhanced the plate giving it a unique flare. The best part was seeing the staff's reaction to seeing rainbow chard for the first time and knowing that we grew it from seeds.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Squash Blossoms

I picked some beautiful squash blossoms out of the garden yesterday and brought them to the kitchen to play around with an idea I had for a starter course. I've been challenged to create a vegetarian menu that showcases some culinary techniques and I thought what's more perfect than starting with an unusual vegetable/flower. I removed the stem end with a sharp knife and exposed the hollow center of the flower. After rinsing the insides and removing the center, I filled each blossom with a goat cheese that had been spiced with chipotles, roasted garlic, caramelized onions, and cumin. The stuffed blossoms were dusted with corn starch and dipped into some beaten eggs. I deep fried them at 350 degrees for about 3 minutes and seasoned with a pinch of salt. The result was an amazing vegetarian course that would satisfy and carnivore and impress any herbivore.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fresh Trout

I finally got some time to take a fishing trip into the mountains and catch some fresh trout. We started shore fishing around 9am and found a cove that was considered to be the spot for 11 mile lake. Within the first 5 minutes, we had a fish hooked as soon as the line was cast. The trout were beautiful and we caught mostly rainbow and one cutthroat. At the end of the day, we left with about 8 fish ranging from about 16-18 inches. I'm thinking about smoking some of the trout and pan searing the rest. It was a beautiful day on the lake and I can't wait to get back out there.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Taste of the Springs

This past Sunday we participated in a local fundraiser benefiting the "Care and Share" food bank here in Colorado Springs. The focus of the event was to raise money and assist in feeding hungry families. During the summer breaks, most children do not get that daily free meal as they would each day during the school year and that was the true cause of gathering all the local talent. Our job was to help raise money by showcasing our culinary abilities and attracting locals to attend and donate for a good cause. We had about 25 local chef's participate who served up some amazing dishes and we were able to introduce people to our signature "Buffalo Short Ribs". Attendance was close to 250 people and everyone seemed to enjoy the Sunday afternoon. I think that we definitely made a difference in feeding some of the less fortunate of our community.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Walleye / Chorizo Potatoes / Cucumber Jicama Salad

Earlier today I was inspired to cook off the menu when I went into the patio dining to say hello to a few guests. The gorgeous view of the mountains, fresh air, and sunny skies made me think of the beautiful walleyes I had in the cooler. One of the staff had just caught them and gave me a few to cook up for myself. The fish was so fresh and amazing that I felt obligated to share them with others who would appreciate some high quality food. The fish was cut into smaller fillets, pin bones removed, and lightly seared in whole butter. I roasted some purple and fingerling potatoes with shallots until golden brown. A quick salad of shaved cucumber and jicama garnished the dish giving it a refreshing finish. I drizzled some ancho chile cream around to enhance the spiciness of the chorizo and give the dish an extra touch of fat. I'm looking forward to actually getting out to the lake and catching some fish myself if I ever get the chance.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Mini Puffy Taco

After noticing some masa harina (ground corn flour) lying on the shelf, I decided to make some fresh tortilla dough. After mixing the 3 cups of flour with 2 cups of warm water and a pinch of salt, I rolled the dough into small rounds. I then placed the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap and pressed each one flat with a large saute pan. The masa dough was deep-fried at 350 degrees until golden brown and puffy. Towards the end of the cooking process, I used a pair of tongs to squeeze the tortilla together forming a taco shell. The filling was ground beef with ancho chiles, wild mushrooms, pico de gallo, and queso fresco. A dollop of sour cream was placed underneath to stabilize the taco and also give that extra touch of richness. This dish is familiar to me from living in San Antonio, Texas and having discussions with my wife about how good they were. She was so upset when I told her that I made some tonight at the restaurant and most likely would end up eating a few for dinner. Fresh tortillas are great and this is an easy recipe for anyone to follow. Maseca can be purchased at most grocery stores in the Latin foods aisle for a few dollars.