To really enhance the presentation of this salad, I placed the beet vinaigrette in a spray bottle and misted the plate. After wiping the edges clean, I had a light pink canvas to build my salad. The pickled beets and baby mache really stood out against the backdrop. The pastry and smoked blue made this a great first course.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Main course from our clocktower dinner tonight.
Main course from lunch today. The duck fat aioli made an amazing base for the potato salad. The grilled ramps truly complemented the entire dish.
They bring spring and then they are gone. These ramps came from werp farms in northern Michigan and they are extremely fresh. A ramp is considered a wild leek and has similar flavors with the addition of intense garlic. They can be eaten raw, grilled, sauteed, or even pickled. We bought a whole bunch and have already started using them while they make their short appearance. The leave are great for wrapping or garnishing and the stems pack some big flavors.
Monday, April 25, 2011
Dessert from today. The basil ice is amazing and the balsamic syrup gives this dessert an acidity to cut through all the rich flavors.
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Main course from lunch, the dark meat is always more flavorful.
First course from a dinner the other night. The Aji Chile spice is amazing because the heat is so complex. I prefer the red to the yellow for something like grilled shrimp. Best spice of the year in my book.
Friday, April 22, 2011
Main course today
Dessert from today
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Friday, April 15, 2011
Salad from yesterday's lunch. The grapes were frozen and then tossed in frothy egg whites, then tossed in granulated sugar. The Crouton was baguette sliced thin and then baked over a thick rolling pin. The beets came from Nichols farms and were pickled. A drizzle of reduced balsamic and some crumbled Wisconsin bleu really brought the flavors together.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Here is a dessert that was served last night. The creme brulee was done in a silicone mold with a little gelatin. The crust was crushed poppyseed brittle and pink salt. Dry caramel, candied orange slice, and balsamic strawberries garnished the dome.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Main course from service that was visually stunning. A huge hit with a superb piece of fish. The creamy Fava with sweet parsnip worked really well with the Spanish chorizo vinaigrette. Next time I will add a little more spice to balance the flavors better.
If you don't know this book then your not a serious chef. Take a minute and google Ferguson Henderson to learn about cooking something other than your precious Filet mignon or boneless chicken breast. With all the extra organ meats leftover in the kitchen lately from buying whole meats directly from the farms, out comes the nose to tail book for guidance on what to do with those rabbit hearts or pig livers.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Duck Proscuitto with beets, avocados, blood orange segments, watetcress, radish shavings, and cumin spiced vinaigrette. This first course "organized confusion" salad is truly a collage to the current Chicago weather . The citrus fruits are still here but vibrant greens are popping up everywhere. We want to move past the root vegetables and begin biting into perfectly ripe avocados.
4 veggie orders just called to fire as all the remaining entrees are being plated in the window. What do you do to feed these four vegetarians. I grab some piquillos and stuff them with bleu cheese. A little roasted fingerling potato with grilled artichokes and light vinaigrette streaks. Fresh tossed arugula in evoo with pinenuts, Voila!!! Upscale veg plates done...
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Pretty straightforward plate with tons of flavor. The most important component on this dish was the sauce. It had four different reductions to really bring the flavors together. After sauteeing piquillos with garlic and onions, the whole grain mustard, hot peppers, and eggplants were simmered down with smoked paprika. The second reduction was marsala wine and maple syrup, the third was pork stock and chicken stock, the fourth was veal demi finished a dollop of butter to enhance the richness. Each reduction was tasted and balanced for flavor. Remember to constantly taste your food to ensure proper seasoning.
Monday, April 4, 2011
Friday, April 1, 2011
I've taken some raw prawns and dusted them with meat glue. They are rolled in plastic wrap tightly and allowed to rest for at least four hours. I lightly poached the roulades until internal temp is around 130 the shrimp log is frozen until solid and then shaved paper thin on a meat slicer. The shrimp Carpaccio can be drizzled with any oil or aioli of choice with some fresh greens.
Here is a fun technique that is simple and doesn't cost lots of money to produce. Peel a potato and square of the sides to create a rectangle and shave paper thin on a slicer. Cross two potato slices and fill with your choice of stuffing. Alternate the slices as you wrap into a small package. Freeze the potato raviolis until solid. Pan fry each side in clarified butter until golden brown. I've served these with a citrus ketchup, dragon egg, and spicy eggplant caviar.
Here is a cool technique inspired by some recent reading of David Chang's book Momofuku. He talked about soaking soft boiled eggs in smoke flavored water to infuse the flavor. I decided to try this flavor profile with a different technique that would have more of a visual presentation and still be considered a smoked egg. After soft boiling some farm eggs and chilling them down, we cracked the shells all over and hot smoked them for five minutes. Once they were cool enough to peel, the result was this spider web marble effect on the egg white. The flavor was lightly smoky and some good sea salt brought it all together.