Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Beet Tart, Smoked Blue, Baby Mache, Kumquat Vinaigrette

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.

Slagel Farms Pork Chop, Root Beer Reduction, Creme Fraiche Potatoes, Ramps and Baby Carrots

Main course from our clocktower dinner tonight.

Amish Chicken, Fingerling Potato Salad with Duck Fat Aioli, Bacon Powder, Spring Green Garlic Puree

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.

Fresh Ramps

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

Apple Croustade, Balsamic Syrup, Dry Caramel, Basil Ice Cream, Micro Opal

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

Spring Pea Puree with Beggars Purse

Garnished with pea tendrils, kalamata dust, and truffle oil. The crepe was filled with duck confit and tied off with a blanched chive.

Amish chicken with oyster mushroom glace, fava beans, smashed fingerlings, and pancetta

Main course from lunch, the dark meat is always more flavorful.

Aji Chile Grilled Shrimp, Tomato Water, Avocado Cucumber Salad

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

Meyer beef, tator tots, smoked blue, preserved kumquat, heirloom carrots

Main course today

Raspberry fruit leather

Raspberries, sugar, and water boiled down and pureed. Strain through a chins onto a silpat lined sheetpan. Place in the oven overnight with just a pilot light or about 150 degrees. Aka... fruit rollups

Mulatto torte with raspberry fruit leather, root beer milk, and gold chocolate truffle

Dessert from today

Tuna 2 ways

Crudo with yuzu, pickled fennel ginger salad, and micro cilantro

Seared rare with habanero syrup, tempura avocado, micro opal basil, candies orange

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Peas and Carrot Salad

First course salad from today:

Carrot parfait, Werp Farms tendrils, edamame, arborio puffs, pea caviar, smoked bacon vinaigrette

Friday, April 15, 2011

Arugula leaves in crouton with frosted grapes and pickled beets

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

Elevated Creme Brulee

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

Black Bass with Fava Beans, Chorizo Vinaigrette, Parsnip Puree, Salsify Confit

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.

And you call yourself a chef...

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

Feels like winters leaving

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.

Vegetarian plates

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

Beef Filet, Roasted Sunchoke, Smoked Piquillo

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

Salmon Napoleon

Pea shoots, picholine olive vinaigrette, celery root, and lavash

Shrimp Carpaccio

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.

Potato Ravioli with Striped Bass and Lemon

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.

Dragon Eggs

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.