Thursday, August 9, 2012

Crispy Pork Belly, Chicharrones, Yukon Potato, Saffron Honey, Pickled Fennel, Texas Peach

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Valuable Chef Quotes

"If we go back five hundred years to the Renaissance, we’d find technique, theory, and aesthetic values most often handed down to young artists toiling away in their master’s studio (not unlike today's cooks who stage among the world's top kitchens). Copying the work of those old masters served as an important part of that training; by matching tone and color and each stroke of the brush, the student might also absorb the decision making process behind them." - Michael Laiskonis

"You have to know the rules before you can bend (let alone break) them, first commit to formal training and stage under numerous mentors to become a truly skilled, damn good cook." - Charlie Palmer, Volt Ink

"Gastronomy begins with technique.  If you haven't got technique, you will never master gastronomy.  You should buy the best ingredients and cook them perfectly, but to do this you have to question what you are doing and why you are doing it.  If you don't understand what makes a good, say, roast partridge - the hanging, the plucking, the trussing - before you've even started, then don't bother roasting it.  You've got to hang the bird correctly, pluck it correctly (without piercing the skin) and truss it beautifully (bring in the legs and plump out the breast so that it cooks evenly), retaining the heart and livers for sauce.  Seal it on all sides and then cook it on the back.  What's the timing of it?  About ten minutes in my oven, but your oven is different from mine.  A male partridge is bigger than a female partridge.  A partridge shot in December is bigger than one shot in September". - Marco Pierre White, Devil in the Kitchen

"Paying attention to details and making sure that it was done and done right.  You put a piece of tape on a box in the refrigerator, it should be straight, because why would you put it on crooked?  You cut a piece of foie gras, it should be perfect because if it's not, it's a waste.  If you're cooking something in the oven you should make sure you take it out at the right time.  At one point in the oven it is perfect, and that's when you should be aware of it and take it out". - Thomas Keller, Soul of a Chef

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Spoon Wall

This is the spoon wall and still one of my favorite reception presentations. The spoons are prepared individually and then they fit into these small slits on a stainless steel wall. It really makes for a dramatic presentation when hosting a party. These have a butterscotch pudding with caramelized ginger and pineapple.

Rethinking Bearnaise - A new dish in the works

A classic sauce consisting of a tarragon vinegar reduction, egg yolks, and clarified butter.  The technique is what really makes this sauce special as it takes time and repetition to master the emulsification.  Many questions come to mind when I consider the Bearnaise.  Why is this sauce so amazing on steak???  If black licorice is such a turnoff for so many people, why the constant request?  Is the richness the star or is it the flavor combination?  How can I enhance them all?  This led to me writing a new dish tonight called "Steak and Bearnaise" and I'm wondering how to interpret this classic pairing.  Where do I want to take it for the diner experience?  The first idea that pops in my mind is to make it a white Bearnaise?  I could torch a  tarragon infused meringue served with a soft boiled egg, brown butter powder, pickled shallots, and voila.  I think I need to hit the stove and start testing out my thoughts????     

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Caramelized Brussel Sprouts, House Pancetta, Pedro Jimenez, Sage

Perfectly caramelized brussels are such a simple dish that can result in amazing flavors. By cutting the sprouts in half and dropping into boiling salted water for a few minutes par cooks them for an easy execution. Once they are cooled, place cut side down into a pan and crank the heat. Once the water has evaporated, add some oil and allow to brown evenly. I finish these with sage, pancetta, sugar, and sherry vinegar.

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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Fingerling potato confit

We slice our fingerlings into coins and submerge them in olive oil, garlic, shallots, thyme, chili flakes, and salt. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees until tender.

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McCall Creek Farms Tomatoes

Nothing like fresh tomatoes in the middle of summer. A whole case just showed up from a local farm. What to do, what to do???
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Coolest French Fry presentation

This mini fryer basket was lined with parchment and filled with freshly cut french fries at the burger bar inside the hotel New York in Las Vegas. Gotta buy some of these for our lunch presentations.
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Plating and spoons

I never really appreciated my own spoons until I worked with my last sous Perry. He was an intolerable cook that would go to war if you touched his spoons. I've always preferred them when plating as I hate ladles; but it wasn't until stepping back onto the line that I needed my own set. These are the 7 in my bag now and I'm still in search of a larger version with a rounded edge. Maybe its a order since nobody seems to carry them in town. I keep these bad boys sitting in sanitation solution next to my work area for tasting or plating all shift.  They are so valuble to my execution during service and I'm just as crazy as Perry now if someone reaches for them.  #randomthoughts #belovedspoons
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