As the weather gets colder and colder I yearn for something to really warm the body and soul. We have continued our work with sunflower seed risotto and yesterday joined it with those pristine Nantucket Bay Scallops. We enriched the risotto with butter and Piave Vecchio cheese and deglazed the scallop pan with green olive brine. The dish is just simple and tasty.
It has taken a bit of time to bring together the elements for this work in progress. It is a braised goat shoulder served with a relish of tomato, olive, onion, tamarind and jalapeno. The stick is a candied fennel branch rolled in goat cheese garnished with a tangle of watercress. The one hitch in this dish is the candied fennel. You have to eat it like sugarcane. You chew and get bursts of fennel and orange with the saltiness from the smoked goat cheese. The whole dish works, I am just not positive our guests will want to chew on a fennel branch. Then again, I have been wrong many times before. Perhaps if I put a fancy handle on the branch, similar to those used for poultry legs I could pull it off.
I have broken down and invested in a scanner. I have been wanting to put sketches on the site for some time now, actually since the beginning, and have stumbled along the way, not satisfied with the results. Today my scanner arrived and my pile of sketches, different and the same as my notes began to become digital. This first sketch is really just a raw idea. It is a loin of fluke wrapped in strips of cabbage or kimchee, flavors of pancetta or another salumi/dried cured meat and pineapple and fermented black bean sauces. The rest needs to be developed. Actually it all needs to be developed, but this is one approach to our dishes.
The idea to serve an ice cold disk of our vinegar martini came from a guest who enjoyed the liquid version before an extended meal with us. He noted the martini was quite refreshing and a great awakening to the meal. With these thoughts in mind, we decided that a frozen disk of the spruce vinegar martini would be a great introduction to a meal. This is how we served it the other night.
In looking at the photograph we have actually begun work on several other dishes which will feature sliced raw fish balance on the spruce spring, to which a hot vinaigrette will be added....dishes coming soon.
Here is one of the dishes we served last evening. It is artichokes braised in brown butter with whipped foie gras and crispy yuzu. The ability to whip foie gras can be directly attributed to great culinary conversations with our friend Wylie who continues trigger ideas and allow them to be executed.
Summer is waining while tomatoes continue to peak with flavor. With the nights turning colder we have put together a dish which features warmed tomatoes which explode like ravioli topped with warm mozzarella sheets. The flavors of tomato and mozzarella are piqued with cherry wood aged balsamic vinegar, ground chorizo and some salad burnet leaves.
It has been a long time since we have used Colorouge, a smeared rind cheese from Fort Collins, Colorado. We were strong advocates of the cheese when we first discovered it and since then have used it on and off. I guess like life our use of cheeses travels a path. Recently we ordered some more of the cheese and have been quite pleased with its quality and flavor. Last evening we paired the cheese with musk melon, borage leaves and licorice-black lime puree.
We are now back in the kitchen getting things geared up for a stretch of non-stop guests. I was able to put the finishing touches on a dish which integrates our caramelized yogurt gnocchi. The dish is slow cooked juniper cured duck ham with caramelized yogurt gnocchi, confit strawberries and celery leaves.
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And so, I continue to mull and contemplate mustard fruits, condiments and their applications. I was planning on writing a brief note about the two mustard fruits we currently have in our New York pantry, crab apple and plum, and show a picture to lift the veil of what the heck are mustard fruits. That is not going to happen, for as I was working with the mustard fruits this morning I began thinking about what else would make an interesting mustard fruit. It appears olives are on my mind, for that was my first thought. Then, I began thinking about sauces, garnishes, condiments and their integral role in our cooking. Yet, how often do I leave such elements out in dessert preparations. Think about it. How exciting would dessert become with these additional elements. Sweet pesto or salsa verde as a component to a dish. Mozzarella pudding with balsamic condiment or olive mustard fruits. I am just beginning to see the tip of the iceberg, so bear with the stream of consciousness approach to dishes. Could piquillo peppers be candied and served with french toast style dessert? I think so, the tastes work it is now just working on the applications.
I have been sitting on a really interesting product for about a week now. The product is Film Loop. It is a program of sorts which allows you to assemble pictures, add comments ideas and more and send them to individuals, groups and even eventually link to them on a website. I found out about Film Loop from Guy Kawasaki. Anyway, the program is still in pre-beta form, whatever that means and still it is quite amazing. I had all these plans of showing the evolution of our cooking and even just the ability to share multiple photos in one easy sharable piece. Similarly, if the maker of the loop updates or changes it everyone who has access to that loop gets updated the next time they have it launched and are on line. Also, depending on the loop, others can update and alter the work. Amazing.
Think about sending someone your entire food extravaganza, or a proposed menu in photography or even twelve great sunsets. What food and more evolve as it streams through pictures. Brilliant.
The hook, they have embedded advertising into the zoom feature of the pictures. My balloon deflates. So, I email and ask about getting rid of the advertisements. The answer, no go, the ads keep the program free for all. But, I would pay to keep it ad free. Think about that. I want to share ideas, give them away and am willing to pay someone to make sure the advertisements are not there. What has the world come to?
Anyway, perhaps since the program is still pre-beta they will work out a different system for the future. Well, since it is pre-beta, and they give it away, and it still is amazing I figured it needed to be shared. So, go to film loop and check it out. Oh, and if anyone is interested in receiving our Film Loop, Food in Motion, (with stupid advertisements embedded in the program) email us and we will get you in the loop. You will have to install film loop on your computer, not a bad thing, just not perfect yet.
We have been asked on numerous occasions what we do with turkey for Thanksgiving. Well, first we start with a Turkey, and when it is all done we slow cook the roulades for forty five minutes at 67 degrees C then we brown the skin in the oven. The step by step, all forty of them are in the Turkey photo album. Enjoy!!!
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We combined our pear spaetzle with sea scallops this morning. We also found a better means for cooking the spaetzle. After poaching them they saute beautifully in brown butter which concentrates the pear flavor. Furthermore, our adapted cooking method (dropping the spaetzle out of a zip loc bag with a hole cut in the corner) allows for larger spaetzle and a more functional means of cooking to order. Anyway, I wanted to show our evolved spaetzle in a new dish.
Our new camera lens arrived on Thursday. I have been looking forward to this lens for a number of months, and now it is in my possession. The lens, a cannon EF-S60mm f/2.8 macro usm, opens a whole new view point on food. I thought we were taking close up photographs before, now we can take close up pictures of mustard seeds and feel the details. Understandably, not all food needs to be looked at under an extreme magnifying glass, yet it enables us to see the details. From knife cuts, to the petal structure of a thyme blossom we can now get closer to the food.
The lens gives a new perspective, one which without looking through it, I might not have missed, but now that I can, I must begin to examine everything more closely; it give a new perspective on our food.
As we continue to develop dishes in the kitchen they will be added to the appropriate photo albums and cross referenced when necessary. Please continue to explore our culinary evolutions and look within these albums as we search for more ideas in food.
Here it is. If we did not taste with our eyes, why is so much money spent on packaging and decorating food products. I mean I'm not even talking restaurants or the fast food billboards, just a can of soup or a bread bag. I guess while I am on the subject it does translate into the worlds of dining from fast to fine. Thus my own thoughts on why simple plates with polish allow food to shine. We taste first with our eyes, then our nose and finally our tastebuds.
Plates, bowls and packaging all say something. Think about this, a can of soup will not sell if it is all white with words, people want to see what is inside. Similarly, plates that are beautiful may not show beautiful food for diners are to busy looking at the frame not the picture. Surround a Picasso in a neon frame and tell me what you see.
While our remote outpost would cause many culinarians to cringe at the thought of procuring products we must protest. Technology has allowed us to share a few of the bounties which have recently fallen upon our doorsteps (thanks to modern day delivery systems.)
We were fortunate enough to capture a few of them on film, so check out the KG photo album.