Thursday, November 19, 2009

Top Chef

I'd like to stress I don't watch the show or any other Chef competition type show. I did watch the last episode replayed later last night. (There was nothing else on)

Earlier in the evening I noticed a ton of traffic on this site from people googleing "Ballentine". Now I've always been amazed how many from the UK google "ballentine" but last night it was from the U.S. I figured people must be researching for Thanksgiving or something. Then I saw the Top Chef episode with the Ballentine. It had been broadcast earlier. Ahhhh, interesting how that works. Saltyskitchen is always high on the list when you google ballentine or gallentine. I did a post on them a ways back. I also have a youtube video cutting a bird in preparation for the dish.

BTW, I'm not a Fan of that Bocuse Door, D'ore, d'or or however the hell you spell it. I appreciate the talent and discipline it takes to do it but to me, that's not real food.

Also the dishes they prepared for that contest weren't much different than what they normally would prepare. They just just gussied up the preparation. And half of them still screwed it up. I'm sorry, four hours? You can't cook lamb properly in four hours?

I've said it again and again. You have to execute! The recipes and menus are like tactics in a war. They're all sexy and wonderful but it's logistics that wins wars. Logistics = execution.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Robert Hall Winery Dinner

Click for close-ups.

Victor making the cherry "dumplings"


Robert (left) and Victor


Brad cutting the chestnuts before roasting.



Sean did a nice job on the lamb. (Sean is the Chef at Shilling's in Downtown Racine, he was kind enough to take me up on my offer to play with some food.)


Amuse, sweet grape stuffed with Carr Valley Billy Bleu with "Blis" Double Solera Elixer.

Day Boat Black Cod, poached in citrus olive oil, white alba truffle, parsley coulis. The coulis came out nice. Opaque like ink.
Sauvignon Blanc

I didn't get a photo of the beet salad.


Day boat scallop, maple accented sweet potato puree, demi-braised slab bacon, tart beurre blanc.
Chardonnay

Breast of pheasant, cranberry-pheasant jus, beans ala "portobella".
Rhone de Robles

Garlic, mustard, thyme and panko crusted rack of lamb. Thyme infused demi-glace, roasted chestnuts, truffled mashed potatoes.
Cabernet Sauvignon

The lamb came out almost perfect. Not the easiest thing to do timing wise. Beautiful Pinn-Oak Ridge Farms racks. You order on Monday, they slaughter on Tuesday, package on Wednesday, deliver on Thursday. That's pretty fresh. They're about 40 miles away.

Very happy the way these turned out. Never had done them before.
Orange Muscat

Friday, November 13, 2009

The King

The King of all things culinary, the white Alba truffle. Just got these in for the wine dinner. You're looking at $300.00. The going price is roughly $3000.00 per lb. (Yes that is the correct amount of zeros).

I wanted to put the photo in a post so it's zoom-able. For those into food porn.

There is nothing quite like that burst of truffle when you open up that Fed-Ex box.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Hattori Kd 210 Gyuto #2

video

The tomato isn't the prettiest (that's why I used it) relatively soft and a challenge for a knife. This particular knife is from a very prestigious series of knives. It's relatively small and not my first choice for this task but does the job. It is obviously very sharp.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Hattori kD 210 Gyuto

video
This task is more difficult than cutting a tomato. The skin is an obstacle and the sticky nature of the flesh of the fruit makes it difficult to chop, you have to slice the apple rather than cut it in an up and down manner. I could have taken this a step further and made another cut or two horizontally then diced it.

Thoughts on Wine Dinner Menu

Autumn Wine Dinner
November 16th 2009
Robert Hall Winery, Paso Robles, CA

In general I wanted to keep the menu relatively straight forward. It's a wine dinner. I think overly complex dishes tend to lose focus when pairing with a wine.

Pacific Northwest Black Cod
Poached in citrus olive oil, white truffles, parsley coulis
Robert Hall Sauvignon Blanc 2008
I was looking for an ultra fresh fish and the black cod has been consistant. When planning a menu this far out you have to be cautious with wild fish. The sauv blanc is citrusy, hence the citrus in the olive oil. The green fruit in the olive oil should be fine with the wine and the truffles need some fat to highlight them.


Roasted Beats and Artisinal Cheese
Humboldt Fog goat cheese, petite frilly green mustard,
“Blis” Double Solera aged sherry vinegar.
I'm going to roast the beets for a long time to give them that "roasted corn" flavor. I simply love Humboldt Fog and the mildly bitter greens should be a nice contrast. The "Blis" vinegar is unbelievable. Better than any aged balsamic I've ever had.


Day Boat Sea Scallop
Pan seared, chicken demi braised slab bacon, maple accented
sweet potato puree and piquant beurre blanc.
Robert Hall Chardonnay 2007
I set out to do this dish no matter what. I did it for the Hope Safe House dinner and was just killer. The chard isn't as big as I would have liked but I noticed it gets better as it warms. We'll have to be careful to serve it at the right temp.


Breast of Pheasant
Foie gras infused cranberry pheasant jus, haricot vert.
Robert Hall Rhone de Robles 2006
This dish should be perfect for this wine. I mean what else can you say? This wine is the best of the bunch and deserves the hassle of making this time consuming dish.


Local Rack of Lamb
(Pinn-Oak Farms, Whitewater, WI)
Panko and mustard crusted, roasted chestnuts,
apricot and thyme infused demi-glace.
Robert Hall Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
OMG. I just recieved my first case of Pinn-Oak farms lamb. Absolutely gorgeous. They take orders on Monday, slaughter on Tuesday, package on Wednesday and deliver on Thursday. This lamb is being added to the new menu. I dare anyone to beat it. Anyone, anywhere.


Montmorency Cherry Dumpling
Candied orange peel, chocolate truffle, vanilla custard.
Robert Hall Orange Muscat 2007
I'll be picking up the cherries in Door County on my next trip up. The area is known for it's tart Montmorency cherries. Got to have some chocolate and the orange peel will pair with the wine, which isn't overly sweet by the way.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Autumn Wine Dinner


Autumn Wine Dinner
November 16th 2009
Robert Hall Winery, Paso Robles, CA

Pacific Northwest Black Cod
Poached in citrus olive oil, white truffles, parsley coulis
Robert Hall Sauvignon Blanc 2008

Roasted Beats and Artisinal Cheese
Humboldt Fog goat cheese, petite frilly green mustard,
“Blis” Double Solera aged sherry vinegar.

Day Boat Sea Scallop
Pan seared, chicken demi braised slab bacon, maple accented
sweet potato puree and piquant beurre blanc.
Robert Hall Chardonnay 2007

Breast of Pheasant
Foie gras infused cranberry pheasant jus, haricot vert.
Robert Hall Rhone de Robles 2006

Local Rack of Lamb
(Pinn-Oak Farms, Whitewater, WI)
Panko and mustard crusted, roasted chestnuts,
apricot and thyme infused demi-glace.
Robert Hall Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Montmorency Cherry Dumpling
Candied orange peel, chocolate truffle, vanilla custard.
Robert Hall Orange Muscat 2007

Pre-tasting 6:00 p.m.
Seating 6:30 p.m.
Cost: $85.00 all inclusive
(Includes service and tax)
Reservations: 262.681.5465

Cruda

Constantly re-designing the tuna.

Cruda
Tuna, lime, avocado, poblano, radish spirully on fried plantain.

Had to use my back-up camera on these shots. I was reminded how much I like it.



Sunday, November 1, 2009