Monday, August 25, 2014

Breakfast Bolognese

Bolognese is a beautiful thing. The quintessential ragú of meat and tomatoes where fat and acidity breaks down into a rich stew of balanced sweetness and umami flavors. Loaded with nostalgia as well, because I'm sure most of our mothers have made some form of pasta & meat sauce for us (tu mámi flavors?).

Most recipes for bolognese will call for ground beef and/or pork, but the beauty of this dish is that you can toss in whatever scraps or combination of meat you have. Leftover charcuterie, pancetta, sausage, ham, bacon, etc. My favorite combo is oxtail and bacon. This time around I used breakfast pork sausage, bacon and headcheese. Considering the breakfast flavors that are very specific to sausage and bacon, I thought about how I could further those flavors to complete a bolognese inspired by breakfast.
After the fat was rendered from the diced bacon and torn apart breakfast sausage & headcheese, I added diced onions and jalapeños until golden and really starting to come together. To that, I included garlic, bay leaf, cinnamon, star anise, soy sauce and some leftover red wine I had laying around (Charles Shaw Cabernet; only the best for me). Once the wine reduced and the brown bits were scraped up from the bottom I added peeled plum tomatoes and let that sucker simmer for about an hour and a half, once the tomatoes melted into the sauce and all the molecules mingled.  Added fresh cherry tomatoes and adjusted the seasoning with salt. Now it's time to assemble.

I paired the breakfast bolognese with french fry gnocchi and topped it off with an egg poached in coffee, soy sauce and maple syrup. Garnished with scallions, tarragon, basil and hush puppy breadcrumbs and black pepper.


The flavors of breakfast are definitely in there: egg, sausage, bacon, maple syrup, coffee and fried potatoes. I'm not looking to be overly conceptual with a novel idea, I just want to introduce familiar flavors to each other. Oh, and don't forget the runny egg yolk. That's almost as important as breakfast itself:


                          The Secret of the Ooze

Monday, August 18, 2014

Revisiting the Green Goddess






Green Goddess is one of those salad dressings invented 90+ years ago at an hotel restaurant, much like the Caesar and Thousand Island. Creamy, from the 1920's and maintaining a steady popularity throughout America. These condiments have often popped up in garish, dusty cookbooks and housewife club manuals; feeding U.S. bellies while quickly going out of style in the modern age due to its mayonnaise-laden heaviness (an undesirable feature for our "health-concious" population). I admit to dismissing the Green Goddess for a long time, but I've always loved how the term "green" can be open for interpretation. The Goddess was no exception.


Most recipes call for mayonnaise and sour cream, which are not staples in my pantry. I decided to substitute those ingredients for avocado and essentially considered what I had on hand that was also green.

• charred tomatillo
• avocado
• garlic
• anchovy
• lime juice
• carrot tops
• tarragon
• basil

This is what is pictured above. I threw all of these ingredients into the blender and adjusted it with salt, nutritional yeast, homemade pineapple vinegar, coconut oil and some coriander fruit I had drying out in the windowsill. Now I see the potential of this dated dressing. It is delicious on practically anything.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Chamomile Doughnut



made a yeasted doughnut and tossed it in a ground mix of dried chamomile flowers and white sugar.

it lends itself very well to apple, honey and almond flavors.

chamomile is subtle and complex all at the same time.

this makes for a great August/September doughnut, as summer bleeds into autumn.

milky beverages of any temperature will pair just fine.



Monday, June 2, 2014

Okra Leaf


okra leaf
warm ham vinaigrette
crisp garlic

Okra leaves offer the taste and texture of okra, though less assertive. I love how leaves, tops and flowers can bring a preview of it's attached vegetable; like nature's coming attractions or samples for a curious predator. What's fascinating about okra leaves is the texture. It has a hint of the sliminess of okra, providing this unique consistency unfamiliar to most leafy greens. There's a chew. It also lends itself very well to stews and quick sautés, bringing an organic creaminess from the subtle slime. If you like the taste of okra but find it's inherent ooze to be off-putting, then you should start with it's leaves and eventually work your way down.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Salmon Skin No. 2



salmon skin
tofu crema with habanero and capelin roe
carrot tops & watercress stems dressed in pineapple vinegar

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Grits


Flavor does not always have a visual cue. This unassuming bowl of grits is layered with corn flavor from all angles. Ground hominy was cooked in a corn cob stock and corn juice until tender. It was then finished with a cream infused with charred corn husks and popcorn, plus salted butter and some pulverized fresh corn kernels. I think some freeze dried corn and bourbon brown butter can really take it to the next level.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Salmon Skin


salmon skin
avocado
escarole
habanero
cilantro
pineapple + burnt leek vinegar

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Strawberry. Fennel. Black Pepper.


strawberry coated in a shrub of it's own juice
fennel ice cream
black pepper crumble



a solid combination of flavors for dessert

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Carrots


Roasted and glazed in espresso, clementine juice and coriander. Rested on spent clementine halves, ginger scraps and clementine leaves. Sometimes reserving the offshoots of ingredients during preparation can serve as a last minute vessel for flavor before it gets discarded.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Shaved Ham

We received a spiraled Christmas ham as a gift and I've been keeping it in the freezer since the holidays. A vegetable peeler has been the preferred tool to easily shave the ham to order and only when I need it. To me, the strands produced by the vegetable peel against the sliced grain of meat are the right size for most applications. I usually don't like to bite down into thick chunks of this overly sweet, sodium-filled American classic, so these thin shavings prove more effective at transferring a delicate hamminess throughout. Peeling straight out of the freezer makes it easier because the meat is firmer. Also, the peeler is way easier then trying to balance this beast on a mandolin. (Of course, if you have the option of using an industrial meat slicer, by all means go ahead)





 At this point the ham is very useful. Omelette's, salads, fried rice, for snacking, as a topping...you get the idea. However, you can also take this process a bit further by drying out the shavings (I dehydrated them at 115ºF for 45 min). This is great if you want a crispier snack or topping. It is also great for making a quick ham stock, using it the same way you would use katsuobushi


Dehydrated Ham


After drying you can then take it even one step further by pulverizing them into a powder. Ham seasoning. Sprinkle it on everything (preferably something edible).

                                            Ham Powder