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                                                          

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Leftover French Fries



After procuring a buffet-size portion of leftover french fries, I was far from overwhelmed. I know french fries do not reheat very well (maybe, in the oven...maybe) but I've always thought about repurposing french fries the same way you would normally use potatoes. A lot of applications for potatoes usually call for them to be cooked all the way through and void of moisture, usually replacing the moisture with fat, dairy or eggs. To me, french fries are the ultimate version of a cooked and dry potato.

French Fry Gnocchi

I broke apart the soggy, cold fries into a blender and pulverized it until it became a fine powder (french fry flour). I then applied this flour the same way you would apply a cooked and riced potato in a gnocchi recipe. After forming the gnocchi, I boiled them and shocked them in ice water. Strained, patted dry and reserved in olive oil until ready to serve.





Once ready to serve, refried the gnocchi till crispy and add it to whatever sauce was suitable.

This is like a potato being repurposed and redefined through multiple iterations. To break it down, the potato goes through the following cooking stages (if made from triple-cooked french fries which, in my opinion, is the best way to cook them):

boiled
frozen
deep-fried
frozen
deep-fried
dried out
blended
formed into dough
boiled
shocked
reserved
pan-fried

I think the result is great. Gnocchi with a flavor all it's own but does not compete with accompanying sauce. The dryness of a leftover french fry prevents gumminess in the final dough. Though the gnocchi was a bit drier than I preferred so I think next time I will incorporate some freshly cooked potato along with the french fry flour for a better balance.




french fry gnocchi
lamb ragu
olives
celery leaf
lemon zest


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

How To Make Cheap Booze Taste Better Chapter 1


SAKE




Frugality in food can usually provide delicious results, given the right preparation. However, we don't perceive alcohol in the same way. We tend to think it's best when using top notch liquor, but unless it's drank straight or in a minimal cocktail (gimlet, old fashioned, martini, etc.) it's hard for me to find the subtle differences brought by a higher quality booze. Don't be ashamed if your budget is tight and you still want to enjoy a great cocktail.



A large $8 bottle of Gekkeikan provided a great template for experimentation.



I decided on a combination of the following:

sake
white grapes, halved
ginger, sliced (skin on)
quarter lime wedge
elderflower syrup
pinch of salt

Put your glass of choice in the freezer while you prepare the cocktail.

Muddle the white grapes, ginger, lime, salt and elderflower syrup in a cocktail shaker until the grapes have extracted almost all of their juice.

Add ice and sake.

Shake for about 20 seconds.

Take glasses out of the freezer and strain the cocktail over a fine mesh sieve into your chilled glass. Serve up.


This happened to be made using ingredients that were already in my fridge. Make your own cocktail with what you have on hand. The best rules to follow is to have something sweet, something sour and something aromatic. You can also think citrus, syrup and herbs as a baseline for an endless number of combinations.



Monday, December 16, 2013

Green Plate Special


I don't own any blue plates, but this is special nonetheless. A complete lunch or a very satisfying dinner. Meat, starch and greens: just as our mothers intended. Where's my glass of milk?

Chicken breast (skin-on) was marinated in sake lees (kasu) for three days and then fried in salmon fat (from the belly).

Potatoes were peeled, boiled and mashed with butter, coffee, dashi, skim milk, salt & black pepper. Then mixed with green onions. The potato skins were reserved for the topping described below.

The topping for the potatoes was made from fried potato skins, toasted hazelnuts and salt ground to a coarse powder. (I used a mortar & pestle to keep it coarse. It's best to have some recognizable pieces of hazelnut throughout)

Watercress was dressed in olive oil, lemon juice and cinnamon vinegar*. Topped with black pepper.

Oh, and my glass of milk was actually a sake cocktail.


*The cinnamon vinegar was actually just the brine from my pickled beet stems. Because I used a lot of cinnamon for the brine, it tastes mostly like a cinnamon vinegar)