Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Oxtail-Cassava Terrine
Tamarind Consommé
Blistered Okra
Cilantro
Soy Sauce & Chili Oil

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mini Me

You know those miniature pumpkins used to make the office more festive or replace the apple on your elementary school teacher's desk? Those decorative gourds are very edible and before November is over, you should confiscate them and decorate the inside of your stomach with easy and delicious fall flavor.

I'm looking closer at personal-sized proteins and serving them whole. Thai eggplant is another great example. What if we stuffed them with other meats and fish before roasting them, to make an even greater presentation and impart flavor from surrounding vegetable?

Above I've roasted two baby pumpkins @ 350F for about 1 hour.

One with licorice/chili oil/brown sugar
The other with nothing.

Cut 'em open. Handheld enjoyment with a little salt a long the way

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Fat


is a beautiful thing
be it swine or poultry

I always reserve rendered fat from bacon or when crisping chicken skin.
Keep it in the fridge and use it as you would butter or oil.
Imparts flavor in an easy way.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Elemental Efficiency: Liquid Nitrogen

At Super Bowl MCVDLVI, the final minutes of the game come to a close. The winning team bends the cap on their fresh championship hats and the coach starts to cry. In celebratory form, the defensive linemen go to pour Gatorade over coach. Due to the heat of the moment, they accidentally choose the wrong keg and the whole crowd freezes (not to mimic) as the coach, actually frozen, starts to fall apart. His tear is the first to fall and it breaks into these beautiful fragments.

Inside the wrong keg was liquid nitrogen. There is a lot of appeal, intimidation, curiosity and danger involved. However, it has become a more common ingredient in restaurants, bars and catering.
This week, when Raquel flew into town we immediately bought a 5 gallon keg from Gala Gas Co on 24th & NW 1st Ave in Miami at a reasonable price. I must say, intimidation settled quickly once we got into the groove of things. Nothing was previously prepared (which would've been a smart idea....next time) so we experimented with what was around. Here's a quick picture show of some of the try outs.
Liquid Nitrogen
Broken Raspberries
Ham Chips
Scrambled Egg Ice Cream Ingredients
Ice Cream Preparation

Creations included:
Ranch Potato Chip Curry Ice Cream (would've been better with regular Lay's, only had ranch)

Butternut Squash Soup Dome (a la: Sweet Corn Soup, Coconut, Charred Husk [amongst other examples])

Scrambled Egg Ice Cream with Bacon (the best ice cream of the day)

Mozzarella Ice Cream (didn't really work. I want to make it work though, will try other methods in the future)

Apple Chips (delicious, dissolves to be very fresh tasting)

Banana Curry Ice Cream ( also with nutmeg; good flavors, needed more sugar)

Ham Chips (a novel idea, but nothing spectacular; maybe with better ham)

Green Tea Ice Cream (made from Gunpowder Green Tea, rather than matcha)

The reason why we did mostly ice creams is because, surprisingly enough, it was the quickest thing to make!
The quicker ice cream freezes, the smaller the ice crystals will be, resulting in a smoother ice cream. Liquid nitrogen freezes so quickly that ice cream is literally formed in less than a minute. Making it great for presentation. Table side dessert, best demonstrated here, as a bootleg video from Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck restaurant in the UK.

I love the nitrogen's endless possibilities and the role it can play in surprising and delighting the palette. I will definitely be using it again. I was definitely nervous as the first time using this stuff. But if you generally treat it the same you do with hot oil or boiling water (ie: DO NOT PUT YOUR HAND IN THERE) then you will be just fine. I would still read the Liquid Nitrogen Primer listed below as an overview and safety guide before purchasing.


Read First



Where to Buy

Gala Gas Co
121 Northwest 24th Street
Miami, FL 33127-4413
(305) 573-1388
{Don't be afraid to ask questions!}


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Experiment



Smoked Almond-Chicken Breast
Beef Tendon
Watermelon Rind Kimchee
Fish sauce Caramel
Yuzu

-Marinated the breast in a smoked almond & buttermilk brine, steamed it, sliced it thin.
-Braised beef tendon in broth and spices, semi-froze, sliced paper thin
-Marinated watermelon rind in salt, sugar, chilies & fish sauce for 2 weeks (so far...)
-Equal parts fish sauce and sugar, reduced and cooled to a loose caramel.
-A few dots of yuzu over the top.

I really enjoy how the beef tendon looks almost like pancetta draped over the chicken breast, which, after a 3 day brine, infused a great deal of smoked almond in the breast without losing the essential chicken flavor. The rind kimchee I can't get enough of, I always reach in the fridge and snack on them, tasting the transformation of a Korean-inspired southern s(e)oul food time lapse. The caramel needs some work, but I know I want to go somewhere in the direction of "Umami caramel". This was not only an experiment, but an improvisation. I didn't harbor over notes, jots and doodles for weeks, doubting myself and then reassuring. I just had an open fridge and an open mind which will, hopefully, lead to an open heart {purgarey}

Experiment.
Make it your motto day and night.
Experiment and it will lead you to the light.
The apple on the top of the tree is never too high to achieve,
So take an example from Eve, experiment.
Be curious, though interfering friends may frown,
Get furious at each attempt to hold you down.
If this advice you always employ, the future can offer you infinite joy
And merriment.
Experiment and you'll see.
-Cole Porter

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Not Milk?

After observing a freshly strained Thom Kha Gai broth, you wonder what whimsical interpretations could be made between a bowl of broth vs a bowl of milk. Could cereal be the next soup? That film of fat that forms atop a pot of warm milk, could that be recreated with something else? Another fat, perhaps. What's going to be hiding underneath?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Charred Citrus

A blowtorch is, ironically, a delicate way to sear and caramelize citrus and fruits without it turning to mush. Cooked fruits could be easily horrible, but cooking with fruits is truly an amazing way to add freshness to any dish. I usually don't do much to the fruit. Imagine watermelons, mangos, blueberries, cantaloupe and the perfect orange or apple. Notice how distinct and different they are from each other. How indescribable and uniquely delicious their flavor is. No need to tamper with too often.Texture is a fun way to tamper, if you must. Juice selected fruit and set to a gel, make alginate spheres, foam it up. Staying true to its raw flavor while giving it a surprising new mouthfeel and appearance.

Here, I've torched some raw grapefruit segments and paired it with a fennel salad (thinly sliced and dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper). Tarragon would be a nice addition, though I didn't have any at the moment.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010



Pig's Tongue Confit
Crispy Lentils
Peach
Ginger Salt
Mauby-Balsamic Reduction
Pickled Leeks
Sage

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Another late night snack.
Maduros
Bleu Cheese
Basil
Pumpkin Seeds


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Watermelon Rind


I love to leave a sliver of flesh on the rind, for a touch of sweetness and the beautiful gradient. The gradient that won't matter once ground into a delicious chutney. Yes, there is much to do with the remainder of fruit. The outer layers. The same way I'll dehydrate potato skins and grind them for a crust or powder; I'll kimchee, pickle, preserve, ferment and chutney a watermelon rind. It's a fun way to take apart an ingredient and reincorporate it, sort of deconstructed, in a dish. Imagine how much more fun watermelons would be to eat if they were bite size and eaten whole.

Preventing waste is something I grew up on, and finding creative ways to do it excites me even further. The chutney I made is inspired by my grandmother. Simply:

-Saute lemon slices (rind on) in a bit of olive oil; medium heat
-Add minced serrano chilies and ginger
-Add chopped watermelon rind (green and white)
-Cook for a couple minutes, until the lemon flesh has melted into the pan
-Add salt, sugar & white vinegar. Cook for 1 more minute
-Remove from heat. Blend all the ingredients in a blender or grind finely in mortar and pestle.
-Refrigerate. It's best served cold with just about any hearty dish. Preferably curries.



Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Coffee & Potato Skin Crusted NY Strip
Bleu Cheese Panna Cotta

Strawberries Three Ways
Fresh
Macerated in Gin
Oven Dried

Basil Powder
Celery Strips

Editing:
-Needs a starch and a sauce.
Where are the confit potatoes?! In the fridge, of course, as my fork arrived at the plate it's face turned strawberry-red (if it had a face; a cute little fork face) embarrassed by the fact that it didn't have any fat-soaked confit potatoes to sink its' claws into.
The sauce didn't turn red, but probably grey as I left the strawberry and celery leaves in their respective china waiting to be blended into a vibrant green emulsion, only to better accent the already plated flavors. Now the only green left is of envy. Also a balsamic-mauby reduction was supposed to be in the works.

-Don't plate the panna cotta too soon.
I've never made panna cotta before. For some reason, I decide a savory bleu cheese one would be a great place to start off. Don't get me wrong, the flavor was on point. I wanted to plate it ahead of time to see how it came out, because I didn't want to make the dish if the panna cotta didn't hold up. It held up, but started to melt as I was setting up everything else to be plated. I felt I needed to rush which also attributed to the loss of sauce and starch.

-Don't get caught macerating....the wrong way
An hour ahead I sliced strawberries and marinated them in sugar, salt and Plymouth gin. The raw flavor of the gin was very unpleasant. Here's what I can do: 1. Remove the idea from this dish 2. Cook the gin to remove the raw flavor 3. Macerate with another spirit: red wine or tequila perhaps.

In conclusion:
I am happy with this dish, but it is definitely a rough draft. It's actually an idea (flavor combination) from 3 or 4 years ago that I've always been excited about and finally felt ready to give the flavors the proper treatment. Food editor sounds like an interesting job to make up.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Late Night Simplicity

Thyme Infused Potato
Bleu Cheese
Kalamata Olive Oil
Celery
Basil
Scallion
Truffle Oil
Fig White Balsamic
Black Pepper

I don't know what the verb for confit is, but that's what I was doing to some potatoes I had squared off into planks for a sooner than later ribeye dish I'm working on. I had a lot of leftover, irregularly shaped tater ends and could not waste them. So I boiled them ever so easily in salted water with thyme sprigs and a bay leaf. Planning to fry them the next morning, I was ready to pack them up when I realized that midnight wasn't the only thing that had struck. Hunger calls and what better way to tame it then the beautiful and starchly simple tubers that drain before me. I donned my superhero persona as the Refrigeraider and improvised my way to a late night snack. It's about 2:30 in the A.M. and I am not about to reduce, simmer, fry, poach, steep, marinate, macerate or saute anything else. A warm and somewhat elegant potato salad suited fairly and I must say was quite tasty and not too filling. This would be a delicious bar snack. Maybe for a sports bar that only has medium-width screen TV's showing cricket and badminton during the off season. Oh, a pretentious sports bar. I think I'll call it: Miami Prime II: The Squeakquel

Monday, July 26, 2010

When life hands you fenugreek...

...you make French toast?

Faced with a leftover sourdough baguette, no blender to make gazpacho and a brunch sun peering through the venetians, you're forced to get creative. This force is mostly stemming from the fact that I don't have any maple syrup. In all honesty, it's fairly expensive (I'm not talking about that imitation crap) and the usefulness does not outweigh the cost. Though it's one of my favorite flavors, I wish it had more savory abilities. It is a great sugar/honey substitute. Love to throw it in a balsamic reduction and to candy bacon with it.
Speaking of imitation crap, I learned recently that fenugreek is used in making most manufactured imitation maple syrups. This makes a lot of sense when you taste fenugreek.

In the end I had some mauby concentrate on my shelf and decided to reduce it to a maple syrup consistency. Mauby has a bitter note to it which made for a more interesting syrup. I coated the sourdough baguette in an egg wash whisked with dried fenugreek to reincorporate the maple flavor. I also made a nice discovery when washing out the left over mauby syrup in the pot, which I will hopefully reveal very soon in another dish.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Souse #2

Pigfoot Mosaic
Cucumber
Pickled Onion
Fennel Seed Vinaigrette
Serrano Pepper




Saturday, July 17, 2010

Indulgence, NY

In the end of June I traveled to New York City to meet up with the rest of Animal/Tropical to entertain a few North Eastern states. As i was aerially aligned with the Atlantic Ocean I had taken note, done research and made plans to gorge on the haute hot heat of NYC's best kitchens and dining rooms. Focused on the Prince's more than the King's, I had sought out the best tasting menu's within my budget, time frame and preference. Some on the list were Eleven Madison Park, the Modern @ MoMa, Bouley & WD~50. However, I ended up at the newest establishments of some of NYC's Culinary King's which in turn ends up being their "Prince" restaurants, essentially. Pretty much all of them were born earlier this year. It almost felt as though I had made a composition book of Sam Sifton clippings and used it as a map. Allow me to elaborate: a breakdown of where I feasted. (and boy, don't take the subject line lightly, I definitely needed to be rolled out of most of these restaurants).

DBGB
The newest from seasoner Daniel Boulud is a real sausage fest. No, it actually is! He's made a wiener-centric upscale establishment that's the best of the wurst of them. I stepped in with a small appetite and a resulting sweat of 100˚+ outdoors. Not sausage-stuffing weather. I mostly wanted a drink, but took opportunity to at least taste something from the supervision (at some point) of such a restauranteur as Boulud. I started my day with a delicious Gimlet after a fussy debate between me and the bartender over what REALLY goes into an Aviation cocktail. After coming to a consensus that they can be made either way we settled down and he gave an enthusiastic thumbs up with his eyebrows when I ordered the Chilled Spring Pea Soup w/ Rosemary Cream. His thumbrows were right! The soup tasted like a garden. A fresh and pure taste of peas and stock seasoned perfectly. The rosemary giving it an herbal boost. Most importantly, I asked the bartender which beer HE thought would go best with the soup. After letting me have a flight of them to figure it out, the Peak Organic Summer Ale was great beyond words. A beautiful match. After more chatter, he let me taste a rum by Smith & Cross which completely changed and blew my mind about rum. Amazing.
Moral of the story: ALWAYS TALK TO YOUR BARTENDER. That is, if you actually have something to say that might interest them. Start with questions and don't be a dick.

ABC Kitchen
It's a Girl! I would assume so of this newborn from Jean Georges-Vongerichten judging by the sheer atmospheric elegance and farm-inspired freshness involved in the food. I would like to thank my friend, Robyn for taking me to have an unexpected and delicious feast of a lunch.

Sugar Snap Pea Salad with Parmesan Dressing
Mackerel Sashimi w/ Ginger & Mint
Peekytoe Crab Toast
Kasha & Bowtie Pasta with Veal Meatballs
Morels, Parmesan, Oregano & Farm Egg Pizza
Salted Caramel Ice Cream Sundae w/ Candied Peanuts & Popcorn, Whipped Cream & Chocolate sauce
Rhubarb Crumble
Green Market Cocktail w/ Tarragon & Pernod

I'm sure I'm leaving out something, because food kept showing up on the table faster than I could digest. I will say that the Green Market cocktail also tasted like a garden. Delicious. However this experience still does not change my mind about the over-gourmetizing of pizza. Pizza is pizza. I would've preferred the morels on their own. I still think pizza should be left alone a little bit, and believe me I don't say that about most food. On that note, don't get me wrong, this was still a great meal I will not forget.

Fatty 'Cue
Stumbling upon is used in the truest sense considering that the drinking had begun since noon and everything after that seemed to be a bar hop away. Which also explains why I don't even remember how or when we arrived at the latest installment from the Fatty Crab crew. But when we planted our lush tushies on the low stools of this hole-in-the-wall inspired "joint", I felt like my hangover was already cured. But not as well cured as the 'Cue Coriander Bacon served with a yellow curry custard. Served with bold rusticity along with the Nasi Ulam, a well executed rice bowl with Ikan Bilis (tiny fried fish), cilantro and all the Malaysian fixin's, Hand Pulled Lamb Shoulder served with a garlic & mint tinged goat yogurt, a handsomely spicy bowl of noodles, and thinly sliced and smoked Pork Loin with green peppercorn aioli and herbs. Oh. There was one more thing. Simply titled: Dragon Pullman Toast with a side of Master Fat. Although it sounds like something Shang Tsung would be sick of eating everyday for breakfast, it was a fatality of an appetizer, and quite Toasty! A delicious message proving that this restaurant does not put anything to waste. A nice piece of grilled toast served with a cup of the leftover liquid smoky fat from the 'Cue. (To also mention: they serve a soup made from the leftover smoked bones as well). Very admirable and a nod to the current future of sustainability becoming so important in the biz.

Momofuku Ssam Bar
The fact that Elvis Costello named a very bad album after David Chang's ever-growing hipster foodie empire of Korean-bred French modern New American cuisine has always intrigued and displeased the notion of eating here. Of course, it's always important to see what the fuss is about. At the same time, I just happened to be walking about the East Village to see a corner space with simply a cutesy peach icon and nothing more. Opting for the lunch prix-fixe is a very smart choice at $25 for a three course meal.

The Spicy Honeycomb Tripe w/ ginger and pickled tomatoes was most impressive in it's knife skills of creating the perfect texture to enjoy tripe (be it, Western or Eastern palette). Although it does not come close to the cold tripe dish at Grand Sichuan.

Second came the Corned Beef Terrine with Fried Egg Sauce and Tea-Brined Egg Salad. A whimsical and rich dish appropriately balanced by the acidic tea-brined egg salad with watercress. Fried egg sauce was brilliant.

Though I had no room for it, it was too good an idea and dish to pass up. Thai Tea Parfait was another whimsical take on those often craved flavors in a Thai Iced Tea deliciously executed in this dessert.


Overall, a successful trip. Played music I love. Met great people. Had delicious food. You should try it some time.

Thanks: Gispert, Pabon, Haueisen, Burchard, Nguyen, Lloyd, Luna, Spain, Rubiera & Castello.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

Tweaking




Olive-Brined Chicken Thigh
White Chocolate Potato Pureé
Burnt Onion Jus
Fava Bean
Carrot
Yuzu Vinaigrette

The top photo is first attempt and assembly of dish. Knowing it needed something more, I tweaked it a bit the next night. I brined the chicken thigh's overnight, rather than for one hour. I added carrots and yuzu for acidity and snap. I added horseradish and parmesan to the white chocolate potato pureé and Angostura bitters to the burnt onion jus. Thus, the bottom photo.

It's still missing something. As tempted as I am to add fruit to every dish, I'm trying very hard to not throw apples on the plate. It would give it the juicier component, but it might be too sweet with the white chocolate. I thought of pecans because the chicken brine was a mixture of natural olive brine and fenugreek that i steeped in a simple brine (water/salt/sugar). I always find fenugreek and pecans to have a natural maple flavor to them and feel they should be paired for that reason.

I will say my favorite combination on the plate is the fava beans and wh. choc. potato pureé. I could eat that by itself for lunch.

It needs another sauce. Maybe a carrot pudding/yogurt infused with the yuzu.
Maybe a crumble of sorts. More crunch. More acid. More wetness.

Any suggestions?

Human Beans

There's a lot to be noticed about the fava bean. Between stalk and bean lies a thin white layer that resembles wet styrofoam (yummy). Like polyester pajamas, these stalks are undressed to reveal off-chartreuse pods, newly born as if they were opening their eyes for the first time. So, tonight I'm the OBeanGYN, giving birth to these fresh, in season favas.

Now, of course, the next question is to what to do? How do I raise these little pods to grow into cultured and sophisticated individuals? Never cooking them before, I decided to gnaw on a raw bean, took a nibble of the outer layered stalk (tastes like tough bean sprouts), even slurped a sliver of the styrofoam-y lining. I find it very important to explore all possibilities of produce in its raw state as possible (I'm still considering making a salad of the spongy styrofoam). Finding the raw bean chalky, as expected, I went to the next logical step of blanching. Then I just went for a full boil of about 5 minutes.

Once tender, they tasted great. Didn't even really need any salt, although I tested one with salt and olive oil.

With the proper pairings, I don't think I should touch these beans any further. I've put them on standby in the fridge and will only use them that way. Cold and pure. I'm very excited.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Crispy Stuffed Gnocchi
Artichoke Ham-Hock Broth
Sweet Florida Corn Pudding
Shaved Chicken Breast
Steamed Cabbage
Charred Leeks
Thai Basil
Pecans

Friday, May 14, 2010

Pork Skin Cannoli v1.0

This is v1.0 due to the impromptu-ness of the dish. I didn't use a cannoli tube or a traditional ricotta-based filling. I figured I'd start at the deep end and swim my way up to the surface of a complete dish. The filling I tried here is a yuca (or cassava) mousse. I added cinnamon, cumin and nutmeg to bridge the sweet/savory gap. Yuca is a funny substance, I must say. The starch contained gives it this undeniable gumminess that doesn't quite equate to the "fluff" you're supposed to get from a mousse.

Well, not quite a dish. This is 1 out of 4, so far, of my amuse-bouche series. I've already posted all but one at this point. They are as follows:

Oreo
Caesar Salad
Cannoli
Cantaloupe

Sounds like a strange yet normal selection of food. However, the oreo is made from zucchini, the Caesar Salad has no dressing, the cannoli is not a pastry and the cantaloupe will taste more than it looks. (Wow, I really should've worded this to be more appealing). Trust me! They're meant to be one bite and they will taste good.

Now I'm off to the pastry supply store and/or Italian market to fetch me some real cannoli supplies and try this again!



Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Oreo


Zucchini . White Cheddar . Cocoa

now all I need is some milk...

Chicago En Ti



Returning from Chicago there are reflections to be had. Not only on the river, but above it as well. Throughout the city there is this glow of sophisticated progression and metropolitan intelligence with less pretension of known coastal corners. The best way to experience this city's progressive offerings is through it's dining. Any gastrobsessive (yes, that's me trying REALLY hard not to use the word "foodie") like myself, might agree that Chicago is the latest U.S. culinary epicenter. From veterans like Charlie Trotter, Rick Tramonto & Rick Bayless to future veterans and whiz kids: Grant Achatz, Homaru Cantu, Laurent Gras and Paul Kahan/Mike Sheerin (tip of the iceberg, folks). You wonder if the coastal city's are taking their environment and agriculture for granted. (I know Miami doesn't need another goddamn steak house). With this said, you can imagine me &
Christina's excitement descending into O'Hare airport. With a William Eggleston exhibit at the Art Institute to top it all off, there was a luxurious time to be had in Chicago. Due to the wedding in Arlington Heights we attended, fun was shared amongst friends and family, not to mention running into my friend Dana, the crowd thickened. It ended in a fine cocktail bar, that actually carried the pretension that was missing from the rest of the city. Let me wrap it up, here's a breakdown of restaurants to visit when in Chicago, period. (Don't just let the wind carry you)

Blackbird (also visit their sister restaurants: Avec and The Publican, oh and the pretentious yet delicious cocktail bar mentioned earlier: The Violet Hour)

Also, from the makers of Alinea, a new restaurant and cocktail bar. Here's the trailer...yes, trailer. Next Restaurant

I know there are establishments left out, I'm just too excited. Keepin' an eye out for cheap tickets and the lottery.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Caesar Salad v1.0


I looked over romaine for a long time. Even in my arugula post from last year I literally said "fuck romaine".
But it's been haunting me lately.
There has constantly been a bubbling craving for those romaine hearts. I always enjoyed how juicy and crunchy they were and the way they bring the Caesar dressing together.

Here I isolated the heart from all other parts of the lettuce, then I separated all the ingredients involved in a Caesar dressing and made powders out of them. This way the "water" from the heart liquifies all of the dried ingredients to end in what tastes like a Caesar salad.

This is v1.0 because it can taste better. Look better. The idea is for this to be an amuse-bouche with enough punch to feel like you spent the last 20 minutes eating a Caesar salad.

Caesar Salad v1.0

Anchovy Powder
Pat anchovies as dry as possible
Deep fry in canola oil @ 350ºF until completely crispy
Strain and pat dry on paper towels
Grind fried anchovies in a coffee grinder to a fine powder, scraping down the sides as needed.

Garlic Powder
Peel garlic clove and slice as thinly as possible
Deep fry in canola oil @ 300ºF until there are no more bubbles around garlic slices (about 10+ min)
Strain and pat dry on paper towels.
Grind fried garlic in a coffee grinder to a fine powder, scraping down the sides as needed.

Egg Yolk Powder
Hard boil one egg.
Separate whites from yolk, keeping yolk intact.
Set aside whites and save for another use
Put whole yolk in a container in the freezer for at least 1/2 an hour (or until frozen)

Romaine Lettuce Hearts
Break off a whole leaf of lettuce, with stem attached
Cut off top, leafy portion, leaving just the white portion of lettuce
Trim the ends, leaving just the heart intact
cut into 3-4 equal sized small portions

To Finish
Toast bread crumbs in oven or over a dry pan until lightly toasted

Put about 3/4 tbsp. lemon juice in a bowl
While whisking, slowly add olive oil in a steady stream until fully incorporated
Whisk in salt and pepper

Coat romaine hearts in olive oil dressing
Put one coated lettuce heart on small plate
Sprinkle garlic and anchovy powders equally ( a small amount, these are very powerful concentrated flavors) onto hearts

Take egg yolk out of freezer
Using a small, fine grater, grate egg yolk over romaine hearts
Grate parmesan cheese over hearts
Sprinkle toasted breadcrumbs

wow...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Underdog Ingredient

Some food gets a bad rep. Some get no rep at all. Zucchini tends to fall in the latter category and on the categorical ladder, it's usually at the bottom (not to mention alphabetically as well). There's no underdog like zucchini. I bought some this weekend in hopes to let zucchini shine and have a leading role for once. It's won for supporting roles in ratatouille, pupusas and mücver. It almost won for tempura, but has often been defeated by carrot and sweet potato.

Here, I've fried slices of said squash in bacon fat that was rendered from the finely ground bacon trailing the back of the dish. Sandwiched between slices of extra sharp white cheddar, it sits atop a sauce made from brown butter, lemon, burnt onion stock, rosemary and cocoa. I love the way the zucchini crisps up, soaks in the fat and has a Maillard crust.

What other unsung produce is out there? Cuts of meat, fruits, vegetables, herbs. Maybe the future of cuisine lies in bringing forth the ingredients behind the scenes.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Veal . Cocoa . Zucchini . Cippolini . Fennel . Corn . Parmesan
Crispy Veal Leg . Pickled Fennel + Fronds . Parmesan
Cocoa-Braised Cippolini's
Zucchini & Corn with Black Pepper & Rosemary

Saturday, March 27, 2010


soaking tripe for dessert

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Deception Exception

I love to play with the eye. It can most often be our biggest deceiver in expectations. We have also trained ourselves to rely on it way too much. The dining experience would be a lot different if the diner were blindfolded, or even had their dinner presented to them with no menu and no description as to what they are eating. Being comfortable with familiarity only makes sense, but why not trust a chef? Omakase in Japanese restaurants translates to "it's up to you" (the "you" referring to the chef). Most likely, we wouldn't be able to understand the chef composing on the spot, so we just accept and hopefully enjoy.

The dish above is a very simple setting of watermelon radish with arugula tossed in olive oil and fig white balsamic. I love how the radish, thinly sliced, resembles a well-marbled piece of high quality beef. It'd be great to make a carpaccio of said radish with kobe or wagyu looking identical and never being sure of which you're going to bite in to. Surprise is an element of progression in contemporary cuisine. Let us never be prepared.