Saturday, December 31, 2011

Dishes of the Year: 2011

This is not something I normally do, but I've come across some great food this past year and decided to compile a list of my favorites. Now, some of these I've had since before this year and they were so good they conquered this year's list as well.

Here it is:


Koji-Pickled Horse Mackerel
NAOE
[Sunny Isles, FL]
Chef: Kevin Cory

Utilizing the bacteria used to create miso, soy sauce and sake for the pickling of an already stellar ingredient such as horse mackerel, koji (also known as aspergillus oryzae) made for a great agent in flavoring and inspired me to no end. This was a part of Kevin's 13 course omakase offering from one of the best , if not the best, Japanese restaurants in Miami.

Pork Belly. Butterscotch. Bok Choy. Kabocha. Corn Powder.
Pubbelly
[Miami Beach, FL]
Chefs: Jose Mendin & Sergio Navarro

This was the first dish I tried on my first visit to Pubbelly around the first month that they opened. Was absolutely blown away by the tenderness and great marrying of butterscotch and pig. A welcome kabocha purée and bright bok choy to soak it all up.

BBQ Shrimp
Redlight
[Miami, FL]
Chef: Kris Wessel
An undeniable classic. A definitive signature of Kris Wessel's amalgam of New Orleans and Southern Florida cuisine. Served with a side of bread to soak up the Worcestire-laden sauce that is absolutely addictive.

Diver Scallops. Pickled Plum. Sea Beans. Lardo.
Roberta's
[Brooklyn, NY]
Chef: Carlo Mirarchi
Though I was squeezed into a cramped corner of the bar in this hipsterful establishment last minute, I knew I was in for something spectacular. The standout dish of the evening was this lovely plate of perfect diver scallops. What most impressed me was the genius pairing of sweet and acidic freshness from the pickled plum, salted fat in the form of thin lardo strips and a rounded and snappy salinity from the sea beans. It all made so much sense.

Sticky Pork Belly. Cream Soda. Crunchy Turnip. Charred Scallions.
Ideas in Food Cobaya
[Miami, FL]
Chef: Alex Talbot
What most made me happy about this dish was the fact that I could actually taste the cream soda flavor in the pork belly. The crunchy turnip representing a preserved turnip without the overwhelming salinity. Charred scallions are always delicious. A great pairing overall.


Soft Shell Crab
Fatty Crab's
[NYC]
Chef: Zak Pelaccio
Seasoned and fried to perfection. Don't remember what it was served with but I know it was successful. Washed it down with a barrel-aged cocktail.

50/50 Burger
Norman Bros. Produce
[Miami, FL]
Best burger I've had to date. 50/50 means the beef is ground with 50% bacon. Served with avocado, a delicious sauce and all the other fixin's. Only available on Friday's. Worth the trip down south.

Smoked Brisket
ChowDown Grill
[Surfside, FL]
Chef: Joshua Marcus
I don't stop craving this perfectly smoked cut of beef. Served with spicy pickles (usually cauliflower and brussels sprouts). It's been on Chow Down's specials board for a while now. Good thing I'm in walking distance.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Staff Meal

Pan-fried Marlin
Buttered Kohlrabi-Honeydew Mash
Sumac BBQ Pulled Pork
Kohlrabi Greens
Jalapeño Vinegar

The idea of the staff meal has always intrigued me.
The dichotomy of chefs creating high-end, well crafted and beautiful dishes every night sitting down to take a quick break enjoying homely rustic practically leftover fare.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.
It may even ground a chef, digging deep into a soulful bowl of top quality ingredients almost as if your grandmother started a catering company. Bulking up to have the energy to continue service through the rest of the night.

Clearly, I don't have a staff of any kind but I utilize this same application to my everyday meals. Through experimentation, I usually yield enough for one or two dishes. There is a lot of leftover product and makes for an easily composed dinner or a more interesting breakfast.

Here I topped some marlin steaks with the leftover sumac BBQ pulled pork that i made plenty of sandwiches with, stuffed into squid bodies and used to garnish fried eggs.

The kohlrabi-honeydew mash plays off the flavors of the honeydew-pickled broccoli from previous posts and the classic application of buttered broccoli (the stems begin my favorite part, which I find kohlrabi to essentially taste like one giant broccoli stem with cabbage tendencies)

The wilted kohlrabi greens were a last minute given, enhanced with a touch of jalapeño vinegar. Ideally, I would prefer to braise the greens in a ham hock broth to compliment to the southern BBQ flavors.

Overall made for a very satisfying lunch.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sumac BBQ Pulled Pork



Dry rub of sumac, paprika, brown sugar, cinnamon, cumin, ground mustard, ginger, pepper & salt.
Oven roasted pork ribs for 200ºF for 4 hours, then dropped to 175ºF for 3 more hours.
Pulled by hand.
Pressure cooked fatty rib trimmings in ginger ale, ketchup, onion & water for 1 hour.
Reduced pressure cooked stock with garlic, thyme, jalapeño, worchestire, aji amarillo & dijon.
Folded in pulled pork.

Thanks to Harold McGee & Ideas in Food for the researched influence and tips.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Coffee XO Sauce




dried shrimp
ancho chilies
garlic
espresso with sugar (colada)
fish sauce
shoyu
oyster sauce
raw cocoa
bacon
thyme
sesame oil
chili oil
olive oil
black pepper
black shrimp paste (blacan)

Clearly, a last minute XO sauce (hence the already made colada). This is an idea that's been in my notebook for quite some time and finally decided to make it happen with whatever was around. It was delicious, don't get me wrong, but I do love how open something like an XO sauce is to a myriad of flavor combinations.

The basis for XO is generally: dried seafood, garlic, oil, smoked meat and chilies. Think about how many ways that can go.

I cooked the mixture until almost dry and rehydrated it with more espresso and the water used to originally hydrate the dried shrimp and chilies. The espresso and cocoa rounded it out nicely, lending bitter-ish tones for a more complete thought.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Broccoli & Honeydew

Broccoli stems marinating in honeydew brine

Separated, peeled & trimmed broccoli stems.
They are currently marinating in a mixture of honeydew juice, salt, brown sugar, coriander & vinegar. (This could be great with kohlrabi) I used the leftover trimmings to cover and keep the stems submerged in the brine.

Marinating vegetables in fruit juice is an open door to countless possibilities. Revealing a surprising sweetness from something as vegetal as say, a broccoli stem.

Pickling can change the character of a vegetable. Incorporating fruit juice gives it nuance.

Other ideas off the top can be:
Bamboo shoots in pear
Beet stem in rhubarb
Daikon in plum
Carrots in orange/apricot

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Equal Treatment

Crispy Pig's Foot
Five Spice Broccoli Floret
Boiled Stem

In most dishes there is a main focus. A protein, if you will. This is the star of the dish to which all supporting elements bow down by sacrificing their best qualities and lift the focal protein to new heights. Something to look forward to could be the equal treatment of ingredients. What if a juicy ribeye sat underneath the humble potato or roast chicken was the underlying flavor to a plate of root vegetables? What I've done here is given pig's feet and broccoli a chance to work together in creating an overall flavor and allowing their distinct textures to bounce off of one another.

Please don't think I simply sprinkled some five spice powder on broccoli. I toasted and ground sichuan peppercorns, star anise, ginger, cinnamon, cloves & brown sugar. Sifted into a pan, brought to heat and added oyster sauce, chili oil, fish sauce & sesame oil. Added some of the broccoli cooking liquid to loosen it up and tossed the charred broccoli florets in the sauce.

The pig's foot was simmered in vegetables, kaffir lime leaves, thyme, chicken stock & Leffe Blonde Ale until tender (5+ hours) removed from the bone, layed flat on a dry pan and weighed down. Heated the pan on low heat until crispy then glazed with reduction of strained cooking stock.

The broccoli stem was simply boiled in salted water (though pickling in cucumber & apple juice might be the better next step).

Together it brings forth the flavor of Char Siu Pork.
Equal treatment to both ingredients.
Turf & Turf.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Breath of Fresh Air

The next time you're at the office or by the cup holder of your Scion, reconsider that jug of Dentyne Ice (usually something like Polar Bear, Ice Thunder or Global Warming flavor) or the "interestingly" flavored Altoids in your ironical lunch box. Look to the wet & dry mukhwas and paan's of India. A breath of fresh air to dub you a heir of fresh breath.
Mukhwas is most commonly sold and served dry, usually with fennel seeds being the dominant character. Paan is slightly different in that it is often made from crushed betel leaf and areca nut with an endless array of other grains, seeds, nuts, essential oils, fruits and spices. The wet varieties I prefer ten times over the dry. It's like chewing tobacco potpourri, as unappealing as that may sound. Overwhelmingly floral, I've been chasing it with various flavors to see how it pairs. Goes great with chocolate and citrus. This will make for an interesting dessert.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Beef Tendon "Sticky" Rice

This is a quick meal for the afternoon. I've been recently experimenting with the notion of beef tendon stock acting as a great gelatinous addition to rice, giving it a more glutinous or risotto-ish texture. The dish is far from pretty but flavor is intact and up for exploration
Here I paired the "sticky" rice with shiitakes, brussels sprout leaves, beef tendon, crispy cauliflower and sunchokes.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Leftover Pan

Sometimes laziness can spark a good idea. In no way do I promote laziness, but through it I discovered the leftover pan. The same pan I cooked bacon on in the morning, I also made popcorn in the afternoon, seared beef in the evening, wilted greens, sauteed garlic and then fried eggs in the next morning. Everything adding more flavor to the next. Not entirely developed, but a simple and interesting concept. Should be interesting if ever deglazed.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Pandebonito

Though meant to translate as a miniature pandebono, "Beautiful Bread" could be a better translation. Not that my bread is all that beautiful, but pandebono in general is a beautiful thing.

pan - de - bonito

P.S.
I found this in my photo archives from a couple months ago. I was toying a lot with them, so I'm not sure which flavor this was. Could be made with Campo de Montalbán cheese & fenugreek, or maybe not.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Frying Cabbage

Lately I've been frying the leftover cabbage I used for the lamb neck dish and just adding to everything I eat. It has a very lovely and nutty aroma (especially when fried in bacon fat). I'm using savoy cabbage; i'm sure other cabbages will fry just as well. Cabbage tends to be underrated, but I've always found it delicious. One of my favorite "meals" sometimes consists of just boiled cabbage, salt, pepper & olive oil. There's an attraction I've always had to seemingly peasant dishes. Some peasant, rural & rustic dishes seem like masterpieces out of necessity. I had pigeon peas & rice with pork from my Grandmother this week and it was the best meal I had all week. It's important to take inspiration from as much as possible. Whether it's something you'd like to improve or honor, understand the difference between being inspired and copying. This concludes my very distracting and tangent ridden post.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Merguezish Crépinette of Lamb Necks




Cabbage
stuffed with the following:
Calabaza Squash Braised Lamb Neck
Dried Apricots
Pickled Jalapeño
Toasted Squash Seeds
followed by:
A Vinaigrette of Fenugreek, Lemon & Cilantro

The lamb neck was braised in the roasted juice of a calabaza squash as well as a tea of the roasted skin and seeds plus coconut milk for about 1.5 hours simmering (unfortunately, I am missing a piece on my pressure cooker)

It was then pulled from the bone, minced and mixed with the diced dried apricot, pickled jalapeño & toasted seeds as well as chili powder, cumin and black pepper.

I reduced the leftover braising liquid with miso and rosemary and added it to the mix.

This was then all stuffed into a blanched cabbage leaf, rolled, sauteed & basted.

Eating it reminded me of something along the lines of a merguez crépinette.

There is a missing element in this dish and I intend to discover what it is very soon.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Roasted Calabaza

There's something medieval and beautifully menacing about it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Midnight Bánh Mi

Homemade Cha Lua
Gentleman's Butter
Pickles(carrots/radish/onion)
Jalapeños
Basil & (obviously) Cilantro

normally enjoyed with an iced coffee, but not when it's a late night craving

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pickle

I guess this is what happens when you throw onions and radishes in the same wash

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Egg White Glass

Thinly spread over a buttered pan on medium heat until crispy

Friday, June 3, 2011

Kimchee-Pickled Rainier Cherries

These were popped in some leftover kimchee brining liquid i had used for red radishes and watermelon rinds previously.
I know I have the urge to kimchee almost everything I see (just as long as I don't kimchee anyone's grandmother I think we're ok), but who wouldn't? Spicy fermented pickling is just too desirable a method to let any produce slip by.
I'm not entirely 100% thrilled with the flavor on it's own. But it is unique and might be a nice and surprising unknown in a salad or any dish for that matter.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Made from banana peels, star anise and cinnamon simmered in water for one hour.
Takes on a great roasted flavor and can either be applied to savory or sweet.
Not sure which path to choose first...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Research

The unknown can be so exciting.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Asparagus



• Watermelon Pomodoro •
• Bacon-Cured Egg Yolk •
• Basil Seeds •
• Rosemary Oil •
• Campo de Montalbon & Parmesan Broth •

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Watermelon

-breakdown & prospect-

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Banana Galaxy


those dreaded, overripe bananas.

For me a banana has to be just green yesterday and still have a hint of green along the edges.
So every time I get home and am bombarded by the hot waft of this forgotten fruit, I pucker in disgust
But I think I can turn this around.
Taking interest in the peels, they will no longer be the backbone of slapstick comedy nor just a component of compost.
The flesh is easy: make a smoothie, make some bread, make some ice cream.

It's time to explore the spotted and slippery land of the banana peel.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Kitchen Sink Tofu Lunch to Go

Made some lunch for Christina to take to work using some familiar faces in the fridge.
•Kimchee Red Radish•
•Dehydrated Asparagus Trimmings•
•Bacon-Cured Egg Yolk•
•Shaved Bonito [served separately]•
•Onion & Celery stewed in a sauce of Coffee, Shoyu & Worchestire•
•Firm Tofu•

-the kitchen sink is jealous-



Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bacon-Cured Egg Yolk

finished product after 1 day of curing
• bacon
• salt & sugar; equal parts
• thyme

Monday, May 16, 2011

Avocado Ice Cream

better than Avogadro's ice cream.
better than Abogado ice cream.
let the desserts begin.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Egg Yolk Cured in Bacon

As well as salt, sugar & thyme.
But most importantly...bacon.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

New Addition

Most new and creative ideas from chefs used to call for a certain level of secrecy. Earmarking jots and doodles that you wrote with your hand cupped over your notebook dreading peers from your peers. Luckily, especially nowadays, the new chef is not as secretive as their predecessors. With aid of the web, a plethora of information is being deployed daily to the masses, or to those who seek it. With such sites as eGullet or the Alinea mosaic, the new El Bulli foundation, even YouTube, Ideas in Food, Cooking Issues and various other blogs, tweets, videos and responses expose new ideas and ways of thinking about food bringing more people to the same level and deleting a certain level of elitism.

Intrigued by their stream-of-conciousness layout and feeling the need to share as much information as I can through my research or what I stumble upon, I've decided to create a tumblr account to organize great findings and sources of inspiration.

Go there. Hopefully there is something to learn or be inspired by.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

•Raw Asparagus Tagliatelle•
•Anchovy Pomodoro•
•Salt-Cured Egg Yolk•
•Asparagus Reduction•
•Rosemary Oil•

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Asparagus Tagliatelle

It's often important to trim your vegetables.
You want to refine your produce by deleting stringy fibers and removing exposed skin.
Say you lost track of such a task to the point where you kept peeling until the vegetable was no more.
In fact, it could very well become much more.
Case in point.
I gently attacked these asparagus stalks after separating the outer green layer and detaching the shoots.
I peeled until long, flat, thin strands were formed, producing ribbons that closely resemble flat pasta.
I simply reserved these raw and ribboned stalks in cold water while I blanched, roasted, blended and reduced the outer layer trimmings with some rosemary oil.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Corn Husks



Roasted
Steeped like tea in a corn cob stock creates a roasted corn flavor base great for soups and braising liquids.

Corn Silk

This week I am taking a closer look at corn. Examining the dissection like a Taino surgeon, curiosity builds at the separation of the floss-like silk located between the corn and it's husk (maybe more like a Taino dentist).

Not knowing much about it, I decided to use two basic methods of applying heat to peruse it's potential

Boiled for a few minutes in salted water, it produces a lovely color reminiscent of zucchini flower. Texture of fibrous noodles, as you can imagine.
Deep frying was a much better application. Crisply woven with a hint of corn flavor. I dusted them with paprika and salt. Made for a nice basket to surround a pear & radish salad I paired with veal breast.

It's important to take time with your produce and proteins. Discovery comes from taking nothing for granted.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tripe Krispies



With the coconut milk-braised honeycomb tripe I slice them into thin strips, dust in peppered flour and give it a quick deep fry.
These are nicely crisp and tender with tripe flavor lingering throughout the bite.
Not as chewy as we're used to this cow stomach to be. Really enjoyable.
Like little meat fries.
Will tripe find it's place in America's trend chamber? Although veal breast may be the new pork belly for the incoming year, can tripe be the new sweetbread? This seems like a good place to start...

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Dandelion Raita*

Made from dandelion stems pulverized with Greek yogurt, coconut milk, salt, sugar and lemon
This is a great condiment.
The bitterness of dandelions easily compliments the tang, creaminess, salinity and acidity of the other ingredients.

Tonight, it was paired with honeycomb tripe (which was pressured cooked in coconut milk) curried chickpeas and peanuts for a last minute dinner.

*Alternate Post title: Paperback Raita

Friday, March 25, 2011

Yolk Implosion













There's little less satisfying than a rich and runny egg yolk.
However, they always taste the same.
Nothing wrong with that, but how can we impart flavor the same way we do for meats and vegetables and practically everything else without sacrificing it's viscous and texturally delicious integrity? Reverse trickery, perhaps...
Hard-boiled, half-salty and 1000 year old egg's have a flavor profile all their own.
But what if we could have those preserved and marinated flavors with the texture of a runny egg yolk?
Maybe I'm a fool, but it's a work in progress.
Here I've made an alginate bath that I steeped a mixture of salted duck egg yolk, butter & calcium lactate into for a few minutes.
I then poached the newly formed "yolk" in water for a minute.
After fishing it out and straining it I achieved what you see above. A runny egg "yolk" made from a previously cooked egg yolk.
Only one problem: it didn't taste very good. The texture was way too chalky.
These are the kind of failures that promote perseverance. So I will be doing further experiments to see if some kind of breakthrough can be made and I can move on up to "New Yolk"

Monday, March 21, 2011















•Pork Blood Pasta
•Mussels
•Beef Heart-Tomato Sauce
•Fennel

This is the first time I've made fresh pasta (except gnocchi), so my noodle shaping skills are not worthy enough for a name or any sort of distinction outside of "pasta".
The sauce is very much a tomato sauce.
The mussels and beef heart combo is my little surf 'n' turf.
This is a rather nice dish.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Groceries


New ingredients automatically create new inspiration

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Corned Beef & Cabbage



•Corned Beef Tendon
•Brussel Sprout
•Fennel Frond
•Colman's Mustard

The beginning's of a new dish and ode to the week ahead...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Beef Sweetbreads
Fennel
Blueberries
Hazelnut Pork Ragout
Miso Mustard


•Marinated the sweetbreads in lemongrass & blueberries, then crisped and glazed in miso butter

•Charred the fennel and glazed with chicken liver butter

•Used the left over crispy liver bits and mixed it with minced roast pork butt, toasted hazelnuts, oyster sauce, fish sauce, sugar, white pepper, apple cider vinegar. Reduced.

•Miso Mustard is simply red miso & Colman's.

Now time to edit...


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Dinner No. 1 Recap

Earl Grey Dashi•Roasted Sunchokes•Black Radish Kimchee•Enoki Mushrooms•Ponzu•Scallion


Shrimp•Chayote Emulsion•Carrot-Cardamom Pudding•Green Papaya•Bacon•Charred Carrot•Oregano


Tofu•Crispy Cinnamon-Roast Chicken Neck•Sichuan Barley "Popcorn"•Pickled Bamboo Shoot•Anchovy Sambal•Bonito


Ribeye•Confit Potato•Strawberries(fresh & dehydrated)•Valdeon•Chicken & Potato Skin Crumble•Celery Salad•Basil

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

No. 1


GASTRONAUT JONES
DINNER No. 1: An Introduction

Tuesday: February 8th, 2011 9pm

4 courses
$25.00 [minimum donation - all inclusive]

Seats are extremely limited
Email me if you're interested [milleniumjit@gmail.com]
Once I reply, I'll let you know if you got a seat or if we're fully booked.
If I reply saying you've got a seat, then I will reply with a PayPal donation request via your email.

*Any dietary restrictions: let me know beforehand

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Honey & Lemon

Sometimes the most common home remedies can be a great source of inspiration.