Sunday, December 18, 2011

A little something off topic...

Well was going through some old notebooks i have full of recipes and other miscellaneous things and I came across some things I used to write about way back when early in my career.  I guess it was hard times and a lot of alcohol that gave way to some of the snippets that I jotted down.  MAybe it was the fact that my friends and I were fascinated with the whole spoken word movement and what not... thank you Saul Williams (though this probably dated a little before that).  Anyway here is a little sample.

I call this "The Happy Poem"

Today i smiled as i saw the sky.
I even managed to laugh.
My thoughts were not of death, destruction or suicide,
But of happy things , to the point where my comments were snide.
Today I was happy as i saw the sky,
Today I saw you die.

I hope you enjoyed that snippet from the dark side of my mind circa late 90's maybe turn of the century.
I promise that i'll be posting more recipes as soon as the new year hits.  I am changing out all my menus at work.  It's tough to make spring menus that work in the dead of winter... but i'll make it happen.  I'll also make sure to post some pics of the plates I make.  Along with recipes of course.

I'll see you all soon.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

9 month's later... and a new city!!!

Hello all.

It has been quite some time since we last spoke... read... whatever.  Anyways, I am no longer located in New York City, the food Mecca of the world or so it seems. I am now an official New York to Boston convert.  No I'm not a Red Sox fan now.  Not a Patriots fan either, but I am here for the long haul.
One Thing that I have noticed is that the food scene in Boston is lacking.  It's like the little brother that wants to act just like its older sibling just to be cool.  I'm still waiting to get a decent meal out here that isn't from a 4 star restaurant.  And hey, that's still a little sketchy. 
But I must say the food truck scene and the beer taps out here are pretty damned good.  That is one thing I do not miss about NYC.  When it comes to beer variety and price, Boston has us New Yorkers beat hands down.  Hell a $4 pint of Sam Adams/Stella/Harpoon and maybe $4.50 for a micro brew!!!  I'm surprised I’m not sloshed right now.  My 20 bucks will have me happy at the end of the night with beer in my belly and some fried bar food in my gut.  In NYC that $20 just bought me a Pint and a 1/2 of Stella not including tip. 

Well I promise to show you some of my whimsical tirades and recipes once I get back into the swing of things.  As for now keep the fire burning and make sure not to cut yourself. 

Stay Sharp.



Here is a little recipe to keep you calm while I figure some new stuff to show you.

Spicy shrimp
Spicy Vanilla Grilled Shrimp with lime.
Just when you Thought Summer was over, here is a little shot to keep you warm and remember those dog days of summer.
1 lbs       16/20 shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ cup    Sweet chili Sauce
1 tbsp    Vanilla Extract (pure)
2              limes, juiced.
Salt and pepper to taste.
This one is easy ladies and gentlemen.
Combine everything but the shrimp.  This is your marinade and sauce.  Now split it in half and use one part to marinade the shrimp and set the other half to the side for the dipping sauce. 
Let the shrimp marinade for at least 30 minutes and then grill until cooked.   Enjoy!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Not the Way I Would LIke To Start the Year

So after a tremendous 2010, doing a couple million dollar months and hitting the holidays running we come into the new year only to find a slow start to the year.  This is when I have hunker down and take a step back and reevaluate my management skills. My time management and my scheduling is under a microscope for good reasons.  A couple months ago, I was doing any where from $60,000 to $100,000 on any given business day.  Now I am looking at maybe a tenth of that. Layoffs! Not on my watch. Schedule changes... That is a must, even with the impending union greivances.  I now spend my days forecasting labor and overtime.  I single handedly costed out 3 seasons worth of catering menus based of the presumed market flucuations that are going to happen during this new year.  (How the he'll could I forecast that limes would hit $73  a case in January 2011). Well I have the daunting task to drop my 31% food cost 5 points.  Not only that, I have to slash my labor line by half while trying to maintain the building,run a conference center/banquet facility and executive dining room.  They say cut overtime... I say let me hire a second shift to cut overtime. They say make more money, I say tell the sales team to book more business.

They say volume forgives all sin.

Oh boy, is this the truth.  During those million dollar months I had cooks doing 40 hours of overtime with no questions from the top.  Now 5 minutes of overtime is frowned upon and 10minutes needs a director's approval.  But, all in all this just makes me a better manager and chef.  Not every night is a good night and not every month is a great month. Now it is time to hone my skills at managing my time and employees.  As I sit in front of my computer, staring at multiple spreadsheets and action plans,  all I have to say is...


Well enough with the complaints, onto the food...

Here is a dish that I created to help get a $300million dollar endowment for Columbia University.  BTW I will probably never see any of that $300million.

Truffled Chantrelle Bisque, Vanilla Poached Lobster with Petite Dow Mui, Squab Confit with Blueberry Gastrique.


If you want a recipe Post a comment and I promise to add the recipe!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sorry about the delay, but back to business...

Thanksgiving has come and gone and the christmas is well upon us. As winter's icy grip tightens, we are greeted with need to eat more high caloric foods. Even if we tell ourselves that we won't have that second piece of pie, we all know that deep in the recesses of our primal instincts that we crave for those foods that will help up keep warm though out those cold months. Problem is we don't live in caves anymore. And we all rely on artificial heat provided by the electric, oil, or gas company. So, there is  the rub.  Extra calories that we usually burn off during those rough winters when food is scarce.  Nowadays, there is always a supermarket that seems to never run out of food, in season or not.  Pastry chefs are faced with a major problem this time of year (depending where you live). Local and sustainable seems to be out of the questions when the weather takes a turn for the worst.  The question is what do you make at this time of year?  Fruits don't make sense, even apples go out of season.
This is when I turn to the bottle. My desserts take a dive off the wagon and get a little inebriated.  Bourbons, liqueurs, and other spirits seem to fill my pantry shelves as staples instead of the berries and drupes of summers past. Caramels and spices inhabit my recipes as I try to find the proper balance between sweet and savory. And still to this day my favorite ingredient in a winter dessert is maple syrup. Not only maple syrup, but maple and whiskey.  Sweet and smokey.  It's like eating a butterscotch candy with a kick and a hell of a lot more flavor.  
I've poached my last pear, and cooked my final strudel.  Even pie does not excite me anymore.  Winter is upon us, it time to eat and enjoy like we really should.  Gluttony is a sin, only if you feel guilty about it... And that's what New Year's Resolutions are for anyway.  So Bundle up and loosen that belt it's time to have dessert.

Here is an easy one for those last minute dessert requests.
Ricotta Impastata Cake with Spiced Berry Compote

ricotta cake

1# Ricotta Impastata 
4 yolks 
3 oz heavy cream
1 orange, zested
4 oz sugar
1 tbsp vanilla

1. Cream ricotta and sugar.  Add yolk one at a time.
2. fold in cream, zest, and vanilla.  
3. Bake in a covered water bath at 300F for 40 minutes.

Spiced Berry Compote

1 cup blueberries
1 oz dried cherries
4 oz sugar
2 oz pomegranate juice
2 oz water
2 cinnamon sticks

1. Add al indriedients to a pot.
2. Simmer till blueberries burst and cherries rehydrate. chill and set aside. 

Enjoy!  Stay sharp and happy holiday!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Best part of my day...

Best part of a meal is probably the entree. But the thing that you probably remember is the dessert. You can have a great steak dinner, a nice glass of wine, but for most people that order dessert this part of the meal will overshadow the the preceding events.

Sure you'll remember that you had a good dinner. That fish dish with that sauce was good... What was it called again. Or the steak, yeah with the potatoes. It was nice.

But dessert, if you choose to go down that path will haunt you for better or worse you'll always remember that white chocolate and cardamom ice cream from Restaurant Theo (RIP... The restaurant not Theo). Or that crazy celery gelato that Johannger made at AIX... Another great restaurant that met it's fate due to the economy. How about Francoise Payard's macrons (yes I still have that recipe!).
There are a few meal that remember vividly. Some are great some are not, but I must say the thing that I remember the most is the desserts that I have ordered and made.
Pastry has allowed me to express my creative and destructive sides at he same time. I've used my DIY handyman skills to create some interesting presentations. Can't say that about cooking so much. For this reason, I am passionate about being a pastry chef.

I cook because I can. I bake be cause I love it.

On to the recipes. BTW, i'm posting a picture of something totally different.  I know it's not apple strudel, but it's apple related.  (also, those are not giant berries)

Candied Apples  

Braided apple strudel.
(So easy it can be done at home. )

1 sheet puff pastry (store bought is fine)
5 apples (granny smith, gala, and similar fruit works well).
1/4 cup dried cranberries
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup corn starch
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cardamom
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp corriander
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground Ginger
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup 10x

1 Peel, core, and dice the apples. Combine with all of the spices, cornstarch, and sugar.

2. Let macerate in a sauce pot until liquid begins to come from the fruit. Add the cranberries and lemon juice and cook over medium heat until the cornstarch thickens and the apples are tender.  Set aside and let cool.

3. If you can't find almond flour great of not follow this step. Freeze the almonds and them grind them in a food processor. Add the 10x and grind further. If you have almond flour, just combine equal parts 10x and almond flour.

To assemble:
Place the cooled apple mixture in the center of the puff pastry. Next, slice 1 inch strips down each side of the puff pastry. Next, dust the apple mixture with the almond sugar mixture.  Brush the puff strips with an egg wash.  Then braid the strips alternately down the apple mixture. Brush the top with egg wash and then dust with cinnamon sugar.

Bake at 375 for 40 minutes or until puff pastry is full cooked.

Enjoy and stay sharp.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Enough with the rants... Time for some FOOD!!

Okay... it has been a slower week at work and I have been able to play around a little more.  Here goes in no particular order.

Here is my take on a tequila shot...
It's a Prosciutto brittle and Grenadine Caviar (yes meat for dessert and no it's not fish eggs), Patron Gellee, Lime Ganache Truffle.  It's a progressive trio tasting. First spoon is the salt, next spoon is the tequila shot, the last is the lime.  At the time of presentation it is interesting to see the people's faces when they are told what it is.

tasting trio

Next up is a play on the classic apple tarte tatin.  Here I used petite anjou pears.  I slow roasted them with caramel in a 250 F oven for about 2 hours.  Hit it with a a puff pastry base and stuffed it with honeyed vanilla mousse (can't see it in the pictures, but trust me it's there!)

petite pear tartin

Third up to bat is another dessert trio.  Here I have a Deconstructed Tiramisu.  It's a maderia wine genoise, Mascarpone mousse, and esspresso spheres.  Encased in a chocolate tear.  Next to that is a mango, tamarind, and thai basil salad millefeuille. And finally that pink thing on the end is a Strawberry Nuage topped with Champagne Noodles... kinda a take on champagne and strawberries.


hope you all like the eye candy... make sure to follow my blog to keep up with the new things I'm doing and for those special invitations to the tasting we do at work.  I have a Champagne Tasting coming up in the near future paired up with some desserts that i have created.  So 4 Champagnes, and 4 Desserts to match... what else could you want.

Stay sharp!


Monday, October 25, 2010

Back to work again.

Sorry for the delay on posting.

As of late I have been contemplating the idea of working in a kitchen. Why the hell would anyone want to do it?

I spend at least 12+ hours of my day in a room without windows. I am Surrounded by machines spewing flames and hot steam.  The only thing I can really trust is the edge of my Masahiro 240 Gyuto, and that's starting to dull. I eat my meals standing up. I drink my coffee black. Every third word that comes out of my mouth only consists of four letters, not including the simple suffixes to help emphasize it's meaning. I yell alot. I cut my self alt least 3 times a week, and let's not get into the burns. Did I mention that I curse alot... Oh wait, I did in my long winded rant about suffixes. I find solace in butchering the carcasses of long dead animals.
I frequently ask myself why do I continue to do it.

Well for one, after the 13th hour of work and ninth pint of coffee, when you look back at the fleeting accomplishment that I've just plated up for my customers. I see them smiling like overstuffed pigs waiting to be slaughtered. You just have to smile and take in the moment. For that time while they were enjoying the fruits of my labor, I was able to make that person think of nothing else other than that thing I just created. Not many people can do that. Hopefully they will come back to see what else I can create. Now, I ask myself the same question. Why the hell would I want to cook?

The answer is simple...  It's cuz I sure as hell don't want to eat what your making.  J/k!

I do it because I love it. Anyone can become a good cook. The technique is no secret. The problem is do they have fortitude to keep up with it all.

Escoffier's Sous Chef said it best. "Heaven gives us good meat, hell gives us good cooks."

Enough with the culinary tirades... now on to the recipes 

seckle pear
Burgundy Poached Seckle Pear with Burbon Caramel

6 Seckle Pears, peeled and cored.
2 cups Red Wine, (burgundy or something similar)
3 cups water
2 cups Sugar
1/2 Vanilla Bean (optional)

Boil the wine, water, and sugar with the vanilla.  Lower to slow simmer. 
Place pear in liquid and place a weight ton top in order to submerge the pears fully (a plate should be fine).  
Cover and let poach for 30 - 45 minutes or until tender.

For Caramel:
2 cups Sugar
1/2 cup water
2 cups Heavy Cream
1 cup bourbon

Scald the haeavy cream and Bourbon mixture. Lower fire and keep warm.
Caramelize sugar and water mixture.  
When amber in color slowly add haeavy cream and whip with a LONG whisk!  
Be very careful because the molten sugar will bubble and splash when the cream is added. 

Assemble by removing the pear from the liquid and let dry a little.  Sauce with the caramel and a dollop of whipped cream.  Enjoy!