Monday, October 27, 2008

A Week We've Been Waiting For

Last Week was FINALLY a week that I can say, Ive been waiting for this. 2 Patriots games in one week, two very successful wine events, a multitude of private parties and we finally got our feature program off to a great start!
Being part of a restaurant opening is a test of ones patience, a test of ones sincere commitment to this industry, and a test of just how much passion and devotion you have to the restaurant and the industry as a whole. Last week was a glimpse of what we are striving for. A very busy week and great feedback from our guests. We are hardly close to getting over the hump of a new restaurant, but the feeling of success you get when everything (even if its just a short moment) falls into place, the food is spot on, the cooks came to work every day with their game faces on, the FOH clicked and the guests left extremely impressed with what we are doing, well that's the feeling of success to me, that's why I do this day in and day out.
Here are some shots of the food this week. (sorry about the quality of the photos)

Porchetta De Testa-aka "Pigs Head Porchetta" (we seasoned the boned pigs head with rosemary, lemon & garlic, salt and pepper, added the braised tongue and pigs ears, and then cooked it sous vide at 140F for 10 hours) shaved Parmesan, lemon and extra virgin olive olive oil spritz, organic field greens, fresh ground pepper

Venison Loin Raspberry Pickled Beets, shaved fennel, juniper berry jus, cinnamon stick incense

Quail Asian Inpspiration
Marinated in orange, soy, hoisen, 5-spice & dried Tsao-Ko, stuffed with local grown Bartlett Pears and walnuts. Orange - Ginger dressed frisse

Dried Tsao-Ko - Black Cardamon(Matt lives right near Bostons China Town, he picked up some of this, first time I have used this, awesome find!!!!)

Tsaoko fruit comes from a perennial herb related to the ginger family. The plant thrives in the world's rain forests and tropical regions, with brightly colored flowers, long leaves and slender stems.
In China, tsaoko fruit is produced mainly in the Yunna, Guangxi and Guizhou provinces. The fruit is gathered in the autumn when ripe, cleaned, then dried in the sun. Once dried, the outer shell of the fruit is removed, as are the fruit's seeds.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Eating Offal & Other Parts

The tradition of eating less than desirable cuts and parts of an animal is found in almost all of the world's cultures, dating back thousands of years. Whether you are eating chickens' feet pork, tongue , fish cheeks, heck, even chitlins in the south USA, you are participating in one of the world's greatest gastronomic practices. You are celebrating the whole animal. In a sense respecting the animal as a whole being, making sure to use all parts and let nothing go to waste.
Variety Meats have been around for thousands of years, but the interesting fact of the matter is that many people began eating this way because of economical situations. The poor had no choice. If they wanted to eat they had to make use of the parts of the animal that no one wanted. What did happen was they developed some of the tastiest products that have been forgotten due to the modern world.
Today's modern world is very different from the one that gave birth to these food traditions. Having money has removed us further and further away from our food sources . And fortunatley for most of the people I know, we dont worry about how much we eat and what we eat based on our annual income. So its easy to choose to eat only what is available at the closest market, not difficult to prepare, and wont make people think you are a gross and inhumane person.
I can only say one thing, I have the right to eat what I want, and I be live that I am doing the right thing by assuring I do my part and try and use as many "other" parts as I can.I am keeping culinary heritage alive, as a chef its important to me that the history and traditions of what I do remain and continue to be taught to the sous chefs and cooks who wish to become chefs.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pig Heads Have arrived

So don't freak out, we have just received three pig heads, we will be making a few different dishes over the next few days. Probably Italian porchetta, and possibly a head cheese for the holidays. We do have a charcuterie section on our menu but we have mostly been preparing an in house duck prosciutto. We want to take this to the next level.And now I am ready after a video I watched the other day.
I was inspired by Chef Chris Cosentino a R.I. native who currently is in California at his post as executive chef at Incanto, he recently was asked to do a video demo on butchering a pigs head.
I have had to make head cheese in the past but this was years ago and truthfully as a teenager I wasn't into this. But watching the video, my matured palate and mind, I am really looking forward to getting to work tomorrow bright and early and get these heads broken down!

Food Lover's Companion Definition: charcuterie [shahr-KOO-tuhr-ee; shar-koo-tuhr-EE] Taken from the term cuiseur de chair, meaning "cooker of meat," charcuterie has been considered a French culinary art at least since the 15th century. It refers to the products, particularly (but not limited to) pork specialties such as pâtés, rillettes, galantines, crépinettes, etc., which are made and sold in a delicatessen-style shop, also called a charcuterie.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Hidden Rose (Red Flesh Apple)

Ill be honest, although I had heard of this red fleshed apple, I have never eaten one, until now! What a treat, first, the hidden rose its beautiful, cutting open an apple to find a red interior is awesome. I was like a kid in a candy store, waiting for Sid Wainer to drop off the 1/2 bushel just to get a look and taste. Very firm, tart, almost like a granny smith, but sweeter. What a great addition to the apple salad on the fall menu, even the pickled apples on the pork belly Cuban are getting this apple right now. Stunning visual and great flavor.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

October 12th through the 19th "Fresh From The Family Farm Benefit"

From Sunday, October 12 to Sunday, October 19 we will provide you with the freshest ingredients we can get from area family farms. We will feature 2 menu items that meet the Fresh from the Family Farm criteria and donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of that item to Farm Aid and Chefs Collaborative...and now the rebuilding effort for Verrill Farm, which recently lost their farm stand to a fire. Verrill Farm has been an important leader in the local farm community and has provided farm fresh food to Massachusetts restaurants for over a decade.

We will be featuring the following two items:

Local Apples & Beets
Heirloom Apples & Roasted Wards Berry Farm Baby Beets, Great Hill Blue Cheese

Candy Apple New England Scallops
MA Grown Spaghetti Squash, Locally Foraged Hen Of The Wood Mushrooms, Cape Cod Cranberry Salt

Farm Aid
Farm Aid’s mission is to build a vibrant family farm-centered system of agriculture in America. Farm Aid artists and board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews host an annual concert to raise funds to support Farm Aid’s work with family farmers and to inspire people to choose family-farmed food. Since 1985, Farm Aid has raised more than $30 million to support programs that help farmers thrive, expand the reach of the Good Food Movement, take action to change the dominant system of industrial agriculture and promote food from family farms.

Chefs Collaborative
Founded in 1993, Chefs Collaborative is the nation’s leading network of chefs and members of the greater culinary community committed to sourcing and cooking with local, sustainable and delicious ingredients.

Founded in 1999, is an invitation-only showcase of the area's top chefs and their cuisine. Whether in search of a great restaurant or leisurely perusing the gallery of stunning color photos of chefs' signature dishes, visitors to the site find to be both a fun and functional guide to fine dining in the Boston area. In addition to the unique food photography, the site features chef bios, menus, basic restaurant information, culinary news, and upcoming events.

Edible Boston
Edible Boston is a resource for finding out what's new and what's available locally when it comes to the Boston-area food scene. Through the publication and its accompanying Website, readers learn about the people instrumental to the renaissance of food in the region. The publication includes coverage of Essex, Middlesex, Worcester, Suffolk, and Norfolk counties, as they are major contributors to our region and the food culture of Boston.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Cauliflower Ice Cream

Tastings Chef De Cuisine, Matt Maue. A Buffalo NY native, (who by the way hates the cold) is off to a strong start with us. Matts culinary abilities and out side of the box avant garde thinking, really adds a depth to our food at Tastings that we would not get unless he was here.
Yesterday was inventory day, payroll day, manager meeting day and anything else that has nothing to do with actual cooking. When I was finished with a late afternoon meeting I was surprised to find a small dish of Cauliflower Ice Cream.
We just changed our late summer menu over to our fall menu and had some cauliflower left over from our stripe bass dish.
Matts description of the dish as follows:
Cauliflower cooked sous vide at 83 degrees Celsius with butter, then pureed and enriched with yogurt, cream fraiche and egg yolk a little white pepper and spun in the ice cream machine. Finished with salmon roe, crispy cauliflower, nasturtium leaves , cranberry dust, pear, and vanilla balsamic.

Friday, October 3, 2008


Making Kabocha Squash Gnocchi, one thing Matt was experimenting with today was letting the squash puree rest, after mixing roasted squash and egg , blended with a little ULTRA TEX and allowed to rest and set, Matt was able to make these gnocchi with a lot less flour than we thought we would need. The result...a light full flavored pillow of autumn flavors.

We hit the gnocchi with a cider glaze and butter, making a caramel like pan sauce before we start to plate. Another late addition to the dish was a small piece of crispy pork belly. Just the right amount of a savory protein to balance the sweetness of the dish.

Finished with egg nog froth and hazelnut crumble.

Lamb Rack ala "plancha" with cranberry honey foamed aioli( aioli put in an isi canister) and finished with cranberry salt.