Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tastings Wine Bar & Bistro: The Movie

A 2 minute video about my restaurant, Tastings Wine Bar & Bistro. Great Work by Restaurant Confidential TV available in HD on YouTube!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Great Wines In Grand Houses: Nantucket Food & Wine Festival


Nantucket Island is renowned for its natural beauty, stunning architecture, cosmopolitan fare, and, of course, its 19th century role as a whaling community. From May 13-17, 2009, the world's historic whaling capital will become the nation's wine capital during the 13th annual Nantucket Wine Festival.

"...the Festival...has become one of the best wine events in the nation, with some of the finest global wine talent on hand every year...." (Quarterly Review of Wines, Spring 2008)

We have had the honor of being invited down this year to participate in 2 separate events. The first will be on Thursday May 14, 2009 The Ninth Annual Nantucket Wine Festival Harbor Gala This is sure to be the event of the season! The Gala will be held at the White Elephant on Thursday, May 14th, 2009, beginning at 6:00 p.m.
We are featuring Black Mission Figs with Foie Gras Mousse our wine partner this year is Dolce Wine or better known as liquid gold!

On Friday we are cooking for a small group of 20 people for an event known as Great Wines In Grand Houses, on Friday night there will be dinners throughout the island in grand mansions. We have the pleasure of pairing our food with wines from the portfolio of the human dynamo known as Jorge Ordonez, a Spanish Wine Maker, importer and by far the most influential man in Spanish wine today. The menu is below.

Passed Hors Dourves
Olive Oil marinated Salt Dried Tuna
Brandada de Bacalao
Pig Trotter Croquetas
Pintxo of Foie Gras
Chorizo & Chocolate on Toast
2007 Botani
muscatel seco

Amuse
Maine Lobster Consommé
liquid center queso manchengo sphere

First Course
Razor Clams Escabeche
citrus, passion fruit , Las Brisas olive oil powder
2008 Shaya
Verdejo

Second Course
Braised Baby Octopus
organic tomato & garbanzo bean stew, morcilla blood sausage
2006 Mas De Can Blau
2004 Remirez de Ganuza

Third Course
Kobe Style Wagyu Flank Steak
summer truffle & quail egg ravioli, cetas, foie gras sauce
2006 El Nido Jumilla

Cheese Course
Selection of fine Spanish cheeses
Membrillo, marcona almonds, and fig cake
2006 Aquillon

Dessert Course
Saffron Scented “Flan”
orange fluid gel & edible flowers
2006 Jorge Ordonez & Co.
Victoria #2

Friday, April 24, 2009

Goat Cheese Cake: Revised



Easiest goat cheese dessert recipe out there!

5oz Creamy Goat Cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbl chopped rosemary(fresh)

- In stand mixer whip cheese, sugar & rosemary until very creamy
- Whip cream to stiff peaks
- Fold whipped cream into cheese mixture
- Put into mold of your choice and freeze until firm

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Stinging Nettle & Sorrel Soup


This plant is a very interesting plant. When you look at it, it looks like an ordinaryweed with attractive tiny flowers. It can be a very dangerous plant because when you touch it with your bare skin, you will get a terrible sting, which is very painful. The sting feels very much like a bee sting and can last for hours or days. The stinging sensation is caused by formic acid which covers the tiny hairs of the plant.

Believe it or not, stinging nettle can be very useful too. It has been used as a medicine in Europe for over 2,000 years. It can be turned into a tea made from the leaves and stems. This tea has been used to stop bleeding. Stinging nettle seems to have a lot of medical uses, but the nettle root is known to be a diuretic.

It loses its sting when dried or cooked. Be careful when handling. But the reward is well worth the risk of getting a sting. Much like spinach in flavor this green is great in salads, make a pesto with it or maybe use it in salsa verde. My favorite method of prep....soup. Enjoy the recipe


Ingredients:

* 3 Tablespoons EVOO olive oil
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 cup chopped spring onions
* 1/4 cup sherry (dry)
* 1/2 pound nettle tops
* 1 quart vegetable stock
* Salt and Pepper
* 1 cup crème fraiche
* 2 Tablesoons fresh Sorrel
* 1 handful fresh baby spinach

Procedure:

1. Sauté shallots, garlic, and spring onions in butter or olive oil. Add sherry and nettles.
2. Add water and bring to a boil.
3. Cover and simmer until the nettles are very soft, about 8-10 minutes. Add spinach.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste, add creme fraiche, puree using vita prep blender.
5. Add fresh sorrel and serve with more creme fraiche

Sunday, April 19, 2009

2009 Earth Dinner


Tastings Spring Vegetable Medley( Ramp Stems, Thumbolina Carrots, Fiddleheads,Dandelion Greens,Sunchokes, Red Beets, Green Almond & Yogurt Dressing)

2009 EARTH DAY DINNER

Come celebrate Earth Day with us as we collaborate with Organic Valley & Chefs Collaborative (the leading nonprofit network of chefs that fosters a sustainable food system through advocacy, education, and collaboration with the broader food community) to host the East Coast Earth Dinner.

Join us as select restaurants across the country all simultaneously host earth dinners together.

Our Earth Dinner Celebration is an opportunity for you to explore where each ingredient on your table comes from. Who grew the food? How was it grown? What is the geographic origin of the food?

The Earth Dinner is a joyful, animated and inspiring dinner, connecting people to the earth, their food and each other.

At Tastings we are offering a 3 course, pre-fixe menu for $35 per person (+$15 for organic/biodynamic wine pairings).

The menu will be developed the week of Earth Day to ensure the freshest possible ingredients from the market, local farms & New England Ranches and fisheries.

Reservations are recommended. Please call 508-203-9463.

For more information please go to Earth Dinner

Friday, April 17, 2009

Green Almonds: Spring Underdog

Springs nutty underdog - green almonds.

Because they are only available for 3-4 weeks each year, green almonds are usually overlooked, or are considered too hard to find. Some people dismiss the olive-sized green things as too much prep work; everything depends on how far along the almond inside the furry green casing is. If you’re waiting for fiddlehead ferns, you’re not feeling all the bulky white asparagus, or you just want to try something new, here’s what you should know:

- They come from California, most of the time. The name refers to the both the ghost-white almond inside and the soft, cerignola-green shell that surrounds it.

- Like walnuts, almonds begin to harden after harvest. The pale green, egg-shaped exterior turns into the pointy, holey, brittle almond shell everyone knows and loves, if left alone. Don’t ever leave green almonds alone.

- When soft enough, you can roll them in some fleur de sel and olive oil and eat the whole thing; here’s where it gets tricky. Green almond season is very short, and typically within a matter of days, both the outer shell and almond within change in character and taste. The outer portion becomes more bitter and inedible; the inner almond goes from a litchi-like gel with a grassy flavor to a more milky solid with the tiniest hint of amaretto. If you’re not sure what kind of green almonds you’ve got, use a paring knife and just go inside. When in doubt, always trust the almond, doubt the shell; some cultures ignore the outer shell entirely, even when soft.

Come try them on this weeks menu at Tastings, Sping Veg medley with green almond @ yogurt dressing.............

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Beard House Photos














I think you all get the overall feeling I have ahd about cooking at the Beard House. So please enjoy some of the photos

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Pintxos


The Basque Country, Spain. You've got to try the pintxos.My opinion, Basque food is the best in Spain, especially Basque pintxos which are like tapas, but much better! Pintxos is the Basque word for pinchos, which is another name for tapas.

Pintxos are 'finger food', much more than tapas are. They will be served on a slice of bread or skewer. The best Pintxos in Spain are said to be in San Sebastian, where youll find gourmet pinxtos prepared by some of Spains best chefs.

At Tastings we have started to offer $3 pintxos at our bar everyday from 5pm-7pm. Some of the recent selections have been
1. Foie Gras on Toast
2. Mussels with Citrus Tomato Sauce
3. Serrano Ham & Plancha seared cetas( wild mushrooms)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

New Spring Menu

Spring Menu starts Monday at Tastings, here is a sneak peak

SPRING SMALL PLATE MENU 2009

HERB MARINATED OLIVES...$7
roast garlic, Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oil

MAC & CHEESE...$12
black summer truffle, Vermont sharp cheddar, smoked crumb crust

SEASONAL FLATBREAD…
arugula pesto, ricotta salada, shaved purple onion, argon oil

NEW ENGLAND SEAFOOD PAELLA (FOR 2)...$28
chorizo, spring peas, piquillo peppers, Calasparra rice

POINT JUDITH CALAMARI...$9
preserved lemon, roasted garlic, cherry tomatoes,
kalamatta , pepperoncini peppers

BANG ISLAND MUSSELS...$10
spring onions, tarragon mustard

GARLIC ROMAINE HEARTS...$8
warm extra virgin olive oil, fried garlic slivers, fresh lemon, Spanish anchovy

SEASONAL SALAD…$9
organic mesculan, seasonal herbs and vegetables, house vinaigrette

ROASTED ALL NATURAL FREE RANGE 1/2 CHICKEN...$13
sautéed dandelion greens

WILD BOAR MEATBALL
& MOZZARELLA STUFFED ARANCINI...$12
Parmesan, smoked tomato sauce

PINOT BRAISED VEAL SHORT RIB...$16
parsnip puree, crispy fried celery leaf

NEW ENGLAND ARTISAN CHEESES…1-$6 …3-$15…..5-$21
Blythdale Farm Camembert – VT
VBC Goat Cheese Bijou- VT
Boggy Meadow Farm Fiddlehead Tomme- NH
Neighborly Farms Raw Milk Cheddar-VT
Great Hill Blue – MA
served with membrillo and crispy baguette

HOUSE MADE CHARCUTERIE...$16
Coppa di testa
Air dried duck ham
served with pickled mustard seeds, local micro green salad, crispy baguette

We are also starting a new seasonal menu that will change as often as possible to assure only the freshest marlet ingredients are used.....

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Share Our Strength & Michael Rhulman Team Up to Help Fight Hunger


As you all know, I am a huge supporter of Share Our Strength. Well one of the countries most influential food writers feels the same way. Michael Ruhlman

To celebrate the publication of his new book, Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking, He wanted to do something to help those who might be suffering during these difficult economic times.

In addition to a signed copy of the book he is also giving away a scale, not just any scale but the MY WEIGH KD-8000

If you couldn't get out to see us last week at the Taste Of The Nation, please consider donating. Any amount gets you a chance to win, from $5-$5000 it all goes to help fight childhood hunger. And as the recession continues to affect he lives of many Americans, now is the time to help if you can.

To go to SOS/Ratio Giveaway Page right now, click on the title of this post!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Taco Truck Experience




On our way back from NYC on Sunday, I remembered about a spot that my father used to take me to eat Tacos. The New Haven CT, Taco Trucks. A line of at least 10 Taco trucks, 1 hot dog stand, a churro lady that sells churros 2 for a dollar and I remember a Jamaican truck when I was a kid, but unfortunately that was not there.

No one believed me until we came around the corner and there it was, a row of Taco trucks, hundreds of the local Mexican population enjoying a beautiful Sunday afternoon by the water as they do every weekend. A way of life, a community coming together to enjoy their heritage as they would back in Mexico.

Ill tell you that the memory of my dad buying me a half dozen tacos and a churro as we were driving from Boston to Miami (which we did many times as I was growing up) was so strong that for a second I felt like he was right there with us.

As a kid I was all about beef and chicken, now a days tongue and cheek is more my style.

Just as I did when I was a kid,for nostalgia I ordered half a dozen beef tacos( my wife was a little upset that I didnt ask for no onions) , a couple of tongue tacos, a bag of churros from the churro lady......I was so excited that a drink was forgotten. But honestly I didn't care. These are the kinds of food memories that fortunately do not change. After years of not going to the Taco Trucks, aside from a few new shiny trucks, I can tell you that the Tacos are the same great tacos I remember. The eating such simple food, yet feeling like this is the food that has set the stage for all the "high end" mexican cuuisine in this country. It is a feeling that will never subside.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Road To The JBF: Part 3



Its all over, the dinner was a great success! Prep was smooth, although we did have 2 of the students that were scheduled to help not show up!!! All in all 4 of us got the dinner prepped, completed and executed with the gracious help of the JBH staff, whom I must say did such an excellent job of making sure the dinner was flawless.

One of the highlights of the day for me was getting to sign James Beards chef jacket which is proudly displayed at the top of the stairwell to where now is the main dining area.

Getting to work with Matt, Edgardo and our CIA student Robyn was fun, exciting and a humbling experience all at once. The whole experience is one that will never be forgotten.

Thank you to everyone who made this possible, and a special thanks to the JBH for letting us showcase our cuisine in the home of the father of American Gastronomy.

We will have many pictures to post in the next few weeks so keep checking back!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Road to the JBH: Part 2






The last few days have been crazy, not only are we in the middle of as much prep as we can get done before we get on the road tomorrow. We had to prep 650 portions of our soy cured salmon dish for the Taste Of The Nation event tonight. Matt was at the restaurant tonight trying to put the finishing touches on the packing but ended up spending most of the night talking to guests in the dining room. And yes don't forget, we have to get ready for the weekend at the restaurant.

Prep started early this morning, I arrived about 5:30am to the restaurant. Honestly the only reason I was there so early was because the night before while butchering chickens, I felt like slicing half of my finger off. Spent a couple hours at the local medical center closing up the wound and ended up with nothing done at 11:00pm.
So this morning I came in bright and early, cooked 44 guinea hen loins sous vide, butchered 30 pounds of veal cheeks remade the meyer lemon fluid gel and made sure that the pigs head was simmering.

Matt finished smoking duck breasts and intended to start packing, but the business came first tonight. Let me say that Matt has been what every chef de cuisine, right hand man and sous chef should strive to be. During this whole process he has made sure the restaurant is still standing, orders get placed, employees get paid and I keep my head on straight with all the events, demos, and tastings we are doing.

Tomorrow we are off, I will start the packing in about 5 hours and get most of the goods into the owners truck, pick up my wife and Matt's girlfriend who is doubling as our photographer for the weekend as well, and head off to NYC. Ill use the time tomorrow night to write some recipes for the interns and make sure my friend from Puerto Rico who is flying up from the island to help makes it in okay.

Wish Us Luck!