Friday, May 1, 2009

New Cocktail Idea: Swine Flu-zy

I just thought of a new cocktail that sounds part awesome and part disgusting, I'm going to try it this weekend.

And I'm calling it the Swine Flu-zy...

- equal parts tequila and bourbon
- orange juice to top off glass on rocks
- and an airborne in the glass

If you can do bacon infused bourbon or tequila, more power to ya. You have to admit, its mildly intriguing.

Market Report

Sorry, been holding this back for a little bit as I have been preoccupied the last couple of weeks. Weather sucks right now, but hopefully it'll be decent soon enough. So this week, there should be enough ramps around. If anything, I'm buying ramps and cooking everything in them for days. So anyone that's going to make out with me has to either love me completely or love being drunk. Favas are are also around and strawberries are in good form. Asparagus, if it hasn't invaded every "seasonal" menu already, is totally in midseason form.

Onto the pics:

Spring flowers

Edible Spring arugula flowers

Dude, Mario Batali lost a ton of weight. Literally.
This man is tranny fierce.

Joseph and his herb is back.

She coordinated the strawberry sweater for this season.

Tierra dry pepper & spice selection

Aztec Shrunken Head Potatoes

Baby Favas and baby taters

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Meatpaper Party @ Camino 4/27/09

On Monday night, I had the privilege to work the Meatpaper party at Camino. First off, I'd like to say the kitchen at Camino is gorgeous and at the center of attention is it's wonderful big fireplace/pit in which all types of goodies come out of. The staff was nothing but gracious and nothing but fantastic, especially at the site of 10+ invading chefs taking over space here and there. Russ Moore and others at Camino couldn't have been nicer, with exception of one girl who was a little standoffish... but it seemed to be the type of attitude that some women give off when they think I'm attempting conversation for sexually deviant purposes - which I surely was not. It was probably my fault, I'd been working 120+ hours the last 7 days so I was probably brain-dead and awkward. But I will say that as a proud East Coaster, we are not the subtle (aka bullshit) type and games/tricks are for kids and fake rabbits. I apologize if she mistook the vibe, but I mean come on, there was meat in the air everywhere. That's like the energy of 90 male lions feeding off a pack in heat. I don't know what that means actually, but it sounds awesome.

Anyways, for the event, I was cooking off some corn dogs (from 4505 Meats) through this little window in the back kitchen area. Because the corn dogs require a skilled dip and dive technique, they take a good 8-10 mins to turn out each batch of 12 or so. When the first batch went out, the plate emptied in less than 90 seconds. The second time the dogs went out, the plate came back in less than 60 seconds. Each successive full plate came back 40 seconds of less. Because the plate never made it out of the entrance of the kitchen, we shifted its serving location to the right side of the kitchen - much to the dismay of people waiting on the other end. When we rerouted the plates to the left side, a loud groan let out in the right side of the room. People were now giving me borderline death and ravenous Jenna Jameson-like horny stares through the little kitchen window (as seen in a pic below) - again, much like the energy of 90 male lions feeding off a pack in heat. (2nd reference, shweet) I don't enjoy angry horny stares from other dudes or certain cougars, so that's not my kind of thing, but I digress. Finally, the next plate went to the right and there was much audible rejoicing and clapping - and less ravenous staring. Some people even rolled over and fell asleep. 3 hours - 150+ corn dogs out the door.

The best part of the night were these cookies from Camino that you see below. They looked just like the Tasty Pig. I secretly called them Tasty Pig cookies. I even slapped a logo on one just to see how it looks like. Future Wednesday Night Test Kitchen will most definitely involve this cookie cutter and some form of bacon icing that reads Tasty.

Onto the pics!

Tasty Pig and Tasty Pig Cookie: Separated at Birth.

Lard Gingerbread Cookie Batter I think...

4505 Meats "Say It Sexy, Chicharrrrrooooooonnnneesss"

The Other Meat Capital Outside of Van Nuys

Quiet Before The Storm

Peta Beware

Needed More Foundation and Blush on the Right There...

The Sexiest Kitchen Station I've Ever Seen

Stuffed With Tongue - Death By French Kiss

Dogs Prior To Corning (hmm... that doesn't sound right)

My Window To The Outside World

A Plate of Corn Dogs - Lasted 41 Seconds

Servers In Superman Speed

Tasty Piglets

Rustic Scene In The Dining Room

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

No, You Are Not Getting Swine Flu From Eating Pigs or Kissing Your Significant Other...

I received a great link via Twitter from NYTimes Dining and read the full (yet another) article on the swine flu and here is the crucial part for the cautious diners out there:

The CDC’s Dr. Anne Shuchat responded:

No, I can’t confirm that. I can say that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is working with other parts of the government on animal sources. You know, were doing that as a routine part of this kind of investigation. We’re at the point where we don’t have information about illness in pigs related to this virus, but that would be a normal thing to be looking into.

This despite the Q&A on the CDC website that says “Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses that causes regular outbreaks in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen.”

But here’s where things get really strange: this strain of the swine flu virus is not just from pigs.

In an interview with Dr. Mike Hansen, a Senior Staff Scientist with Consumers Union, he said “What’s unique here, is that this is not a straight-up swine flu. This has genetic material from swine, avian, and human influenzas…they haven’t found anything like this in any pigs yet.”

Dr. Hansen pointed out that this might indicate a link to a small mixed farming situation, where pigs and perhaps ducks are kept, rather than a larger industrial farm. “So that means that in a certain ironic sense, the big CAFOs might not be the problem,” Hansen continued. “Until we know more….if we point in that direction too much initially, and that’s not where the flu is coming from, then they can use that to sort of discredit the critics of CAFOs. CAFOs are bad for a number of environmental and human health reasons, and that’s why so many groups are fighting them. What’s good is more ecologically logical agriculture, and CAFOs surely aren’t that. But until we know more we need to be testing both big and small pig farmers.”

So at this point, I don't think we need widespread panic and we probably don't need to worry about meat right now. I will say that I'm not happy about this whole issue with pigs and ducks being together as an issue. Well, if they can't co-exist in one farm, then they will just have to co-exist in my mouth. That somehow doesn't sound right...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Hot Food Porn @ MSF - Breakdown

Hello all, I've been rather busy recently with an official guest chef night with Mission Street Food on Saturday and assisting Ryan Farr's 4505 Meats with a wedding gig in Santa Cruz. Now that I have a little bit of time, here are some pics and recaps of Mission Street Food:

I had two items on the menu on Saturday, 4/25/09. One of them, the Sweet Potato Duck Confit Poutine was a sold out at the end of the night perfectly which is all I could have asked for. Hopefully everyone got a chance to have some. Being from the East coast, I really enjoyed spending time in Montreal for vacation. Poutine was always one of the most special things we had there and it was common as coffee. The most legendary of poutines, of course, is none other than Au Pied Du Cochon's Foie Poutine. Sadly, I did not have this when I was there for a quick dinner (actually I ate pre-dinner at APDC before my actual dinner at a stupid Italian restaurant during one of my best friend's bachelor party) I would have loved to do that, but not wanting to be a culinary hack, I decided against it. I probably wouldn't do it justice anyways.

The inspiration for making this poutine was actually quite odd because I basically woke up one morning and all I could think of was poutine. Natural progression brought me to come up with something a little different, so I decided to incorporate savory and sweet. Once, I picked sweet potato fries as the primary starch, I thought either smoked/braised pork or duck would be perfect. I figured duck gravy sounded better, so I went with duck.

The shrimp was actually added to the strawberry vadouvan gazpacho recipe I created the week before. I liked the idea of creating a colder refreshing soup, but pronouncing the savory flavor of strawberry without altering the integrity of its natural sweetness. I basically highlighted it with vadouvan (french interpretation of curry) and Tierra smoked mirasol chiles and mulato chile powder. Wanting to give the gazpacho some sharp textural contrast, but flavor profile familiarity, I decided to pair it with fresh sweet gulf coast shrimp, brown butter poached and tossed in Harissa. Cucumber and cucumber foam provided a flavor contrast as a relief from the slight heat of harissa.

I do want to apologize that at the beginning of service, some shrimp were getting over poached, shrunken and mushed due issues with powering my circulator. We ended up moving the poaching operation onto a sauce pot and the shrimp started coming out beautifully. I'm sure everyone enjoys the comfort of poutine because its duck, fries and cheese - which always is good when put together. Other than great execution, its flavor profile isn't particularly bold. It's what we crave. However the shrimp and strawberry is a little more out there conceptually, but if you taste it and not shovel it, the idea lies at trying to establish and bring forth undercurrents of flavor (savoriness of strawberry, sweetness of shrimp, coolness of cucumber).

Not being a fan of the organization of Yelp, but understanding the need for such a tool (for some people, you can reference similar sentiments about religion), I went to see what feedback on the gazpacho was. I was pretty sure this was probably somewhat polarizing dish and tough to understand for those that don't think flavor outside of a narrow box. Of course, just as I thought,one person likened it to "melted cocktail sauce with shrimp... not that appetizing" and another said "perhaps my favorite dish, the shrimp were lovely, and the strawberry flavored soup was out of this world. I had never had anything like this before, and perhaps never will again." I'm not taking pot-shots on the former reviewer, but I obviously like the latter a lot more. The only thing I can say is that there was no tomato in my gazpacho, but if he thought it was there, then I think it says something about the dish and my intentions for it. Love, hate, anger, happiness, it's all fair game and strong opinion is always better than no opinion. I'd love to hear more specifics beyond the "I hate it" or "I love it" though, that way I'd learn some more things specifically about a person's tastes or about my own.

So here are the pics:

Harissa Rubbed Wild American Shrimp
with Strawberry Vadouvan Gazpacho - Cucumber Foam

Plating prior to Gazpacho poured at tableside

Ooey, gooey Duck Confit Sweet Potato Poutine
with Spring Hill Cheese Curd & Duck Gravy

Tony and Chris on the line.

Key Lime Pie is so money.

Our stylish FOH gals, Kelly and Diana

20 Hour Pork Belly action, hell yea.