Check out my slide presentation on Slideshare

I just finished putting together a chronological slide show of all the dishes we prepared in my last class.  Go to this site and take a look.  I’m trying to see how I can put up a widget of future presentations on my blog sidebar.

Merry Christmas to all my readers

I wish you all a very merry Christmas and hope that everyone is finding themselves with family and friends on this special day. I was awoken this morning at 7am by my children who were in a fervor of anticipation over what Santa had placed under the tree.

My parents came over at around 7:30 and the semi controlled frenzy of gift dispatching lasted around a half hour.

It was adorable to see my son Paris and my daughter Sophia’s excitement at the opening of each present. The scene immediately took me back to my own childhood memories of Christmas.

I also scored heavy in the cookbook department and now have quite a bit of reading to catch up on my daily bus trips.

I got the new sous vide cookbook by Thomas Keller “Under Pressure” which will certainly make the technique mainstream for even more chefs.

I got the auto-biography of Marco Pierre White “the Devil in the Kitchen”, which I have wanted to read since I saw him on that panel with Anthony Bourdain and Michael Rhulman at the ICC in NYC. Interestingly enough he talks with admiration of the tasting meal he had at Alinea in Chicago in the foreword of the book.

I got the Heston Blumenthal book “In search of Perfection” which I can tell will wet my appetite until I can get my hands on the “Big Fat Duck” cook book. Heston was the most impressive presenter at the ICC.  I am in awe at his boundless curiosity and his desire to learn about every sensory aspect that goes into the eating of a meal.

Finally I got a book by Kathleen Flinn called “The Sharper Your Knife The Less You Cry” about her experiences enrolling in the professional cooking school “le Cordon Bleu” in Paris.

I imagine I will read some of these books while we are up in the mountains for our annual family ski trip at Copper Mountain. They have been getting dumped on all month. So maybe I will get in a few days of much missed and revered POW POW.

The Meatrix

A funny and informative short movie about CAFOs

more about "The Meatrix", posted with vodpod

store wars

My son loves this video which touts the benefits of organic farming practices and points out the harm of industrial farming.

more about “store wars“, posted with vodpod

Snails and Turbans

We are just about at the end of the final class of 2008 and thus concluding my first year at Cook Street as a fulltime employee.  Well actually we started another class on December 1st.  We changed the curriculum by having the students start with the Wine Program and Sensory Evaluation.  We felt the students would be better primed for the kitchen if we did it this way.  We will see, but I am already hopeful that it will be a success.

So I wanted to include a few new presentations using the Bauscher plates.

We managed to produce an Amuse on this rotation using the Piedmontese pasta or Thomas Keller pasta recipe.  The filling was actually a potato purée that we put together using the leftover scraps of potato from our turning exercise.  Matt added some ricotta and white truffle oil.  Channon put together the agnolottis.  They turned out really well.

Truffled potato agnolotti with a beurre noisette

Truffled potato agnolotti with beurre noisette and balsamico

We had a beef tenderloin that we opened up into a sheet, stuffed with foie gras and black truffles, rolled back up and trussed.  When I was explaining the technique at the board.  The students commented that it looked like a snail.  I said “great idea! lets make the dish look like a snail.”  Then I started to expound on the snail being one of the most famous dishes of Burgundy (which we had just lectured on), this led to trying to tie in the flavor profile of Burgundy into the sauce (red wine, mushrooms, bacon and pearl onion).

The end result looked like this:

Roasted roulade of beef tenderloin stuffed with Foie gras and black truffle with a sauce Meurette

Roasted roulade of beef tenderloin stuffed with Foie gras and black truffle with a sauce Meurette

The following day we made Sole Normande, the mussels never made it to the plate as the food order arrived about five minutes before the food was plated.  But we had enough to put together a nice plate.  I pulled out yet another plate from Bauscher that I had yet to use.  Elegant and classic like the dish itself.

Sole Normande on Bauscher plate

Sole Normande on Bauscher plate

New Bauscher plates

Last week I received another shipment of plates from Bauscher.  So Christmas came early.   I received an email a few weeks back from Jeff Heany stating he was sending me some other samples.  I opened up the box, being careful to pop every single bubble of the bubble wrap and discovered another dozen or so plates.  I might just be able to open an exhibition of Bauscher plates at the school soon.

So of course I had to test drive them.

Chef Dale put together the first plate.  Not sure which pattern this is.

Vol au vent of veal sweetbreads, mushrooms and leeks sauce madere

Vol au vent of veal sweetbreads, mushrooms and leeks sauce madere

In the package came a peculiar piece designed specifically for pomme frites I assume.  As we were having pomme frites tossed in white truffle oil and parmesan, I decided it would be a great opportunity to see how it could work in a presentation.

Whole roasted beef tenderloin with haricots verts truffled pomme frites

Whole roasted beef tenderloin with haricots verts and truffled pomme frites

Same dish with the addition of sauce Bordelaise on another plate.

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Looking forward to playing with the rest of the plates.

Duck poached in beurre fondue with watercress puree parmentier, turban of butternut squash and a walnut verjus sauce

More work on Bauscher plates.  This time Garde Manger plated a miniaturized version of the duck consommé on one of the Bauscher silhouette small bowls.  I have been wanting to see what might work well with this design.   I will play with it further as I think it is a very attractive shape.

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Chef  Dale normally puts a deeper color on the mini choux filled with duck liver parfait, but I think you can get a good idea of the bowl design and its potential.

Next up was my dish of Duck breast cooked au blanc or without color.  The original recipe calls for it to be cooked lightly in a pan with butter.  So of course I had to take it one step further and poach it in beurre fondue.  I poached at 150ºF for around two hours.  The butternut squash is run through a japanese turning slicer and sauteed in butter.  I love the color. The compliments oval plate reminds me of an eye and I will have to see what I can do as a presentation along those lines.

Butter poached duck breast with watercress potato puree, butternut squash turban and a verjus and walnut sauce

Butter poached duck breast with watercress potato puree, butternut squash turban and a verjus and walnut sauce

Here is the same presentation on the Silhouette line.

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I wanted to add one more picture of the Amuse Bouche my students came up with during their hot line practical.  I thought it looked quite attractive and well conceived.  It needs a little more work but I was happy to see they can think critically and can come up with a nice looking amuse on their own.

Potato and mushroom Napoleon with basil puree

Potato and mushroom Napoleon with basil puree

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