Sunday, August 31, 2008

Nemo pics

This is where mashed potatoes come from!

Herb crusted walleye, lobster mash, horseradish-tomato relish.

Tempura fried shrimp, green curry aioli,
soy roasted pineapple are hidden in there.

My ride to work. Not bad, 20 minutes, 3 lanes, and
not alot of traffic as you can see.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The grill poll.

In an overwhelming show of support for the grill our poll shows that not cold nor snow will stop us from grilling out! It reminds me of the No Reservations show Mr. Bourdain did in Cleveland in which a few icy lake surfers showed the regions recreational flexibility under our mostly unfavorable weather conditions. If only he would have known that all across town men and women donned their thickest Browns parkas, dug a trail to the garage, fired up the coals, and stood there in the freezing sleet to cook a steak, or maybe some sausage. Now that would have set the scene for a food and travel show.

I can’t think of a single month in which there is no reason to fire up the grill. Consider January, and I harken the last tailgate of the year down at the Brown season finally, are you talking playoffs? Thinking about February, there isn’t a single wholesome Cleveland women who wouldn’t appreciate a good grill meal over that champagne surf and turf for Valentine’s day! To end cap those two snowed in months, March and December provide ample rays of sunshine to char some flesh in the cool breeze.

With a tong clenched fist raised to the sky and a bag of charcoal under the other arm I salute you for your never ending dedication to the grill, and pledge, "I never stop grilling!"

Friday, August 29, 2008

Nemo's specials this week

We have run a few different items this past week. Here is what we are doing, did, or are planing to do tomorrow.

Soup: Spicy tomato gazpacho by Ian, or Sweet corn won-ton soup.

App: Tempura shrimp with soy roased pineapple and green curry sauce, or Citrus poached shrimp over spicy tomato gazpacho.

Salmon: Seared salmon over Singapore fried rice, sweet and sour napa cabbage.

Entree: Lake Erie Walleye over lobster mashers with a horseradish-tomato relish or Beef filet, grilled zucchini and roasted garlic potato salad, spicy red pepper coulis.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Using things we have plenty of

With pecks full of glowing red tomatoes, and wood crates that have corn cobs sticking out of them like a porcupine, what to do? Soup! The great equalizer, apt at both condensing flavors and stretching flavors, soup is most likely the answer. But tomato soup with blue cheese, naw then I still have a bunch of corn. Corn bisque, naw did it last week. How about a ‘Manhattan’ style tomato-corn chowder? Yes, this was the answer, and the soup turned out damn good. Let me explain what I did, and I’ll try to convert batch size to farmers market quantities.

6 ears of corn separated, shucked, grilled, kernels removed

For the corn stock

6 cobs of corn, no kernels, broken into thirds
1 onion
2 carrots
½ head celery
1 bell pepper
tbsp whole coriander
4 whole cloves
Water to cover.

Sauteed the rough chopped vegetables in a small amount of oil, once they begin to brown add the spices, then cobs, and cover with water. Once the stock comes to a boil, simmer for about an hour, let rest for half an hour off the heat, then strain.

For the Chowder
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 onion
3 garlic cloves
2 quarts ripe/over ripe tomatoes, 5#

Corn kernels
1 large potato diced
1 tomato
Salt, white pepper, tabasco, honey
Optional garnishes parsley, goat cheese, bacon?

Caramelize the onion in the butter, add the garlic, cook for 3 minutes, then add flour to make a roux. Add the tomatoes rough chopped, corn stock, and bring to a boil. By easiest means possible puree this mixture. An emersion blender is perfect. Letting it cool and using a food processor or blender works as well. If all you have is a whisk or a spoon, then go at it the best you can. The potato goes into a smooth base first for 10 minutes, then the corn, tomato, and seasoning. If your tomatoes aren’t the sweetest and the soup is tart, try adding a pinch of baking soda, which will neutralize the acids. While salt and pepper are a must, depending on your desired flavor, a little heat or a little sweet, use your discretion.

At the restaurant we garnished with a goat cheese cream and parsley.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Specials, in photo

This is the Bistro steak 'philly' style.

Chicken Bolonese topped with basil and parmasean.

Our Flatbread; roasted garlic white sauce, bacon, black olives and motz.
This presentation was preped by Ian, and reminds me of the classic French Pissaladière sans anchovies.

Obviously not a full dish, but a very close view of what was our daily vegetable;
sautee Ohio sweetcorn, peppers, onions, and black beans.
Click on this pic for full effect! So big and shiny I can almost taste it.

Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 22, 2008

Nemo's Specials August 21

Soup: Chlodnik, Polish buttermilk soup garnished with beets, cucumbers, tomato and dill

App: Tuna and watermelon lollipops with curry-mustard, sweet soy, and wasabi mayo

Salad: Solomon farms heirloom tomatoes, ricotta salata, basil, sherry vinagrete

Salmon: Spice crusted salmon and PEI mussels, dirty rice, vera cruz sauce

Entree: 10 oz Bistro steak served 'philly' style, over sautee peppers, onions and mushrooms, topped with a provalone cream and served with pickled corn slaw, and frites.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Omnivore's Hundred

By way of I came across this little foodie puzzle of sorts. The most rewarding part for me was looking up a few of the items I had no clue what they were. Nearly 400 people have added links to the Very Good Taste blog in response to this. As you can see I've missed out on nearly 30 items on the list, and only roadkill is a no touch item for me.

Here’s what I want you to do:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.

2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.

3) Crossout any items that you would never consider eating.

4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison2. Nettle tea 3. Huevos rancheros4. Steak tartare5. Crocodile6. Black pudding7. Cheese fondue 8. Carp9. Borscht 10. Baba ghanoush11. Calamari 12. Pho13. PB&J sandwich14. Aloo gobi15. Hot dog from a street cart16. Epoisses17. Black truffle18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes19. Steamed pork buns20. Pistachio ice cream21. Heirloom tomatoes22. Fresh wild berries23. Foie gras24. Rice and beans25. Brawn, or head cheese26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper27. Dulce de leche28. Oysters29. Baklava30. Bagna cauda31. Wasabi peas32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl 33. Salted lassi 34. Sauerkraut35. Root beer float36. Cognac with a fat cigar 37. Clotted cream tea 38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O39. Gumbo40. Oxtail 41. Curried goat42. Whole insects43. Phaal 44. Goat’s milk 45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more46. Fugu 47. Chicken tikka masala48. Eel49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut50. Sea urchin51. Prickly pear52. Umeboshi53. Abalone54. Paneer55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal56. Spaetzle57. Dirty gin martini58. Beer above 8% ABV 59. Poutine 60. Carob chips 61. S’mores62. Sweetbreads 63. Kaolin64. Currywurst 65. Durian66. Frogs’ legs67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake 68. Haggis 69. Fried plantain 70. Chitterlings, or andouillette 71. Gazpacho72. Caviar and blini73. Louche absinthe 74. Gjetost, or brunost75. Roadkill76. Baijiu 77. Hostess Fruit Pie78. Snail 79. Lapsang souchong 80. Bellini81. Tom yum82. Eggs Benedict83. Pocky 84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant. 85. Kobe beef86. Hare87. Goulash88. Flowers 89. Horse90. Criollo chocolate 91. Spam92. Soft shell crab 93. Rose harissa 94. Catfish95. Mole poblano96. Bagel and lox97. Lobster Thermidor98. Polenta99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee100. Snake

Good News

For good news on raising food prices Daniel Gross writes an interesting piece for Slate explaining why a high end seafood meal might be in your price range. I'll let him explain it here.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sauce Vera Cruz

A view of the Vera Cruz coast.

This is a preparation I will never forget. About 4 years ago I made a huge batch of it, and unwittingly cut a case of Hungarian peppers bare handed. Sure I thought about it. I cut a sliver of pepper and tasted it before I got started. I tasted nothing frightening, so I continued on for the next 20 minutes and into the pot they went. Off to wash my hands, and something felt a little different. The water felt strikingly hot in my finger pits, the base of my fingers. Nothing to get overly worked up about....yet. A good hour later I was in excruciating pain. With slightly swollen finger, and glowing red skin between my fingers I knew things were going down hill. Anything cold was relief, but didn’t last long. I did some research, and tried everything from buttermilk to bleach. I just had to wait it out, about 36 hours or so. A mistake I will not make again, and a sauce I sill never forget.

Vera Cruz rests on the eastern shores of Mexico. It was one of the last Spanish foothold before being pushed out of Mexico. This influence left a definite touch on the regional cuisine. For example the use of green olives and capers in many variations of the Vera Cruz sauce recipe. I have taken the liberty to break the sauce away from what could be called a Vera Cruz preparation, in which a flat fish is covered with the sauce and baked, equally absorbing flavor and enhancing the sauce. I have looked at up to 50 or so different Vera Cruz sauce recipe and the basic recipe is the same, onions, peppers, and tomatoes. Things like green olives, capers, lemon, herbs, or spicy chilies are used at the preparers discretion. Here is the recipe I am using at the restaurant right now.

2 onions
4 red peppers
6 Hungarian peppers
2 tbsp. garlic
2 quarts tomato
2 cups sliced green olives
2 tbsp. olive brine
6 shakes tabasco
Salt and white pepper

All the vegetables are large dice and Sauteed in oil. Tomatoes can be canned diced, or fresh since we all seem to have a ton of tomatoes right now, but are added after the other vegetables have started to cook down. Once the tomatoes are added simmer for about 20 minutes, adjust seasoning, and leave the sauce with a little extra liquid, specifically if you plan to re-heat it as we do in the restaurant. I try to balance the olive brininess, pepper heat, and tomato richnsss.

In the traditional way we serve this sauce with fish, Ian’s spice crust Mahi-Mahi to be exact, and dirty rice.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Nemo's Specials, August 15

Soup: English Pea Gazpacho, Basil-lime Crab Salad

App: Steamed Mussels in a Tomato-Dijon broth

Entree: Grilled Swordfish, White Chedder and Fingerling Potato fondu, Pickled corn and Cabbage Slaw. I found inspiration for this dish from 'Papa a la Huancaina' which is a traditional dish from the Peruvian town of Huancayo, and is enjoyed all over Peru, consisting of boiled potatos covered in a spicy cheese sauce. Often accompanied by pickles, cabbage or olives.

Daily Salmon: Grilled local Zucchini, Pesto flavored Cous-cous, Red Pepper Coulis

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Back to work

It’s like putting on and old pair of sneakers, or going home to your old bedroom, or like riding a bike, you just start peddling, and if you remember correctly you catch your balance and everything works out. This is how my first night back at Nemo went. We where rather busy with 68 reso’s to start, on a Thursday night. I man’ed up to the grill station, where you not only cook, but run the wheel, and for all intent and purpose, I killed’em dead, as good or better than ever before, because I think I have a better attitude than ever before.

As you might remember from my post a short 3 weeks ago, I was not all that happy with my role at Nemo. I spoke frankly with Bob, the chef/owner, and we came to an agreement. I am capable, and willing to run the kitchen, so it will be! The framework looks something like this, and I’m implementing this wording upon myself; take over the ordering, and don’t fuck it up! Take over the specials, and don’t fuck them up! Take over managing the staff, and don’t fuck it up!

It’s something of an interesting situation where you ask yourself....why is this man asking for more responsibility, why does he want to be expected to do more? I guess that is where I exceed, and others fall short. I"m not happy doing the bare minimum, the least work possible. I know what I’m capable of, and I want to do that to the best of my ability. For this I’m great full that Nemo brought me back on, and we are looking toward a prosperous future.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Dirty Ice

In the past I’ve sat quietly twisting my straw in a glass filled with mostly ice cubes and wondered about them. Why are there different shapes? Where did that little black speck come from? Why did I just pour a $5 bottle of water over water out of the tap that just happens to be frozen? How did all this cat hair get in the ice? I mean really, the freezer door is almost always closed.

It just so happens that I’m not the only one with such questions. The New York Times presented a piece about the emerging sales niche of gourmet ice. Looks like there are people out there equally committed to quality ice as quality fluid water.

It turns out, and simply explained that different shapes of ice both melt and freeze at different rates. As for the black spec..well, have you ever seen a commercial ice maker? They are surprisingly filthy. You expect water, cold, ice, that seems like a rather clean environment, wrong! I guess if you think about it, both ice, water, and wet things are rather sticky, hence the black spot, or the cat hair somehow getting stuck. I don’t know that I trust a bag of purchased ice to be any more pleasing than what I make with my little white trays, but if a restaurant or bar offered specially filtered, specially shaped or otherwise irregular ice I think that establishment would be worth a special trip.

Friday, August 08, 2008

El Jalapeno

This little Mexican restaurant is rather new. It’s located just south of Detroit on west 117th street. The building tends to blend into the surroundings rather than draw you in, but that is left to the architect blog. This is not the type of place I would go expecting a quality experience, but looks can be deceiving. Kari and I had a wonderful meal there last week. The tequila was flowing, the pina colada could not come in a bigger glass, and the food was tasty, wholesome, and filling.

I ordered the "camarones el pacifico" which consisted of 10... yes 10 shrimp wrapped in bacon and cooked to a turn. This was served over a very generous amount of sauteed bell peppers and onions, that where very fresh tasting, not oily at all, and very filling. My dish alone was served with rice, beans and soft tortilla. Wow! The only turn off was, with my perfect sweet accent, and rolling tongue with the, "camarones" the bartender countered with a, "ok, what number is that" as the menu is numbered for easy ordering for those less cultured individuals.

We also sampled a burrito, a tamale, a chimichanga, and the pablano chili reno. The pablano fell short only in that it had a fishy aftertaste, as if it was cooked in the same fryer as other seafood. By no means was it bad, it was just the most off item we ordered, and all the other samples where spot on!

For a bargain Mexican meal that rates high on flavor and low in cost, El Jalapeno is the spot. Chipotle might be a close runner up, but EJ menu is quite extensive, and from what I’ve seen, pleasantly surprising.