Sunday, January 31, 2010
This poll is the first one, although the total votes are low, to be 100% consistent. Wait a month to make reservations at a newly opened restaurant is the consensus. Not an altogether unrealistic attitude. A few questions pop into my head like, who is dining at these new places the first month? What happens after 6 weeks that doesn’t happen after 3 that is so desirable? A month in a restaurant is a long time, experience wise, financially, functionally, emotionally. Personally, outside of opening night I’m willing to go to any new restaurant and support them anytime.
This whole new restaurant thing got me thinking about a few places that where once new that I’ve yet to go to; Crop is defiantly on the top of this list, L’abatrose, Roast, and go back to the Greenhouse. That is my list.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Pork shoulder as the name suggests is the upper shoulder portion of the pig from the front leg. Sometimes called a picnic ham because it’s smaller than the traditional hams cut from the back of the pig. This cut might also be called pork butt or Boston butt. It’s ironic that this cut is from the front of the animal, but that really has nothing to do with the name. Around the time of the Revolutionary War Boston was a major butchering city. The way the pork shoulder was cut in Boston became the standard, and was shipped and or cured in barrels called ‘butts’ hence the name.
Pork butts are in my opinion the most versatile cut or pork available. The shoulder can be roasted or braised whole with the bone in or the bone removed and replaced with a stuffing. The meat to fat ratio is perfect for making sausage. The meat can be cubed for stew, city chicken or kebabs. Steaks can be cut from the shoulder but need to be rather thin. The steak cut takes well to being pounded out and breaded. Maybe the most popular preparation is Southern BBQ where the meat is cooked slow and low till it shreds under its own weight, is slathered with a tangy sauce and served with white bread.
When purchasing pork shoulder there is usually a decant price difference between bone in vs. bone out. If you are roasting the whole thing or are cutting the pork into small pieces get the less expensive bone in product. In fact a roasted pork bone makes a good doggy treat. If you want a uniformly round stuff-able roast then get the boneless or if you don’t want to mess with cutting out the bone, the price difference isn’t staggering. In any case try to purchase as large a whole piece as you want to use. I tend to shy away from buying pre-cut, cubed, or strips of meat. The chance for contamination increases with handling and smaller pieces of meat age faster.
This is my favorite preparation of pork shoulder. I’ve had this on a few different menus so I’ve had time to perfect it….
Braised Pork Shoulder
1 pork shoulder, 5 pounds, cut into uniform 3 inch dice
2 large onions and 10 garlic cloves rough chopped
2 quarts chicken stock.
Pre-heat the oven at 500 degrees. Mix the spice blend. For 5 pounds of meat start with ¼ cup or coriander ect… coat the meat with the spice mixture and arrange in a single layer in a roasting pan, or sheet tray (this may or may not be what you finish the braise in.) Cook the meat about 10 minutes at 500 degrees, this sets the spices into the meat and toasts them allowing them to be more fragrant and penetrate the meat. I’ve done this with only tossing the meat with the spice, but it all just washes off in the braise unless you roast it first. Combine the roasted meat, vegetables, and chicken stock in a vessel suitable for braising, cover the meat with water if needed. Reduce the heat to 300, and expect to cook for at least 1 ½ hours.
I like to cut the pork up because I have better control over having a uniformly cooked end product in a realistic amount of cooking time. I’ve also learned that if you cook the meat until it shreds in the braise it is in fact overcooked and will be dry. The trick is to take it out of the oven as soon as one of the larger pieces starts to break apart. I don’t bother with celery or carrots because I don’t think they lend anything with the strong flavor of the spice mix headlining the show. Lastly, recover the braise liquid, degrease it, keep the onions and garlic in it and reduce. A strong whisk or a stick blender makes good work of the vegetables by then and you have the perfect sauce.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
3 lb section of center cut pork belly, skin and bones removed
1 cup each sugar and salt
1 tblsp crushed red pepper
¼ pound fresh thyme
Mix everything together and put in a zip lock bag. Keep refrigerated and flip the bag over every day for 5-6 days. The meat will lose some moisture and firm up.
At this point rinse of the pork of excess curing mix and dry it off. Roast in a 250 degree oven, preferably on a rack for at least an hour or until an internal temperature of 160 is reached.
This recipe produces a rather sweet end product but a little heat and herb flavor keeps the sweetness from being overpowering. This roasted belly is quite versatile, it can by sliced thin and fried like bacon or diced up and crisped yielding a crispy outside and soft interior. Since it is fully cooked it can be enjoyed chilled as well. Be aware that since there is no nitrites the pork will be brown instead of red like the bacon at the grocery store this does not mean the meat is bad.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Meat: Grilled Filet of Beef, roast garlic mashers, brocollini sauteed in porcini butter, Killbuck Valley mushrooms, and espresso-balsamic steak sauce.
App: Grilled maple-duck sausage...served with braised beluga lentils and sweet&sour raddichio...changing over to a frizee salad in truffle dressing.
Beets: Think of beets as red spinach, Dr. Bowden said, because they are a rich source of folate as well as natural red pigments that may be cancer fighters.
Dried plums: Okay, so they are really prunes, but they are packed with antioxidants.
Pumpkin seeds: The most nutritious part of the pumpkin and packed with magnesium; high levels of the mineral are associated with lower risk for early death.
Sardines: Dr. Bowden calls them “health food in a can.” They are high in omega-3’s, contain virtually no mercury and are loaded with calcium. They also contain iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese as well as a full complement of B vitamins.
Turmeric: The “superstar of spices,” it may have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
Frozen blueberries: Even though freezing can degrade some of the nutrients in fruits and vegetables, frozen blueberries are available year-round and don’t spoil; associated with better memory in animal studies.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Friday, January 08, 2010
Wednesday, January 06, 2010
The short stories and descriptions of life that dot the book are also interesting. From wrestling at St. Ed’s, our shared alma mater, to opening the doors of Lola with no cash, all seem like real stories that anyone can relate to, making the book as a whole even that more interesting.
I’ve been motivated, and that is saying a lot. The descriptions in and of themselves of pickling has conjured up a drive in me to be more complete with my prep. I used to prepare a nice sachet of herbs and spices for a pickle, the usual….coriander, cinnamon, peppercorns, clove, allspice, and some thyme or rosemary. Slowing I regressed to nothing more than vinegar, sugar, and water, but no longer. That little sachet is what makes the difference. Upon reading this cookbook cover to cover I’m re-dedicated to being much more interested in the dishes I prepare; from prep to plating, ordering and receiving, organizing and executing. Thank you Michaels for the great book!
Friday, January 01, 2010
It looks like not only me, but plenty of pork was eaten the past few days. But 'why' I asked myself. I found the following facts with the help of Epicurious.com.
The custom of eating pork on New Year's is based on the idea that pigs symbolize progress. The animal pushes forward, rooting itself in the ground before moving. Roast suckling pig is served for New Year's in Cuba, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, and Austria—Austrians are also known to decorate the table with miniature pigs made of marzipan. Different pork dishes such as pig's feet are enjoyed in Sweden while Germans feast on roast pork and sausages. Pork is also consumed in Italy and the United States, where thanks to its rich fat content, it signifies wealth and prosperity.
Best Happy Hour of 09
Salmon Dave’s half price apps
Momocho, half price taquitos
Taco Tuesday at The Riverwood, $1 tacos!
Pearl of the Orient’s half price apps on Tuesday.
Best Meal of 09
The one and only Foie I had the past 12 months at Three Birds. I need to eat more foie!
Favorite Drink of 09
Ezra Brooks 90 proof Bourbon
Arnold Palmer with a lemon
Most frequented Blog of 09
Sports by Brooks
Most Frequent listened to song on ITunes in 09
The Grey Album
Gunsmoke by The Coup
It’s a Metaphor dialogue on The Last Time I Committed Suicide soundtrack
Number of Employers the past 12 months
3, including the Government.
Most Interesting things happening on the culinary front for me in 09
Going from completely engulfed in the ‘local’ movement to completely ambivalent to it.
Creating, opening, and successfully operating 2 new dinner operations in the past 2 years only to end up back at square one.
Becoming, and staying unemployed for almost 5 months.
Best things in 09
My family and their health
My GF and her companionship and love
My job at Nemo Grille
Best Dishes I created in 09
Rabbit Ragout, roasted whole local organic rabbit braised in a rich tomato broth served over Ohio City Pasta’s Herb Parpadelle topped with a chive marscapone
Head Cheese, classic fromage de tete, served with pickled vegetables and toast points
Beer Cheese Soup, Great Lakes Porter and white chedder go great together.
Caesar Salad satay, Italian white anchovies wrapped around romain....who would have thought?
Single item I’ve eaten most in 09
Best New Places I’ve been in 09
Black Bird Bakery
Best Blast from the Past in 09
Most Ambitious NY resolutions
Loss about 200 lb
Take a vacation