Friday, August 27, 2010

100 Reasons toward a sustainable table

Has it even come close to crossing your mind to go in on the 50 McNuggets for ten bucks? Have you even thought about how that price is possible or what exactly is in those ‘nuggets’? Well if you have that is only human, but you may need to purify yourself. In fact there are many reasons all of us might need to get back on track. Do we need 100 inspirations? Too late, already have them!

My friends at the Massage Therapy Schools website have taken considerable effort to provide us with exactly 100 reasons to have a more sustainable table. We think it’s so easy, but when confronted with a list like this it feels like we can do so much more. From the ‘Basics’ to social out reach all topics are covered. I personally appreciate #’s 95, 83, 79, 65, 59, 49, 44, 30, 14, 5, and 1.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Chilled soup update 2

Chilled soup season is winding down. To catch up on a few from the past month: Jen made a carrot-ginger soup that was quite zippy and full flavored. The only credit I can take for that creation is the mistake of ordering 5 pounds of ginger. If you don’t know now you do, 5 pounds of ginger is a lot of ginger.
Next was a chilled tomato soup. I pureed a small amount of mire poix with the tomatoes and it turned out tasting a lot like a standard gazpacho. Deciding to drizzle it with truffle oil and fresh cracked black pepper made it exciting.

Just for shits and giggles I tried a clarified tomato gelled topped with house cured wild Coho salmon and preserved lemon salad. The back story goes like this; we serve a chopped tomato salad all summer. We sell a whole lot of them, and that is an understatement. In an effort to keep up the pantry chef cuts the tomatoes up at the beginning of service and holds them in a strainer allowing liquid to drain away from them in an effort to not serve soggy tomato pieces as a salad two hours down the road. Well that wonderful elixir had been going down the drain until I rescued it and now it is saved! Hence this soup and it turned out quite well. I made six and sold four over three days. Not too bad.

The flop of the summer goes to a chilled buttermilk soup with cured salmon and dill. The soup base is a classic Polish soup called Cholnik. I’ve written about it before. It’s tangy, sweet, and refreshing, but didn’t sell at all. What a shame!

Most recently I made somewhat of a clique soup, cucumber-melon. I don’t know if that is more of a lotion scent or a culinary experience, but I lucked out. I used honeydew melons that where so sweet and juicy I couldn’t believe it. The addition of just enough cucumber evened out the sweetness, and lemon-pepper cucumbers as a garnish leveled the field on sweet and savory.

With only a few more swealtering days of August heat I’m planning to try a peach-cantaloupe soup. I also have a few random pieces of tropical fruit and am still stuck on a savory fruit gazpacho.

3 Fresh Photos

Grilled prime flat iron steak, herb frites, creamy spinach with artichokes and pine nutes, tarragon mayo.

Dry aged NY strip steak, pickled ramps, buttered brussel sprouts, radishs, and apples, spicy sweet potato puree.

Blue cheese stuffed and smoked proscutto wraped fresh figs, pickled peaches & basil, truffle honey.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Chilled soup update

The cold soup experience of O-10 has come with metered success. Cucumber-avocado went over with great success. It is a classic in the chilled soup world. I did add a measure of gin to the mix. For that mystery flavor if you will?

Chilled apricot soup was a wash. The apricots just were not very flavorful. I tried to save things with peach schnapps and orange liquor, but to no avail. The garnish was very good though. A preserved lemon, strawberry and pistachio chutney with mint was good enough to save the whole dish.

Most recently the spicy watermelon soup is going over well. I start with a base of fresh ginger, Midori liquor, and sirachi. I especially enjoy the contrast of temperature with this soup and prefer to serve it with grilled shrimp. On the other hand a nice citrus shrimp salad has fared well this past week-end. A mixture of lemon, lime, orange, cilantro, and red peppers are good partners to both shrimp and melon.

I’m thinking about a mixed melon gazpacho for the future. I’m also thinking about a chilled pesto soup where a basil broth is the base. Peaches will defiantly fit in somewhere sooner than later. And of course a chilled tomato will evolve more around a garnish than a base. Wish me luck!

Funny sniffings

I knew we did it right all these years! First you poke it and if it isn’t ‘too’ slimy or mushy then you smell it, and if it doesn’t smell ‘too’ bad then you ok it for human consumption. Looks like the government does the same thing with oily fish….and we aren’t talking about canned tuna.