Sunday, September 28, 2008

Swoosh Off

This is a good old fashioned swoosh, whatever that means. So John and I have swooshed red pepper coulis on two different plates and we'd like you, the people to vote. Which plate is more pleasing aesthetically. Forget Iron Chef, this means so much more. So please vote no matter who or where you are. For those of you who do know us personally please leave a name so we can poll the jury so to say.

Picture A:

Picture B
We will check the status in a couple of days. Please vote in the comments section, and Good Luck John your going to need it.

Coming soon: Dueling Specials.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Fried Ravioli and love

Why not. Fried ravioli has been on many menus. Who doesn't like fried raviolis. Well, I guess when it's made in foreign countries and has a ton of food additives, well then yea you might not like fried ravioli. But still the bar food hound in all of us loves fried ravioli.
And this is one way chef's come up with ideas. We love fried foods and especially fried raviolis. Yea it may sound a little base but when you make fresh pasta, fill it with crab meat, blanch the raviolis, and batter them all in house you have shown a lot of love to a fried ravioli. And that is exactly what we did. John being from St. Louis told me fried ravioli were on every menu. So why not.
So here us what we came up with.
Fried Crab Ravioli- corn nage an red pepper coulis.
It sound so simple but there really is a lot of love here. The raviolis alone are a four step process. The crab filling has marscapone cheese, sour cream, cilantro, pimenton, cayenne, and lemon juice. The corn nage is simple, corn, onions, garlic, and chicken stock. The red pepper coulis is great. We took local red bell peppers and roasted, seeded and peeled them. The we took shallots, Garlic and chicken stock and cooked the mixture until liquid reduced by half. Then we pureed the mixture in a blender adding EVOO as neede and the strauned the red pepper puree through a fine mesh chinois. That is love for a fried ravioli.

Farmers Market Caprese

We are really luck to have such a great farmer's market and group of farmer's around the Chapel Hill area. We buy a lot from local farmers but I usually only go to the Farmer's Market on Saturday's with the family. Most of the farmer's here do deliver which is amazing considering the gas prices these days.

These days we have been seeing some great tomatoes coming in. We have featured a lot of tomatoes over the summer, but I hit a chef's writer's block so to say. Sometimes I over think too much and fail to look at the simple beauty of the local products we get. This past Wednesday one of my line cooks John and I went to farmer's market to see what was available. While we were there John suggested mozzarella caprese. I was quick to dismiss the idea as seen all too often and on far to many menus. Luckily John convinced me otherwise and we bought almost everything for the salad at the market.
The Shopping List:
Chapel Hill Creamery fresh Mozz- Chapel Hill creamery uses whole milk Jersey cows to make all their cheeses. Their mozzarella is some of the best i have ever had. They also make some other great cheese from hard too soft.

Lyon Farms sungold, brown roma and grape tomatoes. A great selection of sweet and meaty tomatoes grown in Creedmore, NC.

Perry-winkle Farms Basil- fresh farmer's market basil is always so much more intense.

The rest of the ingridients were silver DOP 15 year Aged Balsamic. Dop extra virgin olive oil and fleur de sel and elephant garlic

Mozzarella Caprese is so simple and so great but only if you let the quality of great ingredients shine through. The Farmer's did all the work on this dish. We just presented it on a plate. And thanks to John for helping break down my Chef's Block.
On a side note our garde manger chef got waxed on this all weekend. Chino (this means chinese in spanish, and chino is a latino) did a great job with these.


We usually leave the camera lying around the kitchen just in case we deem something picture worthy. Of course I find a lot more pictures like the one above, not involving food, usually something vile. But I liked this picture of my 2 nighttime dishwashers. Both great employees, good workers, and really funny.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Rib Eyes

We keep coming back to serving ribeye caps. Mainly because they are delicious, and probably the most tender cut of meat. But what else do you do with the cleaned center cut ribeye? Cut into steaks similar to filet mignon, or ribeye filets. Here are our two servings of each.
First we deconstructed a beef wellington and looked at all the components and put it back together like this:
Layers of ribeye "filet" with mushroom duxelle, puff pastry, and truffled mousse pate. Served over sauteed spinach. This was our first run and our sauteed spinach bled out immediately. So for service we blanch off our spinach and pressed it dry. This kept our plates lookng much prettier.
Here we do a take on steak and eggs with the cap. Poached egg sous vide, "tater tot" truffled red wine demi. I liked this dish a lot. But today we started a deconstructed pot roast using the cap. It is awesome.


One of the guys just introduced me to quinoa. Having never cooked or tasted the grain I was really intrigued at the possibilities. For those of you who don't know quinoa is an ancient grain originally eaten by the Incas in Peru. Quinoa has a flavor and texture all it's own. Sort of like cous cous but it is a grain. We decided to stick with latin american flavors for the dish and we wanted to use fish. Mahi Mahi came to mind and we were off running.
Our Final dish: Plantain crusted Mahi Mahi with cold quinoa salad and banana ketchup.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Wild Striped Bass "Provencal"

I have made many different versions of a Provencal sauce but this has to be my favorite. We seared the striped bass on both sides and the then we deglaze the pan with our Provencal sauce. we topped the fish with a lavender panade (thanks Jeffery) and then finish baking the fish in the oven. We served it over roasted poblano polenta with a fried basil leaf for garnish.

Short Rib Ravioli

We have been working on our ravioli dough recipe for a while and really trying to get it down to a science. Now, ravioli dough has been around for a long time and many many people make great ravioli. This shouldn't seem like something hard to make. But when we looked at compressing the dough for tenderness we ran into a slew of visual problems. After lots of experimentation we have finally put our compressed pasta dough to bed and we can move on. Here we took shots of our local grass fed short rib raviolis from start to finished plate. The finished dish:
Local Grass Fed Beef Short Rib Ravioli with Shitake Ragout, Edamame, and Red Wine Syrup.

A lot of goat cheese and marscapone went into the mix