Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Amuse Bouche and The Pantry Hammer

We produce an amuse bouche every night for every table. And while some are more thought out than others I am always happy with what we serve. This past weekend we went to an old pairing of fruit and cheese. Almost like a sample of our cheese plate. We paired our house made fig jam with Mahon cheese and almonds. Pretty simple but delicious none the less.

I took these pictures mainly because of our garde manger or pantry chef Chino. I told him what the bouche was and that was pretty much it. He took the amuse bouche and made it his own. I wanted to show all of you the care he took with something we give away to every table. We charge nothing for the bouche and Chino still took this much love with it. Chino was actually making quenelles of the fig jam like he does for the cheese plate but in miniature. This is pretty time consuming especially when you are making 125 of these in a night. Hence this is why we call Chino a hammer. He drives everything home no matter what we give him. Chino also makes all of the salads and all of the desserts for the restaurant.

Here are some of the nicknames we through around the kitchen on a regular basis. These change frequently.
Chino, pepito, tortuga, chepe, salsa face, salsa pants, polvo, jefe, marica, chucky, torita, scary.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"Roasted Chicken"

I love roast chicken. But all too often roasted chicken is dry in the breast or chewy in the thigh and leg. How does one get away from these problems in chicken or any other game bird? We get around it by using a method called the triple sear. The name is a little misleading. We do not thrice sear this chicken but we do twice sear. Here's how it works: we break our whole chickens down into quarters. Then we brown the chicken in a saute pan on all sides. Then we take the seared chicken quarters place them in a vaccum seal bag with shallots, garlic, white wine, chicken stock, and lemon verbena. We seal the bag and slow cook the chickens poaching until our chicken is cooked. (we take a little more exact approach than what I am describing but I don't want to bore) When the chicken is done we shock the bags in ice water which helps the breast meat reabsorb moisture. Then we bring the chicken back up to hot and when we go to serve the chicken we re-sear the skin in butter making it nice and crisp. The end result is juicy, tender cooked chicken.

We have mimiced roasting a chicken and the results are great. We serve the half bird with lemon verbena scented chicken jus and pommes frites. You may notice we cook sous vide a lot but it really gets great results everytime.

If you are interested there is a new show in England which has a great bit on sous vide steak. They also go into a lot more detail on the chemistry of sous vide. It's called Kamazie Cookery and these guys are smart and funny.