“While unconventional, the business model we’ve used thus far has enabled us to donate $22,000 to local charities in 2009, and we’d like to propose another unconventional business decision for the new restaurant: inviting you to participate in the venture. Mission Street Food is currently in negotiations to purchase a restaurant space, but we need a little more capital upfront. So we’re announcing a co-op of sorts, in which many investors could contribute a reasonably small amount to the start-up costs and earn annual dividends and more.”—Anthony via Mission Street Food
“2. It is made by Apple. I’m not being cute here. If it was made by Hewlett Packard, they wouldn’t have global control over the OS or the online retail outlets. If it was made by Google, they would have tendered out the hardware manufacture to HTC. Apple - and it is one of the reasons some people distrust or dislike them - control it all. They’ve designed the silicon, the A4 chip that runs it all, they’ve designed the batteries, they’ve overseen every detail of the commercial, technological, design and software elements. No other company on earth does that. And being Apple it hasn’t been released without (you can be sure) Steve Jobs being wholly convinced that it was ready. “Not good enough, start again. Not good enough. Not good enough. Not good enough.” How many other CEOs say until their employees want to murder them? That’s the difference.”—Steven Fry on Apple and the iPad (via Gizmodo)
I’ve been working with a lot of winter vegetables lately in the commercial kitchen, and I never noticed that the parsnip is a wonderful, totally underrated food. They have a subtle sweetness and are a bit woodsy, which can pair with a number of proteins. I’m a bigger fan of them than their cousin the carrot, because ya know, they’re not in EVERY. SINGLE. FRENCH. RECIPE. I. MAKE. LOL YOU KNOW I LOVE YOU GUYS.
Here’s how the dish breaks down by flavor profiles:
Braised short ribs - meaty, toothsome & firm. The OOMPH of the dish. Strong enough to take the espresso bitterness.
Turnip mash - slightly sweet, light and starchy. A good base to drive through the boldness of the meat and sauce.
Caramelized apple - slight crust, very sweet. A strong garnish. Picks up the sweetness from the turnip mash, contrasting with savory components.
Espresso jus - bold, salty bite and a slight bitter end. The “twist”.
I was aiming for the apple / caramel / espresso flavor combinations with ingredients that could add (not distract) layers of flavor around them. I also wanted the flavors to be subtle. No one wants a plated caramel macchiato for their main course. Hee hee.
Liana and I had Matt and Deb over for dinner and we ate the dish with some tossed romaine, toasted baguette slices and finished it off with gingerbread ice cream from Theno’s Dairy.
Opportunities / Observations in the dish:
Plating the mashed turnips was difficult on a plate. It wasn’t that much easier in a shallow bowl either. Next time, it needs a whir in the food processor with cream.
Short ribs are DAAAAAAARK in photographs.
I liked the strong apple on top, but that parsley garnish is a bit weak. Chive?
I need to talk to the butcher to get a bigger, fuller cut of short rib.
Let’s create an example. I have a new product called Kate’s Natural Corn Flakes. Does the FDA have any regulations in place to ensure that my Corn Flakes are, in fact, natural?
It depends upon your perspective. The FDA has no holistic definition that can guarantee the consumer that my finalized product is thoroughly natural. What they do have are requirements that define what constitutes “natural” ingredients or flavorings. To their thinking, if all of the flavorings and ingredients are natural, then the entire product has to be natural, right?
Wild Salmon Flavored with Tom Douglas’ African Peri Peri Rub, Roasted Cauliflower, Mashed Potatoes and an Herbed Greek Yogurt.
I’ve been trying to make ribs for the past three days. I’ve literally been dreaming about them at night and all I really wanted to do is season them and do a quick and dirty bake/broil with rice. When I called Liana about the dinner I had planned, she hesitated and said…
"Let’s make lemon pepper salmon, cauliflower and potatoes."
Normally, I’d normally preface this with a explanation that Liana’s been very supportive of me cooking whatever the hell I want for dinner, eating it and offering opinions on it when solicited… but today, she said she spent the whole day thinking about what to cook for dinner. I get teary-eyed just thinking about it. We knocked out dinner and I’m totally happy with the results.
Fabrication deets below:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pat salmon dry with paper towel. Coat salmon with African Peri Peri spice rub, let rest 15 minutes. Place on oiled baking sheet and cook in oven for 10 minutes - add a few minutes if your salmon is a bit thicker than the picture.
For the cauliflower, break down cauliflower into bite-sized florettes - Liana used a small paring knife. Toss with olive oil, Kosher salt & freshly cracked grains of paradise (or freshly cracked pepper). Throw on baking sheet and cook for 10 - 12 minutes, or until cauliflower browns ever so slightly at the tips.
Start three large russet potatoes in cold water with a heavy hand of Kosher salt. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat for a gentle simmer. While the potatoes are cooking, mince three cloves of garlic, a cup of dairy (cream = heavy, skim = lighter texture) and a few pats of butter in a glass. When potatoes are fork tender, pour in contents of glass and mash to desired consistency.
The sauce is just a combination of 2 minced garlic cloves, the juice and zest from one lemon, a handful of minced parsley and chives and 1 small container of Greek yogurt.
Spoon the sauce in the empty bowl, adding enough so it coats the bottom of the plate. Scoop potatoes off-center (in a mold ring if you have one), trying to get a 60 degree angle on the top (so the fish “stants”). Add cauliflower around the potatoes, emphasizing the golden brown tips to the top of the plate. Using a spatula, carefully place fish over potatoes. Garnish with lemon wedge and chives.
Maslow’s heirarchy of needs dictate that after the physiological needs like breathing, sleeping and sex (YEAH I SAID IT), safety of self is the next step to self actualization. That being said, I’m definitely more aware of my surroundings - mainly because they could kill me. LOL. Ultra sharp knives, bubbling oil, slippery surfaces, dangerously spikey faux-hawks & most importantly, VEGANS. jokes. I’m constantly reminding myself of the physical dangers, the microscopic battle against food bacteria and the infinitesimal depths of my own stupidity. Ki o tsukete mina san (be careful). Ki o tsukete.
2. Learning from your mistakes, even if they’re not yours.
Being thrown back into the kitchen feels as though I started school all over again. I was assigned a locker, met my new teachers, realized the hierarchy quickly and respected it, checked the vibe and tried to get into a groove. I also spent 3 hours at Office Max scoping out awesome new pens and Sharpies. lols.
I’ve been cranking out tweets (marked #restaurantnote) for prosperity and hopefully start a dialogue with others in the field, which is actually happening. Sorta. (HI BECKY). When I have a moment to take a step back from what I’m doing, I try to observe best practices and attempt to assimilate instantly. Because I have the short term memory of a fish, I scribble these ideas down and go review them with my after-shift beer at home.
Yes, I do ridiculously idiotic things from time to time, but again, I make a mental note and write my misgivings in my notepad as soon as humanly possible.
3. Repetition is key.
This one isn’t difficult.
Peel a bag of potatoes, first time = 45 minutes.
Peel a bag of potatoes, second time = 37 minutes.
Peel a bag of potatoes, third time = 35 minutes.
Peel a bag of potatoes, 34987346 time = 0.002358 seconds. LOL.
It also helps when you’re sharing a project with a veteran next to you - you can observe not necessarily what you’re doing wrong, but what you COULD be doing better, faster stronger. It’s that perpetual desire for perfection and that intense high from beating yourself EVERY SINGLE TIME that makes cooking so exhilarating…
WHICH OMG LEADS ME INTO AN AWESOME SEGUE.
4. Review, present opportunities & execute.
On nights when I still feel the effects from the adrenaline high, I nosh on a piece of fruit (today it was apples) drink a beer and go over the notes from the day and go through a mental checklist. It goes a lil’ sumpin’ like thiiiiiiiiiiis:
What flavor profiles could I extract from tonight.
How could I make this vegetarian.
If I used a high quality product, would it make a difference in taste / cost effectiveness.
How can I incorporate *this* ingredient into my style of cooking.
Can that dish be translated into another culture.
How could I have cut those faster.
Could I make this in another season / what would I substitute.
Can I deep fry it? (lol)
What’s the technical term for what I did.
Did I need another pan to speed up my work flow.
Did I put out good food.
And most importantly…
"…what did I learn today?"
I figure since I think about food all the time already, I might as well do it systematically. However, on #$@*(^#$ #$*^$%& rough days, it looks more like this:
How did I get my ass kicked so badly?
Why is there salmon in my hair?
Huh. I wonder if this will scar.
I need more bandages.
WAIT. IS THIS EVEN MY HOUSE? WTF.
Those days, those days are the days you learn the most. Commit to yourself the new behaviors, grab as much sleep as you can and crank that shit out the next day.
(long drawn out dramatic pause)
Look. I feel like I’ve experienced more lifetimes, good and bad, than I ever thought possible. I find that the littlest tidbits from friends, family, jobs and randomness help me out in this tightly knit community of the restaurant industry… and for that I am grateful.
* A good pen * The iphone * My pocket knife * A Moleskin, even if it is falling apart * Friends * The Pixies, TV on the Radio, Old Outkast * Access to Twitter * Flickr * My Macbook
- Richie Nakano, sous chef of NOPA in SF and favorite blog/podcast chef, via Linecook415
When I first got into Seattle, the only cooking I did was for my gf. I was jonezin’ for the kitchen, but there’s only so much you can do when you’re a suit 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.
So when I first checked out his podcasts, I really felt as though I was in the kitchen again. It’s just a bunch of friends and industry heads that have a few beers with mics on. They talk about food/restaurant trends, talk shit, crack jokes and embody what it’s really like to cook for a living. It felt like home.
He’s one of the reasons how I came to cook again. Thanks man.
“2. A calorie total at purchase – All your food items have calorie amounts the same as they have prices. How hard would it be to include a function on the cash register that adds up the total calories of the foods purchased and prints it on the receipt? Heck, take it a step further and tell the customer directly, “Your total is $8.76 and your calorie total is 2,400. Would you like to Sans Queso! your meal for an extra thirty cents?” Bam. Satisfied customer, more profit, and less wasted ingredients. Is that genius or what?”—
Waffles, Sausage and Wild Mushroom Gravy & Sunny Eggs Garnished with Sliced Scallion.
I was craving a traditional breakfast, rather, a traditional meal this morning. I’ve been wolfing down a lot of scraps / leftovers lately and I wanted to cook something that required something more than bread in the toaster. WAFFLES IT IS. WHEEEEE.
Fabrication deets follow below:
Step 1: Make waffles (or biscuits or pancakes!) - I always have Alton’s recipe on hand.
Step 2: Make sausage and wild mushroom gravy.
Cook 2oz. of breakfast sausage - size of two patties
Drain grease, leaving about 2 tbsp. to cook the flour
Add rehydrated dried mushrooms (in hot water) or porcini powder
Add a few tablespoons of flour until it has a nutty fragrance and is a light beige
Pour milk (about 1.5 cups) and thicken to your liking
Season with Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper
Step 3: Do up your eggs like you normally do & garnish with green onions.
Note: The gravy intstructions turn your sausage gravy brown, which is both sacrilege (lol) and how I like it. Hee hee. If you want it lighter, add more milk and ease up on cooking the flour.
When I assembled the plate, I thought the gravy was too thick and there was way too much waffle to eat, but the proportions turned out ok! There will always be adjustments to be made. That’s what *next time* is for, right?
“I take the eggs out of fridge, let them come to room temp, pre-heat my combi to 68C on full steam (it’s either full steam or convection nothing in between percentage wise. My guess would be that it’s at around 98% humidity.) Place the eggs on perforated hotel pan. Cook at 68C for 25 minutes. Crack one on plate and look for small amount of albumen to run off. If too liquidy I cook at same temp again for 4 min to get exact structure. Then I cool with cold water. Then hold for service in water around 35C.”—
Moyashimon = kid who can see microbes in a Japanese agriculture college. He makes friends and they eat traditionally fermented foods from around the world. Hilarity ensues. lols.
Fermentation was the main theme in the series and it introduced a list of pre-refrigeration food stuffs. I learned a bit about Japanese sake production and the fragrant delicacies of truly great sake (smells like melon?). The first few episodes pitted the Aspergillus oryzae (yellow guy on the left) and its nemesis Hiochi Kin, a fructivoran that spoils the sake process.
Surstromming - Swedish food made from fermented herring. The can is designed to expand! WTF botchulism?
Hongeohoe - A 10 day Korean fermentation of skate fish.
Menma - Pickled bamboo shoots which is a popular ramen garnish (from traditional ramen houses to David Chang’s Momofuku in NYC).
Kivak - A whole seal stuffed with sea birds fermented underground.
Yeah. I know. WHOLE SEAL.
It’s 11 episodes, and while it gets a bit weird in the end, but all in all, it’s a light hearted show. It’ll kinda gets me in the stinky food mood… if you’re into that sort of thing. Nasty. lols.
You can check out the first episode (no hassle download!) via Keiichi’s site here.
“We have been doing the 64.5°C eggs for a while now in our thermocirculator, with fine results. After a conversation with Alex (ideas in food) about using the CVap for just about everything, he suggested that we try doing just the egg yolk dropped directly into olive oil and cooking at the same temperature in the CVap. The only difference was the cooking time, we had to cook the yolks at 64.5c for about 2 hours with the browning scale set to 1. The results were quite similar, the texture of the yolk is the same, and the yolk is also flavored with fresh thyme and bay leaf.”—