Saturday, December 29, 2007

More Worthy Cookbooks

It has been such a whirlwind this December that I have not had the time to post all I have wanted to. I really wanted to get this one out there as it features a few really great cookbooks. I will, over the coming weeks, cook a dish from each one of these books, and see how they come out. I usually do not follow recipes but more the idea. But in these cases I have decided to cook verbatim from the books to see the accuracy. And hopefully inspire some of you to purchase some of them.

Up first: Nobu West
A really great book. Beautifully presented dishes with some innovative techniques. It's one of my favorite Asian Cookbooks. I prepared a version of his salmon tataki a while back and posted it. I have also made his playful dessert that is a deconstructed cappuccino.

Second: Morimoto the new art of japanese cooking.
It is really just that, the new art of japanese cooking. I really love his vision of food. Clean, pure flavors. Many, many, many, techniques to be gleaned from this one.

And lastly: Raw (By Charlie Trotter and Roseanne Klein)
Charlie Trotter is the first chef that I really respected. I learned more from his cookbooks than from alot of my culinary education. I have sadly still not eaten in his restaurant. But I will take solice in his cookbooks. And this is one of the better ones. It focuses on the raw food movement. No dish in this book has had any heat (except for a dehydrator) applied to it in any way. It is this fact that makes these dishes so spectacular. I am not a really big proponent of raw food. In fact I have never eaten at a raw restaurant, but there are dishes in here worthy of adding to your repertoire. I will be doing several dishes from this book, so look for them.
I hope you get inspired from these books or dishes I post. If there are any cookbooks you have that you think are in this vein please let me know. I'd love to read them.

A couple of nice bottles

I had the pleasure of opening these two bottles the other night for dinner. I was especially surprised with the Ontario Riesling. Although the LCBO lists this one as extra dry, I found it quite sweet, although not cloyingly so. Really nice color and balance on the tongue. And the fruit although forward was not overpowering. An almost mineral effervescence at the end. Really nice and at less than $30.00 I will definitely purchase again.
The Alion "cosecho" was also quite delicious. I am not really familiar with high quality Spanish wines, but this one sure piqued my interest in them. The tannins in this wine were nothing short of lush. I really enjoyed each sip. I am still teaching myself about wine tasting and appreciation, and my review of this wine is shoddy at best. But I can say that I would buy again, but at the price it would be for a very special evening.

Do something nice for yourself and go out buy a couple of nice wines, make a nice meal for someone you love and enjoy.


Scary sounding product at first. But wow does this stuff work well. Transglutiminase is, from what I understand, an enzyme that will bond two proteins together. I first saw this used on the Ideas In Food website. They had fused chicken skin to sea bass if I remember correctly. After much searching I managed to get ahold of some. My first attempt was with duck. I deboned a whole duck and removed the skin. After seasoning the meat, a liberal sprinkling of this enzyme coated the meat. The duck was rolled up like a ballotine and the skin (which was cleaned and trimmed (somewhat) was wrapped around the ballotine. Plastic wrapped tightly and into the fridge overnight. The duck produced two beautiful ballotines, that were really nice and tight as well as sealed at the seam relly well. I have to say my first attempt was definitely a success. Unfortunately no pictures as I used it for a family Christmas dinner.
Today though, I am going to wrap up a flank steak for various applications. I can really see the potential for one bite dishes with this product that would be impossible or otherwise messy without it. The flank trimmed and butterflied can be rolled up nice and tight, wrapped in caul fat and cooked sous vide with various seasonings and marinades. I hope to try 3 new dishes with the flank I have.

After opening my freezer I found that I had only parts of flank. Well onward ho I went. Looking through the pantry and fridge this morning I came up with some other projects to use up this product (tgm). Hopefully I will add a couple of other dishes to this set in the near future.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Cook Books

I find that I have been buying alot of great cookbooks lately and that I haven't shared any. At Chapters the other day I started going through a cookbook after cookbook looking for some neat idea to try. It was then that I found David Adjey's cookbook De/constructing the dish. I wasn't going to even read it because of the sticker "As seen on Food Network". I am glad I let that slip, because there were some great ideas. He does a swordfish (annatto seed rub) that has the fillet cut thinly and laid out on 2 layers. The way it sits on the plate I see it as a free form concept ravioli. He also makes a lobster corndog. I like the corndog for all kinds of tasty ideas. Good price for the amount of ideas contained. Visit his blog as well. I just went and was surprised by the amount of info.

The End of Food

I just recently finished this book. A really great and informative read. It brings forth some disturbing points regarding the quality and safety of our nations food supply. I hope it makes you just a little bit mad. And that you do something about it. There are so many ways to make good decisions about the food we eat. If I start a rant now, it would take too much space here. Suffice it to say, I really thought this book would be provocative read for most.
Eat in season, buy local.
Support organic farmers in your area.

New Dishes

Sometimes things just come together like you had in mind for them. It always brings a smile to my face when you don't need to tinker to get it just right. This is how I would like more days to go when working in the kitchen. We are just finishing up on a great many Christmas parties. I tries alot of new ideas and techniques in the past few weeks. I will showcase some of them here.

To start we have a panna cotta of spiced cauliflower. An idea I gleaned from a cookbook a while back. It came out beutifully. My only complaint is we didn't have the right size glass to serve it in. We usually rent our tablewares and they didn't have a cordial glass large enough to get a spoon into, nor small enough for the portion size I envisioned. Oh well if thats my only complaint on this one, so be it. The taste and texture were superb.

The second dish is an oyster on the half shell with pickled ginger sorbet and Lumpfish roe. (some nicer caviar would have been better but not in the budget). This dish was a real treat for oyster lovers. The taste of the sea from the oyster mixed with the heat and sweetness of the sorbet, and finally the salty finish and slight texture from the lump roe. A really great combination.