Saturday, February 20, 2010

Keller's Quail in a Jar

Creativity ebbs and flows. And when I am in an ebb or down time, I will go to the bookshelf. From there I grab a book by either Keller, Trotter, Blumenthal, Adria, Achatz, Richards, Mina, and a bunch of others I have. Blindly open the book, and providing I haven't made it before, make it. I have found that this method usually works at breaking the log jam of creativity. When I am really lucky it involves methods or techniques I've never employed.
Such was the case today. Keller's sous vide book provided a new technique. Something I have never done, but have seen in some recipes. Just never thought of actually doing it. Cooking in a mason jar. Sure it's reminiscent of preserving. But oh so different. I started with a quail. Deboned it leaving just the wings and legs intact. Stuffed the cavity with foie gras. Wrapped in cheesecloth and into a mason jar. Filled with duck stock, and cooked at 147 degrees for one hour. I am somewhat worried in that it did cook at 156 degrees for a few minutes during the hour. We'll see the results in a few days. I still need to reduce the cooking stock with port. Add to that some gelatine and make a glaze. Then slice, and hopefully have a beautiful presentation for a cold appetizer.
This cooking method was fun and relatively simple. It also opens up some other avenues. LAtely I have been reading a lot from both Shola (Studio Kitchen) and Alex (ideas in food) as they have been doing lots of different things with mason jar cookery. We'll see if I go down some of their roads. But that's the point of this exercise. Breaking the rut by trying new things.
So once again it seems to have worked. But what will come of it.....

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


How happy am I to have received this nice package from "King Of Caviar". Will have to make some fun bites for sure with this.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Nuked Foie Torchon!?!

This was a WTF moment for me. When I first decided to become a caterer and leave the restaurant kitchens, I had no idea how I would make my food "bite" friendly. I read every catering book I could get my hands on. One I really enjoyed was "Bite Sized" by Francois Payard (SP?). IN it he made food that was reminiscent of plated course in small scale. I loved it, and it remains a go to book for me.
In it there is a recipe for foie torchon made in a microwave. PURE BLASPHEMY. This went against my view of foie and how to treat it. But at the end of the day, everything I had made based on this book was great. SO why not try this one as well. Am I glad I did! This makes my life easier for small bites of foie without a lot of hassle. Which helps me bring the cost down.
I start with adeveined lobe of foie. You can marinate it with sauterne if you like. For my presentation on Vday. I chose Amaretto to go with the shortbread and pistachio crumble. Obviously you need some salt as well. This was left in the fridge for 2 hrs. It was then wrapped up in plastic wrap torchon style. Then vacuum sealed (I just used a ziplock emptied of as much air as possible). I allowed this to chill for another hour. Then 40 seconds in the microwave on high. Scariest 40 seconds of the last few weeks for me. And then right into an ice bath.
I can tell you at this moment I still did not know what to make of this recipe. I would not know until the following day, when I began to slice it. The smile on my face was obvious. Silky smooth and beautifully coloured. Phew. was worried.
Here is a repeat pic of the dish from last night. Well worth the trouble of 40seconds in the nuke.
Go on try it. Mess with it and send me a pic. I'll add it here.
I should mention here that a lot of the presentation of this dish was inspired by a dish I saw in the Keller sous vide book.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Scenes from Valentines Menu

These are a couple of the dishes featured in our take home Valentine's meal. Hope you enjoy.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Pics and Bites

Fennel and cumin chicken
Celery root and chayote pancake
Creme fraiche

Tasty bite

Monday, February 1, 2010