Found this in the canning/jelly/pickling section…….will save me some money on shipping in the future.
I have been putting this off for awhile now. Between getting the coffee shop ready to open back in September and the daily grind of it (HAHA) I have not had much time for blogging,let alone putting together a video. With today being Veterans Day,the Air Force was off for the day and therefore 90% of my sales were on vacation so I had the day off as well. This video shows pretty much the whole evening of the ArtSpace dinner and should give you a pretty good idea of how the night went. This was such a great experience and I was fortunate that they gave me a shot at doing it. The night went pretty well but as always there was room for improvement.
Some of the things I would have done differently/changed/or added:
- Printed menus with my logo to hand out to the guests to take home
- Have an additional cheese to add to the cheese course
- A “surprise” course not on the menu – just did not have enough time for this
- The dessert : because of the heat and humidity it did not set up and became almost impossible to plate. Everyone said they enjoyed it though.
- Goodie bags for the guests to take home – I had some really good ideas just messed up the timing therefore they were shelved.
- Logo’ed t-shirts for myself and my crew.
All in all it was really fun and went by extremely fast. I had originally signed up to do one of these dinners again in early 2011 but ArtSpace has gone through some changes and is in the process of revamping this program. I let the director know my continued interest in this as well as any other culinary programs they might do in the future so I will keep you updated when I find out anything.
I have to give thanks to everyone who made this night possible : ArtSpace, Michael Chisum, my lovely wife Ann, Connor “mini-me” O’Boyle, Liz Beattie,Robin Rice and Jaimee “Pony Thief” Rice and of course all my guests who dined with us that night…….it truly was special.
The audio in the beginning when the Culinary Director (Michael Chisum at the time) is speaking is kind of low so you may have to turn your speakers up but after that watch the volume because the rest is okay.
This course halfway turned out like I originally envisioned it. The pork belly turned out perfect, the bbq sauce I can make in my sleep nowadays,onion sprouts – well not much to screw up there. The corn and ricotta gnocchi is where things veered off course a bit.
My original idea was to have an all ricotta gnocchi, no eggs, no flour. I had read on Ideas in Food that they used a binding agent called Activa YG which is specifically for dairy applications. I contacted the supplier and they graciously supplied me with a few samples. I made a test batch a few weeks before the dinner using 1% Activa YG and 99% drained whole milk ricotta. These worked out pretty good so I felt fairly confident about the ones I would make for the dinner. Well about an hour before the dinner was supposed to start I decided to test a few of the gnocchi. As soon as I put them in the water they basically just fell apart and I was left with a pot of ricotta water. They just would not hold their shape, they were super delicate. Not that I wanted to, but Iended up adding some flour and egg yolks to bind them together. I cooked these then tossed them in a saute pan to lightly brown on one side. They were tasty just not what I had originally envisioned.
The rest of the course consisted of my Ancho Bacon BBQ sauce, Beer Braised Pork Belly, a Corn sauce to top the gnocchi and finally some onion sprouts. I had brought along some corn nuts that I ground up to add texture to the dish but in the haste of plating for the crowd they were forgotten about.
If I could have done anything different I would have liked to change the gnocchi to be smaller and more uniform in size as well as lighten up the corn sauce and clean up/tighten the plating. Also we had a whole tray of pieces of Pork Belly that I had trimmed off the ones we served. My whole crew used this as snacks throughout the dinner, some more than others
This was one of those courses that I knew I wanted to do but was not sure of the execution let alone find all the ingredients. It is meant to clear the palate after the strong tastes of the previous course and prepare it for the next course without leaving any lingering flavors.
In the past two years I was able to find passion fruit nectar at a local store that usually sells “hard to find” ingredients in this area and in this area most stuff is “hard to find”, but lately it is nowhere to be found. We traveled to Dallas the weekend before the dinner to source some of the “hard to find” and “better quality” ingredients for the meal. I was pretty confident I would find everything I needed with the selection of all the gourmet and ethnic stores in the area. Dallas is about a 3 hour trip from here and we probably spend at least three hours driving around Dallas and the surrounding cities visiting the different stores. To say the Dallas area is spread out is an understatement.
The inspiration for this dessert came from past recipes in working with passionfruit and how it can act as a palate cleanser. The idea for the “dry” ice cream came from a book called Coco. They used different ingredients but the concept was similar.
I was hoping I would be able to find Passion Fruit Nectar in Dallas at one of the ethnic markets, Whole Foods or Central Market (which kicks Whole Foods butt) but the only thing I was able to find was a passionfruit/mango nectar at an Asian Supermarket called Super H. Super H is like an Asian Wal Mart, I forget how I heard about it but I am pretty sure it was on the E-Gullet Forums. It is located in Denton which is north of Dallas right off one of the major freeways that circle the area. They always have a nice selection of fresh seafood and prepared foods as well as an interesting selection of produce. The nectar was in 12 oz cans so I bought like 15 of them.
The preparation was just making a basic gelee, letting it set, then cutting with a small cookie cutter to about the size of a scallop. The “dry Ice Cream” was an equal mixture of Coconut Cream Powder, Powdered Sugar and Tapioca Maltodextrin.
I was hesitant about this dish working out but luckily it worked exactly how I thought it would.
I came across this technique via one of my daily food site reads – Ideas in Food. Now this post deals with a technique that was explained on another site I follow – Cooking Issues , I just hadn’t got to it yet for the day. The technique deals with using an iSi whipper and N2O to quickly infuse different ingredients in under a minute which normally would take a few days to weeks. Alex & Aki of Ideas in Food have been very inspirational and informative in my cooking processes and this idea led me to create something a little different with our dinner tonight.
For dinner I really did not feel like cooking tonight so I got a store bought pre-made (not frozen) raw cheese pizza. I picked up some roma tomatoes as well to slice and top the pizza with. Now here is where things differ a bit. I like basil,okay love it but Ann hates fresh basil – the texture of it anyway. Normally I add fresh basil once the pizza is out of the oven and drizzle with olive oil and leave Ann’s side sans basil. After seeing this technique on IIF I figured that I could slice and salt the tomatoes,add to the iSi with copious amounts of Basil from the garden and charge with two N2O charges. Therefore we would have tomatoes with he flavor of basil but without actually having the basil leaf on the pizza.
After letting it sit for about a minute, I released the pressure and strained out the tomatoes. The tomatoes had a faint taste of the basil but not as much as I had hoped for. I added the tomatoes and basil back to the iSi and charged it again with one N2O charge and let it sit for about two minutes. After reading through the comments on the original post I released the pressure again and instead let them sit in the canister for about 5 minutes before straining. This worked even better, the tomatoes had a more pronounced basil flavor and they actually had a more “cooked like” texture but still had the taste of a fresh tomato.
The possibilities are endless with this technique and glad that both sites shared their success and failures with us.
Chicken Fried gourmet
Michael O’Boyle is best known to the community through his highly followed blog, www.ChickenFriedGourmet.com where he shares interesting tidbits about food and the culinary arts.
Amuse of Tuna Tartare
Chilled Yellow Tomato Soup with Grilled King Crab
Beer Braised Pork with Sweet Corn Gnocchi
popcorn, onion, bbq sauce
brie, figs, toast
smoked oreo,cocoa nib,pudding, pistachio
Someone’s In The Kitchen is Shreveport-Bossier’s premiere culinary arts experience! Guests dine at the Chef’s Table while receiving a full demonstration on preparing a multi-course meal that is enjoyed with a pairing from a selected wine tasting.
Enjoying our 3rd year of successful evenings, Someone’s In The Kitchen occurs the 2nd Tuesday of each month and features Culinary Artists from Shreveport-Bossier preparing unique and exotic meal selections to classic and traditional with their own special flair.
Please go here to sign up : http://artspaceshreveport.com/2010/08/10/someones-in-the-kitchen/
Beer Brined Grilled Chicken with Ancho Bacon BBQ Sauce
Pickled Corn with Basil Puree and Cold Corn Soup “foam”
We recently visited my parents over in West Monroe LA and with the weather (seemingly) being so nice we decided to grill some steaks in celebration of me aging gracefully. Being that it is starting to warm up here I wanted to do something that would go well with the steak but not so heavy. I decided on incorporating a technique I did for Thanksgiving 3 years ago in a new dish that I thought might work.
I started out by making a basic mashed potato recipe and added heavy cream and extra virgin olive oil to give a more sauce like consistency. How again is this light and not heavy? Just wait…..
Once the potatoes were mixed, I strained it through a fine mesh sieve and added the contents to an ISI cream whipper. I charged it with two N2O cartridges and placed it in a small pot filled with water set on a simmer. This is the potato foam.
I then boiled some small yukon gold potatoes (peeled) till easily pierced with a knife and set aside to cool. I diced these up and sauteed them in some bacon fat once I was ready to serve.
The rosemary tapioca was something I had been thinking about for awhile. I wanted a different texture to add to dishes with the ability to flavor with whatever I wanted. I first made a flavor base by incorporating fresh rosemary and parsley into a chicken stock. I strained this mixture and boiled tapioca (per package directions) and once done added more fresh rosemary and set aside to cool. For future purposes I would add more rosemary to the stock and NOT add fresh rosemary to the cooked tapioca.
I finished the dish by adding the bacon fat potatoes to the bottom of a small glass,spooned some rosemary tapioca over this and then topped it off with mashed potato foam. This had all the elements and taste of a side of potatoes but yet it was very light but still filling. The next time I do this I will probably add some chives to the top and/or freshly diced rosemary,maybe a cheddar fondue sauce or finely diced hard irish cheddar and even maybe some vanilla oil.
For the steaks I just seasoned with salt and pepper and drizzled with some olive oil before placing on the grill. Now for the grill situation – I went outside to light my parent’s gas grill, turned the gas on and threw a match on the grates (auto light was not working) stood back and waited for the grill to light up. Well light up it did, apparently there was a leak in the hose right at the tank and once the fumes from the leaky hose mixed with the fumes coming from the grill and the match all decided to meet up in a orgy of flammable proportions I was facing a huge fireball that caused me to jump back about 10 feet. luckily the only damage I suffered was that all the hair on my right forearm took a vacation from my skin. No burns though.
So now faced with the fact that I probably wouldn’t be so lucky a second time, I shut off the gas and uncovered the charcoal grill. The skies were getting dark so I wheeled the beast of a grill under the overhang of the back porch and started up the charcoal. Not 5 minutes later and it started raining.
Once the steaks were off the grill, I topped them off with a compound butter I made earlier in the day and covered them with foil to rest for about 8-10 minutes. The compound consisted of unsalted butter, salt and pepper, fresh garlic, fresh rosemary,crushed red pepper, lemon juice and beer.
As we are planting and planning the garden this year I have decided to do something different from years past. Normally I would just have a garden in the back consisting mainly of tomatoes with a few other assorted vegetables. Last year I placed a smalled garden box closer to our house that only had assorted herbs and microgreens but El Diggo decided that he liked digging in this spot more than having herbs growing there.
This year I constructed a somewhat small semi-circle garden in the front yard on the corner of the house. This will be the herb and salad greens garden. I planted a mix of potted herbs and plants as well as herbs and salad greens started from seed. I have added a few things that normally I have never planted or have had difficulty finding in this area. One of the main things that (I thought) was difficult to find are Nasturtiums. They are an edible flower with a green leaf. I first heard about this plant in the Alinea cookbook where they used it as a garnish as well as in a soup. Over the past year I saw this edible flower/herb used in a lot of dishes on the blogs and food sites I read. I did some searching and realized that is a very common plant that can be found quite easily. I went to Wal-Mart and there it was right besides the other herb and flower seed packets, they even had several different varieties. I planted these all along the border of the semi-circle and saved the middle for the assorted herbs and salad greens. I am hoping that it looks more like landscaping than just having an edible garden in the front yard.
Some of the other herbs I planted are : Red Veined Sorrel , Red & Green Shiso, Lemon Thyme, Thyme, Basil, Pineapple Sage, Italian Parsley & Garlic Chives.
I plan on starting on the back garden this week. To be planted are : several different varieties of tomato, golden beets, carrots, radishes, padron peppers, poblano peppers, garlic, carrots & corn. Where last year's herb garden was we are planning on planting a beans and peas that will be supported by a trellis to encourage upward growth and vines. Ethan, my 6 year old, has already started his garden in the back which consists of three types of Corn and two types of Carrots.
CLICK on pic to view larger sizes
So last weekend we went down to Lake Charles,LA to my parent's second, soon to be permanent house. When we got there I noticed Thomas Keller's book Under Pressure sitting on a shelf in the kitchen so I asked my dad about it seeing how everything I have ever done that involves cooking outside of the norm is met with huge skepticism. He said " oh your mother and I got that at a party in New Orleans, she doesn't want it because it makes no sense." Needless to say the book ended up being given to me as a gift
I do not have an immersion circulator (yet) since they run about $1000 although there is a new unit for home cooks called the SousVide Supreme for about 1/2 that price (courtesy of Richard Blais). I knew steak does not take as long as some other (tougher) cuts of meat so I could use a regular stockpot and thermometer to regulate the temp and try my hand at sous vide cooking. I started with a small strip steak(since Ann was out of town) and seasoned it generously. I vacuum sealed it in two bags* using my Foodsaver and put it in a pot of water heated to around 139 degrees. I let this cook according to the book for about 40-45 minutes. I monitored the temp throughout and if it got too hot I just added about a cup of ice cubes to bring the temp where it needed to be. Once done I heated up a skillet on high and pan seared the steak to get the color and the crust I was looking for.
I paired it with green onions that were blanched in salted water then sauteed and some carrots I steamed. I made a pan sauce with butter and lemon for the steak as well. WOW this was so good and tender. This was fairly easy to do with the limited equipment I had. I can only imagine how much better it would be with an actual immersion circulator and what else I could do with it (hello Pork Belly).