Thursday, April 27, 2006

A break in the action

Well, I had my birthday on Tuesday. Tuesdays are a full day for me as I spend the moring doing the 'tech thing' and the evening doing the 'cooking thing'. I got a lot of thank you's for working on my birthday but I really didn't mind. I was doing something I enjoy - and that's what a birthday is all about! A., the head chef at the time, offered to make me something off the menu for dinner. I was having a difficult time deciding, so I opted for the brined pork loin with mango chutney.

This is the first Thursday I get off in three weeks so I am going to spend the evening doing a whole bunch of not too much. Not too much excitement going on. I'm trying to force myself through a second reading of 1984 before moving on to something less depressing.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A blog for the ages

I can't help but post this. This was stolen from David, and upon reading it I thought I must share it with whomever I could.

Don't Be Nibblin!!!

Honestly, I don't feel any empathy for the soul. Just because the food is organic and it's a healthy happy store doesn't give people the right to try a little here and there. It's not a pasture. Although my place is much to small for a whole foods, it does have a very well received co op which I frequent. People munching without paying has always been a pet peeve of mine, so maybe I am biased.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

And tarragon chicken it shall be

So last night I was on saute again for the first time in about two weeks. I went into the evening with two goals. The first: Remember to add lemon juice at the end of the steamer bowl. The second: Make damn sure it's tarragon chicken and not just...chicken. I came through on one of those goals.

Even though remembered to add that licoricy, easy-to-go-over tarragon all night long, there were (on a few occasions) times throughout the night when I had to call out to the waitress before food was huslted out the door.

"Wait up, wait up!" I would cry. Then I would quickly cross the kitchen to meet them, always holding either a steaming pile of shellfish and bruschetta, or a bowlful of saffron-aioli covered cioppino, and top off the dish with a squirt of fresh lemon juice I keep in a squeeze bottle on my mis en place. It was last minute and sloppy but, this is seafood and shellfish man. This combination is important business.

I also requested to try and think up a soup to use at the lunch service this week. Paul is currently on a leave (brand new baby boy), so the soups are in other hands for a few days. I looked through James Peterson's Splendid Soups book, and requested that we do some sort of a take on his Grand Borsch recipe. I finished the base for the soup last night. The base involves whole roasted beets, which I covered in olive oil, salt, pepper, and sugar; I also roasted whole onions in their skins (they were also covered them with olive oil, salt, and pepper). Once these were soft I added them to a chicken stock which I had placed some ham hocks in and then reduced down to make it very concentrated. After this I ran the entire mixture (less the now-flavorless ham hocks) through a china cap - twice - and was left with a bright red, clear, salty, beet broth. Clear as an antonym to cloudyby the way, not colorless.

This will be brought up to temperature today and served over very thinly sliced cabbage (I'm hoping savoy - as the book recommends), and garnished with creme fraiche and grilled beets. I'm hoping it sells, although I think the application is a new to people. I'll find out tonight when I go back in.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Where to start.

Goals:

1) To keep this all relevant.

2) To not write a book.

First, the restaurant biz. Things have been going very well for me. I picked up yet another night there (I'm up to three now), and things are going well. I have moved up to the point where I can now be 'second guy' instead of 'third guy'. This means that they don't have to keep an extra guy around of the shit gets too deep, which makes me more valuable because the restaurant can spend less money to supervise. I love running saute, it's so fast paced, the fires are burning, pans are so hot you need a towel to flip them, I get to plate food, clean up presentation, set it in the window...great times. Right now, my biggest flaws include (don't tell anyone or I'll have to hunt you down) forgetting the lemon juice at the end of steamer bowl, and leaving the tarragon out of the tarragon chicken. A pretty ugly forgetting, I know. I guess that just makes it...well chicken.

They actually brought in another guy, so I am no longer the newest. It's kind of funny, as he has an education from a school in Portland, yet he is still working for free just like I did.

Recent endeavors:

Well as I mentioned my buddy took off to the Mayo clinic. The last two weeks have left me kind of winded, but this weekend being easter I did manage a bit of cooking. Saturday night I had some friends over for cuban style pork sandwhiches. Sunday I decided to use a huckleberry molasses glaze for a ham I picked up from my favorite butcher, along with asiago mashed potatoes, green beens with blood orange vinigarette, and a special holiday loaf of bread I picked up (for 11 dollars...). The ham was excellent, and a lesson was learned. Find the price tag...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A lot on my plate

So I have been dealing with a few things lately. The most pressing being a friend of mine had a relapse in Leukemia. Last Friday. The poor guy is thirty years old, and been through it once. He just got off of maintenance a few months ago. It really doesn't seem fair to me, the way this works, the guy got through it once and now he's faced with it again. I would post more on the subject but considering the topic of it all, I'll just leave it at that.

Cooking has been awesome. In fact, I have been using it to get away from things for a while. The nights just fly by. I have been working a lot of saute in the evenings. That has been a lot of fun, although the more complicated items on the menu I'm still learning. I have been struggling with the Cioppino, a fish-based stew which (I believe) came out of the bay area. In the midst of trying to learn the menu, the "chipper" as we call it is giving me the most trouble. The thing has about 18 ingredients. The varieties of seafood mean they need to be added at different times, the sauce has to be warm on the palette (but not too spicy), there are four liquid elements to the dish, can't burn the clams, etc etc etc. There is also a strong similarity between a cioppino and a steamer bowl...but that's a different story all together.

On touch with my post on halibut...last Friday I was responsible for filleting the steel head trout. These are very large freshwater fish (you can the pictures of folks holding them), and the flesh is actually very similar to the color of salmon. My first fillet attempts were...okay. I had a lot of trouble separating the ribs from the backbone...even with my super nice knife. Once I got it separated, the filet part was easy.

I don't have the time to proof this or clean it up, I have to go deal with 'some stuff'. So if it seems rambling...well...it's a blog!