Category Archives: Weeklly Food Posts

Line Cooks and Love

We don’t have Saturday off
We don’t have Sunday off
We come home smelly
We don’t make a lot of money
We often looks like we tried to kill ourselves multiple times
When we do come home it’s not until late
We don’t hang out with your friends
We don’t have normal friends
We are obsessed with details
We are come home elated
We come home wasted
We come home disgusted
We have one day off and like to sleep in
We have a particular sense of humor
We can be completely cold
We are crass
We love to talk about food
We argue ad nauseam about how to cook an egg

Despite all of this we have a deep passion. Something that crafts us. A passion that is sparsely rivaled in any other profession. Its that passion carries over into the ones we care about and love. As we age we allow ourselves to slow down to show it.

Why Thanksgiving is the best and most American holiday

Above all Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It doesn’t have the pressure and running around to gather the perfect gifts, lacks the need to run around all night in a silly/complicated costume, isn’t as dangerous as fireworks and alcohol (though sometimes that is fun), doesn’t have the let down of ending at midnight, and it doesn’t have a silly bunny running around hiding eggs (which never made any sense to me). What it does have is your family and/or friends gathering just to celebrate a meal and hang out together.

With that said, I know what some people might be thinking, ‘What about the pressure and chaos of the family coming’. My answer is embrace it, and let it fold into the event. I got both experiences growing up. My family at Thanksgiving consisted of my dad, mom, sister, and me. We have always had a pretty quiet Thanksgiving which is much different from a lot of my friends. We would make a turkey and maybe three or four side dishes and that would be it.

I also like the BIG Thanksgiving. The one where massive amounts of people descend on a chosen family member’s house and bring their appointed dish making for a very large spread. The appeal of this probably came from me not really having a large extended family close to where we lived, but still it was an event. My favorite place to be a part of this was my best friends house, catholic. They had a sort of organized chaos.

Here is my list of why Thanksgiving is the best and most American holiday…

  • Food, and lost of it
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Wine/beer
  • Football
  • Tryptophan (it gives us an excuse for napping)
  • PIE (apple or otherwise)
  • Canned Jellied Cranberry (it just slices so neatly)
  • Recipes from the weekend of 22/02/2010 – Stuffed pepper and Strawberry Pots de Creme

    Thanks to anyone who came and ate one of the specials I worked on last week, it was a busy weekend all around so my apologies that there aren’t any photographs to accompany the recipes. If you would like to send pictures of your plating of the dishes I would appreciate it very much. To send pictures just TwitPic them to me @chirn9980. Enough with the jibberjab here is the stuffed pepper recipe.

    Stuffed Pepper

    For this recipe I am just going to give instructions for a single stuffed pepper, to make it easy to scale up. (or down but I am not sure how you could make a 1/4 stuffed pepper)
    Veggies and Stuff

  • 1 green pepper
  • 1/4 zucchini (med diced)
  • 1/4 eggplant (med diced)
  • 2 button mushrooms (or your choice of mushroom – I wish I had had morels, but thems the breaks)
  • 1 roma tomato (med diced)
  • 1 thinly sliced shallot (not necessary)
  • 1/4 yellow onion (diced)
  • 1 garlic clove (minced)
  • 1 cup rice (I used Basmati, but general long grain rice will do)
  • 1/2 tsp tomato paste
  • Seasonings (My note on my thoughts on seasoning)

  • thyme
  • cayenne
  • salt
  • pepper
  • oregano
  • Other

  • parmesean cheese
  • butter
  • olive oil
  • Directions

    The rice will take the longest to cook, so I start that first. Rinse the rice by placing it in a pot and running cold water over it until the water runs clear. Drain the rice. Place the rice back in the pot and fill with water, until the water is about a 1/4 to 5/16 of an inch about the rice. Place pot on the range on low heat and add about 3 Tbsp of butter and some salt and let cook until the rice is about 3/4’s soft (it should barely be crunchy). The rice should take about 20 to 25 min.

    After the rice is going, start chopping up all of the veggies. Get a medium to large sautee pan on the stove on about med-high heat and coat the bottom of the pan with the olive oil.

    Once the oil is heated add the onions and shallots and turn down to med heat. Let them brown a bit, not burn. When the onion starts to turn translucent add the garlic and cook for another minute.

    Add the mushroom and zucchini and tomato paste. Cook for 3 to 5 min or until zucchini starts to soften, then add the roma tomato and eggplant and cook until everything is soft (5 to 6 min).

    Once all the veggies are cooked mix them together with about a 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese in a bowl with the seasonings and cooked rice. Set aside.

    Take the green pepper and slice the top off, and scrape out the seeds. Fill the pepper with the stuffing and roast in the oven at 350º F for 35 to 40 min.

    Strawberry Pots de Creme

    This recipe makes about eight 8oz servings

    Ingredients

  • 1 qt heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 8 cups strawberries (frozen of fresh, if frozen make sure they are completely thawed before working with them)
  • Start by placing the quart of heavy cream, 1/2c sugar, and vanilla in at least a 2 quart sauce pan ( just in case the cream boils up too much), and place it on med heat. Bring the heavy cream to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove cream from heat and set aside to cool down.

    Take the strawberries, and place them in the food processor until there are no chunks left. Strain the strawberries through a fine chinois, of through a fine mesh cheesecloth to remove any unwanted seeds. Set the liquid aside for now.

    Separate the egg yolks and place them in a mixing bowl. Beat the yolks just enough so that they come together, while still mixing slowly incorporate the other 1/2 cup of sugar. Continue mixing until the sugar and yolks turn a yellow custard color (Ummm, kinda the color of a lemon). After that fold in the strawberry liquid until incorporated.

    Here comes the tricky part, tempering the liquids. The goal is to slowly add the warm cream to raise the temperature of the eggs without cooking the eggs and “scrambling” the proteins. SLOWLY ladle the cream into the eggs while stirring the eggs. Continue to do this cream to eggs until you have added about a third of the cream. Add the egg/cream mixture back into the cream only mixture and fold until fully incorporated. Set aside and let the mixture cool to at least room temperature.

    To cook them, you will need some ceramic ramekins and a cooking tray that is about an inch higher than the ramekins. Soak a kitchen towel in cold water and place in the bottom of the tray. Place the ramekins on the towel in the tray. Fill the tray with water until the water reaches half way up the ramekins. ****SCIENCE NOTE We use the towel and the water because we want the custard to cook evenly at the edges and the center. The reason this works is that water has a pretty high heat capacity (Q=mc∆t anyone????), which means that the water will heat slowly and evenly allowing for and even rise in temperature. We also use the towel in to bottom because other wise the ceramics will be directly touching the metal pan which will allow for a very quick heat transfer. END SCIENCE NOTE*** If any water splashed into the ramekins make sure to wipe it out before pouring in the filling. Now fill each ramekin halfway with the custard mix, the custard should be at about the same level as the water in the tray. Place in the oven for about 30 to 35 min at 350ºF, or until the middle has just set (the middle barely moves when you giggle the pan).

    Take out of the oven and the water bath and place in the fridge to cool. It takes about and hour to completely set.

    So thats what I made last weekend. Funny enough the Strawberry Pots de Creme ended up tasting like strawberry Quick and reminded me of being a kid again. A very large thanks to everyone who ate a Kona last weekend to support Think Pink Weekend, we all appreciate it. There will be more to eat and experiment with this coming weekend.

    C.

    My new things the week of 22/02/2010

    Ok,

    If people didn’t know I have taken a small hiatus from the art world in order to pursue my culinary passion. Though it isn’t directly connected to the fine arts realm, I believe that there is still a strong connection between the two fields. Currently I am trying to apply lessons learned from fine arts to my culinary endeavors. For me food elicits a visceral experience to the viewer/patron, allowing me to give a richer experience.

    Currently I am working in two restaurants in Oxford, Oh. The restaurant I usually start at in the morning is called Kona Bistro, which is a casual modern dining establishment. Currently at Kona Bistro I am the head prep cook responsible, to all of the great line cooks there, for making sure everything is stocked. In addition to doing daily prep I have recently had the opportunity to do the weekend dessert specials. This weekend is extra special because in Oxford it is Think Pink Weekend, and for this weekend the dessert special is a pink strawberry Pots de Creme in order to celebrate Oxford’s Thin Pink Weekend.

    My nights are spent working as the head sauté line cook at Steinkeller,a tradition Bavarian Bier Hall. Working at Steinkeller affords me the opportunity to use my artistic ability in plating dishes, as well as as well as playing with flavors in making weekend specials. This weekend I was especially proud of myself for coming up with a delectable and filling vegetarian special, we don’t have many of those at a German restaurant. The special is a Green Bell Pepper stuffed with sautéed shallots, onions, carrots, mushrooms, garlic, zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, and herbs mixed with basmati rice and slow roasted. The pepper is served over a spicy roasted red pepper sauce and a bed of arugula.

    Well, those are the things I am up to this week, check back Monday (02/22/2010) for the recipes and photos.

    C.