Friday, February 26, 2010
.....I don't think so, I started this blog after developing a strong affinity for the kings of this realm(if you don't know who they are just take a peek at the top right of the page). What I do like is the transparency of this blog....we tend to keep our emotions on our collective sleeve. Mike made the point a couple of weeks ago that we shouldn't just state what ingredient we used and what we did with it......but add some character and approachable reality to what we do........and I think that is a good point. I'll be honest, Mike almost quit the blog a week ago based solely on his passion of making his point the way he thought it would be most affective, that is the beauty of Foodbros. Three different aspects, styles, outlooks, and philosophies.
As far as the state of the blog....I think its blooming and I see nothing but blue skies ahead......I will add this however, we are looking to develop a logo so any of our artistic readers feel free to contact us about your ideas, also we will..."sooner than later".....hopefully....offer catering.
Anyways, Mike is in Florida, Brennan is in Georgia, and I am holding down the fort in South Carolina...never hesitate to contact any of us......more to come soon...
Thursday, February 25, 2010
One of my guys had smores on the brain. He took crepes I had made and tried different stuffings. With much collaboration we unravelled Smores into graham cracker crepes, fresh marshmallow inside, hot cocoa in a espresso cup...still working on the rest of the components. Just excited that marshmallows are so easy. Now I want to work on savory meringes like the cooler Voltaggio brother made the one time.
For the marshmallow recipe, no plagiarizing. I used Alton Brown's. Lot's of his recipes work well actually.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup apple juice
- 1 vanilla bean
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 3 tbsp. sugar
- 2 tbsp. salt
- 1/2 cup Banyuls wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tsp. Worcestershire
- 1 tsp. brown sugar
- 3 tsp. granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
Soy Pickled Cucumbers:
- 1/2 cup tamari
- 1/4 cup yuzu or lime juice
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 1 tsp. chili sambal
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 tbsp. sugar
- 3 tbsp. salt
- 3 crushed cloves of garlic
- 3 sprigs of thyme
- 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
I survived nuclear holocost, biological warfare, desecration of the gene pool by the Jersey Shore cast, and all I got is this crummy teeshirt...
I finally broke down and bought the tortilla press I have been eyeballing at Food Lion for the last 2 years. Just couldn't stomach the $16.99. Man, I suck. But it's here and it's awesome. The beast weighs like 5 pounds.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Well, here it is….YES, in fact, he does. And yes, it is awesome. The next reaction I get is almost one of relief when they subtly imply, unintentionally for the most part, that I can’t cook. Which I can, but we won’t get into that (just ask Mike about my meatballs! lol).
The truth is that being married to a chef is pretty great. Aside from the fact that I get to spend forever with my best friend and an awesome human being, I am always learning/experiencing new things from him. I grew up in Texas where we had amazing Mexican food-seriously amazing. La Nopalera is ok in a pinch, but ultimately not even close to being in the same league as real Tex-Mex food. In fact, I would kill for some Chuy’s, Pappasitos, Taco Cabana, or even Casa Ole (I know Michele is with me on this one :) ). My sister still lives in Houston and she knows how to send me in to a jealous rage with a simple text informing me that she is having lunch at Chuy’s right this very minute! Oh to live in a city that has a food scene!
I wouldn’t say that I was incredibly food cultured when Mike and I started dating. I have traveled a bit, so I wasn’t scared of ethnic or adventurous cuisine, but I was leery of things that I would come across that were on my will-not-try list. He would tell me stories about some of the things he had eaten over the years at previous jobs, or while in France and I would politely nod my head, but would secretly cringe at the thought. Really, goose liver?! How could that ever taste good?!
But, that in itself is why it is great to be married to a chef. Food that you once thought unimaginable and disgusting is all of a sudden not so terrible anymore, delicious actually. It’s amazing the technique and respect that goes in to preparing ingredients that the average person would deem, well, gross. Take foie gras. When he explained to me that it was goose liver, I was a little repulsed. Side note here- It can be incredibly insulting to a chef that has painstakingly prepared something that someone will not even try before ‘poo-pooing’ it. Not that they would ever tell you that but trust me, it can sting a little. So, after realizing my faux pas, I agreed to at least try the smallest bite I could get away with. To my surprise, it was delicious. I should tell you that I’m not some renegade chef’s wife that will try anything and everything. I’m not trying to put myself over by any means- I still draw my lines in the sand and there are some things that I absolutely will not try for now anyway.
Mike and I have had some pretty amazing meals at some pretty amazing places; Opus 39, Babbo, WD 50, Morimoto, The Georgian Room and of course Zaitoon to name a few. Most would be surprised to read that our favorite meal actually happens at our house once, or sometimes twice, a week. Yep, I’m talking about the wonder that is Taco Night. There is nothing better than when Mike gets to come home early during the week and make tacos. I’m not talking about the McCormick’s Taco seasoning packet or the Taco Bell box-o-meal that you get on the ‘ethnic food’ isle at the grocery store. We are on a ground turkey kick right now, which makes for great tacos. Ground turkey paired with freshly made salsa or pico de gallo is pretty fabulous.
This part is for the single ladies/guys out there that are ready to pounce on the next dude/chick they see in chef whites. So far I’ve painted a pretty rosy picture, right? This is my one and only warning to you. Be ready to never enjoy another meal out again. I’m serious. Don’t even get me started on when you have two or, God forbid, three chefs together at one meal. They will pick apart every single detail. I’m not going to lie, it can be pretty annoying at times, especially when it is your birthday dinner at a nice place (yes I’m referencing a specific event-you know who you are-lol). How do you overcome this one might wonder. Simple, you must ally yourselves with those chef’s significant others. Not only will they make eating out together fun, but it will also serve as your support group.
The support group comes in handy because the downside of the chef profession, especially if you are part of the resort world, are the late nights and you can forget about holidays. Valentine’s Day that is actually celebrated on Valentine’s Day? Um, what is that? I think I have gotten one real Valentine’s Day with Mike the whole time we have been together (and by real I mean actually on 2/14). We are lucky that Mike works for a privately owned restaurant so we get to share most major holidays together like Christmas and Thanksgiving. Having worked in the restaurant world for six years, I remember all to well having an early Thanksgiving dinner with my family so I could rush to work to serve the other half that couldn’t be bothered. To each his own, but for me, I couldn’t imagine not cooking at home for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Maybe it’s because I know how much it sucks to work on Christmas Eve or Thanksgiving just so you can have Christmas Day off. The key is to surround yourself with people in the same boat.
In closing, I think I speak for Courtney and Kristin when I say how proud we are of our boys. I have watched them for the past six years (God we are getting old!) go from working a pantry station, to working sauté (Thank God they finally got over themselves-lol. you know how you boys were on that station), to working at different restaurants on the same property. Then it was different restaurants in different cities, now in different states. This blog is a terrific way for each of you to showcase how far you have come. You knew it would get sappy with a chick writer. Sorry. :)
Friday, February 19, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
The clouds parted, the darkness lifted, and the Dollar General challenge was born....with a breakthrough in tomato sauce
I was reading Mike's blog about his trip to Europe and I started to get a little depressed because I haven't been there YET, but I did start thinking about my trip to Vegas last year. It was probably one of the most enjoyable experiences I've had and I can't wait to go back. Vegas is a culinary hotbed of heavy hitters, every hotel you walk in is lined with restaurants overlooking the casinos. We dropped some serious coin on just eating and believe me we could have spent more. We ate at Michael Mina's Nobhill Tavern, Keller's Bouchon, Todd English's Olives, and still didn't scratch the surface of what the strip had to offer.......
We decided to do breakfast when we went to Bouchon. After years of idol worshiping Thomas Keller, it took me little time to decide what I was going to have.....QUICHE!!! Now that could probably sound a little boring, but go read Keller's words on "The importance of eggs" and it will lead you to him speaking very passionately about quiche. It was by far the best one I have ever had, and so was the frites, and the donuts, even the coffee seemed like it was brewed by the hand of a true craftsman.Next time I go, I think I'll go to Guy Savoy, or Craftsteak, or Joel Robuchon, cant decide.......cant decide....BRAIN ANEURYSM!!!!!!!!!! Either way, I will be ready with an appetite.......
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Sunday February 14th 2010
Warm goat cheese tart, crisp prosciutto, macerated mission figs
Pears, candied almonds, clementines, mesclun greens, champagne vinaigrette
Roasted Atlantic halibut, t ruffled cannellini bean puree, wilted arugula and mustard greens, cabernet sauvignon and morel reduction
Strawberry gelato, olive oil tuile, mascarpone mousse, Irish shortbread, dark chocolate straws
Monday, February 15, 2010
When did these children of immigrants accept bastardized versions of what they grew up eating at home? Did the quick fix, land of opportunity, work till you drop, always on the go mentality that is America, assimilate the masses that hard? It makes me sad. Ask anyone young their backround. English, irish, polish, russian, latin american, african, phillipino, japanese; got to add Amurican on the end because so few even know who their ancestors were let alone what they ate like. That's where I make my stand. When did we non descript, mutts of culture call places like Olive Garden italian cooking? Whose ancestor decided that all authentic Mexican dishes were served slathered with sour cream, iceberg lettuce, a slice of tomato, and shredded white American cheese? Did Geneal Tsao even know that he had his own chicken?
So what happened? Did we just get lazy? The rest of the world has gone on with their food love, lore, and at large seems to have beaten off the commerialized American machine with a pretty big stick. Is that a gross overgeneralization........maybe not so much. Yes, there are infected markets with McD's and the like but I guarantee, 99% of the native people still know and devour their country's library of cuisine.
Where does that leave us? Where does that leave me? I remember doing a report @ Paul Smith's my alma mat......the place I graduated from, and no I don't remember how to spell that word; and I did a report on cooking after the birth of the microwave. Chicken, turkey, steaks, cakes......that's right, baking a cake in the microwave.
We veered of course. Thankfully cooks in America are fighting back. Not all of them and not everywhere. But there are pockets. We are drawing the battle lines. We will not put up with this forever. We will infect everyone we can with an overall urge, desire, we will hook them on real food coming from real places, and bring history and respect back to the mainstream. Every man, woman, and child should taste the true foods of where they came from, savor in them, and be proud.
And if us cooks can make a buck or two while we're at it, not a bad gig. Maybe one day we'll share bits we keep for ourselves like duck skin or the fatcap on a prime rib.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Share something meaningful with the one you love or adore. Try Thai for the 1st time. Drink sangria over tapas. Ponder the menu at a vietnamese Pho dive; go for the rare beef. Cuban, portuguese, hell, a french bistro w/ pate and a decent cheese selection. Valentine's day is about bonding, shared experience, growing together. Let those who hopefully know best, really mean to, and pull it from scratch through mind and heart give you a memorable experience and warm your bellies and hearts. 99% guarantee, none of the above mentioned does heat bag, cut, serve cooking.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Caraway Crusted Grouper, Roasted Red Pepper Gnocchi with Kalamata Butter, Basil Oil
Monday, February 8, 2010
The picture quality is embarrassing I know. When I get everything from Jville up here I'll have better equipment, until then I have to live through the foggy lens of a cell phone.
Anyone tried Mike's bread recipe????? I'm starting on one that I want to make olive crisp with....
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Lets say that you are going to make two breads. Split the starter in half. Add half to your mixer w/ a dough hook attachment. Add 2 T sugar, 1 t kosher salt, 1 T malt extract/barley malt, 1/4 C extra vigin olive oil, and 3 C semolina flour. If you don't have semolina use the bread or HG flour and if that is not gonna happen, use AP flour. Add whatever flavoring you like. Begin to spin the dough.
You want this sucker to fight back. Continue to add AP or HG flour till it forms a ball. It should be firm, not sticky. Now once you get a firm ball, let the mixer run at medium speed for 10 minutes and let it have it's way with your dough. It's ok, dough likes it rough. You are creating texture. Next, cover the whole bowl with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and put somewhere warm.
After it has doubled, maybe an hour and a half, punch the air out of it and form it into a ball, oblong, whatever you like. Wipe a sheet tray with olive oil or dust with corn meal, place dough on it and cover again and let sit another hour. Lets prepare for the end. I suggested trying a oven thermometer to see if it runs as the dial says it is. Electric ovens are unreliable. Put one rack on the bottom level with an empty sheet tray on it. Put one more rack at the medium level. Crank it up to 475F. When it is up to temp, take a razor and put a couple slits on the top of the dough. This will help it to rise and it looks nifty. Take a spray bottle of water and spray the dough lightly. Take about 6 ice cubes and toss them onto the sheet tray in the oven. Lastly place the bread into oven middle shelf and close the door.
Water, why water? Long story short, water or more importantly steam lubes the outside of the dough helping it stretch and rise. It caramelizes the sugars in the flour on the outside of the bread creating a crust. Big Note....don't open the oven. Don't matter how curious you may be, don't touch it. You'll let the steam out and most likely get a faceful of heat that would love to make you challenge Quasimoto in a busted face-off. After 10 minutes drop the temperature down to 375F and now you may peek, carefully, at your creation. You may need to turn it every so often to even the browning. Depending on the size, this could take 25 to 40 minutes to finish. This is where Wonderbread turns to a crusty love machine of flavor. Be patient. While you wait, I would look for somewhere to cool your bread that has a mesh or rack appearance. A flat bottom will create steam and the bottom of the bread will loose it's crunch. When your not sure if it's done there is only one thing to do. Pull it out. Hold it upsidedown with a towel or something and tap the bottom. It should be hard and hollow. For real, it should sound like rap a tap tapping on George W's noggin.
Now you have bread. If you have any problems or need help sourcing ingredients, just comment me and I'll do my best. Or here...this is my email email@example.com. Happy eatings.
PS...some say bread is best fresh. I don't know. Letting it cool, slicing it, brush it with olive oil, and grilling it or under the broiler is fantastic.
Friday, February 5, 2010
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Some breads bite back. In fact some breads refuse to let you in at all without a fight. I have tried to recreate sourdoughs, baguette, bagels, you name it. I have tried the entire "idiom" of bread. Blast you Chris for using such a killer SAT word before me. I digress.
I have had horrible luck.
Flour, sugar, salt, yeast, water. How on earth could it be so complicated?..........it is. I started messing with bread in 2002. I never worked in a bake shop. I finally started to understand bread last year. I love bread. I love making it. I love that I kind of understand it a little bit. I want anyone interested to make a loaf that warrants the reaction I got out of Brennan the night of my wife's b-day party. I was explaining a course or something and he literally told me to shut up, eyes wide like the mad hattter, and told everyone that they had to smell the loaf he had just cut into.
So here we go:
1 T dry yeast
2 t sugar
1 t kosher salt
3 C AP flour
Forget what you have read about bread AKA if you have a bread machine from Walmart, put in attic, furnace, don't care just don't let what you are about to make see the enemy. Start with 1 1/2 C cold water in a mixer, Kitchen Aid, or bowl. Add the yeast and sugar. Mix. Add a cup of flour and salt. Add rest of flour. Mix till it forms a pliable lob of dough. Like soft play-do. With plastic wrap, cover the actual dough lightly, then cover the whole bowl with plastic wrap. Put somewhere relatively warm; on top of oven overnight, on top of fridge, you get it, anywhere warm.
You are doing two things. Yeast and sugar are friends. Yeast and starch in flour are friends. They all hang out. Yeast does not like salt. They dated the same guy way back when, met up at a frat party one time, there was a slap till you drop fight, you get the picture. Yeast and sugar start their own party. The air we breath has it's own fraternity of yeast. You get flour, yeast, sugar, and the natural fraternal brotherhood of yeast and it's a rager. All this nonsense means that overnight, your starter as we will call it will grow. It will breath, literally. The yeast and sugar create oxygen which makes the dough bubble, natural yeasts in the air will slowly start to work themselves in creating FLAVOR and more bubbly.
Next day, feed the monster. This is a living thing. Not in a bad way. In a beautiful way. Bread, beer, cheese, wine,..these things are alive. Be ok with it. America is a petrie dish. Annoyingly so. Take 1 C warm water, 1 C AP flour. Uncover the beast. Peel the second layer of plastic off and mix in the water and flour. When it's all good and mixed, cover back up....just one layer over the top of the bowl this time and put it back to sleep.
Let it be. It's wants to be left alone. Tomorrow night we'll work on flavor...
Pictures....yes, yes...That's Becca taking a wiff and the other is me, Brennan chugging a beer and the bread station directly below his lushy elbow....altumura loaf already shown, rosemary thyme loaf, and kalamata loaf to be sampled w/ goat milk butter, parmigiano reggiano butter, and EVO w/ various sea salts.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Obviously Mike, Brennan, and I are just getting settled in with this blog and honestly I still spend the majority of my time on the page design. However, we will make sure to post more actual recipes and techniques that we find success with as we iron out the blog into a "well oiled machine" along with our individual culinary philosophy. Thanks for reading and don't hesitate to offer feedback.