Monday, September 7, 2009

A Day Off

It's been a few days since i've made it on here. Things have been crazy at work and absorbing most of my time. I am finally having a day off, three actually and i feel restless. How sad is it that i can't think of what to do on my day off. I spend all week, every week, dreaming about this day. Just savoring the thought of it. A day to do whatever i want! And then, when the glorious day arrives, i am lost. I had hoped it would pour rain today so i wouldn't feel so guilty about sitting at home. But, no, it's bright and sunny, well a little cloudy, but still nice weather. I literally haven't left the house today. I'm still rocking my pjs and watching whale wars. I'm contemplating the greenwood market and possibly cooking something. I should do this, get up and be productive but some part of me just doesn't want to move. I was thinking about Julie & Julia and wondering if i would like to take on a similar challenge but only on my days off. I've decided that i'm exceptionally good at starting things but not so good at finishing them. Not sure what this means about me but i try not to think on it too hard. One conclusion i have come to is that there are a lot of things i love to do and would like to do but it's not so enjoyable after awhile to do them alone. Ahh, the cost of a job where i work opposite hours to the rest of humanity. For now i'm going to feast on lamb tika masala and take that trip to the grocery store! More exciting updates to come (sarcastic smile)!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

All the little things...

It's been quite a week at Poco. A few very busy days have kept me there for many many hours. It's all good though. I'm exhausted and looking forward to tuesday and my day off. I'm planning on bicycling around Lopez Island for the day. Not the most physically relaxing day but good for the soul and it will feel wonderful to be out in nature for a while. Spend a little time communing with my surroundings! : )

This last week has been all about the little details. I've been working with my sous chef to create new seasoned salts for our chocolate plate, infused oils for garnish, pickling vegetables for the antipasti plate and marinating cheese and olives for our new trio of munchies. I have to say it feels really good to get some of the "need to do" items off my list. It's also wonderful to see some of these plates slowly but surely coming together into something i am really proud of.

I ran a new seafood as well that i am totally loving. I'm calling it Seared Halibut Cheeks with creamy corn, beefsteak tomatoes and fresh basil. It actually includes cilantro oil and a drizzle of Saporoso which may be the most delicious thing i have ever tasted. I was introduced to this little piece of heaven at a previous job and it definitely left an impression. It's an aged balsamic and i give it the highest of recommendations! Be prepared to spend a pretty penny though as a 200ml bottle costs close to $50. Well worth it in my opinion.

Seared Halibut Cheeks:

Salt generously and sear to a golden brown. Only cook these things to about medium. Set them aside and turn the heat up to high. Lightly sear both sides of two thick slices of beefsteak tomatoes that have been lightly salt and peppered. (hopefully you get these at the market or somewhere local so that they actually have some flavor. If you are getting them at safeway or such, probably going to taste like water). Set these onto your plate and drizzle with cilantro oil. Next heat your corn mixture (recipe will follow) and when hot, spoon onto the tomatoes followed by the fish and some torn basil. Then drizzle it all with Saporoso. Wow, this is delicious!

Creamy Corn:

Roast 4 ears of corn (still in their husks) at 475 for 11 minutes, remove and let cool. Husk and cut kernels from the cob. Compost cob.

Saute on medium Heat-
1T minced garlic
1T minced shallot
1/2 yellow bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 small habanero, minced
1 medium jalapeno, minced, seeds removed
When everything is nice and sauteed but not browned, deglaze with about 1/2C white wine and let it reduce a bit. Then add the corn kernels and mix well.
Add to mixture-
1t cayenne or TT
1t ground coriander or TT
1t cumin or TT
About 1C heavy cream
Squeeze of lemon
Let this mixture simmer for a few minutes and then take half of it and blend it or put it in a food processor till smooth. Reincorporate it to the rest of the corn and adjust seasonings if needed. This is so yummy!

I really hope you enjoy this as much as i have been! Right now the beefsteak tomatoes, not to mention the rest of the gorgeous heirloom tomatoes, at Sosios in Pike Place are AMAZING! The best i've found!

Friday, August 14, 2009

My picture perfect kitchen....

My kitchen is tiny tiny tiny! It's only got two induction burners, two convection oven and a slicer. Well actually i have a mixer and a slurry of other tools but they are all hidden away in little nooks and crannies!
It's been quite the experience getting used to working in such a small place. I still feel blessed to be cooking my own food no matter what the kitchen looks like. Today i made one of my flatbread toppings that consists of a blend of roasted red peppers, caramelized onions, roasted garlic and sauteed shitake mushrooms. I dry out the stems for things like mushroom powders etc. It's a fantastic way to utilize your waste. We also put a new soup on the menu: Roasted Yam and Curry with cilantro oil, paprika and fried zucchini chips. It's divine!

My essential kitchen: all my favorite cook books, lots of vinegars and oils, citrus galore, fresh pasta and tons of produce! Yum. I'm obsessing over mushrooms right now! So many delicious varieties. All i want to do is cook mushies with lots of garlic and olive oil! So so so tasty! Clearly i'm obsessed with these purple carrots too. I mean produce just doesn't look yummier than that! Ah another order of hummus with those beautiful specimens. I better get going!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Shitake Dusted Salmon

Yum! This is my seafood special at the restaurant right now. I have to say it's one of my favorite creations. So many flavor layers and textures going on.

It was kind of a crazy night last night which is great. Things are picking up a little bit and there's been some really great responses to my food. I created this over this last weekend and would usually have changed it by now but it seems to be so popular that i'm letting it stick around for the rest of the week. It's super easy and quick to cook.

I took some dried shitakes and ground them into a powder for the "dust." I'm using Wild Coho Salmon because it's a great deal right now but i'm sure any non-farm-raised salmon would be great. I avoid the farm raised stuff just because it doesn't have much flavor and i just think it's unnatural. I lay the salmon, presentation side down, in the dust with a little salt and pepper. Then for the veggies, i used two kinds of squash which i julienned for a little play on pasta. I thickly sliced some shitakes for garnish. The "sauce" is green chile creme fraiche. Basically green chile paste mixed with creme fraiche. I do it all in one pan so no mess. I sear the salmon till it's nice and golden while dousing it in fresh lemon juice and then set it aside to rest while i saute the mushrooms in a little garlic butter. Then set the mushrooms aside and toss in a hand full of the squash. I like to season mine with a little S&P and a healthy splash of fresh lemon juice. Really simple seasoning, as the flavors speak for themselves. The green chile creme fraiche really brings it all together with it's cool refreshing and yet spicy personality. One of the owners of POCO always describes food as people or experiences. It's definitely giving me a new view on food analogies. He said this dish was like "oh i've never been kissed like that before but it's really nice!" I'm going to take that as a good thing...Ok off to the market and then the restaurant. I think i'll take a pic of my kitchen so you can see how cute and tiny it is. Much smaller than the average home kitchen. It's a project but one that i am completely loving!

I forgot to mention the garnish which is finely sliced scallions that i put in ice water till they're all curled up. It adds a pretty flair and some needed height to almost any dish!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Some of my favorite things...

Can i just say that i love my mortar and pestle! It's so much better to grind your spices fresh and there is just something homey and wonderful about using a mortar rather than a spice grinder. I think it helps you connect to your food. It's like you appreciate it more when you've put in the effort to do things in an organic way! Also I've been playing with pink peppercorns lately. So floral and lovely. I use them in a poaching liquid reduction with lavender and honey after i lightly poach fresh figs. It turns out bright pink and slightly sweet. Drizzle over the figs and serve with some herbed ricotta and crackers. Its a great little snack! Also, beautiful carrots from Full Circle Farms. They are in season right now and come in a myriad of colors. You can get them at farmers market and specialty food stores. Sosios in Pike Place usually has a great selection and the nicest people! Its a great way to spice up a vegetable tray or hummus plate. I just peal them and split them lengthwise and serve them raw with a little S&P and a drizzle of olive oil. Hope you get a chance to try them!

Steak Tartare

My first steak tartare and quite delicious! I'm not going to lie and say i had any idea what i was doing but how hard can it be right? I got some really good meat to start. I made a little vinaigrette of dijon, lemon, shallots and S&P which i tossed the meat in. You have to do this right before you serve it or the acid will start to cook the meat and it turns a little grey. For the topping i just chopped up some red onion, capers and egg. To assemble, just find a nice mold and put it all in. I chose this one because it sort of mimics the shape of the egg. I like to drizzle some good olive oil on the plate like Merula and then serve it with some caper berries and bread sticks. Delish! For my first time making tartare, i think it went quite well.


Today is my first blog. I'm a chef but mostly i just love food and how it brings people together. I hope i can show you a little of what i love in this blog by sharing some of my experiences and my favorite recipes and photos. Enjoy.