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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

heres a good article...
read me!

Spanish Slang of the week
"puro Flash!"

translates "pure flash"

not sure where this one comes from but means "its all good" or something to this effect

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sicilian-style square pizza

I love Pizza. America loves Pizza. The Whole world loves pizza, but most of us would be damned to know how to make it ourselvs. For the 20 or 30 bucks spend on delivered pizza one could make upwards of 7 or 8 homemade pizzas. Roll up your sleeves and check out how to make one of my favite pizzas styles.

First and foremost you need to make dough. It is incredibly simple and one must procure minimal ingredients.

(This recipe makes 2 nice dough balls)
120z warm water
instant yeast
1Tblespoon sugar
1Teaspoon salt
drizzle olive oil
4 cups AP or HG flour (plus more for kneading and work surface)

Bloom yeast in water, add dry ingredients into mixer.
mix 6-7 minutes, slowly adding additional flour, until nice dough ball is formed. It should be completely pulled away from the side walls.
Cover and let rest 1 to 2 hours


You need:
A nice seasoned square pizza pan.

To Assemble:
Season all sides of pizza pan generously with olive oil.

Roll out dough with rolling pin into nice sqaure shape

Form the dough around the pan making shure not to rip dough.

Next you are going to leave this sit for up to 4 or 5 hours, allowing sufficient time for the dough to rise in the pan. This is very important for it insures a light, crispy, bread-like crust.

To Cook:
Season dough with olive oil and bake in a medium-hot oven for 6 or 7 minutes
Add sauce, cheese, and any toppings
bake another 10-18 minutes or untill cheese is bubly and golden and crust is browned.

Let rest 12 minutes before removing from pan and slicing

Pizza Tips
-Always use fresh grated cheese; better texture. Try experimenting with blends such as mozzarella, parmesan, pecorino, locatelli etc
-I like to make very simple tomato sauce with minimal prep, but canned works just as good in a pinch
-Double or even triple dough recipe- it freezes and defrosts wonderfully
-Use scrap dough to make "garlic knots"
-Think twice next time you want to order out, nothing beats the satisfaction of homemade food, it's interactive and fun, and after a few times you will begin to develop your own style of pizza, unique to only you!

Trotter Gear

Every morsel of swine is edible, including pigs feet, commonly referred to as "Trotters. They are extremely boney and yield very little meat, but what they lack in quantity they make up for in quality(of flavor), giving of rich gelatenous pork product. This recipe originally appears in Fergus Hendersons book "Beyond Nose to Tail". Of what I gather,"Gear", is Fergusons interpretation of nothing more than "confit" . In his recipe he calls for Leeks and Madiera. I chose to fore-go the wine, add vinegar and settle for fennel.

2lb Trotters
1 onion
2 carrot
2 celery
3 clove garlic
1 bunch thyme
1 bunch fresh oregano
light chicken stock (enough to cover and braise)
1 cup red wine vinegar

If your Trotters aren't cleaned, dig out an old Bic razor and shave off any extra hair. Next you will Blanch these in lightly salted water for 10-15 minutes to rid them of any extra pond-scum.

In a Dutch oven add roughly chopped veggies and brown

Add stock, vinegar and herbs bring to boil
Add trotters, cover and cook in oven @ 300F for 3-3.5 hours

When cool enough to handle pick off all meat, chop and store in air-tight mason jars topped with reserved cooking liquor.

As they say "Bacon makes everything better!". So does Trotter gear. Add some while pan searing your plain old chicken breast for a rich pan sauce, or try adding some to fresh pasta with white-wine butter sauce, Foot Vinagrette, Bloody Marys...The possibilities are endless!!! ENJOY

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Philly on a Whim Part 1

It's hard to understand why people, in particular instances of self-indulgent complusiveness, choose to fly across the country on a whim. It could be our natural biological clocks telling us to return to our rightful birthplaces, or fathomed self-fulfilling promises to truly get some rest for a few days. Or it could be Jose Garces...

TO EAT: Scallops a la Plancha
Piquillos Rellenos
Patatas bravas
Melon Con Hamon w/ sherry reduction
Habas a La Catalana w/ fava and lima bean
Flatbread- shrimp, garbanzo, chorizo
Calamai linguine, clam, scallop, sweet onion cream
Spinich, manchego, artichoke Empanada
Flatbread- shortrib, horseradish, parmesan, bacon
Braised rabit pasta, truffled chestnut, brandied cherry
Chorizo blanco
Boquerones- white anchovy pine nuts and olive oil
Flatbread- double take
Aged manchego, truflled lavendar honey

Spanish Slang O' the week:
"Que ovo?" Another version of "que pasa?" or "Que pedo?"
Ejamplo "Que ovo, conpa?"
Example "What's up, buddie?"

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Late Harvest Loquat Chutney

The "Loquat" fruit is a small oval shaped fruit with yellowish skin indigenous to to southeastern China. The Loquat, which shares a similar name to the kumkwat but carries no scientific kinship, is also commonly known as the"Japanese Meddler". The flavor is tart like an apple and sweet like a mango which proves for good out of hand eating as well as Jellies, Jams, and Chutneys. The Chinese make extract from the juice and use it as a cure-all, and has a very mild sedative effect. Thanks to the unforgiving amounts of sun in southern California these buggers grow all over the place. I've been waiting for the peak of ripeness to harvest but decided to let them go a little extra to intensify flavor. My neighbor has a tree hanging over his fence in the alley and lucky for me I was hungry for some Street-fruit chutney this morning. Here we go!

One must secure:

1 trash can (for standing on to grab fruit)
15-20 Loquats
1 meduim yellow onion
1 crisp green apple
3 cups sugar
3 cups appple cidar vinegar
1 zest of Orange
1 jalapeno
3 sprig thyme
1 dried guajillo chile
2 tablespoon grain mustard

To make:
De-seed all the fruit making shure to discard as much of the inner membrane surrounding the seeds. Medium dice onion and apple. Finely slice half the jalapeno starting from the tip and working toward the stem ( This way you get more pepper and less HEAT) Add all ingredients in medium sauce pan. Add enough water to cover all ingredients well. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmmer for 1 hour. Remove thyme and guajillo chile. Let cool. SERVE!
I like to serve this with some fresh bread or crakers. Nothing fancy, just let the chutney do the talking while you do the eating! A Huevo!

Next time more HEAT
Working a station and Food blogging is challenging
Less mustard if not complete omission
The Iphone camera is pheeble-genic

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

How to cook Salmon

I have been getting lots of questions recently about how to cook salmon. Being the expert on the controlled application of heat of one particular member of the genus Oncorhynchus, of which exist a plethora of species variants, commonly known as Salmon, I figured I'd drop some knowledge. How long should I cook it for Grande? Should I wrap it in tin foil? How do I grill it? When should I glaze? These are all great inquiries that have rather simple answers. Salmon is a very oil-rich fish which makes it so great for a myriad of cooking techniques and heat applications. Grilling, baking, sauteing, poaching and steaming are all great ways. As far as cooking times go- buy a thermometer!!! You can buy a nice digital one from Bed Bath and Beyond or just use the trusty old-fashioned ones. They work great and I prefer them. Cook your salmon to an internal temp of 160 F if you want it well done. I prefer my salmon cooked medium with an internal temp of about 150. Take notice of the texture of the fish as well as the firmness. Let your instincts guide you, use the thermometer to be shure. Keep in mind the thickness or cut of fish you are cooking. If the piece of filet is a tail section it will cook a lot faster than a piece from the middle. If its a piece closer to the shoulder the flatter part will cook through and dry out before the meaty part is close to done. People also have been curious as to how to cook salmon on a wooden plank on a grill. This is easy! Just get a board! No really find a nice piece of wood (untreated!) from the hardware store, or they can sometimes be found at your local supermarket and certainly online. Woods like cedar, cherry, maple, or hickory are ideal. Make sure to completely submerge the plank in water overnight, minimum a few hours. The wooden plank method is not suggested for indoor use as the wood will smoke a good bit. Now folks, get your grill HOT! I can't tell you how many times I've seen people cooking on a grill that couldn't melt a chocotaco. The important thing to remember here is to put the plank on the top rack, for it will certainly burn on the bottom rack. Make sure to keep the grill closed. Basically what your doing here is "baking" the salmon. You can apply a glaze pretty much any time during the cooking process, but keep in mind the sugar content. Most store bought glazes carry with them a high sucrose content and will easily caramelize too much if applied early on. I like to glaze during the last minute or so of cooking and just let it soak into the fish with a nice light carmelization. Remember people COOKING IS FUN! Don't stress too much on whether or not your doing something right! Half the fun of cooking is doing it your way and how you like, and with a few basic pointers under your buckle, you will be impressing your family and friends time and time again, because you cooked a piece of fish with a piece of wood from an old swingset you found in the alley!! Hell YA! Get out there are cook!

Spanish Slang of the Day
"la reja" - "chin" or "trap"
ej: "cierra la reja!"
ex: "shut your trap!"

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Ode to Mediocre Food

As the winter comes to a winding end, the promise of the springs' bounty of fruits and vegetables is a welcomed one. Which is exactly why I haven't been doing much cooking of mine own. I'm taking this opportunity to taste for myself the very food under my nose. I am eating my neighborhood, so to speak, which is nor alien or domestic alike and thus far has all been great. I'm constantly eating restaurant quality food, and my bar is set pretty high when it comes to street nourishment. The belly of the food industry often goes overlooked. But it's the little hole in the wall places that keep me fueled when I'm on the outside. I'd like to take my hat off to the regular food in my city. It's the Vietnamese Pho, Lebanese Shwarma's, and Mexican tacos that keep me nourished. This food is not expensive, not hard to find, and not very healthy. It is very accessible, absolutely delicious and what America eats. Hats off to you!

Big Beer

Bloody Oranges

"Cooks" chamgaine/ Chambord/ Rose Pedals ( notice the pliars needed to uncork )

Fancy Beet salad from Valentines Dinner Menu

Parma Proscuitto and Head Cheese/ Mustards/ Cheese

Life is Your Oyster

Philly Snack in San Diego??!!

SHROOM pizzas

Mexican Slang of the Week
"Dwenday" a "ghost" can be used as a slang term for a white person (gringo or wero)
ejamplo "Que pedo Dwenday?"
example "Whats up whitey?"

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Limelight, trying to rhyme tight

The eyes are upon you. They sit and stare with the occasional utterance of a question, and most of the time they just watch. Some will stare. Others could give two shits. “Don’t these people understand what we endure to bring them a plate of food?” I question. We suffer for their pleasure. We trade sacrifices for sustenance. Cooking for a person is one of the most selfless and humbling gestures. We put everything on the line for less than slave wages to ensure a great dining experience. I take heed in this thought process for it breeds resentment, but cannot help at times feeling like exploding into a ball of flames as if I was just used to deglaze a hot skillet. In the heat of battle there really is no escape. I feel as if I’m a caged animal, being helplessly pointed and gawked at. “Ignore them, stay in your zone” I say.

I know that line cooking is just one facet of part of becoming a chef, and that in order to be a great chef one must also know how to truly interact with customers. For now, this has been one of my greatest struggles. I am slowly learning how to manage myself better with the face to face interactions. I appreciate every customer who comes and eats our food. If it were not for them we would not have no jobs, no audience, and no canvas. Becoming a chef is about being in the spotlight, and until that light is center stage, the only thing there will be the eyes.

Mexican Slang of the Moment:
“la neta” translated “the truth” or “freal” or “word”
Me: “Did your cousin really have sex with a donkey in the fields?”
Mexican: “Neta!”

Some Red Wine/Sexy Sunset/Blood'cates/Beautiful Burger/Beet Salad/Creepy Message in Mayo/"Chees"/Roast Beef Location/

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wednesday Test Kitchen

What is Wednesday Test Kitchen? Is it progressive madscience? Regressive sanity? Is it more gels, spirals and foams? Who takes part and where? It sounds private, exclusive, even forbidden. It sounds like a geeky invite-only Magic party. The Truth is Wednesday test kitchen is just a time when we can cook for ourselvs. There is no grab-ass, no tickets, no allergies, and nothing on the fly. We try new recipes and ideas, discuss everything from technique to the biz and more often than not there's an abundance of good booze, better ingredients and awesome grass which ulimatly makes for a great meal. It's OUR time.

To Drink: Knob Creek Bourban/Bitch Creek ESB
To Eat: Chinese Black Skin Chicken/Okinawa Purple Yam Dumpling/ Wolfberry/ Bok Choy/ Poured Aromatic Broth

Mexican Slang of the Week
"Te Lo Lavas!" Literally translates to "You wash it!"
Youth slang referring to the "washing of ones' genitalia"
generally speaking; meaning "stay frosty"