Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Tower Grove Park, which is a beautifully restored Victorian park (created by Henry Shaw-the creator of the MO Botannical Garden) just iniatiated a farmer's market. Usually I go to Soulard which is the oldest farmer's market West of the Mississippi-it is large and takes up a complete city block, but since Tower Grove is in my neighborhood I have been going there since it started. For Memorial Day I made grilled leg of lamb, pork ribs, roasted beet salad, spinach salad, asparagus, and strawberry shortcake. All ingredients came from the Tower Grove Farmer's market-I love buying things from the people who grow the things they sell-there is so much integrity and personal pride that is evident. The animals were raised without hormones, and the eggs were from free ranged hens-the yolks were so rich and deeply colored.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Really busy this week. Started out with a trip to K-HITS radio. The restaurant has been doing some advertising with them, and the DJ JC Corcoran invited us to be guests. We took enough food for the whole station. One thing about my boss John Gallagher-who owns the restaurant-he does things in a very big and thorough way. He insisted the radio station personnel sample our best menu items-all the steaks, the most expensive fresh fish, desserts, and appetizers. The whole nine yards. They semed very appreciative-hopefully they will talk about us alot on the radio. He gave us a great 10 minute interview. It is the # one radio morning drive-time show in St. Louis. Here are some pictures-the people are William-my sous chef, James, the restaurant GM, and radio personnel. James was the big flirt with the ladies.

I was trying some new bread recipes this week. Two recipes from Sheila Lukins USA cookbook. Her recipes work marvelously, I have been a fan of hers since she first published Silver Palate Coodbook. First Parker House Rolls Named for the hotel in Boston-Has an interesting story behind it-being a writer-chef I always appreciate food with a built-in story line. A picky customer complains to the chef about the bread, an angry chef throws together dinner rolls, folded over in a non-chalant twist, and the legendary Parker House Rolls are born. I chose a clover leaf roll rather than the folded one. They were good, but boring, so I washed them with a thyme butter which helped.

Next I made her Zuchinni-lemon loaf. It was really good, but next day I decided to add some grated carrots and some leftover pineapple to the batter. It was very well received. Looks pretty I think with the green zuchinni and orange carrot bits. The pineapple didn't show very yellow-next time maybe I'll use yellow summer squash.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Banana Split Bread Pudding

I needed to use up some bananas, so I mashed bananas into the bread pudding custard, folded in maraschino cherries and pecans. After I baked the pudding, I served it on fresh strawberries, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream with hot fudge and whipped cream.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Mother's Day

Mother's Day at the restaurant was a great success we served just over 300 guests. Here were some of the dishes I iked best. Banana-chocolate chip muffins, two kinds of marinated olives (green with orange and rosemary and ripe with hot pepper flakes and honey), asian glazed green beans and baby carrots with black and white sesame seeds, and pork loin stuffed with apricots and sausage sauced with spicy apricot gravy. We served peach shortcakes in wine glasses for dessert.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Working on an asparagus and lemon risotto dish for mother's day

I've been purchasing alot of asparagus (about 30-50 pounds a week) mostly from a local guy over in Monroe County in Southern Illinois who bought this abandoned property that had an acre of asparagus planted. He's not really a farmer by choice, it is just that the field was already there. He's putting all the proceeds from the field into a special savings account to send his grandson in Colorado to college. A very nice little story, I think. The problem is the stalks aren't sized, they come in willy-nilly, so we have to group the sizes together ourselves-which adds more prep time to an already busy kitchen.

We are serving risotto with asparagus and lemon on Mother's Day, and have been experimenting with recipes. We have settled on one that uses a ham and chicken stock combination and Asiago cheese as well as some parmesan. There have been lots of left over risotto to deal with. William, my sous chef suggested risotto balls, and they have been very well recieved. We serve them with an Asiago cream sauce, and they are delicious.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Friday was Cinco de Mayo-at the restaurant one of my cooks-Missy made chicken enchiladas with sour cream gravy. They were very nice. We served them with black bean and corn salsa.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Last weekend my sister visited, a cousin from Dallas, accompanied by a couple friends and husbands and wives. I felt compelled to give a big lunch on Sunday before they left(being in the restaurant business, it is also the only day I can entertain). The parlor was polished and ready to receive guests, the dining room was set for a state dinner, and I prepared two appetizers shown on my previous post, a Lidia Bastianich recipe for stuffed veal roast, roasted vegetables, and Camp Grove corn pudding. I purchased a fruit tart fron La Bon Bouche. It was a marvelous day, and we played the piano and sang, and told stories all afternoon. There is nothing quite so good as having your family around.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Crab and Mango Deviled Eggs

I made these appetizers for a lunch for my sister's recent visit. They are crab and mango deviled eggs and shrimp, avocado, artichoke, and hearts of palm salad with chili-lemon vinaigrette.

Crab and Mango Deviled Eggs

12 hard boiled eggs
1 pound crab back fin
1 mango, peeled and cut into small dice
1 cup Hellman's mayonaise
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, roughly chopped
salt, freshly ground pepper, and cayenne to taste
fresh tarragon leaves for garnish

Cut the eggs in half lengthwise, reserve the whites

Mash the yolks in a mixing bowl, mix the mayonaise, mustard, vinegar, and seasonings together

Fold the crab and mango into the mayonaise mixture

Spoon the mixture into the egg whites, garnish with more fresh tarragon and place on serving platter

Shrimp Salad

1 pound cooked shrimp
1 fifteen ounce can artichoke hearts-well drained
1 fifteen ounce can hearts of palm-sliced and drained
2 avocados, peeled and diced
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons hot asian chili sauce
1 clove of garlic-put through a press
salt and freshly groung pepper to taste
3/4 cup olive oil
1 pound colorful salad greens

Combine the lime juice, vinegar, chili sauce, garlic, seasoning and mix werrl. Whisk the oil into the lime juice mixture to create a vinaigrette.

Reserve 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette. Toss the shrimp, artichoke, and hearts of palm with the remaining vinaigrette, toss and let marinate 1/2 hour refrigerated.

Line serving platter with salad greens, arrange the shrimp salad over the greens.

Toss the avocado with the reserved vinaigrette, and arrange over the shrimp salad.