Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Chambord Ice Cream

This is an ice cream we used to make at the Richard Perry Restaurant in St Louis. At least I think it is, I'm not sure if it was black raspberry or blackberry. In any case I chose to make it with black raspberry, but it would work as well with blackberry or black cherry or what ever strikes your fancy. I also experimented with a custard base for this ice cream, but I didn't like the color the addition of egg yolk made. The color of the black raspberry and cream is really pretty, but the yellow of yolk muddied the color.

1 12 ounce jar of seedless blackraspberry preserves
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
4 cups half and half
1/3 cup Chambord liquer

melt the preserves and sugar over low heat-until the sugar is dissolved-cool slightly

combine the cream and half and half

slowly whisk the preserves into the cream mixture-if you do this too quickly or add the cream into the preserves, the acidity in the raspberry mixture will curdle the cream

pour into your ice cream freezer and freeze

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Some interesting specials this week

Some of the interesting special this week were chilled avocado soup with tomato-crab relish, shrimp and zuchinni with spaghettini, and flan with pineapple and strawberry sauces. Hot and busy all week, plus additional catering-finally cooled off on Friday. Forgot my mom's birthday and my parents anniversary-same day-I guess I'm in the dog house, and I was so good with mother's and father's days-got the cards off early. I even talked to them on the day or the day after and they didn't mention it and neither did I. I guess I'm an ingrate-sorry mom and dad.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Here is a dish for the Cookbook Challenge #6 Picnics

It is from the book "Cooking from Quilt Country" by Marcia Adams, published by Clarkson N. Potter, Inc. in 1989. It is a book of recipes and traditions of the Amish and Mennonite communities in Indiana. I chose a dish entitled "Jellied Chicken"-also known as pressed chicken. It is a beautiful and elegant picnic addition-seems French with the "gelee" or aspic component, but I think most of the Amish and mennonites are German descent. It would also make an excellent terrine if you added some vegetable layers. I might also have liked some addition herbs such as tarragon or sage in the flavor mix.


6 pounds meaty chicken pieces
2 quarts water
2 ribs celery, halved
2 carrots, halved
1 medium onion, studded with 6 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
handful of fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
Cider vinegar or lemon juice (optional)
additional parsley for garnish
sliced hard-cooked eggs (optional garnish)

In a large stockpot, place the chicken, water, vegetables, and seasoning. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. Remove meat from the bones while still warm-it's easier that way. Discard skin and place chicken in a lightly oiled 9 or 10 inch loaf pan. Cover and refrigerated overnight.

The next day, skim fat off the broth. (Save this fat for another use;it freezes very well.) Place broth in a large saucepan over high heat and boil util about 2 1/2 cups remain. Soften the gelatin in cold water, add to the hot broth and bring to a boil again. Add a bit of vinegar or lemon juice, if desired. Pour broth over chicken to cover completely, then refrigerate overnight. This can be made 3 days ahead of time.

Serve garnished with Parsle, hard cooked eggs and her mayonaise.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Fried Green tomatoes, Grilled Shark, and Blueberry Bread Pudding

Here are some specials I made this week. First Fried Green Tomatoes. Fried green tomatoes have to be on my menu all summer. I know some tomato purists will say you should leave the first tomatoes to ripen in order to have ripe tomatoes sooner, but I'm not going to wait when I can have a juicy fried green one. Also I don't like the standard cornmeal crust-too gritty-I dust them with flour and dip them in beer batter and serve them with some chipotle aioli. Next week I'm experimenting with a lighter tempura batter made with rice flour.

We grilled shark steaks at least three different ways this week. This is the only one I photographed. It had a marinade William-my extremely talented sous chef-gave me. Then I added some extra ingredients to the marinade to turned it into a hawaiian kind of barbeque sauce, and served it with a pineapple and shrimp fried rice. The flavors were marvelous, but one of the other cooks-who shall remain nameless-overcooked the rice in the middle of the dinner service and ruined it.

And lastly some dessrt. Last week one of my cooks, who did a lot of the baking, left in a little temper tantrum. I asked him to leave until he got it under control and hoped he would talk to me the next day-I gave him that option-but no deal. Kitchens are not democracies, and my kitchen is my space and it's my way or the highway. Soooo-I was baking alot this week-Panna Cotta, Chocolate Creme Brulee, Pastel des Tres Leches with pinapple-here is a photograph of my bread pudding with blueberries and white chocolate.

Monday, June 12, 2006

We went to Dim sum yesterday at LuLu in University City or is it Olivette all those suburbs sort of blend together. There aren't any good Chinese restaurants in the city-lots of great Viet Namese and Thai-but not Chinese. There are several really goods one on Delmar in University City and Olivette. My favorite is LuLu. Often we have a few more people with us which works out well because you get to sample more things. Yesterday we got full before we sampled everything we wanted from their carts.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Foris Pinot Gris

I really like this wine. We're selling lots at the restaurant. It pairs well with our signature Heartland dish-Pork Chops with Peach Beautiful sauce. Also goes well with our Asian grilled salmon and shrimp with strawberry sweet and sour. I photographed it at home in my red parlor-the glass sculpture in the background is entitled "Aphrodite" and is by the artist Dino Rosin out of Murano Italy.

A Tale of Two Soups

I prepared a couple of interesting soups this week. In our restaurant kitchen all the cooks love to make the soup. We make a delicious gumbo that is on the menu daily-never changes, then there is the second choice. Often the day sous makes the soup. He's in the kitchen first and begins the prep, if his load is too heavy, he assigns the soup making to the second or third cook in. And sometimes the chef pulls rank and makes the soup himself, just because he still loves to make soup.

First up is chinese egg drop. I started with a rich chicken broth, flavored with white pepper, a little sesame oil, and soy sauce. I thickened it ever so slightly with a corn starch slurry. It should have a luminous viscosity-not thick and gloppy. Next break a couple of eggs into a small bowl and whip slightly. Bring your thickened broth to a barely moving simmer, stir in one direction continually slowly pour the eggs through fork tines into the slowly swirling soup. The eggs should create lovely ribbons in the soup (in some places this is also called egg flower soup because it is so pretty)-beware that if you pour the eggs too quickly, stir incorrectly, or have the soup too hot you will end up with scrambled eggs in broth-not pretty. I garnished the soup for service with a scallion flower and some diced radish. I used an extra hand to hold the fork, while I poured the eggs through the fork and stirred. If you are cooking alone you would have to rig some kind of fork holding device-position the fork on a box that is the right height and secure it with a heavy can-improvisation always rules the day.

I also made an Italian wedding soup. I started with small meatballs of ground beef flavored with onion, garlic, basil, and oregano. I browned the meat balls and drained them. You need a rich chicken broth for this soup as well. It quite easy to make once the meat balls are made. I should have made them smaller than I did. Next drop the meatballs into the simmering stock, add some orzo pasta, and some shredded fresh spinach or curly endive and fresh basil. I also like a pinch of thyme and sometimes a bit of fresh lemon juice. It only needs to simmer about ten minutes together to cook the orzo. Serve grated parmesan on the side. This is a very rich and satisfying soup.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

I purchased some beautiful red pepper pasta at Tower Grove Farmer's Market from Mangia-an Italian restaurant that also wholesales freshly made pasta. It was simple and fast. First rehydrate dried mushrooms in some stock and sherry, then sautee garlic, shallot, and ginger in a small amount of oil. Add the mushrooms and a bit of cream. Salt and pepper to your liking. Cook pasta, reserving some cooking liquid for the mushroom sauce. Stir it all together and let it rest so that the noodles can absorb some of the sauce and serve with a little sesame oil drizzled over the top.
No parmesan-please-I don't think asian flavors and cheese marry well.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

More asparagus

Does anyone ever get tired of asparaus-I can't imagine it! I am continually inspired by it, amused by it and what else can I say? Asparagus-I love you. Here's more asparagus, only white this time.

White apsaragus is covered as it grows so it doesn't turn green. The stalks are more fibrous, they have to be thoroughly peeled. The flavor is more assertive and some what bitter-not in an unpleasant way, but like wild greens taste. I peeled them, blanched them, then sauteed them in a caper butter with parsley, sundried tomatoes, and proscuitto, and a spritz of fresh lemon juice.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Trader Vic's

A couple of years ago I was smitten with a nostalgic interest in Polynesia and Trader Vic's restaurant. I went on-line and purchased a vintage copy of The Trader Vic's cookbook and planned a couple whole menus from the book for special events entitled "Return to Trader Vic's". It really was a blast and quite good with rum cocktails and variations on terriyaki. Trader Vic's was the first successful "theme" restaurants and of course started many trends. This was before the revolution in American cooking.

One silly thing that I still like to make occaisionally is Crab Rangoon-who says food has to be serious "high church" all the time. It is simple to make. Cream cheese is flavored with garlic, ginger, and green onion, crab meat is then folded in and the mixture is stuffed into wonton wrappers and deep fried. I served it recently at the restaurant with a puree of mango and pineapple with rice wine vinegar and hot Asian chili sauce.