Sunday, January 27, 2008

Lemon Souffle

I woke up craving lemon souffle for some reason. Unfortunately there weren't enough eggs in the house, so after a quick trip to the market, inbetween my Sunday political shows, I whipped this up for breakfast. I added a couple rashers of bacon and toast. It might seem like a silly breakfast, but it definitely hit the spot for me.

Lobster Ravioli

My employer Susie Gallagher was telling me about this ravioli dish she had once eaten, and she asked me to come up with something similar for a special. This is a combination I would never have put together because it had a Gorgonzola sauce-fish and cheese just don't go together in my book. But I have to say it was quite delicious. The salty pungent blue cheese only enhanced the briny sweetness of the lobster and cream-when I suspected the cheese would completely take over the dish-it did not. I added some sauteed spinach, which was a beautiful color contrast with the coral colors of the lobster sauce and was also marvelous when it mixed into the sauce.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Early St Patty's Day

General Manager James Gallagher is getting his St Patty's Day "look" a headstart.

Farewell Lunch

It's official-we are not serving lunch starting February 1st. It has been a long and labored decision, but with no lunch we are extending the Sunday hours until 8 PM in the evening. There have been many times when we've turned away lots of diners because they arrived late, not realizing we close at 5 PM. We are also opening at 4 Pm on Saturday evenings. Again there is always a waiting line at the front door when we open at 5. This should ease openings, so that the servers aren't hit with several tables all at one time-each wanting their water, their bread, their drink all at the same time-sometimes the first 20 minutes are the most frantic for the servers until everyone hits their stride. This will also allow my kitchen to be more focused and organised. Darrell Logan who headed up the lunch since opening will be joining the evening crew. Here is one of Darrell's last lunch special, a lovely shrimp taco salad.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Last Holiday Party

Since I work in the restaurant industry, I seldom have time between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve to cook for my family and friends at home. Consequently most of my things are post holiday at best. We had one last dinner yesterday and now the holiday decor can be packed away until next year.

Yesterday I made an extravagant Spanish lunch. We started with Chilled shrimp and bacon wrapped dates. On my buffet I had my favorite salad of oranges, red onion, radish, fresh fennel, nicoise olives, dressed with a cilantro-orange vinagrette. I had another salad of fingerling potatoes, grape tomatoes, asparagus, and green beans dress with whole grain mustard vinaigrette. I made Potatas Brava again. This time with more chili-they were better than my last attempt, but they weren't very popular-I think I'll give up on this dish if I can't get it right in two attempts.

The centerpiece was an extravagant Paella Valencia. The photo doesn't do the dish justice, because I placed it on top of my stove and too much sunlight floods in and washes out all the color. I used arborio rice and Mexican Chorizo (which is markedly different from Spanish Chorizo), but the flavors were excellent if not quite authentic. I cooked it in my large copper roasting pan which is deeper than a paella pan, but everyone really enjoyed it and went back for extras. It was filled with lobster tails, shrimp, clams, mussels, chicken, and of course the chorizo. I used a tomato-lobster stock flavored with Saffron to cook the rice.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Spit Roasted Cornish Hens

This was simple and good after all the rich holiday dinners and hors de ouevres. I brined the birds for a couple of hours then roasted them in the counter-top rotisserie while glazing them with smoked paprika, sherry, lemon, and honey. I also made some potatas brava. I placed fresh hot and dried chilis in my mortar with garlic, cumin, and olive oil and mashed them with the pestle. I added some cauliflour to this typical Spanish dish. I had been thinking of making one of my favorite potato and cauliflour dishes from Madhur Jaffrey's "Indian Cooking". The recipes are quite similar. Potatas Brava, named because only the brave eat them-they are so firey. Mine turned out a bit wimpy-next time I will up up the hot peppers a bit and transform it into a proper manly Potatas Brava

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Lost Camera

I misplaced my camera for several weeks, so most of December's food didn't get blogged. I did get a picture of a beautiful salad I made for Christmas dinner. I roasted beets, peeled, chilled, and sliced them. I peeled a couple of ripe persimmons and cut them into slices, and I added the seeds of one pomegranate. I layered these ingredients over field greens and drizzled the salad with fresh lemon juice and olive oil. I find the colors compelling, but the flavors and textures were just as dazzling, I'm sure I will be using this trilogy of ingredients again.
We started with Champangoes (champagne and mango nectar) garnished with star fruit.
Up first were oysters "Bonne Femme" which I thought meant "pretty woman". Most Bonne Femme dishes also include potatoes-this one doesn't-just a rich bechamel flavored with sherry. Crab and sauteed peppers and shallot are folded into the bechamel before being spooned onto oysters resting in their half shells. They are quickly run under a hot broiler until they are bubbling and slightly browned.
I also roasted a tenderloin and sauced it with Morel-Onion Marmalade-sorry no pictures, I hope I can get back into the habit of carrying my camera again and taking better care of it. I did manage to get a couple of pictures of my festive dining room with its vintage Santa collection