Chemical Additives

Chemical Additives.  Oooooo….  Bad…..  Right?

Well, we live in a society that is more and more embracing whole foods.  Minimally processed.  How many times have you heard “no chemical additives” as a marketing slogan or “if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it”?

Carrageenan?  Polysaccharide derived from red seaweed.  Natural product.  Mixed with liquids creates a rich mouth feel in an otherwise “thin” liquid.  Larger concentrations will gel liquids similar to gelatine.

Lecithin?  Phospholipid found naturally occurring in egg yolks and soy beans.  Natural product.   Emulsifies liquids with oils to create creamy feeling vinaigrettes or traps air into liquids to increase it’s volume 20 fold creating a stable foam.

Sodium Alginate?  Polysaccharide derived from brown algae.  Natural product.  When mixed with a watery liquid and set into a calcium solution, will gel into spheres.  Great for creating faux caviars and “ravioli” with a liquid center.

Xanthan Gum?  Polysaccharide derived from fermenting Xanthomonas campestris (a bacterial species found in plant life)  that is an efficient viscosifier of water and that has many important uses, especially in the food industry.  Natural product.

Maltodextrin?  Can be enzymatically derived from any starch.  Natural product.  Powdery substance that, when mixed with liquid fats, effectively transforms them into a powder to top or coat foods.

These are all hydrocolloids that, in one way or another, alter the texture of foods.  All are natural products and have been used in food manufacturing for years.  It’s only until more recently that modern cooking techniques have been developed in cutting edge kitchens that utilize these ingredients to enhance the dining experience.  Questions and comments encouraged.

 

Faux Caviar with Basil, Orange, Strawberry and Saffron Liquids

 

Zinfandel Foam Using Troon Vineyard’s Zinfandel (Southern Oregon)

Bacon Powder Using  Nueske’s Bacon

New Spring Pork Dish

Bacon wrapped pork tenderloin with fennel and grapefruit salad, citrus couscous and grapefruit demi glace.

New Spring Duck Dish

Slow rendered duck breast with wilted Spring spinach and duck confit salad, cauliflower puree and wild huckleberry jus.

Next Week Tuesday..

This is the day we plant our garden at the Inn.  It will herby be refered to as “The Jacksonville Inn Gardens”.  Weeds have bene removed, composted topsoil has been dropped and rocks removed.  Let’s grow.

3 Varieties of Patty Pan Squash

4 Varieties of Zucchini Squash

3 Varieties of Cherry Tomatoes

4 Colors of Baby Carrots

Pickling Cucumbers

Snow Peas

Herbs, Herbs and Herbs

Heirloom Radish

Baby Broccoli

Big Morel.

This is a “tourist” morel.  Big, but not much flavor and little culinary value….  Still impressive though.

Check Out This Article on Chefs’ Gardens…

It’s happening everywhere….

http://www.rimag.com/article/452329-Chefs_Gardens_Take_Farm_to_Table_to_the_Next_Level.php

Spring Garden Risotto

Peas, radish, asparagus, spinach and fennel with beet emulsion and pea tendrils.

“Whipahol” Good Idea…

38 proof spirit in a ReddiWhip can.  Whipped Cream + 36-Proof Alcohol + Nitrous Oxide Canister…  How can this NOT be right?  Our friends at Whipped Lightning have created the World’s first alcohol infused whipped cream.  Just the thought of this stirs some creative thoughts.  This product can easily be re-created from scratch with today’s availability of industrial ingredients.  Hmmmm….  Vanilla Creme Vodka and Sweet Pea Whipahol?  Bring me my whipped cream charger! 

http://www.whippedlightning.com/

Score!

$41.00 on eBay…  It may not be digital, but works great!

Small Farms, Organic Growing, Sustainable Future…

Sounds great!  What will it cost? 

As a businessman, costs must always be watched.  I have an obligation to my employees to stay open so they can continue to work and earn an income.  As a Chef, I also have an obligation to support the local community/economy and use the most wholesome ingredients for my guests.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Besides, why would I purchase tasteless tomatoes grown in Mexico in August when I have 10 small farms growing the best within 5 miles of the restaurant?  Cost a lot less fuel to get here and the flavor can’t be beat.  Recently I started having some concerns….

I have noticed that the price of produce from small farms is more than mass produced, genetically engineered crap.  Granted the cost of operations is higher for the small farmer.  Now, this is what’s scaring me.  As I go out and visit farms and talk with the farmers, I have seen a large disparity from farmer A’s pricing to farmer B.  Both farmers are growing organically and the products are fantastic.  Why then is basil from one farm $4.00/lb and $10.00/lb from the other?  I could buy for $3.00 from Mexico, but that’s crap.  It gets more scary. 

I like to garden.  It takes a little set up to get a small garden going, but once there all you have to do is plant the seeds, cultivate/water and nourish, then harvest.  It is work, but is that work worth paying $10.00/lb for basil?  Think about this.  That’s more than filet mignon.  And it takes a lot more resources to raise and slaughter cattle. 

This blog was created with the thought that farmers and cooks need to be united for a sustainable future.  I have the utmost respect for farmers.  You see it on almost every post I publish.  But, when we get “Farmers” that just got into the business last week because they can make a “fast buck” just by planting seeds and trying to sell me $10 basil, something is wrong.  We all need to make money to sustain ourselves, but when I have to charge the same price for a plate of basil as I do for a plate of filet mignon, I will be out of business next week.  Pricing is important and I feel that some of this pricing is out of line and am unable to afford it.  Just something to consider. 

It has gotten to the point that I had this toothless “farmer” coming by and asking $16.00 a pound for some “fresh picked organic” basil.  Please don’t insult me.  I have basil growing in my garden and the seeds that will ultimately grow me 20 pounds only cost $1.29.

Terra Spice Account Active!

Finally got our Terra Spice account active.  I used to use them in North Carolina.  Great spice selection and also purveyors of chemicals used for molecular gastronomy.  Looking at buying some “caviar” chemicals, soy lecithin and malto dextrin powder to make airs, caviar and powders for wine tastings.  We will create unique flavors and textures to compliment the wines to be tasted in our wine shop.  Great fun…  Also looking forward to terra’s smoked black peppercorns, black garlic, dill pollen and others….  Check them out at www.terraspice.com

Carlos Tending to the Garden

Race Day Tomorrow

What do you feed your boss who has a 10 mile race in the Pear Blossom Festival tomorrow?  C-A-R-B-S!!

Spring Vegetable Pasta Agilo E Olio with Jumbo Shrimp…

 

 

GOOD LUCK JERRY!!!

North Pacific Smoked Trout Salad

With truffled potato chip salad and beet emulsion.

Seeds of Change

We have been reconditioning our gardens and are just about ready to plant some seeds.  Tonight is suppose to get below freezing but we hope that the weather will soon hold.  Looking at planting heirloom tomatoes, red, purple, white, yellow and orange baby carrots, pickling cucumbers for pickles, summer squash, radish, herbs, herbs, herbs, baby broccoli, peas, kales, and whatever else I can squeeze out of this little area!

Hey…

Notice how green everything is looking around here??

Organic Sweet Pea Soup with Seared Scallops and Vanilla Oil

We’re getting some great organic peas from Washington right now and wanted to show them off.  The vanilla oil we started 3 months ago in anticipation of spring and peas.  The pea tendrils garnishing the top comes from our kitchen micro greens garden.  Finished with some dots of creme fraiche. 

Easter and Spring Kitchen Garden

Had a great time cooking for 350 for Easter Brunch.  Thanks for coming out.  Here are some shots of our Spring Kitchen Garden.  The peas are coming along nicely.  They are only 8 days old.  The tendrils are ready to harvest.

Easter

Thinking about tomorrow and all the fun we are going to have doing brunch for 350 people.  We are prepped, got our attitudes on and are going to kick some Easter Bunny Butt!  Looking forward to debuting some braised beef short ribs with soft poached egg and Tabasco butter, spinach wrapped salmon wellington with meyer lemon-dill sauce, house made pork loin ham with rum-raisin sauce and the usual suspects like pancakes, bennys, and our traditional scrambled eggs with cream cheese and sherry…  Photos soon!  Just hoping I can get to sleep soon enough to answer that 5:30am wakeup call. 

HAPPY EASTER!!!

Excerpt From One of My New Favorite Blogs…

Please visit http://eggbeater.typepad.com/shuna/ so I can share… 

As Chefs, when you say, “_________.” = we hear “———–.”

 “Do I have to ~ ?” = “I’m lazy and I’m looking to you to validate me and my lazy ass.” “I don’t want to learn anything new or push myself in any way, shape or form.” “I like my comfy lazy spot and why would you want me to do something I don’t want to.” “I wanted to be a cook because I thought it would be fun, not hard.”

“I’m going to come in later than you’re asking. I’m set-up.” = “I don’t think about anyone but myself. I’m special.” “I am not on a team, I work by myself.” “I don’t want to do anything but what I have to.” “I’m an independent contractor.” “I’m psychic and I know how many covers we’re going to do between now and when I come in next. You should pay me extra for psychically forecasting our numbers.” “I’ve done way too much mis en place and nothing I serve in my next service will be fresh.” “I want to sleep in.” “I don’t care if disrespect my fellow cooks by trying to get special favors, personally, from the chef.”

 “There’s nothing to do.” = “Please fire me.” “My eyes have stopped working.” “I don’t know how to clean or organize.” “I was supposed to be a famous chef by now.” “I am worthless and if you still have me on payroll after I’ve uttered this, than you are a bigger fool than I.”

There is SO much meaning is so few words spoken.

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