White Chocolate-Peppermint Cheesecake

Okay. Here is the final dessert using the aerated chocolate as a garnish.

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For the cheesecake, we made a standard batter flavored with white chocolate and ground starlight mints. We baked it without a crust, let it cool, then placed it in a mixer with a paddle attachment to cream it back together and to aerate it. We then made some mock Oreo cookie dough, baked it, then ground it into a fine powder for garnish as well. IMG_0861
For the final plate up, we put another starlight mint in a low oven to allow it to soften, then pressed it paper thin so it shatters when it’s put in your mouth. We placed 3 quenelles of the cheesecake on the plate, a stripe of chocolate sauce and micro peppermint, and we’re good to go.  Here is the dessert plated on white china and also marble.

Modernest Cuisine is Coming!!

Should be seeing this 40 pound cookbook arriving any day now thanks to some generous benefactors.  They say the ink alone weighs almost 5#.  Cost to have KINKOS simply photocopy this in black and white?  $180.00

REVIEW HERE:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/09/dining/09modernist.html?_r=2&pagewanted=1

What’s a “Vegetarian” Burger?

There are many products out there that call themselves vegetarian burgers.  Out here, they are very popular.  You know…  Those little frozen, over seasoned hockey pucks that you just plop on the grill straight from the freezer…?  Well, I’m making my own.  It’s a black bean base with cumin, chili powder, onions and red bell pepper in the patty with some eggs and bread crumbs.  That’s grilled and served on our homemade rosemary rolls with grilled red onions, portobellos, swiss cheese and chipotle aioli.  Not a big fan of veggie burgers, but this really is very good.  I like to call it a hot vegetarian sandwich.  Delicious.

Blue Cheesecake?

This was a great cheesecake.  We took Rogue Creamery Caveman Blue and turned it into a cheesecake.  It was on a Walnut-Graham Cracker Crust with Candied Walnuts and Warm Caramelized Apples.  It turned out so much more that what I was expecting.

Chanterelle Bisque

Here’s a nice soup we just started.  We are using chanterelles from the Oregon Coast to make a silky bisque and pairing it with duck confit, pickled chanterelles, shaved French Breakfast Radish from our gardens, pickled red onions and micro arugula from our kitchen grow lights.  The rich, earthy bisque pairs so well with the salty confit, sweet/sour pickled chanterelles and onions and the spicy radish and arugula.  We will be finishing it off with fresh ground hazelnut smoked pepper.

Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

Grilled Peaches, Fresh Corn Polenta and Garden Greens…

New Coconut Ice Cream Dessert

Jeneane came up with a super delicious dessert.  These flavors just sing.

Toasted Coconut Ice Cream with Cilantro-Lime Paint, Sesame Cookies and Caramelized Pineapple.

New Trout Dish

Oven Braised Rogue River Trout on Apricot Couscous with Grilled Asparagus, Caramelized Fennel, Cider-Chardonnay Sauce and Garden Greens (Using our garden french breakfast radishes and micro greens just harvested)

New Spring Pork Dish

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

Spring Garden Risotto

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

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. 

Planting Seeds of Change.

Sometimes in our high-stress industry, the most difficult thing to do is to have the patience to wait and allow something to grow.  This is most challenging when it’s apparent that people around you do not want to change.  As I look back on my first year here in Southern Oregon, I am tremendously proud of everyone I work with.  I spent this year “planting seeds” and as I have mentioned before, now have to choose which ones to cultivate.  It’s abundantly clear from the response that this change is favorable and we are involved with something that has become greater than all of us.  I am truly at my greatest when I can “plant a seed” with a fellow cook and see them take it and run.  I sometimes marvel at the talent that emerges given the proper “cultivation”.  I now see it every day as I work in a basement under 2,000 tons of brick that was layed over 2 centuries ago.  Inspiration is the ingredient, realizing the dream is the dish.  This, my friends, is only the beginning.

Imported Green Olive Brine…

What can we do with this?  Perhaps a green olive “caviar” to garnish a local cheese plate with rubharb compote?  Or as part of a wet brine for free range chickens?  Usually something like this may be discarded.  We, as chefs, are more and more realizing that this is pure flavor and can be used in many ways.

Duck Demi Glace

Here are some broken bits of 1/2 inch thick duck demi glace made from 12 ducks.  Set solid when chilled and peeled right off the 1/4 sheetpan it was set in.  It yielded slightly over 800ml.  Talk about concentration.  This was super rich and had a great, clean, concentrated duck flavor.  This is the base for our Wild Oregon Huckleberry Jus that comes with our duck dish.

The Whole is Greater then the Sum of it’s Parts

Read that again.  The whole is greater then the sum of it’s parts.  What does this mean to you? 

For me, it means creating a combination of flavors/textures/aromas, that when put together in the right combination, yield a product that is extraordinary.  You may have 1+1+1 = 3 most of the time which is normal, but when that sum equals 4 or more, then you really have something.  For me, it’s magical.  This has happened few times for me in my career.  I can count them on one hand.  I like to focus on making really good, tasty, solid food that people can relate to.  My sum is mostly 3’s.  I prefer to use local ingredients (preferably coming from someone in the business I know and can relate to) and let these ingredients speak for themselves.  However, if you take something as common as ketchup (yes ketchup) and think of all it’s flavor components, you begin to realize that this pedestrian ingredient is actually a distillation of several different flavor compounds brought together in exacting proportions to create a taste sensation that it truly greater then the sum of it’s parts.    Back in the early 90’s, chefs were creating ketchups out of everything.  All you needed was a sweet element (perhaps tropical fruit) with a sour ingredient (perhaps cane vinegar or a very tart citrus juice) and pair that with some garlic, onion, cinnamon and clove and there you have Chef Bill’s Tropical Mango Ketchup.  The ketchup tasted familiar (with the same flavor profile as Heinz) but had a strong uniqueness about it.  It would hit all the flavor preceptors on the tongue and wake up the palate.  Sweet-Savory-Spicy. 

Ketchup, simply put, is an ingredient that truly is greater then the sum of it’s parts.

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