Beyond the Kitchen Farm Dinner Announcement

We have been working hard hammering out the details for our premier farm dinner series.  Well, we are now one step closer!  We have decided to use Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Company coffee for our events.  I met Charlie today at the Saint Helena roasting house and sampled many selections.  He seemed pretty excited when I mentioned that it was all going to be French pressed.  I can’t blame him.  So, look for Charlie’s roasted coffee at our events as we celebrate all the greatness Napa Valley has to offer! 

Homemade Farm Fresh Soda

Yep, a lot of us are addicted to soda.  4 out of 5 of us in this household are junkies.  And last I heard, soda doesn’t do a lot of good for our health.  With that being said, I want to serve soda at our farm dinners.  I am not one of the four addicted in our house, however I think a well crafted, Italian style soda, made right on the farm would be a welcome addition in the hot afternoons.  So, I’ve got this cool mid-century 10 gallon soda keg from Niagara Falls Pepsi-Co that I have thought about using for about 5 years now.  I bought it when I lived in Hawaii and It’s been collecting dust.  Well, today I disassembled it, changed all the crumbling o-rings, scrubbed it, sanitized it, and ran scalding hot water through it.  I wasn’t even sure if it would work, so I charged it with CO2 and looked for any leaks.  Stayed sealed tight and this is what I ended up with:

So, this is what I am going to do.  I am going to fill the tank with farm spring water and carbonate it.  We will have fresh fruit and berries (whatever’s in season) that we will turn into syrups.  As our guests are arriving, we will pour the syrups into glasses and top them off with freshly carbonated spring water.  Voila!  A round of homemade farm fresh sodas for everyone.  Or how about a peach and amaretto flavored soda?  A light blast of farm fresh cream?  This is gonna be awesome!

Cry-O-Blanching Baby Carrots

Here is a good example of Cry-o-Blanching I demoed for a group of 10 chefs from Beijing, China who participated in my Modern American Cooking lecture I did last month.  The carrots are peeled and cry-o-vac’ed and then frozen.  Ideally they are frozen in liquid nitrogen.  Then they are allowed to defrost at room temperature and then frozen again.  The process is repeated 3 times for these carrots, but can be done on any number of different vegetables or fruits.  The number of freeze-defrost cycles would vary based on the ingredient and desired texture.  You end result will resemble a traditionally blanched item but with a great, fresh flavor not dulled by a drop in boiling water.

Catering Snacks

Some great snacks for an upcoming event.  Home made buttermilk crackers, grilled rosemary flat bread all topped with tapenade, hummus and pesto.  

New Local Tuna Special

I have finally (FINALLY!) hooked up with the Port Orford gang and they are now sending me fresh albacore tuna straight from the Oregon coast.  Here’s a special we’re running with it right now…  Sesame seared with a nice Asian slaw, tomato puree and avocado.  Turned out really delicious…

Wild Ramp Butter

I made a lot of ramp butter with some more ramps I got.  Thinking something with oven braised rainbow trout….

Sous Vide Chicken with Oregon White Truffles

Here is the first dish I made today using my truffles for Sunday Brunch.

          

Hawaiian Tombo Tuna

Found a use for these great Oregon pickled ramps.  I’m pairing them with a salad of crispy Spring new potatoes, grilled asparagus, pepper bacon and a cider-mustard vinaigrette.  It’s finished with avocado puree, hard boiled egg and micro turnips/pea tendrils from our kitchen garden.  Can’t wait for the local albacore tuna season to open up!

Oregon White Spring Truffles

Funny, I didn’t even know these existed until I saw them.  And the aroma…  WOW!  Seriously.  These are unreal.  It’s frustrating though because I am having a hard time devising my next special for them for some reason.  I just want to smell them.  🙂  Hopefully I can come up with something soon.  The weather has been warm and sunny.  Not really what you would think of for truffles I’m only used to using during cold winter months.  We’ll see…

Our Micro Greens Revisited

So, I took the plunge and purchased a 50 liter bag of “Hydroton”.  This is the clay like rocks I started experimenting with to grow microgreens under out grow lights in the kitchen.  It cost $35 and we are now converting all our indoor growing operations to utilize it.  Our most recent planting includes pea tendrils, micro radish and micro beets.  The tendrils have been tested and work great (see prior post) but the other items have yet to be seen.  Germination has already taken place after just 2 days.

Pros and Cons of Working with a Decades Old Menu.

It’s a respectful thing to work with such a time proven menu.  Very traditional.  I am very happy I also get to have a portion of the menu that is highly seasonal and modern.  Best of both worlds.  Drawback?  Well, 30 years ago, it was chic to use what were, back then, modern ingredients.  “Exotic” herbs were dried and used as we use fresh herbs just clipped from our garden.  Broth bases were used and considered a “gourmet” item.  Times have changed.  These recipes haven’t.  So, I continue to work on ways to improve the ingredients while staying true to tradition and the dish itself.  Point in case, I have started making my own chicken base.  There are a couple recipes we use that are over 50 years old and very popular that use it.  My version contains nothing more that organic chicken from Washington.  Nothing more.  And I use it exactly the same as the processed stuff that has an ingredient list longer than this blog post.  Come by and try the difference for yourself.  I reduced 5 gallons of chicken stock to 28 ounces of “base”.  It’s amazing…

More Local Goodies…

We get our coffee custom roasted from Good Bean Coffee just down the road.  We have a lot of guests purchase this coffee from us by the pound whole bean.  We made some ica cream with it and paired it with chocolate cream crepes and toasted cornbread.  Wait….  What?  Yeah, it was uber good…

Lemon Confit

In the works is some lemon confit.  Should be ready in 3 days for our new Alaskan True Cod Special…

Pickled Chanterelles

These button chanterelles make a great garnish.

Found a Wristband that Stands for Something I believe In…

Head on over to www.stovemonkeys.com to get yours for free…

What The Ingredients Look Like

Here’s some shots of what the ingredients used for Molecular Gastronomy look like…

 

Spring Garden Risotto

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

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!

Grow Lights.

Wow.  This will change the way we garnish our plates forever.  Soon we will be able to snip and garnish to order.  Thanks to Sean Brock at McCrady’s restaurant in Charleston for the inspiration.

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