Saturday, June 25, 2005

We Gotta Get Outta this Place...

Adios Bowling Green!

"Thanks for the bruises and you can keep the Stool samples..."
- Chevy Chase

- Homer Simpson

(Burger Art by Travis\Tee$)

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Born just a little too slow...

Well, I finished out my two weeks at the Grill. I'm amazed as I might be the first person to ever leave without being fired or because of a prison sentence.

It was a quiet and simple exit yesterday. I trained Nick and Sasha on how to make a killer Strawberry Rhubarb pie, made some Gazpacho, and said goodbye to all the regulars.

Although, to be honest, the day was kinda wonky. Our payroll didn't show up, then there was a surprise visit from the Health Dept, and a bag of trash I was carrying to a dumpster broke all over the sidewalk. I was a little raw yesterday, now that I think of it...

I missed Cooking Under Fire last night. I really like that show for a variety of reasons. It's more focused on the talents of all the chefs involved, but then again, I would expect nothing less from PBS. On a similar note, I fucking HATE Hells Kitchen. For those of you from Lakota, that's not how a kitchen runs. When people stress out and yell a lot, that's when muhfuhs get their asses bagged with a Snoopy blanket and beaten with a Louisville slugger. Then again, I would expect nothing less from Fox. Although CUF is a reality series, it's so much more in depth. It feels real - the arguments, the failures, the accomplishments, the FOOD!

On a food tip, I'm thinking of what Kerrie and I will be eating for dinner next week and further on...

Chicken with Coffee Barbecue Sauce
Coffee Granita with Kahluah Whipped Cream
Lime Seared Flank Steak Fajitas
Flat Iron filets Wrapped in Prosciutto
"Creamsicle" Cake
Bar-B-Q Chicken Pizza

There is a kick ass grocery store in Cinci called Jungle Jim's. I've been there a few times before, but until just this week, I never realized how extensive their stock is. It's a world market with a full selection of cheeses, wines, and cigars in addition to their amazing meat and produce selection. Strong...

Today I'm listening to The Hollies Greatest Hits. Carrie-Anne and The Air That I Breath have been heard more than once today...

Jungle Jim's

Sunday, June 19, 2005

I'm the friendly stranger in a black sedan...

I realized today that I linked to the wrong mixer in my last post. I do NOT want the Artisan mixer! I am after the pro-series mixer, as that was the one I used to work with at Sufficient Grounds. Kitchen-Aid mixers are the most amazing tool to have in any kitchen. They are amazing for their ability at the basics, but also for making things like Pasta, Ice Cream and delicate creams that need lots of volume... I have to admit though, I just want the dull grey or off-white one. I dunno, I can't explain it. I just want everything in my kitchen to have an "industrial" feel. Whites, brushed steel, classic marble...

Tonight will be the last "nice" meal I make until Kerrie and I make it to Fairfield. This coming week will be consisting of lots of sandwiches and/or salads. Not that that's bad, mind you. I just have a lot of work to take care of this week with packing and finishing out my two-weeks at The Grill.

That being said, tonight I'm going to make Grilled Chicken Breasts with Balsamic butter, paired with a Garlic Leek Puree topped with String Beans. I'm also going to bake up a loaf of Foccacia and do Apricots poached in white wine with fresh whipped cream.

Boo Yah Muh Fuh, Boo Yah...

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Shake what yamama gave ya...

Today was a slow day, but it felt rushed.

I made an excellent Rosemary Citrus Sorbet today. It was a tiny batch, but I was completely amazed with the outcome because it's the first I've ever seen my Ice Cream Maker actually work. I need more practice at "creamy" frozen desserts, as none of them have ever turned out to be what I would call perfect.

Last night I made a very nice meal for dinner. Flat Iron Steaks with Fine Herbs and Gorgonzola Cheese wrapped in Puff Pastry, paired with Rosemary Infused Baby Carrots and Mixed Greens. I also made a simple Whiskey Cream Sauce (similar to the Au Poiver) to go with the Steaks and a batch of Chocolate Chip Oatmeal cookies for dessert.

Tonight I'm making a four cheese pizza. It's kind of a pain making dough without a proper mixer, but hey - I gots me two hands... When I make pizza at home, I actually long for the days of Marco's and their industrial strength mixer. Of course, we used to make dough in 50 pound batches and we had to do that like 4 or 5 times in only a few hours. Yeah... The "good ole days weren't always good", to quote a classic song.

Tomorrow is Meat Loaf at the Grill. I love Meat Loaf. So simple, and so satisfying. Comfort food - all the way. In the meantime, I'm listening to to a lot of Daft Punk's "Human after all" and Jim Carroll Band's "Catholic Boy". Check it...

Ciao Ciao!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Only together are we unstoppable...

The end of an era is coming...

Pretty soon I'll be done at the Grill, and off to explore new and better opportunities. I'm looking forward to a lot of things I guess...

Making Demi Glace in a new kitchen.
Eating pizza at Uno.
Coffee at Sitwells.
Wine an Foie Gras in front of my own fire place...

So much food, so little time...

A while back, my New Years resolution was to "rediscover my love of food". No, seriously... Some of my best food-related memories have been muddied by working in corporate chains and dealing with psychotic people. I miss the days of going to Cosmo's when Scott and Heather owned it, or that time Troy and I went to Murray's Deli on Mackinac Island. I miss pizza at Carly Cheenas (R.I.P.) or sitting on the dark side of Dominic's with a Cigar listening to "That's Life" by Frank Sinatra. So much has changed about this part of the world, that there isn't much left to appreciate.

I will miss being close to Ann Arbor, as I will always love Cafe Felix and The Jerusalem Garden.

I guess I'll miss Cleveland a little. No more day-trips to Little Italy, but Corbo's WILL ship their Lemon Biscotti anywhere in the nation. So I've got that going for me...

I've got a lot of great ideas for dinner this week. For one, I'm going to do some Cayenne rubbed Rib Eyes with spicy string beans. Another idea for later on is Grilled Chicken Breasts with Balsamic Butter, paired with Grilled Leek and Asparagus.

I still have Prosciutto and Sopprasata in the fridge, so I need to make some sandwiches. But then I'll also have to make some Saffron Garlic Mayo... Details, you know?

I'm listening to a lot of Air Cuba this week in addition to The Dirtchamber Sessions and the GO soundtrack. Good Grooving = Good Cooking.

Monday, June 06, 2005

I need somebody to shove...

Prep work is the backbone of any good food experience.

No matter who you are or what you do, you need to do the prep work first. But prep work, also know as Mise en place, is repetitive and time consuming. That's why it's important to always have a good mix tape on hand. I have one mix tape right now that's made up of nothing but Punk Rock and Drum'n'Bass which is perfect for chopping veggies or doing taters.

I've been making mix tapes for as long as I can remember. Road trips, kitchen work, exercising... I've got one for every occasion. I remember the lazy days of high school where Troy and I would make specific mixes for whatever reason, or when Mike Garcia and I would trade our custom mixes back and forth. Heck, some of my best stuff was done while I was at Cosmo's. (I've grown quite fond of a smooth chill out CD...)

But now I'm working on a new Prep Mix. And thanks to the advent of MP3's and my glorious MiniDisc recorder, I've got a great set ready to go...

Prep Mix #001
Iggy Pop - Repo Man (Instrumental)
Rolling Stones - Rip This Joint
Rhythm Heritage - Theme from S.W.A.T
Tomayasu Hotei - Battle without the Honor of Humanity
Crystal Method - Vapor Trail
Soul Asylum - Somebody to Shove
Deckwrecka - Sycosis
Crystal Method - PHD
Daft Punk - Robot Rock
Overseer - Horn Dog
Elton John - Saturday is Alright for Fightin'
CKY - Flesh into Gear
Cuba - Cross the Line
Mirwais - Disco Science
Iggy & the Stooges - No Fun
Fluke - Atombomb
Crystal Method - Name of the Game
N.E.R.D. - Rock Star (Jason Nevins Remix)
The Vines - Ride
Fatboy Slim - Yamama
Oasis - F**kin' in the Bushes
Elmer Bernstein - Staccato's Theme (Happening at Waldo's Remix)
The Misfits - Hybrid Moments
Jim Carroll Band - People who Died
Sex Pistols - My Way

This is just a basic idea for you. I actually have a lot more music to sift through and decide on. But what I listed above is a lite version mixed together for maximum coherency. (I need to find places for Oakenfold and The Propellerheads yet...)

Food Baddies need to groove. Buhleedat.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

I'm the "one" natural one...

Ah, the simplicity of it all...

Last night I made Balsamic Chicken Breast sandwiches. The basic setup was to macerate the breasts in Balsamic Vinegar for one hour then cook them in a skillet. I dressed them up with some field greens and served it on a rosemary foccacia. Cohen & Cook has a very good sandwich which was my initial inspiration, but I scaled it back a bit for the sake of doing something simple.

Today, work was slow and I was sent home. Apparently my attitude towards the situation was characterized as "bad". So fuck 'em, I made Gelato. And not just any Gelato, Chocolate Chip Gelato! Yeah, that's right! I said it...

Tonight I think I will go with a classy Au Poiver sauce made with Bourbon for a few Flat Iron steaks I have in the fridge. On Saturday I'm going to do Coffee Rubbed Rib Eyes. Friday, however, is an Ann arbor run. Cafe Felix for dinner, and Trader Joe's for a case of wine.

Cafe Felix
Trader Joe's

Now... Dr. Bob asked for the recipe for the Mayo Cake. I feel somewhat obligated to grace the world with my recipe, because it is from scratch. So many recipe's call for boxed caked mix, and honestly, wassthapoint? My only advice, is to use a bundt pan to bake this bad-boy. The shape is conducive to keeping it moist. In a rectangular pan, the edges dry out a bit, and the center tends to fall. (shrugging shoulders)

Mayo Cake
2 Cups Flour
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
4 T Unsweetened Cocoa
2 t Baking Soda
1 1/2 Cup COLD Coffee
1 1/2 Cup Mayo
1 t Vanilla

Pre-Heat the oven to 350F.
Mix the first 4 ingredients together in a large bowl.
Make a well in the center and add the coffee and mayo.
Mix till just combined, then add vanilla.
Mix till smooth, then pour into bundt pan.
Bake for roughly 30 to 45 minutes, or just until a toothpick comes out clean.

TIPS: Don't Over Mix
Don't Over Bake
Try using different types of coffee. So far, I like Highlander Grogg the best.

"Suppose I accidentally got my shit together..."
- MC 900 Foot Jesus (If I Only Had A Brain)

"Your voice penetrates, so lovely, like good coffee..."
- Zimpala (To the Bass)

"You know you want it..."
- Ralph Fines (Strange Days)