Posts Tagged ‘cuisine’

Food Trucks Converge on the Capital

Just a short note to say that those that don’t think Sacramento would support the food truck invasion take note: Last Saturday- two hour waits and trucks running out of food. Flashin’ back circa 1977- ‘Breaker one-9, peddles to the metal good buddy- looks like we got ourselves a convoy. Open the gates and let’em in. ‘Nuf’ said.

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More Michelin Stars in the Napa Valley- Chef Ken Frank of La Toque

Ken Frank took after his grandfather who was an inventor, avid cook, and an intensely curious individual. With every intention of going to medical school Ken fell back on his roots as his heart drew him to the kitchen and by his early twenties was already executive chef of an upscale French restaurant. Now with a Michelin star in the culinary epicenter of the Napa Valley Ken Frank  gave us the story of his trek


Another Michelin Star in Yountville

What does Yountville population circa 4000 have in common with NYC circa 10,000,000? The largest concentration per city block of Michelin stars anywhere in the country. This town of around 4000 is the culinary epicenter of the Napa Valley and boasts the only 3 star restaurant on the West Coast, The French Laundry. Right down the street is Yountville’s latest starred chef in Richard Reddington and his restaurant REDD. We were able to sit down together and he told me his story.

Salmon Tournedos- Pretty In Pink

I never buy meat or poultry from the market. Why should I when I have access to farm raised, breed specific meats and poultry at work at wholesale pricing? Seafood on the other hand is not as accessible as meat to me and I rely on a few markets in my area who have a good supply of fresh fish. The first is in my opinion the crème de la crème- OTO’s Japanese Marketplace. Everything is simply pristine. I purchased a piece of Sable fish there and it was some of the finest fish I had ever eaten.

I also rely on Nugget Market in Elk Grove,CA. It is close to my home, the service is always great, and the fish is not only of good quality but it has sustainability labeling allowing you to make an informed conscientious choice.

Shaun, the meat manager had some salmon steaks on special that were very fresh. Now I don’t usually go for steaks because I prefer a fillet but the price was right and they were cut perfectly for me to fillet out into one of my favorite preparations from back in my early culinary days- salmon tournedos.

 

I split the steaks into sides and filleted them. I cut a wedge in the back removing the bloodline and loosening the piece forming sort of a hinge for the belly section to wrap around the fatter part of the piece.

I rubbed them with basil puree and formed the salmon slices into tournedos and secured with tooth picks. Quick dusting with flour, seared in olive oil and allowed to rest in a warm oven.

 

salmon-tournedo-raw 

 

seared-salmon

 

I then took some bone dry cote de ventoux rose, a little chicken broth, shallots, and salmon scrap and reduced it down by ¾, strained out and finished with some good Irish butter.

 

cote-de-ventoux

 

wine-in-sauce-pan 

 

kerrygold

 

The cabbage I chose to accompany the dish was pan braised quickly with bacon and sweet peppers, and the potatoes were finish with cream cheese, chicken broth and a little half and half.

 

quick-braised-cabbage

 

Thus the dish had the pink hues from the salmon and rose’ buerre rouge with flavors that went very well together as you had the cruciferous smoky flavors of the braised cabbage. The slightly floral and tangy buerre rouge worked well to balance the rich salmon, and the creamy potato purée which added a depth was a good foil for the rest.

 

 

salmon

 

I hope Molly Ringwald won’t mind but my wife said, ‘I think this dish is pretty in pink.’ I think I agree.

 

 

An Inspired Moment With Agar

Well I received my latest blog subscription from Ideas In Food and saw Alex and Aki had an article in Popular Science magazine on agar agar, the hydrocolloid derived from seaweed. I was inspired.

 

I made a sheet of herbed broth that I served with pan seared hanger steak and canellini beans with smoky Berkshire bacon.

 

 

 

 

Here’s the recipe for the sheet:

 

1 cup   chicken stock

2 Tbl   minced fines herb

1 Tbl   powdered agar agar

1 tsp    locust bean gum

            Salt to taste

 

Whisk agar and locust bean gum into cold stock and bring to a simmer dissolving the gums, remove from heat and whisk in herbs, season.

 

Place plastic wrap on a sheet pan deep enough to accommodate broth to about 1/8 inch and pour in broth. Place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Herbed broth will set up enough to cut any size strips desired. (Note: although set sheet will still be tender so handle carefully.)

 

This agar bound sheet could not have been easier to put together and with a little practice hydrocolloids can become a comfortable staple in your kitchen. (and no, you won’t have to exchange your apron for a lab coat.)

Jeremy’s Pick- Brie de Nangis

A Brie fan I am, and like Dijon mustard, true Brie comes from well…Brie, that region of France known for this style of cheese. Brie is one of the oldest produced cheeses in the world. It is reported that Emporer Charlemagne enjoyed the stuff back around 800 C.E.- my the Gaul that man had.

This sample of Brie is from the Brie commune of Nangis and Jeremy told me this is quite reflective of the style that the French typically enjoy. Well, though not French I must be ‘French’ in a typical way because enjoy I did!

 

My tasting notes:

Aroma: slight ammonia with the traditional brie mold scent

 

Flavor: Buttery with a sharp brie finish and a hint of herbal bitterness.

 

A bit older and this cheese would have probably given off even more complexity but it was quite enjoyable none-the-less.

 

More facts about this cheese at 365 Cheeses

Jeremy’s Pick: Cowgirl Creamery’s Pierce Pt.

Jeremy’s pick for this week followed up on a pick that peeked a few weeks before so we won’t evaluate the triple cream that was overly ripe and needed to be re-evaluated. He suggested a Cowgirl Creamery Pierce Pt.

 

Here’s Cowgirl’s information:

PIERCE PT
Some of the best things in life are simply not available all the time. That’s the case with Cowgirl Creamery’s PIERCE PT, which is produced only in fall and winter. Made from organic whole milk from the Straus Family dairy, PIERCE PT is washed in a muscato wine and rolled in dried herbs from the Tomales Bay coastal region. The result is a delicious cheese – semi-firm yet creamy, complex yet never overpowering – that you’ll recall longingly when it’s out-of-season.

Here are my notes on this delectable seasonal cheese from California’s Point Reyes region:

Aroma
Sweet & herbaceous with a slight brie-like sharpness.

Flavor/Texture
Luxurious and buttery. I enjoyed eating rind and all. The herb goes nicely with the buttery ripe sides with a hint of ‘cheddariness’ in the center.

Well , I must say Jeremy nailed it again – no wonder he works in the cheese department. Go figure!

 

 

San Francisco Chronicle review of this cheese