Aquaponics Video

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Send a Six-Pack to the Kitchen

Kitchens are hot, sometimes hitting 130 degrees or higher. There are very few cooks who wouldn't struggle through the heat, chaotic atmosphere and madness for the ice cold adult beverage at the end of the shift. It is a known fact that cooks and chefs are a different breed. After all is said and done, being able to poke fun at your co-workers, and sometimes even yourself, for the mundane mishaps and everyday hurdles we faced in the hours leading up to this laid back B.S. session is what its all about. You may be at wits end with the guy next to you on the line all night, but when its time to leave, you know that guy is going to raise his glass and toast to a killer dinner service. There is nothing like that cold refreshing taste to ease the tension that may have built all night.

To get to my point, your kitchen crew works hard. They are behind the scenes running, burning themselves and working through it to get the best tasting and looking plates they can on your table without you knowing how much of a circus is really happening. By no means should you stop by the local liquor store before every meal, but the occasional Heineken for the kitchen crew shows them appreciation they rarely see.

The Publican in Chicago has taken this idea to the next level. The new "kitchen" category on their beer list contains only one item. That is a $10 charge that sends a 6-pack to the kitchen to show your appreciation to the cooks and chefs working hard behind all the lovely decor. They got the idea from the long-standing industry tradition, one in which diners would bring a case of beer to dinner as a token of gratitude to the kitchen.

Sometime when you are out to dinner, and you really feel like your kitchen crew did a spectacular job for you and you want to say thanks, now you know how.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sausage Stuffed Oyster Mushroom

With andouille and chorizo both calling my name I made the most rational decision I could. Use Both! I made a blend of chorizo, andouille, corn, scallion, paquillo peppers and garlic. After pulsing them in the food processor, I folded in some cream cheese. I then stuffed some nicely sauteed oyster mushrooms, topped them with manchego cheese, and baked them. They turned out nice, and were very well complimented by an andouille-BBQ aioli. Its that time of year again, and I just hope to see enough guests so that I am able to share this delicious starter with them.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Iron Chef Competition

Here is a dish that Lucas came up with during the 1 hour competition. The secret ingredient was fennel, and he did a nice job with it. Lucas caramelized the fennel which brought out a really nice sweet-licorice type flavor. He grilled some thinly sliced cuts of beef, roasted a couple grape tomatoes, and made a terrific mushroom cream sauce. A simple fennel top garnish was all it took to make the dish pop.
Both competitors today did a terrific job. Bruce and Lucas are both relatively inexperienced in the kitchen, so to see them do such a fantastic job (even under pressure) was really fun to see. This whole thing started when the business level dropped. I think both cooks learned a lot about their own abilities and creativity.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sopressata Stuffed with Port Braised Onions

For tonight's amuse I decided to use this sopressata sausage. Sopressate is an Itaian dry-cured sausage. Sopressata is a sausage that needs to be sliced nice and thin. I simply stuffed the rolled sopressata with port braised red onions. The sweet onion cuts the fattiness of the sausage nicely and the boursin cheese compliments them both nicely.