A Dinner for St. Valentine...

~Cupid's Amuse~
Aged Moncenesio Bleu, Mostarda Swipe, Toasted Hazelnuts, Pear Coulis
and Black Olive Brittle

I started off not really intending to write about our "menu from cupid" on Valentines day. As luck would have it, we were busy. I was busy. Life is busy. We snapped some photos...some off the cuff and not the best showing as these were the mock ups for the service staff and still had some kinks and quirks to smooth out, but you will get the gist. It always seems to be the case...after VD, we are still busy, things are happening and I do not get around in time to write about the experiences. Then, as with most holidays, it then seems out of place and "old news". But I recently read a blog about the fact that this particular holiday is somewhat dreaded by some chefs and cooks, for it is not always attended by the foodies, industry friends and media folks, but more so; the amateurs of dining, those that are coming out to dine to merely show off their bank accounts, clout(if any) and ability to schmooze a particular companion. While that may be the case in some places, any even most, should it stop us from trying to perfect our craft? Should it deter us from the passion of cooking? Should that change our minds for the food we cook and the style in which we cook it? And all for the sake of not wanting to "bother" since they are not serious "el bulli" diners. As chef's and restaurateurs, and professionals of the industry, we have an obligation to continually educate the public on what it is that we are doing, and to continually introduce new ingredients, styles, techniques and flavor combinations. Otherwise, we would still be back in the stone age. It is this forging ahead and being passionate about our food AND the serious commitment of making our guests happy that has enabled us to be where we are today with the food scene...regardless of where we practice it! I agree that it is not everbody's favorite holiday, whether to celebrate it or cook for it, but regardless of the day, this is an opportune time to get excited about food and cooking. I guess as I see it for for chefs and cooks, it sort of boils down to the need to make a decision for yourselves...if you don't like it, why do it? Try an office job! Enough banter...here is what we produced, and by the way, it was very well received and we had a great time preparing our craft for our clientele...no matter how inexperienced they might have been! Bottom line is that they enjoyed it and they will keep coming back!

~Igniting the Passion~

Hudson Valley Foie Gras Torchon "Pillow"

House Cured Duck Ham, Preserved Figs, Fig Jam, Fig Gelee

Quince Conserve, Dr. Pepper-Minus 8 Reduction

Silky & Seductive Seafood Bisque

Seared Diver Sea Scallop, Lemon Tapioca, Bloomsdale Spinach, Ginger

Micro Fennel and Mango "Caviar"

~Adding Some Warmth~

Coriander Rubbed Atlantic Monkfish

Sweet Lobster strewn Winter Vegetable Porridge, Prosciutto-Ricotta Gnocchi

Oxtail stuffed "Ravioli", Chive Emulsion and Micro Celery

~Hot, Ready and Waiting~

Smoked Loin of Natural Veal

Hedgehog Mushrooms, Creamy Dreamy Parsnip Puree, Lentil-Apple Pancake

and an Onion-Thyme Jus

(photo MIA...)

Cabernet & Spice Kissed "Painted Hills" Short Rib of Beef

Hot Date and Bacon Dauphine, Black Trumpet Mushrooms, Braised Cabbage

and a "Black Forest" Sauce


"Cupid's Share"

Warm Nibbles of Lemon Zeppole & Chilled Dark Chocolate "Bon Bons"

Love Potion Dipping Sauces and a Malted Milkshake


RC Jamon...

We have been processing, curing and aging prosciuttos for some time now. Some with good results, some are so so, some with utter extraordinary tastes and texture. I have narrowed it down to the humidity levels at a given time of year, the quality of the hogs and the time it has allowed to ferment, age and mature. Of late, we have changed course for a new heading in the art. Not deviating too much, yet enough navigation to make a difference and cause us to stand and take notice! I have dubbed this new style our own "Jamon", in the style and honor of the Spanish Serrano and Iberico hams. Simply phenomenol. Now I do not claim nor boast that mine is as good as those multiple century old traditional masterpices, yet, I am very proud and excited about the possibilities. The cure we have been working on and formulating is a smoked maple cure. After 1 month of curing and 9 months of aging, it still can take another 6 months or so, but the flavor and texture are awesome! We have several other cures working as well and I hope to be able to have significant results and differences to write about in the coming months. Here is a dish that we put together for a chef's table tasting...


A Winter Vegetable Menu...

Cooking with vegetables is something not every chef enjoys. I know this because I hear all to often..."oh shit, another damn vegetarian!" or..."why don't they go eat somewhere else"? I do not understand this way of thinking from any chef as vegetables are simply amazing. They help transform any a protein into something profound and unique. They give structure and sustanence. Body and boldness. Depth and personality. So why do we do not cook with more of the beauties from mother earth? Vegetables tend to make up more of the menu than their post-living counterparts. Here is a menu previously conjured up for a chef's table...

Avocado, Citrus, Lime, American Sturgeon Caviar, Yuzu-Champagne Sabayon
Truffled Ricotta Gnocchi, Crispy Potato Galette, Micro Celery, Curried Cauliflower Nage
Roasted Organic Beets, Roquefort, Endive, Pears, Wlanuts and Beet Emulsion
Creamy Farro Risotto, Caramelized Onions, Celery Root "Papardelle", Braised Portobellos, Crispy Shallots in a Onion-Goat Cheese-Walnut Broth
Fennel & Ginger "Cosmo", Persimmons-Lime Sorbet, Cranberry Soda
Wild Mushroom & Braised Onion "Cabbage Roll", Yellow Foot, Hedgehog and Black Trumpets, Caramelized Garlic, Sheep's Cheese, Carrot Polenta and Bloomsdale Spinach
Ratatouille & Creamed Leeks, Roasted Cauliflower, Meyer Lemon Oil, "Hummus" Nage and Fiorito Goat's Milk Cheese
Praline Chocolate, Preserved Figs, Espresso Ice Cream
Cappuccino "Semi Freddo", Linzer Wafer, Pumpkin Sponge, Orange Sorbet
Warm Apple "Cobbler", Caramel Sauce, Maple-Pecan Ice Cream
Almond Macaroons, Chocolate-Hazelnut "Sandwiches", Truffles of the Moment, Pates de Fruits
Alchemies~ Raspberry-Pear, Chocolate-Cherry Mint, Rhubarb-Vanilla Gin, Fig-Black Pepper Vodka, Plum Sake, Huckleberry Basil Eau de Vie, Pear-Licorice Brandy, Golden Beet Vodka, Blackberry-Lemon Verbena Vodka