Silky Supreme Glory...

port cured foie gras from hudson valley
truffled apricot conserve, red wine jelly, micro arugula, cacao nibs,
pear-sweet cicely salad, syrah salt

same foie, large slice...added a swipe of mostarda puree, candied pecans to salad
pumpkin sponge dust, persimmons ravioli(sliced thin and filled with mostarda)

virtually sames above but a different twist to it
added a maple-bourbon vinaigrette to it

practially same but with addition of a frozen chocolate cube on top(pliable)
and a warm "pave" of chocolate-cacao nib-hazelnut french toast
aka..pain perdu

Isn't that what it is? A smooth, silkiness that is practically irresistible to us foodies that truly are? Enter Foie Gras...known as simply foie to the cooks in the hood...a rich, devilish, yet heavenly foodstuff that can and does bring us to a state of nirvana when done properly! We will not get into the controversy bullshit here as I do not care to try and banter back and forth about its inhumane practice with those that are wearing a leather jacket, shoes, lipstick, fur coats, nikes or some other fashionable trendy wear made from some sweatshop in god knows where and all the while eating domestic chickens raised(if you can call it that) in the grossest of domiciles one can fathom. So no, we will not go there. My hats off though to those that truly support humain and sustainable practices and truly stay on course. We all need something to believe in. But this is about the foie and the ingredients that I have paired with it and how it was prepared and presented at various times. This takes place in a week. We have taken the same ingredient and presented it differently just to show the evolution of thought. I have prepared foie many times in various uber-cool ways and just about loved every idea that has become of it. It is not about them, but here and now. Just a thought really about what one can do with ingredients and perhaps how to look at the dish differently to create almost an entirely different outcome and reaction from your guests. Hope you enjoy as much as I did when creating it...


The Last Course...

Claudia Flemming phrased it best in her wonderful book about pastry...the final dish of "sumthin sweet". The dessert. Here is the tasting of the previous post of a journey of taste...
pearl jasmine cremeaux, honey poached quince/jus
pumpkin sponge/pears/pumpkin parisienne/prune-armagnac ice cream
bittersweet chocolate "molten cake" a'la taza/raspberry truffle
lemon verbena ice cream/vanilla langue du chat

Journey of Taste...

aka...tasting menu of the moment. We had several unique tables of late honoring us with the grand menu selection whereas...in fact, there is no menu. The ideas are crafted a few hours prior to their arrival and then orchestrated and presented right as they are watching and as it is being envisioned by what I am thinking at the moment. Sometimes, the dishes are a spin off of something we have just created, or an entirely new direction altogether. Sometimes it is about an ingredient and how we can show different uses of them, or a technique using multiple partners. Procure...contemplate...arousal...exploration...execute...
refine...redefine...move forward. That is a basic outline of the process of the creation, or our works within the atelier. Here is our story...

maine lobster/mango/american sturgeon caviar/chervil
yuzu-champagne sabayon

house cured prosciutto/quince "ravioli"/mostarda/micro arugula/
30 yr. balsamic condiment

atlantic fluke crudo/spicy avocado/citrus/chili threads/togarashi/bergamot

port cured foie gras/apricot conserve/bitter chocolate-hazelnut "pain perdue"
pear-pecan-parsley salad/frozen chocolate cube

hawaiian ahi tuna/crispy veal sweetbreads/butternut squash galette
black trumpet/baby cauliflower/marcona almonds

new zealand tai snapper/champagne braised matsutake mushrooms
squash-bacon-brussel sprout composure/leek pancake
sous vide fennel/cider jus

"bouchee revigorant"
poached buddah's hand/fennel/shiso granite/natural nectar

spice crusted muscovy duck/gingerbread potatoes/pink lady turnips
hedgehog mushrooms/braised hubbard/pomegranate paint/huckleberry essence

"degustation du fromage"...

rembrandt gouda/walnuts/pear-reisling gelee
brebirousse d'argental "brulee"/poached quince
quillisascut crottin

robiola tre latte/mosto cotto/almonds

manchego curado/green olive jam

moncenisio bleu/truffle honey

spanish olive oil chocolates/pb& j macaroon sands/douglas fir caramels


Different Shades of Grey...

port cured foie gras (version 2)...
red wine gelee, micro arugula, apricot conserve, cacao nibs, apple-cicely salad
As we venture into the dreary days of late autumn, with snow on the ground and occasional dark clouds in the sky, it abruptly reminds me that we are in the thralls of the coldest part of the year...winter. It is a time that we need to dig deeper and deeper for something to cook, and yet at the same time, it is right at our fingertips...or so it would seem. To dig deeper, really only implies to a chef that we need to search for a more deeper and meaningful dish, one full of flavor and soul...full of sensuous body and personality and one that says to that special someone who the dish is placed before..."I am giving of myself to you". A little corny perhaps, but in all honestly, that is what we do as chefs...give of ourselves so that someone else can enjoy something up close and personal. What a noble concept. I have always tried to be humble and noble. I let my food speak for me in what ever language one will care to receive it, so long as it is good...otherwise if it is not, the only digging I do will be my own grave! So it is herewithin that I speak, during these dark and solemn days, that the grey we see, whether on one side of the fence or the other, is not necessarily better or worse...just a different shade. Hope you enjoy this spectrum of what I am seeing currently...
seared hawaiian yellowfin tuna
leek pancake, crispy sweetbreads, black trumpet mushrooms, carrot angel hair
garlic-pedro ximenez jus
georgia sweet shrimp salad
truffles, fingerlings, arugula, house prosciutto, beet-walnut composure
squash brown butter dressing
squash brown butter poached georgian sweet shrimp (version 2)
warm fingerling potatoes, truffles, guanciale, sweet cicely, maple-bourbon dressing


Single Malt Please...

Those were the words of the evening...the soiree if you will. Enter SMSWS...the Single Malt Scotch Whiskey Society of America. They were with us celebrating a huge gathering last week and to kick off the throwdown...they hosted a special dinner for mucky-mucks of Glennmorangie. It was to be a VIP-only tasting dinner for the makers, aficionados and friends of this fine Single Malt variety of the brew honoring those who would be promoting it. We were charged with pairing our hand-crafted cuisine to the delicately distilled and carefully aged spirits. Now I do not partake in the consumption of the libation mind you...no, gave that shit up a long time ago. Better for everyone on this planet, believe you me. But I can appreciate, respect and become inspired to cook with it. How can I do that you may ask, well...I just am fortunate to be able to envision the flavor pairings and allow myself to get into a zone and proceed from there. Just lucky and honored really. Here is what went down...

Duck Confit & Pumpkin Salad
Mostarda, Aged Moncenisio Bleu, Walnuts, Micro Arugula
and a Maple-Bourbon Vinaigrette

Pan Roasted Diver Sea Scallop
Date-Squash Puree, Shallot Confit, House Cured Bacon, Hazelnuts
Pomegranate Paint and Butterscotch Caramel

Painted Hills Beef Short Rib Sous Vide
Red Onion Marmalade, Anson Mills Polenta, Caramelized Garlic
Chanterelle-Rutabaga "Salpicon"

Chestnut-Chocolate "Torte"
Flourless Chocolate Gateaux, Chestnut Mousse, Spice Ganache
Braised Apples, Amaretti, Cider Reduction and Chocolate Pearls


Fall, a Current Affair...

pumpkin flan and blis maple "brulee"
moncenisio bleu roulade, parsley-compressed apple-walnut salad
vidal vinaigrette

jasmine pot de creme, quince, camembert-pumpkin tartine brulee
chocolate-ginger whoopie pie, pumpkin-praline ice cream, persimmons & pears
salted caramel and dove bar stix, maple ice cream, pear sorbet

kashmiri garam masala crusted loin of lamb
yogurt-eucalyptus honey swipe, fennel sous vide, eggplant agro dolce
tunisian cous cous with matsutakes, rosemary oil

alaskan halibut a'la plancha
slow braised pork belly, apple-radish salad, brussel sprout-squash composure
leek pancake, chili threads and a cider essence

yellowbuck camembert tartine "brulee"
pumpkin sponge, autumnal fruits, red wine sorbet, marinated figs, caramel anglaise

bouchee revigorant a'la vin rouge...
malbec macerated figs, black pepper, pinot noir gelee, sorbet bacchus

seared diver scallop
creamy parsnips, spinach puree, truffles, house cured guanciale
pedro ximenez reduction

I am having an affair. I don't deny it, don't regret it. If I had to do it again, I wouldn't change a thing, except that I would learn from my mistakes and try to be a better person. This affair is one that I have embraced before, many a times. It is one I do not have the will power to ignore or refrain from having. And... it is with one of the most sexiest beings around that I call fall cooking! It is one I am truly addicted to and can not stop courting and caressing no matter which other time of year I am "dating" at the time of my "re-introduction" to this very beautiful and seductive entity. I have been seduced well before the end of summer, but I give the respect that is due to the warmth and brightness of the moment. At times, I do not even want to see a winter squash or brussel sprout even though they are popping up around us. Hell...we are in the midst of heirloom tomatoes, corn, melons, berries, stonefruits, beans and the like...all "fruits of the moment" to that which we call summer. "Let me enjoy this" I cry, as the lust for the heat of August and September cooking is fueled by passion. But as we forge ahead, we must submit to the reality, and a great reality it is for me, that the bounty of fall is here and with all the greatness and love that comes with it in all of its glory. As I become "unfaithful" to the last lingering ingredients of the Indian Summer, we pave the way for the new and what has been bestowed upon us by this beautiful time of year which we know as Autumn...enjoy the affair

Pomegranate Glazed Sous Vide Cooked Turkey Breast

parsnip puree, brussel sprouts, walnuts, bacon, semolina gnocchi,

tasso spiced butternut


My Fallen Thoughts...

Fall...such a great time of year to cook, to be sensual, to take comfort in the simple pleasures of the hearty and savory ingredients. It is such a wonderful thing. It is one of, if not THE most favorite time of year from me to cook. I just truly enjoy the warmth and sexiness of it all. This post is just to get you all in the mood thinking about what it is and what can become of it if you put your mind to it, put some soul and love into your dishes and cooking and give from your heart to those that are accepting. Hope this thought and contemplation of ideas inspires you to go cook...

Red Kuri Squash...roasted, tasso spiced, confit with duck fat, maple glazed, ice cream
Chanterelles...sauteed, tapenade, ravioli, soup, "cappuccino", with gnocchi, strudel
Pumpkin...brown sugar basted, agnolotti filling, bisque, pie, ice cream with praline, jus
Radishes...cider pickled, compressed, yuzu & ginger braised, salad with apple, slaw
Wild Sea Bass...pan roasted, sous vide, fennel pollen crusted, honey lacquered, smoked
Bison...braised in syrah, grilled & smothered in garlic, cardamom crusted, basted in chocolate
Gingerbread...ice cream, streusel for foie gras, stuffed with smoked salmon, soup garnish
Crosnes(chinese artichokes)...braised in garlic broth, roasted, brown butter poached, with wild mushrooms
Oca...sauteed with hazelnuts, roasted pheasant stuffing, scallops, argan oil emulsion
Black Trumpet Mushrooms...grilled, grilled cheese, truffle and, cauliflower ragout, pumpkin gnocchi
Wild Turkey...cider basted, walnuts, with chestnuts, garlic, pear and pecan marinated, sous vide
Hedgehog Mushrooms...tart, potato-hedgehog-goat cheese omelet, warm salad, on baguette
Quinoa...fritter with bacon, cracker, granola with dried fruits, with parsnip puree & pumpkin seeds
Parsnips...caramelized, braised, puree with apples, jam, cake, ice cream with almonds
Persimmons...compressed with vidal syrup, with goat cheese, smoked pecans and, coulis
Quince...honey poached, tatin style tart, quick bread, relish for foie gras, peppered
Pomegranate...and black pepper syrup, dried anardana broth, glaze for salmon, spiced vinaigrette
Popcorn...smoked, spicy popped and salted, cider caramel glazed, truffled, smoke paprika with

the list can go on and on...this is just a little tease to get you goin!