Sweet, Sweet 16...

Every now and again, I am blessed with the amazing opportunity to cook for a very serious foodie, passionate cook and friend. Enter Hodge. I am truly inspired and driven to cook new things for him and his guests every time he dines with us. It is where I dig deep to find my heart and soul as a chef and to bring forth thoughts and ideas on foods and flavors that move me. What is so amazing is that he digs it. I am sure there have been dishes that didn't do it for him, but that is truly part of the process. In fact, truth be told, it is he that was instrumental in birth of the chefs table...he was the first to dine with us there. The menus have went to one side of the universe to the other with him and everything in between. It is diners such as him that makes a chef rekindle and relive his or her passions about food and cooking. We need these types of diners. Here is the latest 16 course menu we cooked for him...
spicy sriracha popcorn

house culatello, mostarda, brioche, 30 year balsamic

lobster salad, avocado, pomelo, sturgeon caviar, spicy yogurt lozenge
micro greens, yuzu gel

sweetbread-rabbit confit terrine en gelee, celery, walnuts, compressed
hidden rose apples, crispy shallots, veal emulsion, banyuls dressing

seared foie gras, beet paint, satsumas, gingerbread, coconut gel, coconut rappe,
macadamia nuts, pineapple, saba, ras el hanout, pennyroyal

demi turnips, guanciale, truffles, truffle nage, oca, crispy potato

Buddha's hand, fennel, black sesame, citrus gel, finger limes, orange tea ice

rabbit loin salad, maple gel, figs, pumpkin seed granola, arugula
maple-bourbon vinaigrette

seared scallop, matsutake, Brussels, almonds, celery root puree, smoked char roe
brown butter powder, nasturtium sauce

house bresaola wrapped monkfish, lentils, black trumpet mushrooms
truffles, baby rutabaga, pedro ximenez-foie gras sauce

green grapes, champagne-tarragon sorbet, verjus soda

wild grouse sous vide, cauliflower mushrooms, cauliflower, vadouvan,
pomegranate-smoked pecan salad, golden raisin sauce

American bison loin, chanterelles, onion sponge, crosnes, chocolate soil
blackberry-valrhona sauce

pave cardinal chevre, apricot conserve, red wine-fig pates de fruits, chestnut croustillant
hazelnuts, fig coulis

tasting of chocolate
dark chocolate-banana pave, persimmons, cinnamon ice cream
chocolate-peanut butter bar, bananas, dulce de leche ice cream, cocoa crumble
milk chocolate-foie gras bon bon, quince, quince sorbet

spice macaron, pumpkin jellies, jasmine chocolates, dove stix, caramels


Chef Jean Banchet...

Chef Jean Banchet...RIP
A tribute to the late, great French Chef Jean Banchet from Chicago. His famous and notable restaurant in Wheeling, Illinois, garnered him many an accolade. I was fortunate to have met him and cook for him back in the early 90's while manning the stoves at a local french place here in Seattle called Rover's, now defunct. It was definitely an inspiration to meet such a great well known chef and then be able to cook for him. We poured on the fuel and pulled out all the stops for him that night. What an amazing meal and experience. Then, to have chef Banchet walk back into the kitchen and not only shake our hands and say "thank you" and "great meal", but stand there for the rest of the night and talk food, talk shop, ask questions about what we were doing, inquire as to how we made a certain sauce or fish preparation as if he was truly interested was freakin cool to say the least for a young up and coming chef. I had read about him and studied his cooking for a handful of years prior so that was a great honor to have that opportunity to cook for him and give of myself. I will always remember that moment in my career as being a fortunate encounter. God bless and carry on chef.


Taste of Bordeaux...

maine lobster, avocado, pomelo, sturgeon caviar
yuzu-champagne-elderflower sabayon

We have been asked to put together a tasting menu for a group of gourmands who are all about Bordeaux. This is to be a small intimate group who will be tasting and sipping vintage Bordeaux wines along with some cool groceries I put together for them. Sounds like a tough task for them to endure right??? Here is the dry run. Being that I do not indulge in the fine art of wines and spirits, I was able to have tasting notes articulated to me and from there, I was off and running. Whenever we do tasting menus or wine pairings without the ability to taste ahead, there is always a chance that the profile of the wines might steer in the opposite direction to that of the food and visa versa. It happens. In this case, the only real flavor fighting was that of the quince and the sauternes. No worries...enter persimmons! Usually though, we are pretty spot on. Even though I do not drink myself, the people around me on my team have tasted many a wine and they know my food and my palate therefor, we get headed in the right direction. Good food, prepared properly and with excellent technique and a very sharp awareness and attention to taste, flavor and seasoning, is hard to go wrong.
veal sweetbread & rabbit confit terrine en gelee
truffles, celery-walnut salad, roasted onion sponge, potato croustillant. cider emulsion, banyuls
compressed apples, celery leaves

compressed green grapes, satsuma, pumpkin-apple gelee
cremant-tarragon sorbet

pepper crusted american bison loin, red wine braised crosnes, baby turnips
chanterelles, cauliflower mushrooms and matsutake
butternut "landaise"(bacon, pine nut, garlic, tomato), blackberry-varhona manjari sauce

chabichou du poitou, truffled apricot conserve, micro arugula, chestnut crisp
bordeaux-fig pates de fruits, fig coulis, hazelnut crumble

d'anjou pear-almond charlotte, chocolate-foie gras bon bon, poached quince
quince sorbet, gingerbread dust, caramel crisp, pear-armagnac caramel


Eight Years & Counting...

foie gras-apple-quince terrine, compressed apple-celery salad, walnuts
watermelon radish, brioche, apricot-truffle conserve, gingerbread crème fraiche
late harvest sauvignon blanc dressing

Seems like only yesterday that I heard something about a "blog" (aka web log) and asked myself; "what the hell is that". A close friend and colleague of mine turned me onto one developed and written by one of our former pastry cooks launched as phatduck.com..."taking in pastry, one dessert at a time". I was hooked. I looked into the realm of the web abyss and instantly created my own. cuisinierskitchen was a name I had thought about years prior with the idea of launching a retail line of goods, specialty ingredients etc. out of a restaurant kitchen. This site does not have all the bells and whistles that others have as I simply do not have the time to spend on it and really, I just like to write, post photos and create food and provoke thought for others to contemplate, learn, get inspired and maybe remember. I enjoy seeing the photos of my food, ideas transformed into creations, thoughts put to the plate and concepts pondered. A lot of it is also emotion and heart. Experience and travel. Fun and angst. Spirit and spunk. It holds the music that drives me and inspires, and everything else about my life, my soul and my mind, all stirred into one big pot of fond du jour. So, it is with this post that I pay tribute to my little cuisinierskitchen site...until the next time...cheers and raise a glass!
pan roasted sea scallop, matsutake mushroom, fennel sous vide, yuzu gel
pennyroyal, pear-shallot nage

rabbit loin salad, chanterelles, pumpkin seed-oat granola, beets
vadouvan yogurt, arugula, cacao nib-saba dressing

sautéed atlantic fluke, baby turnips, butternut agnolotti, butternut squash, crisp shallots
nasturtium leaf sauce 

buddah's hand citrus, asian pear, black sesame, orange gelee
orange-tea ice

scottish grouse breast, grilled a'la plancha, cauliflower mushrooms, red wine braised crosnes
caramelized baby rutabaga, polenta, pickled elderberry sauce

slow cooked american bison loin, celery root puree, honey glazed cipolline onions
parsnip jam, smoked salsify, maple-bourbon vinegar reduction

steamed pumpkin pudding, plums, fennel gelato, spiced mousse
pecan pie, cinnamon ice cream, pears, chocolate pot de crème, salted caramel ice cream
pink peppercorn-fennel marshmallow
valrhona chocolate pave, persimmons, chai sorbet, pop rock wafer


Cold November Reign...

Not so cold really. Actually quite the opposite right now in the NW. It has been nice. Some sun, some great and amazing sunsets, not cold, sometimes a bit wet, but as the song goes...nothing lasts for ever. The ingredients and cooking have been nothing short of inspiring, spiritual and fulfilling. Autumn kicks ass! When asked about my favorite season, I always hesitate as I ponder my thoughts...hmmm I wonder, summer is great for sure, spring is awesome, winter sucks but fall...oh the fall. I think I really love the fall cooking the best. So, without further adieu, I submit to you my crafted creations in which to come to your own conclusions and summations of its worth. Cheers. I'll just keep on walking...
foie gras terrine en gelee, apple, quince, compressed apple salad, walnuts
watermelon radishes, beets, truffled apricot conserve, viognier dressing

seared corvina bass, butternut agnolotti, pumpkin, smoked pear-pancetta compote
pumpkin seed-oat granola, chanterelles, corn , truffles

pan roasted sea scallop, sous vide grouse, matsutake, Brussels sprouts, sunchoke puree
curried cauliflower, hazelnuts, baby carrots, cider vinegar sauce

spice crusted duck breast, cauliflower mushrooms, red wine braised crosnes, parsnip cake
parsnip jam, pickled berry-smoked chocolate sauce, confit-onion-raisin gratin

inverted pecan pie, steamed pumpkin pudding, apple jam, gingerbread mousse, cinnamon ice cream
chocolate pot de crème, pears, chai sorbet, pine nut crisp, pink peppercorn marshmallow
chocolate-praline pave, cherries, fennel gelato

ginger macaron, spiced cider pates de fruits, jasmine chocolates, dove stix, salted caramels


Light of Day...

Day in...day out, we see the beauty in front of our eyes and still we do not always stop to enjoy it, much less even realize it. The beauty of life and all that is living is captivating. A reflection of how the world turns in, out and around our lives, how it can and does affect us is nothing short of amazing. Sometimes alarming and utterly disturbing and sometimes without prejudice and provocation... yet at others, it is quite the opposite. As I reflect back on myself and my own life, I am enamored and amazed at the way things have presented itself to me. From emerging from and rising above drugs and alcoholism, to coping with the death of most my family, to struggling though divorce to the ongoing pressures of life...still, to me, life is a good thing. I am truly blessed with those close in my life. I have seen good and I have seen bad. The good and happy far outweigh the sad on any given day in the life. Food has been my passion for years. Family has been my foundation. Seeking a positive future and moving forward with happiness is now my focus. I feel fortunate to have made it this far and I look forward to the next half of my life ahead with those who are important and special to me. With the news of the passing of one of our country's best chefs; Charlie Trotter, who has inspired me throughout the years as a perfectionist, has been an integral part of the development and movement forward in American regional cooking and was a visionary and leader within our industry paving the way in excellence, style, leadership, and service, I step back to ponder what is really important. I step back and think about how thankful I am for all that I have done, all that I have learned, for all whom I've met, and all that I am yet to be. I feel fortunate that I can dream...dream of what I can experience as I wander on in life, which in reality, is such a short road. With each day that passes, I look ahead with happiness and positivity from sunrise to sunset and with much anticipation for all that is good to come. I thank the powers that be looking over me from above for being that light that guides me forward.


Luscious Labor of Love...

Foie Gras...love it, gotta have it, enjoy working with it. In any a time of year, it shines through the dish and presents it's most inner beauty. Whether it be seared, roasted, poached, grilled, en terrine or torchon, in a mousse or dessert, it is an ingredient that has earned it's recognition of luxury. I have cooked many different styles and dishes and preparations and presentations. Sometimes, a simple approach is best...you decide...
seared foie gras
wild huckleberries
cassis braised red grapes
hazlenuts and crushed macarons
honey and spice...
pure pleasure and ecstasy...


eye candy 10.30.13...

A handful of tastes, passions, addictions and desires in food and cooking. Fun night. Cooking can be so amazing and usually always is. Especially if your heart is in it. For some, it is not. For others it is merely a job, a paycheck and means to an end or worse...a fall back. Do what you love, do it well, dig in and hold on. As someone once said...if you don't like what you are doing, change it!

torched filet of wester ross salmon "crudo", heart of palm, red plums, daikon sprouts
watermelon radishes, compressed cucumbers, spiced yogurt and beet paint

seared scallop, butternut squash agnolotti, porcini mushrooms, apples
pumpkin seed granola, pumpkin and truffles

scottish grouse sous vide, foie gras, sunchoke puree, walnuts
brussel sprout-matsutake mushroom hash, walnut powder, huckleberries

syrah braised beef short rib, crosnes, cauliflower mushrooms, saffron milky caps
persimmons relish, carrot puree, smoked chocolate essence

lemon posset, caramel wafer, fennel-white chocolate napoleon, fennel gelato
pumpkin-chocolate cookie sandwich, banana, cinnamon ice cream
poached quince, pears, pumpkin semi freddo, pear sorbet
valrhona chocolate pave, caramelized citrus gelee, pistachio crust, salted caramel ice cream


Fall Lunch Menu...

a few dishes we have put together for our fall ala carte lunch menu line up...fun, simple, tasty and delicious.
organic beet salad, persimmons, pepitas-oat granola, spicy yogurt, beet paint
arugula, cider vinaigrette

mixed wild farmer greens, goat cheese coulis, gingersnap crumble,
candied walnuts, wild huckleberry vinaigrette

three way beef patty(brisket, chuck, short rib), beechers pepper cheese
crispy spicy onion rings, bbq braised brisket, black garlic aioli, brioche bun

seared albacore tuna, yuzu yogurt, arugula, cucumber "spaghetti", papaya
daikon radish sprouts, grated coconut, macadamia nuts, mango-tomato vinaigrette

hand cut roasted tomato tagliatelle, house chorizo, clams, parsley
garlic, lemon panzanella

porcini crusted slow cooked chicken, pumpkin risotto, wild mushrooms
brussel sprout leaves, pumpkin, crosnes, sherry-shallot jus 

coriander crusted flank steak, celery root puree, duck fat fried fingerling potatoes
harissa roasted baby carrots & fennel, saba-cacao nib dressing