I recently read a blog post by a chef who said that spring's finest ingredients are like "crack" to a chef. There are certain things that only flourish for a mere 3 weeks to two months this time of year. Morel mushrooms and ramps (wild onions) are two of these things. What he meant by "crack" is that chefs will do anything to get their hands on these products while they are in the peak season including jeporadizing their job just to order them. Fortunately I am very lucky to work for a chef/ owner that shares the same passion for these ingredients as I do.
A look at some beautiful heirloom tomatoes we recieved from our friend Kent Perkle today! Kent owns a farm in Donna, TX which is right outside of Austin. The best part is that these tomatoes were picked off the vine yesterday. And Kent knows how to take care of these beauties, they come individually wrapped in paper and stacked in layers of shredded paper. It's things like this that get cooks excited, to open a box and see the care that farmer has put into his product.
We did this dish for an Abita Beer Dinner. Abita is based out of New Orleans so I thought it would be cool to re-do a New Orleans classic. The brown sauce on the bottom is a gumbo that was then strained into a very nice smooth sauce. On top of that there is a micro brunoise of Okra and the holy Trinity along with grilled shrimp and andouille. On top of the fish is the seeds from the okra pods that were marinated in tabasco for 2 days.
This is a component of our new duck confit dish, first we pop popcorn and then freeze it LN2. Once the popcorn is frozen we put it into the blender and pulverize until it is a coarse powder. Then to order we briefly cook it with chicken stock and lots of butter. Consistency of grits but flavor of buttered popcorn. Pretty cool!
I have always had trouble deciding what my favorite season to cook was. I mean I love when it changes from summer to fall and we are able to cook food that is bold and hearty. But on the other hand I love it equally as much when the weather changes from cold and rainy to sunny and warm. When spring comes some of my favorite ingredients come into season at full force. For instance my favorite fish = Halibut, starts to get really good around this time of year. It is so inspiring to have such beautiful fresh ingredients that you don't have to tamper with much. So as of today I am saying that I like spring more than fall, but ask me that again in October and I'm sure my opinion will have changed once again!!!
This dish was inspired by two chefs I look up to with the up most respect. Both Sean Brock and Rene Redzepi have a done a dish similar to this. This was for our wine dinner as well, its meant to look like vegetables still in the soil. Unfortunately I think this might have went over the heads of some of our guest tonight, but a beautiful dish nonetheless.
We did a wine dinner for Krupp Brothers tonight and the wine for the first course was called Black Bart's Bride. So I wanted to do a dish symbolic to a bride, keeping it mostly white and add some color of a few flowers. As a chef we are trained to produce dishes with lots of colors to contrast with different textures and flavors. It was cool to approach a dish in a totally different light and try to keep it all the same color.
I have been here at Bin 555 for about six months and I feel like I am starting to hit my stride. This dish is the newest edition to our menu. Showcasing this beautiful Japanese Hamachi. We serve it on a puck of ice that has herbs and pink peppercorns suspended in it.
We recieved our tank of Liquid Nitrogen this week, and what a week it has been. This is something that I wanted to get my hands on for long time. For those of you who are unaware of its perks it "boils" at -320 F so basically you can flash freeze anything in a matter of seconds. You ask why would you want to do that? You can turn things into powder, or break a raspberry into to individual pods or have a frozen crust around a creamy mousse or even make ice cream in 20 seconds. Since it arrived on Tuesday we have put just about everything imagiable into it just to see what happens, some results were good and others were just funny. It also makes me very happy to know that Bin 555 is the only restuarant in San Antonio that has one... Come in and check it out!!!!
Sorry for the lack of recent post as of late. I have no excuse. I started this blog a while back as a way to try and get my name as a chef out. After a while of posting all the time, the new wore off and I became a little lazy with it. However with the Christmas gift of a new camera I am back blogging again. And will make sure that I keep it up. All of these new post are from a Ravenswood Wine Dinner we held tonight, so the dishes and flavors might sound a little wierd to some but it was all about bringing out the dominate flavors in the wines. Hope you enjoy. Also should be getting our tank of liquid nitrogen this week so I'm sure I will have a lot of fun and interesting post dealing with that.