Sunday, January 25, 2009

Back from New york

Its been a while since my last post and id love to say i just got back from vacation but ive actually been in the kitchen  cooking. New york was fun...., expensive, but fun. I went to a nice restaurant each day i was there. After spending a couple grand on food, my favorite meal was a grilled corn with chilli pepper, mayo and grated spanish cheese for $1.90 from a little take out place called Cafe habana. Go figure. 
Bar boulud was good. His Charcutier is a master at his craft. We had a lot of meat, but it was missing cold cuts. It was all baked terrines. Too much by the end of it. But it was worth it as i understand the skill and labour that has to go in to those. 
The best thing about our time off (we closed down for 18 days) was the fact that none of my cured meats got used up. It was refreshing to walk into the kitchen and see a whole shit load of cured meats ready to harvest, which means vac packing and making room for more meat. One thing i've learned over the last few months is that as soon as i get comfortable with my stock i have to keep on producing. Its difficult forecasting how much i'll go through in the future and something i'm still trying to juggle. As for updates, The bear salami turned out just how i had hoped. The balance of salt and pepper was just enough to flavour the meat but still showcase the gaminess of its flavor. I'm happy with it for sure, but like most chefs, the conception of an idea is the most exciting part and now im over it and looking for my next fix. I did an ostrich salami with red wine and thyme and it turned out great as well. Actually i think its my new favorite. For now. 
I'm looking forward to the stuffed lonzino which hopefully will be ready in a month as well as the pork liver salami. I brought in a box of lamb loins to cure up for bresoala after tasting some at a friends restaurant. I plan to tackle those tomorrow and because they are so small, it shouldn't be too long till they're ready. 
The new menu has been pretty exhausting. I've scrapped printed menu's and gone strictly black boards at the Hoof so i can change it as often as i want. 
This week we are serving up homemade cottechino, testina, cassoulet, and pickled octopus with chorizo. 
Next week im excited for a smoked ham hock dish thats been braised, pulled off the bone, pressed and then roasted and glazed with a piri piri spice and pimento paste glaze. That will be going on a salt cod risotto. I doubt it will bring in the local portuguese from the neighbourhood but i suspect it will be tasty. 
The blackboard menu has been a learning experience. Its given me the ability to try new things as they come and also really tells me about my customer base.  Its taught me that people dont come here for green salads and side dishes. I tried it and had lettuce rot in my fridge. I just thought with all that meat it would be nice to have a little greens to lighten things up. Apparently not. 
The newest hit is the black hoofs Tongue sandwich. A shit load of tongue in between  toasted brioche with gherkins, tarragon cream, purple mustard, and some pickled celery. Which by the way is my newest fascination. 
Out of all the pickles i've done, celery is now my new favorite. 
Try it. 

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