Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Great Chef's Event

Held at Osteria in Philadelphia every year, this event brings together a slew of awesome chefs, mostly from Philadelphia, to benefit Alex's Lemonade Stand. Alex, by the way, went to my school.
Each chef has a station and gives out a small dish to the attendees. My favorite dish of the night was Michael Symon's pork belly and halloumi. List of chefs that attended can be found here.
Morimoto's citrus-cured hamachi. The fish was pristine; extremely fresh.
Michael Symon's pork belly with halloumi and pickled watermelon maybe? Best dish of the night in my opinion, but with anything containing pork belly, the objectivity of my opinion is in question.

A few chefs came all the way from Italy! They made this pasta with cured egg yolk.

Chef's from Arrows restaurant in Maine made this bbq'ed duck wrap.

Grilled tuna that I didn't try, cause it's well, grilled tuna.

Jose Garces carnitas tacos.

Jeff Michaud of Osteria's grilled rabbit sausage.

Michael Solmonov of Zahav's sweetbreads wrapped in bacon- highlight of the night.

Dibruno brothers' olive oil poached scallop. This was another highlight. The scallop was barely cooked and incredibly fresh.

Blue Hill's spring pea puree with yogurt. No Dan Barber was not there, I was disappointed.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Home-Cured Canadian Bacon

Pork Loin brined in salt, brown sugar, liquid smoke, peppercorns, and garlic for three days, then cooked sous vide at 150 for about 2 hours.

Yum, delicious, tender, succulent, great eaten cold on sandwiches, even better slightly rendered in a pan.

Yummy in an omelet with garlic scapes.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Asparagus Soup

Grilled Asparagus Soup served cold with chopped almonds and extra virgin olive oil.

I grilled asparagus then pureed it with my recently-made chicken stock, lemon juice and some garlic scapes (just cause I had them on hand).

I let the mixture cool then topped with chopped almonds and a drizzle of evoo.

The soup was kinda powerful. Next time I'll add a touch of honey for some sweetness and maybe a touch of cream, just for a little enrichment. The almonds were great in the soup.

Raspberry Curd

When making the raspberry tart in the previous post, I first thought that I would just cook down the raspberries into a thick jam-like concoction to put in a tart...

This didn't work. The mixture just became too watery, and there were so many seeds! I made the decision to pass the mixture through a strainer to remove the seeds, but what to do about the thickness of the mixture.

I decided that I would risk ruining the mixture by trying to make it into a curd. Would this work? I had no idea. I had never heard of raspberry curd. I picked out a lemon curd recipe, and found that with the lemon juice and melted butter and all, there was about the same amount of liquid as I had with the watery jam. The recipe used three yolks and three eggs to thicken this liquid, so I decided to try the same. I tempered the eggs, then cooked for a few minutes, and the mixture thickened beautifully! It came to the perfect texture, and now I had no seeds to worry about.

I let the curd cool, then spread it out onto some pie dough. I folded it up into a little package and baked for 45 minutes.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Raspberry picking

And for the pickers...

Thursday, June 18, 2009


It took me a long time to decide whether I wanted to write this post. I couldn’t decide if it would be too childish; whether it would be appropriate for the blog; whether I would be too embarrassed to allow people I know to see this. But I like my idea for this post. I like the message, and as I write it I’m realizing that this blog is a friend I’m becoming more and more comfortable with. That’s a good thing.

I’m unlike my friends in that I just don’t “get with” girls. I haven’t in quite a long time, and I won’t anytime soon. There have been opportunities, but I’m patient. I bide my time, not compromising my standards, and wait. It’s often not the cool thing to do, and it certainly doesn’t earn me respect amongst my friends, but I’m proud of that trait.

Just last night I decided that it was finally time to tell a girl that I’ve liked for quite a long time, that I liked her. This girl is “the restaurant that I’ve been saving up for.” Turns out the feeling wasn’t mutual.

I was definitely upset when I heard the news, but I look at the situation now and I’m happy. I’m happy that I waited around even though it didn’t work out. I’m happy I didn’t submit. There’s nothing wrong with that, and I will stay the same. Last night I went to the great chef’s event (which I will write more about later) which is a fundraiser held for Alex’s Lemonade Stand every year at a restaurant in Philadelphia, which brings together some incredible chefs who set up stations and each put out a small dish. I went from station to station, Colicchio to Benno to Vetri, and realized that these guys really aren’t too different than me. They would certainly not be where they are if they had compromised their standards. Though this is usually not the popular choice, this mindset is quite admirable, and ultimately, rewarding.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Lemon Basil Cookies

It was about 10 o' clock on a Friday night. The next day I would be taking the Chemistry SAT 2's and I had been advised by many to not "underestimate the power of a good night's sleep." Believe me, I knew that a good night's sleep would leave me feeling revived and rejuvenated by 8:00 the next morning when I would be taking the test, however I also knew that if I fell asleep with cookies in my tummy, I would have a great feeling of satiation that would carry over till morning when I took the test. This feeling would give me confidence, and put me in a good mood, no matter how I fared on the test. I was definitely making cookies.

I could've easily made my chocolate chip cookies and they would've hit the spot, but in my quest to better understand how flour, sugar and fat interact to form a cookie, I decided to try Ruhlman's 1 part sugar, 2 parts fat, and 3 parts flour ratio.

I infused basil with the butter, replaced some of the sugar with honey, and added basil chiffonade and lemon zest to the basic batter to form my cookies. I baked them for 20 and they came out great. The best part is that I can virtually do anything with the basic ratio to suit my fancy.

Oh and they definitely worked.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Chicken Stock

My culinary experiments are often a burden on my family. I take more than my fair share of fridge space, counter space, and most recently, freezer space. I've slowly but surely been building a collection of spare chicken bones in the freezer, and directly proportional to this accumulation is my dad's impatience.

I really can't blame him though. Whenever he returns from the grocery store with no place to put the ice cream, I feel a tinge of guilt, and so just last week I decided to unload my stock of bones and make stock.

OK now let's talk stock. Last time that I made chicken stock I only used carcasses. I did get a decent stock, but it really had no body. I wanted to make sure that this one had plenty of body. This wasn't going to be a problem because I had saved lots of uncooked chicken wings for this purpose. Last time I didn't roast the bones, and I got a light, more mild stock. This time I wanted a rich, deep, brown stock. I roasted the bones for about 2 hours at 400 degrees, rotating them a few times to really get them good and brown (my house smelled heavenly btw). I cooked the stock for somewhere around 8 hours at a bare simmer on the stovetop. I added vegetables and herbs during the last hour.

The stock really turned out great. I cooled it in an ice bath in the sink, then let it sit for a day before skimming the fat of the top. The stock underneath was deep brown, and gelatinous. It wasn't thick like jell-o, but it had a nice little jiggle to it.

I'm really happy I made this stock. I do more abstract things like sous vide often now, and making stock takes me back to the basics. It keeps me grounded, ensuring that I'm fundamentally sound. Lastly, it's rewarding. I value making a good stock far more than making good chocolate chip cookies, or baking a good cake. And when you've made a good one, it's a great feeling.
(The unappealing pictures were taken by me)


I'm liberated, I'm free, I've thrown off the restraints, and managed to thrust stress off of my shoulders. I'm in the clear.

I'm basically done with school (I've taken my SAT 2's, and all my finals but one that can't affect my grade), and I just got my license. I can post more now.


Due to some rather disrespectful comments, I will now moderate each one. I enjoy, and thrive off of constructive criticism, however blatant rudeness is unacceptable. I got this from some other blog, "don't say anything you wouldn't say to me at the dinner table." There we go. Thank you.

The good part about this is that I might actually respond to some comments now (sorry!).

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


This is what gets me excited- 24 lbs of strawberries from a nearby farm. The question becomes, how will I use them?

This is what I like to eat

Sous vide grilled chicken and grilled tatsoi, both from Lancaster, PA.

I've been buying chicken breasts in bulk (6 at a time) then sous viding them and chilling them. Whenever I want one, I simply crisp the skin on the grill and enjoy. It's really too easy.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Last Monday's shipment

Check the bottom of this post if you don't know what I'm talking about.

I ate the majority of the strawberries before taking the picture.

A birthday gift...

Saturday, June 6, 2009


Peanut butter almost always benefits from sweetness. Think about it, peanut butter banana, pb and j, and pb and fluff all have peanut butter matched with something sweet, and it's no coincidence. Sweetness perfectly cuts through rich, fatty peanut butter. I love peanut butter and honey, especially creamed, unprocessed honey with the pollen and all the good stuff in it. I like this not just because of the taste, but because the creamy texture is more compatible with peanut butter than a viscous liquid. Recently however, I've added an even more interesting condiment to my peanut butter sandwiches; honeycomb.

I thought the honeycomb would be crunchy, but it's really not. It's soft, and provides interesting texture, plus, I can sit and smile to myself as I see the other kids pull out sandwiches with skippy and smuckers.

Why are biscuits so goshdarn good?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Summer Plans

Until I have more time to post something substantial, I'll post my summer plans.

-Work at Rita's water ice.
This will pay for dining at nice restaurants, cooking equipment, part of my car-insurance (If I pass the test I'll have my license in a week), and really not much else. I'll save the bank account for later.

-Read More
There's so much to gain from reading, and I've found that I really enjoy it. I plan to read Heat, Omnivore's Dilemma, and anything else I can find in the Borders food section that catches my eye.

-SAT tutor
I just want to take the SAT's as early as possible then get them out of the way.

-Drive to the Beach
I doubt I'll go much, but I wanna take road trips to the beach with friends as often as possible.

-Grill and Chill
Whenever anyone asks me what I'm doing this summer, I tell them "grillin and chillin." I really overuse that phrase. Anyway, I wanna have some legitimately good barbeques. BBQ's with just burgers and dogs are rightfully a part of summer, but I wanna make mine more than that. I wanna cook pulled pork and brisket and duck.

-Update blog more
With all the grillin I'll be doing, and all the free time I'll have, I'll update more substantially and frequently. I hope.

-Watch the 20+ Good Eats episodes I've recorded but haven't been able to watch lately cause I've been doing so busy.

And that's my summer in a nutshell.