Monday, August 31, 2009

Fond

If you've been reading the Philly dining blogs, perhaps you've heard of the restaurant Fond. The restaurant, at 1617 E Passyunk, opens to the public tonight, and is number 1 on my list of restaurants to try. The trio behind the restaurant is Jessie Prawluckie, Tory Keomanivong, and Lee Styer; I worked with the latter two at Lacroix, and it is for Lee's food which I am excited.

Lee is a tall, freckled, charismatic chef, always looking like he knows what he's doing and seemingly very capable of running a restaurant. Lee had worked at Lacroix a long time, coming there straight out of school (if I'm not mistaken; that's what I recall from talking to him) and working his way up to sous chef before leaving to work at Le-Bec Fin with Jessie. I speculate (though I could be wrong) that Lee left Lacroix because he started to become dissatisfied with the food. Having talked to him, Lee was really a hands-on cook. He loved the process of cooking and the gratifying effect of doing it yourself. He hated sous vide. He told me he would much rather say, braise than drop meat into a controlled water bath. I argued that sous vide gives you a consistent product every time. He lamented that there was no cooking in that, no skill involved. He worried what cooking would become if sous vide was all there was. Assuming he has maintained this philosophy, Fond will truly be Lee's food, nothing too fancy, nothing sous vide, no molecular gastronomy, just Lee's solid, great tasting food.

Tory, up until a few weeks ago, was a captain at Lacroix. He was honestly my favorite server. Throughout my time at Lacroix there have been a good amount of servers who have kinda looked down on me, not taking me seriously and not being particularly polite to me. Tory has always been quite the opposite, and I'm sure his hospitality will be ever-present at Fond. Glancing at the menu now, I can't find a dish that I wouldn't order. Can't wait to go.

P.S. Lee's the chef I wrote about in this post.

Friday, August 28, 2009

School Paper

This year (my junior year in high school) I will have a column in my school's monthly newspaper. I'm really excited and kind of nervous at the same. I expect that this will be a totally different experience from blogging. The biggest difference I predict, will be my audience. Unlike here, where I write to mostly people who are very interested in food, I will be writing to people who know little more than Chipotle Burritos and Coldstone Ice cream (yes that's an understatement).


One of the reasons however, that it's so awesome to love food, is that it's something with which everyone can relate. Sure I'm not going to get in a conversation with my friends about French Mountain Cheeses, but I'll most definitely talk with them about the joys of a good apple pie. Everyone likes food, and everyone needs to eat, and that is what brings the two groups together. It's not just pretentious, know-it-all kids like me who can appreciate good food, anyone has that ability.

(Could I convince kids to make this?)

That said, I'm not really sure where I wanna go with this. I've already started writing my first article (it talks about the school's dependence on the cafeteria cookies, and encourages kids to make their own, giving them a few principles for a superior cookie) but I'm not really sure where I wanna go from there. Should it be a column where I try to make daunting foods more accessible to high school students (maybe like pizza or homemade pasta)? Should I review restaurants? Should I try to instill a love for charcuterie in my peers, or would that fail miserably? Should I talk about food in general and would anyone really care about that? What would you write about if you had your own column in a paper? Shoot me an e-mail at foodieatfifteen.blogspot.com and let me know!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Homemade break n bake


I made a large large batch of cookie dough, then scooped out individual portions and froze them, then vaccuum sealed them in bags of 15. I just leave the bags in the freezer until I want some cookies. I bake at 350 for 16 minutes and I have delicious chocolate chip cookies.


Make em with my recipe.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The #1 reason to make your own chicken stock...

May be because you can reduce it down to this, a thick gelatinous chicken jus that tastes delicious on any meat. I would even eat this with asparagus. You just can't get this from reducing canned stock, which doesn't have the necessary gelatin.
To make this I simply took about two cups of frozen chicken stock and boiled it down. When I made my stock a few months ago, I roasted the bones for a long time, and really browned them up well, therefore making the stock really rich and hearty. If you didn't do this but still want a rich chicken jus, roast some chicken bones, deglaze the pan by throwing in some mirepoix, browning those veggies, and then deglazing that with the stock and cooking the liquid down till its real nice and thick.

Check out the awesome shirt

Spicy Cashews


I like a good salty, but not unhealthy snack that I can munch on frequently. Though my favorite snack, cheese, doesn't necessarily fit this category, my 2nd favorite, nuts, do.


I eat nuts and nut butters all the time, buying raw and preparing my own whenever possible. The pre-spiced varieties always have corn syrup and sugar and other stuff which I don't care for on my nuts.


My favorite nuts may be pecans, but my favorite nuts to "spice up" are cashews. I toss raw cashews with a lil oil, toss them with salt, roast them at 325 for 10 minutes, then toss them with some spicy chili powder. Now there's a snack that's much healthier than all that overprocessed junk, yet still satisfyingly salty and crunch.

Monday, August 17, 2009

AOL Kid Chefs

Goodness gracious I just keep getting lucky with this awesome press. Check me out on AOL food.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Nutella, Nilla Wafer, Dulce De Leche Cheesecake

Doesn't sound too bad does it? I am infatuated with cheesecake. I crave it constantly. When I feel like dessert, I feel like cheesecake.

I recently tried a grocery store cheesecake at my buddy's house and was pretty disappointed. There was nothing really wrong with it, it just tasted funky. It didn't taste fresh. It tasted like a machine made it ( I have a 6th sense for that). I devoured it nonetheless- I couldn't help myself. All that creamy fat and sugar, I'm like a little kid around cheesecake, and I'm proud of it.

Deterred and disturbed by my recent run in with mediocrity, I determined for cheesecake greatness! My in-house supplies however were limited. I had some sour cream, some cream cheese, but no graham crackers or oreos for a crust though after a quick scan of my pantry, I found some nilla wafers. Now let's flash back for a minute.

About a week ago I had just finished my shift at Rita's water ice. The store policy is that you are allowed to take a certain-size-cup of anything (water ice, ice cream etc) home. Now Rita's has bizarre treat that they make called a Blendini. It's a combination of water ice, custard, and some type of cookies (nilla wafers, oreos, pretzels) that get's combined in a cup then blended together. It's really not something I myself would order, and I puke in my mouth whenever a customer orders something like raspberry-lemonade water ice, chocolate ice cream, and pretzels. Anyway, the point is that they carry nilla wafer pieces, which I one day used to fill my free cup, completely intending to make them into a cheesecake crust.


Flash Forward: So I had the cookies and the cream cheese but what else. I find that I almost always like cheesecake better when it's not just plain cheesecake. Plain cheesecake is still delicious, don't get me wrong, but there's gotta be some contrast to the cream cheese filling. With just cream cheese filling, your cake is like an arid desert. The simple addition of oreos, or raspberry swirls, creates an oasis in every bite.

So I delved further into the ghetto of my pantry and found some nutella! I checked the expiration date and found that I was good to go! I was just using the ingredients that I had and I wasn't sure if the filling would fill a pan. I therefore chose to bake the custard in muffins tins (something I later realized might not be smart; when the cake is divided into individual muffins, its much easier to gauge how much you've eaten, and feel guilty, than if you back the cake in one big pan). I realized that I didn't know how much melted butter to add to the nilla wafers, so I just sprinkled some in the bottom, and in an effort to spice up my cake even further, I drizzled dulce de leche on top of the nilla wafers. I topped this with the cream cheese-nutella filling then baked for about 25 minutes in a 275 degree oven (I prob should've used a water bath. whatever).


Another benefit of baking the cheesecake in muffin tins is that the fillings cools a lot faster, thereby reducing drool time (or is that just me) while the cake cools. Only one of the muffins is for me though, the rest are for a shipment of duck eggs!