Category: dessert

Fire Cake

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Flaming piri piri marshmallow, candy coated chocolate mousse, honey caramel, candied cocoa nibs, dulce de leche crumb, pomegranate preserves.

This dessert captures the essence of the restaurant, more so than anything else I have created.  The concept of the restaurant is built around a wood burning kitchen that is open for the diners to see.  The kitchen is basically a wall of flames dancing in the backdrop of a delicious meal.  I wanted to bring a piece of that excitement to each table, I wanted to bring a slice of the action to each diner, I wanted the fire to be an integral part of the meal.

I am pretty happy with the outcome of this dish.  It is chocolate based but not too heavy.  It is not overly sweet, it is gooey, an array of textures backed by a fruit component, and a hint of spice.

To be honest, I have been working on this dish for a while, documented here Table side Effigy and here Wait for It and again here Version 1.0

Still, this dish is not done yet.  It still has to evolve into something greater, into something better, into a new identity.  It is always hard to top a winner, and the challenge leaves a lot of room for disappointment.  Nevertheless, I only see room for potential.  The evolution continues.

 

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VDAY 2017

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Red Wine Velvet.  Dark chocolate, red wine, toasted almond, red rose petal, pomegranate.

This plate is a celebration of love and sensuality.  Chocolate, red wine, and roses- all the things a luck lady wants to receive on this Hallmark of Love Holiday.  Complimented with almond and pomegranate, a dark chocolate ganache cake spiked with red wine is the centerpiece.  All the flavors are aphrodisiacs, the texture is very rich, smooth, and deep.  Topped with cold, creamy toasted almond ice cream, below a tangy pomegranate glaze, paired with crunchy rose petal candy and caramel almonds, red wine pearls strung along, this is memorable dish was created to enjoy with love.

Now that its over, more!

Good God restaurant week was the cherry on top of hell after the craziest 8 months I have ever known.

Then valentine’s day, the couples haven of romance and dining out.  That particular weekend was met with a mountain of challenges, a rant in which I will keep to myself.

Today is the day after, the day when I wish I could call in sick and hide in bed sheets all day, fogetting that I even exist.

No, instead I press on with much needed changes.

Goals to get done as soon as I can:

Pao  de queijo improvement project

Manioc crackers

Cassava Crepes

New 3 leches

New self bruleeing dessert

New fire cake

New pionono

Fry bread

Pan de chapa with cheese accoutremente.

After taste testing and making the recipes fool proof, then the staff has to be trained, details have to be written, then everything costed out.

It’s an unending circus of creating, and I love it.  Tiredness and loss of motivation be damned, we have to plan for spring.

 

It’s not a Sundae

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This is the realization of an ice cream dream flavor.   Presented above is yerba mate ice cream, fernet spiked fudge, fresh mint candy, candied cocoa nibs, and creme chantilly.

The vanilla ice cream base is infused with mate tea before it is spun.  A rich, thick, gooey dark chocolate fudge is finished with a moderate hand of fernet- a minty herbaceous digestif that is a staple in the Argentinian liquor palette.  Here I combine two flavors that demonstrate a large culinary influence in Argentinian culture.

The ice cream is complimented with two crunchy textural items- a crumbly mint candy and the harder cocoa nib.  The mint candy is a simple ingredient that I am very proud of.  It is a method that I contrived by trial and a small dash of non-intention, or coincidence perhaps.  I wanted to make a candy cane concept that was crushed.  The main issue is that when you crush sugar candies they leave sharp shards that can impale the tongue.  I figured that candy canes must be made from pulled sugar, and from there I intentionally created sugar crystals.  Normally the crystallization of sugar in an end product is a mistake- it changes the entire texture to that of a sandy nature.  I took that effect and manipulated  it into a desirable form.  These large crumbles have a strong flavor of fresh mint leaves, that quickly dissipate after a few rounds with the teeth.

I am pretty much obsessed with candied cocoa nibs- they are just divine.  This very rich and bitter little nugget of raw cocoa responses alarmingly well to a dose of sugar-coating.

The final touch to the dish is a dollop of whip cream, a refreshing cloud of creaminess to lift the dish up, to add some air to the web of flavors and textures.

 

Focused on the Blur

After so many first times, it must, at some point, level out and start to get easier to do things for the first time.  It Must. Right? Or is it like how getting fully submerged in a cold lake on a hot summer day never gets easier no matter how many times you shock dry skin into the heavy wet water?

I have a great salt and pepper blend of confidence and humility, but I get nervous-I am not graceful on my feet.  I am a behind the scenes person, I am the focus of my delusions, but secretly super shy.  Interviewing a chef is like photographing Sasquatch, we are creatures not fully of this dimension and most times talking is hard.

I remember the first time I split and scrapped a vanilla bean- a long, thin, small, precious, and plump, ready to create a subtle explosion of flavor- I was hands shaking with my pairing knife, afraid to waste any one of the million seeds, knowing that this was a turning point in my life- one small step, the first one really, into a study that I so enthusiscitcally pursue.  So everytime I do something for the first time, I remember how natural it is for me to split a vanilla bean.

Seeing Tres

 

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Early summer’s rendition of 3 leches:

Lemon-poppy seed cake with buttermilk added to the traditional three milk soak, rhubarb preserves, fresh market strawberries, confit lemon, strawberry chantilly, violet meringue.

Light and bright like spring’s glorious rays warming up our frosty skin, delicate like those first flowers brave enough to poke out of the hard ground, melts in your mouth like fresh spun cotton candy.

Flavors mimic a sweet tart candy, just sour enough to make you crave another subtly sweet bite.  A disappearing crunch, a creamy cloud texture, a cartwheel of flavors to carry you home.

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Convenient Conconction

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It all started with meringue.  I had a test batch of honey meringue and I did not want to simply throw it away after I assessed its success (or not).  So here I am, left with a the smallest batch possible of meringue (which is 1 quart- no less can be made while using a kitchen aid, trust me), not wanting to simply wash it away as it was still perfectly delicious. The only answer was use it to make a dessert for staff lunch. Contemplating the deli of fluffy pale yellow foam, I thought to myself, what goes great with honey meringue?

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My first thought was cream pie, and my mind went right to coconut.  So coconut cream pie and honey meringue it is.  Pie is typically made with pie dough ( you have to make it, let it rest, roll it out, let it rest, bake it- all of which was too much work) or a graham cracker push crust (super easy and fast, my method of choice for this extra credit project).  We do not have graham crackers or the store-bought crumb lying around the kitchen, so I decided to improvise: we have some extra streusel, why not grind it up and add butter just like the graham cracker crust concept?  So  I ground it up, added butter, and made a push crust.

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Next was the coconut cream- a standard pastry cream made with half milk and half coconut milk, with toasted coconut flake added it.  Pour this into the crust, and set in the refrigerator for 3 hours, top with that infamous meringue, and then, of course, torch the meringue with a flame gun (because of course, because of brulee).

Coconut Cream Pie with Oatmeal Streusel Crust and Honey Meringue

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