Tag: local

Coming Attraction

Prototype week at work means taste testing and tweaking.  Its time for the early summer dessert menu to sprout its warm weather wears.  Spoiler alert: everything must contain a berry.  Its berry season and I must exploit this seasonal ingredient fully.  We are all very impatient to have fresh food again, and I anxious to use fruit!

One example of lessons studied this week:

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The quarto chocolate is almost ready to hit the plates, it just need to be refined a bit more.  What’s on the inside you ask?  What exactly is it? Well, you are just going to have to wait and see…

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3 Leche Spring

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Because the concept of the 3 leche cake- a Latin American iconic confection, a cake soaked with 3 types of milk until soggy, is limited to white cake and milk soak.  I love this concept and I want to build upon this classic dessert with a curious twist, with fanciful flavors, and whimsical undertones.

In this rendition, I made a cajeta sweetened cake (cajeta is goat’s milk and sugar cooked down to a caramel flavor and consistency- when it is cooking it fills the entire restaurant with the scent of snickerdoodle cookies.  This is a heavenly smell and produces an equally heavenly end product) that is then soaked with the traditional 3 leches, but with goat’s milk replacing the cream, and further fortified with chocolate to make a unique chocolate milk soak.  This lightly sweet, slightly chocolaty and caramel cake is served with Brazil nut streusel (for crunch and a nice nut flavor that resembles the Macadamia nut), acai purée (a small dark purple berry valued for its high nutritional content and subtle blueberry flavor), candied cocoa nibs (a pure form of chocolate) to enhance the chocolate notes in the dish, and cajeta chantilly (whip cream sweetened with cajeta) to balanced out the heavy liquid with a cloud like aura.

This dish is reflective of the season.  This is a spring dish in the ingredients used, the textures represented, and the earthy presentation.  This dish is modeled after the soggy spring, with lush, muddy ground waiting to sprout new growth.  The chocolate soak mimics the wet and fertile ground.  The streusel mimics broken up, freshly tilled soil in appearance and texture.  Because of limited local seasonal availability,  I used the hard to source acai berry to add a fruity flavor that interacts very well with the established flavors of the cake.  Early spring, right off winter, is the season to focus on frozen and preserved foods, and highlight them in the menu when you have the chance to search to globe for ingredients.  If you are going to use a frozen product, you mind as well use one that invokes curiosity and is not readily available to the average person.

Finally the whipped cream adds such a soft touch, light as the spring’s warmth, to round of the overall mouth feel.  The flavors are not too bold, except for the tiny explosion of flavor in the cocoa nibs- as a final lasting impression.

 

 

The Year of the Garlic Clove

It’s the small details, those things that you take for granted, that seem so commonplace place, that you never think about where is comes from, but yet you put inside your body, use everyday in every meal, everywhere, so ubiquitous that you don’t even consider the source.  Today’s eye opener is about garlic- where it comes from and why the self life is so long- why all the garlic cloves look exactly the same, why all the pockets of hidden garlic cloves are the same color and same shape and same size.  These manufactured monsters seem more like robots than food.  I have never consider the fact that all the garlic I eat and all the garlic I handle comes from China, from the other side of the globe, with a shelf life that is so long that the bulbs do not have to be date.  Yet here we are, in the middle of cold America, trying to call ourselves as local as we can be, but we cannot even manage to keep an easy crop like garlic on hand.  It looks like the garden is going to get a new addition this year.