Thursday, January 08, 2009

Friday, May 04, 2007

The wife of a chef...

I'm married to a woman who isn't exactly the most gastronomically adventurous person in the world. But on one of the rare occasions last week where we actually had the same day off, I offered to cook her an exciting meal. The approach I used was to cite the innumerable times when she had mentioned to coworkers that her husband is a chef. Their response was usually along the lines of, "Wow, you're married to a chef? He must cook all kinds of good food for you." Her answer would generally be, "Not really. He's usually at work when I'm home at dinnertime." And on those nights when I am actually at home, we either go out (since the last thing I want to do on my day off is cook), or sit around and eat junk food. But finally, I convinced her to let me cook her something that wasn't pasta, stir-fry chicken, or stir-fried chicken pasta. She's not a big red-meat eater, so I didn't want to push her too fast. I told her I'd make her something that she'd probably order in a restaurant if they didn't have chicken. But the deal was, I wouldn't tell her anything else about the dish and she'd have to at least try it. Okay, she agreed. My simple menu for the evening was this:
Herb-roasted yukon potatoes, haricot vert, and a pair of grilled quail on a nest of crispy soba noodles, with a rosemary vincotto sauce. I wanted to show her that there was in fact a possibility for life outside of chicken.
For the potatoes, I cut the yukons into fairly uniform wedges, dusted them with rosemary, thyme, S&P. Popped them in the oven at 450*F for about 25 mins.
The quail, season with S&P, grilled on both sides, then placed in oven with potatoes. Potatoes had been in for about 15-20 mins already. I cooked the quail for about 5 mins for my wife, as she'd probably freak a little if she saw pink in the quail. Even though med rare is perfectly acceptable for most non-chicken fowl. I left my quail in for maybe no more than 2 mins, just to get it warmed through, but still nicely pink.
For the sauce. Approx. 1/4-1/2 cup of vincotto, sprig of rosemary. Placed in small saucier (large SS measuring cup works well), and allowed to reduce to about half. Since vincotto is already a reduced wine, care should be taken to not allow it to burn.
For the haricot vert. Boil in salted water until tender. Shock in ice water. When time to start plating, toss the green beans in a little butter, stock or if you must...water (blech), season with S&P, and heat through.
For the soba. Cooked a small amount of soba noodles in the normal fashion. Heated a small amount of vegetable oil to just before smoking. Again, I used a small oddsize SS measuring cup for this application. I believe the measuring cup was a 1 1/2 cup size. A larger measuring cup would have been better at preventing the oil from boiling over when I placed the soba into it, or less oil. Oh well, live and learn. I fried them in 2 small batches, probably no more than 10 noodles each as it was just a garnish. In the measuring cup, they fried into nicely formed interwoven circles. It's nice when something you conceive in your head actually works out in practice. I fried the soba in the oil until crisp. Removed from oil onto paper towels and seasoned with sea salt.

The plate-up. Simple. Potatoes, haricot vert, then little bit of sauce. The soba nest on top of the sauce, which will keep it from sliding around. Quail on top of the soba, brush or drizzle a little of the sauce on the quail. And your desired garnish. I garnished it with a sprinkle of fleur de sel.

It was quite a hit. Simple, safe, and technically not CHICKEN.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Gourmand items for sale

I've got some leftovers for I don't mean turkey and gravy. I'm talking some specialty ingredients that I either have too much of or simply won't be using anytime soon.
I've got:
1) 250mL bottle of Bel Aria White Truffle oil for $15.00, plus shipping.
2) 1oz tin of Spanish Saffron "Mancha Superior". Saffron is sealed in zip bag, packed in decorative tin, and cello-wrapped. Sold on for $65.00, CRAZY! I'm selling mine for $35.00, plus shipping.
3) 125g container of fleur de sel. Tasty, wonderful moist fleur de sel crystals. Brand new, unopened container. Great for steaks and fish. $5.00 plus shipping.
4) 250ml bottle of Pistachio oil, wonderful for dressings or saucing a plate of salad. $5.00 plus shipping
5) 1 large can of escargot. 8 dozen Wild Burgundy Snails, size "Very Large". Precooked, simply drain, rinse and re-heat. Toss with garlic, parsley and butter. Excellent as a garnish for meats. Or just serve by themselves! weight is approx, 28oz. $25.00 plus shipping

If you are interested in purchasing any of the above items, simply email me at with your zip/postcode and i'll get you a shipping quote. I accept paypal.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

wow, it's been a while

It's been a long time since i've posted anything of any relevance or importance on this blog. Even now, I have nothing worthwhile to say. I will say that I am at this moment fed up with my restaurant. Does anyone out there want to give me a place to call my own? I have great menu ideas, a pretty good head when it comes to food cost and labor cost, and a fairly good direction when it comes to a business plan. I just need the resources and/or the backing. Mostly the backing. My wife, I just got married in October, wants to move. I want to NOT be renting anymore. Although we HAVE graduated from renting an apartment, to renting a house. However, it's still renting. I need a raise at work, or a promotion or both. Or a new job where the pay is higher or the position is higher with a higher pay scale. Which I guess would cover the higher pay criterion. I'm days away from selling off my treasured camera gear, first I'll sell off my plasma and platelets. Do they pay you for platelets? I know you get money for plasma, but platelets? There's no way in hell I'm selling any of my Star Wars collection...yet. But it's not entirely out of the question. I just hope it doesn't come to that. Anyways, I'll be blogging more often soon enough. Possibly after being lightheaded from my plasma "donation"...

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Stupid People

Okay, here's a scenario...You own a restaurant, normally you're only open for dinner. Other restaurants near you are open for lunch. They do a brisk business. Here's the difference, you're a fine dining establishment and they're a bar and grill, or a taco bar, etc. You get the bright idea to open for lunch too. For the first few, business is slow as you expected. No one thinks of your place as a lunch spot. After several weeks, you experience a lunch where NO ONE comes in. You make ZERO in sales. Fine, bad day, no biggie. All restaurants have them. The next day, you do $50.00 in sales. TWO TABLES. That's it. You employ 13 people for lunch. Even paying only minimum wage to everyone working, you're still LOSING MONEY! Do you continue offering lunch? The correct answer is NO. But the geniuses that I work for don't see "NO" as an acceptable answer. These are what you call STUPID PEOPLE. That's all.

Friday, August 19, 2005

A Word from Wise, Philip Wise

Philip Wise, Star Wars afficianado (to say the least) is the Mastermind behind Star Wars news and collecting sites and He has an amazing Star Wars collection. Philip long ago laid down a sort of mission statement in regards to Star Wars collecting called "Collect to Collect". This doctrine can be applied to any type of collecting, and is as follows:

- Buy only what you need and make sure others get one before you get many.

- Acquire pieces for your collection because you want them, not because you plan to profit from them.

- Help others achieve their collecting goals for the sake of the hobby, not profit.

- When you trade or sell available toys, do so at cost.

- When you trade or sell unavailable toys, do so keeping the golden rule in mind: you'll always win in the long run if you don't take advantage of people.

- Buy from scalpers as a very last resort. They exist because people buy from them and do not make collecting toys easier. Scalping only promotes decay within the hobby.

- Understand it is more important for a kid to have the toys than you; help them out whenever possible. You're likely to get another chance at the toy, he/she may not.

I posted the doctrine because I think it's a noble statement that a lot of people forget. It's sad to see these pirates on places like eBay selling stuff that they horded from the local Target or Toys 'R Us simply because they knew it was a hot item and could make mega bucks by hawking to poor saps on eBay. I pride myself on having a nose on what will be the next hot toy of the season. I told friends and family about Furby long before it was on the Today Show or wherever. But nothing frustrates me more than going to my local retailer to look for a specific item and find that is constantly sold out. Of course, one visit to eBay will reveal the location of all those toys, usually going for twice to 10 times the MSRP, sometimes even higher. Remember when you were a kid and collected baseball cards? Or Garbage Pail Kids, which recently celebrated their 20 year anniversary (God, I'm old). If you had two of a card, you traded it to a friend. You didn't try to hawk it to the highest bidder. I've found a community of collectors who still respect and follow this sacred mandate in the form of the Star Wars forums at I've made countless trades there with total strangers, I've sent money on blind faith that I'd get something in return. I have had no bad experiences with this group of dedicated fans (knock wood) and highly encourage anyone with even the slightest interest in Star Wars to pay them a visit. It's not just a site for collectors, but a place where you can pick up gossip, news, share stories and experiences or just lurk in the shadows and "observe" all the geeks. And you can check out Philip's crazy Star Wars Room. This is definitely something you'll want to see for yourself. I won't post a link here, you'll have to go to and find it on your own. It won't be hard to find. You'll either be really impressed, or really scared.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Lazy @$$

I really don't do much writing on this thing anymore. What happened to me? I think lately I've been so caught up on different forums (mostly Star Wars related) that I've completely neglected my blog. Whenver I do feel like writing, it's usually to bitch about something. No one wants to read that stuff, and I don't want to write it. That being said, I really want a new job. At least one that pays a decent wage. I've actually considered looking for a part-time job in the mornings...I don't want to work two jobs! I also don't want to quit my current job and find another one mainly because I'm lazy but also because I hate being the new guy. So really the only choice is for me to stay here until I become Sous Chef and then later, run the joint. But I don't want to be here that long. I want to run my own kitchen, a nice small place where 85 covers would be a busy night. A place with 5 guys (and gals) working in the kitchen, where 2 of them are dishwashers. A nice cozy place that does a timed dinner service, with tasting menus, 4 hour meals, nice wine. Why can't I have that? That's what I'm going to ask Santa for this Christmas. I never ask for anything for Christmas, I think I'm due.