At the convergence of winter and spring, there are artichokes (enginar), nettles (isirgan otu), and watercress (tere) in Istanbul. I borrowed some sunchokes (yer elmasi) from the winter and put together this plate. 
I confit the artichoke in extra virgin olive oil with spices, as per a previous post. You basically heat the submerged artichokes on low heat without bringing the olive oil to a simmer. They take about thirty minutes to become melt in the mouth tender. 
The nettles are blanched, very conscientiously drained, and sauteed with five cloves of garlic confit (from the artichokes). Here is the ratio I worked with: Two bunches of nettles (picked and blanched) yield a fistful (~1/2 lb) of drained and chopped nettles. One cup of whole milk (reduced to half), two oz of sharp cheddar and a table spoon of butter is what I added to bring some richness to the plate. I started with one oz of cheese and doubled it after. Then I pulsed the mixture but left it well-textured. 
The sunchokes are roasted with thyme, butter, lots of salt and pepper. I worked with a 350F oven — but at this temp, you’ve got to toss and turn them fairly often. 
I won’t talk about the fillet. That’s easy. The sauce is pan drippings, reduced merlot and reduced veal stock. That’s it. Oh and the watercress is peppery, bright and awesome!  High-res

At the convergence of winter and spring, there are artichokes (enginar), nettles (isirgan otu), and watercress (tere) in Istanbul. I borrowed some sunchokes (yer elmasi) from the winter and put together this plate. 

I confit the artichoke in extra virgin olive oil with spices, as per a previous post. You basically heat the submerged artichokes on low heat without bringing the olive oil to a simmer. They take about thirty minutes to become melt in the mouth tender. 

The nettles are blanched, very conscientiously drained, and sauteed with five cloves of garlic confit (from the artichokes). Here is the ratio I worked with: Two bunches of nettles (picked and blanched) yield a fistful (~1/2 lb) of drained and chopped nettles. One cup of whole milk (reduced to half), two oz of sharp cheddar and a table spoon of butter is what I added to bring some richness to the plate. I started with one oz of cheese and doubled it after. Then I pulsed the mixture but left it well-textured. 

The sunchokes are roasted with thyme, butter, lots of salt and pepper. I worked with a 350F oven — but at this temp, you’ve got to toss and turn them fairly often. 

I won’t talk about the fillet. That’s easy. The sauce is pan drippings, reduced merlot and reduced veal stock. That’s it. Oh and the watercress is peppery, bright and awesome! 

Ive always been interested in the idea of foraging. Ive been an inner city person my whole life and the idea of finding amazing things in nature to sustain ourselves off of seems to be a refreshingly new take on grocery shopping haha! For someone like me who lives in the inner city of Boston on the east coast, how would you recommend I start out?

Asked by Anonymous

That’s one of the most exciting questions I’ve heard in a while!

Well, your backyard (i.e. NH, ME) provides amazing coastal, riparian as well as sylvan foraging!

However, I think the more surprising place to start is your local parks!

It’s been a while since I’ve been to Boston but strolling in San Fransisco, Istanbul and NYC, in the last year across local parks, I’ve run into such things as wild chives / scallions, ramps, dandelions, fennel, wild carrots, day lilies, some species of cress…

There are also a lot of things that will require a little bit more processing but are ubiquitous in season and delicious when treated right: Cattails, acorns, black walnuts, etc. 

Mushrooms are definitely a more advanced pursuit — other than the easily identifiable morel. One of my favorite starter mushrooms (which if you’re lucky you’ll run into in parks as well) is the dryad’s saddle

Oh and garlic mustard is great too! 

If you want to go a little criminal you could also venture into your neighbor’s flower patch and look for things like nasturtium or bee balm

Man — you’re going to have sooo much fun! 

sayattheexplorer:

Orange and black cardamom liqueur! The snowy background gives me ideas for alcoholic snowcones!

It’s been two weeks and I have full flavor. This is bomba and I will share the process and the recipe. Toast three pods of black cardamon and a tablespoon of black peppercorns until fragrant. Zest 10 navel oranges without any pith.Combine a cup of gran sugar with a pint of water, the zest and the spices. Steep on a low simmer for 10 mins. Combine with a pint and a half of vodka and let the flavors blend for a couple weeks.The result is a light menthol flavor from the black cardamom with a theme of oranges. It’s great both as an aperitif and a digestif. High-res

Sayat Explores FoodReblogged from Sayat Explores Food

sayattheexplorer:

Orange and black cardamom liqueur! The snowy background gives me ideas for alcoholic snowcones!

It’s been two weeks and I have full flavor. This is bomba and I will share the process and the recipe.

Toast three pods of black cardamon and a tablespoon of black peppercorns until fragrant.
Zest 10 navel oranges without any pith.
Combine a cup of gran sugar with a pint of water, the zest and the spices. Steep on a low simmer for 10 mins.
Combine with a pint and a half of vodka and let the flavors blend for a couple weeks.

The result is a light menthol flavor from the black cardamom with a theme of oranges. It’s great both as an aperitif and a digestif.

To elevate a food culture, you need to honor your artisans, craftsmen and farmers.

Here is an article from the WSJ. Though I’m taken aback by some of the analogies (Mehmet Gurs / Ferran Adria) or the lack of respect for artisans in the brief note on ”cheese from crappy huts”, it’s nevertheless an interesting article. I think to elevate a food culture, you need to elevate your artisans, craftsmen and farmers rather than building holding companies that stretch your attention across multiple companies. It just doesn’t sound convincing, having said that I do admit that I’m not as knowledgeable about what’s going on in Istanbul as I should be. What do others think?

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304906704579115561665549816

The way this dish resembles a vulva and a penis (and a garland of nuts on top) is not the only thing that was wrong with the dish that I conjured up this evening. 

I’ve been trying to push these wild pistachios that I have into a dish. I’m passionate about their peppery yet sweet pistachio flavor. They’re a sumac relative from South Eastern Turkey (Tr. Melengic) — they’re usually ground and steeped in milk to make a drink similar to coffee. I have many aspirations for them — smoking, glazing, encrusting with them… 

Here is the problem — they’re too hard to be in a dish without having been ground, though they are pretty as whole nuts. 

Everything else worked great in the dish really. I toasted the nuts with butter and glazed with honey, steeped the sage separately in heavy cream, and eventually combined the liquid and the nuts after removing the sage leaves. I seasoned with salt and fresh ground white pepper and finished with some ricotta and lemon juice. 

The round disks are beet shaped pasta that I purchased at Brooklyn Fare — it feels as though their beet juice is not concentrated enough to give the pasta flavor but the shape is spot on with all the beet rings and visual texture. 

I don’t know if beers with alternative starches are getting a lot of attention but they’re certainly getting mine. My coworker brewed one with beets a couple weeks ago — it was fantastic. Then I had this at a noodle bar in the city — made from Japanese sweet potatoes.  High-res

I don’t know if beers with alternative starches are getting a lot of attention but they’re certainly getting mine. My coworker brewed one with beets a couple weeks ago — it was fantastic. Then I had this at a noodle bar in the city — made from Japanese sweet potatoes. 

We must reject the notion that standardized cultures are superior to indigenous traditions, and confront the dogmas regarding hygiene and safety that justify this thinking. The diversity of fermented milk products reflects the glorious diversity of culture itself.

Katz, Sandor Ellix (2012-05-15). The Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from Around the World (p. 183). Chelsea Green Publishing. Kindle Edition.

A new phase for the blog

On Monday, I recovered from my 80 hour week. The restaurant is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. 

On Tuesday, I woke up to my woman first. I kissed her goodbye to drive home. I took care of some much needed (kcl) knife sharpening, catching up with family, and laundry. Then I went to work (on my day off) to learn how to make speck, shoulder ham, lonzo, lardo, coppa, dry cured salami and pepperoncini as well as fresh sausages. We rendered some lard. We broke down bones for stock. We saved the ears, the cheeks, the jowl, the tenderloins and the skin for use for service.

Then I came home. Three cooks, we came together to braise some cabbage, glaze some baby broccoli with Turkish wild pistachios, sear some venison tenderloins in Daisy’s butter (yes, it’s a single cow butter), and make a sauce from venison scraps, sherry and dried shiitake and wood ear mushrooms. We also found some roasted eggplant puree in the fridge and finished it with some aged asiago. A little bit of merlot and some IPA’s to polish.

No dessert. Just a soothing orange flavored hookah hit.

Then I talked to her again to end the day. The fifteen hour workday felt like a breeze today after that amazing weekend. It’s a pretty good life.

However, this busy schedule means very little time for posts, especially since I have a non-disclosure agreement in place with my employer… 

I’m working on some kvass, mustard, nato, and wild fermentation experiment setups but it might take a couple weeks. Bear with me. 

Why is it important to have vegetarian selections on our menu?

This was a question on my homework for today for my high volume production class. Here’s my answer:

Vegetables are fantastic. They are versatile, pack tons of flavor, reflect the bounty of the season, have great textural interest, and they are gorgeous to look at. Both nutritious and delicious.

They can show a chef’s finesse and culinary skills more than grilling off a hunk of meat.

Using meat as a main component on a plate is an act that our food system has bought into but not necessarily the right thing. It’s not sustainable and it’s also a modern invention that is not healthy for the individual consumer or our planet.

This question should read: Why do we need so much meat on our menus?

Let’s see what I get in response. I’m pretty sure chefs don’t read our homework anyway.

such life envy.... don't suppose you're giving out internships ??

Asked by harveysteele

Thank you for the compliment! I have to say, it’s been a great ride. Once you set yourself on your desired path, your friends and family support you to no end.

It took a lot of soul-searching to finally realize all I wanted to do was to cook!