The topic in product knowledge was herbs. I made an herb salad with marjoram, mint, dill, basil, chervil and grapes… (at Culinary Institute Of America)
Soba noodle salad chronicles - Episode 1
In a random sushi bar in Bangkok off of the Sukumwit line, I had a very simple soba noodle dish with a wasabi / miso dipping sauce. I wanted to recreate the experience this weekend but I didn’t come as close as I would have liked. I think I’m over complicating it.
I simple simmered the noodles until lightly al dente and combined with all the garnishes. I made the dressing with Korean soy bean paste, horseradish and olive oil. So, lots of substitutes. I topped it with seared scallops.
The dish tasted good but it needs more work. I definitely need to reduce the amount of black radishes — they’re much spicier than their red friends. Also, this was my first time working with quail eggs, soba noodles and Korean miso paste. Overall the dish was successful but needs more work. I’ll take the learnings to the next episode.
That’s fettucine with trumpet mushrooms, chantarelles, oyster mushrooms and peas. The mushrooms came out of Chef Brash’s bounty this week — he is my product knowledge instructor. I prepared them with dried tarragon in a cream sauce and polished it off with colleagues over our knife cuts practice.
The trumpets have the most texture. They need to brown first. Chantarelles and oysters are too delicate to withstand Maillard reactions (browning on proteins) without falling apart. The thin sliced boiling onions went in right after some color developed on the trumpets. (Keep your pan hot, if you have one, use cast iron.) Then went in the chantarelles and two cloves of sliced garlic. For a thirty second saute, I added the oyster mushrooms last.
Then I poured a cup of cream and reduced it to half. Midway through the reduction, I sprinkled two teaspoons of dried tarragon and introduced the blanched peas to my sauce.
I didn’t measure much. I just went by taste. Here is my mise-en-place if you’d like to think through the recipe more.
Jumbo asparagus! Product knowledge @ the CIA
What’s seasonal after a cold April? Microgreens.
Sunflower greens are succulent and taste like grassy and sunflowery — the texture is similar to purslanes. Speaking about purslanes, chickweed tastes just like purslane, which I can only find wild in America. Radish greens are slightly bitter but so friendly — almost citrusy. Mustard flowers have a good bite to them — peppery.
Guess what fava greens taste like. Fava beans!
Union Square Green Market, Manhattan, NY
At Dartmouth, the most interesting use for our dinner trays was sledding down the hill by the golf course. And trust me that is just as much fun as eating dozens of different dishes with foie gras, venison, lobster and wild mushrooms. I never want to have to choose between sledding on a dinner tray and eating amazing food off of one.
Last Friday was a day when the choice was already made for me.
I was done with class at four when I set up camp in the dining hall where the Gard Manger grand buffet was to take place. Peeking over the plates to see what was about to become part of a memorable feast, I basked in the presence of the rush of my colleagues
My heart was beating faster.
I tried for the first time foie gras terrines, rabbit rillettes, head cheese, galantines, wild mushroom terrines, and aspics. What a tremendous experience that was.
Check out the captions for all the amazing food my colleagues put together last Friday. The best part is that this feast happens every three weeks here. Fourteen days until the next one!
A salute to winter vegetables at the Ferry Building Farmers Market in San Fransisco
Chard, carrots, purple kale, turnips, radishes, rutabega, yellow beets
While I miss the colors, smells and flavors of spring, I know I will miss the colors of winter too!
Fish canepes @ the Ferry Bulding Farmers Market in San Fransisco
King salmon, sturgeon, white salmon, and albacore tuna paired with a classic combination of cream cheese, dill, capers, onions, bell peppers, meyer lemons and arugula
First time eating sturgeon — never realized it was such a lean fish!
It’s red mullet season in Istanbul and these respectable fish in the first photo were so bright and beautiful that I thought I was snorkeling right next to them. I went to the Istanbul fish market (wholesale market in Yenikapi) for the first time this week.
On my explorations in India and Thailand, I followed a simple formula to get the most out of the local food culture.
- Read about the cuisine
- Visit markets; understand the season, the land and the bounty.
- Eat street food wherever you see it
- Eat where the ”people” eat
- Eat at fine dining establishments
- Read about the cuisine
I found that the second step is undisputably the most essential one. I always helped my mother with her shopping growing up but I had not paid a visit to the markets with a trained eye.
I absolutely loved the Balik Hali (the wholesale fish market) in Yenikapi!
I parted from good friends at about midnight after a good (not great) dinner at Karakoy Lokantasi (a respectable establishment) and hookah in Tophane. I walked up to Taksim and walked the Red streets of Istiklal until about 1 AM. There is always something happening there and it’s always interesting to talk to the people on the street.
I got a haircut and a straight razor shave and hopped into the shuttle right after — yes, you can get a haircut in Istanbul at 1 AM. I missed the point where I had to get off and walked back about six miles. Amazing walk by the water, half of it in the rain, listening to NPR’s The Splendid Table.
Well, I got to the Balik Hali at about 2:30 AM. It was buzzing with excitement. Almost literally. Instead of bees they had seagulls flocking all around in an unobtrusive way, waiting their turn at the pick.
Boats were loading off their catch, fishermen were setting up their humble displays of not so humble fish, and procurement specialists were lining up around the displays. Cuddlefish (calamari), sand sharks, monk fish (Tr: Fener), mullets, leer fish (akya), turbot, John Dory (Tr: Dulger), scallops. needlefish (Tr: Zargana)… What a beautiful scene.
The market buzzed for about two hours after 2:30 and then it led to a calmness. Everyone was tired and ready for bed, including myself.
I had great educational conversations — especially the one about Muhammad’s thumbprint on John Dory. Very entertaining. And convincing.
A most successful reconnaissance mission! Also, I think fish are the most beautiful of all proteins. There, I said it!
I have an emotional attachment to Filibe Koftecisi at the beginning of the Cagaloglu Yokusu in Sirkeci. It might have been chosen the best Kofte / Meatball shop in Istanbul a dozen times but my fond memories stem from coming here on the way to the boat that took my father and me to Kinali Island after work. I make a stop at least once each time I come to Istanbul.
These meatballs explode with umami, they’re rich but well balanced. So comforting.
Filibe Koftecisi, Sirkeci, Istanbul
Rough chop kokorec / kokoretsi with oregano, crushed peppers and cumin
Kokorec is lamb small intestines wrapped around sweetbreads and slow-grilled to a crispy perfection. The textural gradient that leads to the melt in the mouth sweetbreads is fascinating. Varying degrees of crispiness on the intestine from the crispiest to the soft to the slightly chewy… and to the sweetbreads.
I cannot imagine a world without Kokorec.
Buyuk Postane Caddesi, Sirkeci, Istanbul
Those pieces of paper neatly organized between the glass cover and the tabletop are love letters. Love letters that convey passion, lust, contentment, gratitude, satisfaction, and yearning. Love letters to Kunefe…
My favorite pickle store in the world — complete with pine cones, whole heads of garlic, carrots, fermented turnip juice (Tr.: Shalgam)…
Balik Pazari, Taksim, Istanbul
Another mussel classic — a diluted version of the homemade stuffed mussels of my family with no pine nuts, currants and dill but complete with a black peppery, cinnamony sweetness. A squeeze of lemon brings the whole thing together.
Balik Pazari,Beyoglu, Istanbul
What’s different about these deep fried kibbes is everything. The bulgur is fried to a perfect golden brown. The stuffing (with caramelized onions, garlic, walnuts, Aleppo peppers and ground beef) is light, flavorful, sweet, and comforting.
Sabirtasi is an ageold institution at the heart of Beyoglu, near Galata. They’ve been making these koftes the same way for decades!