Monday, September 20, 2010

Let's Play Ketchup

No, I have not disappeared off the face of the Earth. I've just been super tired and too lazy to blog. All you've really missed is chicken. That's also part of the reason I haven't been blogging. The last week and a half at school was chicken. Boooooooorrrrriiiiinnngggg. Coq au Vin = Beef Bourguignon with chicken instead of beef. Literally, it's the same exact thing. We also made fried chicken, grilled chicken with barbecue sauce, curry chicken, chicken chicken, and chicken chicken chicken chicken. We did do fish last Thursday and Friday. That was alright, filleting fish and frying it, grilling it, and sautéeing it. No big. Today was shellfish. Super easy stuff.

I feel really bad that I'm excited for this class to end. I was really looking forward to it, and it was a blast at first, but it's starting to get repetitive and I feel like I know what they're going to say before they say it. It could just be the exhaustion talking though. I've definitely learned a ton and have been applying the knowledge. Of course, I haven't learned anywhere near everything there is to learn, so I could probably tone down the cockiness a bit before I get put in my place.

Something that was super exciting was our first tailgate last week. I got a little excited. Our menu:

Breakfast: Omelets with hickory smoked pulled pork, onions sautéed in chorizo fat, cheese and tomatillo salsa. Killer. The combination was ridiculous.

Snack: Jalapeños stuffed with venison, pork sausage, and cheese, wrapped in bacon. I smoked them for about an hour and a half and they were tasty.

Lunch: I smoked 10 whole chickens. Yes. 10. I brined them in a sugar-salt solution for 18 hours, then smoked them for 4 hours. The skin was crispy. The meat was juicy. It was just fantastic.

THEN, we went nuts at Pluckers for my birthday last Monday. THEN we went to Vespaio for dinner on Tuesday. What a great meal! Carne crudo - steak tartare basically; really good. Caprese Salad - with mozerella that had been made THAT DAY, celebrity tomatoes, balsamic, and killer ciabatta. Prosciutto pizza - thin crust pizza with prosciutto, fontina, arugula, egg, and white truffle oil. Possibly the best pizza I've ever had. Mandilla di saea - hand-torn pasta tossed in pesto. Also quite tasty. Filet with panzanella salad - Rare+ Niman Ranch steak with fresh made croutons, blue cheese and tomatoes. Great. Chocolate semifredo - killer chocolate "mousse" with macerated cherries and chocolate cake. Sooooooo delicious. We finished with South Austin Speedballs - vanilla vodka, khalua, and espresso, shakin til frothy with a lemon twist. A great end to a truly great meal.

I know I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I'll do my best not to get lazy again. Feel free to drop me aline if I start slacking.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Pork N Bourbon

As promised, here are photos from last week. (click for larger images)

Now, on to "Monday Meaty Madness". Yowzers. I made Pork Lollipops:
I cut a pork shoulder into bite-size pieces and soaked i in apple juice, apple cider vinegar, worcestershire sauce, and bourbon. I rendered some bacon and used the fat to sear the pork. While the pork finished in the oven, I made a glaze of brown sugar, butter, and bourbon. I skewered the pieces of piggy tastiness, and dipped them in the glaze (yea I did). Then I sprinkled them with the bacon pieces that had been aforementioned rendered. They were a hit. Especially the glaze, which will be a new staple of mine. Tasty.

Chef Zack Northcutt (of Mulberry) is the esteemed host of this glorious event. He always goes big. This time, he went about 55 pounds. He dropped a 55 pound pig in a cooler with a brine. For 2 days. Then he dropped an immersion circulator into that cooler and brought the pig up to 160º (the required temp for pork) for 2 days. Then he put the pig on the grill for 2 hours. Then this happened:

This was absolutely, without a doubt, The. Most. Tender. Pork I have ever tasted. It was so crazy good that I'm just gonna stop writing about it here and let your imagination run wild.

Every Meaty Monday, these two pastry chefs show up. I wish I knew their names and where they worked, because I would praise their works to everyone I come in contact with.

Yep. That's a dead pig cake. It was great. Red Velvet with a Swiss buttercream. The other? Jack Daniels chocolate mousse on a chocolate touille with chocolate-covered bacon skewers. Drink it in. Soooooooo goooooood....... *drool*

This week in class we're breaking down chickens every day. I may not post much about the dished (tomorrow is BBQ chicken with corn on le cob). But what the next few days lack in blogging, will be made up for over the weekend. Why? This weekend is the first home game and I'm bringin it BIG TIME! Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Got Game?

Sorry for the photoless blog today, but my camera is MIA. I'll post up some pics when I get it back. We did some really fun stuff in class this week. (I'm going to hit the highlights)

Veal Osso Bucco
Wow this was great. We braised a slice of veal shank for 2 hours in veal stock and white wine and mirepoix. By the time we pulled it out of the oven, we had to use a spatula to take it out of the pot because it was so tender and falling of the bone. We used the braising liquid to make what the chef called a, "sexy, sexy sauce". Seriously, he complimented the sauce like 6 times. After we ate the meat off the bone, we dug the marrow from the inside of the bone. The ridiculous richness of that tasty "meat butter" was cut by a zesty gremolata made of raw garlic, lemon zest, parsley, salt, and anchovy. We nailed it. 20

Green Chile Pork Stew
Goodness gracious. The hits just keep coming. This was so fantastic. We seared off some bite-size pieces of pork shoulder; then made a thick braising liquid with onion, garlic, masa flour, and pork stock. The pork went back in and into the oven. It came out when the pork was fork tender. We reduced the sauce and added a purée of roasted poblano and jalapeño. Garnished with cilantro and monterrey jack cheese, this was just delicious. Look for it at a tailgate near you this football season. 20

Venison Chili
I know, it's like a George Strait album huh? #1 hits galore! This, you will DEFINITELY see at atleast one of our tailgates this season. I've got some deer in the fridge just itching to hop into a pot with onion, bell pepper, garlic, cumin, tomatoes, masa flour, veal stock, and puréed ancho chiles to make a belly-satisfying chili. Chef said our chili was, "a little thick". What? Chili is supposed to be thick. So I disagreed there, but topped with fine chopped red onion, cheddar, and fried tortilla strips, this was no question the best chili I've ever made. Like I said, this will not be venison chili's last appearance. 19


Duck à L'Orange
This may be the last blog I ever write, because it just may not get better than this. We trussed up a gorgeous duck and scored that yummy fat layer on the breast. Seared it sexy GBD in a hot pan and tossed it into the oven on a rack on a sheet pan. We basted it a couple times with some of the fat that we rendered down. The skin got crispy delicious. The meat was perfect, juicy medium. How could it be better? I'LL TELL YOU!! We used the neck bone, wishbone, and kidneys to start a base for a tasty orange-duck sauce. That got stirred into a red wine vinegar gastrique to make an absolutely decadent sweet, savory, tangy, orange glaze for the duck. We served this with simple grilled asparagus. The chef said he could find absolutely nothing wrong with the dish. He gushed. It was a little embarrassing really. He said he would serve it in his restaurant. It was awesome. I also took the dish next door and had Chef Waggoner try it. He concurred that it was great. 20


Bacon-Wrapped Roasted Quail
This was actually a pretty easy day. We wrapped some tiny little quails (with only leg and wing bones) in bacon, seared em, roasted em, and sauced em. Served with ratatouille and fried polenta. 19.5 (ratatouille needed salt)
Cornish Game Hen with Mustard Crust and Horseradish Cream Sauce
Again, pretty simple. We de-boned a cornish game hen, seared it GBD, rubbed it down with dijon mustard, crusted it with some panko persillade, and roasted it. Served with carrot and celery root sauté. 19 (carrots and celery root needed salt)

Overall, a fantastic week. Lots of delicious dished that I will certainly add to my home repertoire and hone to my tastes. This week, we break down whole chickens every day. I'm pumped. Tonight is "Meaty Monday Madness: Pork n Bourbon". Stay tuned for Pork Pops.