Really Fresh Grouper

My fish guy sends me some really go info. Here's what he sent today.

Chefs, I wanted to let you know that Captain Larry Richie of the “Marion J.” has just docked due north of the Apalachee Bay in Florida. He is off loading 500 pounds of Red and Black Grouper after just 1.5 days at sea. This fish were “line caught with a #30 deep water plug”!

Chicharrones de Harina

Derek picked up Chicharrones de Harina at the store this morning. They are made with rendered pork fat and flour. The first picture is the chicharrones in their dried form, very much like dried pasta.

These are the chicharrones after 20-30 seconds in the fryer. Light and airy with the flavor reminiscent of pork rinds. Imagine the possibilities if we can make the same dried dough formula with duck fat or shortrib fat.....Duck chicharrones with hoisin BBQ sauce and toasted coriander.

Two Good Reads

I'm in the middle of reading two really good books.The first one is, A Day at elBulli, An insight into the ideas, methods and creativity of Ferran Adria.

The second book is Eric Ripert's, On The Line, Inside the world of Le Bernardin.

Both of these books have two things in common. They chronicle a day in the life of the employees at their restaurants, and they both talk about their creative methods in developing new ideas.

A Day at elBulli is a quick read with a lot of pictures, it’s over 500 pages and I've read through 325 pages in one night. Ferran Adria presents several different ideas and methods staring with 8 Stages of developing a dish., and then progressing on to Creative Methods I, Creative Methods II and Creative Methods III.

In Method I, Adria explains four approaches; traditional and local cuisines, influences from other cuisines, technique-concept search, and techniques and concepts applied to food.

In Method II he explains creating by; association, inspiration, adaptation, deconstruction, minimalism, changes to the structure of the menu, and the search for new ingredients.

Method III dives into; the senses as a starting point, the sixth sense, symbiosis of the sweet and savoury worlds, commercial food in high-end cuisine, new ways of serving food, and changing the structure of dishes.

elBulli is closed for six months and the book does a great job explaining how this time is spent developing new dishes for the next year.

On The Line walks you through the different jobs at Le Bernardin, both in the kitchen and FOH. There’s ingredient lists of what's in the pantry and walk-ins, lists of what every cooks needs. Ripert does a great job illustrating the timelines for the arrival, preparation and the final path of the food.

There’s a chapter, The Birth Of A New Dish, that walks through the creative process and who’s involved. It examples two dishes with the actual notes of the give-and-take commentary that goes back and forth to refine the dish.

Also interesting is a FOH piece that list 129 “Cardinal Sins” to be avoided by the service staff.

Both books are a must read if you’d like to get inside the creative minds of these two chefs.

Broadmoor Bistro

This was amazing food regardless of who prepared it but it's even more amazing given the fact that it was done by high school students. Four course dinners for $25.00 really pushes the "unbelievable" envelope.

The Broadmoor Bistro is an amazing facility that I was lucky enough to tour with Chef Bob Brassard. Over the past 7 years, Bob has guided his students in local and national culinary competitions enabling them to earn over 1.6 million dollars in scholarship monies.

Junior and senior students from the district high schools enroll in year-long elective classes at Broadmoor Technical Center in their area of interest. Part of the culmination of the culinary arts instruction is the students’ skills application in the Broadmoor Bistro. Students create menus, cook, serve and run the Broadmoor Bistro.

Broadmoor’s Culinary and Commercial Baking Programs are presently considered to be one of the top educational secondary programs in the country. The program has produced a minimum of 1 to a maximum of 5 national finalists a year, for seven consecutive years.

For chef Bob’s efforts over the past seven years, Bob has been recently recognized by his educational peers being selected “ Culinary Educator of the Year, 2008.” by Foodservice Educators Network International.

“Bacon- Eggs”
Pan Roasted Berkshire Pork Belly, Shaved Winter Truffles, Presented with “Truffled” Egg-Yolk Ravioli, Shaved Pecorino, Goat Butter.

De-Constructed Oyster Rockefellers
Presented on baby spinach with Fennel Pollen, Saffron “Paint”, and Licorice Root.

Potato-Leek Soup
Shallot Crisp, Herb Oil, Micro Celery

Mizzuna Salad
Petite Greens garnished with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds, Candied Apple, Persimmon Oil “Stewed” Cranberries, Almond Streusel.

Muscovy Duck Breast
Presented with Wild Leeks-Fava Bean Confit, Blood Orange Jus.

Hickory Grilled Sirloin
Chanterelle Hash, Roasted Cauliflower Chick Pea Puree, Zinfandel Jelly

Rosemary “Brined” Wood Roasted Organic Chicken
Smoked Gouda-Chive Grits, Grilled Asparagus, Cider Caramel

Chocolate Crunch
Pistachio Fancier, Chocolate Malt Mousse, Cocoa Nibs, Macchiato Syrup

Gingerbread-Eggnog Ice Cream Crumb Cake
Gingerbread Gennoise, Peppermint- Eggnog Semi- Fredo, Bourbon Paint

White Chocolate Cheesecake Gelato
Olive Oil Cake, Candied Ginger, Cherry Bash and Lemon Curd