Red!

Yesterday was the third in a series of mono-chromatic pot luck get togethers I’ve had the pleasure of participating in.  Previously, we’ve explored foods that are green and yellow.  I found red to be the most challenging to date.  Many of the foods we associate with the color red are not actually red.  Red beets and cabbage are purple.  Ruby red grapefruits are pink.  Even blood oranges don’t exactly register as red.  Furthermore, some of the most vibrantly red foods become otherwise once cooked.  I was determined to capture some pure red, and make it sound off as loud as possible.  A crumbly base of freeze-dried raspberries and strawberries with toasted red quinoa, hazelnut, Piment Esplette, sichuan peppercorn and coriander provided the reddest of red backdrop for other red and red friendly bites:

      

The base; butter poached red potatoes with labne & piment esplette; green figs, pickled watermenlon rind wrapped in bresola, swiss chard stems & tumeric dipped fresh mozz; perfect to snack on while sipping a Negroni!

Heavy Rain, Strong Winds & Pork…

Last night while mother nature was gently reminding New York City who’s in charge, I was tinkering around in the kitchen of a beautiful Brooklyn Heights apartment overlooking the East River and the Brooklyn Bridge – cloaked in storminess.  While I sang the praises of a vegetable forward cooking in the previous post, I won’t be turning a cold shoulder to a good old fashioned meat extravaganza.  While they marveled at the wind and rain outside, eight diners devoured a mountain of pork I had the pleasure of preparing for them.  There’s no satisfaction quite like waking up to a pork shoulder that has been roasting overnight to see that it’s done….just perfectly done…

     

Grapefruit, cucumber & creme fraiche awaiting chilled yellow beet soup; butter lettuce, rhubarb, bacon & green goddess; frying up the seed coated ribs; belly & dandelion green buns; shoulder waiting to be torn apart; buckwheat chocolate cake!

When Vegetables Take Center Stage

Last night I prepared a multi-course vegetarian tasting menu to celebrate someone’s 60th birthday.  While I remain enthusiastic about cooking with meat, I feel strongly that any cook should know how to work with vegetables first and foremost.  When called upon to make a delicious meat-free meal, it should shine on it’s own.  Over reliance on pasta, bread and dairy means you’re not using your imagination and more importantly not bringing out the natural greatness of the vegetables themselves that mother nature made possible.  I’ve been going full-veg often lately – for clients, but also for myself and friends when cooking at home.  While meatiness will always be near and dear to my heart, I see a shift towards more plant forward cooking ahead of me.  It’s healthier, better for the planet, and more cost effective.  And as I’m discovering – just as exciting as putting bacon all up in everything!  Here are some highlights from last night’s menu:

       

Lightly pickled vegetables, white bean puree & toasted seeds; whole fava beans; poached rhubarb, roasted peppers, purslane & amaranth; beets, carrots & turnips in their own pesto with creme fraiche & lemon ash; spring onion, wheat berries, kale and chamomile; Chickpea, walnut & lambs quarter ragout; whipped chocolate, cherries & greek yogurt with meringue.

Over heard while plating up one of these dishes: “If I could eat like this everyday, I could be a vegetarian!”

Let’s not give up on meat so easily folks!  But I’ll take that complement and stick it like a feather in my cap…

Thai Birthday Party

    

A few weeks ago I cooked up a bunch of fun Thai dishes for a birthday party on the Upper West Side of NYC.  It was really fun to play with some flavors and techniques I’m not so familiar with.  The party was a huge success, and I can’t wait to work some more events like this!

Dinner & A Movie!

I’ll be serving up some epic sandwiches at the 3rd Ward in Bushwick on Sunday April 10th, starting at 7pm.  Come wrap your face around one of my creations and then stay for Moviehouse.  The evening’s theme is 4x4x4, and will bring composers and film makers together for an interesting mix and match of film and music created independently of one another.  Sort of like the elements of a sandwich!

Choose Your Own Adventure

Fresh back from an adventure of my own, join me at the 3rd Ward in Brooklyn on December 12th, 2010 at 7PM for Moviehouse: Artful Play. Described by the organizers as, “video performance with a playful and devious nature,” I’ll be offering up edibles to match…with your sense of adventure as part of the process.  Feel free to contact me for more information.  Hope to see you there!