sunday supper club: 01.22.12

March 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

i got a pretty late start on this one, which is never a good idea. rule #1 for myself: reserving plentiful prep-time is non-optional. i’m fooling myself when i think i can crank out anything other than “rustic” food with only an afternoon of prep.

apart from this spanish-inspired surf and turf plate which somehow found an interesting balance, there was nothing on the menu that i was completely happy with. the brandade was good, but there was nothing that elevated it past dip-status. the veg-fruit mosaic, ripped from blue hill, was not an exciting plate. the thickened apple vinaigrette dotting the plate was tasty and brought everything together, but the underlying mosaic did not pop; each ingredient failed to speak for itself which is the point of such an elemental dish. the tarte tatin was a total fail in execution. the caramel did some real funky stuff that has never happened to me before, and i was too demoralized at that point to remedy or redo. we ended up eating an ugly mess of puffed pastry, apples, sugar-butter?, and ice cream. yummm :/

brandade de morue
sourdough toast points

fall farm mosaic
carrot, beet, pear, watermelon radish, fennel, thickened apple red wine vinaigrette

surf and turf: part dos
crisped chicken thighs, braised baby octopus, tomato and smoked paprika braised black garbanzos

tarte tatin
vanilla ice cream, failure


Contra @ Presidio

March 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

Dinner for 16, minus dessert. Wish I had pictures:

I (Snacks)

toasts w/ artichoke tapenade, breakfast radish

crostini w/ asparagus, ricotta salata, preserved lemon, mint

roasted dates w/ parm & thyme

smoked salmon on rye w/ house crème fraiche, poppy seed, pickled red onion


Roasted carrot soup w/ vadouvan and carrot chip


Roasted halibut w/ barigoule of baby artichokes, sunchokes, and preserved lemon

Duck Prosciutto…. or Speck?

March 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

I finally got the chance to check out the Fatted Calf in Hayes Valley over the weekend. They’ve got plenty of weird stuff that is right up my alley, but I went for the Liberty Farms’ duck breast with an easy curing project in mind – duck prosciutto.

I’m adapting Ruhlman‘s recipe from Charcuterie which involves a straight salt cure overnight then a week or so to air dry. My girlfriend refused to let me hang it in her closet, so I’ll need to find a nice cool spot in the new apartment for it to cure. Depending on how it turns out, I might smoke it after to make it my version of a duck speck.

blue hill at stone barns. belated birthday dinner

February 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

Some time after the valet graciously took our broken down camry and we headed into the chateau-like stone barn… after we were taken through half a dozen plates of a truly inspired take on simple winter fruits and vegetables: raw and speared on toothpicks, with maybe a misting of seasoned water; battered and delicately fried, hanged from tree branches; colorfully arranged as a mosaic-salad along a gentle gradient of just cooked to barely touched, and dotted with a flavor-bursting gel vinaigrette; fundamentally altered as swiss chard was into marmalade or carrot was into salt, to accompany a toasted brioche and warm ricotta, strained table-side… and some time after we were led outside by our vigilant, informed, but relaxed waiter, in the cool winter night, dressed with soft Blue Hill scarves and introduced to Michael Gallina, who was rotating a blackened savoy cabbage that he had been turning every hour or so since the morning, self-steaming over a fire fueled by carbonized pork bone charcoal (served quartered, next to a swoosh of crème fraîche dotted with american caviar, I’m still tasting this dish weeks later)… after the mystical bowl of ham hock infused broth, with shelly beans, sliced duck heart, a slow cooked egg, and an unidentified foam which I’ll just call umami-foam… but before the three dessert courses, which included a perfect celery ice cream… and before I received the following menu (by post, no less), which I had anticipated all week, I knew I was having the meal of my life.


Melodramatic, much? I don’t care.

And of course there’s a lot missing here, but I don’t want to ruin it all with words.

Thanks for the unforgettable gift, Malc. And thank you, Blue Hill.

Wild Duck

January 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

I got this little fella as a party favor after a dinner party a few months ago. My girlfriend’s cousin had a freezer full of them after one of his friends went duck hunting and I was happy to take one off his hands. After finally deciding to make a Tuesday project out of it, I thawed the bird then salted and let it sit uncovered overnight in the fridge to help the skin crisp up better.

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sunday supper club: 01.15.12

January 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

January at the greenmarket in NYC starts to be frustrating. I’ve had so many beets, carrots, and apples at this point that I’m starting to fantasize about spring already when winter is barely under way. But there’s always more creativity to be squeezed out or old things to be newly attempted if you have it in you. This week, I didn’t, so I turned to thomas keller for assistance yet again.

My surf and turf was a vague impression of what I’m sure is a colossal dish at TFL.

short ribs and monkfish

The new look at carbonara using gnocchi instead of pasta seemed to work, although it will require some tweaking in the future. It was nice to be able to put my first cured meat on center stage, too.

I crisped up the last of the duck confit in a hot oven, sigh, and served it in a colorful, sweet, and peppery salad.

duck confit salad


duck confit salad
pea shoots, ginger beets, watermelon radish, orange citronette

gnocchi carbonara
house guanciale, grana padano, black pepper

surf and turf
red wine braised shortribs, monkfish, crimini, parsley

dark chocolate and fruit
rum milk, disappointment

sunday supper club: xmas eve

January 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

Cooking for family can be difficult. Everyone is happy to eat together, but nobody is shy about the dishes that they don’t like or that simply didn’t work.

For my dad, the octopus seemed a bit bland.

OCTOPUS. lime, serrano, fennel, black olive, orange

For my mom, the roasted parsnip agnolotti filling was too creamy.

PARSNIP AGNOLOTTI. brown butter, sage, beet-balsamic reduction

For my sister’s boyfriend, there were too many almonds in the salad.

WINTER KALE SALAD. radish, kohlrabi, apple, buttermilk dressing

For my sister, not enough duck fat was trimmed out of the confited legs.


For my brother, the cassoulet beans were a bit overdone.

CASSOULET. duck confit, herb sausage, pork belly, tired looking conrad.

And they all were right. This is how I stay honest and get better. Thanks guys.

Nobody had anything to say about the chocolate berry tart. Surprise, surprise.

merry christmas!