Monday, January 25, 2010
Food, Exciting and new,
Come aboard, we're expecting you.
Wine, life's sweetest reward,
Let it flow, it floats back to you...
Food Night! Soon we'll be making another run,
Fooooood Niiiight, promises something for everyone.
Set a course for Feb 13,
Your mind on a new bottle of vino.
Ok, sorry, I dunno where that came from but here's the deal.... FOOD NIGHT... is back on the books! Mark your calendars for February 13th. That's right, the day before Valentine's Day. And since we haven't exactly "done" that Food Night, we may go heavy on the red themed ingredients. You'll understand, won't you? Then again, perhaps we'll completely ignore the Hallmark Holiday. Who knows. Or maybe I should just stop talking now and let you go about your day...
But before I go, just an FYI that I'm almost done with one more post from the Truffle Food Night. I hate it when day jobs get in the way of recreation! But it's just a brief little number about what happens after Food Night, once the guests have gone home, and the food stuffs* that are left in the fridge are begging for attention... stay tuned......
* I love that term. "Food Stuffs". When I think "food stuffs", I think of DEECE ingredients. Pheasants, parmiggiano, good olives, heirloom tomatoes, micro greens, anything from Coastal Seafoods. Food Stuffs. That, is where Food Night begins... with simple Food Stuffs.
Oh, and happily, one of the main Food Night Players will be making a return appearance. You might think "Oh, I didn't even know anybody left". And you'd be RIGHT! You didn't know because I never told you. It wouldn't exactly seem right to say "Howdy, here's Food Night, and one of our main dudes is moving to California". I don't know much, but I know telling you that one of the main Food Nighters fled to Cali right after Food Night is not how to build momentum. But he's coming back. And if I had a picture of him, I'd put it right...... here. But I don't, since we seem to take more pictures of food stuffs* at Food Night than we do of ourselves.
* Told you it was fun to use that term. Food Stuffs. So delicious, yet so vague!
Sunday, January 10, 2010
* One of the coolest, and simplest, things I learned from The French Laundry Cookbook was that Chef Keller rarely has a lid on a pan in his kitchen. On page 190, there are instructions for how to make a parchment paper lid, which allows for some evaporation/concentration of the braising liquid, but keeps the meat from becoming too caramelized. Simple, yet effective. If it is good enough for Keller, it is good enough for Food Night, so that's how we roll - parchment lids.
The potatoes were done ahead of time as well. Thursday I gently poached them in olive oil and garlic, and stored them in the oil and garlic and a couple dried chiles until Food Night. Then Saturday night, I tossed them in a cast iron pan to put a nice sear on them. This was a quality, and painfully simple, do ahead preparation that I'll definitely use again. In fact I can't believe I haven't done this before. Plus I like saying "confit" potatoes. Sounds so regal and impressive, when it's actually easy as falling off a log. Can you simmer olive oil in a pan? Of course you can - and therefore you can make these potatoes, the inspiration for which I got here. Confit'ing is gonna become more common in my kitchen, I can tell. I wish I had done the venison that way, actually.
So, while I put together the first three courses of the evening, the venison was back in a really low oven, in the braising sauce had since been buzzed up with an immersion blender. When it was time to "slice" the roast, a small wave of panic passed over me. After poking and prodding the roast a bit, I could tell this thing wasn't going to be quite as succulent and tender like a lot of other braise-friendly cuts of meat I had worked with before. When I finally did take a knife to it, it flaked apart. Kind of like pulled pork, only without the moisture provided by fat (which as we've discussed, was nowhere to be seen here). It was indeed fairly dry, yet still tender, if that makes any sense. It certainly did not slice, so I did the only thing I could think of; I tossed the now "pulled venison" with plenty of that delicious sauce. Have another glance at the finished product... (there is venison in there, trust me, it's just being a little bashful)...
Finally, I'm really excited to announce that I have managed to convince a VERY special guest to attend a future Food Night! This guest is truly a gifted chef, not just some yahoo with a house, a couple cookbooks, a knife and an internet connection like yours truly. No, when this mystery guest goes to work every day, he goes to a restaurant. A freaking amazing, unique and fabulous restaurant. HIS restaurant, actually. OK, I need to stop there or I'll give away the surprise or have a stroke, and both of those things would lessen my enjoyment of the next Food Night.
* Individual results may vary.
I guess what I mean to say is, we are just getting started here at Food Night. Glad you are along for the ride.