Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Perfect Gravy....

Gravy, what a word. I've grown up knowing no other sauce. Everything usually had a gravy. If it was beef, beef gravy. If it was chicken, chicken gravy. If it was pork, you guessed it, PORK gravy (mmm, gorton! Growing up in NH was so awesome, lol).

Now that I've been in the business for so many years and learned the five mother sauces, there are no limits on how many sauce that can be created. I mean, there must be like thousands, eh?

I was making a simple roasted chicken the other night for the wife and I. I took some lime chili butter and spread it under the skin, stuffed the cavity with citrus, onions, garlic and a shit load of fresh herbs, olive oiled and salt and peppered the hell out of it all around. At the bottom of the roasting pan I put a pile of large diced mire poix to use as a "roasting rack". Roasted it in a 475 over for 30 minutes, finished it in a 350 oven and let it rest for about 20 minutes. The result was a bad ass crispy skin, juicy moist meat and a lot of really flavorful fond at the bottom of the pan.

So, now that I know the basics of a good sauce. Now that I know how to layer flavors and create flavor from flavor, that color and fat are flavor. That using a fat organic chicken instead of some little pullet they sell at the local grocery store. You know, the basics! Knowing all that, I thought, "How can I make the baddest gravy in the land?!

Sorry folks, I didnt take any pictures at all. I was just inspired to write about this after the wife and I just talked about that gravy. I mean, it was days ago and were still talking about it, lol. I promise, the next food related blog will have pics.

Anywho, so I look down at all this lovely goodness and remember watching the women in my life make gravy in the past. They would skim off all the fat, take all the lumps and goodies out and toss them, then thicken the remaining liquid with a corn starch slurry, maybe a little salt and pepper and poured into a gravy boat.

I wanted my gravy to be the baddest in the land, remember? So, I decided that it would be a shame to toss all those goodies and, of course, all that stuff still has great flavor, right? So, I took a little chiken stock, brought the roasting pan and all its goodness to a boil. Turned off the heat and pureed the entire thing with my stick blender until very smooth. Oddly enough, the vegetables acted like a natural thickener and I didn't even need to use slurry! (or a roux, which would have been preferred to make a proper sauce, in my opinion.)

I strained the puree, mounted it with a little whole butter, adjusted the seasoning and wham-o, the baddest gravy in the land :)

Yeah, the chicken came out so juicy, I barely needed gravy, but whatever. I put it on anyway along with everything else, Im such a fatty, lol.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hells Britain?

So, I've been reading Marco Pierre Whites current book, "The Devil in the Kitchen". Great book. I thank the good friend of mine that loaned it to me to read! Anyway, so I'm reading this book about this dude that was/ is a bad ass Chef in the kitchen. He's won Michelin Stars, mentored some of todays greatest Chefs and owns/ manages numerous amazing restaurants, but I've never heard of him before seeing him on Bourdain's "No Reservations" TV show!!! (bad ass show, btw, real TV for a change!)

So, reading about this dude kinda peaked my interest to do some research. I found a 45 minute interview from "Authors@Google" on YouTube. They were asking all sorts of questions about his new book, questions about his life in and out of the business, etc. He didn't seem like the dick that his reputation preceded.

Someone had asked him a question about the British version of Hells Kitchen that he'd been asked to host (kinda ironic as he used to make Ramsey cry like a bitch back in his mentoring days, lol.). As he was answering the question, he had mentioned that he turned them down 3 years previously because he didn't want to be on TV. Finally, they sent him DVDs of the US version of Hells Kitchen to maybe help convince him to host the show. He was kinda shocked that Ramsey just stood their at the pass and screamed and cussed at everyone. He also mentioned that there was no FOOD!!! (Shit, this guy sees that show a little like me.)

The thing that struck me as strange, and VERY TRUE, was that White was seemingly concerned that Ramsey is making the business look bad. That a show like that would NOT encourage people to join "the industry". That Marco would inspire people and not belittle them. What made me laugh and shake my head the most was when he said that "That Individual" has done more damage to the industry than good. Wow, so its not JUST ME!!

Anyway, was a GREAT interview. Check it out for yourself:

Sunday, July 20, 2008

New shows, more of the same?

So, drinking this mornings coffee (Sumatra I roasted to full city, French press, of course) watching a new show on food network called "Secrets of a Restaurant Chef" with Anne Burrell. Love the concept. I think it may be a tolerable show if she stops trying so hard to be funny, lol.

My only complaint, as with most new FN shows these days, is that they seem to be allowing a lot of mistakes to stay in on the finished show. Like today, for instance, she was crisping some sea bass skin in a saute pan and during the reveal shot, the fish was over done and stuck to the pan. She covered that up by saying that when the fish is ready to be turned, it'll let us know by coming unstuck. I laughed a little thinking, "ahh, ya dummy" and she went to commercial. Returning from the commercial break, they show the fish, ready to be turned, all perfect and pretty with rare flesh and not sticking to the pan. ITS A MIRACLE!!!!

She was also a little A.D.D. and was bouncing 'round (yes, I do mean bouncing and round, lol) all over the place, going from one non related item to the next. I do think this show has potential and will watch it a couple more times to make sure. Heck, if anything, I would enjoy watching that busty princess make dessert with her thumb ring, right? (whats with the thumb rings people!?)

Moving onto another shows I was checking out; Bobby Flays new show "Grill It". Seems he takes some under achiever and cooks some key ingredient on the grill with them. Todays episode was Lamb. Some Indian/ American dude was his guest. You should have seen the two of them talking back and forth and shit like a bad comedy act. The guest would act all excited (OVERLY excited if you ask me) about something he was adding to his yogurt marinade and Bobby Flay would ask him about it in a gay overly enthusiastic way and the guest would explain it like he won the culinary lottery. Jeesh dudes, wtf! A couple times Bobby Ga... I mean FLAY, would run over to the guests table and look around all child like and fake-ly (is that a word?) interested in what the dudes doing asking stupid questions. Anyway, the food, typical "Ancho Chili Powder Bobby Flay Shit" seemed decent and edible. I would eat anything they made, for sure. At the end, the guest made one marinaded lamb kabob and Bobby wrote a menu of like 6 items like he was trying to impress his date or something, lol. That dude just ooozes ego, doesnt he?

Yes, I finally found a show worth using the word "Favorite" and "Food Network TV show" in the same sentance. Its Jamie Olivers new show "Jamie at Home". He has this huge vegetable garden in his back yard. He picks something from it and does the entire episode based on that ingredient. As the British say, "BRILLIANT". That dude knows what he doing. Combine his use of color and textures with my HDTV and BLAMMO, good shit.

Seems FN is trying to keep shit diverse these days, which is a little bit of a relief (as long as it doesn't involve that 'Guy' dude, Rachael, Sondra or the butter queen from Savannah!). Until we get more shows with real food and people that know wtf they're doing, I wont be adding too many new shows from them to my DVR queue.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Saw another famous dude...

So, a friend of mine and I sat down with a couple awesome dudes this afternoon looking for some advice on how we can start our own cooking show (something like no other, like the exact oposite of all the crap I bitch about so much, right? We need that!!!)...

Anywho, so after that, we went down to enjoy an espresso and puff on a couple awesome CAO maduro cigars (stout beast, one of their best!!!) and, after bashing some of todays terrible reality food TV shows for a few minutes, we see Lou Patrozza from Hells Kitchen! It was like a sign from God or something! I mean, we were JUST discussing our dream of a TV future when along comes a recent veteran of the beast itself! Kinda cool, I thought.

We chatted for a few minutes, small talk mostly. Hes a great dude, very approchable and easy to talk to. Seems fame may not go to this dudes head (at least yet, lol).

My second Hells Kitchen dude so far.

Here's a pic: