May 2013 M T W T F S S « Mar 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
TagsA.J. Pierzynski Cage Free Eggs. Catfish Cheesecake Chef Andy Chef Andy Williams Chef Tal Ronnen Chicago Chicago Cubs Chicago White Sox Clermont Cook Books Dining in Chicago Earth Balance Butter Facebook Flavor Flavors Flavors and Passion Florida Food Foodie Awards Food Trends Gourmet Food Stores Gracious Living Design Center Hamburgers Hot Dogs Oprah Winfrey Orange Juice Orlando Orlando Florida Orlando Personal Chef Outdoor Grilling passion Personal Chef Andy Williams Personal Chef Orlando Personal Chef Orlando Florida Popcorn Private Chef Dinner Parties Red Wine Spring Time Stuffed Pizza Taste of Chicago 2009 Tequila wine Wine Barn
New Years Resolutions:
When milk or bread is past its prime, it leaves little doubt. And we know to keep a close eye on medications’ expiration dates. But how many of us have spice racks boasting bay leaves left over from 1992?
“I can’t believe what I find in people’s pantries — spices that are five, 10, even 15 years old,” says Michael Schulson, chef, restaurateur and former host of such TV shows as the Style Network’s Pantry Raid and TLC’s Ultimate Cake-Off. “And no one is more surprised than their owners, who just lost track of when they last bought spices.”
So how long should you keep spices?
Extracts 4 years (except pure vanilla, which lasts indefinitely)
Whole Spices 3-4 years
Ground Spices 2-3 years
Dried Herbs 1-3 years
Seasoning Blends 1-2 years
Schulson encourages home cooks to try the McCormick Fresh Tester. Rules of thumb for assessing freshness include color — if the product looks faded, the flavor likely is too — and weak aroma. Protecting spices from moisture, heat and direct sunlight will help their longevity.
Schulson likes to create meals and snacks by starting with the spices. “Use any combination of sage, oregano, thyme, basil and parsley to create an Italian dish,” he suggests. “Once you know your spice, add lean meat to create a flavorful dish.”
Spices also can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. Jazz up healthy brown rice with a mix of ginger, garlic, sesame seeds and black pepper for a tasty Asian flavor. Add a pinch of truffle salt to butter-free popcorn for a gourmet touch.
What am I drinking now?
Tortoise Creek Zinfandel, ” The Chelonian” Lodi 2010
Here is a wine that totally caught me off guard. I was not expecting the nose, flavors or finish when I just happened to pick this wine up from my FAVORITE wine store. This wine is absolutely fabulous in my opinion. Ready to drink now or could age a bit. I think its a great wine for the holidays. I would pair it with room temperature cheeses, hand crafted pizza’s, a grilled rib eye steak or a standing rib roast. A great first wine when guests arrive. This wine will not hurt your pocket book. In fact, I just bought a case so I have enough for this holiday Season! HAPPY HOLIDAYS!! EVERYONE!! ENJOY!!
P.S.- They are environmentally conscience.
This is from the winery:
Tortoise Creek Wines
2010 Zinfandel “The Chelonian”
Lodi, California (AVA)
“The Chelonian” refers to the genus of tortoises and turtles.
Our Zinfandel comes from three well-managed vineyards in the Clements Hills and Lodi-proper areas near Sacramento and is a blend of 90% Zinfandel, 5% Tannat and 5% Petite Syrah.
Gravity flow handling is used where the fruit is destemmed (but not crushed) and whole cluster fermentation maximizes flavor and color extractions. Extended maceration was used to add depth, structure, complexity and to stabilize the unique color of Zinfandel. To fill in the mid-palate and add softness the wine was aged in oak for 6 months.
Tasting Notes + Food Paring
No other variety represents the region of Lodi like Zinfandel. Over 100 years ago European settlers believed it to be the best fit for the climate and soils and their keen insight paid off. Our Zinfandel “The Chelonian” has a lovely spicy, cherry like bouquet and is bursting with sweet, berry flavors. There are also delicious overtones of black currant and plums, with a welcoming finish of vanilla and cinnamon toast. The wine is also very elegant and would be perfect with any spicy foods, game or beef.
Starting with the 2009 vintage Lodi Zinfandel “The Chelonian”, Tortoise Creek Wines has partnered with the Chelonian Research Foundation (CRF) to donate a portion of the annual profits to benefit the conservation of turtles and tortoises. The Chelonian Research Foundation, a non-profit organization, was founded in 1992 by Dr. Anders G.J. Rhodin for the production publication and support of worldwide turtle and tortoise research, with an emphasis on the scientific basis of chelonian diversity and conservation biology. More information can be found at www.chelonian.org.
Here is a recipe that I just love and especially around this time of the year. Fun, easy and an absolute crowd pleaser. It can be served alone, as a first course or complement your holiday meal. Roasting the squash brings out the natural sugars. I can eat it plan all day! Enjoy!
1 butternut squash (2 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
3 tablespoons unsalted butter plus another 3 tablespoons to finish
2 ounces thick cut bacon, diced
1/2 cup minced shallots (2 large)
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (10 ounces)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and Fresh ground black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds, and cut it into 3/4-inch cubes. You should have about 6 cups. Place the squash on a sheet pan and toss it with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing once, until very tender. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock in a small covered saucepan. Leave it on low heat to simmer.
In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and sauté the bacon and shallots on medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until the shallots are translucent but not browned. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 full ladles of stock to the rice. Stir, and simmer until the stock is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes. Continue to add the stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring every few minutes. Each time, cook until the mixture seems a little dry, then add more stock. Continue until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente, about 30 minutes total. Off the heat, add the roasted squash cubes, Parmesan cheese, rest of butter and season with salt and pepper too taste. Remember, you can always add, but you can never take away. Mix well and serve
1 1/2 cup silken Tofu sof
1 cup canned pumpkin well chilled-organic
2 cups soy or almond milk- or 2 cups of ice cold water
¼ cup agave
1 tablespoon pumpkin spice
Blend the tofu, pumpkin, milk/water, agave and pumpkin spice until lightly smooth. The flavor should be much like a pumpkin pie with the sweetness left up to your discretion. Place in freezer for 10 minutes and serve ice cold.
Now I’m learning and so I pass it on too you. I admit that I did not know what a Omakase Menu was, but I researched it and came across this excellent article. I hope you learn a thing or too about a new culinary trend that may be approaching your neck of the woods.
Here are nine Japanese-inspired restaurants across the United States that offer mind-blowing omakase menus. There are the traditionalists and those that stick to the basics (Naoe in Miami, Sushi Den in Denver), uni auteurs (Soto in New York), luxe show-stoppers (Urasawa in Los Angeles, Shaboo in Las Vegas), and entries from non-Japanese chefs that fall into the category in pretty virtuosic ways (Uchiko in Austin, O-Ya in Boston).
Be sure to nominate your favorites in the comments, and now, to the full list:
It is strange when one of the best restaurants in the country remains largely unnoticed, even by its local community. That is the case with chef Kevin Cory’s NAOE, which for years was located way north of Miami Beach in Sunny Isles but will soon open in Brickell.
This eight-seat bar is about as intimate as it gets, with Cory forming half of the operation — his business card cheekily bills him as “chef and dishwasher.” He doesn’t delve into fusion too heavily but instead relies on pure flavors and the impact of measured, near-perfect combinations in his tasting menus. You’ll get bento boxes with beautiful dishes like a bowl of rice with sardine and portobello mushrooms, or a plate of lightly cooked turnips with ankimo. To top it all off, you can have as much nigiri as you can handle.
Location:Los Angeles, CA
If you go to L.A., are interested in having some of the best Japanese food you’ll ever have, and can throw down serious amounts of cash (in excess of $300), you’re going to Hiro Urasawa’s eponymous restaurant in Beverly Hills.
Urasawa was for a time the assistant of master Masa Takayama, who in 2004 left this space to open bigger and pricier ventures in New York and later Las Vegas. By most accounts, the protegé’s restaurant is an able and similar replacement that presents what critic S. Irene Virbila calls “a series of intricate seasonal dishes and traditional sushi that are utterly beguiling.”
It’s been over ten years since the prolific restaurateur Stephen Starr teamed up with Masaharu Morimoto to open this trippy, cavernous, and very clubby Philadelphia dining room, and the passage of time hasn’t proven a hindrance to its popularity or quality.
It remains one of the great places in Philadelphia for pristine raw fish and clever composed dishes, and most would agree that if you can do it, go with the chef’s choice. Just hope to God that the foie gras chawan mushi, maguro niçoise, and ten-hour pork “kakuni” make an appearance. This isn’t intimate, this isn’t fiercely traditional. It’s just damn good.
Tiny and serene, Makoto is a place where you trade your shoes in for slippers at the door and the waitresses gracefully attend to your every need throughout the affair. It’s been around for over twenty years, and it still owns.
Sit at the wooden counter and submit topune chefs’ precise, traditional whims. Many would file this one under “kaiseki,” and the composed dishes are a real wonder, but so too is the sushi.
Husband-and-wife team Tim and Nancy Cushman are the duo behind what many would call Boston’s best restaurant.
Tim does the food, preparing both omakase and à la carte dishes from a vast menu that’s respectful of the Japanese traditions he fell in love with years ago but unafraid of taking thoughtful and effective risks. Yes, you’ll get your regular nigiri, but you can also find seared foie gras with chocolate and raisins sitting atop your sushi rice; or you’ll find a preparation of grilled mushrooms with soy sauce and a kind of rosemary aioli; or even tea-brined pork ribs with honey and scallion. And so much more.
Nancy makes sure you feel like the most important person in the room.
Location:Las Vegas, Nevada
Masa Takayama, who owns the lauded Masa in New York’s Time Warner Center, opened a venture in the two-year-old Aria Resort in Las Vegas that somehow manages to exceed the price of his New York temple of omakase. For those that can afford it, it’s about as good as this sort of thing can get.
For about $500, the restaurant welcomes you into an intimate but undeniably Vegasy room where the tables are fitted with induction stoves. The kitchen brings out luxe preparations of toro with caviar and all manner of dishes incorporating truffle, and then, it’s your turn to prepare the parade that follows. As Bloomberg’s Ryan Sutton put it, “It’s not Masa, where Takayama himself cuts the raw fish in front of you and hands you the pristine morsels. But there’s something just as intimate about swishing Ohmi beef through hot stock yourself and letting the meat dissolve into a fatty bliss in your mouth.”
Location:New York, NY
New York is in many ways omakase heaven, and any number of restaurants there could have made this list. But what makes chef Sotohiro Kosugi’s restaurant in the Greenwich VIllage so compelling is that it’s a relative sleeper, even with two Michelin stars. Because of that — and most importantly, the food — it is one of the more transporting Japanese experiences in the city.
Here, the omakase menu incorporates Kosugi’s delicate, precise preparations from the sushi bar, which include dishes like chopped kampachi amber jack with wasabi tobiko, pine nuts, and soy foam. It also features well his wife’s killer kitchen dishes, like a pitch-perfect chawanmushi and bonkers plate of uni tempura. The setting is consistently quiet, and they’ve managed to create an atmosphere that allows the food to shine but diners to have a as fun of a time as they wish.
Denver is landlocked, but that hasn’t kept Sushi Den from consistently remaining at the top of Denver’s best-of lists for nearly thirty years. That’s thanks to the brothers Kizaki, who have run the place from the beginning and get daily shipments of product from Japan.
Focus on the straightforward sushi tasting, but there’s also a nice variety of cooked dishes — tempura, soba and udon, eggplant and miso — that don’t break any boundaries but consistently hit the spot.
Paul Qui — that guy from this season of Top Chef — is actually probably one of the best cooks in the country, and what he does as executive chef at the sister restaurant of Tyson Cole’s Uchi is remarkable.You can order off the regular menu, but the move is to leave it in the kitchen’s hands so you can get the full idea of what they’re trying to do here.
The basics: an omakase that doesn’t limit itself to Japan and draws from Qui’s Filipino background and penchant for adventure and street food. Take, for instance, a dish of maguro sashimi with goat cheese, fuji apple, and pumpkin seed, or a preparation of wagyu beef that diners sear themselves on a hot Japanese river rock.