Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Night in the Kitchen.....

One night, no flash, only my 50mm lens.

So, Rob and I met when Tracey and I opened the restaurant 12 years ago. Shortly thereafter I asked him to come by and take some action shots, during service that we could use for promo and press release type stuff. He got some great images and he actually he shot film! I would love to be able to share some of those shots with you in the future.

Well tonight, he surprised me, hung out in the kitchen, snacked, drank, and he and I had a great time talking. Each of us doing our thing. I would be lying if I didn't say, that it took me a bit to relax and focus. I guess I don't like surprises. Yet, I was able to settle into a groove and do what I do.

We have both come a long way. Started families, Furthered and expanded our businesses, Self published a cook book, and now we are having fun with this blog collaboration.

I think his photos speak for themselves. But, I will offer you a few comments as you scroll along.

drying some herbs from the parking lot garden

the omnipotent black steel pans. I couldn't do it without them.

Cauliflower Steak for a vegetarian...

Finding my groove.

Marinated Oranges with Port Wine Sabayon as a dessert for a lactose intolerant customer.

loosing focus?

Panko Crusted Bass with Soy Butter...

nice little steaks!

Prince Edward Island Mussels Steamed in White Wine.

one more steak...


everyone ordered scallops tonight.

This fine gentleman had an amazing meal and insists I am lying about my age!

I have to say that all in all it was a pretty uneventful night. I hope you enjoyed your backstage tour.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

even steven

Sorry, it has been a while...

I wanted to share a story.

On our last trip to California, a few years back, Tracey and I shared an aisle with a guy about my age. If you know me at all, you know I'm a bit shy at first, but, still very friendly. Except on the plane. The last thing I want to do is make "friends" with some joker I will never see again. My M.O. is to bury my nose in a magazine, scrape the meal around, watch a movie and barely acknowledge your presence until shortly before landing. Then I can assume my regular status, make a little small talk and then you feel like we bonded. On this particular flight the Joe sitting next to me was a perfect Gentleman. No armrest hogging, zero flatulence, happy to be left alone. So, upon descent, I strike up a conversation. Turns out, the guy is flying on a Buddy Pass. For those of you not in the know, this means he has a friend that works for the airline and if there is a seat available he flies for free. So I say to him "I think that's really cool for you. However, I never get that. Don't miss understand, I don't have bad luck, I just never win anything. I never get the free upgrade. My scratch off never hits.I don't have a "buddy" in the airline biz." We have a laugh, exchange itineraries and move on. Never to see one another again. So anyway Trace and I have a great week! Wine Country, restaurants, you get the picture. We get to the last stop and try to check into our hotel. A cool old school place in Sausalito just north of San Fransisco. Upon presenting myself at the front desk I am informed that we have been "upgraded". What are the chances? Apparently we will be staying in the Caseta. I didn't and still don't know what a caseta is. But they proceed to give us driving directions which lead us to a trailer behind the house of the owner of the hotel. Let me tell you, the overgrowth was competing with the Graffiti. And, the toilet facilities were a separate entity. You actually had to leave the casita to pee. A lovely little pied a tere, maybe. But not an upgrade from hotel living. We had a great time none the less. Which brings me to the point of the story. I am very pleased with my lot in life I consider myself truly blessed. With a healthy family, a partner that I truly adore, and on top of that I get to cook food for nice people, and I get paid to do it. But, truth be told I have never really won anything. And that's where you come in. Rob and I decided to enter this Photo contest. I told him what I had in mind. A dog-eared copy of Zagat, with a plate of food on our bar. The crust of the Creme Brulee seemed like a perfect choice to highlight the copper. The hammer was made for me by a now long gone, but treasured employee. As usual, Rob worked his magic and right now our photo is in first place. For the first time ever I may very well win something! And that something is a trip for two to Las Vegas! Rob and I agreed that we wouldn't leave the ladies home. It's a trip for two after all. So we'll need to figure out the details.Like who is getting in the suitcase. Anyway, here are some shots that didn't make the cut. Oh, and by the way, If you didn't vote today there is still time.

4 eggs
4 egg yolks
1 cup sugar (plus some for the topping)
1 quart heavy cream
1 vanilla bean

combine the eggs and sugar, split the bean and add it to the cream. bring the cream to a boil, pour over the egg mixture. strain. pour into 8, 1 cup ramekins bake in a water bath at 350 degrees for about 30 min. or until just set. chill the custards, then sprinkle with sugar and brulee with a propane torch. Enjoy your dessert and then send Rob and Andre' to Vegas!!!

Thursday, August 5, 2010


just one bite...

imagine your eyes are closed as you read this. A large spoon... as you bring it to your lips you smell the basil, plucked only minutes ago... you put the spoon in your mouth and barely sense the metal on teeth because you are hit with a rush of flavor, texture and temperature... of course the basil hits you first. But, it is followed immediately with the , let's get this party started taste and texture of cool, ripe, sushi grade avocado and a punch of lime...then you feel the warmth and richness of the creamed corn...punctuated by little pops of this point it's headed upward into the olfactory...and then you sense the truffle oil, pulling all the flavors together as they reverberate in your mouth... and then they all go away,... but you are left with a lingering sense of freshness, brightness, sweet creamy goodness and the funky earthy lovely taste that makes you wish it wasn't just one bite. In real time this took 1.78 seconds.

At the restaurant each night we offer a little bite from the kitchen, this one occurred a few weeks ago and I wrote it down and sent it to Rob as an idea for a potential post.

So, we went to "the Garden" as we affectionately call The Community Supported Garden at Genesis Farm, a CSG that both of our families belong to. I got a lesson in picking corn, and how to tell if it's ready. And, yes the silk at the top is already dried out when it's picked.

Then I went down to the garden house and picked out some other great stuff and threw together a soup.

Onion, garlic, peppers, eggplant, zucchini, all cooked slowly in a bit of oil. Then a splash of wine and chicken stock to cover. Cut the corn off the cob. add the cob to the pot and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Remove the cobs, add the corn, simmer 2-3 minutes. Puree, add a bit of heavy cream. Adjust the seasoning and top with crab meat, basil, and diced tomato.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

burger anyone?

Many words have been written about the Hamburger. So many, that you have to wonder if there is anything more to say. The ultimate American "Sandwich"! Like so much of our culture it started with something we stole from somewhere else and completely took ownership of. Maybe Rob and I just needed an excuse to get together and enjoy some ground beef. Anyway I'll give it a go.

If you haven't already picked up Anthony Bourdain's new book "Medium Raw" I would recommend it. He writes a chapter about the beloved burger that is equal parts funny and scary.

In any case this American Classic seems to take on a new costume everyday. A new topping or addition to grab our attention. A new layer of gold on an already perfect lily. I admit it, I am among the guilty in this. One of my early creative endeavors, I might have been eight years old, was the "Hamdogger" a hot dog encased in ground beef, grilled and served on a hot dog bun. Destined for failure, because to leave the beef a respectable mid rare you end up with a cool hot dog. Not very appetizing. I have done my fare share of stuffing burgers, and topping them with all kinds of stuff. BBQ pulled pork inside of a cheese burger topped with coleslaw is a wonderful thing. The burger on a toasted English Muffin with Taylor Ham and Cheese was a Saturday night staple for me for quite some time.

If you haven't tasted, I'm sure that you have at least heard of the million dollar burgers making their way onto four star menus from coast to coast. There isn't a single thing wrong with the DB burger.http://http// With it's filling of braised short ribs and foie gras and black truffle on a house baked brioche bun.

But, when I set about designing the burger for Andre's I wanted to keep it pretty straight forward but still show that I wasn't being lazy. Just a little tweak to amp up the flavor.

It starts with dry aged Angus beef from the back end of the strip loin. To this I add hickory smoked bacon for a 25-30% total fat content. Keep everything nice and cold and grind away. We use the Kitchen aid mixer with a grinder attachment. Season with salt and pepper just before grilling, top with aged Gouda and serve on our house made English Muffin with our own pickles and freshly made mayo.

English muffin

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon honey
corn meal

combine the yeast and water, put flour in mixing bowl with salt, with machine running add yeast mixture, honey, and melted butter. knead about 5 min. for a smooth elastic dough. roll to 1/2inch rectangle and place on a floured tray in the fridge for 15-20 min. Re roll to 1/4 inch and cut desired shapes. dust with cornmeal, cover and let rise until double the volume. Cook on a preheated iron griddle for about 8 min. per side. cool on a rack. cut with a fork. toast and go.


check back to the crab post for this recipe


Typically we use an English cucumber. But, this time of year you can get great local organic cukes. Make a brine of 1 cup Sugar, 1 cup Water, and 1 cup Champagne Vinegar, 1/3 cup salt season as you like. heat the brine and pour over the sliced cucumber. Let stand in the fridge overnight or up to 2 weeks.

Oh, and would you be kind enough to pass me that beer?