Monday, August 16, 2010

The latest and greatest, trials and mistrials!

Niagara Ice Wine Glazed Foie Gras
Pickled Ontario Rhubarb
House Granola, Blackberry
*I was really happy with this dish. When I think of Niagara Ice Wine, ingredients like rhubarb, berries, and foie naturally come to mind. I added our own granola for a hint of vanilla flavour and texture. I feel 100% about this dish.
Aquavit, Cylinder Beet Cured Artic Char
Summer Asparagus, Fennel, Taggesica Olive, Citrus Salad
*Barry Mooney's dish. Not done in the traditional gravlax style. Rather, a brine was made with 55% kosher salt, 40% brown sugar, 5% aquavit, and the aromatics (fennel seed, orange zest, cylinder beet). The char was submerged and pressed for six hours. Final thoughts were it could have cured at least 2 more hours for the full cure but that's nit-picking. The colours and flavour really excited us.
Rabbit Rillette
Medjool Date Jam
*Working on new vessels for the charcuterie platter; we cleaned 1 rabbit, cured it for 16 hours in a kosher salt, parsley/thyme mix, confit'ed it in duck fat @ 190f for 8 hours, pulled the meat, added diced shallots, koziks mustard, black pepper, toasted fennel, a hint of orange zest and emulsified it with duck fat.
The jam is beyond easy. Pitted medjool date and water. Steep. Puree.
-Overall, the idea is great. However, we did two things wrong, which is to say, we did learn two things not to do the next time.
1st, Cure for only 8 hours, the lasting saltiness was too much. and
2nd, Do not bind the meat with only pure duck fat. We should have used a nice fortified stock to add moister, then finished it off with a little bit of duck fat.
The next round will be perfect.

Foie Gras Butter
*Not just taking Foie and launching it in a food processor with butter!
I like a 1:1 ratio of foie and butter.
1) Leave one pound of butter at room temperature.
2) Take one pound of foie gras and score the smooth side. Season with kosher salt. Using an oven-friendly skillet on high heat, (I actually take a small piece of foie and sear it off in the pan to "oil" it first) sear the foie score side down first , then flip (for the love of anything, use an off-set spatula!) and finish in the oven. It will be ready in 4 minutes when it feels like a rare steak.
3) Remove the fois, wait 4 minutes for it to cool slightly and put into the processor. Using a fine chinois, strain and reserve the melted fat from the skillet.
4) Add the butter into the processor and buzz until blended. Slowly add the strained fat, and finish off by seasoning with kosher salt, and Quatre D'epices (Equal parts Allspice, Cinnamon, Cloves, and Nutmeg). Strain it all through a fine chinois.

Canadian Artisan Cheese Plate
1608, Geai Bleu, Niagara Gold, Big Brother, Allegretto
Spiced Wild Blueberry Compote, 2010 RYH Rooftop Honey
Fig Brulee

*I am showcasing the cheese selection because I have just tried the raw harvest of the 2010 Royal York Honey and I am excited. The interesting difference between a single-sourced honey (The Beatles) compared to an everyday grocery store version (elavator music) is the complexity of the former.
This year's crop was distinct to my palate. First, strawberries, a hint of Rhubarb, and then a little fresh Grapefruit...
...I am convinced that like wine and its terroir, the bees and their surrounding really influence the outcome of the product. In this case, the terroir, not being the micro-climate and soil, but rather, the variable plants the bees travel to this year really seems to have worked out well. (I think I just figured out why we have a huge garden bed of lavender right by the hives up on the roof...)
The past couple weeks have proven to be very busy. I showcased what we have been focusing on in the restaurant, however, my own garden has proven to be an attention grabbing endeavor as well. This past week I have harvested about 150 tomatoes and preserved them (another blog idea...). The cucumbers are done for the year (18 of them) and this week I will need to harvest the french beans, jalepeno, and bell peppers.

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