Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by wattacetti

  1. wattacetti

    Dinner! 2007

    You'd be surprised at what you can do with that amount and it's a whole lot easier with a well-stocked pantry. There's going to be nothing huge portion wise: all seasonal (and local) fruits and vegetables, and your proteins are generally interesting selections that you're going to have to transform into something really tasty. Most of my budget went to acquiring fish.
  2. wattacetti

    Dinner! 2007

    Very tasty. Looks like you're searing the loin and finishing in the oven. Yes?
  3. wattacetti

    Dinner! 2007

    It’s now been over a year since I held my “economy tasting menu” (click here). Last time around it was to prove a point by demonstrating that one could cook well and serve interesting food on a tiny budget. Given the recent Top Chef cheap catering challenge that’s sparking so much eG commentary, I decided it might be fun to do it again and put out the word ($10 per person so that each person feels “committed”, I supply grunt work and wines). Five takers, including one vegetarian. Good on the service number, but $50 was so-so on budget flexibility. Following a bit of rummaging through the pantry I had seven courses set out, and diligent shopping had me run the grocery bill to $52 ($2 overbudget). Not bad, and I had a couple of freebie luxury items to work with as well. All items purchased from either the Pinsonneaults’ stands at the Atwater Market, Fruiterie Atwater, Marché Hawaii (in St-Laurent) or Gidney’s (also in St-Laurent). Some of the acquisitions: And I’m still struggling with plating on rectangular plates. Foie gras A brick of Périgord foie gras (gift) with white balsamic cream on top of caramelized onions and a hazelnut and raisin sourdough toast. Something to get everyone settled in before I swung into the actual meal and yes, everyone had some. Wine pairing: 2003 Château d’Arche Sauternes Did I mention that everyone had some of this? Carrot soup Carrots, onion, ginger, Hakutsuru nigori sake, chicken stock, quality time with an immersion blender and a mesh sieve. Served cold with a little olive oil and sherry vinegar because it was still somewhat warm on Saturday. Wine pairing: none Black mullet roe with glass noodles Black mullet roe from Taiwan (another gift from a while back) brushed with sake during roasting. Served with glass noodles, quail egg and shiso. Wine pairing: Horin Junmai Ginjō sake As a dish, this looked really good on paper and it was until I had to start plating. The end result unfortunately looks a bit like a deflated Michelin Man sporting green dreadlocks. I also hadn’t anticipated that most people wouldn’t be used to the taste and texture of the roasted roe. Say this was a “miss”. Close-up of the quail egg. Nice soft slightly runny yolk (I’d want this even runnier next time). Matsutake hoiruyaki One of the “bonus” dishes not on the original plan of seven. Found some good-condition matsutake at the Atwater Market and I just had to try it out since it’s not like they’re readily available. Was originally going to simply grill them but then I read Horiyuki’s matsutake suggestion and figured his approach would save me some time and attention span. Each package also had shimeji (I only bought three matsutake – they don’t exactly give these away) and junmai ginjō. Wine pairing: continued with sake One little problem: didn’t know about one participant’s aversion to mushrooms (oops). Tomato Tomatoes from the Pinsonneaults served with year-old Manchego, Hawaiian black salt and a vinaigrette made of Pedro Ximinez vinegar, piment d'espelette and Spanish olive oil. Wine pairing: 2006 St Hubertus Riesling (Canada) In hindsight this was an awful wine pairing (fino would have been better) but I think they couldn’t take any more of the sake and just needed something grape-y. Duo of salmon Wine Pairing: 2005 Palliser Estates Riesling (New Zealand) Simple pan-roast salmon with buttered two-color carrots. Lime-cured salmon with olive oil and onion confit. This is a Marcus Wareing recipe – I had no time for a proper gravlax or confit and had to find something other than tartar, sashimi, tataki, poke, ceviche or tiradito (all those forms that I’ve already done in the past). Sake-marinated sablefish Roasted sake-marinated sablefish with quinoa, sautéed arugula and a sauce made from the reduced marinade. Wine pairing: 2003 Palliser Estates Pinot Noir Cheese course The second bonus dish outside of the plan of seven. I’ve been debating the rationale of serving a real cheese course versus cheese-containing dishes with Sher.eats as she plans her upcoming tasting menu (15-Sep-2007 I think; click here for thread). Wine pairing: none (they were having difficulty finishing the Pinot by this point) Two Quebec raw-milk cheeses (both cow) because I had flashbacks of the kinds of cheese available in Asia (white and orange; just like Ontario!): Pont Couvert (a new one for me; on left) and Pied-de-Vent (on right) with orange tomatoes and ground cherries (also from the Pinsonneaults – they grow good stuff). Same toasted hazelnut and raisin sourdough. Peach tataki Given the amount of food, I asked if they wanted me to serve a dessert or let it go: they wanted it, so it was a lightly poached and grilled peach sauced with butter, honey, sherry vinegar, cinnamon and piment d’espelette. I continue to struggle with desserts. I’m not sure how this tasted or what people thought of the cooked/raw texture but I think that if I had to do it again, I’d poach in simple syrup and cinnamon and leave it as that. Or I could have Ling look at this and watch her develop it into something good. Total service time: 5 hours.
  4. wattacetti

    Tim Hortons

    Better than Krispy Kreme and Dunkin's, and they're a nice way to break up the monotony when driving from Montreal to Quebec City (I know every outlet on the route and who does what best). Not a fan of their coffee though but it's road coffee and very popular during the March promo season.
  5. What are you going to use the sauce for? Savory or sweet applications?
  6. The problem with uncooked cheese (in Asia) is that cheese isn't a common component of Asian cuisines and there is an aroma issue that pretty much everyone I've ever met talks about (fermented tofu is okay, but even bocconcini has a "smell"). The most common forms that I saw available were very mild white cheese and very mild orange one (it's as if the Ontarians had a lock on supply). The most common usages in restaurants were also… cheeseburgers (orange) and pizza (white). Anyway, I have this impression that the cheese course is going to stay in there because in the best "Americans always put ketchup on their food" tradition, tasting menus always include cheese courses (which they don't). All three of the cheese dishes are a little forced. Brie en feuilleté: seen it but adding pepper and watercress (?) makes me think starter. Roquefort in a trifle. And a *canoli*. Makes me want to ask where's the mini-quiche?
  7. The potato cake looks interesting and this seems to be a better choice than much of what I'm facing when in southern NJ. However, your dessert is what I get as a mid-movie snack on airplanes, except that I also get cookies on the side.
  8. Interesting clarifications. Sea urchin Not sure if parsley is the best idea in the world to liven the color; I suspect that the flavor of the herb is going to overwhelm your lobster jell-o. Tony Adams (Tonyy13) demonstrated the plating involving a gremolata gelée within his eGCI Plating and Presentation course (click here), and that's a good place to start for presentation ideas. There would be others to give you better wine pairings but I'm not loving the idea of champagne with this. I've been leaning more towards junmai ginjō sakes when serving delicate seafood preps. Ravioli The sequence feels somewhat jarring but you'll see how your guests react. It better be one really good pea preparation though. Foie gras I'd still go with only one preparation regardless of what they may have said in the past. This is a tasting menu, which generally necessitates smaller portions. If the foie is too small, they may not fully appreciate the differences (the one spoonful is nice, but… scenario). If you up the amount, you may overload them and they may not necessarily be able to appreciate the rest of the meal without resorting to a couple of rounds of Shalmanese's mid-meal pause. Why not pick just one preparation that they've never seem before? I'm pretty sure that they know what poêlé looks like and I'm pretty sure they know what terrine looks like. Alain Senderens was renowned for his foie in cabbage at Lucas Carton, Ginor's foie gras cookbook has plenty of options, and there's always Iron Chef. By the way, this is where I'd go with the Sauternes but it ultimately depends on the preparation you elect to stick with (I've done foie with Argentine Chardonnay, auslese Rieslings and Puligny-Montrachet). All Sauternes are sweet but some are better suited to savory applications than others. Why Rieussec in particular? Ratatouille Whipped ratatouille foam is now a standalone vegetable dish because you're saying that "its appetizing flavor seems like an appropriate introduction into the beef course." Fine, but you also describe your guests as "foodies, but unfamiliar to french cusine and are virgins to the modern techniques." I can see someone sitting at the table thinking "you're telling me that this is a vegetable dish but all I'm seeing is you using a whipped cream dispenser to blow purply-grey sputum into my bowl." Are you planning on serving something to go along with that appetizing foam? They're going to need some more wine if you don't. Beef Léoville-Poyferré: why this particular second-growth? I have a couple of bottles of the 1996 which I think may be good to go some time next decade. I would have leaned more towards a Syrah due to the plum (assuming the sirloin isn't also sauced). You should re-think the plating because eating from two plates during the same course takes a lot of real estate and isn't necessarily fun. Percyn, mobyp, BryanZ and others have plated some really interesting beef in the Dinner! thread (click here), though with 701 pages there's a bit of digging to find them. Ditto Kamozawa & Talbot on their Ideas in Food blogsite (click here). Cheese Dunno. Transforming Brie, Roquefort, goat and ricotta still seems to be a waste, and if they don't like cheese, I'm not sure that Roquefort and goat are going to convince them otherwise. Unless they're really adventurous, the guest perspective would be to ease them in with something mild and non-threatening: sharp and blue don't quite fit that criteria. Still think one transformation (ricotta), one mild soft cheese, one mild hard cheese (Wensleydale?), accompaniments and a really good white. Dessert Never one of my strong points, but is your dessert a straight rip from the French Laundry? -- All in all, it's definitely more manageable than V1. I still think texture is missing: soft jello, soft ravioli, crackling, soft foie, soft foie with soft bread, goo, chewy beef, soft beef (with purée and soft carrots), crispy cheese x2, soft cheese. There are 11 components in the first 6 courses; only course #2 and #6 contain something crisp, while #5 has a chewy one. However, every single plate has something squishy that only needs to be gummed. Rubino-style plating is also another time killer and not a nice place to be tripped up on. I shouldn't talk because my own stuff doesn't show it, but minimalism is a really nice way to go (re: Ideas in Food). Anyway, one week until your big day. As with everyone else, I'm curious to see your photos (prep and actual service) and more than curious about your guests comments and reactions. Major props to you if you can pull off your vision.
  9. Okay, I guess I'm in the minority regarding pre-gnaw. Buffalo wing consommé would be an interesting sight to see. The team over at Ideas in Food are apparently playing with making a hot dog stock (tasting of an "all-dressed" to boot), so why not wing consommé.
  10. Well, that's at least fewer components than version 1. As it stands with your intended progression (and without any changes), it starts of light (jell-o, ravioli) and then goes very heavy before dessert (foie, beef, cheese). Texturally, apart from toast, crackling, and (hopefully seared rare) sirloin, everything else up to the cheese is soft. Any thought as to wine pairings? Sea urchin Presentation's a little blah especially in regards to color. Would be interesting to see this as a free-standing cube of jell-o but that would be difficult unless you intend to also stabilize the cream and the oil. Any thought as to a contrasting flavor and texture to play off the soft and creamy? You can clarify the lobster stock by using the synerisis technique (add gelatin to the stock; let set and freeze; thaw block through a coffee filter). Ravioli I originally sided with the pea since I felt that the taste would be fresher overall than onion soup, but I can also see Shalmanese's point in that "it's been done." Now that the crackling is paired with the ravioli, how does the crackling fit with this apart from just being another texture either before or after the sphere? Flavor-wise, I've had ham and peas before, but they were together on the same plate (and as a side). Others have already discussed how to encapsulate a solid within the liquid but doing that sort-of defeats the purpose of having crackling. foie gras Why the necessity of a duo? Where does the ratatouille foam fit into this? Terrine? The flavors and textures of the foam work well together, or with the foie? I'm not really picturing this combination doing that well with either foie preparation. beef Where does the sirloin get plated? In hindsight this pairing reminds me of Harold Deiterle's Top Chef plate. cheese Tell me again why there is an insistence on keeping three cooked cheese dishes for your cheese course? Doesn't show off the cheese and just feels unbalanced.
  11. I think it's where you live and the culture of your restauranteurs. Most places I go to locally have cheese plates available (pre-set or by selection), and they generally hope that one would order both cheese and dessert.
  12. I'd throw them out. I'm not quite understanding the "evening of beer and chicken wings" part: they're not pre-gnawed are they?
  13. I've had that donut (it's just okay). Things are coming along really nicely and I think the new flooring looks really good. How do you feel about enclosing the flitch beam?
  14. I am trying to read "Magasin Général" by Régis Loisel and Jean-Louis Tripp (Casterman Books, ISBN 2-203-37013-0). But I'm not succeeding because the phone keeps ringing. Have Morimoto on order as well as one of the el Bulli volumes.
  15. Excellent reviews. I'm going to be in Chicago in November but already know that I won't be visiting any of these establishments (ah, the joys of babysitting adult invitees). Looking forward to the next installments.
  16. wattacetti

    Dinner! 2007

    Would that not constitute having to share?
  17. I stepped into my first ever D&D when I visited Kansas City last month; wanted to see what all the fuss was about and to pick up a water bottle and a snack for the drive to the airport. Okay - what is it with this place? $8 USD for 200 g of Puy lentils which look about the same as the ones I buy at $2.29 CAD for 900 g (only 17x more). Produce didn't look any better than anywhere else I've seen though I would expect that someone's grandmother hand-nurtured each avocado for what they were charging for it. It all reminded me of buying luxury goods at Sogo - the only thing important was to be able to tell everyone how much money you spent. I left without buying anything: price-wise it was cheaper to eat at the airport.
  18. It's going to be interesting to see Sher.eats' V2 menu, though from her last post (16 elements) it's still going to be a lot of food to prep (excluding the kids' menu) and consume. Shal - interesting course-by-course dissection of the original menu.
  19. R&D appears to be going to the non-fried and presumably lighter side of the menu: deli sandwiches (which don't appear to be readily available in the US) and new salads. Are the wraps that successful? The last successful product launches I remember are McNuggets and the McChicken. On the burger side, I guess it would be the Quarter Pounder. Still remember the launch of the McLean.
  20. wattacetti

    Dinner! 2007

    Okay, I'll bite. What were the egg yolk experiments?
  21. I'm going to step on my "negativity" soapbox here and reiterate how much of a nightmare scenario you're proposing. Unless you're seriously putting us on and are actually trained chefs, I'm reading that you're university students or junior faculty (?). You are fooling yourselves if you think you have enough time to prep, practice and plate what is being listed. Look for bilrus' posting on making a 5-course meal from the French Laundry Cookbook if you want a real a sense on how much practice and prep is involved. Adult menu: you're serving four guests but want to press-gang one of your invitees to help (doesn't sound like fun for the invitee). Don't kid yourselves that you're going to be eating with your guests. If you do this menu, you will be cooking and nothing but. Children: you are now going to have to create something that four children are going to eat. Entirely separate menu and entirely separate logistics. Either drop the kids or dump the existing menu and serve something the kids will also like. Your kitchen setup is a home kitchen. I don't know what HK kitchens are like space-wise but I've seen "big" ones in Taiwan. My apartment's galley kitchen is immense compared to them, they are not set up for individual plating and you want to do intricate plating (you're being influenced by the Rubinos?). In addition, you have one cooktop with 5 burners and one oven, which means that it's going to be really tricky completing any one dish and starting the next one in the amounts that you're looking for. Okay, you're going to make some of this stuff in advance. Have the appropriate storage for all of it and your dernière minute fresh ingredients? Your "helper" (maid?) is not a trained waiter and probably won't appreciate having to wash dishes for several hours. You haven't mentioned at all whether you know how to execute any of the techniques required but your comment "Iberico Skin Cracking Cracked day beforehand" tells me something. Based on your reply to GordonCooks, it also appears that you might not have all of your ingredients available to you. 10 days is a really short time to source stuff. I now count 23 discrete preparations over nine courses, with two courses have four preparations each. That's a lot of food. In contrast Guy Savoy's "Couleurs, Textures et Saveurs" tasting menu has 10 courses, but topped out at 19 discrete preparations when I saw it (I didn't eat before that dinner and still had to work hard at it). Are you sure that your guests can eat all of that? jackal10's right: none of your dishes work as bites and in order for your guests to understand what you're trying to do, they're going to eat small plate quantities. You have pigeon (1/2 bird each), 4 types of beef, 2 servings of foie, 3 cooked cheeses and seven dessert items. Your menu continues to be unbalanced. When I look at it following your comments on being influenced by Robuchon, Keller, Adría and the Rubinos(!) I have this nagging feeling that you're blindly picking out of the el Bulli cookbooks and what you see on the Lifestyle Channel. Re-think, revise and reorder. If I had to deal with this: Keep Liquid Ravioli of Fresh Pea Soup Pan-seared Foie Gras w Black Cherry & Red Wine Reduction Sliced Japanese Wagyu Rib Finger, slow roasted , brushed w soy w sushi rice Braised Beef Cheek red wine plum sauce Cheese Course - just get cheese Petite Fours - Citrus Shortbread (yuzu scented) - Grape Jellies Dump the rest. You still have French technique, you still have one modern technique, you get to keep some cow, and it's focused. Even with this, you're still not eating with your guests for anything except perhaps the last dish. But that's my two cents and I'll get off the soapbox now. I expect that you'll probably decide not to t deviate too much from you've already proposed so it'll be interesting to see your documentation of the process (supporting photos perhaps?) and how well the night goes. Takers for an eG blog?
  22. I re-read your post and the edit and you're catering. What exactly is your role in this? Cook (one of the two?), logistics guy, host… 1. Can you secure the ingredients that you want in the quality and quantity that you want? 2. Much of your menu is dernière minute stuff so that week won't really help you. 3. One oven overall or just one gas oven? And one more question: exactly how did you come up with this menu? I still think that you should simplify and re-order your menu: one foam, one jelly, one alginate (and not in the same course). Also dump the necessity to serve duos on each plate; either break it apart into more courses or just drop one idea and serve the stronger of the pair. If you must do the ravioli, do one. Not sure that everyone wants to consume that much alginate at a time. Not sure about the idea of serving foie gras after a beef course since that's one very rich plate right after a rich and heavy one. That should be earlier in your menu (perhaps after the pigeon if you still want it on). If your salad is intended as a palate cleanser, keep it that way. Is there a reason why you need to serve beef four ways? (four's generally not a good number to use in Asia anyway). You can make this a duo - I like the Kobe and the beef cheek or a leaner cut and the marrow. Kill the three cooked cheeses, you're not showcasing cheese as a savory bridge to dessert by doing this. Jackal10's idea of one cooked and one or two contrasting accompaniments is the better way to go.
  23. wattacetti

    Dinner! 2007

    This past weekend was Labor Day Weekend so I labored. Cooked dinner for two friends including my best pal (the one I keep gavaging on Ground Hog Day) so that I could have an opportunity to use some of my Riedel stemware. Started off with a Devaux NV Blanc de Noirs Champagne. I primarily blame this for my shaky photography and crappy plating. Scallop tiradito with tomato and microgreens Confit quail legs With sherry vinegar gastrique, ground cherries and serrano ham dust. Still practising (and not really succeeding with) plating on those nice rectangular plates. Switched over to a 2005 Quail's Gate Family Reserve Chardonnay. Grilled prawn With grilled corn and sautéed arugula. Continued with the Chardonnay. Roast quail Deboned quail stuffed with pan-seared foie gras, morels and more quail. Served with roasted multicolored carrots and snap peas and a quail and morel jus. Switched over to a 2002 Walter Hansell "South Slope" Pinot Noir. Braised beef short rib Organic beef short ribs braised in NZ Pinot Noir; served with potato purée and mushrooms (shimeji, chanterelle jaunissante and pied bleu). Continued with the Pinot. Manchego with figs Not shown. Year-old manchego served with figs that I blowtorched with honey and white balsamic cream. Had to abandon dessert. Apart from serving too much food, they were getting pretty blotto from having consumed nearly 3 bottles of wine (I forgot to give them water during the meal).
  24. As someone who's done several such multicourse menus, that's quite ambitious and probably a really bad idea. Logistically this is a nightmare scenario if you're planning to do this without kitchen help (and especially if you're trying this with a home kitchen). I have done 63 plates on my own (7 x 9 courses); and the night was essentially a blur of cooking, plating, and washing dishes and cutlery for the next round. This with 6 courses prepared ahead of time and all of my mise-en-place done hours in advance. My first question is have you done anything to this scale before? You are going to be pushing out ninety plates that night (10 x 9 courses), but your first four courses are duos, and your next four dishes have a total of twelve different components. By my count that's 200 portions for the evening. Are you using a home kitchen or a commercial kitchen? Do you have enough plates and equipment? Do you have prep staff and serving staff? Do you intend to be eating with your guests or just cooking for the night? On the experimental side, if you're trying to ease them into new techniques, why beat them over the head with it? Too many similar textures, too many techniques that can break and a lot of it doesn't look like you can do with significant amounts of lead time. I also find that these techniques are not necessarily the best use of luxury ingredients so your guests may not be getting as much of a treat as it looks like on paper. Conceptually I personally feel that you're overloading each course; if you look carefully at Robuchon, Keller and Adría, their courses are focused on the primary element(s) whereas many of your proposed dishes don't seem to be that harmonious. I'd personally tone down the menu. Use seasonal ingredients to showcase one or two experimental techniques, highlight one or two luxury ingredients on their own so that they can shine, and simplify every dish. That's my two cents though. You might also want to re-edit your post; I'm not loving your use of "jap" either.
  • Create New...