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Everything posted by LoneSavant

  1. I'm doing an Argentine dinner party in two weeks, and came across "Hesperidina" as a ubiquitous aperitif... there's very little information for it online-- the only things I get are that it's bittersweet, orange-y, and slightly minty. I can only imagine something like Aperol? Any help in its flavor profile, its style, and possibly how I might recreate it for my party?? Thanks!!
  2. Giving this thread a bump, as I'm going out for a midsummer's romp in the woods and returning with elder blow, nettles, and plenty of green walnuts! Yeah June!
  3. At my bar here in Grand Rapids, I make a "French Toast" Rum that's really popular and blends really nicely. I use 1 part black cardamom, 1 part allspice, 1 part vanilla bean, 2 parts cinnamon bark (not cassia!), and 3 parts Grade B Dark maple syrup, all in 1750ml of Cruzan Aged White rum. It's simple enough to blend well, but complex enough to be really enjoyable on its own. I'm sure it would work with the more-available grade A maple syrup, but you'd need to add more to get the right flavor-balance, which in turn would make the rum sweeter than I'd like it. With the grade B, it's an "idea" of sweetness, but still tastes like rum.. hah. For the love of god don't use fake maple anything.
  4. I find Strega mixes really well with tequila- I make a Strega-Tequila sour at my bar, smoothed out with a little lavender syrup, that's really quite nice!
  5. I make a Jameson manhattan-riff at my place that has really got some fans to it: The Dark Skye 1.5oz Jameson .25oz Noilly Prat Blanc .25oz Dubonnet Rouge .25oz Benedictine Stir very well, strain into glass rinsed with a dash of Laphroaig 10yr Garnish with flamed lemon coin
  6. When I was a head pastry chef, I refused to temper chocolate. I'd change a recipe specifically so I didn't have to. I can kill an entire package of oreos in 24 hours. I will scold people for eating poptarts specifically so I can sneak them for myself. Once or twice as a sommelier, I brought a customer a bottle of something I knew s/he'd hate, specifcally so s/he'd return it and I could drink it later.
  7. Has anyone tried making (successfully) a replication of Forbidden Fruit? From the meager information I've found, it's based primarily on Pomelo and honey, in a brandy base. I've seen only one detailed web post about a home-effort, and there was no follow-up to note success. Any insights? Have any of you had/made/used homemade Forbidden Fruit?
  8. a) does the server relay to the sommelier what the couple has ordered so that he/she may have time to consider the possibilities? A lot of this really depends on the restaurant's protocol. As a sommelier, I like when a server gives me a 'heads-up,' but our restaurant is a posh, comfortable, relatively relaxed wine bar, so this is not an "enforced rule." More important than being briefed, I like the ability to converse with the table to acertain the 'type' of diner they are. So sometimes, even if I know what they'll be eating per the server, I'll still open with that question just to get us conversing. b) obviously, the sommelier is an employee of the restaurant and, as such, is there to sell wine. He/she also wants to make the customer happy. Some of the best wines in the library would certainly be good for the restaurant and it would please the customer, until the bill came that is, so this is often not the wine that gets served. But how do you know what to recommend, and what is your strategy? A GOOD sommelier recognizes that a happy customer will return with friends. Yes, I could easily blow your mind with a 1961 Calon-Segur, but when you get your $600 bar-tab, you'll be tempted to blow MY mind with a smith-wesson .22. I enjoy ensuring the guest is happy on all levels. Even if they're willing to spend $150 on a bottle, I'll not recommend a bottle that isn't worth the money--in fact, I'll talk them onto a cheaper, better bottle, knowing they'll be happier that their money got its full value. Of course not all restaurants would smile at this, and not all sommeliers have this personal policy, but hey...my guests keep coming back for me! When it comes to price, depending on the table, I'll either ask flat out (after we've established a friendly repartee) the range they're planning to spend, or I'll suggest two-or-three different "ideas," all very differently priced, and gauge their reactions. Finally, what do you do when the two entrees are œnologically incompatible? What is the absolute worst food to have to pair wine with? Well, I do my damndest to make it work--generally the WORST that can happen is one dish will be "uncomplimentary," and the other will be perfect. If you can't get both perfect, then you at least try to do the least damage as possible. If it really comes down to it, and I've done everything I can and they're not receptive, I'll ensure that the hosts/paying people/heads of the party are perfectly paired, and everyone else can bite me. Traditionally, the "hard" foods to pair are artichokes, egg-dishes, strong curries, and smoked things. There are several classic pairings to solve those hard ones, but the REAL twist is when someone comes in and, for example, wants the "smoked salmon with artichoke frittata; can you recommend a good napa cab?" My response is "nope." and I move on to the next table
  9. Hi everyone! It's our first time out west, and we're taking the "loneliest highway in America," hwy50 east from CA to UT, and then catching I-15 north for a bit (though not as far as Salt Lake City). That being said, it looks like a pretty barren trip...does anyone know of any cool local food along our desolate journey? We're leaving in the morning, so the sooner, the better!
  10. LoneSavant


    Lilac beer sounds amazing! Pass on your technique? How would you use elderflowers in the place of lilac?
  11. I'm coming into my annual glut of elderflowers, and would love some experience/ideas/recipes on what I can do with them!
  12. I made one a few summers back that I really enjoyed- started with a basic thin, creamy french lemon tart (tarte au citron), then nestled halves of poached, peeled apricot across the top. After baking, I sprinkled the top with raw sugar and bruleed it. Lemon-apricot-caramel.....really tasty.
  13. Does anyone know of a licensed kitchen space I can rent on occasion? I figure it'd be much easier/more economical than trying to get my own kitchen licensed... Thanks!
  14. LoneSavant

    Crudo v Carpaccio

    In Italian, 'crudo' means "raw," and 'carpaccio' means "skin." In cooking, then, a "crudo" is anything uncooked- generally it's cubed or minced (think tartare), but it can really be prepared almost any way. "Carpaccio" then, refers to the thin "skin-thick" slices of basically anything- tuna, octopus, beef, melon, etc. Carpaccio is often raw (as the flavor is more delicate- carpaccio of roast beef would just be lunchmeat...), but linguistically speaking, it's carpaccio if its thin, crudo if it's raw, and it can be both at the same time!
  15. SO, I'm a little uninspired...I need to do a tasting tomorrow morning, pairing different styles/blends/roasts of coffee (which, exactly, will be a surprise to me) with different liquors/liqueurs for interesting/unusual/exciting taste sensations and all that. Everyone knows the basics, but I'm working with a very well-stocked bar, and they're expecting new and unusual combinations. What are your favorite/most interesting coffee-liquor combinations or cocktails?
  16. I guess what the service issue comes to for me is the social aspect. As a server in a large-ish city who's been at it a LONG while, and has worked in several of the restaurants, one begins to know the ENTIRE set of service industry workers in the area. I've got at least two or three cohorts at basically every restaurant downtown. Yes, it's like a mafia. Yes, we talk. A lot. I would never question a poor tip in person. I would, however, have no intention of prioritizing that diner again. And assuming that same diner leaves another poor tip, the mafia is called into effect, and that diner will never be treated the same. A "scarlet letter" if you will. Servers, bartenders, and the like know EVERYONE in a town like this, and we share ALL of our information. I would never expect outrageously large tips, especially regularly, however I have clients who leave me extra, and lo and behold, they ALWAYS have a table ready, they ALWAYS get the last- best- and most- of everything, and ALWAYS have a much better time than someone who the industry recognizes as a "poor sport." Bad tippers on the other hand get pushed to the end of the line, and get mechanical service at best, from everyone, everywhere--because we've spread the word. I even remember more than once friends of mine out on dates with guys I/we recognize from service, and us giving the "ABORT!" signal to them because of what poor guests they are... SO, tip whatever you want. If you can justify it to yourself, congrats. Just know.... .....we're watching you. And we ALWAYS remember...
  17. In reading through Achatz' new cookbook, im really curious to try his technique of agar-set sauces, reblended to a thicker consistancy. However, in my practical use as a pastry chef, I'm only in once or twice a week to prep for the weekend's service. Does anyone have experience as to how long these "puddings" keep? I need it to last at least 4-5 days, I'm just worrying about the texture breaking down...
  18. LoneSavant


    I use Amchur (dried mango powder) all the time to add a high note to almost any meat- fruit- or sweet vegetable-based dish (props to doctortim for mentioning it). I think I bought about a half pound of it for a buck fifty at the local indian grocer, and its acidity is very subtle and balanced- perfect for the slight adjustments needed in perfecting a dish.
  19. Yeah, so, I pronounce this idea a failure....hah... I tried three tests: frozen strip, thawed strip, and thawed strip rolled flat. The frozen strip got all melty and cooked unevenly The thawed one *seemed* to be doing alright, but never colored much, and absorbed enough oil to light a house for the winter-- blech. The rolled strip exploded into all its individual layers, and then followed test 2's oil-absorption. All in all, they were pretty awful when tasted. Avoid.
  20. Just looking for ideas... I'd thought about doing a pineapple empanada as a weekly dessert at my restaurant, and, in looking for a union between ease of preparation and style/quality, I was curious about using frozen puff pastry (rolled thinner) as the empanada pastry. Has anyone tried deep-frying puff before with good results?
  21. I love doing a semifreddo for a quick dessert. I just fold equal masses of french meringue with whipped cream, flavor it with whatever I feel (the most recent one I served was saffron-and-vanilla bean), freeze it (either individually or in a large mold), and then top it with something (I topped the saffron one with vanilla-poached apples).
  22. Thanks for the posts so far! As I plan on being the patissier for a while at this place, I'd love to keep this thread going! (espcially 'cuz I change the desserts every three weeks!) For next tues, I've decided on these four: Assam Tea-Roasted Pear with Bitter Chocolate Sorbet Milk Chocolate and Caramel Torte with Saunf and Caramel Corn Almond Semifreddo with Curry-Spiked Cranberries Pineapple-Phyllo Napoleon with Cinnamon-Palm Sugar Gelato I'll let you know how they go over!
  23. tmriga: Since it's "global" fusion, it's a little bit of all of them. They have sushi, but the owner is Indian, so there are quite a few Indian-flair dishes, and two or three thai/pacific rim style. JeanneCake: Could you explain your buche technique a little more? It sounds like a great idea! CKatCook: I definitely had ricotta on my mind as well- - che Italiani!
  24. What drives you to be a hardcore traditionalist? Are you the type that sneers at any flavor creme brulee besides vanilla? What are your favorite desserts that you've created so far? At what point does something cross the line into not being traditional anymore? ← And no, I don't sneer at ANY flavor besides vanilla... ....just most of 'em.
  25. What drives you to be a hardcore traditionalist? Are you the type that sneers at any flavor creme brulee besides vanilla? What are your favorite desserts that you've created so far? At what point does something cross the line into not being traditional anymore? ← Stand back....here come's the tirade... Well, part of it is the French upbringing and schooling in Italy. If it's not the "right way," then it's not "right." But I think mostly I have an irk toward food that's too 'nouveau' for its own good. I mean, chocolate torte is fantastic. And if one can artfully nuance the torte with tangerine, or wormwood, or ladybugs, then well done, and I'll be first in line to try it. But when the torte is "fusion"-ed to death, and so stylized and modernized and all that, until it's barely recognizable as a torte at all, I say chuck it, I'm making a plain and simple strawberry shortcake. I guess I just hate sacrificing simplicity and honesty of ideas and ingredients and traditions for the sake of being able to say "why yes, I invented the white chocolate, duck-fat, and fried-egg gelee." I'd rather be able to say "why yes, I still do make panforte, and I got my recipe from an old lady in Siena, so it's the real stuff." I figure it's the Capricorn in me...
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