Archive for January, 2010

Posted in Uncategorized on January 30, 2010 by chefboyrd

Dominican’s are a funny people. They’re so smart and witty but as a culture, largely illiterate. The guys I work with for example. Never have I seen a group of dudes give each other so much shit through out the day but be so close at the same time. Let me introduce you to the gang. First of all, they don’t go by their god-given christian names, everyone’s got a nickname. They are ñoño,venezuela,El Escorpion, sobaco,hochis, boca, junior, villa,suave and Mi Color (a name im still trying to figure out the origin of) and boy are they full of knowledge. For Instance, did you know that in the town of Higuey, which is the biggest city nearby here you can get a pretty good hooker for about 1500 pesos, which translates to about 41 dollars? and thats for the works my droogs, not just hj’s bj’s and zj’s like on the continent. This is the kind of knowledge they impart on an innocent young soul like your narrator on a daily basis.

Some however are evangelical christians and I’ve had the misfortune of peeling shrimp or making empanada’s for hours on end whilst venezuela or yodalki ( dominican names are bizarre) try to get me to be reborn by quoting biblical passages and telling me to abstain from drinking smoking and fornicating to save my soul. I listen because Im a nice guy and because to tell them I dont believe in imaginary people would lead to useless arguments. You can’t argue with true believers, thats the point, theyre believers, ya dig?

Im keeping this short because im tired and i got to hit the sack but it wouldnt be a food blog without a recipe so lets make some home made dulce de leche and while we’re at it lets roll that shit up in some crepes.

Dulce De Leche
DULCE DE LECHE

2 quarts each goat’s milk or cow’s milk
2 cups sugar
1 cinnamon stick or 1 vanilla bean
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon water

Use only whole milk – any combination of goat and cow milk is good, or just use all cow’s milk.

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine milk, sugar and cinnamon stick or vanilla bean and bring slowly to a simmer, stirring constantly. Be careful not to scorch the milk, which is likely to happen if you use a thin bottomed pot.

Dissolve the baking soda in 1 tablespoon of water. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in the baking soda then return to heat. Continue simmering and stirring occasionally until the mixture begins to take on a caramel brown color and thickens to a syrupy consistency and the quantity has reduced to around 1/4 of the original volume. This will take 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Store refrigerated and use for topping ice cream, filling cakes, or to spread on toast, or as a filling FOR FRIGGIN CREPES

CREPES

Ingredients

* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 2 eggs
* 1/2 cup milk
* 1/2 cup water
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions

1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and the eggs. Gradually add in the milk and water, stirring to combine. Add the salt and butter; beat until smooth.
2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each crepe. Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly.
3. Cook the crepe for about 2 minutes, until the bottom is light brown. Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side.

THE BEST PART
Once you have enough crepes for all your friends and family ( hell, even your enemies deserve a few theyre so good) either spread some of your sweet ass dulce de leche on the crepe and roll that sucker real tight like a cigarillo or fold in half, spread some more dulce de lech and fold in half again so you have a delicious crepe-y dulce de leche triangle.

Enjoy with a cold cold cold glass of milk

Bon Soir

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Monumental Musings

Posted in Uncategorized on January 29, 2010 by chefboyrd

Thanks to the generosity of my boss I have a pretty sweet set up going on. She lent her sleek little netbook and while the wifi kind of sucks, instead of being stuck in the stuffy business center, I’m enjoying beer and smokes at the bar while Im updating. Needless to say the ambience is much much better. There’s live music, a keyboard and a sweet sweet sax playing all the greatest hits of yesteryear. Currently playing Bob Marley’s timeless and true classic “No Woman, No Cry”. Truer words were never spoken Mr. Marley, in fact, i think i’ll drink to that. I’ve always been too concerned with what I’ll call my “woman situation” in deference to the great bob. When its lacking i tend to be bummed as if my happiness is only validated by the attentions of a lovely young lass. Its a vicious circle folks because happiness, true happiness has to come from within. You’ll never be in a fulfilling relationship if you’re not happy by yourself first. Find validation in the things you do and in who you are. That’s why cooking is so important to me. My validation comes with from a fish that flakes to perfection. Not soggy, not tough. It arrives from slaving patiently over a pot as I add broth ever so slowly a cup, maybe two at a time to some arborio rice to get the proper creamy texture of a text book risotto. It rises in my heart after a dinner rush executed with military precision and artistic perfection. It makes me smile when i add the finishing touch, a dash of parsley just to add a dramatic green to the plate. And finally, the ultimate validation of self, when a waiter (usually a harbinger of doom) comes back all smiles and says “the table sends its compliments to the chef” I try to play it cool whenever that happens but really im as giddy as a pre-teen at a jonas brothers concert.

ofcourse, theres a flip side to that. The kitchen is a crazy chaotic place where sometimes magic happens but usually youre just trying not to fuck up and make it the same every time. Consistency is the name of the game, afterall. My point, however rambling, is that my happiness needs to derive more from what I do on a daily basis, what I have chosen as my art and my craft rather than if x girl likes me or not. and that, in turn, will most likely lead to x girl liking me, ya dig? or atleast, i hope what do I know im just a cook who one day wants to be a chef. Enough waxing philosophical I think you guys get the point.

I’m not going to lie guys its been tough going from being “the man” at my old restaurant to a lowly intern. What the old saying “better a slave in heaven than a rockstar in hell”. There I got to do what I wanted, made decisions cooked some real goddamn food and here everyone thinks im a total newb. I’m kind of chafing at the bit, but at the same time, im playing it cool. The last thing I want to do is try to assert my self and come off looking like an ass. I have a lot to learn and realistically Im being impatient as this is only my second week.Fret not sportsfans before next week is out I’ve got a sneaking suspicion ill be slinging pans and droppin’ it like its hot like in the good old days. Another saying; Good things come to those who wait. Also; Patience is a virtue

on an unrelated note, I’ve found a neat loophole. The hotel lobby bar sells bottles of president (the national beer, and boy is it delicious) for like 5 bucks a pop. The employee bar down the street however, sells jumbo 3 liter bottles for 3 dollars. So what does yours truly do? buy the jumbos in bulk, take a bottle to lobby bar and have them keep it cold for me while i get like 3-4 bottles worth out of it. Bang for your buck baby, thats what its all about.

Now to the important part of this post, the recipe. I’ve been on a desert kick so lets do something savory shall we?How do we feel about shepherd’s pie because thats what Im doing. I’m going to recite this from the heart so adjust however your pretty little hearts see fit,my droogs.

Shepherd’s pie (about 6 servings)
ingredients
S&P to taste
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup beef broth
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
5 carrots, cut diagonally into 1/3-inch-thick slices
1 whole stalk celery cut same as above
10 oz onions, diced
2 1/2 cups peas
2 cups corn
2 lbs ground beef

For mashed potato topping

2 lb russet (baking) potatoes
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Method
For The Potatoes
Listen guys, peeling potatoes is a bitch and when making mashed taters I consider it a waste of time so do one of the following:
Drop the taters in cold water, making sure they’re covered by atleast one inch of water. Boil the suckers until they’re nice and tender but not too much because then you have a waterlogged mess.
Once the potatoes are nice and ready either mash them skin and all ( after all, its only fiber) or when they’re ready rub the skin off with a dry towel and with an ease that the sham-wow guy promises but never delivers, you’ve got peeled potatoes ready for mashing. Now how you mash them depends on how much of a baller you are. If you’re poor like me, throw all the tater fixin’s in a bowl and mash away with a large spoon or potato masher if you got one of those. Some people do it in a food processor/blender. My personal favourite is a potato ricer which looks like a big ass garlic press. The consistency is key with taters people, don’t mess around.

Now, lets get to the meat of the matter as it were.

Listen, so while the potatoes are boiling, you should get another pot hot and start on the veggies. I start like this: butter, onion and garlic and let that fry for a little bit until the onions are golden. Now toss in the big boys, the carrots and celery and you know what lets go ahead and add the peas and corn, why the H not, right?. Cook for a minute and lets go ahead throw in the beef. Brown said beef and lets start on the liquids. mix in Wine, broth and tomato paste. mix in flour and herbs and now we play the waiting game. Put a lid on the sucker, lower the heat to med or med low and just let it reduce until we got a nice thick meat mixture. Taste when its near ready and adjust the S&P as your palate see’s fit.

Now, its time for a little pie assemblage.

Get a casserole dish and lets dump our meat and veggies in there. Grab our aforementioned taters and top the meat and vegetables making sure theres a smooth layer covering the entire surface. If you’re artistically minded you can take a fork or whatever other sharp object and draw some designs on the mashed potatoes. Get in there, get really creative with it. Say for instance you want to draw a recreation of the sistine chapel on the taters before they go in the oven. fuck it man, go for it.

Get your oven broilin’ nice and hot. Once your masterpiece is satisfactorily complete put it in the broiler for about 3-5 minutes until the top is nice and brown ( like me) and you can make out gods fingertips touching adam or whoever the fuck that was.

The final step ofcourse is to eat it with all of your favourite friends. ENJOY

Lucid in the sky with diamonds

Posted in Uncategorized on January 26, 2010 by chefboyrd

So, I finally did it. After toying with the idea for a long time I’ve decided to dive in and train myself to lucid dream. Man, it was so much easier than I thought. Success on my first try! Eureka! Maybe I’m predisposed to it but I engaged the most basic lucid dreaming trick and it worked like a charm.

All you do kids, is before you go to sleep repeat this mantra: brain, tonight I will lucid dream Also, it helps if you think about what you want to dream about. I’m not going to go into detail because its not exactly PG but lets just say I got the right situation just not necessarily the person I was focusing on. But who the heck cares! it was awesome and so vivid and its my new thing. I woke up at 4 excited at my accomplishment and I tried to reach my dream journal to recall the events but alas that blasted book was out of reach and damned if i was going to get up. So I did it again. I told my brain what I wanted fell asleep and flew across the english Channel. THE ENGLISH CHANNEL, I SHIT YOU NOT. Anything is possible and with that idea in mind i present to you my most elaborate recipe yet:

Note: I have to thank Tamar for inspiring me here by giving me the idea of a radiohead Ice cream. It’s a Spumoni of three different flavors: Banana ice cream with rum candied walnuts, Pistachios with lightly toasted pistachios and chocolate with almonds.

Ladies and germs I present to you

EVERYTHING IN IT’S RIGHT PLACE
Pistachio ice cream
• 1 cup unsalted shelled pistachios
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 2 cups milk (do not use low-fat or nonfat)
• 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
• 4 large egg yolks
• 1 cup whipping cream
• 1/4 cup unsalted shelled pistachios, toasted, coarsely chopped
Method
Finely grind 1 cup pistachios and 1/4 cup sugar in processor. Bring milk and ground pistachio mixture to boil in heavy large saucepan. Remove from heat. Mix in almond extract.
Whisk egg yolks and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in medium bowl. Gradually whisk in hot milk mixture. Return custard to saucepan. Cook over low heat until custard thickens and leaves path on back of spoon when finger is drawn across, stirring constantly, about 10 minutes (do not boil). Strain into large bowl. Chill until cold, about 2 hours.
Stir 1 cup whipping cream and chopped pistachios into custard. Process mixture in ice cream maker. Transfer to container and freeze.
Chocolate Ice cream
• 1 cup whole milk
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
• 7 oz 70% cacao chocolate such as Lindt, finely chopped
• 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
• 3 tablespoons water
• 5 large egg yolks
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• ½ cup almonds, rough chop
Method
Bring milk, cream, and vanilla just to a boil in a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan, then remove from heat and keep warm, covered.
Place chopped chocolate in a big ol’ bowl.
Stir together 1/2 cup sugar with water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved .Boil syrup, without stirring, gently swirling pan until mixture is a deep golden caramel, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat and carefully whisk in warm cream mixture (mixture will steam vigorously and caramel may harden but fret not fellow ice cream makers). Cook over low heat, whisking, until caramel is dissolved.
Beat yolks with salt and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar in a large bowl, using an electric mixer at high speed, until tripled in volume -3 to 4 minutes in a stand mixer or 6 to 8 with a handheld.
Add hot caramel mixture to yolks in a slow stream, whisking, then transfer custard to your handy dandy saucepan. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until custard is slightly thickened and registers 170°F on thermometer (do not let boil). Oh and get a thermometer.
Force custard through a fine-mesh sieve into bowl with chopped chocolate and let stand 1 minute, then whisk mixture until smooth.
Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally, about 35 minutes give or take how patient you are to get this the third act (banana ice cream) going.
Freeze custard in ice cream maker, at this point I would add the chopped almonds then transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden
Ok here we go, last layer
Banana Ice Cream
• 6 (approximately 2 1/4 pounds) ripe bananas
• 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
• 3/4 cup light corn syrup
• 1 vanilla bean, scraped
• 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Method
RESIST URGE TO EAT BANANA’S!Place bananas in freezer and freeze overnight. Remove bananas from freezer and allow to thaw for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Peel bananas and place in bowl of food processor along with the lemon juice. Process for 10 to 15 seconds. You know, give or take.
Add corn syrup and vanilla bean seeds and turn processor on. Slowly pour in the heavy cream. Process until smooth. Chill mixture in refrigerator until it reaches 40 degrees.
Transfer mixture to an ice cream maker and process according ly my dear friends. Now for the piece de resistance:
RUM CANDIED WALNUTS
1 pound pkg shelled walnut halves
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons dark rum
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup Karo light corn syrup
1 vanilla bean
2 tablespoons walnut oil

Method
Wash walnuts under cold running water. In a medium bowl, soak walnuts in enough water to cover; stir in 1 tablespoon salt. Allow to stand for 15 minutes. Drain the suckers.
Bring enough water to cover walnuts to a boil; drop in walnuts and reduce da heat. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until walnuts appear pale in color, like mary kate olsen at a red carpet even. Drain the suckers.
Combine 1 cup sugar, 4 tablespoons dark rum(or if you’re a lush like me, 5 tbsp of sweet sweet rum), 3/4 cup water, 1/2 cup Karo syrup and the vanilla bean in a medium saucepan, stirring well to dissolve sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and add walnuts. Simmer on low heat for a half hour. Remove from heat and allow to stand for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
After 15 minutes, drain syrup from walnuts In a bowl, combine nuts and walnut oil
Line a baking sheet with oiled parchment paper or wax paper whatever. Spread walnuts evenly and bake in preheated oven until walnuts are dry and crisp like Joan Rivers arid skin (ZINGER) and the sugar has caramelized. Let the walnuts cook down, chop em up and add them to our banana ice cream.
Stay with me folks, we’ve come this far. Now to put it all together.
Take a container, like a Tupperware or something or just anything with a shape, could be an old ice cream bucket or you know whatever, lets not worry about the small details. Now that we have our three ice creams with their assorted nuts we can begin the layering process. This is my favourite part because it means we’re almost to the point where we can enjoy all of our hard work for this spumoni. Make sure your layering is even or fuck it go to town and just throw different gobs of it in there. Let those three beautiful flavors meld in a freezer for a little while and voila. I think you’ll find that Everythings In It’s Right Place

midnight marauder

Posted in Uncategorized on January 25, 2010 by chefboyrd

So its been an interesting week. I’ve finally been able to get behind the line some and boy, have I missed it. It’s been kind of frustrating because I feel like most of the cooks here still think im a total newb when in fact Im pretty sure I can cook circles around most of them. The only leg up they have on me is knowledge of the menu and its presentation. Theres a couple of guys who really tickle my goat so to speak because of their frequent interference in my work and my area. It’s a trust thing, I understand that but how am I going to learn if they keep butting in. One guy is always “helping me” because he wants to feel important, I guess, the other one is just kind of a sloppy asshole who’s help I really don’t want at all. I swear, they keep butting in, someone’s going to lose a hand. Take it from a guy who owns many knives, including a cleaver.
On a good note, I worked the pantry today which is salads, appetizers and desserts and felt like I did a really good job. I only had to be shown everything once and i replicated everything perfectly. Like I always say, cooking is easy its just taking things and making it into stuff.
I’ve been working out the last couple of days and my guns are fricking exhausted. They won’t bend past a 90 degree angle. I was doing my thing at the gym when the trainer guy noticed me and called me over. Now, this guy is like 200+ pounds of pure muscle and a slight endearing lisp. He kindly informed me that what I was doing was pretty much all wrong and gave me a free sesh.
it was pretty much 40 minutes of terror and pain. This guy put me through the works, I felt like I was in boot camp all over again. arms, then legs, then abs, then arms again. I could barely lift the mixing bowl over my head the next day. In his honor the recipe for the day will be beef cakes because frankly one day I want to be considered a beef cake.

Super Duper muscular beef cakes:
3 lbs. ground chuck
1 carrot, grated
1 stalk celery, grated
1 med. onion, grated
1/4 c. bread crumbs
2 eggs
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 tbsp. butter
2 cans beef gravy

Mix ground chuck, vegetables, crumbs, eggs, salt and pepper. Shape mix in oblong shapes. Brown cakes in butter. Place browned cakes in roasting pan. Pour beef gravy over beef cakes. Cover; roast at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Makes 12-14 beef cakes.

well thats it folks, I gots to hit the sack as it were.

Inaugural address

Posted in Uncategorized on January 22, 2010 by chefboyrd

So this is my first day off on the island and suddenly I wish i was working. Its not that this place isn’t gorgeous but I feel anxious when I have nothing to do. Yesterday I spent about 2 and a half hours scaling and cleaning Mero (grouper) yesterday, a process that involves a tool resembling a medieval fraternity spank paddle and quiet cursing under ones breath. Also, elbow grease, lots and lots of elbow grease. I couldn’t have been happier though, listening to tunes and prepping food is a zen thing, you get in the zone and suddenly its quitting time.

The situation here is pretty good, all things considered. I lucked out with my room mate who’s pretty damn awesome and someone I can have intellectual discourse with. Ok, so we pretty much spend our afternoons downing brews and making dick and fart jokes but we’re smart dudes so we refer to it as “scatological humour” . Also, I can’t emphasize enough how cool my boss is. We had dinner the other night and we must’ve spent about an hour and a half talking about movies and our tastes in that respect (as well as music) are eerily similar.  I did not expect that my chef down here in the Dominican Republic would be a Radiohead fan, now thats lucking out.Not to mention she’s a badass chef who runs three restaurants at a glitzy resort. ok ok ok, so I kind of have a little school boy crush but its harmless, ok?

I’m going to ask her if I can make some ice cream this week. Ill break out my secret ice cream weapon : Put da Lime in the Coconut Ice Cream. I know its a corny Ben&jerry-esque name for it but its perfect so back off peeps. Also, its delicious especially on a hot winters day (sometimes I love being on this island,its 88 degrees!) like this. Without further ado, madames et monsieurs I present to you the recipe. Use it for good, not evil.

Ingredients
1 ounce fresh ginger root, peeled and finely grated (about 1 tablespoon)
1 15-oz can coconut milk (full fat works best)
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half (I used heavy cream)
3 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 tablespoon lime zest
pinch of salt

Directions

Whisk together all the ingredients, then pour into your ice cream maker. Process according to the directions for your ice cream maker, then transfer to a container and freezer until firm, about 2 hours.

Serves 4-6.

Don’t fret if you don’t have an ice cream maker because what you can do then is put the mixed ingredients together in a container and freeze until solid. Best left overnight but four to five hours ought to do it in a pinch. Enjoy my friends!

Hello world!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 22, 2010 by chefboyrd

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