Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What Dreams May Come........

Occasionally, from the depths of REM sleep, I get an idea. Something wells up from deep in my unconscious mind, and I'm forced to deal with the concept my brain has given me. When these ideas come to me, I generally find that the kinks have already been worked out. In the past month I have received four or five ideas from the ether, and I'll share a few of them now.......

My new favorite condiment! It doesn't have a name yet, but it smells and tastes amazing.

1 1/2 cups rice vinegar
The zest of two limes, plus the juice
three cloves of garlic, minced
6 thai chilies, chopped
3 tbsp honey or palm sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce
handful of basil, minced
handful of mint, minced
1 tbsp chopped shallot

Combine all of the ingredients in a pint jar, and let them rest in the 'fridge for three days before using.

I enjoy this drizzled over steamed chicken with jasmine rice. Add a little sweet soy, sliced green onion, and sesame seed on top and you're in heaven. This can be used to liven up any Asian influenced food.


Duck and Mission Fig Brule' with Crispy Polenta

Two duck breasts
8 Mission figs
the juice of two blood oranges and the zest of one
1 tbsp + 1/2 tbsp ancho chili powder
1/4 cup honey
I tbsp cocoa
2 4 inch rounds of hard polenta( recipe from "puttin' on the grits")
salt and pepper
4 inch ring molds
corn starch
sugar for finishing
Propane torch

Mix the blood orange juice, zest, honey, and 1/2 tbsp ancho, let rest for 2 hours. Combine one tbsp of cocoa and a tbsp of ancho with a little salt and pepper. Coat both sides of each duck breast with the mixture. Sear each breast in olive oil until browned, but rare. Set aside. Coat each of the polenta rounds in corn starch, and fry each in vegetable oil until golden brown. Slice each duck breast and figs 1/4 inch thick. Set one ring mold on top of each piece of polenta. Toss the duck slices in the honey mix. Layer the slices of duck in the molds, alternating layers of fig and duck, finishing with the figs on top. Drizzle the figs with the remaining honey mixture. sprinkle with a little sugar, and caramelize using the torch. Serve with the '07 Argyle Pinot Noir.


Veal Meatloaf, Bread pudding style

6 ounces chicken livers
2 lbs Veal Breast, slices 1/4 in thick
1 loaf Brioche bread, crust removed, sliced lengthwise 1/2 inch thick
6 eggs
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup brandy or bourbon
1 cups onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pinch nutmeg
1 tsp dry thyme
3 tbsp fresh chopped parsley

In a blender, combine the chicken livers, parsley, eggs, and cream. In a shallow saute pan, lightly caramelize the onions and garlic, add the liquor, and reduce slightly. Add this to the mix in the blender, and blend until smooth. In a loaf pan, layer the veal and brioche until full. Pour the blended mix over the bread and veal. Allow to absorb overnight. Bake in a water bath(a larger pan, with a little water in it.) at 325 for 1 1/2 hours, or until the top has browned, and the egg mix has fully set.

Now for the accompanying sauce;

Melt 3 tbsp of butter in a saucepan, add 1/4 cup of whole-grain or dijon mustard. Let the mustard warm through. Add 1/4 cup of brandy and 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream. Reduce by 25 %.

Slice the meatloaf 3/4 of an inch thick. Serve with Garlic Horseradish mashed potatoes, and a spoonful of the sauce.


Let your dreams and fantasies guide you in the kitchen. Properly prepared food will never let you down. You might even create something never-before-seen, and that is a thing of beauty.