"It IS all about the TASTE"
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  • Deconstructing the Bloody Mary

    A Bloody Mary is a popular cocktail containing vodka, tomato juice, and usually other spices or flavorings such as Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, piri piri sauce, beef consomme or bouillon, horseradish, celery, olive, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, and celery salt. It has been called “the world’s most complex cocktail.”

    The Bloody Mary’s origin is unclear. Fernand Petiot claimed to have invented the drink in 1921 while working at the New York Bar in Paris, which later became Harry’s New York Bar, a frequent Paris hangout for Ernest Hemingway and other American expatriates. Another story maintains that actor George Jessel created the drink around 1939. In 1939, Lucius Beebe printed in his gossip column This New York one of the earliest U.S. references to this drink, along with the original recipe: “George Jessel’s newest pick-me-up which is receiving attention from the town’s paragraphers is called a Bloody Mary: half tomato juice, half vodka.”

    Fernand Petiot seemed to corroborate Jessel’s claim when the bartender spoke to The New Yorker magazine in July 1964, saying:

    “I initiated the Bloody Mary of today,” he told us. “Jessel said he created it, but it was really nothing but vodka and tomato juice when I took it over. I cover the bottom of the shaker with four large dashes of salt, two dashes of black pepper, two dashes of cayenne pepper, and a layer of Worcestershire sauce; I then add a dash of lemon juice and some cracked ice, put in two ounces of vodka and two ounces of thick tomato juice, shake, strain, and pour. We serve a hundred to a hundred and fifty Bloody Marys a day here in the King Cole Room and in the other restaurants and the banquet rooms.”

    I not will be as complex in my deconstruction. My goal is a simple appetizer / hors d’oeuvres to grace the table for an upcoming event.

    Deconstruction is a term thrown around in food preparation. It’s “chef speak” for re-creating a dish. When chef’s talk about “deconstructing” that means to take the original recipe to a new level. Literally, taking it apart and putting it back together again. In this case a cocktail is broken down to it’s constituent parts and prepared for serving in a new fashion

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  • Peach, Strawberry Crumble

    Crumble:

    In a crumble, the fruit is baked under a crumbly topping, usually made with flour, butter, and sugar, and sometimes oats, nuts, and spices.

    All that said, I still think of a crisp when you say a cobbler. The difference in my mind is the fruit used and the time of the year your make it.

    As for today’s post I’ll hazard the slings and arrows of culinary fortune and look at another late summer fruit.

    With all the late summer stonefruit arriving and the last bit of the berries still producing berries, it is time to look at the wonderful fruit combination of peaches and strawberries. The sweetness of the peach, and the sweet tang of the strawberry coaxed out into a luscious syrup with a combination of brown and white sugar, topped with a sweet and crisp crumble topping.

    This is a simple desert that will take all of 10 minutes (excluding baking), to prepare

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  • Balanceing Act – For flavors

    balance

    Successful dishes usually don’t follow any recipe strictly. They have a balance of flavors where the whole exceeds the sum of the parts, but balanced flavor is hard to get just by following a recipe. Especially when fresh ingredients are going to be a little different every time. Every tomato contributes a different blend of acid and sweetness and every chili pepper has a different degree of heat. Spices aren’t the same from one bottle to another. So it seems that near the end of every recipe I want to “balance the flavors”. But how to do this? Here are some secrets.

    In Asian countries, Thailand for example, flavor balance is a crucial concept in the preparation a dish or meal. There must be a balance of flavors in each dish, and among the dishes on the table. Sweet, sour, salty, spicy, and bitter are the main flavors, and aromatic and oily elements have their place as well. A truly great meal balances these tastes to achieve a flavor set that sings on the tongue.

    Let’s look at the various flavor classes and how they can work together for a balanced flavor
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  • Thai Cooking Techniques

    thai-cooking

    Certain cooking methods are universal – boiling, grilling and deep-frying – but others are peculiar to a single cuisine, especially one as ancient as Thai.

    Historically, the material and shape of the cooking utensil effectively determined the type of cooking that was possible. And with the clearing of forests for the ever-expanding paddies, fuel became increasingly scarce (except in the north of the country and in mountainous areas farther south). Consequently, cooking methods evolved to use precious fuel most efficiently: brief cooking times over gentle heat and slow, lingering grills over dying embers. If an intense burst of heat was required, the embers would be fanned or stoked.
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  • Party Planning – Bar

    Bar Planner

    Here are our suggestions for an event.

    Make sure you always have enough drinks on-hand for your guests. Here’s
    how…

    What is one drink? One drink is equal to …

    • 1.5 ounces of liquor
    • 5 ounces of wine, or
    • one 12 ounce beer.

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  • Beef Cuts and thier Uses

    As previously mentioned I recently spent some time in an Argentinean Grill, chatting with the chef. This conversation brought a number of things I’ve been aware of, but not truly understanding.

    Things like, the closer to the hooves or the horns the more work the meat does. And while the work does not make for truly, “cuts like butta” beef, it does make make for a truly intense umami experience.

    That internal marbling helps produce tender juicy meat, that a proper orientation during cooking can cause a “fat cap” to slowly baste a roast with juices. That a “fresh steak” is very juicy, but WILL be tougher, no matter what or how you cook it. For a proper tender, meaty piece of beef some form of aging is a must.

    Such aging can be dry age, wet age or a chemical age similar to a salt pack.
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