Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Cookin No. 44 - What is this Contemporary Cuisine Business Anyway

So we are heading into spring, and after spring comes the dawn of the GRILL!!!!!! My favorite cooking method. Grilling manages to capture the freshness of you food, and give it great flavors. My favorite thing to grill is corn. I leave the husk on though. First I soak to corn in water for about 15 minutes, so that the husk won’t burn on the grill, then I peal back the husk, and rub a butter mixed with cilantro, lime, jalapeño, salt and pepper. Put that goodness on the grill, and cover the lid. Turn it over after a few minutes, and within 10 minutes you have a gooey mess of wonderful flavors. Mmmmm, I’m salivating just thinking about it.

Nothing much has happened in this world of mine. Much work and little play. At least work has a healthy balance of play involved. Yesterday, (Monday) the restaurant entertained a group of women taking cooking classes at a local college. The head chef asked me to assist him for the demonstration on contemporary American cuisine. But the first thing we had to figure out was, what in the world is contemporary American cuisine? I personally think that it follows parallel to the new wave of cooking. Fresh ingredients, bending the old rules, and making some new ones. Take for example, the set up of a plate. Traditionally a plate should have a starch, vegetable, and protein. But today, we are combining those ingredients to make something intriguing and new, take for example the tilapia dish on our menu. Tilapia is a very common fish now a days, it is a good cheap fish to add to your menu, which will bring in some revenue. It actually replaced orange roughy, which has been over fished, and has now become an expensive ingredient. But tilapia is nearly man made. Almost always farm raised, it has a delicate flavor, that is not only forgiving, but it takes on the flavors of the ingredients that it is cooked with. What we do at the restaurant is wrap it in partially cooked angel hair pasta, then flash fry it in a pan on high heat. Thus making the pasta crunchy, and also acts as a protective shell around the fish, keeping in the moisture and flavor. We then serve it with cherry tomatoes, shallots, capers and wilted spinach, and a citrus burre blanc sauce. The tartness of the capers and the burre blanc bring out the fish, and the spinach adds a robustness to the whole dish. This is not an old fashioned dish, though it has the elements of the old school ideals, citrus with fish, and so on. We have combined the old ways, and freshened it up. That is what this new wave we are riding is all about. The ladies were very impressed, and even though we were expecting culinary students, we enjoyed ourselves.

After the demonstration, I went home, and settled down for the night, when my power went out! It was out for nine hours! My neighbor and I sat in the dark speculating that it was because of the squirrels. They are probably angry because they are done hibernating, but its so cold, that they are confused and out of nuts. So they are up to no good. we must act against these furry terrors! Bah! Anywho. I am going to head off to the restaurant and earn my paycheck.

Until next time my friends,
Buone Appitito


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