Thursday, February 28, 2008

Rettland Farms Veal Breast with Roasted Vegetables

About the's a dish from the menu tonight. We braised some Rettland Farms veal breast overnight, then pulled out the bones, cleaned it a bit, folded it over and pressed it to make a nice, even piece of meat. Once chilled, we cut out portions, dusted it, crisped it up in a pan a little bit and warmed it though. Spaetzle and root veg made nice sides. The mustard sauce was simply reduced veal stock and dijon mustard mounted with butter right at the end. All in all, I think it was a very nice way to present veal breast. Here's an awesome dish that's hitting the menu tomorrow..... Braised Berkshire Pork Shoulder Lasagna. We're putting the braised shoulder through a long, slow cook adding an AMAZING tomato sauce from Toigo Orchards, some chorizo, brown butter and herbs to make a really nice sauce. First thing tomorrow(I guess it's actually today), I'm going to make some fresh ricotta as our cheese base, but I gotta tell you I really want to shread some garroxta into the mix. So anyhow, I'll fill everyone in later, but there's and example of taking the ingredients that are around you and making a knockout dish.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Smoking our Classic Bacon

OK, so we're back at the smoker again today showing a quick clip of smoking our classic bacon. I say classic because this is a recipe I have been using for a couple of years now. It used to be just 'bacon', but now we are messing with a few different recipes in search of a 'better bacon'. So, this stuff goes through a three day cure then it's rinsed off and allowed to dry in front of a fan. Once a skin has formed, we take it to the smoker and allow it to smoke for about 5 hours. Following its stay in the smoke chamber, we chill it down, then wrap and freeze it. As this bacon has no nitrates or nitrites, we consider it a 'fresh' product and store it accordingly. Just a little teaser....we put duck testicles(yes, I said duck testicles) in two different types of pickle brine on saturday night. We'll get them out tomorrow and see how we can work them on to the menu.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Tasso Ham - The Dish

Alright, so I got an e-mail request for a recipe using Scott's Tasso Ham and thought that was a great idea. Coincidentally, the ham made it on the menu this past saturday, so the video above is the menu item. It's our take on the traditional shrimp and grits. We used amazing scallops, cheddar and house smoked bacon grits and a lobster and tasso sauce. Just to gild the lilly a little bit, I decided to add chunks of lobster to the finished sauce. The whole thing seems a little decadent(isn't that the point) and perhaps a bit heavy. Here's the thing. The tasso is amazingly balanced and has just the right amount of spice to cut through the heaviness of the cheddar and cream based sauce. What's amazing about this dish is that the tasso also elevates the lobster which I found really cool....All the components taste amazing on their own, but when put together they also are great 'friends'. A note...I like a very small splash of banyuls vinegar in the lobster sauce. I feel like it cuts the fat a little bit and also rounds out all the other flavors. When I say small, I mean small. Too much vinegar will ruin the dish. Cheers.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Think Spring

The past couple of days have been really nasty here in central PA. Cold, snow and ice have all conspired to make me really want to get away to Margaritaville. Since a vacation to the Keys isn't really in the cards right now, the next best thing is to go out to our carriage house and check out all the great plants my dad has started for us. As I said in the video, last year we spent alot of time and $$$ going out and buying starter plants from every garden center known to man. This year we decided that since we have to increase the size of our gardens to keep up with demand we would try to start our own seeds. I have to tell you, it is such a cool thing to be able to slip and slide my way over the ice and snow to the carriage house and see these guys popping through the soil. It's just another step we are taking to try and get as close to the soil as possible. What a great guarantee that spring is on the way and soon we'll be playing in the dirt again!!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Scott Robinson's Tasso Ham

I have a few favorite foodstuffs that I like both eating and cooking with. Not coincidentally, they all take time to make, they are best made when you are using pristine raw ingredients, and they all reflect the area in which they were made. These special products are cheese, wine and charcuterie. It's the last product that I want to talk about today. I've been curing and smoking bacon for a couple of years, however its just recently that the charcuterie projects have gotten a huge shot in the arm by Sous Chef Scott Robinson taking our charcuterie ball and running with it. We were able to sample his first project today, an amazing tasso ham. We sourced some great pork from local butcher Wayne Nell and Sons and Scott took it from there. A four hour cure, packed with spice and smoked for about three and a half hours. The resulting product was the perfect blend of great pork, heady spices, amazing apple smoke and great technical skill. I couldn't be happier with this first product and can't wait to see what else Scott has up his sleeve. I hope I don't eat the stuff before we can put it on the menu!!!