Archive for the 'Cooking and Eating' Category

Back in the Kitchen: Did I actually do something right? Part I


in the foxhole

I do not even know how to answer that question.  On Saturday night, I cooked for a “Private Event” a.k.a. underground supper club, and it went better than I could even imagine. First let me mention that I was very fortunate to have the best culinary team ever assembled, Nick and Nate.  Also, I want to thank the hosts, Tom and Jackie, for making a great night happen. Plus Tom makes the best drinks. I am now hungover for a second day in a row.  Last but not least, Indira made a memorable and wonderful dark chocolate cake. I ate at least four scoops of her pistachio semi-freddo.

Thank you is the most import thing you can do in any situation. In this situation, I double that sentiment. That is why I wanted to start my post with ‘thank you’s’ . I almost forgot, I thank everyone who came and feasted on my menu. You all were great.

Yet, if you asked me Saturday morning at 6:41 am for a prediction, it would have been very bleak. Considering I woke up at 6:40am with a piece of frozen birthday cake congealed to my shoulder and a debilitating headache from all the booze I drank the night before.  So what did I do the night before my first cooking gig in a year?  I got shit faced off an unknown mix of alcohol. I went to a going away party, and I had a simple agenda: keep it together dude. Well, there were two small factors that led to my down fall. First, by coincidence, my friend and sous chef, Nick, lives in the same building the party was in. I do not know about you, but “small world” shit gets me all worked up like a tot getting a Tonka Truck. It meant that I had to drink not only to my friend’s new life, but also to my new friend.  Second, my girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend was at the party. I am not a jealous person, but these things have a way of feeling slightly awkward and forced. This is on both our parts.  So, when the Ex asked me how I liked my whiskey, I felt there was only one answer: On the rocks. The slippery slope, my friends, had appeared before me and I took it, diving head first.  I am not sure exactly what I said but I ended up in Nick’s apartment at 2 am ranting against some injustice to the utter embarrassment of my continually ‘long suffering’ girlfriend.

At least I remembered when I got home that night to take the lamb and pork bellies out of the oven. They had been cooking at 200 for 7 hours. I think I had been drinking all seven hours. There was a small problem at this point, I took the bellies out of the oven and I never put them into the refrigerator. Ooopsie…While I was eating cake of seriously unknown origin patiently waiting for them to cool, I passed out. I woke up with a killer headache, nauseated to the point of sickness. I ran to the kitchen, “The Bellies!!!” In my utter panic, I immediately cut a hunk off the lamb belly to see if they were still good. The problem, I had grabbed the lamb liver that was attached to the belly and popped it into my mouth. I am going to tell you right now that cured lamb liver is not a good hangover cure.

(Let me emphasize to all the people who are reading this who ate at Peerless: there was nothing wrong with the bellies. They were cured.)

Anyway, the morning was getting away from me. I was now up and simply yelling at myself for being such a shit with the drink. I took two showers, popped three pills, and did four jumping jacks. It was 8am and I was ready to roll…at a slower than normal speed, but rollin I did.  I was shaky, literally. It is so hard to organize with a hangover, really it is. Am I the first person ever to realize that?  The hours between waking up and getting into the car to head over to WillieB are just a blur. I was half way over the bridge to Williamsburg when I realized that I left the pasta machine home –  There was no turning back, traffic was a bitch. So, I started this coping method which has been very helpful to me over the years, I started hitting the roof of my car with my fist while shouting, “fuck, fuck, fuck…” This started even before I forgot to buy the baguettes. Thank you Nick. I still owe you $15 dollars, remind me.

12:15 and things are looking up as I see Nick and then Nate saunter in the door. A meeting is in order, a chance to sit…

Part II is on the way….

I’m Back – Cooking it – Feelin it – May 30th

Piggy Please

Piggy Please

I have an announcement. I am heading back into the kitchen, a somewhat professional kitchen.  I’m heading back for one night only, and I am excited. I am excited to get back into the kitchen, and I am excited that it is only for one night. I am cooking for an “Underground” supper club.

Underground supper clubs have been around for awhile now. There have been articles in all the papers, and there is even more than one current book on the subject, but that does not change my excitement. I think these events are successful because they are unique experiences. At a restaurant, they perform the same task night after night. With this situation, it is a chance for utter success or utter failure. I am confident mine won’t be a failure.

It’s a chance to create a menu again, which I will admit was difficult at first. I have a tendency to make a menu more difficult than it has to be because I don’t know when I’m going to get a chance again.  The space is great and drinks are included…if you are one of the three people who read this, come for dinner.  Here is a link to the official website:  Peerless Platters.

The Menu

Chicken Liver Terrine, Smoked Bourbon Aspic, Candied Rhubarb

Monk fish Torchon, Ver Jus Syrup

Egg Yolk Ravioli, Braised Pork Belly, Spicy Olive Oil, Age Gouda

Lamb Belly Perogis, bitter greens, mint, brown butter

Scallop, Wrapped in Tuna Belly Bacon, Kale Puree, Tater Tot

Seafood Sausage, fennel Charcroute, Pernod Beurre Blanc

Hope to see you there….

Cookin’ with Kids…

The little ones at rest, rare photo

The little ones at rest, rare photo

Is it possible for such cute kids to cook? ….Yes…But, you need the patience of several saints…Not because they are wild or crazy…no just all over the place, today I asked myself, how can they be in all places at once? I am exhausted and all I made was cookies…

I have been cooking with my niece for several months, actually we started after her second birthday. My nephew is a two years younger, but he is starting to walk…I am not sure I am ready…

If you had two young children as sous-chefs, what would you make? I am looking for suggestions. I am almost out of ideas. Last week we made marzipan. Actually, we didn’t make marzipan….we just got out all of her play dough toys and made shapes. I will tell you that I think this works. They get as messy as humanly possible, I found marzipan in my shoe – and I was wearing boots.


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