Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Rich like Rockefeller

It is often assumed of me by those I meet outside of the restaurant that as a chef I only enjoy five star cuisine with cutting edge techniques and lavishly innovative dishes that venture into the bizarre and surreal, with a snooty indifference to traditional, or classical cuisine. While I do indulge in the conquests of great culinary minds (re: Grant Achatz of Alinea in Chicago) nothing satisfies me more than the simple foods (re:The Taco Bus, and chicken wings [coming soon ;)]. Of course it all has to do with the way I was brought up in NA,IN, as well as the way I came up in the culinary scene of NYC, but I truly have a deep affinity for the now traditional dishes that have reigned supreme for decades, which has ultimately led me to where I am now, and hopefully, you too!

I'll save my connection to New Orleans for a later post because that's not important here - what is important is the connection of Oysters Rockefeller to American cuisine. I'd be hard pressed to find someone these days that hasn't at least heard of it, let alone have sampled a variation or two, which originated in the fine city. In a restaurant that I was chef of in New York, ironically enough, I topped Penn Cove, Washington oysters with my variation of the traditional dish with great reception. Now I have decided to skew the concept into a new direction.

First, I needed a medium: For me, pork is my friend. It is versatile, cheap, and flavorful. What more can a guy ask for!?! So in this instance I decided to go for pork loin since it's a lean cut that could benefit by being a platform for a rich topping as such. Then, I decided to elaborate on my previous version of Rockefeller with the addition of oyster mushrooms (pun intended), as well as steamed baby artichokes, which are in season, grated Parmigiano Reggiano, spinach and fresh chopped tarragon in place of the Pernod, which I'll save for a future cocktail special!

To finish the dish I decided to add a touch of a steakhouse classic in the form of cream of spinach pureed with some freshly grated nutmeg. Old school style with modern technique - There's nothing like the satisfaction of nailing a catchy twist of an American dish in its adulterated form!!

Of course, I couldn't leave you without announcing the news about my new baby...

No, not the birth of Cheffrey Jr., silly... I'm much too busy for that!!!

Better yet, a smooth sipping cocktail built specifically to alleviate the tension of toddler tantrums, with a medicinal blend of freshly brewed lemongrass syrup, pomegranate liqueur, pomegranate infused vodka and a splash of fresh lemon juice, shaken until frosty an poured into a steep martini glass (I hate those squat glasses that spill more on me than into my mouth).

Behold the Birth of the Lemongrass Pomatini!!!

Please, feel free to kiss the baby!!!!

With a Labor of Love,