Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Life is not without irony, and that is certainly true for me as a chef. These days my specials have a tendency to be inspired by what I can write about them in this blog instead of the other way around, which is fine since it not only allows me explore another form of creativity in tandem with that of food, but sometimes those literary conceptions can come back to slap me in the face.

Case in point: this past Sunday my wife and I sat down to watch the much anticipated season premiere of Mad Men, an amazing show about an advertisement agency set in 1960's NYC. During the show a character's wife told him that he is "an ambitious man, and an ambitious man is never happy with what he has". The dialogue struck a chord with me because I too am never satisfied with what I have done in my profession; I am always trying to push the limits of myself and my kitchen further to create something better than I have before that can still be expedited quickly without sacrificing quality.

So I sat down later that night to do some brainstorming and I came up with an intriguing technique of wrapping partially cooked slices of potatoes into a lattice-woven crust around pork tenderloin. My mind was piqued with the possibilities, and after a couple of nights of stewing on it I finally had the chance to try it out early today at the restaurant, and the result was:


Not on a large scale, but since I didn't want to serve raw pork wrapped in a beautiful, crispy crust, I decided to go without. Fortunately, this idea wasn't the focal point of my dish... the succotash was.

Last week my purveyor presented me with some local fresh cranberry beans (cranberry beans are a fresh legume that have a chestnut-like flavor with a creamy texture, pictured here) and I knew right away what I could do with them. In the past I have used various beans in the place of lima beans to make succotash, a southern dish of shell beans cooked with corn that became popular during the Great Depression, but this time I added some local favorites: Red Corn, Yakima Tomatoes, Baby Swiss Chard and Walla Walla Onions.

To go with my now naked pork tenderloin I chose to make a bold and flavorful sauce that is still light enough to be enjoyed in the summer heat: a combination of pancetta broth with some beef stock for body and slowly simmered with a good dose of sherry wine for added refinement and depth.

"We aim above the mark to hit the mark." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Keeping with the theme of local I decided to once again tweak a personal favorite - The Mojito.

I didn't want to go too far with it though... after all, I have touted in the past the importance of simplicity and using quality ingredients in order to let them shine, so this week's cocktail is no different: to our already delicious mojito recipe I have added a muddling of some of the country's best raspberries from Richter Farms (not just by my opinion) for an added twist on the greatest heat-beater.

"A drink a day keeps the shrink away." - Edward Abbey

With Love,