Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Good Idea, eh?

This past weekend my wife and I visited Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada to celebrate her 30th birthday as well as our 3rd anniversary. It was our second time visiting there; she loves it there because it reminds her of New York City, and I love it because it's another culinary playground.

I'll spare you the Travel Channel rendition of our itinerary, but some of the highlights include brunch at Market by Jean-Georges, drinks at the Four Seasons and Chambar, and a seven course tasting menu at Lumiere by one of my favorite chefs, Daniel Boulud. Now, I know that I sound like some asshole who throws around money, but the truth of the matter is that I am doing research for my career!! No, really... I can legally write half of this off on my taxes next year!!! God bless the USA!!!!

So, what did I learn from my research?

Bits and pieces really; some fortifying ideas that I've already have had as well as many sparks here and there that will show themselves over time.

Since I can't condense everything that has influenced me on our trip into one week's worth of specials, I've decided to spread them out over time, starting with something both of our cultures seem to agree on: a good cocktail.

Despite being much more expensive, I noticed a lot of similarities with the cocktails that I create, some of which we Americans would call post-prohibition, using raw egg whites to create a nice foam on top of shaken intricate concoctions, something that I've been apprehensive about due to the salmonella potential, that is until I found egg white powder at the Granville Island Public Market.

So I decided to showcase my newly bottled handmade limoncello by shaking a few ounces of it with a splash of cranberry juice, a dash of Peychaud's bitters and a teaspoon of egg white powder to pay tribute to the old ways of cocktail making with current responsibility.

This week's food special wasn't inspired by my trip, but I have been slowly plotting it out for awhile now.

I wanted to do a take on veal fricassee, but with the it being officially spring I didn't want to have a heavy stew so I took a different approach. By using a cut called the eye round I was able to make thin, tender slices that I dusted with a combination of rye flour and cornstarch before sauteing in clarified butter instead of the typical braise. The usual vegetables for fricassee are carrots, peas and button mushrooms, but I though a little change-up would be nice, so I sauteed shelled edemame, shitaki mushrooms, spring onions and some thinly sliced white asparagus that has just come into season. I also simmered slices of golden beets with a touch of saffron to create a beautiful stock that I used to cook some fragrant jasmine rice. Finally, to represent the cooking liquid I made a rich sauce by reducing beef stock with tomato and red wine and thickening it to order.

With Love,