Monday, February 12, 2007

Kumquat Salad Improvisation

Here is a simple salad that I make many variations of. This time using kumquats, which are an odd little fruit I find a bit tart. To tame the tartness I sauted the kumquats with sugar in a little butter and oil then tossed in candied pecans at the end. I let this cool a touch then put on shaved romaine tossed with a lemon vinaigrette. The vinaigrette is simply one part lemon, one part honey, and two parts oil- it's easy to mix and see the proportions in a jar or squeeze bottle and always taste best when made fresh. Last I added goat cheese, a lovely creamy counterpoint to the bright flavor of lemon, and a drizzle of some orange oil around as a finishing touch with a sprinkling of minced chive. Instead of kumquats you can use uncooked orange slices or strawberries. Why eat a boring salad when something like this is so easy to do?

For more on improvisational cooking check out Workin' More Kitchen Sessions With Charlie Trotter, I was struck by his platings which are very similar to what I'm trying to achieve but have no where near his experience or mastery of so many ingredients. He has an admirable style, elegant but relaxed with rough edges. He wants to be the Miles Davis of cooking, I'll settle for being the John Coltrane.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Ono! Here We Go

Friday is the end of the week for most, but for me it is the beginning. I'll go in after two days off and hope my co-workers did their jobs and left my station at least some what prepped. Today too is the first day of my new blog. I'm opening with a photo of an ono dish I did for work. The fish was seared with a torch, cut thin, then I marinated with a dressing of orange oil, balsamic gastrique, white soy sauce, and lemon juice topped with sea salt and fresh cracked white pepper. Ono is an oily fish and the bright dressing cuts through to create a clean mouth feel. I was really happy with this one, for now it sums up my style and my approach to food, which is still somewhat nascent. I am interested in clean flavors that find balance. The Goldilocks ideal of just enough food and just right combinations, presented dramatically but without gimmicks. Let me know what you think. Thanks for reading, you're cool.