Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What if the Harlem Renaissance came to Paris?

Written by Brandon Johnson

In Harlem where soirees required passwords, Ellington played the piano, luminosity was provided by candle light, Lady Day sang “God Bless the Child”, Whiskey Sours were disguised in brown paper bags, and Armstrong scats in his infamous raspy tone. Ladies dressed in pearls and 1920s and 30s champagne colored fringe dresses, with “bob” haircuts that fell to their ears, danced the Charleston with men in tailcoats, bow ties, and suspenders.

What if New York’s Renaissance movement became exposed to The Eiffel Tower, cafes with morels, wine, jam, and “J’ai Deux Amours"? How would it influence the culture, melodies and cuisine? That’s what this production realizes in “When Harlem Came to Paris”. Through brilliant reenactments of Rich Wright, Billie Holiday, James Baldwin, Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington set in 1930’s Parisian ambiance, you can live this fantasy. Be honored to attend, and if you can’t we offer you a menu so luxurious you can taste it.

To view the Menu, click here.


Read more!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Food Art starring Brandon Johnson

Proscuitto Wrapped Pears
Welcome to Food Films, a web series to show simple ways to make delicious meals. We take our experience at the French Culinary Institute to create dishes that can be made at home. With menus for every budget, skill level, and schedule, you’re bound to find something you enjoy! To watch this video in High Quality, play the video then click the upward arrow located at the bottom right hand corner of the video screen (under the YouTube logo), and Select "HQ" for High Quality.


2 Bosc Pears -  quartered, cored, and thinly sliced (1/8" slices)

15 Prosciutto slices - cut lengthwise into 1/2" strips

Take the prosciutto strip and diagonally wrap it around the pear. This hors d’oeuvre is great with crumbled blue cheese sprinkled on top. 

Read more!

Palette Provocative

Written by Chad Fraley
With spring in the mail and Valentine’s Day just around the corner, the conversation about aphrodisiacs is here again. There are many myths and stories about this ritual and serious research has gone into certain ingredients, but do they really heighten libido? or is it wishful thinking?

Encyclopedia Britannica Article
Aphrodisiac: any of various forms of stimulation thought to arouse sexual excitement. Aphrodisiacs may be classified in two
principal groups: 1. psycho-physiological (visual, tactile, olfactory, and aural), and 2. internal (stemming from food, alcoholic drinks, drugs, love potions, medical preparations). Certain foods enhance blood flow or boost hormones or even raise body temp if you’re eating something spicy.

There are all kinds of natural aphrodisiacs that affect your swinging psyche in different ways. Asparagus is a common aphrodisiac, consumed all year round, but probably never thought of as one. It is high in potassium, fiber, folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamins A, and C. It is also said that asparagus raises histamine levels in both sexes which aides in achieving orgasm. The long green monsters can be prepared in many different ways. I made an asparagus mousse last week that turned out fantastic served next to a napoleon of grilled zucchini and yellow squash alternating levels with sautéed ham and crispy strips of bacon with a goat cheese cream sauce. It was a sexy dish.

Oysters are another aphrodisiac ranking up there in potency, though not as popular to some. Their slimy appearance and the smell of fresh sea air make these sensual mollusks a great experience or a bad idea. I happen to love ‘em. Oysters are a source of dopamine and high in zinc, which allegedly raises testosterone levels. Another healthy benefit in these treasures is Omega-3 fatty acid. Oysters are delicious, served on the half shell with a little cream and spinach, and broiled in the oven for a few minutes. Pair them with a light white wine, and you’re in business.

Chocolate is always a winner in the aphrodisiac category and a popular Valentine’s Day treat. Dark chocolate contains anti-oxidants that keep us healthy and it contains phenyl ethylamine, the neuron-transmitter that is activated in our bodies when we fall in love. Chocolate may actually act as an anti-depressant and has a calming reaction like an anxiety pill.

Interestingly, even smells can light that certain fuse, like fresh toasted almonds or the aroma of wine. A smell can simulate thoughts and feelings just as much as the taste of food.

If you’re not sure how to use some of these ingredients in your next sexy celebration, check out InterCourses - an Aphrodisiac Cookbook by Martha Hopkins and Randall Lockridge, a great resource on the topic.

It’s important to note that most of these aphrodisiacs are natural foods. From fruits such as banana, strawberry, avocado, and figs, to pine nuts, black beans, and honey. Aphrodisiacs can be found in the simplest of dishes. So get creative this February and cook with LOVE, literally.

Read more!

Carnevale Di Venezia

Written by Andrea Scalici
February in Venice means so much more than candy hearts and boxed chocolates. February in Venice means indulgence, revelry, and lavishness, complete with fancy disguises. It means the “Carnevale”.

While this carnival of all carnivals certainly features some incredibly intricate costumes and extravagant soirées, what is really important is the food. Carnevale translates to "Farewell, meat!", and
it was born as an excuse to use up all the meat, butter and eggs in the two weeks before Ash Wednesday and the religious formality of fasting for Lent. Almost every Italian town and region has some specialty in recognition of Carnevale, though in Venice, the specialty is frittelle. These fritters are fried to golden brown perfection and filled or topped with a variety of treats, bursting with sweet or savory flavors like chocolate, jelly, fruit, or meat. The rich smells waft through the city and can be found in the cichéti stalls along the streets where it is easy to pick up these “small bites”. In the other regions, similar fare can be found under different names, like the Lombard chiacchere, Tuscan cenci, and Roman frappe. But under any name, they are all the highlight of the season, warming the hearts of Italians and visitors alike. Other sumptuous Venetian carnevale foods include “Pasticcio di Maccheroni” (a baked pasta, ricotta, meat pie), “Pizza Sfogliata con Salsiccia e Pancetta” (filled, rolled baked dough), "Migliaccio di Polenta" (polenta and sausage), and steaming plates of lasagnas and pastas, filled with smokey pancetta, sweet prosciutto, salty salami, and buttery sopressata.

Carnevale Di Venezia was first recorded in 1268 with mention of masks, parties, and decadent food. In the height of the masquerade, mascherari (maskmakers) enjoyed a special position in society, with their own laws and guild. Masks made the Venetian carnival unique as it took away social status and inhibition. In this way, the social order was temporarily non-existent. But as these things usually go, the party couldn’t last forever. When Venice fell under Austrian rule after Napoleon’s Treaty of Campo Formio in 1798, the city and all its culture went into decline. This pre-Lent celebration didn’t enjoy a revival until almost 200 years later when, in the 1970’s, a group of Venetians decided to revive the tradition. The modern mask shop synonymous with the festival was again established in the 1980’s, and they had succeeded in bringing back the fête we know and love today.

The annual event boasts traditions and legends enough to fill up the Venice waterways. The only way to truly soak in the sights and sounds is to go, February 13-24th, 2009 or February 5-16th, 2010. But, if like me you can’t make the trip this year, celebrate with your loved ones by making your own festival treats as an alternative to the normal Valentine’s Day cupcakes. It is a sure way to fill your kitchen with the divine smells of Carnevale Di Venezia.

Frittelle di Dichi e Arance Candite (Fig and Candied Orange Fritters):

2⅓ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1⅓ cups sugar
½ cup whole milk
3 large eggs
5 tablespoons
unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 ounces candied orange peel, chopped into ¼-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
6 ounces dried figs, chopped into ¼-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
About 3 quarts vegetable oil

In a bowl, whisk together flour, ⅓ cup sugar, milk, eggs, butter, vanilla, baking powder and salt until smooth. Whisk in candied orange and figs. 

Place remaining 1 cup sugar into a large shallow bowl. 
Heat about 3 inches oil to 375° in a 4- to 5-quart heavy pot over medium-high heat. Drop teaspoonfuls of batter into oil, about 10 at a time, and fry until puffed and dark golden, turning once, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer puffs to paper towels to drain. Immediately roll in sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Read more!

FeedBack to F.C.I from Y.O.U

Do you love your chef or your classmates? Are your books beneficial? Is there something missing from the curriculum? Tell us what you love about F.C.I and what can be improved on.

This is a survey to aid in the efficiency of The French Culinary Institute. Your suggestions can be anonymous so speak your mind!

p.s. Vulgar suggestions will not be posted. 

Read more!

New York's Sweet Pages

Written by Rebekah Peppler and Andrea Scalici
In 2008 I decided to follow the trend setters and go local. But I didn’t need to frequent my local greenmarkets or demand that my butternut squash come from upstate. Instead, I wandered into my favorite neighborhood bakeries and happened across a plethora of new dessert cookbooks, all conveniently birthed in New York. A locavore’s cookbook fantasy.

The Sweeter Side of Amy’s Bread Amy Scherber and Toy Kim Dupree
What started as a 650 square foot space in, a then quite seedy, Hell’s Kitchen, Amy’s Bread expanded into 1,300 square feet and three locations providing New York with freshly baked breads and sumptuous sweets. The Sweeter Side of Amy’s Bread, released this past October, focuses owner Amy Scherber’s and longtime co-worker Toy Kim Dupree’s attention on the bakery’s sweet side – a delectable array of scones, cookies, cakes and bars. Scattered among decadently nostalgic recipes like “Kitchen Sink Cookies” and “Monkey Cake” are the stories of customers and employees of Amy’s Bread. These stories reinforce the neighborly feel permeating both the cookbook and the shops themselves, including 103-year-old Frances Reheld, known for her love of “Definitely Devil’s Food Cake” and David Chaffin, the bakery’s “resident chocolate chip cookie fanatic.” Tips and techniques are included with many of the recipes and provide an accessible comfort level to even the most involved of sweets. Additionally, all the recipes are given in grams, ounces, and volume measurements allowing the home baker a choice to use a kitchen scale or not. A beautiful cookbook full of color photographs, luscious treats and a homespun feel, The Sweeter Side of Amy’s Bread is a certified bread winner.
Hell’s Kitchen: 672 Ninth Avenue New York, NY 10036
Chelsea Market: 75 Ninth Avenue New York, NY 10011
The Village: 250 Bleecker Street New York, NY 10014

Baked: New Frontiers in Baking Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito
Baked, the four-year-old Brooklyn sweetheart known for tooth-achingly hip desserts, offers over 80 recipes and 40 mouthwatering photographs in its new cookbook, Baked: New Frontiers in Baking. Authors and owners, Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, transport their signature Sweet and Salty Cake, a intense mix of dark chocolate, salty caramel and fleur de sel, straight from Red Hook into your kitchen. Also included are recipes for Root Beer Bundt Cake, Almond Green Tea Cupcakes and Vanilla Bean Caramel Apples. While not a cookbook geared for beginners to baking (many of the recipes are involved) the, sometimes cheeky, tips and tricks in the “baked notes” help ease the difficulty.
359 Van Brunt Street
Brooklyn, New York 11231

The Sweet Melissa Baking Book: Recipes from the Beloved Bakery for Everyone's Favorite Treats, by Melissa Murphy
Another Brooklyn bakery, Sweet Melissa Patisserie, located only 20 blocks away from Baked, came out with this bee-speckled charmer in March 2008. Although the fact that Murphy is an FCI alum should be enough to buy the book - the recipes do it justice with tempting, honey-laden sweets like “Bee Sting Donuts,” Murphy’s baked answer to the traditional fried donut filled with pastry cream and dipped in honey caramel, along with the addictive Chestnut Honey Madeleines made with one of my all-time favorite ingredients: hazelnut flour; they would make Proust proud. The book contains over 100 recipes in its six sections, includes a variety of “pro tips” for the novice baker and easy step-by-step directions. The cookbook is an amalgamation of Murphy’s French pastry training and homespun sweets, following her goal “…to make everyone’s favorite desserts better than they’ve had them before.”
Carroll Gardens: 276 Court Street Brooklyn, NY 11231
Park Slope: 175 Seventh Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11215

Dessert Fourplay, by Johnny Iuzzini and Roy Finamore
Honerable mention, though outside the bakery realm, is Dessert Fourplay ("Sweet Quartets from a Four Star Pastry Chef"), just released by rockstar chef Johnny Iuzzini of Jean Georges. Johnny successfully brings his signature "fourplay" of desserts to the reader using creative pairings and inventive methods. In the book, like in his kitchen, he plays his quartets off each other, cool with hot, crunchy with creamy, sweet with spicy, and the expected with the unexpected (chocolate-chipotle soup with milk chocolate and coconut foam, yum!). While the recipes are a little more difficult and involved, this book is great for the adventurous and innovative home chef or even for the pros who may need inspiration.
Visit Jean Georges at 1 Central Park West in Manhattan
Read more!

The Hash Brownie Love Story

Written by Brandon Johnson

When you think of hash brownies you would never image a love story between a lesbian couple who used to hang out with Picasso in France. But that's how it started, with Alice B. Toklas, a free-spirited Californian who moved to Paris to pursue an art career at the age of 30. Upon her arrival in France, Alice found her soon to be partner of 39 years, Gertrude Stein. Stein was a famous author who embraced Alice as soon as they meet. Their friendship exposed Alice to a life of art and intellect. Together Alice and Gertrude hosted soirées that attracted the likes of famed writers, Paul Bowles, Ernest Hemingway, Thornton Wilder, and modern artists Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque and Henri Matisse. As Gertrude and Alice’s friendship grew over the years, they became romantic. Alice had more influence in Gertrude’s work. In addition to being Gertrude’s lover, Alice was also her editor, confidant, cook and muse for 39 years. And in 1946, after a long and loving partnership, Gertrude passed. As an act of remembrance, Alice decided to write a memoir of her love affair with Gertrude in a cookbook.

With an approaching deadline and not enough recipes to complete her book, Alice solicited her artsy friends to send ideas and one Brion Gysin, a painter and humorist, gave Alice a brownie recipe, which would be the introduction to the hash brownie, as we know it. Along with the recipe Brion wrote this preface:

"This is the food of Paradise... It might provide an entertaining refreshment for a Ladies' Bridge Club or a chapter meeting of the DAR... Euphoria and brilliant storms of laughter; ecstatic reveries and extensions of one's personality on several simultaneous planes are to be complacently expected. Almost anything Saint Theresa did, you can do better."

This “Haschich Fudge” recipe included peppercorns, cinnamon, mixed nuts, fruits, and the ingredient, “cannabis sativa”. Alice with no time to test the recipes, overlooked the hallucinogen and the cookbook titled, The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook, was sent for publishing with the ingredients cannabis sativa included. Though the Haschich Fudge recipe was removed from the American edition, it was printed in the British version. Once the press got whiff of this, the recipe’s recognition skyrocketed. The "Haschich Fudge" became the main plot element in the 1968 film I Love You, Alice B. Toklas with Peter Sellers, and is currently a favorite menu item in Amsterdam cafes.

Needless to say, we strongly advise you not to buy, make, or eat this product, but what a love story.
Read more!

Project 5: A Brunch Menu

The French Culinary Institute’s Level 5 project is a taste what (F.C.I) students are made of. This project is for students in the classic culinary arts program (One level away from graduation) and is the most creative assignment of the year. Students write an essay, create a themed 4-course menu with wine pairings, and take pictures of their delicious fare. 

Eat Life is showcasing select students so everyone can get a glimpse of the talent behind F.C.I’s kitchen doors. Introducing Deirdre Santos’ level 5 project, Brunch Menu.







To see WINE PAIRINGS and The ESSAY, click "Read More":
Some of the course ingredients are rich and heavy making the accompanying of wine very important; not only to enhance the foods flavor, but to help cut the heaviness and fattiness of that particular course. Wine has been paired with four of the eight courses from this menu:

2nd Course – Brown Butter Basted Scallops with Lobster
This course was paired with 2006 Bouchard Aine & Fils Macon Villages. This wine pairs perfectly with any seafood and because of its higher acidity cuts the butter of this dish. This wine has flavors of pear, apple, and pineapple fruit. Has a crisp acidity, yet is in creamy texture with a medium finish.

4th Course - Poached Egg and Braised Short Ribs over Roasted Potato Hash with Hollandaise
This course was paired with 2005 Chateau La Freynelle Rouge. This wine pairs well because it cuts the fat from the braised short ribs and the hollandaise sauce. This Chateau Freynelle is a blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon with a very intense spice, and flavors of chocolate and plums. On the palate the wine is well balanced with ripe, spicy fruit and a savory character, while the finish is long and elegant.

5th Course – Pan Seared Baby Lamb Chops with Blackberry Balsamic Reduction & Asparagus
This course was paired with 2006 Concannon Pinot Noir Limited. This medium-bodied wine displays vibrant aromas of black cherry, ripe raspberry and strawberry as well as bright red fruit flavors that are balanced with hints of tar, leather and vanilla. It has a higher acidity to balance the flavor of the reduction.

6th Course –German Chocolate Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting & Black Walnut Ice Cream
This course was paired with 2005 Quady Elysium Black Muscat, which is used to either accompany or replace dessert. It pairs well with blue cheeses, desserts containing red fruits (such as summer pudding), vanilla, dark chocolate and ice cream desserts.

The influences of this menu include foods I ate as a child growing up in Mobile, Alabama, foods I have never tried and foods and flavors I enjoy. Some of the foods on this menu bring comforting memories of family and good times I had as a child. Food was always an extremely important component of my southern culture and I naturally wanted to bring some of that influence into my menu.

My menu theme is brunch. What is Brunch? The simple answer is a combination of breakfast and lunch, usually eaten sometime between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday brunch has become quite popular both for home entertaining and in restaurants. “Though brunch is thought of as an American tradition, H. L. Mencken tells us that it was popular in England around 1900 . . . Long before it reached the United States”. Culinary evidence confirms well-supplied leisurely enjoyed meals have been the privilege of the wealthy and noble classes since the beginning of civilization. Dining times, order of service, length of meals, and proper social etiquette vary with period and culture but one point remains constant: only the very rich could afford to spend extended time and expense indulging themselves in the pleasures of food. According to the food historians, brunch is a turn of the 19th/20th century tradition originating in Britain. 

Brunch is a favorite course of mine as it encompasses breakfast, which is my favorite course of the day, with lunch, which can include smaller portions of dinner items. One of the foods that say brunch more than any other is the “Waffle”. According to Larousse Gastronomique, “"The ancient Greeks used to cook very flat cakes, which they called obleios, between two hot metal plates. This method of cooking continued to be used in the middle Ages by the obloyeurs who made all sorts of oublies, which were flat or rolled into coronets. The oublie became the waffle in the 13th century, when a craftsman had the idea of forging some cookie plates reproducing the characteristic pattern of honeycombs, which at that time were called gaufres (from the Old French wafla)."

"The word [waffle] is from the Dutch wafel, and first appeared in English print in 1735. The item was known to the Pilgrims, who had spent time in Holland before sailing to America in 1620, and waffle parties became popular in the latter part of the eighteenth century. Thomas Jefferson returned from France with a waffle iron, a long-handled patterned griddle that encloses the batter and gives it its characteristic crispness and shape. A century later vendors on city streets sold waffles hot and slathered with molasses or maple syrup. Waffles continued to be extremely popular breakfast items in the twentieth century, and electric waffle irons made the timing of the cooking easier. Then, in 1953 Frank Dorsa introduced frozen waffles into supermarkets, calling them Eggo Waffles. At the 1964 World's Fair Belgian Waffles made with yeast and thicker than the usual waffle, were an immediate sensation, and they are sold today at stands, county fairs, carnivals, and other fast-food outlets."
Read more!

"Good Morning Sweetie, I made you Brunch"

Menu by Deidre Santos
1st Course: Sweet Onion and Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Croutons

Sweet Onion Soup 

3 oz sweet sherry

1 pound Sweet Vidalia Onions

2 leeks, whites only

1-cup celery chopped

2 sprigs thyme

6 tablespoons butter

2 quarts chicken broth

Salt and pepper to taste

1-cup heavy cream

Italian parsley, hacher 

Roasted Red Pepper Soup 

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 onions, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves

6 cups chicken broth

2 roasted red bell peppers

1/2 cup dry white wine

1-tablespoon sugar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper 


6 slices white bread cut in 1-inch cubes

3 tbsp butter 


For the Onion Soup

Heat butter in a heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, leeks, celery and thyme and sauté until onions are translucent. Add sherry and chicken broth to onion mixture; bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat add cream simmer for 5 minutes longer, take off heat and cool slightly. Using an immersion blender, puree soup until smooth, season to taste with salt and pepper.


For the Red Pepper Soup

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, garlic, and thyme and sauté until the onions are translucent. Add the broth, bell peppers, wine, and sugar. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low. Partially cover and simmer stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Cool the soup slightly. Using an immersion hand blender, puree the soup in the pot until it is smooth. Season the soup, to taste, with salt and pepper. 

For the Croutons

Add butter to sauté pan over high heat. When hot, add the cubed bread and sauté, adding more butter as needed; when golden brown, drain on paper towels and reserve.

2nd Course: Brown Butter Basted Scallops with Lobster 


24 large bay scallops

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1⁄2 cup Clarified Butter

4 sprigs thyme, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced 


1/2 cup white wine

2 lemons, chopped up in small pieces

2 - 6 oz cooked lobster tails cut in small pieces

4 tbsp whole unsalted butter 


For the Scallops

Pat the scallops dry with paper towels and season them with the salt and pepper. Coat the bottom of a large skillet with clarified butter. Place over a medium-high flame and heat until the butter is nearly smoking. Sear scallops in the butter, reduce the heat to medium and add a little more clarified butter to the pan. Cook the scallops until they are deeply brown on one side, about 3 minutes. Turn the scallops over, and add thyme and garlic to pan. Allow the scallops to brown slightly on the other side, basting them with the hot butter, about 2 minutes. Transfer the scallops to a platter and reserve in a warm place. 

For the Sauce and Topping

Over med heat add whole of butter to the pan and swirl until butter turns brown, add 3 splashes of white wine, chopped lemon and the lobster. Remove from heat and serve over scallops immediately.

3rd Course: Crispy Southern Fried Chicken with Cornmeal Waffles, Warm Spicy Apple Maple Syrup

For the Fried Chicken

4-6lbs frying chickens, thighs and legs

4 cups buttermilk

2-cup flour

Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

2-teaspoon cayenne

2 teaspoon dried thyme

2 teaspoons dried parsley

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)

1/2 teaspoon onion powder (optional)

Vegetable oil (for frying)

For the Cornbread Waffles

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1-cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1-tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1-teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

5 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

1-cup milk, more or less as needed

For the Spicy Apple Maple Syrup

3/4 cup plus 2 tsp. apple juice, divided

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 1/2 cups golden delicious apples, chopped peeled (about 2 medium)

2 tsp. cornstarch


For the Fried Chicken

Wash chicken pieces thoroughly and pat dry. Place chicken in a long, shallow glass-baking dish. Pour the buttermilk over the chicken, cover and refrigerate for a least 4 hours, turning once or twice. In a clean plastic or brown paper bag, combine the flour, salt, pepper, cayenne, thyme, parsley, garlic and onion powders. Drain the chicken and place two or three pieces of chicken in the bag and shake well to coat evenly. Repeat until all chicken has been coated with seasoned flour mixture. In a large, heavy skillet, heat about one-half of oil over medium-high heat until hot, but not smoking. Add chicken and brown on all sides, about three minutes per side. Place browned chicken on a warm platter until all pieces are browned. 

When all the chicken pieces are browned, crowd them into the skillet; turn heat to medium-low, cover and cook, turning occasionally, until tender, about 20 - 25 minutes. Remove cover, turn heat to medium-high and cook six to eight minutes more or until skin is crispy.

For the Waffles

In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt until well blended. Add the eggs and butter. Gradually add the milk, mixing well until a thick batter is formed. Prepare your waffle iron and make the waffles. Serve them as they are finished or, if necessary, keep them warm in a preheated 300° F oven on a wire rack set over a baking sheet.

For the Syrup

Combine 3/4 cup of the apple juice and all of the maple syrup, red pepper flakes and apples in a 1-qt. saucepan. Place over medium heat, and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the apples are tender. Combine the cornstarch and the remaining 2 teaspoons of apple juice in a small bowl. Add the mixture to the pan, and cook and stir for 1 minute, or until the mixture is slightly thickened.

4th Course: Poached Egg and Braised Short Ribs with Roasted Potato Hash and Hollandaise Sauce

Short Ribs

2 bottles dry red wine

2 tablespoons olive oil

8 slabs short ribs, trimmed of excess fat

3 shallots, quartered

3 small onions, quartered

10 cloves of garlic, chopped

2 large carrots, peeled, sliced thick

2 stalk of celery, sliced thick

2 bay leaves

4 sprigs fresh thyme

4 tablespoons parsley, hacher

2 tablespoons flour

4 cups beef stock

Salt and ground black pepper to taste 

For Potato Hash

2 pounds red potatoes cut in chunks

1 large sweet onion cut in large chunks

4 to 5 cloves garlic, smashed and minced

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

Dash dried marjoram

3 tablespoons olive oil 

For Poached Eggs 

8 eggs

2 liters water

4 tablespoons vinegar 

For Hollandaise Sauce

7 ounces clarified butter

2 egg yolks 

2 tbsp water

Lemon juice

Pinch cayenne

Pinch salt


For Short Ribs

Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the ribs with salt and pepper. Sear the ribs until brown, about four minutes per side. Remove ribs to plate and set aside.

Lower the heat to medium. Add the onion, shallot, garlic, carrot, and celery. Sauté for two minutes, add the bay leaves and thyme sauté for four more minutes, stirring often, until just brown. Deglaze pan with wine, reduce until about half, singer with flour, stir. Return the short ribs to the pot; add the stock until the ribs are covered by just over half. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and move pot to oven.

Braise for about 2.5 to 3 hours, until the ribs are fork-tender. A couple of times during the braising quickly open up the oven and skim any fat off the top of the braising liquid. Return Dutch oven to the stove. Carefully transfer the ribs to a plate and cover with a tinfoil tent. If the meat has fallen off the bone, return the bone to the Dutch oven. Bring the remaining liquid in the dutch oven to boil over high heat, reducing the liquid down to just two or three cups. Taste and adjust seasoning, strain through a chinois, discarding any solids. 

For Potato Hash

Line a baking sheet with parchment; spray with cooking spray or lightly grease. Heat oven to 400°, combine all ingredients in a large bowl or food storage bag; toss to coat thoroughly. Arrange in the baking pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until potatoes are tender and nicely browned. 

For Poached Eggs

Bring water to a boil in a small stock pot and add vinegar. Lower the temperature to 180°F. Break cold eggs into a ramekin one at a time. Carefully add eggs to water. Cook for about 3 minutes. The whites should be firm, and the yolks should remain liquid and covered with a thin film. Remove eggs to a basin of cold water to stop cooking and remove vinegar taste. Trim ragged edges with knife or scissors. To reheat quickly dip in hot salted water and serve. 

For Hollandaise Sauce

Vigorously whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice together in a stainless steel bowl and until the mixture is thickened and doubled in volume. Place the bowl over a saucepan containing barely simmering water (or use a double boiler,) the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. Continue to whisk rapidly. Slowly drizzle in the butter and continue to whisk until the sauce is thickened and doubled in volume. Remove from heat, whisk in cayenne and salt.


5th Course: Pan Seared Lamb Chops with Blackberry Balsamic Reduction & Asparagus


16 baby lamb chops (2 per person)

6 garlic cloves, chopped

8 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste 

For the reduction

8 oz fresh blackberries

1 - cup balsamic vinegar 

2 tablespoons sugar

Salt and freshly ground pepper 

Pommes Puree

8 potatoes, peeled and quartered

1 - cup milk

1 stick butter

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Pinch nutmeg 

For Asparagus

2 bunches asparagus (cooked a’langlaise) 


For the lamb

Season lamb chops well with salt and pepper, heat oil in a large sauté pan over med high heat. Sear lamb chops until golden and medium rare. Remove from pan and keep warm. 

For the reduction

Pour excess oil from pan used to sear lamb chop. Deglaze pan with balsamic vinegar scraping up all the sucs, add blackberries and mash them in the pan and sugar to skillet and bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium, stirring frequently until the volume has reduced down to 1/2 cup (about 10 minutes). 

For Pommes Puree

Put potatoes in a pan and add cold water. Over med-high heat cook potatoes until fork tender. Put potatoes through a food mill. In a saucepan heat milk and butter until warm, add to potatoes, season to taste with salt, pepper and add a pinch of nutmeg.  

For Asparagus

Cut asparagus in half leaving tips. Fill a large saucepan with water add plenty of salt, water should taste like the sea. Bring to a rolling boil, add the asparagus and cook until tender. Refresh asparagus in ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain on paper towels.  


6th Course (Dual Desserts): German Chocolate Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting and Black Walnut Ice Cream  

German Chocolate Cake

4 ounces Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate, melted and cooled

2 1/3 cup cake flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup butter, room temperature

1 cup buttermilk, divided

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs  

Coconut Pecan Icing

1.5 cup evaporated milk

1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup butter

2 teaspoon vanilla

6 egg yolks, slightly beaten

2 2/3 cups Baker's Angel Flake coconut (3-ounce can)

2 cup chopped pecans 


For the Cake

Set aside a 2 - 12 cup silicone muffin pans, spray with non- stick cooking spray. Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Cream butter with sugar; add melted chocolate and vanilla. Mix in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and beat in buttermilk. Mix just until combined. Pour batter into muffin pans. Bake in a preheated 350° oven for about 20 - 35 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 15 minutes. Remove and cool completely on racks; frost with coconut pecan frosting, below. 

Coconut Pecan Icing and Filling

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine milk, sugars, butter, and vanilla. Bring to a full boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat (mixture might appear a bit curdled). Quickly stir a small amount of the hot liquid into the beaten egg yolks; return egg yolk mixture to the hot mixture in saucepan and blend well. Return to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in coconut and pecans. Cool to spreading consistency, beating occasionally. 

Black Walnut Ice Cream 

8 Egg yolks

1-1/4 Cups sugar

1/8 Tsp salt

2 Cups whole milk

2 Cups heavy cream

1 Tsp black walnut flavoring

1-1/4 Cups black walnuts, chopped 

Blanchair egg yolks with sugar until pale yellow; add salt. Bring milk, cream and black walnut flavoring almost to boiling; remove from heat and temper with egg mixture, stirring constantly. Return to low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to thicken. Put mixture though a chinois over a bowl or ice. Pour mixture into 1-gallon ice cream maker freezer container, following manufacturer's directions for ice cream maker. When ice cream is soft, about 5 minutes before ice cream is complete, add black walnuts. Put into a plastic container and freeze further until ready to serve. 

Read more!