The ice plants along Highway One are covered in ripe "sea figs." These odd fruits look like a cross between a fig and kiwi but have a slightly salty flavor with the distinct aroma of a watermelon Jolly Rancher. While their texture can be a bit off putting - they make a delicious jam or sauce.
Thursday, August 27, 2015
Monday, August 24, 2015
Anton harvested a beautiful basket of fresh cardoon flowers. We will be drying these out for the kitchen and then using the thistles as a rennet to make fresh cheese later this year.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Last week I went to a cattle auction in Aromas, California. Recently I have been working on getting local grass fed Charolais beef from a small family farm. The charolais breed is fairly rare in California, but is one of my all time favorite varieties. Even when it is finished completely on grass it becomes well marbled and has a rich flavor. Certain parts of the ranching and processing can be difficult to watch- but I believe that as a chef it is my obligation to have a deep understanding of the products I serve and support.
Thursday, August 13, 2015
Friday, August 7, 2015
Kyoto Heirloom Seeds
A couple of months ago someone brought us some very special heirloom seeds from Kyoto, Japan. The Mibuna is almost ready to harvest. It has a very mild, mustard like, flavor and tender leaf structure. We will start playing with recipe ideas this week. Kyoto Eggplant, cucumbers and togarashi peppers will be ready next month!
Monday, August 3, 2015
Fresh Summer Shelling Beans
|Summer Shelling Beans|
Here are a few tips for cooking fresh shelling beans.
|Porchetta with Shelling Beans on the side|
- Unlike dried beans that need to be soaked, fresh shelling beans can be cooked right out of the shell.
- Start with a large pot of water - use at least ten cups of water for every cup of shelled beans.
- Do not mix different varieties of beans - each type has their own unique profile and cooking time.
- Remember that only a fraction of the flavorings you add into the water will permeate the center of the bean. I like to start the beans out with one or two small fresh bay leaves, a few cracked garlic cloves and a couple of toasted guajillo chiles. You can wrap these aromatics in a cheese cloth so it is easy to strain them later. Smoked ham hocks, smoked onion, cumin and coriander are just a few things with which you might consider flavoring the pot.
- Take your large pot filled with water, beans and aromatics and slowly bring it to a simmer on the stove. Don’t add any salt at this time.
- Slowly simmer the beans, gently stirring to evenly cook. You may also use a lid to keep the steam in the pot and speed cooking. Low and slow is the key here.
- Once you taste a bean and it has started to become tender add kosher salt to the pot. I like to season the water until it is unpalatably salty. Again, only a fraction of the seasoning makes it into the beans.
- Fresh shelling beans can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to cook.
- Once the beans have become al dente, and have just a little raw bit left in the middle, remove the pot from the heat and let it cool at room temperature with the lid on.
- Every 5 or 10 minutes remove a bean from the pot and check it. Adjust salt and seasoning as needed during this stage.
- Once the beans reach the perfect consistency add a touch of aged sherry vinegar to stop the cooking process. Even if the broth remains hot, the beans will not soften more once the acid is added.
- Keep the beans inside the broth until ready to use. Ideally the beans should soak in the liquid for at least 2 hours. If you know you will be storing the beans overnight, you might consider using less salt as the longer the beans sit in the liquid the more salt and seasoning will get through the skin.
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