John Valls
Caramelized potato skin ice cream.
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Fall/Winter Menu Preview: September 2014

Carolyn Jung - September 2014

Think of the snow and cold, the sleet and wind, the raking, shoveling, and plowing as the Eating Season. These five chefs certainly do. Carolyn Jung shows us something to look forward to.

Justin Woodward, Castagna, Portland, Oregon

“I used to live in San Diego, within walking distance of Chino Farms. I love vegetables. I love to work with them, especially in Portland, which is so meat-heavy. We have meat on the menu, of course, but it’s the vegetables that get me really excited. I think that’s what helps set me apart in this town.”

Beets with maltaise sauce & nasturtiums. “I love beets so much that I have them on the menu almost all the time. I’m a beet freak. Roast red beets with shallots, thyme, tarragon, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and water; peel; punch out into rings with a slicer; marinate in their roasting juices. Make a gelée from blood oranges and agar-agar; punch the gelée into same size rings as the beet. Cover a slice of beet with a ring of gelée and plate. Emulsify egg yolks, butter, and blood orange juice in a blender to make a maltaise sauce. Place in a squeeze bottle and pipe dots on the plate. Marinate skirt steak in a pastrami brine; cook it in the brine overnight sous-vide in a combi oven, low and slow; pull it into shreds; place some of the meat to one side of the beet. Garnish with nasturtium flowers and leaves. It’s a dish that’s spicy, sweet, and sour. It’s earthy from the beet, and fatty from the beef and maltaise sauce.”

Duck, boudin, porcini, liver. “We get in ducks from California that we dry-age on the bone for two weeks. Take the meat off the legs to make a boudin blanc seasoned with quatre épices, cream, brandy, chervil, emulsified smoked duck fat, and a tea we make out of dried shiitake mushrooms. Cook sous-vide 45 minutes at 68 degrees Celsius [155˚F]. Glaze the boudin with crème fraîche mixed with a hydrocolloid to create a white shell for the casing. Cut it into slices. It will have a soft texture like a mousseline. Roast the duck heads and feet with mirepoix in a hotel pan covered with plastic wrap in a combi oven for three days to create a concentrated demi-glace; enrich it with duck liver butter made by purging the livers in milk overnight, lightly curing them, then mixing them with butter in a processor. Halve porcini mushrooms and cook them in smoked duck fat butter on the plancha until they are crisp and tender. Slice raw porcini; punch them out into rounds; spray with lemon juice; season with salt to lighten up the dish. Sear duck breast on the plancha until the skin is crisp. Slice the breast and place on a plate; place sausage rounds in between slices of the breast meat; add the cooked porcini next to the boudin; place the large rounds of raw porcini halfway over the slices of the duck; pour the sauce tableside. I love the earthiness of this dish.”

Lamb loin & lamb sweetbreads glazed in wild licorice. “Make a lamb demi-glace from bones cooked in the combi oven for three days so it’s rich and aromatic. I forage for wild licorice where I mountain bike. It looks like a fern, and you have to dig into the sides of a tree to get at it. You need to clean and scrub it, then pound it in a mortar and pestle. Cook it in a little Bourbon to extract the licorice flavor. Add it to the lamb sauce. Split the lamb loin, remove the bone, take the fat cap off, remove all the sinew, then meat-glue the fat cap back on the loin and wrap it back up. That way, you get the best parts of the lamb. Soak sweetbreads overnight in equal parts milk and water; cook sous-vide at 60 degrees Celsius [140˚F] for one hour. Sear the lamb loin and sweetbreads on the plancha, then place them in a pan and glaze them with the licorice sauce. Make a gelée out of Pernod, water, Champagne vinegar, sugar, and a gellan gum. Blanch baby fennel and then slice them. Set the lamb loin and sweetbreads on a plate; surround them with anise-flavored herbs from our garden, such as anise hyssop, sweet cicely, bronze fennel, and licorice mint; place the fennel slices to the left, and spoon the gelée to the left of that. This will be on the tasting menu. The licorice flavor just pairs so well with the lamb.”

Caramelized potato skin ice cream. “I was in the kitchen one day and saw all these potato skins in the compost bin. I wanted to use them for something, because I don’t like to waste anything. I roasted them as you would barley for malt. I cooked them in butter until they were very dark, then added milk and cream, and steeped them overnight. I didn’t know what I was doing at that point, but the mix was malty, sweet, nutty, and chocolaty tasting. I strained out the potato peels and added trimoline, regular sugar, and guar gum to the potato-infused milk and cream base, then churned it in a Pacojet. It tasted like a Snicker’s bar—of chocolate and peanut butter, even though there was no chocolate or peanut butter in it. Now, we make a meringue of egg whites and sugar that we smoke over cherry wood, spread on acetate, dry in a dehydrator, and break into pieces. When you blowtorch the meringue wafers, they curl up in cool shapes. The meringue is toasty and smoky. Next, we make a buttermilk ice with buttermilk, sugar, and a touch of salt that we freeze like granita. Finally, we mix Sherry vinegar with prune puree. On a frozen black plate, place a quenelle of the ice cream, press a spoon into it and place the buttermilk granita into the indentation; cover with a dot of the prune puree and meringue. It’s definitely not potato-forward. You only get the taste of potato at the end. Now, the potato peels are more important to me than the potatoes themselves. They just have so much flavor.”

Christopher Kearse, Will BYOB, Philadelphia

“The name of the restaurant refers to two things: It’s my middle name and my parents’ nickname for me. It also refers to the will to survive and overcome. [When Kearse was 16 years old, a drunk driver careened into the car he was in, resulting in massive damage to his face. He couldn’t eat or speak for months, and has undergone two dozen operations.] After the accident, I was stuck inside the house, recuperating. I watched cooking shows all day. That was when cooking shows were actually cooking shows. It took my mind off the surgeries and the pain. I started helping my mom cook, even though I couldn’t taste the food I was making. When I started to eat food again, it gave me a different mindset on how to cook. Now, I have sort of a sixth sense about how much salt or seasoning something needs. It’s more of a feel than a taste. It’s more intellectual.”

Whole roasted hen of the woods mushroom, smoked ricotta, Madeira. “We have a garden in the back of the restaurant, where we grow herbs. We get the mushrooms from a forager. I spend more money on mushrooms than on fish. You can’t get wild mushrooms year-round, so when they’re available, it’s a special time. Start the whole mushroom in a pan on top of the stove with butter and orange zest, basting frequently; pan-roast in the oven until tender. When it comes out, shower it with sumac, rose blossoms, and white sesame seeds. We make our own ricotta, then smoke it over apple wood. Place the whole mushroom on a plate; add some ricotta; place some micro greens on the left-hand side of the plate; dot the plate with a Madeira fluid gel.”

Sichuan Rohan duck with salsify, licorice & chestnut puree. “We get these ducks from upstate New York. They’re a special hybrid, a cross between a mallard and a Pekin. They have a thinner skin that really gets crisp when cooked, plus very rich meat. Roast the duck covered with coarsely ground fennel seeds, coriander seeds, and Sichuan peppercorns; brush it with honey toward the end so it doesn’t burn. Confit other duck legs in fat overnight. Make a duck jus by cooking down mirepoix, duck bones, red wine, Cognac, and licorice root; mount with foie gras as you would with cold butter. Serve the confit duck leg in a small cassoulet dish with a mousseline of potatoes over the top. On another plate, place the duck breast with the sauce, chestnut puree, and salsify that has been peeled, roasted in brown butter, and glazed in stock.”

Milk-fed poulard with pumpkin, & Swiss chard. “Remove the legs and breast from the poulard; debone the two thighs; cook the thighs sous-vide for one hour at 65 degrees Celsius [150˚F] with lemon thyme, salt, and pepper. Take the skin off the breast and cure the skin with salt for one hour before baking it in the oven to crisp it up. Sous-vide the breast in a 5 percent salt solution at 62.5 degrees Celsius [145˚F] for one hour. Place the chicken tender and milk in a food processor with coriander, fennel, reduced chicken stock, milk, eggs, and a little flour; process into a very fine paste; place in a piping bag; pipe logs onto plastic wrap; roll up; tie the sausages; poach sous-vide at 65 degrees Celsius one hour. Make a chicken liver mousse by soaking the livers in milk, then seasoning them with salt and pepper, before searing them on one side in a very hot pan; remove the livers; add butter, shallots, and Madeira to the pan; when the shallots have softened, return the livers; puree in a blender with lots of butter; add gelatin, whipped cream, and more Madeira; refrigerate overnight. Blanch Swiss chard and puree with cream, roasted garlic, and methylcellulose to set it; roll into the same shape as the sausage; poach it. It tastes like creamed Swiss chard, but it’s done like a roulade. Roast a whole Cinderella pumpkin until the outside chars; scoop out the flesh; cook it with apple cider and piment d’Espelette; puree with xantham gum; whisk in smoked butter. Next, make pickled pumpkin by curing in a two-to-one-to-one ratio of cider vinegar, water, and sugar. Dehydrate a leaf of Swiss chard in the oven until it’s crisp like a chip. For service, warm the breast in beurre monté. The pumpkin puree goes down on the plate, followed by dots of miso puree made with honey and agar-agar. Next, place the chicken breast on the plate with the sausage, the thigh, the Swiss chard roulade, and a quenelle of the chicken liver mousse. Top with the crispy Swiss chard chip, the chicken skin chip, and shaved radish. Add some of the pickled pumpkin and some fresh nasturtiums. A roasted chicken sauce made with shallots, garlic, brandy, and reduced chicken stock gets poured tableside.”

Banana pot de crème. “I do all the desserts in-house. This one tastes like bananas Foster. Blend bananas, cream, sugar, banana schnapps, and iota carrageenan. Usually, with a pot de crème, it takes an hour and a half to set in the refrigerator. But with the iota carrageenan, it sets in only five minutes. Usually, you also add eggs to a pot de crème. But we don’t add eggs, so the banana flavor is emphasized. It’s a lot more bang for the buck. Allow the banana pot de crème to set in a clear cocktail glass; add a salted caramel gelée made with caramel, rum, water, salt, and gelatin. Top with almond crumble: ground almonds, butter, flour, and sugar—a standard Martha Stewart crumble. Finally, make a green cardamom sauce by combining green cardamom pods, milk, and agar-agar; place in a squeeze bottle; add dots to the top of the pot de crème.”

Sean O’Toole, Torc, Napa, California

“Yes, this is the first restaurant that’s truly my own. Torc is Gaelic for wild boar and speaks to my heritage. It’s also a symbol for hospitality and feast. I’ve helped open a lot of restaurants, so the opening part was really easy. It’s the day-to-day that’s much harder. Business-wise, I was involved in every aspect, from flower arrangements to design to paint. I was the managing general contractor, so I had to deal with a lot of moving parts. It’s everything I thought it would be and more. I can do anything I want. If it doesn’t work, I change it the next day.”

Chilled Dungeness crab with citron, avocado, radish & spicy vinaigrette. “When it’s Dungeness season, the crabs arrive alive at 8 a.m. at the restaurant. They’re so succulent. I like them better than lobster—and I’m from New England. Cook the crab in court bouillon with chile de árbol, shock in ice water, then break the meat out. Make a gelée with lemongrass, citron, Buddha’s hand, water, agar-agar, mint, and chile de árbol. Roast the crab shells. Add white wine, fennel, shallots, a little tomato paste, lemongrass, and chile de árbol to make a spicy crab broth. Add the creamy parts of the crab, then puree it all, even the shells, which will give it more oomph and flavor. Strain, then mount with olive oil and season with lemon juice to create a vinaigrette. In an ice-cold bowl, arrange the crabmeat that’s been dressed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a squirt of lemon juice. Spoon gelée around the crab. Garnish with sliced avocado, julienned radish, and Buddha’s hand zest. Drizzle on the vinaigrette.”

Winkler Farm Eurasian boar with preserved fig, celtuce & porcini mushrooms. “Winkler Farm in Sonoma County is known for its Mangalitsa pigs. It also raises pure Eurasian boars. These boars have smaller litters and mature at a slower rate. They are leaner, and their marbling makes them richer in flavor, the meat dark and nutty tasting. It’s unlike any pork I’ve ever had. There’s just a lot more going on, a lot more complexity to it. We use the whole boar. For this dish, roast the loin rack in a black cast-iron pan. The shoulder gets wrapped in caul fat and braised with shallots, garlic, celery, lemon segments, figs, veal stock, and a sachet of Sichuan peppercorns, lemon zest, and a fig leaf. Celtuce, also known as Chinese stem lettuce, is very fibrous, so the stalks need to be peeled before steaming them for 25 minutes, cut into bâtons, and sautéed with Sonoma Coast porcini mushrooms and Black Mission figs that we preserve at the end of the season with red wine, Port, red wine vinegar, orange slices, and a sachet of black peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, and chile de árbol. In another pan, glaze one of the preserved figs with some of its marinating liquid, which is like mulled wine. Add a slice of loin to the plate with a disk of the shoulder. Place the glazed fig on the plate. Arrange porcini and celtuce alongside and drizzle fig liquor over it. Make a sauce from the shoulder braising liquid, fig liquid, green cardamom, lemon peel, Sherry vinegar, Sichuan peppercorns, and fig leaves, which I have access to 365 days a year, thanks to a tree in my backyard. Spoon this sauce and the reduced fig sauce on the plate. Garnish with wild arugula leaves.”

Artichoke risotto with hedgehog mushrooms, Meyer lemon, verbena & white truffle. “I like carnaroli rice for its grain size, texture, and mouthfeel. We cook it with onion, white wine, and water. That way we have the option to keep it vegan, if need be. I don’t make a vegetable stock because I like to keep things neutral. Sauté artichoke hearts quickly in hot olive oil and one clove peeled garlic; add white wine to two-thirds full; reduce by half; cover with water; add a generous amount of olive oil; cover with parchment paper; cook over low heat, being careful not to oxidize the artichoke hearts. They will end up with a nice yellow color. Puree the cooked hearts and season with licorice root powder. I’m a big fan of licorice root because it’s like umami to the nth power. You eat this dish and think, ‘What is that?’ It’s like a hidden richness. Add the artichoke puree to the cooked rice to act as a binder. Add a touch of mascarpone and a little bit of butter just because it’s always on the station in front of me. Add salt, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a pinch of Parmesan; garnish with sautéed artichoke hearts and sautéed Sonoma Coast hedgehog mushrooms. With a microplane, grate a little bit of Meyer lemon zest over the top. Add some chiffonade of lemon verbena leaf. I like to add a rich element, like a teaspoon of mouth-coating veal jus, just to accentuate the rice with a meaty element. Shave white truffle over it. This was inspired by an artichoke soup I did with chanterelles, croutons, and white truffles for a TV show with actor Billy Zane. On the show, I had to eat with him, and as I tasted it, I thought, ‘This is incredible!’ I can’t wait to get white truffles this year to do this dish.”

Pastry chef Elizabeth Gentry
Citrus praline tart. “This is really bright and refreshing for citrus season. Make a hazelnut crumble from equal parts flour, sugar, hazelnut flour, and butter, plus a touch of salt. Mix into a dough; crumble it onto a sheet pan; bake until golden brown. Once cooled, process into crumbs; place in a mixer; with the motor running, pour in cooked and liquefied sugar; mix until it cools a bit; add a small amount of milk chocolate and praline paste; roll out this dough between sheets of parchment paper; freeze until set; cut out into circles as the foundation of this dish. Pipe a cream/praline paste/white chocolate ganache on each disk. Layer on fresh kumquats, blood oranges, and mandarins or whatever citrus is in season. Then comes a disk of lemon/olive oil chiffon cake. Finally, there’s Meyer lemon curd, just a dollop over the top of the cake.”

Markus Glocker, Bâtard, New York City

“My family runs the Klockerhaus hotel in Austria, so I grew up serving customers, and I started cooking there. When I was 18, I left Austria because I wanted to learn something besides Austrian food. As I got older, I wanted to cook it again, but combine it with different techniques and make it more contemporary. I didn’t want to have an Austrian restaurant because I didn’t want to limit myself. But I wanted to have it in my pocket to give to friends and people who like Austrian food, so I have some Austrian dishes that are off the menu, such as a potato salad like my mom made. The potato salad is made with veal consommé and served with cucumber salad, sea buckthorn, lingonberry sauce, and a slice of foie gras. When my mom made potato salad, she skipped the foie gras part, though.”

Savory Stellar Bay oysters with fried pig’s tail & pickles. “The first time I tasted pig’s tail, it reminded me of pork back home. Braise the tail with caraway seeds, chicken and veal stocks, mirepoix, thyme, and garlic for five hours. Remove the meat from the bone gently so it doesn’t rip. Take the fatty skin off and keep it separate. Roll the meat in plastic wrap, place it in ice water until firm, then cut it into circles. Dip each disk into egg and panko, then fry in grapeseed oil. Stellar Bay oysters are slightly sweet, briny, and with a distinct long finish to stand up to the pig’s tail. Pickle together in Sherry vinegar some celery, fennel, blanched garlic, tarragon, and the pork skin that’s been crisped in a pan. Place three oysters on the half shell on top of a bed of pink peppercorns and other spices so they sit up on the plate. Dice the pickles and place on top of each oyster, followed by a disk of crisp pig’s tail. When you eat it, you get the crunch and the acid, and then the beautiful oyster comes through all of a sudden.”

Sweetbread/apple strudel with balsamic vinegar & winter greens. “The classic strudel is with apples and raisins soaked in rum. With this one, we soak the raisins in vermouth to give an elegant sweetness and a touch of bitterness. The strudel dough is made from flour, vegetable oil, and water. It’s stretched out and brushed with butter. It’s a very delicate job to pull it without tearing it. Fill it with a mixture of diced Granny Smith apples, the soaked raisins, bread crumbs, hazelnuts, and sweetbreads that have been poached in veal stock, cut into nuggets, then pan-seared until crisp. Roll up the strudel and bake it in the oven until golden. The garnish is a vinaigrette made with chicken stock, black truffle juice, and balsamic vinegar. Place a slice of the strudel on the plate, drizzle the vinaigrette around it, and garnish with lightly dressed fall greens such as ice lettuce and kale. The sweetbreads give this a beautiful texture. It sounds like a heavy dish, but it’s pretty light because of the vinaigrette and greens.”

Grilled monkfish cheeks with cassis, leeks, red beets & caraway seeds. “Reduce crème de cassis, red Port, balsamic vinegar, thyme, garlic, and peppercorns to a light syrup; cool; add the monkfish cheeks; marinate four hours. Grill the cheeks until crisp and the sugar from the cassis caramelizes. We don’t have a large space here, so we use a yakitori grill with Malaysian charcoal that burns very hot. Let the cheeks rest. When you slice one in half, it’s beautiful, with a red color. Roast red beets in the oven, then puree them with vegetable stock, a tiny bit of butter, Sherry vinegar, and salt. Cook pumpkin seeds in sugar and water until almost syrupy. Use a spider to remove the seeds. Then, fry them in grapeseed oil, before seasoning them with salt and lots of black pepper. They are very crunchy, slightly sweet, and spicy. Place the puree on the plate, then the cheek halves. Top with seeds. Garnish with blanched and grilled baby leeks, chervil, and greens. This is a beautiful dish for wine lovers, especially people who like red wine with fish. A red Burgundy would be great with this.”

Sweet Lübeck marzipan parfait with almond bread, butternut squash & mugolio pine. “I trained in pastry, too; it’s the European way. We don’t have a pastry chef, so I’m doing the desserts here. As a kid, I didn’t like marzipan. At Christmas time, everything had marzipan in it. But it grew on me. I like it when it’s cut with a different flavor and with a little bit of salt or else it’s too sweet. Use the best marzipan you can get for this. We use Lübeck marzipan from Germany.

It’s 100 percent almonds with no extract in it. We make almond bread that’s like biscotti. It’s half all-purpose and half almond flour, plus egg whites and butter. Fold in skin-on, whole almonds. Bake it off, then freeze it. Cut rounds with a slicer, then bake those off. The slices will look like a mosaic with the almonds. They come out so nice and golden.

Make a marzipan parfait by whisking egg yolks and sugar in a double-boiler; fold in gelatin and marzipan; whip cream to soft peaks and fold it into this mixture; add fleur de sel. Pipe rounds into molds the same size as the almond bread; freeze. The texture will be like a semifreddo. We get pine syrup from the north of Italy. It’s an amazing ingredient. It has strawberry notes and is so floral. Place the almond bread on the bottom of a plate, add the marzipan parfait, then some of the pine syrup, then another slice of the crisp almond bread. On the side, place some butternut squash puree that’s been combined with simple syrup and lemon juice. It’s like a cookie sandwich with a butternut squash puree and a few more drops of the pine syrup on the side, so you can dip your cookie into each.”

Paul Qui, Qui, Austin, Texas

“Filipino food hasn’t attained the attraction and exposure of other cuisines. I never cooked Filipino food professionally before; I had only cooked a few recipes from my grandparents. It’s a very interesting cuisine, and I wanted to get in touch with my roots. Filipino cuisine has always been nose-to-tail peasant food. We use everything, from all the innards to the blood. If done the right way, it has a great chance of reaching a new audience.”

Buri sashimi. “It’s also known as winter yellowtail. It’s pretty fatty, with a really nice flavor. It’s probably the best yellowtail you can get. I slice it and serve it raw, fanned out on a plate, sashimi-style, with fresh wasabi and a quenelle of pineapple sorbet made in a Pacojet with tepache, a fermented pineapple juice we flavor with peppercorns and coriander seeds. In a side dish, we have fresh radishes in a pool of my version of ponzu that’s made from tamari, dashi, and calamansi juice. It serves as a dipping sauce for the fish.”

Lechon with dinuguan. “It’s my version of pork blood stew. Make a jus by cooking pork ribs with onions and water. Sweat onions with fat back, hot peppers, and white wine. Add the pork jus and pork blood; puree. Brine pork shoulder in salt water, bay leaf, and peppercorns for a day, cook sous-vide 12 hours, then crisp it on the plancha. Brine a pig’s head for two to three days in vinegar, sugar, garlic, onions, thyme, and peppercorns. Simmer it in court bouillon until it falls apart. Pick the meat off and crisp it on the plancha. Cook pork livers with onions, Sherry, Sherry vinegar, and black pepper; puree. Make a jam with shallots, coconut vinegar, black pepper, sugar, and pectin. Place the shoulder and head meat on a plate with a dollop of jam; smear some of the pork liver on the plate; pour the blood sauce tableside. You get all the flavors of pork on one plate. Some people can’t get past the thought of the blood. But once they do, it’s fine.”

Kare-kare. “This a Filipino peanut curry. Toast annatto seeds in grapeseed oil; add salted preserved shrimp; sweat with onions, shallots, garlic, and fresh and dried chiles; stir in peanut butter we make with toasted peanuts, salt, sugar, and a little grapeseed oil; add oxtail stock that’s made by grilling oxtail, then cooking it in a pressure cooker with onions, carrots, celery, and water. Place the oxtail meat on the plate; shave raw hearts of palm around it so it almost looks like coconut; put a dollop of the kare-kare sauce on the plate; garnish with sweet potato that’s been salt-baked, as well as chunks of Fuji apple that have been preserved in a yeast and water solution to give a more sour taste; place small kale leaves around the plate in a half-moon shape; take more of the shrimp preserved in brine, dry them out, and sprinkle over the dish.”

Halo-halo. “We do our desserts as a team. Halo-halo means ‘mix-mix,’ and we serve it in an ice cream sundae dish. For the bottom layer, make a flan by whipping eggs with milk and sugar, then baking it in a pan; chill it; cut into little cubes. The next layer is cubes of sweet potato roasted with cinnamon. On top of that are cubes of pâte de fruit made with pectin, sugar, and vinegar seasoned with five spice. Cover it all with shaved ice made with Acqua Panna in a Pacojet. Top with a quenelle of sweet potato ice cream made in a Pacojet. Sprinkle with pecan praline made with grilled pecans that have been candied in syrup before being deep-fried. At tableside, pour on eggnog made with heavy cream, rum, milk, eggs, and sugar.”