My Creations, Places I like

Thursday, December 8, 2011


    Here in America we have tremendous pride in almost everything we do. We like to think we're the best at virtually everything there is to be good at: Basketball, winning the Olympics, making movies, having the best language, breeding celebrities, stealing British musicians, fucking over natives, being underdogs, being the favorites, consuming electricity, going to college, rewarding the wealthy, fighting, defending the world, getting to the moon, conspiracy theories and propaganda, ethics, using PowerPoint, being vegan, depleting resources, driving drunk, nascar, hunting terrorists, being good looking. When it comes to America, we are the best at everything. Our slogan should read: "America...because we're just better than you!" So it comes as no surprise that when we are not the very best at something we just shrug it off and dismiss it as if has no relevance to anything (watch someones facial expression when you bring up soccer). Being less than #1 leaves a bitter taste in our mouth and has no place in society.

"And you guys call yourselves a Super Power"
Congrats America, you are the best!!
    ( In my opinion there is nothing more American than "rocky" and the arcade game "cruisin' USA")

    I mention all this because food used to be one of those bitter subjects. For as long as we have been a country we have been getting our ass handed to us in the cuisine department. When you thought of where the best food came from it used to be standard France and Italy. If anyone tried to mention American food as a legitimate cuisine they were laughed at. I always wanted to extern in Spain (easily becoming the culinary powerhouse of the world) but through time I questioned why? Why not extern somewhere in my own country. Where food is finally starting to matter, and be taken seriously. All jokes aside, our country provides exceptional foods it just took us a while to understand how to use them properly (hey, we haven't been around for 1,000s of years...we're new at this).Obviously you could shoot holes in my argument like Swiss cheese by mentioning anything fast-food, or the tremendous problems are country faces when it comes to processed foods and how the animals are treated, blah blah blah. You can mention those things and you would be totally correct, but I'm talking about real American cuisine. You may not realize it but we've come a long way since meatloaf and tuna casserole (I still love both don't get me wrong). If you search the top restaurants in the world, a decent amount of them reside right here in the US of A
    A few weeks ago my parents were on their way to the city (my friend Keith Egbert has a problem with the fact that "the city" is universally excepted this side of the Mississippi to represent NYC) and stopped by CIA to have a belated birthday dinner with me at one of our campus restaurants--American Bounty. Its all coming together now ya see? I made a reservation a few weeks in advance, and we arrived at American Bounty while the students were till setting up the dining room. Sitting at the bar, over cocktails I tried to break down everything I have done in school up to that point, and how things generally work here at CIA. I tried my best to explain to my parents how everything works from our meal plan, to kitchen class, but for some reason I felt they were a little lost (CIA has a pretty unusual curriculum style, and I talk fast).

"I think I get it...wait...what?"
    This post is getting particularly long so I'll just jump right into the food.

Cage-free Foie Gras from the Hudson Valley (Daily preparation).

    That night they were serving the foie gras atop a warm brioche doughnut and caramelized pear. The dish comes wrapped in brown paper so you know your in for the ol' "bottom of a Chinese takeout bag". I still can remember the smell weeks later. The aroma was intoxicating. And so you take your fork and draw it through the foie gras, scooping up some of the warm doughnut on your way back up to your mouth. I'm eating it, and it just melts in your mouth. Crispy exterior, but warm and fatty was "like buttah". I'm glad this was the first foie gras I tasted because they absolutely did it right. This was sex on a plate.

Seared Sea Scallops and Wide Noodles 
Chanterelles, Leeks, Meyer Lemon Broth
Qupe Marsanne, Santa Ynez Valley, California 

    I have to start out by saying that fresh sea scallops are one of the best things on earth; and I don't mean those petite little bay scallops. I'm talking big, plump, succulent sea scallops, baby. Sea scallops get a bad rap because a lot of people believe most of the time when you order sea scallops at a restaurant what you really get is mystery fish meat or shark meat punched out of its fin? I can't make this stuff up, people actually believe this (my mom included). Allow me to school you on how to know you ordered actual sea scallops. When your working with a real scallop, you will find a small muscle attached to the side where it was connected to the shell. That muscle can be tough and rubbery so it is important to remove it before cooking the scallop. When you order scallops there will be a tiny indent on the side from where that muscle was removed.
    These scallops were delicious (nestling in a sauce composed 90% with butter never hurts) and I thought it was neat that the base of the sauce was a "fish fumet"--a fish stock fortified with white wine and sauteed mushrooms, because that was something I had made THAT DAY in kitchen class. Who knows, maybe my fish fumet was part of this dish, hey a kid can dream, right? Its amazing to me that I'm out to dinner with my parents at a restaurant on campus, eating a dish made with something I made in class that very same day. I donno, its just cool to get to eat the fruits of your labor...
wine pairings with each course so I was feeling riiiiiiiigghhttt


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