Thursday, December 1, 2011

Good food and beer is Brewing !

I must Say, before I discovered world of wines , thats all I was drinking, was beer, good beer. After I left old country,about 15 years ago, good beer was quite difficult to find here. And please, Im not talking here about forced over carbonated american very popular beverage the ones give you hiccups and headache for two days. I'm talking about small production artisan craft beers here .
Seems like in a past couple of years american craft beer brewing became very popular and I was just blowed away with some results. I Found my self more and more buying and tasting, discovering new craft american and old school european beers. I must say , like with wines I personally prefer european beers and wines over american . But its just me. I grow up tasting and even as kid sipping from my parents some good chech , german, belgium of coz Lithuanian brews. But I Should give American micro brews big credit. Because all these europeans who come visit us and pushing reputation , that we don't have a good beer and drinking just miller and budwaiser , should be smacked in a face...:) maybe not !!! Now I can proudly say that We have very good beers around here, all these microbrews just popping up like mushrooms after the rain ( very rapidly )
Couple of Years ago I met Ken Belou, amazing brew master who studied his craft in Germany in one of the oldest breweries in the wold , weihenstephanen , at that time he was brew master at Bells in MI Kalamazoo . With a lot of help we created an amazing beer dinner. He got the beer , I got the food. You know...It was a Killer. After tasting couple his creations like Bell's sour Mi cherry stout, and one of my fav Two Hearted Ales ..I was hooked into a beer again...If you passionate about the beer and like good food , you can not miss this dinner at Americano Monday night. Seven courses of good food , kind of food , I would like to eat with my beer, will be paired, plus some of the latest Ken's creations, all the anwers about the beer ....home brewing etc. Monday night can't miss that, I'm very exited . Check out Americano website for menu, under events !
Love to cook with good beer !!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Millions of peaches....

Do not like too much when summer is ending , but very happy with natures products, local produce , peaches, eggplants , zucchinis, ...tomatoes- tomatos...corn name it.
I'm very lucky to live here in a country where on my way to work I can stop by and pick up fresh stuff daily. I found one of ohio's largest chill pepper growers, he has 250 varieties of hot peppers in his farm. Can not wait to spice things up a bit .
But these saturn peaches from sages farms in Chardon near my house, one of the best things I ever tasted sweet !!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Couple food shots from private tasting last weekend !!

We started with bacon wrapped dates stuffed w smoked gouda over romesco and shot of local tomato and watermelon gazpacho.
MLT salad( mozz lettuce tomato) w fresh bacon, burrata, basil , EVOO, balsamic.
Local ricotta and corn ravioli, shaved domestic truffle, 1 hour egg !
Gently cooked wild Sockye salmon, over scallop carpachio, kafir lime curry coconut broth, red wine couscous - caper salad.
All American beef Duo, 48 hour root beer short rib and grilled sirloin , parsnip puree, green bean casserole, tat or tots, home made ketchup.
Cheese corse, red wine pouched apple, cherries , bisquit , chevre .
Caramel Esspreso creme brulle ...bruleed california fig !
Love to cook !

Monday, August 15, 2011

Pasta has been extruded !!!

For quite some time I was looking to purchase pasta extruder for Americano, but since I have no history with pasta extrusion, I though I would give a shot at home first, with just simple kitchen Aid setting. Very simple basic pasta dough ...oo flour room temp eggs...EVOO..couple drops of water...mix rest ...second experimental pumpurnickle dough...rye, whole wheat, hi gluten flours, coco, espresso, caraway ...mix... rest !!
Now is extrusion time fun..I made bucatini, spaghetti, rigatoni and fussili simple , fast with no fuss. My 7 year old son was helping make it and eat it . Making pasta with extruder was a lot of fun and very easy. Sipping glass of Italian Red and dropping dough balls in to extruder was no brainer. I thought pasta was very good .
I'm still going to play with different flours , flavors and hydration levels to make it more perfect, and I think before cold weather is going to hit us here in good old Cleveland, I will definitely will look into getting one of the machines like that for the restaurant. You know pasta is is one of those things , just like pizza...could be really really bad..or if its made right ...very satisfying and delicious. Technique , ingredients and know how matters, love to cook pasta on sundays !

Monday, August 8, 2011

Ice Cream Obsession !!!

I must say when it comes time to have something sweet, I would rather have some kind of good artisan cheese with port or Vin Santo...or after dinner Cocktail ..or even skip the dessert and do some type of cured meats with fruit mustard and bread... anyways... But once in a while I do make or have a dessert, but it has to be worth it. Has to be small , balanced and quality. Why would people want those big overloaded ...over floated cups or bowls full of crap and more reduced fat or calorie crap...and toped with bagged or cool whipped goodeness..with plastic cherry on top ..!!!
But lately I developed habit taking my kids to Jenie's ice cream chop in Chagrin Falls. I appreciate that place uses all natural local ohio ingredients, organic milk and cream and I don't have to be questioning whats in my Ice cream ?? Last week Jenie's Ice cream recipe base caught my eye in latest Saveour magazine.
Since I own three ice cream makers I could not resist not to try it. I really liked the idea of using cream cheese in it too. Also in a past I ve made only egg yolk based Ice creams, i goes you can call those frozen custards , right ?? gelato normally has higher egg yolk content , and less milk fat. And ICE CREAM...should not have any eggs in it...the name says it ..
so I churn one batch Jenies recepie ( i just do not use corn syrup in my cooking, so used honey instead ) based ice cream using local organic milk and cream, simply infused it with fresh, spare mint from my garden, chopped some bananas and chocolate chic chip banana ice cream was really one of the kids favorite...only one complaint was that it was not green ..! Even it was good I had to do some adjustment for my ice cream maker about the texture... second flavor
was.... I started with Sugar caramel, 50/ 50 milk, crew, some cream cheese, thickened with corn starch, some chopped Velrohna chocolate , little espresso, pinch of salt, cayenne, cinnamon , dutch coco powder, vanilla bean....chill ....churn .....oh MY GOD ...not the best I ever made it...but the best I ever tasted...see. when I eat things like ice cream, not only flavor maters , but the texture as well. has to be creamy, temperature just right, silky smooth with balanced flavor and nice long finish..well thats ice cream my friends !!! And for jennies, only one com pain I have, that they do not churn their stuff in a house and getting delivered from columbus...because I do not like those ice crystals in my ice cream ...also maybe goat cheese and corn sounds good ...but does nit taste good in ice cream ..sorry ..I'm too traditional..

Friday, June 10, 2011

Man and Fire

I don't know, there is some thing about cooking with a live fire. It's fun, satisfying , but not easy. It's not like you can turn the knob and bump up the heat higher or lower . Fire management takes lots of practice and experience ... doesn't matter wood fired oven ...BBQ ...or even grill. My Dream came true just last fall, for many many years , I was having a dream to own wood fired oven in my kitchen or back yard. Last year mans dream became reality. Forno bravo wood fired pizza oven came to my back yard patio, it took a fork lift to get on it. Reward, good company , pizzas, roasted meats, fish, breads I even roasted whole turkey in it...fantastic. Not trying to be funny or sarcastic...but best pizza in Cle is in my back yard. Sorry, Crostadas !!! ( where I thing only one acceptable pizza in city of Cleveland is )
I'm going keep practicing and maybe even one day my other dream will come true and will have a restaurant with a wood fired oven where I can serve that type of food. We shall see !! Love to cook, with live fire !

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hello are all doing wrong for years...oodles of noodles !!!

I never experienced American collage life and my food history is not that full of Ramen or Spaghetti with Ragu ...!! After Reading famous Momofuku book I really wanted to try the real deal Ramen and pork buns. I was so glad I did, because after soooo much work ...yeas even for me with shopping and cooking in my home kitchen it took whole day. Oh well its a labor of love. But it was so much worth it . It was real true comforting food I love, but which I have never experienced before. Steamed asian buns, with slow roast pork shoulder , rich broth made with aromatic spices , beef bones, chicken and pork neck bones...noodles condiments ..pickles...was so good I should do this more often. Inspiration came from Momofuku book...but I did everything my way...Radish Kim Chi ...scallion ginger sauce..asian fresh cucumber pickles..pork buns with fat skimmed from the broth..only thing I did not make was a noodles, I picked those up from local Asian store...glad I did ! But Will try to make those in a future for sure.
I assembled ramen with roasted pork shoulder which was braised with some orange juice, ginger, star anise, coriander, until tender and pulled ( I used same meat for pork buns as well )
pulled chicken, bamboo shoots, swiss chard, tofu, shitakie mushrooms and egg. I was haven in a bowl, sliding down with some nice wine and toped with porky bun, slathered with hoisin and radish and cuc pickles. Sorry too bad fully assebled pork bun pix...was in a big hurry to eat them...and had no time for pickure taking . I will , in a future, promise !
Love to cook and eat good ramen and pork buns !
P.s. I heard in Clevelend we are going to have Ramen and pork bun shop...looking forward to that !

Monday, March 7, 2011

returning to classics !!

Winter depression ??? I have to say this is the most miserable time of the matter which way you will look...when it comes to food...mood..flu or driving..!! Thank god is almost over !
Was really nice to get inspired and cook some classics at home for a family best eve quiche and classic beef Bourguingnon, which I cheated and cooked in a pressure cooker. It has been a long time when I was so pleased with output . Takes time, passion and being patient is a key. Secret of good braise...season your meat ahead of time...and dont over do with a braising liquid.
When it comes ti quiche...oh my good ...why we dont make them to aften....and why we make bad ones...First Quiche is not overcooked eggs in a grocery store pie shell. Classic french quiche is a savory custard with some type of filling, which in my case was mushrooms, asparagus, onions and local smoked bacon. It is sooooo good that I have no words to describe ...imagine savory creme brule type a texture with earthy mushrooms...sweet onions , freshness asparagus and smoky !
Beef Bourgingion , not the best I ever tasted ...but the best I ever made too... I have to say there is something really satisfying to make beef and red wine stew on a day of , pour bottle of wine in a pot...brown the meat and sip glass of wine...while you wait until your stew is ready...! wow..I really need inspiration lately and this was a good one to give me a push forward my culinary creations ! Returning to classics !! Also perfect way way to be inspired for amazing todays french wine dinner we doing at Americano this evening !
Love to cook classics, specially when they turn out that good, makes me think....there is a reason that they are classics and we should re- visit them more often !