After a year long hiatus from doing my home tasting menus, I got the urge to a do a new one around the humble potato which led to last weekend Potato dinner. We have a total of 7 diners which did slow down the plating, but having done this several times I have gotten much better at managing my time and we were done with the 7 savory courses in just under 3.5 hours despite this meal including some fairly complex dishes as well as one multi-item course.
Hot Potato Cold Potato is a classic Alinea appetizer that has a hot ball of butter poached potato that is dropped into a cold potato soup made with truffle juice.… Read the rest
For foodies in the Bay Area, there is one fine dining place that we all have on our bucket list – The French Laundry. Nithya and I have had the pleasure of dining at Per Se and doing the French Laundry retrospective at Next, but we never managed to get reservations to the big daddy. However TFL moved to a ticket based reservation system last year and that allowed us to finally scored a dinner reservation for he birthday a few weeks ago.
The first course was this cornet of tuna tartare. They usually serve this dish with Salmon tartare but this night it was tuna instead and just as delicious as before.… Read the rest
Now that I have started my new gig at Apple I no longer have the time to investigate and plan super elaborate meals like the Egg Dinner. However having done a bunch of these in the past we decided to make our March dinner a set of Fast Favourites – dishes that we have tried before and do not take too much time to prepare on the day of the meal. So without further ado, lets dive right into the menu.
We got started with the classic Manresa Farm Egg. It was a huge amount of work and testing when I made it for the egg dinner, but now that I have a reliable method of topping the eggs I no longer had to prepare the yolks in advance and sanitize the shells overnight.… Read the rest
Living in the Bay Area, I had heard of Alinea a few times but since I never had a reason to go to Chicago, I never investigated it as a destination restaurant like the Fat Duck. In fact when I did eventually go to Chicago for the first time we made a special trip to Moto instead since I was a big fan of Homaru Cantu’s Iron Chef episode with Morimoto. All that changed when I saw the Grant Achatz episode of Chefs table and Alinea instantly went to the top of my list based on its presentation alone. It took several months but I was finally able to get a group of 6 California friends willing to fly out to Chicago and do the full Alinea Kitchen Table experience on a cold night in December.… Read the rest
One of the dinner themes I have been toying with for a while is “Eggs” and I finally got to try it out over the weekend. It ended up being a 13 course meal over 6 hours where everything included eggs, looked like eggs or looked like something that should have eggs in it. It was fairly successful with only a few minor hiccups along the way despite several of the dishes being first time attempts. The spectacular photos were all taken by Nithya using her DIY lightbox setup. The following is a description of the dishes with any tips and tricks I discovered along the way.… Read the rest
TL;DR summary – the Fat Duck is an incredibly theatrical experience that is as much about the “show” as it is the food. Highly recommended if you like complex meals and culinary surprises.
I first heard about Heston Blumenthal when I tried a sous vide recipe for scrambled eggs. The dish is one of my all time favourites and became a go to dish to show the power of sous vide. I then saw a few of his BBC shows and loved the way he does molecular gastronomy with a deep exploration of the science behind each dish. Plus The Fat Duck had 3 Michelin Stars and was consistently mentioned in the same breath as El Bulli and French Laundry in the late aughts.… Read the rest
One of the concepts I have been toying with is creating a dessert that looks like a savory course but is actually sweet in taste. Since my next fancy meal is going to have “Eggs” as its theme, I decided to try making a new version of Spaghetti Carbonara as that is probably my favourite egg based pasta. The end result is what you see below, Spaghetti Carbonara Dessert with white chocolate spaghetti, candied bacon, crystalline honey, black pepper and lava salt.
The first step was to make white chocolate spaghetti using the recipe from the Molecule R kit (175ml water, 2g agar agar, 85g white chocolate, boil, extrude).… Read the rest
After my recent Spheres and Circles dinner adventure I decide to put together a quick post on how to get started with frozen reverse spherification.
The basic recipe for reverse spherification is really quite simple. First create your flavourful liquid that you want to spherify and add 2% calcium lactate to the mix. Next freeze the liquid in a mould to create frozen spheres. While the spheres are freezing, prepare a 0.5% solution of sodium alginate dissolved in distilled water (5g sodium alginate in 1000g of water). Let the alginate sit for at least 2 hours to fully hydrate and also lose any bubbles that were created while mixing.… Read the rest
This was an interesting meal inspired by watching the Gaggan Anand episode of Chefs Table Season 2. Specifically we were watching a birds nest like dish which Nithya said might be a pani puri as well as his spherified yougurt amuse bouche. This idea of spherified Indian food combined with my fish in a barrel dish meant that this meal would have to be all about Spheres and Circles.
The first course was a straightforward mojito sphere encapsulating a mint leaf. Instead of using Xantham gum based preparations I decided to go the frozen reverse spherification route as described in this video.… Read the rest
While planning my second home tasting meal I was investigating some molecular cocktails and really fell in love with a recipe for a deconstructed white russian with rice krispies. I loved the fact that diners have no idea what they were going to get and the fact that it was a drink but looks exactly like breakfast cereal. So with that as the starting point I decided to create the meal around the theme of “breakfast for dinner” and that I would skip the wine completely for more interesting alcohol.
Deconstructed White Russian
Made from the White Russian Krispies recipe, this dish uses kahlua infused rice krispies with a half and half plus vodka “milk” to make a white russian that looks exactly like breakfast cereal.… Read the rest