Notes from the Chef

Fall is definitely here today and the next menu is all about the season. When I write a menu it is an outline and not a finished product. Squash soup? What type of squash? What texture or flavor will I add to the soup? Smooth as in a bisque or chunky as a peasant soup with apples, leeks. Soup has so many possibilities and for this reason it can be an entire meal with a loaf of bread and a glass of wine.
Today I made the chicken stock for the soup, slowly simmered bones and aromatics. A feeling of warmth and comfort fills the house as the simmering stock waits for the roasted squash, leeks and roasted pears. Transforming the lowly gourd into deliciousness. The end of Indian summer brings a new vegetable bounty. I am sharing the 10 Chairs menu and thoughts with you my friends. Join me on the fall journey.

Notes From The Chef

August is my favorite month of the year; it brings a little R&R, great produce and a chance to look ahead. 10 Chairs is growing and will be branching out to other venues. No worries; the original will still maintain its intimacy of bringing new and old As everything must change, so must the growth of 10 Chairs a project that began with my love of food and all things it involves. The intricacies of planning the menu and shopping for the ingredients. Food can be simple or complex but all dishes bring taste, color and texture to the palate of the plate. As I look forward to the fall and its bounty and all things it brings, I invite you once again to be a part of my food and wine friends together with laughter, food and wine journey.

Fire & Wine

When do you light the fire and when do you drink the wine?
Cowboy coffee in the morning? Wait till the perfect dish is cooked to serve and or drink the wonderful bottle or bottles of wine that you have?
A Cuban sandwich is a perfect companion to any bottle of wine.
It is midsummer and I have not started the grill once this year. There has been much rain but I am waiting for something to drive me to cook. Seeing the embers, smelling the char or waiting for the fire to ignite.
I grew up with live fire. At the farm the pot belly stove was feed with wood, the bacon, eggs, meat, fish, and the vegetables came from the land and the river.
In the summer we would pick dewberries for pies and though I always felt safe, it could be dangerous. Boots too large, a shirt and pants twice my size my mother and aunt by my side standing ready to hoe the copperheads & rattlesnakes that also love the dewberries.
Other than the rushing Brazos, the farm was calm a peaceful place where we laughed, ate and danced.
There were places with juke boxes and or live bands where people would go to dance and drink. My aunts, my mother and I would go and dance. Laugh with each other and of course dance. Dancing was a part of our life, my life the life of our family. In the city there was always Saturday night when I would help my mother get dressed before she went out to dance with my aunts, but at the farm I was allowed in that world. I knew the steps to the dances because I danced with my mother daily. As she would dress for work, she would play records and we would dance. It was our time our history and would continue until she was no longer dancing. I continue my dance and she is always by my side. When do you light the fire and when do you drink the wine? The dancing is always there.

Notes From The Chef

As summer is here now, I start to think about tacos and Texas. At this time of year there was a grill going with sizzling fajitas that had been marinated with coca cola ( the real one). A trip to the tortillaria in the morning for fresh tortillas and some conchas for breakfast. Since I have lived in New York, there has been a shortage of a store selling fresh masa and fresh tortillas.

Next week I will make a trip to Queens to visit a store that makes and sells homemade corn tortillas. I plan to purchase some fresh masa and make corn tortillas and flour tortillas also.

A trip to the watermelon stand to plug a watermelon to see if it was sweet and ripe then sitting outside on picnic tables with paper plates, salt and watermelon running down our face and clothes. Since we could not eat all the watermelon there, the remaining went home for pickles, juice and salad with fresh mint picked from my mother’s garden.

At this time, my uncle usually came by with giant oysters from his oyster beds, shrimp from his shrimp boats and pickled eggs with pickled ham hocks. All of this in preparation for a family dinner. Since 10 Chairs has become a place where I can cook and make dishes for my guests. This is in preparation for the next dinner on July 9. Hope to see you there.

Chef Notes

Spring notes from the chef
I do not usually plan menus far in advance. I find I have an idea and see something in the market and the menu begins to take life..not so for April. The ideas just started to flow and well 3 menus took shape. Maybe the long and very cold winter brought my mind to all things green, fresh and youthful. Spring celebrates a new beginning, baby lamb, tiny vegetables so tender that little preparation needed, just show love and the ingredients speak for themselves. The proper heat, seasoning, and technique make the dishes successful.
All that is needed for asparagus so fresh and small is care and they can be eaten cooked or raw with salt, pepper,and a beautiful olive oil. However they can be adorned with more complex items but always allowing the asparagus to shine. Spring peas smashed with mint and a great piece of grilled bread possibly some shaved pecorino make an opening splash on the palate. Spring paints a beautiful canvas of color, texture, and flavor. Spring celebrates fresh new produce, cheese and young animals, but wisdom and knowledge allows the chef to coax the flavors without over powering the ingredients. So I give you 3 menus: an ode to spring, the rite of spring.

Page 4 of 7« First...23456...Last »