Thursday, March 8, 2012

Date Night

Friends are back from their six-month honeymoon. The husband landed a job at Bonny Doon Vineyard in north Santa Cruz, CA. He began right around the same time as new Chef du Cuisine Ryan Shelton. Ryan comes from several years as an innovative pastry chef under chef Bruno Chemel, first at Chez TJ in Mountain View, CA, then from Baume in Palo Alto, CA.

Decided to eat a sampling from Chef Ryan's second night at the head of Cellar Door (soon changing names to Le Cigare Volant):
Boquerones (Spanish Sardines)
Popelouchum Asparagus Soup
Glaum Ranch Circulated Egg (low and slow, like sous vide)
Spring and Baby Vegetable Salad
Crispy Brown Rice with Miso Glazed Root Vegetables (Arugula Tempura)
38 degrees North Lacquer Duck Leg with Orange Anise
Assorted Cheeses
Strawberry "Thaw" Custard (with liquid Nitrogen). This was one of the top five most fun desserts I've had. It was a great way to end our "date."

The aim is that Chef Ryan Shelton will earn Cellar Door at Bonny Doon Vineyard it's first Michelin Star. Given the sources for wonderful, fresh ingredients are within 50 miles, he's at an amazing location to produce a Michelin Star for the area. He just needs to keep working, challenging himself, surrounding himself with good people; and as Thomas Keller says, (paraphrasing) 'You're not just cooking for today, you're cooking for your legacy.'

Sunday, March 4, 2012

St. Joseph's Table Baking--Day 5

Decided to go to work and bake there. This had definite advantages and disadvantages. One advantage was the quantity I was able to finish. At home I usually make 2 batches of bread in a day, at work (with the commercial oven, pans, etc.) was able to bake 7 batches of bread in 9 hours straight.

Didn't bring the Kitchen Aid mixer from home, and mixed everything by hand. [This left me desiring a Camco hand bread mixer like my friend owns.] Wasn't able to incorporate all the flour for which the recipes called, and my arms were tired. Caused the decorative loaves to be not as sturdy, so they broke where they wouldn't have had I taken time at home. The advantage was that 16 loaves (some huge) were baked in a day (where ~6 smaller loaves would be normal at home). The out-sized loaves I wished to bake would only fit in the commercial-sized oven.

Arrived at 10:20am and began mixing yeast with warm water. 
Bowl 1 = 1 batch Bread of SJ = 1 large 20"w round 4-rope-braid-loaf (normally creates 3 med-lg loaves)
Bowl 2 = 2 batches Bread of SJ = 2 large round loaves (1 balls round, 1 plain round with comb-incised decoration)
Bowl 3 = 2 batches bread of SJ = a loaf each of: ladder, monstrance, loaves/fish, chalice, hammer, carpenter's square, and a nail
Bowl 4 = 1 batch of Festive Easter Bread = 2 doves with eggs, "S"/"G" with eggs, and a host
Bowl 5 = 1 batch of Festive Easter Bread = 1 round braid with 3 colored eggs
The Festive Easter Bread still needs icing and colored sprinkles.
(see March 2011 archive for recipes)
After mixing, kneading the rest of the ingredients by hand, shaped the loaves (experimented with shapes) and baked the bread 3-4 large sheet pans at a time.
Finished baking just after 5:00pm, then it was an hour of dish washing and another hour of wrapping the bread for the freezer. Finally left, exhausted at 7:20pm. That was my penance for all the fun I've had lately. Hopefully the bread shows well on the Table.

Lessons for next time: bring the mixer, recruit dishwashing help, as well as bread-shaping help. Not the best idea to do it all alone; and the ball round doesn't hold together, the plain round with comb-incised design held together the best.