Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Carpaccio with the Perfect Beef

I have the most amazing local butcher, his selection is unparalleled. On a recent visit I started my usual scanning of the case, local pork, beef, chicken, his homemade sausages and crepinette......always tough to choose.  I have never been lead astray when Russell has made a suggestion, so when he brought out a beautiful piece of beef tenderloin from Jones Family Farm and said "This is a must" I took it with no further question, grass fed, beautiful burnished red.....perfect.  I new exactly what I would prepare......my favorite carpaccio.  Friends joining us that night for dinner, a bottle of Marchesi di Gresy Nebbiolo and grilled bread....it was the perfect quick dinner.  


Beef Carpaccio, with Fried Capers, Shaved Radish, Celery Leaf, Parmigiano Reggiano, and Laudemio Frescobaldi Olio Nouvo
Serves 4
8 ounces beef tenderloin from the tip end of the roast
Coarse Sea Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 large radishes, sliced very thinly
½ cup tender celery leaves, coarsely chopped
Fried capers, (Recipe below)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
4-6 tablespoons Laudemio Frescobaldi Olio Nouvo
3 ounces Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano
2 tablespoons fresh chives, finely minced

1) Wrap the tenderloin in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 2 hours.
After 2 hours, unwrap the tenderloin and thinly slice the beef into approximately 1/8 to 1/4-inch pieces. Lay out sheets of plastic wrap and place each slice onto the plastic. Top with another piece of plastic and gently pound the meat with a meat mallet until paper-thin. Repeat until all of the meat is sliced and pounded. Divide the meat evenly among 4 chilled plates.
2) Season each portion with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. Scatter the radish slices evenly over the surface of the each portion of the carpaccio, followed by the celery leaves, and capers. Drizzle the lemon juice over equally over each portion followed by the Laudemio Frescobaldi Olio Nouvo.  Scatter shaved Parmesan equally over each portion and scatter of chives.

Deep-Fried Capers
Yield: Makes 1/4 cup
1/4 cup large capers, preferably packed in salt*
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

1) Rinse capers in a sieve and transfer to a small bowl. Add enough water to cover capers by 2 inches, then soak 30 minutes. Repeat soaking method.

3) Drain and rinse capers, then pat very dry between paper towels.

4) Heat oil in a 1-quart heavy saucepan over moderately high heat until it registers 375°F on thermometer. Fry capers in 2 batches until golden, 30 to 45 seconds per batch. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain and return oil to 375°F between batches.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Sunday Lunch in Paris

A favorite when in Paris on Sundays is to do a late lunch.  On our last trip to Paris we were wandering and window shopping.... and it started to rain. Time to find a spot for lunch.   Many restaurants in Paris are closed on Sundays, and if open, it is just for lunch.  We began to poke our heads into restaurants we would pass looking for an available table.  If our timing was right we could view a full plate being brought to the table.  This further helped us make our choice.  Many people on the streets had the same idea so the little cafes and restaurants were filling quickly as our shoes filled with water and the umbrella started to drip.  Quickly weaving our way through the tiny streets near St Suplice we happened upon "Boucherie Rouliere" on the rue Canettes.  I had heard about the Rouliere family who has been in the meat business for 5 generations.  Jean-Luc Rouliere and his business partner Franck Pinturier are from the Auvergne, a region known for its incredible Limousin and Salers beef...this  is certainly not a place for vegetarians.  We opened the door and heard the sound of laughter roaring from the back of the restaurant...golden light filling the room and the sound of wine corks being pulled from the bottle.....perfect! Checkerboard floors and cream colored walls with photo's from the early 1920s and 1930s instantly set the mood.  Considering the reputation of this family and their restaurant we knew we would of course be trying the beef.  No Americans could be heard or seen.  We were squeezed between two very lively French families, bantering with the waitstaff as plates of comfort foods were brought from the kitchen.  We knew this would be the perfect spot.  Dishes of tiny radishes with saucisson were set on the table with our bottle of Morgon.  We nibbled and sipped wine forgetting about the rain.   The biggest challenge would be deciding what to eat for our lunch.  My wife and I instantly zeroed in on the veal onglet, which I rarely see in the US...and a true favorite for both of us. We made a compromise, she would have the veal onglet and I would have the beef onglet...perfect.  I started with oxtail terrine, tender morsels of braised oxtail, set in natural gelatin, a few cornichon, Dijon and baguette.  We finally started to dry from the rain, and settled in to watching the happenings surrounding us.  The aroma of grilled meat filled the air, long plates were set in front of us....perfectly grilled strips of tender beef onglet, sitting along side crispy potatoes showered with persillade. Perfectly rare, incredible depth of flavor.....you can see why they they are revered, having been the meat business for so many years.  The favorite had to be the veal onglet, tender, rare and juicy.....a simple favorite!  Although in the very central part of Paris, we felt many miles away from the cosmopolitan bustle of the city.....refreshing. The festive environment continued, we sat sipping a coffee, watching the rain continue, feeling the glow of a perfect Sunday in Paris.

Boucherie Rouliere, 24 rue des Canettes, 6th
033 1 43 26 25 70


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Huitres to Swoon Over


I have eaten many a fine oyster, but on my recent trip to Paris had the pleasure of having some of the best I have ever eaten.  Over the years, my dear friend Patricia Wells has raved about the oysters from Patrick Liron in Normandy. On this last trip Patricia and her husband Walter suggested we all go for Saturday lunch to the Brasserie aux PTT on the rue Cler.  During the height of the season, master oyster shucker Stephan Lebozec has a little oyster cart in front mounded with the most perfect specimens.  We of course jumped at the suggestion.   Our party was joined by a delightful group of their friends.  We all packed around a small table near the door with great view to the oyster shucking. On display were baskets full of Huitres Pleine Mer Blainville, Saint-Vaast, Belle de Liron, and Utah Beach.  Each one was pristine and smelling of the sea. Stephan shucks as many as 1500 oysters on Christmas day, his son Franc, another 1000 oysters.  Can you think of a better treat for Christmas lunch?  It took just a couple of minutes for everyone to decide on the Plat Degustation all around.  Bottles of Pouilly Fume were ordered and lively conversation commenced.  Slurping the fresh saltiness followed by a sip of crisp white wine,  all the while watching the master shucker at work.  Stephan would first lay a bed of fresh seaweed brought in from the coast of Normandy onto flat plates.  He would then carefully open each oyster, four of each, floating in clear sweet oyster liqueur, and nestle them on the plate.  The arrival of bowls of mignonette, lemon wedges and baskets of bread at our table woke up the senses and we knew our plates of oysters were on the way.  Instantly the table was covered with plates of oysters......perfect!  As we ate each oyster we chatted about the flavor nuances of each oyster, so incredible they really needed no  embellishment of lemon or mignonette.   More Pouilly fume was poured into glasses, with smiles on everyones face.....what a great lunch!

Brasserie aux PTT
54 rue Cler
75007 Paris
Tele 01 45 51 94 96
First part of November to the end of March

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Perfect Little Ginger Cake

The summer months are the time for simplicity.  And I can't seem to have a dinner party without a little something sweet to finish.  I love to feast on as much stone fruit as possible, peaches, plums, apricots, and cherries.....time seems so limited on these summer gems. To accompany the array of fruits I pair them with home made ice cream, cookies, or small moist cakes.  For many years I have turned to my favorite little ginger cake......I love the spicy, freshness of ginger.  I had this cake on a trip to France at least 15 years ago, and of course came back and had to recreate the moist little morsel.....it took a couple months but well worth the time. Light in texture, loaded with fresh ginger, sweetened with honey and malty brown sugar.  This cake never fails to satisfy, guests always swoon, it pairs well with peaches, poached pears, baked apples and roasted apricots......a dream cake.

For a recent dinner party a good friend requested the ginger cake, and asked if I could include the recipe as a party favor........she has asked many times before.  Which cake do you mean? fully aware of which cake.  Let me see if I can dig the recipe up, I said with a smile.  Even though the cake is perfect all by itself or with a cup of tea, a glass of sweet dessert wine or coffee, I had to pair it with a summer fruit favorite.....roasted peaches.  Peaches and ginger, a heavenly match for me, and to gild the lily a little ginger ice cream....perfect.  

As guests arrived the aroma of ginger still hung in the air, when our friend arrived her eyes light up immediately, you found the recipe she whispered as she walked to the garden.  I can hardly wait for dessert.......me too I said with a twinkle in my eye. 

Fresh Ginger Cake:

I like to make this cake in individual molds, it gives everyone a perfect little cake, and beautiful to plate.
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 pound unsalted butter
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup light muscovado sugar
1/4 cup mild flavored honey
1 egg
1 1/2 ounces fresh ginger, peeled and grated on microplaner
1 teaspoon dry ginger


1) Grease and flour 6 -- 1/2 cup brioche, timbale, or round muffin tins.

2) Combine the flour, baking soda and salt, whisk to combine and set aside.

3) Preheat oven to 350

4) In a medium saucepan, melt the butter with the water over medium heat.  Add the light muscovado sugar and honey and whisk until melted and incorporated.  Add the egg and mix until no visible signs remain.  Now add the fresh and dry ginger, stir to combine.  Add the dry ingredients, blend until smooth. 

5) Pour the batter into prepared tins, place tins on a baking tray and place into preheated oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or just until a toothpick inserted in the center comes away clean.  Be careful not to over bake.  Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 10 minutes, invert the tins and cool cakes completely. Cakes can be made 2 days ahead and wrapped tightly until ready to use.

Peaches Roasted in Honey and Muscovado sugar:

This will make enough to serve with the cake, plus a little treat for the cook

3 peaches, firm but ripe and fragrant
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons light muscovado sugar
3 tablespoons mild flavored honey
1 thin slice of fresh ginger
4 tablespoons water

1) Preheat oven to 375
2) Cut peaches in half, remove the stone, and set aside.
3) In a shallow gratin dish just large enough to hold the peach halves, melt the unsalted butter on top of the stove over medium heat.  Add the muscovado sugar, honey, water and ginger slice, raise heat and bring to a boil.   Boil for 1-2 minutes until slightly thickened.  Add the peach halves to the bubbling sugar and honey cut side down.  Place in the preheated oven and roast for 5 minutes. Turn the peach halves over and baste with the bubbling sugar, honey and butter caramel.  Return to the oven and continue to roast for another 5 to 10 minutes until tender when pierced with a knife. Remove gratin dish from the oven and set aside to cool slightly,remove the ginger slice. There should be just enough of the honey caramel on the bottom of the gratin for a spoonful over each peach. If not add a little water and melt on top of the stove until thick and syrupy.

Serve each cake with a peach half, a small scoop of ginger ice cream, home made or good quality store bought.  Place one spoonful of honey butter caramel over each peach.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Orcas Island Culinary Workshop

I am so excited to announce my culinary workshop on Orcas Island.  The island is a treasure trove of small farms, rugged mountains, harbors and inlets teaming with seafood.  Included below is the workshop outline and contact information to register for the workshop. Hope to see you in May 2011!

WORKSHOP SCHEDULE AND EVENTS:

Please join Jeffrey Bergman for a unique week of culinary exploration into the treasured ingredients of Orcas Island.  The island’s rugged peaks and craggy shores cradle farms and oyster beds in the perfect pristine environment. We will visit some of the island’s best producers of organic lamb, pork, poultry, and produce. Highlights will be a visit to Judd Cove oysters for a fresh-shucked oyster lunch, a tour of Maple Rock Farms with a lunch using produce we harvest, and a visit to the one of the oldest farms on the island, the Coffelt’s, who raise some of the most amazing lamb. The workshop will highlight full participation classes taught each day by Jeffrey Bergman that culminate in a delicious meal enjoyed by all. 

During the three days of the workshop –May 15th to 18th 2011--we will discover the many unique artisan treasures of the island, from an amazing sculpture garden to the beautiful farms dotting Crow Valley. The workshop home base is Rose’s Bakery and CafĂ© in Eastsound.  We will focus on recipes that highlight the incredible pedigree of the island’s ingredients.  Learn to use a well-chosen selection of small artisan oils, vinegars, and condiments to bring out the best in simple, seasonal preparations. We will learn to roast in Rose’s hearth oven, have a bread demonstration from Rose’s head baker, and discussions on keeping the most useful and seasonal pantry.  There will be educational presentations on paring wine with food and kitchen organization for easy entertaining. 

The workshop will begin with Sunday May 15th 2011 with dinner at Rose’s and will end after our field trip and lunch on Wednesday May 18th 2011.

WORKSHOP OUTLINE (subject to change depending on weather etc.):

SUNDAY MAY 15th 2011:
6:00 pm: We will gather around the farm table at Rose’s Bakery and Cafe for a dinner created with some of the island’s best seasonal ingredients and we will launch our culinary program.

MONDAY MAY 16th 2011:
We will meet at Rose’s Bakery at 10:00 am and then caravan to Judd Cove Oyster growers. Char and Bill Bawden will discuss with us what makes a great oyster and how to choose the best oyster.  A lunch on the beach will highlight Judd Cove fresh-shucked oysters. After lunch you are free until we reconvene at Rose’s for a hands on class starting at 4:00 pm.  The class will focus on a selected menu preparation using local and seasonal ingredients.  We will also discuss building a seasonal pantry and mis en place for your refrigerator.  Dinner to follow.  After dinner you are free.

TUESDAY MAY 17th 2011: We will meet at Rose’s Bakery at 10:00 am and then caravan to Maple Rock Farm where we will tour the gardens and then sit down to a lunch using freshly harvested ingredients.   After lunch you are free until we reconvene at Rose’s for hands on class starting at 4:00 pm.  The class will focus on a selected menu using produce from the farm and other local ingredients. After dinner you are free.

WEDNESDAY MAY 18th 2011: We will meet at Rose’s Bakery at 10:00 am and then caravan to Crow Valley for a visit with Vern and Sidney Coffelt on their incredible farm.  We will then travel a short distance to Westsound to the splendid country garden of John and Joni Trumbull.  We will convene in their charming little clubhouse for a wine tasting and discussion on simple useful mis en place with lunch to follow.  After lunch we will say our goodbyes. 

This is a tentative schedule; events may change depending on weather and other unforeseen conditions.

Fee for workshop is $750, 50% to be paid at registration and the balance 60 days before workshop begins.  If you register within the 60 days before the class the full fee will be due upon registration.

The workshop fee will include: 
Sunday dinner at Rose’s, lunch Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday; dinner following class workshops on Monday and Tuesday; and class written materials.

Transportation and lodging are not included in the cost of the workshop. A list of recommended lodging will be sent with your registration information.

For more information on the workshop and registration please contact Jeffrey Bergman

Telephone: 206 721 2592

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Castelas

I met Jean-Benoit Hugues many hears ago when he and his wife Catherine had taken over the abandoned plot of olive trees in Les Baux de Provence, at the base of the incredible Les Alpille in the South of France. This region of France is a favorite of mine, limestone peaks dotted with sage green olive foliage, juniper, pine, and rows of old vine vineyards. The light is incredible, especially in the fall, golden and rich reflecting off the landscape, the scent of wild herbs in the air....heaven.  On a recent trip to Provence we were invited by Jean-Benoit for a tasting in the new professional tasting room at the mill. A nut for the green elixir, and one that is a constant in my larder, I was so looking forward to tasting a selection of oils that I rarely see in the US along with the incredible Castelas.  After our tasting Jean-Benoit extended a gracious invitation for lunch at L'Oustau de Baumaniere.....what a wonderful treat!      

Upon arriving at Castelas, Jean-Benoit lead us on a tour of their state of the art facility.  Controlling each step of the pressing process with both high tech machinery and years of experiences from both Jean-Benoit and Catherine, you can see why the oil is so incredible.  Silvery green olive trees dot the area around the mill, a mix of classic varietals of the area, Salonenque, Beruquette, Grossane and Verdale, all monitored for the peak of ripeness by Catherine and Jean-Benoit.  The other key to great flavor is processing the fruit as quickly as possible.  Castelas presses within 24 hours of picking.  The process starts with the olive fruit being weighed and tagged by variety, grove and time of arrival.  The fruit is then put through a machine that blows any large debris, twigs, and leaves off the olive fruit.  Once large scale debris is removed the fruit is dipped in water to remove dust and other smaller particles.  The next step is to carefully and gently crush the fruit allowing the aroma and flavor nuances to stay intact. The fruit is slowly pushed through the first of two metal grids, this partially breaks the fruit.  The second grid finishes the process resulting in a course paste.  The pits are crushed with the fruit releasing a valuable antioxidant that helps preserve the oil.  This process keeps the fruit at a constant temperature with the minimum amount of heat created.   The paste is then mixed for 20 to 40 minutes in a stainless steel tank to aid in the release of the oil from the paste.   The temperature of the paste is kept below 27 degrees Celsius with the aid of cool water running underneath and on the sides of the mixing tank.  The paste is then put into a settler which uses centrifuge to extract the oil from the paste.  The oil is then run into a second centrifuge which rotates more slowly so it is cleansed of other impurities.   The oil is immediately gravity fed into stainless steel storage tanks away from light, air and heat....the enemies of oil.  The oil is only bottled when an order is placed. 

After the tour it was time for the tasting.  Catherine led us through a series of oils, having us identify flavors, smells and texture, but not color.  The oil was in blue cups, this is the way professional tastings are conducted.  Judging must be done on taste, smell, and texture not color, which can be deceiving. It is also a blind tasting, the oils are only marked by a number.   I have always loved professional tastings, it really forces you to use all of your senses.  Even with this criteria I was able to pick out the Castelas oil, well balanced with notes of sweet almond and artichoke, with pleasant bitter, peppery finish.  The oil has great finesse and elegance at the same time perfect for a drizzle on goat cheese, grilled fish, or oysters on the half shell with lemon.  One of my favorites is in sauce verte, it's clean bright fruity flavor pairing perfectly with fresh green herbs and anchovy.   Castelas olive oil is a must have in the pantry!


Jean-Benoit and Catherine Hugues
Mas de L'Olivier (Castelas)
13520 Les Baux de Provence-France
Tel.  33 490 545 086
Fax. 33 490 545 168

You can find Castelas olive oil at 

Williams and Sonoma Stores

Sur la Table online:
www.surlatable.com

Dean and Deluca online:
www.deandeluca.com

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Paris,Rome,Sardegna

Were has the time gone? four days in Paris and off to Rome tomorrow. As always Paris brings such pleasure. The trip launched with a lovely dinner with dear friends Patricia and Walter Wells. We dined at a favorite spot, Au Bon Accueil know run by new chef Alexandre Elia and his charming wife Alexandra. I had one of my favorites, jumbo white aspargus with cloudy light sauce mousseline. To follow Brittany turbot crusted with seaweed, and steamed mussels. Both were good choices, but all was not the way we would like it to be. Walter's sole was overcooked and an overall disapointment. Wednesday night katherine and I trecked to the very edge of the 15e to Bistrot Jadis. Run by young chef Guillaume Delage, formerly at Pierre Gagnaire's "Gaya". I was pleased with my poached artichoke bottom filled with an melange of Spring vegetables, sitting on A pool of anchoide, and perfectly grilled veal onglet on a burnished sauce of espelette, and sweet pepper sauce. I have been satisfying my sweet tooth with visits to Jacques Genin, amazing caramels and tart au chocolate. Patisserie des Reves, and Hugo and Victor....more on this later. More blog post's from the road to come.

Au Bon Accueil
14 rue de Monttessuy. 7e
phone 01 47 05 46 11

Bistrot Jadis
208 rue de la Croix Nivert
phone 01 45 57 73 20