Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Pasta with peas

Pasta with peas is a classic spring dish. Since spring is just around the corner, now is a great time to start to switch your cooking style from the hearty winter meals to a lighter fresh spring feel. One of the best transitional recipes is pasta with peas. It is a timeless tasty meal but what makes it so incredible? When looking the recipe it seems very simple.

  •       ½ pound of your favorite pasta
  •        1 cup of fresh peas
  •       3 Table spoons of butter
  •      1 clove of garlic or 2 cloves depending on how garlicly you like it
  •        Juice of half a lemon
  •       ¼ of a cup of pasta water
  •        Parmesan for garnish
  •       Salt and pepper to taste

Serves 4, cooking time 30 minutes.

The first step is to put a pot of water up to boil and add some salt to the water. Once the water is boiling you add in the pasta, and depending on the type of pasta either fresh or dried it could take anywhere from 3 minutes to 20 minutes to cook the pasta to an al dente texture. While the pasta is cooking you can start the sauce. For the sauce you melt the 3 tablespoons of butter and then add the clove of diced garlic or more depending on personal taste. After a minute or two then you add the peas and cook them for about 3 minutes, then you add in the ¼ of a cup of pasta water stir, and finally toss the pasta in the sauce and then plate. Once plated garnish with grated parmesan and salt and pepper.

At first glance this recipe may seem a bit simple, there isn’t any extreme prep, no days of waiting, no super expensive equipment, and that’s because it’s one of those recipes that is incredible from fresh ingredients and love not an arduous process. It is also done in around 30 minutes. It is this simplicity that makes the dish incredible. The chef tip to anyone cooking it, is that the ingredient quality is everything. Since there are so few steps and ingredients it really relies on ingredient quality and freshness to make it exquisite. 

One of the easiest ways to get great quality ingredients is to simply grow them yourself! Peas are super easy to grow and don’t take up a lot of space. All you really need is a window box, some seeds, and something for the peas to grown on. Also growing peas is pretty inexpensive and fun. However if you don’t have much success gardening like myself then you could go to the farmers market and buy them there. I like to use the Parmesan Reggiano from Italy it has the best flavor and I always have a chunk in my refrigerator.

 The pasta I used was a really fun curly spaghetti aka canule, you could use what ever your favorite pasta is or you could even make fresh pasta. Mini farfalle would be a super cute pasta to use. You could also add your favorite herbs either in the sauce or as a garnish. Almost any herb would work especially a mint, curly parsley, thyme, or basil. The type of salt you use is very important, kosher salt is generally a standard in every professional kitchen because of its perfect sized flake and its even salinity, it is one of the salts I prefer to use. The other salt that is a good option is a finishing salt for a garnish situation, the standard finishing salt is fleur de sel, a wetter French salt with a very pretty look and feel.

So spring into a new style of cooking and give this recipe a try. The light simple timeless recipes are perfect for spring especially when you can use super fresh ingredients, most of which you can grow yourself!

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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Sunrise Memphis

A new breakfast restaurant called Sun Rise opened in the old Neely's BBQ building on Jefferson. The chef in charge is none other than Ryan Trim, chef and co-owner at Sweetgrass. His menu is a bit interesting, it has a lot of unexpected dishes. For those unadventurous souls the breakfast classics are on the menu.  The art and ambiance is down home and rustic.
I ordered the rice bowl, Mom ordered the biscuit bacon and egg sandwich, and Dad ordered the Italian roast beef sandwich. Having a rice bowl for breakfast was quite the experience. It contained pork slices that were really good, they had a nice teriyaki glaze that was well balanced between spice-soy-sweet. It was a stellar glaze. 

The rest of the components were nice nothing too special. Just rice, kimchi, egg, chopped scallion, and carrots.

Dad's sandwich was good, they used strange bread it was a bit dense, but it held up to the au jus quite well.
  The flavors were ok, it could have used more herbs or spices on the meat. Mom's biscuit was also a bit dense, and the bacon was well bacon hard to say anything bad about it.
Sunrise is open from 5am to 3pm everyday. 

Breakfast is one of those meals that is a real treat at a restaurant, just like appetizers or dessert.

Love the cabbage,

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Pig and Pint

On a recent trip south I asked Siri for the best restaurant near me and she recommended the Pig and Pint, in Jackson Mississippi.
The premise of the place is a new spin on BBQ and beer. Now I'm too young to drink so ask Mom about the beer. I ordered the bacon melt, the pork belly corndog, and the fried green tomatoes.
The sandwich was really good, it had some slightly acidic collard greens in it that helped balance out the richness of the brisket and pork belly. It was also served with comeback dressing. It was a sophisticated melt and the comeback dressing made me want to "comeback".

Now, on to the pork belly corndogs, for corndogs they were alright.  The rich sweet batter and the pork belly had a good contrast.  I think the pork belly could have been rendered just a bit more. The star of the dish was the dipping sauce. It was a smoked tomato ginger jam that was truly incredible. 

The fried green tomatoes followed the same path as the corndogs. Solid but awesome once you dip them in the tangy sauce. The corn coating was light and crips, all in all a solid fried green tomato.

The Pig and Pint made a really good lunch. I loved how they are trying new things with classic old flavors and the rows upon rows of trophies for bbq garuntee a good lunch. I wouldn't get those corn dogs again but there are other things calling my name.
 I hope to head south again soon and I know I will stop back. 

Thanks, Siri!

Love the cabbage,

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Wagyu of the Sea

Ōra king

If your sifting through culinary terms your bound to come across wagyu beef the best tasting beef in the world. Now, for the seafood fans, is there a similar standard to the incredible lusciousness of waygu in the ocean? Crab is my personally favorite but it lacks that signature melt in your mouth experience, in the search for the wagyu of the sea I have finally found it.

Ōra King Salmon is the most incredible salmon I have ever had. This salmon has that X factor that is only matched by wagyu beef, it is just the most delicious, most tender, most flavorful salmon out there. The company uses sustainable fish farming methods to grow king salmon which only accounts for 5% of all salmon enjoyed, also the fish are grown in New Zealand in the clearest water in the world.

As a chef using a fish with such incredible flavor means that you really have to use the right flavor profiles that won't get over powered by the salmon and also won't conflict with the flavor. When utilizing a fish that has a high fat content takes more skill than your average fish, mimicking how you would treat wagyu. 

Ōra king sent me a whole salmon so... I had to break down the whole fish, its always more fun to fillet a fish you aren't so locked into making something boring like a simple portion you get to make portions that best suit the dish its a big deal to design a dish and have the perfect piece of fish for it.

When it comes to creating exquisite dishes it takes some thyme, so having 15lb of the best salmon in the world is a lot, well a lot is an understatement. I thought of doing a salmon dinner but I am going to spend some thyme imagining the most incredible menu for the wagyu of the sea. Unfortunately that means I have to freeze some, I know its bad but what am I going to do with 15lbs of salmon. It's a perfect Chef dilemma.

Love the Cabbage,

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Never doubt your"self"

Self Publishing Lessons-

1. Find a really nice person at the Printer to talk to - you will be calling them all the time.

2. Contracts contracts contracts- write it down!

3. Putting Skin in the Game, or paying- is PAINFUL, ok, a little over exaggerated but no risk no reward!

When I started to do the graphic novel first thing I did was write everything I expected and I would deliver down. I made sure that Cindy Tan knew I was serious and valued her talent. Also I took some thyme to find the right people for each job.

Then I crafted out all of my Characters- this was the fun part. I know who is coming and you don't!

I wrote their back stories likes dislikes and even favorite colors, everything needed to make a personality. These characters are very real to me, and understanding how they must be consistent yet changing and deciding how the events effect them is just the most fun.

Next Cindy drew them and like a true mind reader I loved them! She is freaking amazing to be honest I am the luckiest person she agreed to help me. 

When the first half was finished and the concept mapped out for the second half then I wrote the second half. This was much harder- and less fun as story telling it is really the baking part of the book( I hate baking). That means the rules and guides and info I wanted to share were much more concrete and much less well, fun.

Fun started to kick back in when all the pages came together- we laid out the entire book and WOW!

I returned to the printer and got 3 copies - fantastic to feel and see the entire years work come together, making the collector editions and concept art and all that fun stuff is just indescribable. After the shock wore off we were back to work changing proofing and more minor detail. Another lesson, embrace your inner perfectionist after all the work put in don't stop short of a few things here and there. 

Did I mention editing and more editing and even more editing---no... well next time I am hiring a proof reader and editor. Please apply below!

Hope you enjoy these sneak peeeks-

Love the cabbage


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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

CookBooks or Story Books or Books...

CookBooks and other Odities...

The photo that got the ball rolling
When you are dreaming of being a chef you can't help but dream of making a cookbook. The problem for me is I don't use them. I know your thinking WHAT!

But it is true.

I have only opened 3-4 in my entire life. One was to see Gordon Ramsay's Autograph, one was to get a cake recipe Betty Crocker, standard Martha Stewart's Cookie book ( I don't like to bake) and one was a gift and I kinda wanted to look at the pictures.

So writing a cookbook seemed totally foreign to me- I mean honestly, do you follow recipes?

Check my poll on twitter- I will pin a tweet poll there

My first idea was to write a book to teach you how to think like I do- with lots of photos and space for my readers to explore. I mean a big ole book. Problem with that is wow. it a lot of work and a lot of money to produce and you would have to re-imagine cooking to see it how I do.

I started brainstorming with my Mom and we thought about what I love, who I am, and a bunch of other stuff.  This crazy girl on Instagram drew me on the show in this wild manga style now I mean wicked cool. It stuck with Mom- said write a Graphic Novel.

I read Graphics, love them for the fun way they tell a story in a newer style. They help me get through some classics like Shakespeare and I love Manga art. You might not know this but Japan is my goal city and Manga is like a gateway to the cool world of perfect food and cute things, lots of cute things.

I started by messaging this crazy girl- crazy talented and well,l say crazy cause she said yes! She said she would draw my story. I had to make some sacrifices. I was writing a different series of stories about another character and I really, really did not want to write about a fictional me. It is rather weird to write about yourself as a character and exactly how it all fit together. But I did it.

Today my first Novel a Graphic Novel Adventure Cookbook is going to press. The crazy talented girl Cindy Tan is my Illustrator, Micah Phil is my colorist and letterer, my Aunt did the proof reading, It is a huge group effort. My Gran helped with the title, Cooking Dreams.

I like it- what would Cooked Dreams taste like? Success? I am still thinking about that!
Here are some cool photos of the entire process and trust me it was a long one.

Love the Cabbage,

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