Friday, July 24, 2009

This is where it gets stupid folks......

This is where the 'progressive food thinkers' lose me entirely......please read the following excerpt from ......

Alex Talbot, an experimental chef, recently moved to Bucks County, but before that he lived in Queens, and before that he was running the kitchen at a boutique hotel in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, which is where he was when he set out to create a dessert that resembled ice cream in every single way but one: He wanted it to be hot. “To do this in the hot state—that was the quest,” Talbot told me. On Ideas in Food, the blog he writes with his wife, Aki Kamozawa, Talbot posted a recipe for hot vanilla ice cream. All of the ingredients were easily found, as long as you had a good connection at Dow Chemical.

Here's my 'beef'.....there's NOTHING INVENTIVE about hot vanilla ice cream. It's called creme anglaise, make it stable, sculpt it into a swan, do whatever you want with it, but........I think the French cornered the market on this bad boy last century.

I know when I do my food shopping I always run down to Dow Chemical and stock up on some pantry items for a bitchin' dinner.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Slip me some tongue

Yes, that's right, I like the attention grabbing titles.

Today we're gonna talk a little bit about offal. Tongue exactly. First off, what is offal? Offal are the left over bits. Tongue, heart, sweetbreads, liver, tripe, etc. Today, I'd like to consider the tongue. If you're grossed out by the thought of eating tongue, you can do one of two things. 1) continue reading and hopefully, I'll change your opinion or 2) go ahead and make yourself a reservation at Old Country Buffet and be happy with your flavorless, uninteresting life. If you're lucky maybe they'll have the 'steak' buffet open. Yippee!!!!

Well, if you're still reading that means you chose option 1. Wise choice, grasshopper. We use two different types of tongue at the restaurant. The first is the tongue from our Highland beef and the second is the tongue of the Wagyu beef which is the breed used to produce Kobe beef. If you've never had tongue before or your only memory of it is the whole pickled beast staring back at you in the butcher shop then you're in for a pleasant surprise. In our current preparation of tongue, we peel the outer skin, smoke it for about 40 minutes and then cook it at 70 degrees C for 24 hours. This process gives us a tongue that is meltingly tender, has a slight bit of smoke and is 100% packed with beef flavor. The inspiration for this dish is a local favorite, the pit beef sandwich. I've eaten a ton of pit beef in my life and always thought it would be cool to be able to put it on the menu. Well, here's the dish. It consists of a grilled baguette, caramelized onions, smoked tongue and a horseradish cream. You can check out the cooking and plating in this video.

We need to have a little chat about flavor. I'll preface this chat by saying if you're someone who likes their 'filet mignon' well done and then you cover it with ketchup, I'm not gonna change your mind. I'm cool with that. I'm talking to the people want flavor out of their food and don't just cover it with condiments. Ten times out of ten the muscles of an animal that work the hardest have the most flavor. They are also the toughest. My favorite cuts of beef(tongue, cheek, hanger steak, skirt steak) are full of flavor, but they also require you to CHEW. It's my job as a chef to present these cuts of meat in a way that allows you, the diner to enjoy them for what they are. If, along the way, I can enter in some cooking techinques that up the ante, then so be it. However, if your response to eating a well marbled strip steak is that 'it's a little chewy'. Well, I can't help you. Yes, it does chew a little more than a beef tenderloin, but it also has MUCH more flavor. Aren't we concerned with flavor when we're eating? If the 'chew' of a meat is your greatest concern than you should just stock up on Jello- pudding packs and call it a day. That's cool; then there's more flavorful cuts of meat for me!

The moral of the story here is that we need to break away from the shackles of beef tenderloin, America. It's an issue everywhere. I recently did a cooking class in suburban Philadelphia where I wanted to present tongue and heart in a dish that was a pretty cool riff on a cheesesteak. I figured, 'Ok, it's suburban Philly these folks are food savvy and will 'get it'. NOPE. I was asked by the restaurant running the class to substitute the tongue and heart for something 'a little more mainstream'. I responded by saying that in little old Hanover, folks were buying this dish up and really enjoying it. They still made me change it. What a bunch of rubes. Guess in a round about way, that makes Hanover way more food savvy that suburban Philly! FYI to all Philly area folks.....WE SERVE FLAVORFUL TONGUE AND HEART IN HANOVER, PA....MAKE THE TRIP TWO HOURS WEST. WE HAVE ROOMS SO YOU CAN STAY OVERNIGHT!!!!

Take a step out of your comfort zone, America. Go to a restaurant you admire and try something different. You'll be amazed at all the wonderful foods that are out there and I'm certain you'll even find some new favorites! Like tongue. :-)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wednesday Produce Delivery

We had such an amazing bounty of produce delivered to the restaurant today....I just had to take a video. I think it pretty much speaks for itself, however, what's the point of seeing it on video of you can't TASTE IT??? These products are honestly some of the most flavorful products I've ever eaten, but why take my word for it? Come check it out for yourself!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tools of the Trade

Notice anything out of the ordinary? When did an iPhone become part of a chef's tools? I don't know for certain. All I can tell you is that it became a part of this chef's tool kit yesterday. Yes, that's correct, it's social networking time for The Sheppard Mansion. My new phone not only has a kick ass camera, but it also has a very good video camera. With this camera, I can instantly upload videos to YouTube and from YouTube, they can go on the blog. I'm also able to constantly update Twitter and Facebook pages right from my phone.(sample: hey, we're breaking down a turtle right now!)

So, why should you care? Good question. First, I'm gonna be better about updating the blog with cool video. More content. Second, I'm gonna be offering up cool deals/special items at the restaurant via Twitter. What kind of deals, you ask? Guess you're gonna have to sign up for Twitter and find out. Yes, that's right, just like In and Out burger, we'll be running 'secret menu items' that you'll only know about and get to experience if you read the Twitter posts. C' know you want the special menu items. All the cool kids are doing it.

Follow me on Twitter: chefandylittle
Follow our Sheppard Mansion and KnowFarmsKnowFood groups on Facebook
Follow my videos on YouTube: andylittle2001


Thursday, July 02, 2009

FREE STUFF!!!!!!!!!!

Ok, now that I have your attention.

What are you doing this friday? Most folks are getting a day off from work. Cool.

Are you going to be grilling food this weekend? Check.

Do you shake your head and nod every time someone mentions how we need to start eating amazing, flavorful foodstuffs that are raised by sustainable, local farmers? Check.

Well, do I have an event for you. AND YOU HAVE NO EXCUSES!!!! You're off of work. You're grilling this weekend. You want flavorful foods that have a story. So, here you go.

This friday, July 3rd, I'll be grilling free samples of Sheppard Mansion Farms Highland Beef burgers and Rettland Farms sausage at The Outlet Shops at Gettysburg from 10am-noon. This awesome display of grilling prowess will be part of the amazing Friday's Farm Fresh Market, so in addition to being able to buy beef and pork products, you'll be able to pick up produce, fruits(hello, it's cherry time!!!) baked goods and flowers for the table.

Bring the kids, bring the whole family....get some great food for the weekend.(bring a cooler and stock up) AND........Here's the kicker. Sheppard Mansion Farms will be debuting a new product made from our Highland beef this friday. All I can tell you is that the first piece of this product I put in my mouth made me smile from ear to ear. It's that good.

I expect to see all of you this friday. Remember, you vote for great food every time you open up your wallet. If you keep buying cheap, flavorless, chemical laden products then our buddies at Big Ag will certainly keep producing it with big smiles on their faces. Take a stand for flavor this friday. See the folks who produce the food. Talk to them, hang out with them. I can't imagine a better way to kick off July 4th weekend.