Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cool Start to the Summer in Saugatuck

As the result of an especially cold spring, for the first time in years there won't be fresh Michigan blueberries for the 4th of July weekend here in Saugatuck, Michigan. Although my suppliers are promising the first berries of the season by July 5. I guess we'll have to wait an extra day to make my favorite blueberry tart.

Fresh Blueberry Tart (or Tartlets)

Graham Cracker Tart Shells

Quantity Produced: Makes 12/ 3oz. Tartlets or 2/ 12” Tarts

Butter, softened 1 Cup
Dark Brown Sugar ¼ Cup
Sugar ¼ Cup
Honey ¼ Cup
Flour 2 Cups
Whole Wheat Flour ½ Cup
Salt 1 Teaspoon
Cinnamon ½ Teaspoon

Preparation Procedure-

In a standing mixer, cream butter & sugar and add honey. Add dry ingredients. Form dough into a disk and chill for 1 hour. Form into tartlets, prick with fork and chill additional 20 minutes. If pre-baking shells, bake for 18-20 minutes at 325˚. Let cool and fill with desired ingredients.

Cream Cheese Pastry Cream & Blueberry Topping (Blueberry Tartlets)

Quantity Produced: Makes 2 Cups or enough for 8-10 Tartlets.

Blueberry Topping
Fresh Blueberries 2 ½ Cups
Sugar 1 Tablespoon

Milk 1 Cup
Sugar 5 Tablespoons
Egg Yolks 4
Cornstarch 2 ½ Tablespoons
Cream Cheese, Cubed ¾ Cup
Vanilla Extract 1 Teaspoon
Heavy Cream, Whipped ½ Cup

Preparation Procedure-
To make to blueberry topping combine 1 cup of blueberries in a saucepan, add 1 tablespoon of sugar and cook over low heat until the berries burst. Strain into a medium bowl, discard solids, and toss remaining blueberries with blueberry syrup. Reserve at room temperature.

Combine ¾ cup milk and 3 tablespoons sugar in medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer. In a large bowl whisk together yolks, cornstarch and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Whisk ¼ cup milk into egg mixture. Remove milk from heat and temper egg mixture. Return to stove and bring to a boil. Cook until it thickens, then add cream cheese and vanilla and whisk until it’s smooth. Strain through sieve, cover and chill. When completely chilled mix until smooth and add whipped cream. Use as base for blueberry tartlets or anywhere pastry cream would be used.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Inaugural Sunday Supper at Claverach Farm

We had a wonderful time doing the inaugural Sunday Supper at Claverach Farm in Eureka, Missouri. A beautiful venue (and working organic farm and winery) we look forward to working many future events there. In fact we're already in discussions for a dinner series this autumn. Stay tuned! For those who missed the dinner here was the menu:

Sunday Supper Menu for June 12 at Claverach Farm & Vineyard with Kirk’s Traveling Kitchen
Seasonal Apertif from Claverach Vineyard
Assorted Passed Farm Fresh Hors d’Oeuvres
Olive-Oil Poached Tuna with Fresh Fava Beans, Gribiche & Micro Arugula
Wood-Oven Roasted Loin of Missouri Pork with Coarse Bread Crumb Crust & Pan Juices
Crispy New Potato Hash with Spring Onion & Fleur de Sel Pit Roasted Missouri Chicken with Paddy Pan Squash & Salsa Verde Field Greens with Breakfast Radish & Verjus Vinaigrette Hearth Baked Bread with Traditional Garnishes
Fresh Rhubarb Cake with Sweet Strawberries & Clabbered Sweet Cream
Make Your own S’More’s over the Fire Pit: Homemade Marshmallows, Kirk’s Cinnamon Sugar Graham Crackers Milk & Dark Chocolate

Holiday in the Sunbaked Cote d'Azur

From Fayence to Saint-Paul-de-Vence it was sunbaked bliss, and lots of tomato, eggplant & herbs. Here's a recipe we made in the wood burning oven of our rental house (albeit using indigenous Mediterranean sea bass instead of swordfish).

Braised Swordfish with Crushed Tomatoes & White Beans

Quantity Produced: Serves 6

Swordfish or Grouper Fillets 6 / 4-5 oz Pieces
Wondra Flour for Dredging 1 Cup
Kosher Salt & Fresh Black Pepper As Needed

Ripe Tomatoes (Not Soft), Scored 5 Medium
Sweet Onion, Diced 1 ¼ Cups
Red Wine Vinegar ¼ Cup
Garlic, Minced 2 Small Cloves
Sugar ¼ Cup
Freshly Ground Black Pepper and Kosher Salt To Taste

Pancetta or Bacon, Chopped 3-4oz.
Lemon Zest and Juice 1 Lemon
Cannellini Beans, Cooked 2 Cups
Italian Parsley, Minced 2 Tablespoons
Salt & Pepper as needed
Chicken Stock or Water ¼ to ½ Cup
Oil-Cured Black Olives (optional) ½ Cup Pitted

Preparation Procedure- Preheat oven to 350˚.
Make the tomato braise, bring a pot of water to a boil. Prep a bowl of ice water. Drop scored tomatoes into boiling water until skins peel back about 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Transfer to ice water to cool. When tomatoes are cool enough to handle peel off skin and cut into 1/4 . Seed tomatoes, remove cores and dice. Set aside. In a small sauce pan with a tablespoon of olive oil, sweat garlic and onion until translucent, 4 minutes. Add red wine vinegar and sugar, stirring to dissolve sugar. Bring mixture to a boil and add chopped, peeled and seeded tomatoes. Reduce temperature to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly thick 15 to 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

New Programme at Brocket Hall, UK

I delivered a new interactive culinary programme (sp, but when in Rome) at a stunning old manor just outside London. Brocket Hall is a 300 year old private event venue that is famous in recent history for acting as the backdrop for the filming of "Pride and Prejudice" (that would be the Colin Firth version ladies). It is now a very swank boutique hotel and conference center, that graciously allowed us to facilitate two separate culinary programmes over several days. Our In Vino Veritas Wine Challenge opened up the festivities, and we followed that with a new option Just Call Them Small Plates Culinary Challenge: From Tapas & Mezze to Dim Sum. Here's how I describe it:

An exercise in multi-cultural understanding, each team is assigned a table with one or two appetizer recipes specific to a general culinary, and geographic, region (for example: “Asia” or “Europe”). Their task is to complete the recipes, but first each team must align with another group to exchange one of their ingredients. The aim is to balance cultural accuracy and common sense to the recipes (ie. we don’t necessarily want to swap ricotta cheese for soy sauce) with innovation and risk taking.The objectives of the “Just Call Them Small Plates” Culinary Challenge: honing salesmanship and negotiation skills, emphasizing cultural awareness and the ability to work in a fluid environment.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

We are back!

Kirk’s Traveling Kitchen blog is back online. Check back soon for updates!