Sunday, December 26, 2010

Rack of Pork.......with walnuts, orange and rosemary

This recipe was made at the Celebrated Chefs Alumni Summit in Chicago by my class of Celebrated Chefs, Chef Michael Foley, Rhys Lewis, Charles Wiley, Suzette Gresham - Tognetti and myself. It was a true honor to be picked by the pork industry to represent them and there growers. I serve center of the plate pork entrees in all of my restaurants and utilize pork in every means possible. Pork lends itself to so many different types of preparations the possibilities are endless. That was a great competition, lots of fun and it was great to see all the amazingly talented Chefs assembled in one place....
This recipe is delicious and very simple to prepare, perfect for this time of year as well.  Enjoy............

1 tbsp vegetable oil
Ground white pepper
2 tbsp dried rosemary
1 cup whole walnuts
½ tsp garlic powder
1 egg
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 cloves minced garlic

To prepare the racks of pork: Heat the vegetable oil in a saute pan over high heat. Season the racks of pork with salt and pepper (I use fresh ground sea salt and ground white pepper). Sear the racks on all sides until nicely browned. Remove racks to a platter and allow to cool enough to handle. At this point preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

To make the walnut crust: Put dried rosemary into a food processor and pulse several times to grind, If you don’t do this the rosemary pieces will be too large. Add walnuts, ¼ teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of white pepper, and garlic powder. Pulse several times until mixture is the consistency of bread crumbs. Pour mixture onto a large dinner plate or a platter.

To make the mustard mixture: In a dish combine the egg, mustard and 2 cloves of minced garlic. Mix well with a fork until egg and mustard are completely incorporated.

To coat the racks of pork: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Once the racks are cool enough to handle, place 1 rack in the mustard mixture and coat all sides. Next place the coated rack into the walnut mixture and coat well. Using your hand press the walnut mixture firmly onto the coated rack. Transfer rack to the baking sheet. Repeat steps for each rack. You can make the recipe to this point and place in refrigerator until ready to cook.

To cook: Place the racks of pork into the oven and roast for 30 minutes for medium well. I use a temperature probe in one of the racks, and remove meat from oven when it registers between 150 to 155 degrees F. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Hamburger Aficionado ! Tabbuli Grill is the place to get one!

OK, there are hamburgers...... and then there are Hamburgers! Well I found a great one at Tabbuli Grill.
Big, Juicy, seasoned perfectly and cooked to perfection.
First they take chuck and grind it, then they take all the trim from the prime rib the cut for there Kabobs and grind that. Then they mix the two and run it through one more grind to get the perfect texture. They hand patty the burgers into half pound giants and let then chill.
OK, now for the cooking part. They season the burger properly with a generous amount of salt and pepper and start the cooking process on the flattop griddle. This sears the burger and gives it the that nice brown crispy crust we all like and when its close to the cooking temperature you want it is transferred to the charbroiler just to finish cooking it and to give it the hint of that char flavor only a grill can give. It is remove from the grill and served on a toasted corn meal dusted kaiser roll with all the trimmings, lettuce tomato and onion. I don't get cheese on mine because I don't want to infringe on the flavor of the beef.
Next, the french fries! If you want a truly great french fry as well then get ready because they have them too!
French fries if you are cooking them from scratch is an art form in itself. First you start with an Idaho potato, they use a 60 count which is a big potato. It is run through a potato slicer so every fry has the same thickness. They are soaked in a bucket of water with a little vinegar overnight and then drained. Then they are blanched in hot oil for about 2-3 minutes, just to soften them and then they are cooled completely. Now when you place your order for you burger those cold, blanched fries are dropped in the fryer again and fried until golden and crispy. They come right out of the fryer into a bowl where they are seasoned immediately and serve to you at once! Ummmmm......I can taste them now... So my friends, that is how you cook a great burger and fries. So instead of going through all that trouble, come on down to Tabbuli Grill at 6 North Market Street and see for yourself. You will be glad you did...........

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tabbuli Grill! Amazing little place on North Market Street....

         Can you say.....Mediterranean Food?
 Well Tabbuli Grill is the place to be! Absolutely some of the best I have ever had anywhere. To find this little gem you have to travel to Charleston SC, That's right I said Charleston! Right in the middle of the lowcountry, the epicenter of southern cuisine. Right downtown on Market Street, 6 North Market to be exact is this wonderful little place.
Owner Sam Mustafa had a vision of home when he designed the place, cozy interior with middle eastern accents and the beautiful outside patio is just the place to be on most any day. Sit back and relax and order a Hooka with you favorite flavor of tobacco, order a beer or glass of wine from there nice selection of wines by the glass. If your a mimosa fan well your definitely in the right place because everyday, all day they have bottomless mimosa's and for only ten bucks a head!

Now about the food......well, you need to go hungry. The well rounded menu lets you go where you want. Breakfast anyone? How about a nice lunch on the patio or a romantic dinner under the stars, Tabbuli has it.

We started with the combo platter which came with Falafel with tahini, Baba Ghanoush, Hummus, Tabouli salad, Jerusalem salad and warm pita. Simply delicious! Didn't want it to end. Then I went with the beef kabob platter, another winner. The beef was marinated and so tender you could cut it with a fork. It came with basmati rice and Jerusalem salad. If this is the way everything on the menu tastes I'm in trouble! I would eat here daily if I could and I just might. My friend that day had the Kofta pita, a delicious blend of ground beef and spices grilled and stuffed in a warm pita and served with some of the best french fries on the planet. 

OK, now for the finishing touch of the meal. Baklava! It was not terribly sweet like most but the perfect blend of walnuts, cinnamon and sugar and just the right amount of syrup so the pastry isn't soggy but nice and crisp with the great bite you can only get from phyllo. The perfect end to this fantastic meal. So, for you locals who want some great food and if you are ever visiting Charleston, find your way to North Market Street and head down to the water where the cruise ships dock and enjoy this great little place, you will be glad you did.......

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Getting back into the swing of things!

Well my last post was Sept 30 and that is entirely to long! I have gotten a new job and moved to a new city since then and all for the better. I have moved to one of the great food cities in the south and am so excited to be here! The Town is Charleston SC and I am the corporate chef for the Charleston Hospitality Group. As far as jobs go you couldn't ask for a better job as a chef. Never a dull moment, never boring and so much work to be done it can be overwhelming but its my passion and the joy of my life.

The Charleston Hospitality Group has three concepts and 4 restaurants with a fifth on the way. We have Tabbuli Grill on Market Street, Toast and two Market Street Saloons with fantastic barbecue.
Today, December 5 we cooked at an event called "Wine under the Oaks" we fed around 600 people with some fantastic food from Tabbuli Grill, our Mediterranean restaurant. . We offered people marinated beef kabob (made with prime rib), Hummus, Baba Ghanoush and Tabouli Salad. We had people 40 deep in line from the time we started cooking until we finally ran out of food! The venue was Boone Hall Plantation.
Boone Hall is one of Americas Oldest working living Plantations and is truly amazing, a must see if you are ever in Charleston. What a great event today and if you are ever in Charleston come look me up at one of our restaurants, you won't be disappointed!