Saturday, October 6, 2007

The Rumors are Flying...

There are rumors everywhere about who is going to win the “Next Iron Chef” competition, they are even betting in Las Vegas. This is going to be a popular show.

Introducing Chris Cosentino

Chris grew up in Rhode Island. His mother’s family are the Eastons, founders of the Easton Sausage Company. This is where he probably picked up his love for meat. He was raised in the tradition of Atlantic seafood, Yankee fare and classic Italian cooking. He spend his time clamming, commercial fishing and helping his great-grandmother make pasta. Chris was graduated from Johnson & Wales in 1992. After graduation, he worked at Mark Miller’s Red Sage. He totally enjoyed working for Mark Miller and was inspired to read and research cooking procedures, techniques and food lore. He spend his spare time reading from Mark’s prodigious cookbook library. He loves to educate people about food.

Chris moved on to Kinkead’s and then to San Francisco to work under Traci des Jardins at Rubicon. That should make things interesting, since Traci is also a contestant on the show. From there, Drew Nieporent invited him to The Coach House on Martha’s Vineyard. He moved back to California to work at Chez Panisse and as a sous chef at the three-star Belon. He worked as a chef/consultant at Michael Mina’s Aqua group, opening Nob Hill in Las Vegas.

Chris was also greatly influenced by Jean-Louis Palladin. They met while they were both cooking for a gala event in Napa Valley. Palladin taught him to be realistic and respectful about the path an animal takes from the farm or forest to the plate. This sparked his interest in offal cooking.
Chris took over the kitchen at Incanto in 2003 as executive chef. The restaurant soon earned a three-star review from Michael Bauer of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Chris lives in the Noe Valley with his wife and son and loves endurance cycling. He is currently working on a definitive cookbook about offals. Thus the name of his website,

Grilled Beef Heart with Roasted Golden Beets and Horseradish
Chef Chris Cosentino of Incanto – San Francisco, CA
Adapted by
Yield: 4 Servings
Marinade and Beef Hearts:
 3 cloves garlic, skin on
 12 sprigs fresh thyme
 1 cup orange juice
 1½ cups white wine
 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
 1 (2-3 pound) beef heart, trimmed of sinew & gristle, cut into 2-inch by 6-inch pieces
 Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Horseradish Vinaigrette:
 ¼ cup Champagne vinegar
 ¼ cup horseradish, finely grated
 2 Tablespoons orange juice
 Salt and pepper, to taste
 1½ cups pure olive oil
 Extra virgin olive oil

Roasted Golden Beet Salad:
 3 bunches baby golden beets, leaves removed
 2 bulbs garlic, halved
 1 bunch thyme
 1 bunch young flat leaf Italian parsley, leaves picked and separated from stems
 1 cup orange juice
 Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
 Extra virgin olive oil
 Fennel seeds, ground

 1 bunch chives, cut into 1-inch pieces, to garnish
 Horseradish, grated
 Extra virgin olive oil
For Marinade and Beef Hearts:
In a mortar, use a pestle to crush the garlic and thyme. Mix the garlic, thyme, orange juice, white wine and olive oil in a bowl; let the flavors blend for 1 hour.
Pour marinade over pieces of portioned beef heart. Marinate for 2 hours. Remove beef heart from the marinade, and season with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Grill the heart to medium-rare, about 3 minutes on each side.
For Horseradish Vinaigrette:
Combine the vinegar, horseradish, orange juice salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Whisk in the pure olive oil to emulsify. Add extra-virgin olive oil, to taste.
For Roasted Golden Beet Salad:
Preheat the oven to 325ºF.
Place the beets, garlic, thyme, and parsley stems in a non-reactive roasting pan. Add the orange juice, and enough water and olive oil to coat the beets evenly. Season with ground fennel seeds, salt and pepper, to taste. Cover the roasting pan with aluminum foil; place the covered pan in the oven and roast the beets until they are fork tender, approximately 45 minutes. Remove the pan from heat; uncover and allow to cool. Remove the skin from the beets by gently rubbing them with a dish towel, making sure to retain the shape of the beets.
Cut the beets into different shapes such as rounds and quarters; place in a mixing bowl, and season with salt and pepper. Add the chive batons and parsley leaves just before serving.
To Assemble and Serve:
Dress the beet salad in Horseradish Vinaigrette. Toss with the chive batons. Divide the beet salad among warmed serving plates. Thinly slice the warm beef hearts, and place the slices over the salad. Sprinkle freshly grated horseradish over the sliced heart and drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the dish. Serve immediately.
Wine Pairing
At Incanto, sommelier Ed Ruiz suggests pairing this dish with a lighter or softer red wine. Pinot Nero, from the far north of Italy, works well thanks to its lively acidity and cherry notes. If you wanted a red wine with a little more weight and lush fruit, choose a softer style of Montepulciano from either Abruzzo or the Marche. If you prefer white wine, choose something with plenty of weight, texture and richness such as Soave—especially the richer single vineyard wines from Piero Pan.

Seared Lamb Kidneys with Spicy Lentils & Mint
Chef Chris Cosentino of Incanto – San Francisco, CA
Adapted by
Yield: 4 Servings
 4 lamb kidneys
 1 cup milk
 1 cup green lentils
 1 onion
 1 carrot
 1 bulb garlic, split
 1 bay leaf
 1 bunch thyme, tied in a bundle, plus additional branch
 1 bunch parsley stems, tied with the thyme
 4 cups chicken stock
 Salt and pepper, to taste
 ½ cup all-purpose flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
 1 clove garlic
 1½ Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus additional to garnish
 ½ cup garlic, slivered
 ¼ teaspoon chili flakes
 ½ cup lemon juice
 1 cup mint, leaves picked
 Extra virgin olive oil
Soak the kidneys in milk for 2 hours. Remove them from the milk and rinse in cold running water for 1 hour; dry the kidneys. Split each one in half; remove and discard the fibrous membrane from each side of each half.
While the kidneys are soaking, rinse the lentils in cold water. Place them in a non-reactive pot and cover with water; bring to a boil. Once boiled, strain and rinse them again with cold water. Place the lentils in a non-reactive pot with the whole onion, carrot, split garlic head, bay leaf, and tied herb bundle; cover with the chicken stock. Cook the lentils slowly until they are tender, approximately 20-25 minutes. Once tender, remove the vegetables and allow the lentils to cool in their cooking liquid. Strain the lentils and discard the cooking liquid.
Season the kidney halves with salt and pepper; lightly dust with the seasoned flour. Heat butter in a pan. Crack the garlic clove into the pan and add the remaining thyme branch; sizzle for 1 minute and then add the kidneys. Sear both sides of each kidney half until golden brown and medium-rare, or approximately 3 minutes total cooking time. In another pan, heat olive oil and sizzle the slivered garlic and chili flakes. Add the lentils and toss gently to incorporate. Deglaze the pan with lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, and toss in the torn mint.
To Assemble and Serve:
Place the spicy lentils on warmed serving plates. On each plate, lay 2 kidney halves on top of the lentils; drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve immediately.
Wine Pairing
This dish lends itself well to earthy, textured white wines, according to sommelier Ed Ruiz of Incanto. Greco from a good producer in Campania, such as Terredora, is a natural fit. Another wine that comes to mind is Semillion from Australia. The goal is to match the earthiness of this dish to a wine with earth tones and enough acidity to cleanse the palate. If you prefer red wine, try something with the Sant’Antimo designation made from Sangiovese Grosso, usually blended with a bit of Cabernet Sauvignon. The Ferris notes in these wines are a natural with the kidneys.
Recipes courtesy of Star Chef

Introducing Jill Davie

Jill Davie grew up in Los Angeles. Jill always always loved cooking and began her culinary career by preparing dinners for her parents’ dinner parties. At 16, she began work in a bakery, decorating cookies and cakes. She graduated from University of California at Santa Cruz and then on to the Culinary Institute of America.

She was chosen as one of the Top Ten Student Chefs of the Year at the Culinary Institute of America. She received the Food and Wine Baby Chef of the year award in 1996, which was presented by Julia Child.

Within a year of graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, she became the chef de Cuisine at Rockenwagner. She traveled to Munich, Germany to work as a visiting chef at the Lembach. She has been featured in the German magazine, Freudin and honorably mentioned in Art Culinaire, Food Arts and Gourmet magazines. After two years at Rockenwagner, Jill moved to the new satellite, Rock, as the opening chef. Jill spent time as a visiting chef in Chicago at Tru, Blackbird and Trotter’s.

Back to Los Angeles, she joined Josie Le Balch at her new restaurant, Josie, as Chef de Cuisine. Jill also co-hosts “Shopping with Chefs” on the Fine Living TV Network. She is no stranger to TV. She has appeared on Recipe TV, and Food Network’s Ultimate Restaurants, Date Plate, Party Starters and won $10,000.00 at the Hot Chefs: South Beach competition. Jill is also known as the Lemon Lady for SunKist.

Stuffed Mushrooms with Sunkist® Key Lime and Goat Cheese
2 Portobello mushrooms, tips of stems trimmed flush with cap
1 tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
4 Sunkist® limes , very thinly sliced, seeded (recipe requires about 24 thin slices)
1 5-oz. log goat cheese, cut into 8 slices
3 Sunkist® limes halved, seeded
1 pinch Freshly ground black pepper

To make one portion:

Preheat broiler and line shallow broiler pan with foil.
Cut mushrooms into quarters.
Brush mushrooms with olive oil.
On each mushroom quarter, place three lime slices (overlap as little as possible) and one piece of goat cheese.
Place on prepared pan and broil until mushroom is soft and cheese is melted, about 4 minutes.
Place on serving platter by forming a bow-tie shape with each pair of mushroom quarters.
Drizzle stuffed mushrooms with olive oil and a squeeze of Key lime juice; finish with freshly ground pepper to serve.
Makes 4 servings
Recipe courtesy of Sunkist

"High Roller" Mushroom Puff Pastry Recipe courtesy Jill Davie
Show: Party Starters
Episode: Casino Surprise Birthday/ Greek Festival
1 (12 by 18-inch) sheet puff pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup black sesame seeds
1/4 pound oyster mushrooms, quartered
1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, quartered
1/4 pound portobello mushrooms, cut into 8 pieces
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons shallots, minced
Black pepper
1 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups cream

For the dice puff pastries:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut the puff pastry into 60 even squares. Using a pastry brush, brush each square with the beaten egg. Place the squares on a greased sheet pan. Apply the black sesame seeds to the egg wash on top of the squares in different patterns to make them look like dice. Bake the puffs until golden brown about 12 minutes. Let the puffs cool. Cut the puffs in half horizontally for sandwiching.

For the mushrooms:
Clean and cut all the mushrooms. Heat a large saute pan. Add the cooking oil and saute mushrooms in small batches seasoning with garlic, shallots, salt and pepper. Spread sauteed mushrooms out onto a large tray and allow to cool. Chop the mushrooms and return them to the saute pan. Add the white wine and reduce until the liquid is almost completely evaporated. Add the cream and reduce again until thick.
To assemble:
Place one scoop of mushroom mixture on the bottom layer of the puff pastry and then top with the other layer to form the sandwich.
This recipe was provided by professional chefs and has been scaled down from a bulk recipe provided by a restaurant. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe, in the proportions indicated, and therefore, we cannot make any representation as to the results.
Recipe courtesy of The Food Network

Introducing Traci Des Jardins

Traci is the executive chef and co-owner of Jardiniere, Mijita and Acme Chophouse. She was raised on a farm in San Joaquin Valley, California. Growing up many cuisines graced the dinner table at her house. Her mother’s heritage is Mexican and her father’s heritage is Louisiana-French Acadian and Swedish and Norwegian. By the age of four, she was baking cookies.
Traci was the chef at the Rubicon from the opening in March, 1994 until 1997, when she opened her own restaurant, Jardiniere. Jardiniere has French-influenced cooking.
Traci won the James Beard Foundation Award for “Best Chef: Pacific” and “Rising Star Chef of the Year”. Food & Wine Magazine named her “Best New Chef” and San Francisco Magazine named her “Chef of the Year”. Esquire Magazine named Jardiniere as the “Best New Restaurant” The James Beard Foundation nominated Jardiniere for “Best New Restaurant 1998”.
Traci has worked In several kitchens for Joachim Splichal. The last was Patina. She has also worked at Montrachet in New York and The three-star Troisgros in Roanne, France.
Traci has a five year old son, Eli.

Shrimp and Avocado Salad
Traci Des Jardins created this refreshing salad to showcase one of her favorite Latin ingredients, the avocado. She tasted her first avocado during a visit to her Grandma Salazar in Mexico; she would snack on it at taco and fruit stands on the street, where it is typically served with fresh lime juice and chile salt.
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 large grapefruit
1 Hass avocado, cut into 1/4-inch lengthwise wedges
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 pound shelled and deveined large shrimp
One 5-ounce head of Boston lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Spread the pumpkin seeds in a pie plate or on a small baking sheet and bake for 3 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of the olive oil with the lime juice, shallot and cilantro. Using a sharp knife, peel the grapefruit, removing all of the bitter white pith. Working over the bowl, cut in between the membranes to release the grapefruit sections into the bowl. Squeeze the juice from the membranes into the bowl; discard the membranes. Gently fold in the avocado and season with salt and pepper.
3. In a medium skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering. Add the shrimp, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, tossing the shrimp until they are curled and pink, about 4 minutes.
4. Arrange the lettuce on a platter. Using a slotted spoon, lift the grapefruit and avocado from the citrus vinaigrette and gently spread over the lettuce. Add the shrimp to the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Arrange the shrimp over the salad and drizzle the remaining citrus dressing on top. Scatter the toasted pumpkin seeds on top and serve right away.
Recipe courtesy of Food & Wine Magazine

Parmigiano Reggiano Velouté with Prosciutto di Parma Crisps and Pink Pearl Apples
Chef Traci Des Jardins of Jardinière – San Francisco, CA
Adapted by
March 2007
Yield: 6 Servings
Parmigiano-Reggiano Stock:
 1 pound Parmigiano Reggiano, roughly chopped
 5 ounces Prosciutto di Parma, 1-inch pieces
 2 bulbs fennel
 2 white onions, peeled and quartered
 2 heads garlic, cut in half
 1 lemon, quartered
 Sachet of parsley, sage and thyme
 1 gallon water

 3 ounces Prosciutto di Parma
 1 teaspoon olive oil
 3 onions, roughly chopped
 3 leeks, roughly chopped
 1 head garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
 2 bulbs fennel
 ¼ cup all purpose flour
 1 cup dry white wine
 1 lemon, thinly sliced
 1 pound Parmigiano-Reggiano
 Sachet of parsley, sage and thyme
 Parmigiano-Reggiano Stock
 1 quart cream
 1 cup crème fraiche
 Juice of 1 lemon
 Salt and pepper

Prosciutto Crisps:
 12 grams all purpose flour
 Salt and pepper
 20 grams water
 1 gram vinegar
 2 ounces Prosciutto di Parma, rendered and finely chopped

Pink Pearl Apple Purée:
 3 ounces Prosciutto di Parma rind
 1 sprig sage
 2 shallots, thinly sliced
 4 Pink Pearl apples, peeled, cored and quartered
 ½ cup dry white wine
 ½ cup Prosciutto di Parma fat, rendered and strained
 Salt and pepper

 1 Pink Pearl apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
 ½ bunch parsley, roughly chopped
 ½ bunch chervil, roughly chopped
 Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
 Lemon juice, to taste
 Salt and pepper
For the Parmigiano-Reggiano Stock:
Combine the Parmigiano-Reggiano, Prosciutto di Parma, fennel, onions, garlic, lemon, herbs and water in a large non-reactive pot and simmer. Skim off impurities for 1 ½ hours. Strain and reserve, keeping warm.
For the Velouté:
In a non-reactive pot render the prosciutto in olive oil and add the onions, leeks, garlic and fennel and sweat for five minutes. Add the flour and sauté for several minutes, then deglaze with the white wine and cook off the alcohol. Add the lemon, Parmigiano-Reggiano, sachet and reserved Parmigiano-Reggiano Stock. Allow to simmer for 1 ½ hours, then remove the sachet and Prosciutto di Parma. Blend the mixture until smooth and pass through a fine china cap. Add the lemon juice and season with Salt and pepper to taste. Reserve, keeping warm.
For the Prosciutto di Parma Crisps:
Preheat oven to 300ºF. Sift the flour, salt and pepper together. Mix the water and vinegar in a separate bowl, then whisk this mixture into the dry ingredients. Pass this mixture through a chinois and spread on a Silpat, to 1/8-inch thick. Season with additional salt and pepper and sprinkle with the Prosciutto di Parma. Bake for 4 minutes, then remove and slice to desired shape. Return to the oven and bake until golden brown.
For the Pink Pearl Apple Purée:
In a non-reactive pan, render the prosciutto rind with the sage, then add the shallot and apples. Sweat the mixture until the pan begins to dry, then deglaze with the wine and cover the pot so the wine slowly evaporates. Once dry, remove the sage and blend the mixture with the rendered Prosciutto di Parma fat until smooth. Pass through a fine china cap and season with salt and pepper. Reserve, keeping warm.
For the Salad:
Combine the Pink Pearl apple, parsley, chervil, olive oil and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
To Assemble and Serve:
Spread a small amount of apple purée on a plate and top with the salad. Place two Prosciutto di Parma crisps to one side of the salad. Fill a warm bowl with Velouté and serve hot.
Wine Pairing:
Champagne Nicholas Feuillatte Brut Rosé

Recipe courtesy of Star Chef

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