Thursday, August 20, 2009

My Personal Garde Manger

Alex has been whipping up some incredible food lately, making me feel like all I have to do is sit down at the dining table in the middle of our kitchen for a 4-star meal. First off, his salads continually amaze me with sheer creativity. The salad pictured below reminded me a lot of ceviche, but with fresh peaches instead raw fish and we ate it immediately instead of letting it marinate for hours. He says he's been experimenting with using spices instead of a vinaigrette, which when using juicy fruits and tomatoes, a vinaigrette is not really needed for moisture; I think it's brilliant!
Next is the pork in which Alex discovered umami. Umami (unfortunately defined as MSG) is that inexplicable 5th taste, that is actually a proven taste along with sweet, salty, bitter, and sour. Umami is present in all meats, cheeses, fermented products, tomatoes, mushrooms...the list goes on. Asian cuisine has thoroughly explored the concept of umami and western chefs use it to add a fifth level of complexity to their food. Well, Alex did just that, he made a marinated pork that was so complex and so well balanced I wanted to savor and contemplate the deep meaning behind every bite I took of the finished prduct. The picture below shows how he marinated it. Looks like whole cloves, star anise, Bragg's liquid aminos, Bragg's apple cider vinegar, Larupin barbeque sauce, Woodring's rainier cherry chutney, Four Seasons raspberry vinaiger, cinnamon, a local sweet pepper, a local spicy pepper, and some local peach. He fried the pork chops with the chunky parts of the marinade on top and then poured the rest of marinade into the pan to cook with the pork. Fantastic!

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