Congratulations to Chef Ana Birac- our September 2016 Chef of the Month! She is...
Another delicious recipe coming from our Croatian September Chef of the Month Ana Birac. She wows us again with her mouth-watering Cucumber Roll.
Cucumber – Crème fraîche – Horseradish Roll – Carrot Cream – Baked Marinated Red Beetroot – Apple Caramelized in Coconut Butter – Pistachio Powder
For 2 people:
0.1kg cucumber ~ 3.5 ounces
0.005kg Crème fraîche ~ 17 ounces
0.005kg fresh horseradish (grated) ~ 17 ounces
0.1kg carrot ~ 3.5 ounces
0.05kg whipped cream ~ 1.7 ounces
0.1kg red beetroot ~ 3.5 ounces
0.005kg honey ~ 17 ounces
0.005kg lime ~ 17 ounces
0.001kg thyme ~ 1 teaspoon
0.1kg Granny Smith apple ~ 3.5 ounces
0.005kg coconut butter ~ 17 ounces
0.002kg pistachio powder ~ a dash
Olive oil – as needed
Salt, pepper – as need
Peal the cucumber into big noodles. Put them on a board slice next to the slice and spice with salt and pepper. Then cover them with plastic foil and put in the fridge and marinate for 15 minutes.
Cut red beetroot brunoise (into cubes). Blanch it in water until it softens, and then grill it. Marinate it with honey, lime juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme.
Cut Granny Smith apple brunoise (same size as beetroot into cubes). Dissolve coconut butter in a pan and bake the apple for a minute or two until it softens.
Peel the carrots and cook in vegetable stock until they are fully cooked. After, put them in thermomixer, add the whipped cream and ¾ of pistachio powder. Mix it all together until you get a smooth cream. Season it with salt and pepper and then put it in the fridge to cool down.
Once again use the thermomixer – mix crème fraîche, grated horseradish, salt and pepper. When you get a texture like spread, you’re done.
Take the cucumbers out of the fridge. Spread crème fraîche and horseradish cream over it and roll them up.
Put the product on the plate and finish with the rest of the pistachio powder sprinkled around the plate.
*Note because Chef Ana is from Croatia, she uses metric system measurements (along with the rest of the world). Once again, we have done our best to convert the measurements to the U.S. customary system.
Our September Chef of the Month, Ana Birac sends us her Chickpea Butter recipe all the way from Croatia.
For 2 people:
0.25kg* chickpeas ~ 1 cup
1L cooking cream ~ 4 ¼ cups
0.5kg sour cream ~ 2 cups
salt, pepper – according to your taste
Cook chickpeas in cooking cream until it becomes soft and tender. Watch out, the temperature of cooking cream cannot pass 83 degrees Celsius or 180 degrees Fahrenheit! When the chickpeas are cooked, leave it aside to cool down. After one hour it will be ready for the next step. Take the thermomixer and put it inside. Mix it until you get smooth paste. Pass it through a sieve and leave it in clean bowl.
Put the sour cream in the blender and whip it until it becomes a mixture very similar to ordinary butter. Add chickpeas, salt and pepper to your taste. Mix it until you get a mixture just like butter – nice and tender.
Put it in the fridge and leave over night to cool down.
You can use it as a spread on the bread, to spice the dishes or to cook on it.
*Note because Chef Ana is from Croatia, she uses metric system measurements (along with the rest of the world). We have done our best to convert the measurements to the U.S. customary system.
Congratulations to Chef Ana Birac- our September 2016 Chef of the Month! She is Chefuniforms.com first featured International Chef. All the way from Croatia, Chef Birac was almost as excited as we were to have her as our September 2016 Chef. Read below to learn more about her life cooking across the globe and stay tuned for some awesome recipes she sent us for you to check out!
I WAS BORN ON JULY 31ST, 1991 IN ZAGREB, CROATIA.
- Where do you work and where are you based?
I WORK IN ROVINJ – ISTRIA ON THE CROATIAN ADRIATIC COAST, WHERE I ALSO LIVE AT THE MOMENT. I’M BASED AT THE A LA CARTE RESTAURANT IN THE OLEANDER HOTEL– THAT IS BASED BETWEEN SOME OF THE BEST HOTELS IN THE WORLD: MONTE MULLINI (NO.1 IN THE WORLD), LOND (NO.3 IN THE WORLD) AND EDEN.
- What is your favorite kitchen tool in creating your masterpieces/dishes?
MY FAVORITE KITCHEN TOOLS ARE: A SHARP KNIFE, GOOD TWEEZERS AND A THERMOMIXER.
- What is your sharpest sense out of all the 5 senses?
TASTE, MOST DEFINITELY.
- What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?
DON’T EVER LOSE MOTIVATION. BEING A CHEF IS THE BEST JOB EVER BECAUSE THERE ARE A MILLION WAYS TO SURPRISE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM FEEL ENCHANTED, HAPPY AND SATISFIED. YOU CAN CREATE YOUR OWN COLORFUL LITTLE WORLD MADE OF INGREDIENTS.
- What is one culinary tip every chef should know and perfect?
A SHARP KNIFE AND AN ENDLESS IMAGINATION ARE YOUR BEST FRIENDS IN THE KITCHEN. AND OF COURSE, A TOUCH OF LOVE AND CRAZINESS.
- What does good food mean to you?
FOR ME GOOD FOOD IS MADE WITH LOVE. IT DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN EXPENSIVE AND NUMEROUS INGREDIENTS. YOU JUST NEED TO PREPARE IT WITH LOVE AND PASSION, YOU NEED TO GIVE YOURSELF TO THAT DISH.
- What trends do you see emerging in the near future?
UNFORTUNATELY, IT SEEMS THAT TECHNOLOGY IS TAKING OVER THE KITCHENS AND REPLACING CHEFS. BUT AS LONG AS THERE ARE YOUNG CHEFS TRYING TO BEAT THE MACHINES, I SEE A LOT OF NEW VEGETABLES, SPICES AND PLANTS ENTERING THE KITCHEN SCENE.
- What features are important to you when selecting a Chef Coat? (particular fabric, style, sleeve length, pockets)
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FOR ME IS THAT MY CHEF COAT IS COMFORTABLE. AS AN EXECUTIVE CHEF, I SPEND 15 HOURS PER DAY IN THE KITCHEN WEARING MY UNIFORM. IT HAS TO BE LIGHT AND COMFY, BUT ALSO I LIKE IT TO BE A LITTLE FUNKY – WHETHER IS IT COLORFUL, WITH DOTS, WITH SOME PICS OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT. I ALSO PREFER LITTLE POCKETS ON MY LEFT UPPER ARM TO KEEP MY PEN, TWEEZER AND SPOON.
- What is your go-to chef outfit? Do you prefer coats, tees, pants, shorts, aprons, hats, etc?
MY GO – TO CHEF OUTFIT DEFINITELY MEANS PANTS AND COATS. APRONS HERE AND THERE, HATS (I HATE TO ADMIT IT, BUT ONLY WHEN HEALTH INSPECTOR COMES J ) AND GOOD SHOES.
- Favorite ingredient to work with?
MY FAVORITE INGREDIENTS TO WORK WITH ARE VEGETABLES (NO ONE SPECIFICALLY), BUT BEFORE EVERYTHING I ADORE THYME!
- Favorite City to dine out in?
I DON’T REALLY HAVE FAVORITE CITY TO DINE OUT IN. IN GENERAL, IN CROATIA THAT WOULD PROBABLY BE ZAGREB. FOR ME THAT IS MY LIVING TOWN – ROVINJ. BUT DON’T GO OUT TO A RESTAURANT, GO TO YOUR FRIENDS HOME AND ASK THEIR GRANDMA TO COOK FOR YOU. YOU’LL HAVE THE BEST DINNER EVER!
- Best Dish you have ever made?
HOME MADE “ŠTRUKLI” FILLED WITH SQUID RAGOUT, DRIED TOMATO AND MOTAR SAUCE
Place you eat most often on your days off?
BEACH OR WOODS – IT’S IMPORTANT THAT IT IS IN THE OUTDOORS AND WITH FRESH INGREDIENTS.
Person you would most like to cook for?
FOR ALL MY FRIENDS AND PEOPLE THAT HAVE BEEN SUPPORTING ME DURING THIS WHOLE PROCCESS OF BECOMING AN EXECUTIVE CHEF.
ALSO FOR ALL THE PEOPLE THAT MEAN SOMETHING TO ME IN MY LIFE.
FROM CELEBRITY CHEFS: GRANT ACATZ – OF COURSE, RENE REDZEPI, ALEX ATALA AND
ANDONI LUIS ADURIZ.
- What made you decide to become a chef?
LOVE FOR THE INGREDIENTS, LOVE FOR THE FOOD, LOVE FOR THE JOB, LOVE FOR THE UNIFORM.
I’M TELLING YOU – THE BEST JOB EVER!
THERE ARE NO LIMITS, THE IMAGINATION IS ENDLESS, COLOR YOUR PLATES AND MAKE THEM LOOK DIFFERENT AND PERFECT EVERY SINGLE TIME.
- What is new on your DVR?
THERE’S PRETTY MUCH NOTHING AND EVERYTHING NEW ON MY DVR! YEAH, FUNNY SENTENCE, I KNOW.
WELL, LET ME PUT IT THIS WAY: I AM TRYING TO DO SOMETHING NEW EVERY DAY. SOMETIMES IT WORKS AND I GET COMMENDATION AND SOMETIMES I JUST… DO SOMETHING WRONG AND EVERYTHING GOES DOWN THE TOILET.
BUT I NEVER GIVE UP AND ALWAYS KEEP POSITIVE, SO THERE IS USUALLY SOMETHING GOOD TO TAKE A LOOK AT.
Come back next week for a new recipe from Chef Ana Birac!
Chef Dakota Soifer has shared one of his favorite pork recipes from Cafe Aion- Merguez.
We do a lot with pork at Cafe Aion. Bacon, sausage, bacon, chicharrones, braised, and the list goes on. My favorite sausage to make is lamb sausage. Merguez, a bright, spicy sausage from northern Africa has got to have one of the most intoxicating mix of flavors. The fresh heat of harissa, chopped cilantro and rose water mixed with the rich lamb makes for many memorable bites.
1 lb ground lamb (grass fed is the best)
1/3 C fresh harissa paste
2 T chopped cilantro leaves & stems
1 T salt
1 t whole cumin seeds, toasted then ground
1 t whole coriander seeds, toasted then ground
1/2 t rosewater
Mix it all together! Sauté or grill it as a loose sausage or you can stuff the sausage into hog middles, hang to dry for 5 days and then cook.
Our Chef of the Month Dakota Soifer has shared another great recipe with us! You can use his Harissa as a great grilling marinade, add it to yogurt or aioli for a great dipping sauce, or even use it on its own as a vibrant condiment.
2 C Seeded & roughly chopped fresh fresno chilies
6 Cloves garlic
2t Tomato paste
1/2 C Pequillo peppers
1T Black cumin
2t Hot smoked paprika
2T Olive oil
Toast the spices until fragrant and grind finely. Put the chilies, garlic, salt and half the spices into a food processor. Let the processor run for a few minutes stopping it every now and then to scrape the sides down. You are trying to achieve a very smooth, almost liquid-y consistency. This will probably take longer than expected, be patient. A well pureed base will ensure a successful Harissa. Once pureed, add in the tomato paste & peppers along with the rest of spices. Stir in the olive oil by hand, you don’t want an emulsion. This will keep for a few weeks in the fridge, just pour a very thin layer of oil on the top to protect from oxidization, between uses.
Oyster mushrooms with Sherry.
At the cafe we love sherries and were always looking for a way to get people to drink more of it. This dish, while great on its own, is a great showcase of how fun pairing sherry with food is. We encourage you to check it out.
½ lb oyster mushrooms
2T Olive oil
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1T (heaping) picked fresh thyme leaves
1/4c mushroom or vegetable stock
1T fine sherry
Trim the woody root off the oyster mushrooms, saving them for mushroom stock.
In a thick bottomed pan with enough space to accommodate all of the mushrooms in a single layer, heat the 2T of olive oil over a high heat. It is really important that the mushrooms aren’t overcrowded when they cook or the will steam rather than sear, muting the flavors & mushing the texture.
When the oil is simmering and almost smoking, dump the mushrooms in. Don’t stir them right away let them sit & cook nicely for a moment. Just stir once in a while. Think of it more as searing little steaks than stirring vegetables up in a pan. Using this technique will help you take advantage of the mushroom’s unique texture and give the dish more character.
After 3 to 4 minutes and the mushrooms are browning nicely, stir in the butter, garlic and Thyme. Once the garlic turns golden and the Thyme has become very aromatic, stir in the stock and season with salt and freshly cracked pepper. After the stock reduces and become a thick flavorful sauce, add in a nice splash of the sherry, careful not to flame it, return to the heat for a few more seconds and you’re done!
Serve over soft polenta, or on grilled bread rubbed with garlic and drizzled with some great extra virgin olive oil.
Preserved Lemons – Just what your pantry needs!
Chef Dakota Soifer has shared with us some of his favorite recipes. See what special ingredient he always has on hand at his restaurant, Cafe Aion!
We love preserved lemons at Cafe Aion. It is one of the most important ingredients that help make our identity. The only tricky thing about them is that they take a long time (4-60 days) to properly cure. We usually make a 20lb batches every couple weeks! For (most) home use a small amount will go a long way and if you get into the habit of making a batch every month or so, you won’t run the risk of being out.
1 1/2c salt
1T coriander seeds
1 cinnamon stick
3 chili de arbol
1 Qt Ball jar
Mix all the salt, sugar and spices together. Cut the lemons almost into quarters, top to bottom, so that the four pieces are just connected at the tip. Stuff each lemon with a big pinch of the salt mix and then put into the clean jar. After jamming all the lemons into the container pour any extra salt & seasonings in as well. Then, with your hand or a wooden spoon press the lemons to begin releasing some of their juice. Screw the top on and keep in a cool dark place for 2 months, turning the jar over every week or so. Eventually the salt will pull out more and more of the lemon’s natural juices turning the packed salt into an intense brine, softening the lemons’ skins & introducing some of the spice’s flavors. After 2 months, or as long as you can wait, take a lemon out, rinse it under cold water & discard the pulp. Pull one of the quarters off and lay it skin side down. With a sharp paring knife slice away as much of the white pith as you can. The yellow peel is the good stuff, use it as bigger pieces in braises and roasts or chop it finely and sprinkle into grain-salads or atop a paella!
Congratulations Chef Dakota Soifer for being our Chef of the Month for August! See what he has been cooking up at his restaurant Cafe Aion, in Colorado.
Where were you born:
I was born in South China, Maine.
Where do you work and where are you based?
I am the chef and owner of Café Aion in Boulder, Colorado
What is your favorite kitchen tool in creating your masterpieces/dishes?
My Paella pan is my favorite tool. It is made out of pounded carbon steel and the shape and thickness of the pan are great. I have one that is 12 inches and some that are 3 feet for when I cook for big farmer’s markets and large parties. I can get 40 or so servings out of each pan! I have a Spanish and Mediterranean restaurant, so we make a lot of Paella.
What is your sharpest sense out of all the 5 senses?
I think touch would be my sharpest sense. Growing up, I was always playing in the dirt in the garden helping my dad who was a carpenter. We did a lot of hands on and hands in things. I love to be hands on in all aspects- feeling the fresh produce we get in and even in rebuilding the restaurant. I have a degree in architecture, so when we remodeled the restaurant I was able to build the bar, design the community tables and the kitchen.
What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?
Don’t rush to open your own restaurant or jump from position to position. In this day and age, people move around quite often and try to get a sous chef or executive chef position as quickly as they can and there is really something to be learned while spending years at the same restaurant throughout the seasons. Try to enjoy the process or you will burn out quickly if you don’t go slow.
What is one culinary tip every chef should know and perfect?
Everyone chef should know how to bake bread. It is something that’s kind of become lost and it adds a complexity and another layer of wonderfulness to a restaurant. The difference of a fresh quality is a special thing. It is really nice when you can see people slowing down and baking bread well.
What does good food mean to you?
Good food is thoughtful. It has a human touch. It’s not an assembly line. It is interesting how many of the very best or highly regarded restaurants become scientific and industrial in prep and production now. Everything has become too perfect. As a business owner, I understand how important it is for consistency and controlling your product, but in a way its gets away from the real joy of cooking. I also think good food is created on a wood fired grilled. The real fire introduces a part of nature that can’t be tamed or totally perfected at home. There should be a difference in eating at home and eating out at a restaurant.
What trends do you see emerging in the near future?
I see fast casual currently trending. It is really interesting from a business point of view. You see people taking the farm to table and sourcing things carefully and then applying that on a larger scale. It is somewhat sad to see restaurants becoming more standardized. You can now have wine on draft from a keg. Everything has become fast and easy. There is no patience in cooking anymore.
What features are important to you when selecting a Chef Coat? (particular fabric, style, sleeve length, pockets)
Definitely comfort and breathability. I need to be able to move around and not feel like I’m wearing a cardboard box. You wear a chef coat because it’s a sign of your profession. They’re white, which in our industry is ridiculous, but if you can work and keep it white, you’re skilled. You can take pride in knowing that you look good to your guests and clean to keep your professional mentality.
What is your go-to chef outfit? Do you prefer coats, tees, pants, shorts, aprons, hats, etc?
Jeans and a white t-shirt with my Dansko clogs.
Favorite ingredient to work with?
I really love bread. It is so cool what you can do with a loaf of bread. It is obvious that you can create sandwiches, but you can also tear it up and roast it to create crunchy croutons. You can do anything with these! You can use them to absorb sauces, add to a soup to create a luxurious consistency, create breadcrumbs to add texture to seafood pastas. It is so versatile and simple. It lives on after its fresh state to being stale and has many different uses throughout its lifespan.
Favorite City to dine out in?
It may be clichéd, but San Francisco has a special place in my heart. I moved out there after I graduated college to pursue my cooking career. I moved around to get myself into the best places to work on my career, had no responsibilities, and was in my early 20s. I had extra cash to go and try all these different places and explore the culture of San Francisco.
Best Dish you have ever made?
Paella. It is a special dish for the restaurant, but one time a few friends of mine and I had an idea to have a mid-day picnic party. We went into a field and made a fire. We had wine and cooked a paella and homemade sausage. It was great!
Place you eat most often on your days off?
Probably a dumpling shop that I go to with my daughter. She is 8 and loves dumplings equally as much as I do. I have my partner in crime and we take down a large spread of them. Dumplings are not something I cook or do often at home. They are of a different cuisine and use other flavors than what I am around at work. My daughter and I have either pan fried pork or Chinese soup dumplings.
Person you would most like to cook for?
My grandmother was always very supportive, but she never got a chance to come to my restaurant. It would be cool to have had her to come to the restaurant.
What made you decide to become a chef?
I was in college for architecture, but I got a job cooking to make some money. It was really fun! I was 20 or 21 and working late was always a party scene. It was really cool and fun, and I was doing well. Eventually I got a promotion and was taken under the wing by guys in the industry that I thought were cool and doing good stuff. I didn’t get into it as my end goal. I just followed a path and different opportunities opened up.
What is new on your DVR?
Bob’s Burgers is pretty funny. I am not much of a drama person. I want to giggle and relax when I’m watching tv. It’s a funny show and has to do with food.
Look out for some mouth-watering recipes from Chef Soifer this month!
Have a great breakfast outside at FOODE with this mouthwatering open-face breakfast sandwich!
OPEN-FACE STEAK BREAKFAST SAMMY
- 4 New York strip steaks, thin cut, about 4-5 oz. each
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 12 large eggs
- salt and black pepper
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (any kind you have…parsley, cilantro, chives, thyme, etc.)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 thick-cut pieces of your favorite rustic bread or baguette
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 cups fresh baby arugula
- 2 large tomatoes, chopped
- good quality olive oil, for drizzling
Heat a grill, indoor grill or grill pan to medium-high. Season steaks with salt & pepper. Grill steaks until they’re cooked to medium, about 3 minutes on one side, flip and then 2 minutes on the other side. Remove from the grill and set aside. Keep grill hot.
Heat a skillet medium. Whisk together eggs, salt, pepper, and herbs in a bowl. Melt the butter in the pan. Add the eggs and stir until softly scrambled. Remove the pan from the heat.
Place the bread slices or baguette halves, cut side down, on the grill and toast until lightly golden brown, about 45 seconds. Remove and turn the bread over, placing one on each plate. Top each with 1/4 cup of cheese, top the cheese with a strip steak and then divide the eggs on top of each steak. Top each steak with a mound of the arugula, scatter on the chopped tomatoes and drizzle with a hefty dose of olive oil.
Check out Chef of the Month Joy Crump’s fresh Grilled Shrimp Recipe. Try it out for a nice summer meal!
Grilled Shrimp with Peach Vinaigrette
2 fresh ripe peaches, pitted, cut into chunks
3 tbsp. champagne vinegar
2 tbsp. honey
¼ tsp. cayenne
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
2 tbsp. freshly chopped tarragon
- Place the peach pieces in a blender.
- Add the champagne vinegar, honey and cayenne.
- Puree until combined.
- Pour contents of blender into a medium bowl.
- By hand, whisk in the canola oil.
- Adjust seasoning to taste with salt.
Simple Shrimp Marinade
2 lbs. shrimp (peeled, deveined, tails off)
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lime
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup chopped fresh herbs (cilantro, parsley, oregano, etc.)
1 tsp. salt
Cracked black pepper
- Marinate shrimp for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the marinade and place on a hot grill (400 degrees).
- Cook for 4-5 minutes, turning once. Shrimp should be firm and opaque; do not over-cook.
- To serve: place the grilled shrimp over a simple green salad, over cooked rice or polenta. Drizzle generously with peach vinaigrette