Eat With Your Eyes

I just watched the newest in a long line of food-system related films, Food, Inc. and while it might not bring a lot of new information to the table, it certainly does a good job of illustrating several key issues and continuing to bring our inherently flawed agricultural system into public discourse.

Interviews with Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser and Joel Salatin highlight a well-produced trip through various aspects of the food production process, touching on everything from CAFO's to childhood obesity and industrial organic. While there have been myriad books published in recent memory on these subjects with more detailed information, Food, Inc. brings a different touch to the discussion by visualizing several things that are more poignant when seen and not just read.

A well executed film with a high production value and some very important information, I highly recommend giving Food, Inc. a place in your movie queue.


Food for Thought

A large percentage of my reading time is devoted to my love for fiction, but I do try to intersperse a fair amount of non-fiction, and most of that is generally food related. No surprise there. Here are a couple of recent reads that I really enjoyed.

In this travelogue-style reader, fellow Texan Robb Walsh explores the oft misunderstood nature of oysters in a world tour that left me with a serious craving and a lot of new information about one of the most eco-friendly and fabled foodstuffs.

Austinite James E. McWilliams' tome takes an interesting look at our current food system, from organic to the industrialized farm. He proposes a 'golden mean' of food production for the future that does its best to recognize the pros and cons from both sides of this very important and impassioned debate.


Gastronomical Gear, Vol. 3: Pizza Stone

While certainly not an everyday necessity, my new favorite piece of equipment in my kitchen has to be this beautiful pizza stone.

I am something of a pizza fanatic, eating it at least once a week, and to get pizza at home that can get anywhere close to rivaling those baked in lovely wood-fired ovens, you'll need one of these. The stone serves as a porous, pre-heated surface that aids the crust by removing moisture and distributing heat evenly across the base. Homemade, store-bought, or even reheated delivery will never be better than when cooked on a pizza stone.

Most commercial stones come with instructions for use, but there are also several online resources to answer any questions as to their proper use and how to achieve the best results. If you don't want to spend the extra money for a name-brand, you can head to your local hardware store and pickup an unglazed terra cotta tile that will do the job perfectly. Just be sure to get unglazed, the glaze is usually made with lead and that is not an appetizing topping.

For homemade use, I dust the stone with a bit of cornmeal, then place in a cold oven, pre-heat to 500 F, and let the stone sit in the 500 F oven for about 30 minutes before cooking. Pop the pie on the stone and cook until the crust/cheese are golden brown. Simple as that.

With results like this, who can argue?

A peel is a great tool for moving delicately constructed pizzas onto the screaming hot stone with minimal difficulty.

Here's another post with my basic pizza dough recipe (I usually alter this recipe to 16 oz. AP flour and 4 oz. Semolina flour for my pizza dough.)



Quest for the Best

When presented with that oft popular 'last meal' question I have come to a realization that anything on tortillas with salsa and fresh lime would have to fill that role. In fact, if I had to choose one thing to eat every day until that fateful end, tacos would certainly be my choice. There's just something so soul-satisfyingly perfect about the utter simplicity and deliciousness of a few ingredients happily married in a hand-held delivery device.

In that never-ending quest to find the 'Best' I took a Labor Day journey to the east side, and what I found was pure heaven. Las Cazuelas.

What this East Austin eatery might lack in the 'fanciness factor,' it makes up for in ambiance, authenticity and an amazing array of menu items. While they do offer a good deal of Tex-Mex, the real gems as Las Cazuelas are the more traditional Mexican fare. Wonderful things like Menudo, liver and onions, a tripe plate, even braised goat. As a chef (and eating with other chefs) it's things like these that make your eyes light up and your stomach grow exponentially.

Back to the tacos. Las Cazuelas has a pretty straightforward offering when it comes to tacos, anything from plain potato or nopales to more interesting choices like lengua or chicharron. After perusing my options, I opted for one chicharron and one tripe taco. My compatriot had two of the lengua tacos. The chicharron taco came with a simple dressing of onions and cilantro, and delivered in crispy unctuous fried-pork goodness. The tripe taco was simply the braised tripe served with some of it's braising companions, tomato and chile. Both were served on homemade tortillas and accompanied by lime. (I didn't get to try the lengua tacos but judging by the cleaned plate and the satisfied expression on my friend's face, I'd say they delivered as well.) One bite from each and I knew I'd be coming back to Las Cazuelas many more times to partake. The ridiculously huge Micheladas and the Tejano-filled jukebox didn't hurt. All in all a great meal with good drinks in a wonderful atmosphere. Best Tacos Ever.


Return to the Fray

In what has certainly been an eventful summer, this blog has been forgotten and neglected. While I may have not been posting into the blogsphere, I most definitely have been reading and keeping up with all things culinary.

What have I been up to, you might ask? Here's a bit of what has kept me inspired and interested (and certainly busy):

First and foremost: Work

Where I've been eating: Olivia, Parkside, Fino

Some Web Interest: Ideas In Food, KevinEats, ChuckEats

The Boob Tube: Top Chef: Masters, Top Chef: Las Vegas

Stay tuned for new recipes, more photos, equipment reviews, and a host of all things culinary.


Go Blue

Today is the first U.N.-sanctioned World Oceans Day, an opportunity to recognize and address the issues we have created with our most abundant and exploited resource, the sea.

The people at The Ocean Project are encouraging everyone today to "Wear Blue, Tell Two" as a way to increase public awareness of the issues our oceans face.

In addition, a documentary The End Of The Line is being released today that addresses the issue of overfishing and the damage the current commercial seafood industry has done.

Here we have yet another opportunity to recognize how our food choices affect the world we live in and how we can make a difference simply by voting with our dollars and choosing seafood that is responsible and ethical.

The Monterrey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch Program provides many resources including a handy and helpful list that makes responsible seafood choices that much easier.


Full Circle

When I first started this blog a little over a year ago, my first post was regarding Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma, and how it had changed the way I thought about our food system and as a result what I put into my body. The book made me take into consideration the source and the impact of the food (most specifically the meat) I was eating.

Having just finished Peter Singer and Jim Mason's The Ethics of What We Eat (also published as The Way We Eat) I now find myself edging closer and closer to eliminating meat from my diet altogether. In a very well written and extremely informative tome, Singer and Mason break down three different family's eating habits, delving into the not-so-nice world of factory farming, the 'locavore' movement and 'fair trade' products.

This book is a wonderful (if not shocking) read and I recommend it highly.

As I get older (and wiser, hah) I generally feel more and more responsible for the choices I make and how they affect not just me but the world I live in, and the ethical questions raised in this book have really made me analyze what makes it's way into my shopping cart. As a chef, I feel it is my responsibility to lead by example and to educate as best as possible regarding our food system and how choices as seemingly simple as what we eat can have larger and permanent consequences.

All of that being said, this blog should making something of a shift towards vegetarian cuisine, as I limit the amount of meat (sustainable or not) that finds it's way into my pantry, so bear with me and (hopefully) enjoy the ride.


Raw and Unadulterated

When ingredients are really fresh or perfectly ripe, I like to get the heck out of the way and, with minimal interference, let them shine. The beautiful Alaskan (line-caught) Halibut, the organic peaches and Thumbellina carrots I found today all fit that bill. With all the inspiration I needed from such lovely ingredients, this meal practically made itself.

Oyhou (Halibut) Sashimi, Daikon Pickles, Sake, Miso, Peaches, Carrots, Shiso
(Recipe serves 2)

10 oz. Halibut, sliced thinly

There's no need for concern when eating raw fish if you trust your supplier and the product's freshness.

Storage tip: Cut holes in the bottom of one of two interlocking tupperware/cambro/etc. and fill it with ice. Cover the ice with a layer of plastic, and keep the fish on the ice until ready to cook/serve. As the ice melts the bottom container provides a reservoir for the water.

For the Daikon pickles:
1 medium Daikon radish

Peel and slice the Daikon thin, or if you're lucky/dorky enough and you have a turning vegetable slicer, go to town.

Soak the cut Daikon in cold water for about 15 minutes (it will mellow out the harshness of the radish.) Drain.

Pickling Liquid:
2 cups Water
1/4 cup Ume Plum Vinegar
Ume (Plum) Vinegar is one of my favorites, sweeter than most and it provides a nice color as well as flavor.

3/4 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
1/2 cup Sugar
3-4 Star Anise
1 tsp. Cassia Buds (or Cinnamon stick)
1 tsp. Szechuan Peppercorns (or black Peppercorns)
1 Bay Leaf

Combine and heat until just at a boil, then remove from the heat.

Strain and pour (while still hot) over the Daikon.

Pickles will keep for about a month, refrigerated.

Sake/Miso Sauce:

1/4 cup Sake
1/2 tsp. Sugar
2 T. Shiro Miso
Shiro (white) Miso is a fermented soy product and is readily available in most stores.

1 tsp. Rice Wine Vinegar

Heat sake and sugar to dissolve.
Whisk into miso and vinegar to combine.

If you'd like some heat, add 1/2 tsp. of Sriracha.

Plate sashimi slices with sauce, sliced peaches, shaved carrots, and shiso.

The Shiso , or Perilla, is not just a garnish, eat it up.



Sake to Me

Anyone that knows me will tell you I have a slight predilection towards all things Japanese. Kitchen knives, Samurai movies, sushi. Sake is certainly no exception. I recently had the pleasure of trying SakeOne's Momokawa Diamond, a Junmai Ginjo Sake made right here in the United States. In fact, SakeOne is the only producer of Sake in the US. With plenty of old-school clout and know-how, the resulting product is comparable to any Japanese-made Ginjo (premium grade) sake, and priced in a more approachable range.

The Diamond, second-driest in their Momokawa line, is nice and floral, with subtle fruit flavors. A beauty to drink and to pair with any number of foods.

Many people are reluctant to try Sake after many a bad experience with the cheap, nasty stuff readily available to most, but give SakeOne a try and you're in for a pleasant treat.



I've been particularly busy with work and life recently, and this blog has suffered. I do hope to find the time in coming weeks to renew posting with regularity and vigor. *fingers crossed*


Sharper than Ever

Over the past couple of years I have developed my skill using Japanese whetstones to sharpen, polish and hone knives to an amazing degree. I am often asked about sharpening others' knives as many lack either the knowledge or the equipment to do so properly and achieve the best results.

From My Kit

I will be offering a knife sharpening service to anyone who is interested, professional chef or home cook. I have added a small blurb on the right-hand bar with a link to my e-mail if you (or anyone you know) is interested, please send me an e-mail and we can settle the logistics and the cost.

Get those knives back in the shape they deserve, your arms and your food will thank you.



There's really nothing quite like the aroma or flavor of freshly toasted and ground spices. While it is certainly easier just to pop a top and have ground Cumin at the ready, the difference in flavor between freshly toasted and ground and pre-ground spices is enough to warrant emptying out your spice cabinet and starting from scratch.

Spices on Foodista

Anything that is available whole (Cumin, Corriander, Nutmeg, etc.) should replace their pre-ground equivalents. Nutmeg is the shiniest example. Once you smell and taste freshly ground Nutmeg you'll wonder how that innocuous brown powder earned the right to share names.

Most whole spices really benefit from a quick toasting to wake-up them up and add depth and nuance to what might be flat and boring flavors. To toast, simply add whatever spices you plan on using to a cold pan, crank the heat and toss until the spices release their oils (aromas and a little sound should accompany.) Let cool and it's time for grinding.

Finding the right tool for grinding can be a little overwhelming. While there are certainly myriad options, the key things to look for are: the ability to adjust your grind and ease of cleaning. Manual, electric, Molcajete, Mortar and Pestle. Each of these have pros and cons, and none are necessarily better or worse. Personally, I enjoy the RPMs of a coffee-style grinder. In fact, I use my grinder for both coffee and spices. But what about the residual flavors?

A simple and easy little trick.
Add about 1/4 cup of white rice, set your grinder to it's longest (finest) setting, and let her rip.

Dump the rice, wipe out the housing (use paper towels or a pastry brush,) remove the excess and you're ready to go.

Now what to use the toasted and ground spices for? Spice blends and mixes are absolutely better when done yourself. A perfect example is Chile powder. Most pre-made Chile powder is anything but flavorful. When you do it yourself, the options are limitless and the flavor is amazing.

Chile Powder:
(Recipe makes 1/4 cup)

4 Guajillo Chiles, stems and seeds removed
6 Chiles de Arbol, stems and seeds removed
2 tsp. Cumin Seed
5-6 Black Peppercorns
1 tsp. Mustard Seed
1 stick, Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 tsp. Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp. Pimenton

Toast the Chiles, Cumin, Mustard Seed and Peppercorns until aromatic. Let cool a minute.

Add to a spice grinder with the remaining ingredients and process until smooth.

Use Chile Powder in anything from momma's Chili to your favorite Mexican dish.



Gastronomical Gear, Volume 2: Pans

Outside of your knives, the cooking implements that come in contact with the food the most are definitely the pans. There is certainly a ridiculous amount of variety and choice in the world of pans, and a lot of terminology that is thrown around. What you need from a pan, conversely, is quite simple. You don't want your food to stick. You want the pan to get hot, stay hot, and transfer that heat to your food evenly.

As we strive to reduce our impact and encourage a healthier and more responsible diet, one thing that is constantly overlooked is the affect what we use to cook, not just what we cook, can have on our bodies. I'm not going to get into the science or health aspects of Teflon and non-stick cookware. All I need to know is that Teflon pans, when heated to a certain temperature (say, smoking hot to sear a piece of meat) release certain toxic gases into the air. Gases that kill pet birds. Frankly, I'd rather not inhale.

Alternatives, you ask?

Cast-iron skillets are 'preferred by chefs,' and for good reason. With proper treatment, they develop a better non-stick coating than their Teflon counterparts, and they'll last a lifetime. That's a lot more than you can say for most cookware. All the non-stick pans I've used in the past were only non-stick quite temporarily.

When I cook, I like to have control over what goes into my food, and with cast-iron, I know because I put it there. Certainly there's a little more upkeep involved in cast-iron cookware, but the results, involving both the food and those consuming it, are well worth the extra time needed to season, clean, and dry.

Surely there are a lot of options within the cast-iron world, and they can be quite expensive. The Le Creuset lines are beautiful, colorful, and enameled to protect the outside of the cookware, but they are quite pricey. Personally, I prefer the rugged beauty of the Lodge pans, and while the outside needs attention to prevent rust much like the inside needs attention, I don't mind giving it. Like I've said, a well-maintained cast-iron set can last a lifetime. Or two.

For my personal use, I have an 8" and a 12" cast iron skillet, as well as this cast-iron grill pan.

These three fill darn near every culinary need, and outside of a few instances, do most of my cooking.

I do like to keep a nice, clad, stainless pan around for certain applications, usually involving acids, that would be detrimental to my cast-iron. An aluminum pan would serve the same function, and at a lower price.

Say searing a chicken breast and then using the drippings to make a pan sauce. Something that would involved de-glazing the pan with alcohol, probably wine (or maybe Bourbon) and that is not something I like to do with cast-iron cookware.

The copper cladding in this pan is really nice as it adds that 'get hot and stay hot' quality of cast-iron and heats the food quite evenly.

While the cast-iron and stainless do provide me with 99% of my pan needs, there are a couple of applications (namely Crepes and Omelettes) than I keep a small Teflon pan around for. You have to be careful not to heat the pan too high and certainly not use metal tools, but the Teflon pan is nice for a handful of applications. I would never spend the big bucks on some of the flashy Teflon cookware out there when the inexpensive restaurant supply brand pans do the trick for a fraction of the price.

As with most things, there is no wrong or right, just what works for you. If you're in the market for cookware, I would definitely advise you to look towards cast-iron and avoid the many pitfalls of over-priced non-stick cookware. They have their place in a kitchen, it's just a very small one.


It Was a Blogger Bash

Kudos to Austin360.com, Whole Foods, and Go Texan for hosting (what will hopefully be an annual event,) the Food and Wine Blogger Bash last night. With cooking demos from Tyson Cole and Jesse Griffiths as well as a Texas Two-Sip blind wine tasting the event entertained the palette as well as the mind.


Workin' Hard

Apologies for the lack of posts over the last week, but I've been quite busy at work, opening the new location of Zoot Restaurant. The website isn't updated, but the new digs at 11715 Bee Caves Road are bigger, better and officially open for business. Bringing you the same Zoot with a new bar area and more seating, as well as a beautiful patio area. Come out and see us, you will not be disappointed.


Brine + Swine = Divine

One technique that should be in every cook's repertoire is Brining. Nothing helps to add flavor, moisture and tenderness like a salty bath. While there are certainly a lot of recipes and ratios for brining, there is no steadfast set-in-stone combination, so try what you like and adjust accordingly. Few proteins respond as well to brining or result quite as nicely as Pork. One taste of the delicious results and you'll seldom cook swine without some time in a brine.

Beer-Brined Pork Chops with Yellow Tomato Marmalade, Herbed Gnocchi Romana and Wild Mushroom Succotash
(Recipe serves 2-3)

For the Brine:
1 cup Beer (I used Paulaner Hefeweizen, use whatever you'd like)
1/2 cup Water
1/4 cup Kosher Salt
1/4 cup Cane Sugar

Combine all and whisk to dissolve.
(Using a room-temperature beer is advised, the salt/sugar will dissolve quicker.)
Pour over:

2 Center-Cut Pork Chops (Niman Ranch beauties)

Brine anywhere from 30 minutes up to 4 hours. (The thicker the chops, the longer you can leave them in.)
When you're ready to cook, remove the chops from the brine, and give them a rinse.
Pat dry with paper towels.
Let rest (refrigerated) for 30 minutes to an hour. This allows for even distribution of the brine flavors.
Score the fat (if your chops have fat on the edges) to prevent them from curling while they cook.

Season with salt (less than your normal amount) and pepper.
In a hot skillet lightly coated with oil, sear chops on both sides until golden brown. (Save the skillet for the Succotash.)

Finish chops in a 350F oven. (I prefer mine medium, avoid the common mistake of over-cooking pork, it'll be much more delicious.)
(Note: Meat that has been brined will maintain a pink-ish hue even when cooked through.)
Rest and serve.

For the Gnocchi Romana:
1/4 cup Semolina (easy to find, near the flour, etc.)
3/4 cup Chicken Stock
1/4 cup Milk
1 Egg Yolk
2 oz. grated Parmiggiano
1 oz. chopped Herbs (I used a combination of Parsely, Oregano, Thyme and Rosemary)

Bring stock and milk to a boil.
Add Semolina, lower heat and cook, stirring until thickened.

Off of the heat, add cheese and herbs.
Season to taste.
Stir in the egg yolk.
Add the dough to butter/oiled muffin tins, cover with plastic wrap and press into shape.

Refrigerate about an hour (or until you're ready to cook.)
Remove from the tins and place on an oiled tray.
Top each with a a pat of butter and some grated Parmiggiano.

Bake at 350F until browned and heated through (about 15-20 minutes.)
Finish under the broiler for some color.

For the Marmalade:
1 cup Yellow Pear Tomatoes
3/4 cup Cane Sugar
1 Meyer Lemon, zested and juiced
1 tsp. Salt
4 sprigs, Lemon Thyme

Combine all ingredients in a saucepot and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.

Simmer until desired consistency, breaking up tomatoes a bit with a spoon.

For the Succotash:
4 King Trumpet Mushrooms, sliced thin
1/2 cup Brown Beech Mushrooms (separated)
1/4 White Onion, diced
1/4 cup Corn

Wash mushrooms thoroughly and dry.
Heat skillet (preferably the skillet you used to sear the chops.)
Add additional oil (if necessary.)
Add onions, and toss to color.
Add mushrooms and toss.
When mushrooms release their liquid (listen to the pan!) add corn.

Season to taste.

Plate and Enjoy!


Gastronomical Gear, Volume 1: The Chef's Knife

As a chef, the equipment you use is an extension of you; how you directly interact with the food. From the professional chef to the casual home cook, a working knowledge of the tools of the trade can only make the cooking experience easier and more enjoyable. With this Gastronomical Gear series of blogs, we'll delve into myriad topics related to culinary tools.

First and foremost in any cook's arsenal is the knife. While there are numerous types of knives for many different jobs, the keystone to any knife kit is the Chef's Knife or Gyutou.

From My Kit

There are volumes of arguments and debate over German vs. Japanese, this brand vs. that brand, and there are no right answers. What matters most is that you find a knife that fits you, and serves your purpose.

When asked what I would recommend, I steer people towards Japanese knives. While German Wusthof's and Henckels' of the world sell quite a few knives based on reputation, Japanese knives are the most advanced in terms of steel, quite varied in terms of purpose, and ultimately perform at a higher level than their German counterparts. There is however, more upkeep involved in a Japanese knife. If you'd like a less labor-intensive but heavier, less agile and certainly less sharp knife, German is for you. Don't forget, there are a lot more accidents with dull knives than sharp, so don't be scared of something exceptionally sharp. The longer I own Japanese knives and I work on my sharpening technique and skill, the more personal these knives become to me, and the more I really appreciate the craftsmanship and history involved in Japanese cutlery.

While the variety and surely the language differences can be overwhelming and possibly discouraging, there is an unanimous 'gateway' knife into the world of Japanese cutlery. The Tojiro line of knives are very affordable (Gyutou from $50-$80, quite competitive with their German counterparts,) very reliable and take a minimal amount of effort to learn and maintain. If you're looking to get into Japanese knives, your first purchase should be a Tojiro DP Gyutou. If you're concerned or wary of a larger knife, start small and move forward from there. This line of knives is available at Korin Trading Co. who offer great customer service and quick shipping. Korin also offers sharpening stones, instructional DVD's and years of experience.

If you're going to buy a Japanese knife, you should absolutely budget for a Sharpening Stone. I'd recommend, for a first-timer, a King 1000/6000 grit stone. It provides you with a medium and a fine stone for a reduced price and in half the space. With Japanese knives, you'll absolutely want to take the time to learn the basics of sharpening, as the results you'll achieve are more than worth it.

There are quite a few resources regarding knives (buying, sharpening, maintenance, etc.) Chad Ward's book An Edge in the Kitchen is a great tool for anyone interested in expanding their knowledge. There is also a very handy Knife Maintenance and Sharpening post by Chad on eGullet. If you're looking for advice, Foodie Forums or the In The Kitchen section of Blade Forums can connect you with many experts and enthusiasts willing to share their experience and knowledge.

I have several links to retailers and resources in the world of kitchen cutlery, and will gladly answer any questions (to the best of my knowledge) or point you in a direction of someone who can answer.

Again, there are no right answers, and your knife should be your choice and make you feel comfortable using it.


Festival Fun

The Hill Country Wine and Food Festival is fast approaching, and their updated website is live and selling tickets to all of the events. Year after year, the Wine and Food Festival has been one of my favorite foodie events here in the greater Austin area, and judging by the events scheduled for this year, it will not disappoint in 2009.

If you don't make it to any other events, make sure to attend the Sunday Fair, hosted this year at the Vineyards at The Salt Lick.


Uchi Means House

Many thanks to Samantha Davidson and Uchi for hosting a Food Blogger Tasting showcasing Uchi's culinary fare and bringing Austin's food bloggers together for food and fun.

The food, as usual, was delicious and beautiful. Chef Cole's 'Japanese food for the American palette' has garnered much recognition and deservedly so. From Beet Terrine or Scallop Crudo, to (my favorite) the unctuous Braised Pork Belly, the food was artfully presented and skillfully prepared.

If you're in the mood for a playful and unique meal, Uchi is definitely a must-visit restaurant.


Exploration Made Easy

One of my favorite aspects of cooking is finding a new combination, a new flavor profile or an interesting substitution to an existing dish that pleases the palette and expands my culinary repertoire.

Food science has come a long way.

It is common knowledge that foods that share certain flavors (more specifically certain chemicals) tend to taste better together. Belgian food scientists have developed an easy, user-friendly website to take the guesswork out of culinary experimentation. Using Food Pairing, which breaks down food into it's major flavor components, you can combine ingredients in new ways or substitute new ingredients into old recipes without the 'I hope this works' trepidation often associated with exploration. Next time you're staring at a random assortment of foods, unsure of what the heck you're going to make, utilize this website and make your culinary life that much easier.


Cook the Plank

Inspiration for this week's foray into uncharted territory came courtesy of the weekly Wheatsville Coop e-mail, in which Bryan, the 'meat guy' extolls the virtues of a very interesting and somewhat rare ingredient. Ivory King Salmon.

Most wild Salmon derive their pink-ish hue from their diet that consists of carotenoid-rich shellfish. There is, however, a rather small percentage (around 5%) of the King Salmon population that do not posses, for whatever reason, the ability to absorb said pigments and maintain a white flesh instead of the signature 'Salmon' color. For many years these genetic oddballs were considered waste but they have recently developed a culinary following and have become prized for their more delicate flavor and obvious rarity.

To tackle such an ingredient, I decided to utilize a beautiful cedar plank that I received as a gift.

What follows are the quite pleasant and delicious results of this adventure in culinary novelty.

Cedar Plank Roasted Ivory King Salmon with Blood Orange Confit, Roasted Root Vegetables and Yukon Gold Coins
(Recipe Serves 2)

2 filets Ivory King Salmon, skin and pin-bones removed

Season Salmon with salt, pepper.
Drizzle with Olive Oil.
Sear in hot pan to color.

Set Aside.

For the Confit:
1 blood orange, zested, cut into supremes, juiced
1/2 Meyer lemon, juiced
2 sprigs Lemon Thyme
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
pinch Salt

Blanch orange zest in boiling water about 30 seconds.
Remove and rinse under cold water, set aside.

Heat water, sugar and thyme just to a boil.
Remove from heat and let steep about 15 minutes.
Remove thyme sprigs.
Add orange zest and juice.
Simmer until reduced to syrup consistency.

Add lemon juice, salt and reserve.

For The Veggies:
4 small carrots, washed
1 turnip, washed, peeled and diced
Olive Oil, as needed
Salt, Pepper, as needed

Blanch carrots and turnip pieces separately in boiling water for about 2 minutes.
Rinse in cold water and/or shock in ice water.
Toss with Olive oil, salt, pepper.

For the Potatoes:
4 small Yukon Gold Potatoes, washed
Canola Oil, as needed
Salt, Pepper, as needed

Slice potatoes using a Mandoline (for uniformity, or just use a knife if you choose) and hold in water to cover.
Blanch potatoes in boiling water for about a minute (less for thinner slices, more for thicker.)
Shock in ice water.
Set on towels to dry.

Heat about 1/4" oil in a skillet.
Add a layer of potatoes to cover the bottom of the skillet.

Cook until brown. Flip.
When both sides are browned, remove to paper towels and season with salt/pepper.

For the Plank Roast:
1 cedar plank, seasoned with oil on the top side

Preheat oiled plank in the oven (350F.)
Add seared Salmon.
Surround with oiled/seasoned veggies.

Roast in the oven until Salmon is cooked to your liking (I prefer mine medium, if you like it more, let it go longer.)
Let rest on the plank.

Garnish with Blood-orange supremes and Lemon-Thyme.
Serve and Enjoy!