• Cooking Techniques

    To Cook A Rabbit

    This past fall, I found myself working with a young chef opening a Gastro pub in Hudson, Wisconsin. The Owners of the establishment were quoted as wanting a Farm To Table, locally driven, exciting menu. After days of tinkering I was able to bring this little gem to the table. Rabbit: There is a stigma in a restaurant, an unspoken fear in using certain ingredients due to how the public may perceive the value in a dish or how people are going to look at…

  • Cooking Techniques

    London Broil (aka: Flank Steak)

    In the dismantling of an animal, much is to be explained simply in the feel of the flesh; the visualization and understanding of where and how each cut is used in a living specimen. An important note to take is exactly where your steak comes from, how the muscles on the living body are exercised and how often.             A borrowed image to help paint a picture. This will tell you everything you need to know about a cut without…

  • Cooking Techniques,  Miscellaneous

    Beef Tongue: Surprise Yourself

    Shortly after, and well into my ventures into Headcheese; I was left with the realization of how tantalizing the utilization of the tongue of a creature could truly be. In the head cheese, I found that throughout the loaf there was an accentuated richness and succulence in the portions with a high abundance of the tongue as well as the cheeks. These muscles in the animals head that were often worn and well exercised offered the robust, rich flavors that I often associated with a…

  • Miscellaneous

    Chicken Stock: Back to the Basics

    It is quite an interesting episode, the interactions between a person who is raised in a kitchen and a person who is not. Everything from their character, their heart, their presence, their look, their stature, their “jargon”, it is all so very distinctive. They are a different breed, those who flood the culinary institutes and kitchens throughout the world. A Cook often speaks with confidence, short order in most cases, using language and aphorisms meant to cut confusion and accelerate actions; often only understood by…

  • Techniques

    Cooking With Acorns

    In late fall of last year I found myself sitting in the midst of a dying garden. My presence alone in the garden brought an overwhelming sorrow for I knew to well that the months to follow would bring great amounts of ice and the crisp darkness that a Wisconsin winter promises annually; I prayed it be swift…  I collect acorns from the floor of the backwoods intrigued in the idea of making them edible, a way to pass the time I suppose… Jokes on…

  • Miscellaneous

    Maple Syrup: The Precarious Production

    It took five minutes of tuning into a Wisconsin Public Access channel to peak my interest. A change of season influences many dynamics in how we conduct our lives while living in junction with a truly uncontrollable world. I walked away from my television confused as to why the price of my locally sourced Maple Syrup, was on the rise? A night of covered in ice, immediately followed by a week of  mid-sixties to record highs starting off last years early spring. To understand the…

  • Miscellaneous

    Fabrication 101: Boning a Lamb Leg

    Fabrications of the beast, an absolute must for any line cook in a halfway decent kitchen… set yourself apart! Today, given the swing of seasons and the Rebirth of Spring, we are going to prep a Lamb Leg.  Lamb: Defined by it’s infancy,  a lamb is identified as any sheep under a year of age. The tender young flesh provides a sumptuous cut, delicate and perfect for a plate. Well balanced in  flavor and texture early on in life, the animal tends to depreciate and…

  • Miscellaneous

    Table Scraps: Oxtail Consommé

    Much to be said about an Oxtail… A beautiful appendage mimicking what I recognize to be a linked chain; The Tail of a somewhat “praised” bovine has been used traditionally around the world for centuries. The tapered piece of flesh is known characteristically as a tough, fatty, gelatinous cut full of flavor and destined to be braised. For I, it is clear that a stew is in order. “There is probably no person alive today, or any person that has perhaps ever existed, that appreciates…

  • Miscellaneous

    Corned Beef & Cabbage : Happy St. Patty’s Day!

    Growing up gypsy, there are often customs and traditions observed by a family that, as children raised under such circumstances, simply make sense without hesitation. As long as I can remember, I have been fed black-eyed peas and collard greens on new years eve, I have made an effort to consume fish throughout lent… regardless how unsuccessful, Barbacoa on Cinco de Mayo, Hotdogs and Burgers on the 4th of July, Chicken Mole on Dia de los Muertos, Turkey on thanksgiving, etc… Simply because that is…

  • Miscellaneous

    Somewhere over the Rainbow… Trout!

    Snow covers the rolling pastures lining an un-shoveled back road as icicles invade the trim of an old farmhouse… Winter is an increasingly difficult time for any chef… To cook under the restraints of a ruthless, often barren season calls for a cook to showcase his talents and creativity in different ways. This time, this season, is when you can learn to expect rustic techniques, rudimentary ingredients and you can see the true worth of a cook. A visit to Dennis Penzkover, over at Timberline…