Musings, Recipes and more from Chef Tim Garling.
Since it is October and I am cooking my German Menu this month, I was looking for a new dessert. I have loved baked apples since I was a kid growing up on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula having an apple orchard just outside the door. I was perusing Mimi Sheraton’s “The German Cookbook” (first published in 1965) and came across a recipe for “Überbackene Marzipanäpfel” – which translates roughly to “Baked Marzipan Apples.”
When the recipe suggested smushing rum into the marzipan, I was hooked. Since this was to be a dessert for the restaurant, I wanted some “schoolboy” sized apples. Considerations were both for presentation and cooking time.
Next I flattened the bottom so the would sit upright and removed about half of the peel.
Then I prepared the marzipan stuffing. I used a fork to work Meyer’s Rum into the marzipan until it was pretty pliable. Finally, I added some Zante currants. The stuffing was absolutely delicious!
Next I cored the apples taking care to remove the seeds but not puncture the bottom of the apple. I added a bit of butter, then the filling followed by more butter.
I found a pan large enough to hold them upright but not overcrowd them. I add off-dry Riesling to a depth of about 1/2 an inch.
I baked them in a 350° oven for about an hour. They are done when the apple is soft and the tops are brown. Below is the lovely finished product with some vanilla ice cream headed for the table.
I was looking at some old family photos and I wanted to share a couple of them with you.
Handwritten on the back of the photo on the left is the date “1952.” I’m the one in the checkered shirt on the far left and, in 1952, I was 4 or 5 years old. That’s my mother Eileen in the middle surrounded us kids. Below, is a better picture of Eileen. Happy Mother’s Day mom!
Last night at Bend’s Tin Pan Theater, I saw the film City of Gold. Jonathan Gold made his reputation at as the food critic for the LA Weekly, Gourmet Magazine and then at the Los Angeles Times. In 2007, he became the first food writer to win the Pulitzer Prize. I’ve been following him for quite a while as I find his writing to be almost painfully beautiful at times. Go catch this film if you get a chance — you’ll be rewarded. Highly recommended.
This morning I finished reading the New York Times review of Eric Ripert’s biography, 32 Yolks. I met Eric many years ago when Jean-Louis Palladin brought the most notable French chef’s in America to his restaurant, Napa, in Las Vegas for a magnificent meal. (My restaurant had recently won some sort of notable award so we were able to snag reservations.) Red wine with lobster — I remember Ripert’s dish vividly.
In this review I found a salient quote (which has served me well throughout my 30 years in this trade): “The power of the flavors — that comes from soul food,” he said. Without such roots, he added, “your food stays pretty and superficial.”.
Seems obvious and perhaps to an outsider inconsequential, but I think that way too and it still keeps me on my toes!
The Jackalope Grill hosted a wild game dinner for a group of local hunters on Thursday March 31. We had a great time and here are some photos of the dinner.
When I wrote the introduction to our website, I said that I didn’t recognize that eating wild fish and game as so special, I meant to say that it seemed simply, well, ordinary. Hunting, cooking, and eating wild food are some of the most vivid memories of my childhood. Here is the introduction to our web page:
“The Jackalope Grill is dedicated to old-fashioned warmth and affordability while delivering superior food and service. Chef Tim was born and raised on the Washington coast. “Wild fish and game wasn’t so special back then—it was what Dad brought home for dinner.” … “Culinary school offers every student the same training but mine has given form to memories of my Grandmother’s kitchen and the smells of French country villages on Sunday morning.”
Recently, I opened a box of old photos sent to me shortly before the death of my mother several years ago. I found these photos of “what dad brought home:”
That’s my father, Donald, with a good size buck deer on the hood of his prized 1948 Ford and he’s on the left in the second photo. My uncle Jim is in the middle. Looks like a nice mess of silver salmon to me. It was just part of growing up in the Northwest. Good work Donald!
One would think that after doing this event for the last seven years in a row that I wouldn’t get so nervous. At the Jackalope Grill, the entire kitchen looks at these special event dinners as a special kind of exam. It’s a mid-term of sorts. That includes me, the chef and owner. Then again, I get nervous over a driver’s license exam.
For these special events, I take take at least one of the courses to do myself and each member of the staff gets their own project. I sketch out just what I’m looking for and off they go. (Of course, I’m constantly looking over their shoulder.) But this time, the first course was mine. I wanted to work with the image of an oyster at home in the salt water. So I collected the oyster liquor (which holds much of the flavor) and steeped it with sake, konbu and fresh ginger. After adding gelatin, It went into the mold with the shucked oyster. Unmolded just before service and set into a marinated seaweed nest, trout caviar, red bell pepper curls and salt crystals finished it up. Voilà, a re-imagined oyster.
Phil produced three jells to pair with the freshly shucked oysters. We worked over the taste, composition and color for a few days but, in the end, decided on an apple-wasabi, ponzu and shiso. It was like making really cool jello flavors.
I resisted the urge to make the soup look and taste like tom kha gai. The straight forward approach let the oyster flavors shine.
Mark worked for days on the sausage course. These creations are extremely delicate– light on the tongue but packed with flavor. The sheep casing proved frustrating to deal with but in the end well worth it.
We had a wonderful crowd this year. Since meeting Tim Hanni MW, I’m particularly interested is your impressions of how these dishes worked with the wine you brought in. If you’de like to share, I can be reached by the email email@example.com. I’ve already thought of new ideas to explore all things oyster and I’ll be keeping notes. We’ll hope to see you next winter’s All Oyster Dinner.
For the seventh year in a row, I am presenting my All Oyster Dinner on Wednesday, January 27. I’ve moved the date for this year’s dinner up a month with an eye to higher fat levels in the oysters just before they hibernate for the winter with the cooling water temperatures.
The year’s menu will start with a play on a French classic, “Oeufs en gelée” and my dish could possibly be called “Huître en gelee.” An Asian-style oyster soup with coconut milk, glass noodles and spinach will follow. Then we’ll serve a half dozen freshly shucked beauties: (Kumamotos, Shigokus, or Kusshis) — I’m working on some cool accouterments. The next course is “Surf and Turf” and it will put both oyster and foie gras sausages front and center. To finish the dinner we’ll have the customary chef’s surprise for dessert. Growing up on the coast of Washington State, oysters were always a special treat. Every year I try to make the best oyster dishes that I can imagine.
The price for the meal is $55 and Kathy has agreed to a half-price deal on the corkage. The date is Wednesday, January 27 going off at 6:00. Here is a link to the menu. We’d love to see you here.
From all of us at the jackalope Grill, we wish you and your family the very best during this holiday season. Our restaurant is entirely booked out for New Year’s Eve Dinner but we are currently adding names to our waiting list. If you are interested, please contact Kathy at 541.318.8435. We will be open on New Year’s Day however but closed on Monday, the 4th of January. Thank you for your patronage during the past year.
My brothers and sisters were in Bend last month for our first family reunion in over a decade. I received a special surprise. Yes, that’s me in the photo on the left. Notice the duck I’ve clutched tightly by the head in my left hand. Fast forward to 2015 and the very same duck is now in my right hand. Did I keep Mr. Duck, you might ask. No. I didn’t have the heart to put him on the shelf but he’ll be reappearing next year when we plan to gather again here in Bend.