Friday, March 31, 2006

Reviews of The Jones in both Daily Seattle newspapers today!

There are reviews of The Jones in the Seattle PI and the Seattle Times today. Both are overwhelmingly positive. The times article is a little bit kinder and shorter though. The PI review predicts that Maple Leaf will be the new Ballard and places The Jones on the forefront of the revolution. Fuck yeah. It turns out that Jason is a more accomplished chef than I realized. He has worked at the Herb Farm and Nell's. For those that don't know, both are extremely high quality establishments. Especially The Herb Farm, that's one of those $100(edit: actually its more like $179) a person type places. In fact I think it's pretty famous. Jeremy's credentials are nothing to scoff at either. I am soooo lucky.

Tonight is going to be very busy.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Is it ok to post recipes from work here?

I made pine nut biscotti at work today. I think its going to be dipped in chocolate and served as an accompaniment to a desert. I've been pondering the ethics of posting recipes from work here. I really have no idea if that would acceptable.

I begin every sentence with "I". That's cool.

My repertoire is expanding rapidly. I've learned how to make pasta, ravioli, ravioli filling, Caesar dressing, blue cheese and carmelized onion sandwiches, and roasted garlic aoli. Making burger patties, grating cheese, chopping romaine lettuce, making pizza dough, and making chicken strips have become almost as much a part of my routine as washing dishes. A rainbow of other menial prep jobs also find their way into the mix.

Yesterday I made my first, however brief, foray onto the line to learn how to make ravioli filling. Today I made myself a pizza. It had watercress pesto, marinara sauce, mozzarella, and chicken. It turned out pretty good but it could have been a lot better.

My hours have been expanded. I work from 3 until close rather than 4 until close. Thanks in part to that, I actually worked over 40 hours last week! That's something they never let me come close to at Roxy's. Usually it was more like 25, 30 when I was lucky. Maybe I'll be able to move out of my parents house someday after all.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Cutting things up really fast

Several new knicks on my fingers today. I make chicken strip batter and pizza dough without looking at the recipes now.

I feel like my knife skills are much better than they were in January. However every time I think I'm chopping quickly and efficiently I see another of the J-crew (as I've decided to call us) chopping something far quicker. The ability to cut things up really fast is one of the skills I'm looking forward to developing most, even though it won't distinguish me from any other chef in the world. After all, who (besides people that can do it) isn't instantly impressed when they see someone on TV slice a clove of garlic into paper thin slices in 5 seconds? No one, that's who.

Friday, March 24, 2006

John's Birthday Cheesecake!

1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup golden brown sugar
3 large eggs
2/3 cup pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 1/2 tablespoons bourbon

3/4 cup graham crackers
3/4 cup pecans
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
6 tablespoons butter, melted

For Crust
Preheat oven to 350 F.. Combine first 4 ingredients in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Stir in butter. Using your fingers spread mixture evenly over the bottom of a greased 9 inch springform pan. Bake until the crust is lightly browned and firm to the touch, about 10-15 minutes. Cool completely.

For filling
In a medium bowl beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually beat in sugar and vanilla. Beat in eggs one at a time. In a food processor combine remaining 4 ingredients and pulse until nuts are finely chopped. Fold into the cream cheese mixture.

Scrape batter onto crust and smooth the top. Bake at 350 F. until the center just barely jiggles when tapped, about 45-55 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack before unmolding, at least 3 hours.

This recipe is based on the basic "Cheesecake Cockaigne" recipe in the Joy of Cooking. The experience of making this cheese cake has taught me that it's very easy to make up different kinds of cheesecake. All you have to do is start with 1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, a cup of sugar, and 3 eggs and you can go any direction. And I didn't even make a topping for this one.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

I have complete control of the kitchen CD player now

Last night I had the Tagliata, which is grilled and sliced beef tenderloin with sauteed shallots and cherry tomato halves over barley risotto in a white wine and rosemary reduction. Tonight I had pan seared duck breast and confit thigh, glazed with local hive mind honey and served with root vegetables and watercress.(I stole a menu)
Attractive Waitress: Wow, did you know you look exactly like James Blunt?
I'm starting to worry that fancy food won't feel special anymore.
Me: um... no. Who's James Blunt?
I can make things I've made before when they tell me to make them now. Someone just says we need more pizza dough I just go right ahead and make more pizza dough. It feels incredible. At Roxy's I rarely actually learned how to make anything like that. Mainly I just chopped, sliced, and portioned things.
Attractive Waitress: He sings that song "you're beautiful"
Me: oh, I hate that song... but um, thanks

Friday, March 17, 2006

My first shift at The Jones

There will be four of us working in the kitchen, Jason, Joe, Jeremy and Julian. That alone is pretty gosh darn cool. The first thing they told me when I walked into the kitchen is that I should feel free to bring in CDs to play in the kitchen. Of course I'm going to have to because their taste in music leaves much to be corrected.
The dishwashing process was similar to that at Roxy's so I was able to pretty much jump right in. Dishes are a lot easier at The Jones though. I'm still trying to understand how that's possible.
The responsibility of training me fell mainly upon Joe. He taught me how to make chicken strips, properly butcher chickens, make burger patties, and make pizza dough. Jason said that in a few weeks I'll be doing more cooking than dishwashing. The vaguely tough beginnings of my leather-to-be hands are already on their way back, but only barely.
Shift meals just got like, 10 times better.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

After weeks in limbo...

I am now an employee of "The Jones", a restaurant on 88th and Roosevelt (Seattle, WA). That's only an 8 minute walk from my house! In addition to the commute, this new job's benefits include a share of the tips, a better hourly wage, more hours, and The Jones is a more upscale place than Roxy's. And unlike Roxy's they make everything in house. They bake all their own bread and nothing is frozen. I expect more frequent opportunities for learning than were afforded at Roxy's.

They have entrees based on a staple main ingredients from each major category ranging in price from 12-23. There are affordabley priced appetizers, burgers, sandwiches, and fancy Pizza too. The place is mood-lit and done mostly in dark woods and warm colors. There's a large bar area complete with a long line of beer taps and a few wall mounted TVs. I start tomorrow.

The only problem is that I might not be able to take that sorority job (if I get it). That could have been pretty gosh darn cool.

More frequent updates to come.

Monday, March 06, 2006

I made a cake today

I made this cake today. The layers are flavored with lemon and ginger. Between them there is lemon mouse and blackberry preserves. What you see on top is a mixture of white chocolate, candied ginger, and pistachios. I won't post the recipe because its very long and I don't want to type it. If you really want it, its available in the April 06 issue of bon appetit; probably on newsstands now. Though not 100% present in the final product, 5 sticks of butter, 19 eggs, and 5 lemons went into the making of this cake.

The fact that I'm posting this picture has nothing to do with the fact that I mentioned this blog in the interests section of my resume.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Pesto will always boldly save love

Last Friday I found myself with a short period of time before guests arrived when I had nothing to do. I used that time to make this appetizer. Its very simple and unoriginal but it got enough compliments that I have decided to post it anyway.

you will need:

basil pesto
deli sliced smoked turkey breast
any sort of white bread, lightly toasted, crusts trimmed, cut into triangles
watercress, stems trimmed

I'm not giving exact amounts with this recipe because its so easy to make exactly as much as you might need.

In a small bowl combine pesto and mayonnaise in roughly equal portions. Put a some turkey breast on each bread triangle followed by a little dollop of pesto-mayonnaise and then stick 1 or 2 watercress leaves on top.

I said it was simple.

I recently decided that pesto is the single most effective tool for deceptively easy cooking. You can take almost anything, load it up with pesto, and it will taste good, and people will respect it.
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