Thursday, December 30, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Fresh Wild Oregon Mushrooms & Truffles

Tomorrow my mushroom dealer from Missoula will be coming to town with fresh Chantrelles, Black Trumpets, Hedgehogs and White & Black Truffles!  Just in time for the Holidays! Call if you would like me to get some for you...Cheers!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Studio News

Great Holiday Parties this week...Cheers to all that attended! I am going to have a Three Course Dinner on Thursday only this week. The menu will be "French Bistro"...Onion Soup, Coq a Vin & Creme Brulee! I will also be trying out some of my ideas for the Asian Noodle Bowls for lunch! Have a Great Weekend!

Monday, December 13, 2010

This Weeks Three Course Menu...Malaysia!

Malaysian cuisine reflects the multicultural aspects of Malaysia. Various ethnic groups in Malaysia have their own dishes, but many dishes in Malaysia are derived from multiple ethnic influences. Food preparation differs from place to place, even though they are all cooking the same food. Different preparations have different taste and decoration, but generally the ingredients used are the same.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

This Weeks Three Course Menu...Hungarian!

Happy Holidays everyone! This weeks Hungarian menu is going to be Red Lentil & Root Vegetable Soup, Paprika Chicken w/ Spaetzle and Roasted Apple Tart w/ Cinnamon Ice Cream for dessert. I still have some seats available for Thursday but Friday is Sold for reservations. It is not too late to schedule your Holiday Party and don't forget about Culinary Design Studio Gift Certificates...Cheers!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Summer Time!

Hello Everyone!

Sorry for the lack of news posting from the Studio but summer is crazy right now.

We are still offering Lunch when caterings are not taking up our time and the Three Course Dinners are going strong.

Call for reservations and to book your next event. Please allow at least two weeks if you would like to attend any of our Three Course available seats are August 5th. See you soon...Cheers!

Monday, June 7, 2010

This Weeks Three Course Menu...A Taste of Tuscany!

Tuscan cuisine has a great tradition in the culture of the region. Tuscan people love good food. The cuisine is characterized by simple dishes made from healthy ingredients.

Among the characteristic features of Tuscan cuisine, we can find olive oil of excellent quality and the wise use of spices such as thyme, sage, rosemary, basil and tarragon. These spices are found in a variety of dishes, soups, meats, fish and desserts.

Tuscan culinary tradition is strongly influenced by the characteristics typical of the Tuscan landscape itself. Local seasonal vegetables such as fennel, artichokes, garlic and tomatoes are widely used. The humble bean, which grows beautifully in Tuscany, is used in many different ways to get tasty dishes such as beans with pork sausage.

Among other interesting local ingredients are the chestnuts, mushrooms, game (wild boar and pheasant) and fish from the Tyrrhenian Sea. These dishes are complemented by local wines such as Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino

Many dishes have a close bond with poor cuisine of the past, a cuisine based mainly on the use of imaginative Tuscan unsalted bread and typical food of the times when people could not help but use their wits to make the best products available.

Tuscan cuisine includes also developed and sophisticated dishes. These include meats with a "dolceforte" ("sweet and strong") preparation, coming from the splendor of the Renaissance courts, where astounding guests was more important that satisfy the palate!

Every city has its own specialties. And this is easily found if one considers the many sweets and cakes typical holiday: the Gingerbread and Ricciarelli of Siena, the Cantucci of Prato (Prato typical sweet almond), the Chestnut (sweet chestnut flour typical of Lucca), the Zuccotto (typical of Florence) and Pie with Bischeri (a sweet Easter period, typical of Pisa, with rice, candied fruit, chocolate, raisins, pine nuts and liquor).

Monday, May 31, 2010

This Weeks Three Course Menu...Thailand!

Thai cuisine is the national cuisine of Thailand. Thai cuisine places emphasis on lightly-prepared dishes with strong aromatic components. Thai cuisine is known for being spicy. Balance, detail and variety are important to Thai cooking. Thai food is known for its balance of the five fundamental taste senses in each dish or the overall meal: hot (spicy), sour, sweet, salty, and (optional) bitter.

Although popularly considered a single cuisine, Thai food would be more accurately described as four regional cuisines corresponding to the four main regions of the country: Northern, Northeastern (or Isan), Central, and Southern, each cuisine sharing similar foods or foods derived from those of neighboring countries and regions: Burma, the Chinese province of Yunnan and Laos to the north, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam to the east and Malaysia to the south of Thailand. In addition to these four regional cuisines, there is also the Thai Royal Cuisine which can trace its history back to the palace cuisine of the Ayutthaya kingdom. Its refinement, cooking techniques and its use of ingredients were of great influence to the cuisine of the Central Thai plains.
The culinary traditions and cuisines of Thailand's neighbors have influenced Thai cuisine over many centuries. Regional variations tend to correlate to neighboring states as well as climate and geography. Southern curries tend to contain coconut milk and fresh turmeric, while northeastern dishes often include lime juice. The cuisine of Northeastern (or Isan) Thailand is heavily influenced by Lao cuisine. Many popular dishes eaten in Thailand were originally Chinese dishes which were introduced to Thailand mainly by the Teochew people who make up the majority of the Thai Chinese. Such dishes include chok (rice porridge), kuai tiao rat na (fried rice-noodles) and khao kha mu (stewed pork with rice). The Chinese also introduced the use of a wok for cooking, the technique of deep-frying and stir-frying dishes, and noodles and soy products.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

This Weeks Three Course Menu...Cuban!

Cuban cuisine is a fusion of Spanish, African and Caribbean Cuisines. Cuban recipes share spices and techniques with Spanish and African cooking, with some Caribbean influence in spice and flavor. This results in a unique, interesting and flavorful blend of the several different cultural influences. A small, but noteworthy, Chinese influence can also be accounted for, mainly in the Havana area. During colonial times, Cuba was an important port for trade, and many Spaniards who lived there brought their culinary traditions along with them.

As a result of the colonization of Cuba by Spain, one of the main influences on the cuisine is from Spain. Along with Spain, other culinary influences include Africa, from the Africans that were brought to Cuba as slaves, and dutch, from the French colonists that came to Cuba from Haiti . Another important factor is that Cuba itself is an island, making seafood something that greatly influences Cuban cuisine. Another contributing factor to Cuban cuisine is the fact that Cuba is in a tropical climate. The tropical climate produces fruits and root vegetables that are used in Cuban dishes and meals.

A typical meal would consist of rice and beans, cooked together or apart. When cooked together the recipe is called either, “Arroz congri“, “Congri“, or “Arroz moro” if cooked separately it is called “Arroz con/y Frijoles”--Rice with/and Beans”. A main course (mainly pork or beef), some sort of vianda (not to be confused with the French viande which stands for "meat", this term encompasses several types of tubers, such as yuca, malanga, and potato, as well as plantains, unripe bananas and even corn), a salad (usually simply composed of tomato, lettuce and avacado, though cucumber, carrots, cabbage and radish are not uncommon). Curiously, typical criollo meals largely ignore fruit, except ripe plantains, which are usually consumed together with the rice and beans. Tropical fruit could be served, however, depending on each family's preferences. Usually, all dishes are brought together to the table at once, except maybe for desserts.

Rice and beans are a culinary element found throughout Cuba, although it varies by region. In the eastern part of the island, "arroz congri oriental" is the predominant rice and bean dish. White rice and red kidney beans are cooked together with a sofrito and then baked in the oven. The same procedure is used for the above mentioned Congri Arroz Moro, The term Moros y Cristianos, literally "Moors and Christians" which uses black beans, it is not used in Cuba but in other parts of Latin America. Although the process of preparing the black bean soup contains basics (onion, garlic, bay leaf, salt) each region has their tradition of preparing it.

Meat, when available on ration book is usually served in light sauces. The most popular sauce, used to accompany not only roasted pork, but also the viandas, is Mojo or Mojito (not to be confused with the Mojito cocktail), made with oil, garlic, onion, spices such as oregano and bitter orange or lime juice. The origin of Cuban mojo comes from the mojo sauces of the Canary Islands. Cuban mojo is made with different ingredients, but the same idea and technique is used from the Canary Islands. Of course with so many Canary Islander immigrants in Cuba, the Canary Islander influence was strong. Ropa vieja is shredded beef dish (usually shank) simmered in tomato-based criollo sauce until it falls apart. ropa vieja is the Spanish name meaning "old clothes", in which the dish gets its name from the shredded meat resembling "old clothes". Ropa vieja is also from the Canary Islands, as is many of the origins of Cuban food. Boliche is a beef roast, stuffed with chorizo sausage and hard boiled eggs.

Equally popular are tamales, although not exactly similar to its Mexican counterpart. Made with corn flour, shortening and pieces of pork meat, tamales are wrapped in corn leaves and tied, boiled in salted water and served in a number of different ways. Tamales en cazuela is almost the same recipe, although it does not require the lengthy process of packing the tamales in the corn leaves before cooking, but rather is directly cooked in the pot. Tamales as well as Black Bean soup, are among the few indigenous foods that have remained part of the modern Cuban cuisine.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

This Weeks Three Course Menu...India!

The cuisine of India is characterized by the use of various spices, herbs and other vegetables and sometimes fruits grown in India and also for the widespread practice of vegetarianism across many sections of its society. Each family of Indian cuisine is characterized by a wide assortment of dishes and cooking techniques. As a consequence, it varies from region to region, reflecting the varied demographics of the ethnically diverse Indian subcontinent.

India's religious beliefs and culture have played an influential role in the evolution of its cuisine. However, cuisine across India also evolved due to the subcontinent's large-scale cultural interactions with ancient Greece, Persia, Mongols and West Asia, making it a unique blend of various cuisines across Asia. The spice trade between India and Europe is often cited as the main catalyst for Europe's Age of Discovery. The colonial period introduced European cooking styles to India adding to the flexibility and diversity of Indian cuisine. Indian cuisine has had a remarkable influence on cuisines across the world, especially those from Southeast Asia.

The staples of Indian cuisine are rice, atta (whole wheat flour), and a variety of pulses, the most important of which are masoor (most often red lentil), channa (bengal gram), toor (pigeon pea or yellow gram), urad (black gram) and mung (green gram). Pulses may be used whole, dehusked, for example dhuli moong or dhuli urad, or split. Pulses are used extensively in the form of dal (split). Some of the pulses like channa and "Mung" are also processed into flour (besan).

Most Indian curries are cooked in vegetable oil. In North and West India, peanut oil has traditionally been most popular for cooking, while in Eastern India, mustard oil is more commonly used. Coconut oil is used widely along the western coast and South India, Gingelly oil is common in the South as well. In recent decades, sunflower oil and soybean oil have gained popularity all over India. Hydrogenated vegetable oil, known as Vanaspati ghee, is also a popular cooking medium that replaces Desi ghee, clarified butter (the milk solids have been removed).

The most important or frequently used spices in Indian cuisine are chilli pepper, black mustard seed (rai), cumin (jeera), turmeric (haldi, manjal), fenugreek (methi), asafoetida (hing, perungayam), ginger (adrak, inji), coriander (dhania), and garlic (lassan, poondu). Popular spice mixes are garam masala, which is usually a powder of five or more dried spices, commonly including cardamom, cinnamon, and clove. Each region, and sometimes each individual chef, has a distinctive blend of garam masala. Goda masala is a popular sweet spice mix in Maharashtra. Some leaves are commonly used like tejpatta (cassia leaf), coriander leaf, fenugreek leaf and mint leaf. The common use of curry leaves, curry roots is typical of all South Indian cuisine. In sweet dishes, cardamom, saffron, nutmeg, and rose petal essences are seasoned.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

This Weeks Three Course Menu...Alsace!

Food in Alsace tends not to be found in any other region of France, with some noteworthy exceptions. As Alsace is the region that invented the brasserie, some Alsatian dishes such as choucroute are served all over France. Wherever you are in France, a dish that is denominated " à l'alsacienne" will invariably be served with choucroute. Food in Alsace can be quite heavy and rich and the region produces some fine light and spicy wines to complement the cuisine.
Pork is an important meat in Alsace and the pig is known as le seigneur cochon (the noble pig). A type of stew called baeckeoffe ("baker's oven") is initially prepared at home with pork, mutton, beef and vegetables being marinated in wine for two days then put between layers of potato and taken to the baker's to be cooked. Choucroute alsacienne is sauerkraut (aromatic pickled cabbage) and is served hot with sausage, pork or ham, and a local beer or glass of wine. Flammeküche, or what is called tarte flambée in French, is pastry filled with cream, onions, cheese, mushrooms and bacon. A vegetarian alternative to this is zweibelküche or tarte à l'oignon, which is an onion tart. Tourte is a pie containing ham, bacon or ground pork with eggs and leeks.
For a couple of weeks in late May, asparagus (asperges), are available and the Alsatian variety are sought after all over France. Another delicacy from Alsace is fois gras, and this kind is heavily in competition with the fois gras from southwest France.
Fish is cooked in a variety of ways, notably with Riesling wine. Such dishes include matelote (river fish stew) and truiteau bleu (trout boiled briefly in Riesling, then served with a dash of vinegar).
Alsace is also renowned for its patisseries, including the kougelhopf, a sultana and almond ribbed moulded dome-shaped cakes, or the tarte alsacienne, a custard tart with local fruits such as quetsches (plums). Birewecks are made with dried fruit that has been marinated in kirsch.
Kirsch is to cherries what cognac is to grapes and there are lots of different kinds of fruit brandies available to round off you meal in Alsace.

Friday, April 30, 2010

This Weeks Three Course Menu...Tunisia!

The cuisine of Tunisia, is a blend of Mediterranean and desert dweller's culinary traditions. Its distinctive spicy fieriness comes from neighboring Mediterranean countries and the many civilizations which have ruled over the land now known as Tunisia: Phoenician, Roman, Arab, Turkish, French, and the native Berber people. Many of the cooking styles and utensils began to take shape when the ancient tribes were nomads. Nomadic people were limited in their cooking implements by what locally made pots and pans they could carry with them. A tagine, for example, is actually the name for a pot with a conical lid, although today the same word is applied to what is cooked in it.

Like all countries in the Mediterranean basin, Tunisia offers a "sun cuisine," based mainly on olive oil, spices, tomatoes, seafood (a wide range of fish) and meat (primarily lamb).

Unlike other North African cuisine, Tunisian food is quite spicy. A popular condiment and ingredient which is used extensively in Tunisian cooking, harissa, is a hot red pepper sauce made of red chili peppers and garlic, flavored with coriander, cumin, olive oil and often tomatoes. There is an old wives' tale that says a husband can judge his wife's affections by the amount of hot peppers she uses when preparing his food. If the food becomes bland then a man may believe that his wife no longer loves him. However when the food is prepared for guests the hot peppers are often toned down to suit the possibly more delicate palate of the visitor. Like harissa or chili peppers, the tomato is also an ingredient which cannot be separated from the cuisine of Tunisia. Tuna, eggs, olives and various varieties of pasta, cereals, herbs and spices are also ingredients which feature prominently in Tunisian cooking.

Tunisians also produce unique and delicate varieties of grapes, wheat, barley and orchard fruits, which are the source of outstanding wines (Chateau Mornag), beers (Stella brand - now owned by Heineken of Holland), brandy (Bhouka - fig liqueur, Tbibanine - date liqueur), and apple ciders. Scented waters with dark rose or blossom petals, similar to agua fresca with flowers, have been called "scents from heaven".

Tabil, pronounced "table" is a word in Tunisian Arabic meaning "seasoning " (similar to 'adobo' in Spanish) and refers to a particular Tunisian spice mix, although earlier it only meant ground coriander. Paula Wolfert makes the plausible claim that tabil is one of the spice mixes brought to Tunisia by Muslims coming from Andalusia in 1492 after the fall of Granada. Today, tabil, closely associated with the cooking of Tunisia, features garlic, cayenne pepper, caraway seeds and coriander pounded in a mortar, then dried in the sun. It is often used in cooking beef, veal and game.

Thanks to its long coastline and numerous fishing ports, Tunisia offers an abundant and varied selection of fish. Most diners in Tunisia are also content to have their fish fillet simply fire-grilled and seasoned with olive oil, a lemon squeeze and salt and pepper to taste. Fish can also be baked, fried in olive oil, stuffed, seasoned with cumin (kamoun). Squid, cuttle fish, and octopus are often served in hot crispy batter with slices of lemon, in a cooked salad, or stuffed and served with couscous.

Tunisians also love fire-grilled stuffed vegetables: tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, bell peppers, squash and turnips.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

This Weeks Three Course Menu...Malaysia! The Melting Pot of Asia...

Malaysia is the home of multiple ethnicities which found its roots during the colonial times where hundreds and thousands of immigrants arrived here to find an honest living in this prosperous land. The migrants’ mostly Chinese working in the tin mines and the Indians placed along the rubber estates brought along with them their cultures not forgetting rich culinary heritages. The cultures go along fine with their cooking where unusual traditional gathering usual accompanied by exotic mouth watering cuisine, that make up the Malaysian food recipes.

 As time goes by these cooking somehow assimilated with the Malaysian local customs thus giving birth to a much more diverse and uniquely types of cooking not found anywhere else in the world, such as the famous ‘roti canai’, a kind of bread unlike any other bread is not made of yeast and has a uniquely oily textures, thanks to the acrobatic ways the dough is being flung around while in the process of making it. Other types of Malaysian foods which have its origin in India are the tasty ‘mee Mamak’ and ‘rojak Mamak’. The word mamak means uncle in Tamil, so the Indian muslim community locally are referred to as mamak. The ‘mee Mamak’ is different from other noodles it has thick spicy flavour that’ll leave you feeling hot in a slurp, while the ‘rojak Mamak’ a form of salad with the gravy made of finely pounded chilies surely will satisfied most vegetarian. The curries served in ‘mamak’ restaurants are definitely Indian but yet different then those found in India. To top it all these delectable dishes are eaten with ‘the tarik’ tea with milk that’s hard to make, literally we need to pour the tea between two big glasses or mugs and increasing the heights by pulling the pouring glass or mug higher and higher to achieve that distinctive foamy rich flavour and also to cool it. All these Malaysian Indian cooking are not found in India itself simply because the original recipes have been Malaysianize, improvised using locally available ingredients which is much cheaper and tastier.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Cuisines of China

The vastness of China's geography and history echoes through the polyphony of Chinese cuisine. To begin, it is best to divide Chinese cuisine, with all the appropriate disclaimers and caveats, into that of four major regions: the northern plains, including Beijing; the fertile east, watered by the Yangtse River; the south, famous for the Cantonese cooking of the Guangdong Province; and the fecund west of Szechwan and Hunan Provinces.

Canton is, perhaps, the most famous of the food areas. Long, warm, wet days throughout the year create the perfect environment for cultivating most everything. The coast provides ample seafood, the groves are filled with fruits. Cooking methods and recipes here are sophisticated and varied. Since the local produce is so gorgeous, the cooking highlights its freshness, relying less on loud sauces and deep-frying.

To the mountainous west, in Szechwan and Hunan provinces, steamy heat and spicy foods fill the restaurants. Rice grows abundantly, as do citrus fruits, bamboo, and mushrooms. The spiciness of the food tells of locally grown chiles and the inclinations of the local palate, though some say the spices are used to mask the taste of foods that rot quickly in the heat.

To the east of Hunan lies "the land of fish and rice." Like the west in latitude, it has the added bonus of lowlands for rice cultivation and a rich ocean's edge for fish.

The northern region of China reaches into the hostile climate of Mongolia -- land of the Gobi Desert and Arctic winter winds. Mongolian influence appears in the prevalence of mutton and lamb -- many in the region are Muslim, so pork is forbidden -- and in the nomadic simplicity of the Mongolian Fire Pot. The north is not amenable to rice cultivation so, wheat, barley, millet and soybeans are the staples; breads and noodles anchor the meal. The vegetables and fruits -- cabbage, squash, pears, grapes, and apples -- are like those grown in North America. Beijing is the pearl of the region; royal haute cuisine was born and bred inside her walls. However, the centuries and the accumulated wisdom of China's best chefs have conspired to make imperial cuisine an incredible achievement that belongs to all of China.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Turkish Menu Preview

The menu for this weeks Turkish Three Course is looking great! We will be starting out with Zucchini Fritters w/ Pickled Cauliflower & Yogurt Sauce, then for the main course Braised Lamb Shanks, Eggplant & Chickpea Ragu w/ Mediterranean Lamb Jus and for dessert...something with coffee & chocolate! Can't wait to see everyone...Cheers!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

This Weeks Three Course Menu...Turkey! A little bit of everything...

Turkish cuisine is largely the heritage of Ottoman cuisine, which can be described as a fusion and refinement of Central Asian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Caucasian and Balkan cuisines. Turkish cuisine has in turn influenced those and other neighbouring cuisines, including that of western Europe. The Ottomans fused various culinary traditions of their realm with influences from Middle Eastern cuisines, along with traditional Turkic elements from Central Asia (such as yogurt), creating a vast array of specialities- many with strong regional associations.

Taken as a whole, Turkish cuisine is not homogeneous. Aside from common Turkish specialities that can be found throughout the country, there are also many region-specific specialities. The Black Sea region's cuisine (northern Turkey) is based on corn and anchovies. The southeast—Urfa, Gaziantep and Adana—is famous for its kebabs, mezes and dough-based desserts such as baklava, kadayıf and künefe. Especially in the western parts of Turkey, where olive trees are grown abundantly, olive oil is the major type of oil used for cooking. The cuisines of the Aegean, Marmara and Mediterranean regions display basic characteristics of Mediterranean cuisine as they are rich in vegetables, herbs, and fish. Central Anatolia is famous for its pasta specialties, such as keşkek (kashkak), mantı (especially from Kayseri) and gözleme.

A specialty's name sometimes includes that of a city or region, either in or outside of Turkey, and may refer to the specific technique or ingredients used in that area. For example, the difference between Urfa kebab and Adana kebab is the use of garlic instead of onion and the larger amount of hot pepper that kebab contains.

Huitlacoche Empanadas

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Chimichurri Beef

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Creme Brulee

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Monday, April 5, 2010

This Weeks Three Course Menu...Argentina! Great Food & Great Wine!

Some food aficionados call Argentina "the world's best-kept culinary secret." Family traditions have guided unwritten recipes for generations. The idea of food as an art form has only recently developed in cities like Buenos Aires and Mendoza.
The vast landscape of Argentina was thinly populated until the 16th Century, when Spain began building settlements, then cities. Waves of immigrants followed from Europe and the British Isles. Argentina is a culinary crossroads, blending many traditions that have created a diverse food and wine culture that is now uniquely Argentine.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spain & Portugal

This weeks Three Course Ethnic Dinner will feature flavors from Spain & Portugal. I am starting out the dinner with a White Bean & Liguica Sausage Soup, then Piri Piri Game Hen with Peas, Peppers & Saffron Rice and for Dessert... Flan w/ Port Reduction & Oranges. A few seats are still for your reservation! Cheers!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spring is Here!

Well we made it through another Montana winter and soon we will be able to enjoy the great products that come along with Spring. I can't wait to see the first batch of Morel Mushrooms, Ramps & Fiddle Head Ferns!

I have recently added two more seats in the dining room in response to the overwhelming success of the Ethnic Three Course dinners. Thanks everyone for the support. I am really looking forward to experimenting with all the flavors the world has to offer, one country at a time. This week we travel to Spain & Portugal for some true classics! I hope to see you there...Cheers

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Expanded Three Course Ethnic Dinners

The three course Ethnic Dinners are now on Thursdays and Fridays. Call for your reservation. This week is French! Cheers!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Studio News

Two years and going strong! Now offering Lunch M-F 11-2 and Ethnic three course dinners Thursday's and Friday's. Call for Reservations and to book your private events! Cheers!