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Supper Punch - week 2

So....good news and bad.

First the good, my tacos took week 1! Thanks to everyone who voted!

Now the bad, it has become apparent that no one really likes the idea of confit of lambs tongue... although it's not too late. Come on people, it's just a muscle like any other cut of meat. Did we give up when the German's bombed Pearl Harbor? "Over, did you say over? Nothing is over until we say it is!" So get over to RVA News and VOTE DAWSON!

From my entry for this week:

Ok, I’ll admit it. There is a certain stigma with offal. The problem with the 5th quarter, as our Italian friends often refer to organ meats, is they remind us so much of…well… us. But before you go sticking your tongue out in disgust, I implore you to try an experiment with me. Every time I use “tongues” below, substitute “duck leg”. Then, ask yourself, what is really different about eating the equivalent of a quadricep vs. any other muscle?

After the silence of these Virginia lambs, the tongues spent what can only be likened to a weekend at the spa: 24 hours in a salt water bath before being blanketed in a liberal snowfall of coarse kosher salt, thyme, and garlic over night. Next they went into a vacuum bag with some black tea leaves, juniper, and bacon fat, and took a plunge in the sous vide hot tub for 10 hours at 162 F. While they rested, some par-boiled potatoes, straight from my dad’s garden in Bedford county, were glazed in the cooking liquid from the tongues. The dish came together with some garlicky, sticky, slow cooked brussels sprouts. Some fennel was warmed in the separated bacon fat. The tongues got a final quick fry in some butter and were plated with a reduction of the cooking liquid and a whole grain mustard vinaigrette.

If I could have, I would have cooked the tongues longer. You’ll be surprised to find out there are not a lot of guides for sous vide of lambs tongue online. I think 18 hours would have made them meltingly tender. As it was, they had the texture of a medium rare steak, not unpleasant at all.

I've posted more pictures over on flickr

A foodies Christmas list

Just saying is all....

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It has been the year of the cookbook. Last year's releases of Grant Achatz's Aleina set the new standard for uber food pr0n:

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At $32.00, Aleina broke the mold of the $150 high-end celebrity cookbook.

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And once the flood gates were open, it has been no holds bared for frugal foodies. These are some of my favorites from 2009:

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The Per Se kitchen

Service never endsI am still mentally digesting our meal from Per Se. Check back soon for a post about the menus and our meal. As a quick update, I did want to share a few photos from our behind the scenes tour of the kitchen.

The rumors of the video link between the French Laundry and Per Se are true, but what impressed me were the custom inlay tiles with "Sense of Urgency" blazed in blue. That phrase is the montra for the entire staff - it means much more than simply working quickly. Sense of urgency is a reminder of how important every detail is in making a meal at Per Se one of the best dining experences in the world.

Sense of Urgency