Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tough Guy Crusta!

It's really awesome getting to work at a bar connected to a state-of-the-art kitchen.  After wrapping my hands in plastic gloves, I made quick work of the Ghost Peppers slicing them into thin rings, de-seeding, and placing them into a plastic bag with peppercorns and cider vinegar.  After quickly running these in our commercial grade vacuum sealer I waited two hours for fresh Ghost Pepper pickles.  Maybe, the cider helped, but even after the vinegar and de-seeding these thin slices of peppers are still irritatingly hot.  I will serve them as a garnish for a classic brandy crusta.  The idea here is that the cocktail will provide a cooling effect.  But, I am giving my staff strict instructions that the Scoville units of the garnish must be discussed at with the guest prior to ordering.  I hope I don't get sued.

Now about the brandy crusta

The Brandy Crusta was originally invented in 1852 by Joseph Santina whilst working at the Jewel of the South, on Gravier Street, in New Orleans.
This drink is the precursor to first the Sidecar (brandy, Cointreau, lemon, sugar rim) and then, the Margarita (substitute tequila for brandy, lime for lemon, and salt for sugar), and as such, should be revisited at least once in one’s lifetime.
1 ½ oz Brandy
¾ oz Cointreau
¾ oz fresh lemon juice
dash of maraschino liqueur
dash of Peychaud’s bitters

Shake and strain into a cocktail glass rimmed with sugar
Garnish with spiral of lemon peel (courtesy Spirits and Cocktails...Mr. Jamie Boudreau)

   Now picture this with a hot chili on top and with you crying.  Cheers!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Been gone from Market for a week as I made a plethora of huckleberry syrup.  Time for a change though and I was back at the intersection of Lincoln and Chicago.  It's a little chilly in the city and berries are fading.  Pumpkins and squash are starting to appear too.  Just writing these last two lines makes me feel like my grandmother Dora Mae Brown whose primary concerns are deaths, weather, and crop arrivals.  Full circle.

Tomatoes are still coming in though as well as peppers.  At Nichols Farm's stand I found the most infamous of all peppers.  The Ghost Pepper.

I asked the gentleman running the stand if these were hot like the ones I have had in the past (a past buffalo wing covered in ghost pepper sauce caused me extreme pain in the men's room once...if you have to ask, don't) and he replied...hotter.  So I was intrigued and scooped up ten.  I want to try to tame them a bit, but still I want to make this cocktail something of a challenge a "Tough Guy" cocktail if you will.  But now, a little on the Ghost Pepper...

In February 2011, Guinness World Records awarded the title of "World's Hottest Chilli" to the Infinity chilli grown in Grantham, England.[12] This chilli rates at 1,067,286 units on the Scoville scale.[13] Later the same month, on February 25, 2011, the title returned to the Naga Viper pepper with a rating of 1,382,118 Scoville Heat Units (SHU).[14] The current "world's hottest" is the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T, officially tested at 1,463,700 SHU.[15] These figures are highly controversial among the pepper growing community and tests with more rigorous scientific standards are yet to be conducted on the many various peppers vying for "world's hottest" status. (Wikipedia)

Here's some footage:
What an idiot.

Again, I don't want to harm anyone and I still want them to be able to have a nice dinner here at Henri so the pressure is on to subdue the deadly Ghost Pepper.  And make it well...palatable.

Now for something you can't subdue.  The deadly Ghostface,  I love this video for it's use of Speed racer clips.  Cheers!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Waste Not Want Not!

It feels like fall is here already.  I drifted around the market today.  So many options.  But a little voice in the back of my head reminded me that I used some huckleberries from Nichols Farm to make a really great syrup over a week ago. 

And yes...I do have the handwriting of a slow seven-year old.  Anyways, I am at the Green City and I don't know what to get so I just decide that in the spirit of this whole blog and project (really this whole bloject) I just be resourceful and utilize the delicious syrup I already made.  I have just the spirit in mind too.  Gin.  More on this cocktail in the next post.

Since I am here though I might as well...
Buy some grass fed steaks from Mint Creek Farm.  About Mint Creek...

Mint Creek Farm


Sheep graze on organically certified alfalfa, clover and perennial grasses at Mint Creek Farm. In the winter they are fed hay raised at Mint Creek and kelp for trace minerals. "We know that there are many benefits to raising animals without feeding them grain," says Harry Carr, who runs the farm with his wife, Gwen, and their children, Jonathan and Raya, pictured with her dad. "Our lambs, grazing our high-quality legumes and grasses, are lean, fit, and healthy, yet our meat, unlike much grass-fed meat, is not overly lean." The fat, says Carr, contains some of the substances most desirable for health as well as for flavor. The Carrs studied biodynamic agriculture at the Michael Fields Institute in Troy, Wisconsin, a learning center devoted to furthering agricultural practices that sustain the land and its resources. In 1992, they bought 50 acres and now have 220. The sheep were originally part of their plan to rescue soil that had been depleted by modern mainstream agricultural practices. Today, the soil thrives, and so do the sheep.

Okay, I bought beef not lamb, but I just wanted the farm to get  a little shout out.

I will most likely grill these on Sunday when our nation is finally rewarded with the beginning of the NFL season.

Next Post....Huckleberry Sling!