Category Archives: Books

Quick Release Video

Here is a fun look at what a Jimi Hatt and I do on our spare time!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v​=n9w6aPM8msM

–matt bolus

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Filed under Books, Brown Sugar, Butcher, Buthering, butter, Canning, Charleston, Cooking, Cream, Garden, Ideas, Matt Bolus, Pickling, pork, Potatoes, Radishes, Salt Curing, Travel, Uncategorized, Vegetables

Marrow vegetable

image

This post came about in two ways. The first, was when my local farmer Joey Barnes form Barnes Produce at the Nashville Farmers Market brought me this gigantic zucchini looking vegetable. The only reason he brought it to the restaurant is because he had never seen anything like it and wanted to see what we could do with it. Neither of us knew what it was exactly (besides a zucchini on some NFL style vitamins) but he had been told that people cut out the seeds and stuff it with meat and then roast it. I of course thanked him for the unusual and told him that I would update him on what we did with it and how it tasted. Well it happened that we needed a large amount of roasted squash and zucchini for a party menu and thus it ended up in a nice medium dice roasted with bacon fat, shallots, thyme, and mint. Overall it tasted lovely but I was disappointed at the fait that it had met.

The second point comes with the annual review of the canning recipes and the desire to start making pickles, jams, and other various projects to put the summers bounty away for future use. My wife Kelly had been reading a canning book that sparked my interest. While looking through the index of the book, which I often start with, I noticed a recipe that I could not believe was possible. It was a canning recipe for “Pickled Marrow and Onions”. How could this be? You mean to tell me that you can pickle and can beef marrow with onions? That has to be delicious, or disgusting, depending on who you ask. Well the answer quickly came when I turned to the appropriate page. The recipe called for vegetable marrow, which I of course not only did not expect but was disappointed to see. I then realized that I had never heard of “vegetable marrow”.

Research on the web led me to discover that vegetable marrow, also known as a marrow vegetable, was a zucchini type vegetable. Originally cultivated in England, these vegetables can grow to be the size and weight of a large pumpkin. They are also notorious for having a bland flavor and are traditionally stuffed with meat of some sort and roasted whole. Then it dawned on me that I had not only seen this vegetable but had just recently turned it into a mere fast saute. What a shame. The next one I get will not experience such a meager fate I promise. The picture here includes a common power socket in an attempt to show the actual size of the marrow vegetable.

–matt bolus

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Filed under Books, Canning, Cooking, Flavor, Garden, Ideas, Marrow Vegetable, Matt Bolus, Pickling, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Zuchinni

Another New Book

Clearly I am obsessed with culinary books. I have to be in my line of work. And honestly sometimes there is nothing more fulfilling than sitting down and digesting an entire book in one sitting. All of the ideas and thoughts. The images of dinners served and food eaten. The pleasure derived from what was just created is all worth it. And then it is into the kitchen to start working on these thoughts, images, and ideas. My latest book is “The Elements of Taste” written by Peter Kaminsky and chef Gray Kunz. I purchased this book for three reasons. The first being that I enjoyed Peter’s book “Pig Perfect” so much I had to see what else he had published. Once I stumbled onto this selection I had to buy it for the last two reasons. The first being the title. “The Elements of Taste” to me said the essence of what I do. I focus so much of my attention to how food taste. Food to me is more than what I have to consume to sustain life, it is an experience. Everyday we all eat, everyday we all make the decision of what to consume. I find that if you eat what taste great to you and something you really want then no matter how bad your day may be at least you have the brief moment of pleasure while eating. The final reason was the coauthor. Kelly and I ate at Cafe Gray the last time we were in New York City and had one of the best meals of our trip there. I may have mentioned the foie gras sausage we had for lunch before but feel I must mention it again. Chef Gray Kunz that day was offering something as rich as foie gras in a dish as heavy as sausage for lunch. As a fan of both foie and sausage Kelly and I both wanted to try it. Amazing is the first description I have of the dish we received. Light, bold, perfectly textured, filling yet not heavy, and perfect would be how I round out my perception of the dish overall. The richness was perfectly balanced with acidity, the sweetness countered with the appropriate application of salt. Again, it was one of the single best dishes we had while in New York that week where we also dined at places like Bouchon Bakery, Eleven Madison, Gramercy Tavern, Upstairs at Bouley’s, Blue Ribbon Sushi, Blue Ribbon Wine Bar, and Mas Farmhouse. So into the book I went like a child into the deep end of the pool on the first day of summer break. When I finally surfaced for air I was filled with ideas, thinking at a pace that nearly confused me, and at the same time felt satisfied and uplifted by what I just read. Kind of like the perfect meal I had the experience of consuming enough to fill my appetite without being to full yet would (and obviously will) come back many more times to try all the wonderful things I did not get to the first time around. The first recipe I tried out was the chicken glazed with maple syrup and apple cider vinegar. I have to be honest and say that I had some doubts in the recipe and the method of cooking. But being a good sport and in the interest of cooking I followed the recipe to the word in the exact order it was printed (which is how the authors recommend you do) and the results were just as the dish sounded. Better even. The chicken came out of the 500 F oven (one of my biggest doubts) with the crispest skin I have ever seen without deep fat frying and was perfectly cooked (in that I mean just done without being anywhere near dry). So to that I have to say this is a must for all of those interested in cooking, from the professional chef to the weekend gourmet. Follow this book from the introduction through the methods and then to the actual recipes and you will find yourself in the blissful moment of culinary perfection. The only down side to this book is it is not easy to find. You can find it on Amazon.com but you have to buy it from another vendor as Amazon does not have any in stock. But as I have said the hunt is worth it. Below is an image of the cover for reference and an image of the chicken I cooked as it first came out of the oven.
The Elements of Taste

The Elements of Taste

Maple Cider glazed crispy chicken— matt bolus

Maple Cider glazed crispy chicken

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Arizona Vanilla

I have to add this site to the blog. I am also very sorry that I have not done it until now. Arizona Vanilla is a great place for everyone to explore vanilla. I first purchased vanilla beans from Eric and Patty Elsberry more than three years ago. From there we formed a bound and relationship that lead to the publishing of our book “Simply Vanilla” in January of 2007. Definitely go to the site and have a look around. Their prices are great and the products are wonderful, not to mention the fact that both Eric and Patty are two of the kindest people you have ever dealt with. You can find them at www.arizonavanilla.com or access the same site via the link on the right hand side of the page. You will certainly find them and their products at my restaurant and on the menu.

— matt bolus

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New Book I am Reading

After my last trip to New York City with my wife Kelly I sat down and decided to write letters to all the places I had been to just to say “Thank You”. One of the letters I wrote was to Danny Meyer, the CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group. This group owns ten restaurants in the city and from my experience in two of them they all have to be wonderful. Much to my surprise Mr. Meyer wrote me back, which said quite a bit to me. After receiving his letter I did a bit more research on him and found out that he had a new book out entitled “Setting the Table”. Well I did, as I am sure you expected, go out and immediately purchase a copy. Since reading it there is no doubt in my mind why this gentleman and restauranteur has gone so far and been so sucessful. This book is a must for all of those in the industry, front or back of the house. It is also, in my opinion, a must for anyone who owns their own business. It is just a hope of mine that I may one day spend some time with Mr. Meyer picking his brain and absorbing all that he can teach me. Below is an image of the cover of the book. I do have to admit thought that my reading of his book was interupted by the book I previously mentioned “The Perfect Pig”. Sorry Danny, I do hope you understand, sometimes a bad day requires different remedies.

The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business

You can also find a link to the Union Square Hospitality Group to the right of the page, which will also provide you links to all of their wonderful restaurants.

–matt bolus

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The Perfect Pig Book

Here is an image of the book I just mentioned. I am sorry for the Amazon like look, but that is where I got the image from, and a good place to get the book as well.

Encounters with Remarkable Swine and Some Great Ways to Cook Them

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New book to read

My wonderful wife bought me this new book after she learned I was having a horrible day (isn’t she great). I don’t have many fortunately and after hearing about some of it she decided I needed another book about pork, one of my favorite, if not the number one on my list, proteins. This book is amazing. Mostly stories, mainly just one large continuing story with different small stories within. But none the less outstanding and the recipes that I have tried have been spot on. The title of the book is “Pig Perfect” written by Peter Kaminsky. I will try to post an image latter on. He starts off on his quest for the perfect ham and leads the reader through many an adventure filled with scientific facts, folklore, and his own personal experiences. After reading the book and trying some of the recipes I am inspired to return to my home state of Kentucky and the state that I spent most of my life in Tennessee to research ham and pork production. He also does a great job explaining the consequences of mass production. Not just the simple facts but detailed stories and facts from those who live through and suffer from the industrial side of the story.

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