This is how you celebrate springtime!

image

  Every year from April to September millions of blue crab molt their old hard shell for a new one. Not all market places or cities are close or lucky enough to be able to take part in this yearly event, atleast in a cost efficient way. This delicacy must be harvested at just the right time from the water before hardening. The mouth and abdomen is discarded along with the gills or “dead man’s fingers “for you old timers. After cleaning the crab you can eat it whole, typically deep fried or sauteed.

image
Medium pan seared strip steak rice and cornmeal fried soft shell crab

I always fry my soft shell in flour but this time I switched it up to a fine yellow corn meal. Some recipes call for an egg batter which I feel is tasty but can overshadow the delicate crispness of the fried shell. I should’ve used a better grade of cornmeal but altogether I think now I’m switching forever. Another note on switching forever! The strip steak you see was perfect melt in your mouth tender after the normal few minutes in the pan then finish in the oven with a rest time. The main difference between this steak and any other was the fact that it was all organic raised grass fed beef! I never thought I would truly be able to tell. I feel it had more flavor and more tenderness. It could’ve been the butter and rosemary I basted it in.

image

Cuisine prep for Japan

No doubt about it I’m going to Japan one day! It’s been a goal of mine for years and I’m feeling the travel bug hard now! This trip would be business before pleasure though!http://gofund.me/Npjapan Please take a minute to read my story and mission to gain knowledge, business connections and meet amazing people. I figure I should get accustomed to some of the flavors of the country to reduce culture shock! So from time to time I’ll grab something from the land of the rising sun that I’ve never tried and share with you! I’ve decided to start out light with Mochi!

Mochi is a Japanese rice cake made of steamed short grain rice, pounded into a paste and molded into desired shape. The rice cake can be flavored or filled with a sweet paste, used as a dumpling, or covering for fresh fruit and ice cream.

image

I came across a pack of Mochi balls one half filled with sweet adzuki bean paste the other grassy, earthy matcha. Strange words for candy I agree! You can feel these things are super soft through the package, comparable to a marshmallow .

image
Red bean and matcha Mochi rice cakes

If you’re a food texture person then at first you may not like the gumminess of Mochi. With a texture somewhere between taffy and marshmallow the rice cake is often advised to be eaten in sections to avoid choking! That’s the kind of texture I’m dealing with here. Atleast it dissolves quick! I thought the flavor was good of both Mochi but the ice cream was definitely special. The Mochi surrounding the frozen dessert isn’t as gummy as the candy and is just a cool way to eat ice cream! Stay tuned for more cuisine samples from Japan and around the world!

“Always let your meat rest.” – Dad

image

” Context and memory play powerful roles in all the truly great meals in one’s life. ” – Anthony Bourdain

I wish I could take credit for this dish but I must give it up to my father who is one part of the reason I’m obsessed with all things food. Every now and then I get to enjoy a home cooked meal that reminds me of why I started Fond Media and The Fond Chef blog. I want to show how the act of preparing and eating good food is more than what you see. It’s trial and error, it’s history, it’s science,it’s beautiful, it’s love,comfort, nature, simplicity, and the surest way to humility!

After-dinner bubbly

image

Hard day at the office? Dinner deserve follow up drinks? Need more time with your date? Sometimes you just don’t want to go home and a well crafted cocktail is calling your name! This time for me it was a much needed nightcap and preview of Coopers Hawk Winery in Columbus, OH! I’ve heard nothing but good about this place and will do a full review at a later date. This time I felt severely under dressed in my typical sandals, shorts and t-shirt! I took note to atleast wear khakis and real shoes next time. I wasn’t too bothered by it as I was in awe of the wine and beverage list!
Strange enough Champagne is what caught my eye tonight. Blanc de blanc Champagne is made from white wine specifically Chardonnay. It’s bright, fruity but not too sweet, and effervescent! I needed something stronger than that today though! The bartender steered me in the right direction. I don’t remember the name of the drink just the ingredients.¬† I’m not sure if I forgot because the drink was strong or I was too excited about my selection! Blanc de blanc Champagne paired with Remy Martin VSOP, lemon twist, and a sugar cube for extra Bubbly effect! I am familiar with Remy Martin and expected it to overpower the lemon and Champagne. The combination of lemon twist and sugar cube helps mask the potency of the Remy while leaving complexity of flavor that lingers yet satisfies on the pallete! Needless to say after dinner and just one of these powerful and tasty concoctions I was satisfied and ready to call it a night! – FC

Grilled flank steak with spinach and green apple salad

image
Spinach and green apple salad with grilled flank steak and onions

For the flank steak :
1/2 gallon milk
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 white onion
1/2 cup red wine

For the salad:
1 bunch spinach and spring mix
1 cup toasted walnuts
2-3 green apples cut into matchsticks

For the dressing :
1 – 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil

The trick to a good steak of any kind is a perfect marinade! Most people go for acidic marinades on instinct thinking¬† “the stronger the better” . The truth is that with acidic marinades such as vinegar,
wine, citrus, and tomatoes you run a risk of making your meat tough! The acid will initially work well on the surface but with time the protein will contract and squeeze water out! Milk however will tenderize the meat throughout without any toughening due to the lactase enzymes that break down proteins. Flank steak benefits tremendously from this kind of treatment since you can marinade up to 24hrs!

1. Marinate steak in milk up to 24hrs.
2. Season with salt and pepper before adding olive oil to a medium high skillet. Brown both sides and remove.
3. Add julienned onions and saute until tender.
4. Return flank steak to pan and add red wine. Saute until desired temp. Add more wine/oil as needed.
5. Combine ingredients for salad and dressing as listed.

image
Papaya

“If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health. ”¬† – Hippocrates

Seared Porkchops with Onion Fig Reduction

image
Pork chops and onion fig reduction

image

Ingredients :
2 Pork chops
Salt and pepper
Cooking oil
1/2 white onion julienne
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 Lemon tea bag
1 1/2 cup water
4-5 brown turkey figs halved or mashed

Step 1.
Season pork with salt and pepper

Step 2.
Combine tea bags, sugar, figs and water bring to a boil and remove tea bags.

Step 3. Add onions and simmer on low heat until reduced to desired thickness stirring frequently.

Step 4.
Pan sear porkchops with cooking oil about 3-4min each side. Remove to serving plate and top with fig and onion reduction.

5 Important Dining and Dating tips

Some things are obvious like don’t chew with your mouth full, use proper cutting technique or even to remember to not slurp the last drops of creamy lobster bisque! But throughout my career and personal life so far I have gathered five things which I believe to be rising
in importance of our etiquette and respect for whomever we select to date.

5. Never disrespect your server.
This one should be obvious but something about paying for a meal or ordering in front of people makes some folk act down right mean. I’ve heard the nastiest most demeaning words come out towards servers. Any problem can be fixed in the kitchen without the attitude. Most of the time these uncouth people will only be satisfied with a complimentary meal or atleast a dessert. This behavior makes you look unstable (at the very least) instead of powerful .

4. Bring a freshener
I remember one of my first movie dates and the girl got up to grab what I thought was going to be popcorn. A few minutes go by and she returns with a smile on her face ” You want a pickle” she said? Why? Why WOULD I want a pickle? I never knew they even sold pickles! I use to like them but “NO THANKS”. They make your breath less than desirable and the kisses will be sour! Of course this is the part where she wants to lock lips! I always carry some sort of freshener for dates. Don’t worry about it too much. If something looks good eat it! As long as you make the attempt to cover any lingering smells you won’t offend anyone.

3. Don’t gawk

I’ve asked bartenders and servers about what they think is a big offense people make while on dates in restaurants and the consensus is gawking. According to them the wandering of the eyes is mostly a male trait. Atleast so blatantly (women are more sly with it). If someone takes time out their life to spend with you you owe them 100%attention (within reason). Make them feel like you really wanted their time and are happy to have it. Focus!

2. Thank you, Thank you
You can’t really say thank you enough on a date. Let the other person know you don’t expect but appreciate them paying for the meal, drink, dessert whatever it is be thankful!  It’s not sucking up, it let’s the other person feel appreciated and willing to experience more with you.

1. Respect the cuisine
If you have not selected the restaurant but have no special requirements by all means ORDER OFF THE MENU! Whoever wanted to take you to this nice restaurant wanted you to try something along the lines of what the establishment is known for not something off the kids menu. If your at an Indian restaurant make an attempt to order something ethnic. It’s Easier than you! Don’t order pork chops and then ask for ketchup ( I once had a server yell at my date for brutalizing Vietnamese cuisine). Thus is what I mean by respect the cuisine.

image

“The fact is that it takes more than ingredients and technique to cook a good meal. A good cook puts something of himself into the preparation. He cooks with enjoyment, anticipation, spontaneity, and he is willing to experiment .” – Pearl Bailey