Friday, December 30, 2011

Jumbo Shrimp!

We got these babies in today.  They are 1-2 count shrimp, meaning there are 1 to 2 shrimp per pound.  Biggest shrimp I have ever seen.  Reminded me of a story I read in the Chronicle the other day about Asian giant tiger shrimp in the Gulf.  These are not the same as the ones here are freshwater.  Must be related though.  Pretty awesome, but too expensive for my blood.

I have been very busy at work, with the big block party for NYE, and our second concept opening tonight, I have been one busy butcher.  So, very busy, but very productive.  Tomorrow is going to be crazy busy though.  Busy is good though.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy Stove!

When I bought my house, I did not have much in the way of kitchen smallware.  Really all I had was the cast iron skillet pictured above on the top in the center.  This has been rectified now.  My incredibly awesome girlfriend got me the All-Clad fry pan and sauce pan on the left and right in the top row in the picture.  I added the de Buyer French chefs pan on the lower left and the Lodge Pro Logic cast iron sauté pan on the lower right.  This collection is the best cookware I have ever owned, and really the best I have ever used.  Good pans do not a good cook make, but they can help make fantastic food when used by a skilled craftsman.

The de Buyer pan still needs to be seasoned, when properly seasoned it will be black and non stick, just like a properly seasoned cast iron pan.  I will probably season it this weekend, or maybe take it to work where there are industrial vent hoods.  I do need to get a hood at home, probably really will be my first real project I attempt.  I need to talk to an expert on how to vent it outside, and see if I can find an inline exhaust fan to get some good airflow.  I still have not decided on how I want to redo the kitchen, but with these pans, I am ready for induction, which is what I want.  To round out the collection, I want to add a Lodge cast iron Dutch oven, another All-Clad sauce pan, but a smaller one, an All-Clad stock pot and an All-Clad Windsor pan.  I also need to come up with a cool way to display all of them when not in use because they are worth showing off, not hidden in a cabinet when not in use.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays!

My little tree.  The lights in the window are shotgun shells.  Yes, I said shotgun shells.  I even have presents under my tree.

Busy few days, but very productive.  I was able to leave early and enjoy some downtime, and watched the Texans lose.  Some bad defense, too conservative of an offense and some really bad calls left the Texans out.  They had the number one seed in their grasp, and now they may not get the first round bye they really needed.

All my Christmas shopping is done, and most everything is wrapped and ready to go.  Time to spend some quality time with my awesome girlfriend.  Have to work tomorrow, but then I do have two days off to spend with her as well.  

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Chef Jay's spicy nuts return!

Been awhile since I have made these.  I almost forgot how.  Well not really.  I actually forgot how easy they are to make, and so delicious.  Sometimes the simple things are the most rewarding.

It has been a couple of weeks since I last posted, I have been very busy with work, and am dealing with some stuff in my life.  It has been difficult, but I have great family, fantastic friends, and the best girlfriend who have all been helping me to deal with it.  

I also made one of my special meat creations for a present.  I do not have any pictures, but I will make another one sometime soon, and document it and share it here.

I did get a Christmas tree.  It is a three foot tall cypress that is alive.  Present from my girlfriend, who said first Chrismas in your new house, you HAVE to have a tree.  Have I mentioned how amazing she is?

I have been researching solar water heating, for both hot water and for radiant heat.  I think that over the spring and summer I will work on building a system for my house.  This will hopefully provide me with heat in the house so I do not need the space heater or the window unit for heat, as well as providing hot water for usage in the house.  This will be a long project, but I believe it will be a good investment in my house long term.  Plus, it will be fun to build and give me something to do on my days off.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


By request, pictures of my house.

Herb Garden

I HATE Paperwork!

Today was inventory.  About my most favorite thing in the world.  NOT!  Then I cut steaks and made andouille.  I tried the beef summer sausage.  Not my most favorite, but still tasty.  I think it needed more smoke.  Oh well, I will make notes and improve on it next time.

After making the andouille, I was costing recipes.  Right after inventory, that is my second favorite thing.  I just love sitting at the computer and punching in recipes and prices.  Well not really, but it has to get done.  It is all good.  I really need to write the database I have been working on for a couple of years that will do all of it for me.  Yea, I think that is what I really need to work on.

I have been playing around with blogger looking at how I can put pictures and recipes up as well as blog posts.  I think I have it figured out.  Maybe tonight when I am done with the recipe costing (yes, I am taking a break) I will see what I can do.

Still pondering my dream kitchen.  I need to look and see if I can find an inexpensive kitchen design program that runs on a Mac.  That would help me visualize how it might look.  Or I guess I can go measure everything and have the people at Home Depot do it for me.  Or maybe Lowes.  One or the other will do it I am pretty sure, I think I saw a sign stating that.

Tomorrow it is charcuterie Friday.  40 pounds of pickles, sauerkraut, pepperone and whatever else I decide to make.  Maybe some beef bologna too as I still have a lot of cow.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Busy But Good Day

Cut a bunch of steaks and made bacon today.  That was good.  Getting ready for the weekend, stocking up on all the steaks and regular production items so that I can spend tomorrow and Friday making salami, or the fun stuff...  Cooked 40 pounds of beef summer sausage today, will have to sample it tomorrow.  I smoked it on Monday for several hours, and it looks really good.  Hopefully it will be delicious, but I am sure it will be.

Ended up staying late to help the restaurant out because of a band tonight.  Tomorrow is inventory, ugh.  I hate inventory, but it has to be done...

Still thinking of how I want to redo my kitchen.  Other than painting the other rooms, that is going to be my first major home improvement project.  I think I am going to build an island with a 36 inch induction cooktop.  That will really cut down my work triangle, but I do not know for sure.  I would love it, but I may just end up living with it for quite awhile as of course the stuff I want is EXPENSIVE.  Really though, I will be living with it for the rest of my life, and it will make me happy.  So I will see what happens.  Quite a lot depends on if I can remove the wall from between the kitchen and dining room.  If it is load bearing, I probably cannot easily do it, and that may change my mind on what I want to do.  Whatever I do though it will involve induction burners as those are awesome, and I really do want a wall mounted double oven.  Ahhh I do love owning my own house, could never even think about this if I was in an apartment or a rental.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Day off.  Laundry.  Watched some saved episodes of Terra Nova (great show) and some episodes of Numbers (also a great show.)  Played some Wii pinball, and generally did nothing at all...

Monday, November 28, 2011

New Host, New Software

Okay, so I am switching hosts for my blog.  I was using Apple's MobileMe, but that service is going away in about 6 months.  Since my domain is requiring renewal, I figure it is time to switch everything over.  I have been thinking about this for over 6 months as I knew the MobileMe hosting was going away, but I was hoping that Apple would change their mind.  Looks like they are not, and really I was looking for a new host anyways as I could only update from my Mac at home.  iWeb is pretty cool, but limited in many ways.  So now I am using Blogger from Google and it is pretty cool.  I can write posts from anywhere, including my iPad using the Blogsy app.  I can also use web terminals or whatever computer that has internet access, so that is pretty cool.

Okay, so my weekend was good.  I made over 100 pounds of sausage and salami on Saturday, and today I pulled about 20 pounds of guancaile out of the cure cooler as well as probably 40 pounds of Spanish Chorizo and 20 pounds of pepperone.  I smoked the 40 pounds of summer sausage, and will cook it on Wednesday.  Two cooks and a dishwasher called in sick tonight, so I stayed until the end of service to help out.  We were not that busy, but it was fun to work on a less insane night and be able to have fun with the Chef's and line cooks.

Sunday was not spent doing projects as originally planned.  It was spent watching football with my awesome girlfriend, and well pretty much that.  She made dinner and it was great, and well, it was very relaxing, especially when we lit a fire cause it was cold outside.  Have I mentioned how awesome she is and how much I love her?