Viva Wagyu 和牛萬歲

I've walked by and stared at those blue packages of Australian wagyu at Costco God knows how many times. A bunch of us decided the time has come -- to try the Aussie wagyu. I also got all ambitious and wanted to include Michelin 3-star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Molten Chocolate Cake. Overall, I managed to cook all the dishes, but experience is starting to tell me to not be so ambitious -- "you ain't got the professional training to do it both FAST and GOOD!" The result? Everything came out super slow...my guests passed out between meals! Also, the risotto was a little bland (portion too big too!) and first batch of chocolate cake was overcooked -- not so molten. (it was perfect during trial run the night before) What did we say about ambition? Anyway, minus the minor failures, the pictures still look good. Please enjoy the visuals :-)

好幾次在 Costco 買肉時都會在澳洲和牛那區徘徊一陣子,看看油花,摸摸肉質。有天跟朋友在線上討論時,決定該來買這裝在藍色保麗龍盒子的牛排來做做看了。我想到上次 Danny & Co. 吃完牛排時甜點是爆漿巧克力蛋糕的完美組合,所以今晚也想來做 Jean-Georges V 星級餐廳的巧克力融漿蛋糕。今晚菜是都有上,但看來沒有專業訓練的底子還是別亂生自己無法 handle 的菜單,真的無法達到速度和食物都完美的境界,結果當然是出菜超慢,朋友都吃到沙發上倒下了牛排都還沒出 @@ 還有,義式燉飯味道不足 (量也太大),巧克力蛋糕烤過頭第一批沒爆漿。唉就是自不量力... 失敗歸失敗,照片是還拍得不錯...

This is one of those "looks simple but has too many steps" dishes. I should have stuck to either just the flame-broiled salmon or salmon tartare, not both. Doing it "two ways" but without significantly different preparation ends up in a "hmm a little redundant" feel. A pleasant surprise was that the poached egg actually goes well with the raw salmon. AND I forgot the blanched asparagus! Honestly the asparagus was unnecessary. If I were to do this over, I'd simplify it -- frisee, poached egg, and salmon on top of egg, a simple and appetizing stack. Simple is beautiful - gotta remember that.

前菜是盤個看似簡單但步驟太瑣碎的菜,本來想要很酷的試一次 "2 ways" 的作法,但其實生鮭魚韃靼和炙燒鮭魚的味道沒有差很多,會讓人有點重複的 fu。還好水波蛋和鮭魚還蠻搭的。在混亂中連燙好的蘆筍都忘了放,但其實已經太多味道了,不需要蘆筍。如果要重做這盤,可以簡單的將綠捲放下面,上面放水波蛋,然後再把鮭魚韃靼放最上面,加個幾葉山蘿蔔點綴,簡單就是美...

The risotto man the risotto...was worst of the year! A friend talked me into doubling the rice quantity -- never going to do this again. Doubling the rice made it quadruply difficult to cook and season the risotto, resulting in a poor dish. Not much more to say about this.

這燉飯...是今年最差。朋友們說服了我把 risotto 加量,結果是第一很難煮,因為量太多很不容易充分混合來釋放米的澱粉,第二是調味也不容易,本來這飯煮完應該是綠色的,顯然青醬放太少。沒啥好繼續寫的這盤...

DINNER MENU 11 October 2011

Salmon Two-Ways
salmon tartare & flame broiled salmon
poached egg, aged cheddar, mesclun, white wine Dijon vinaigrette
鮭魚韃靼 炙燒鮭魚
水波蛋 英式硬巧達乳酪 生菜 白酒醋芥末油醋

Risotto Course
Pesto Risotto
sauteed shrimps, marinated tomatoes, truffle oil infusion
蒜炒鮮蝦 醋漬番茄 松露油

Meat Course
Australian Wagyu Ribeye
red wine jus, roasted garlic, sautéed baby potatoes, watercress
紅酒醬汁 烤大蒜 煎紅皮小馬鈴薯 水田芥

Jean-Georges's Molten Chocolate Cake
Jean-George 巧克力岩漿蛋糕
strawberry syrup, vanilla ice cream
草莓糖漿 香草冰淇淋

Ok, after bashing on my first two dishes, the good news is the steak did not suck! The wagyu definitely was a lot fattier than any steak I've worked with before. One might think being fatty you'd want to cook longer to render the fat. That is true for large chunks of fat, but for the marble fat that is embedded in the flesh, you'd actually want the opposite -- to under cook it. For some reason, the meat with the marble fat actually tastes much better if it is just quickly seared to warm through. This was definitely one of the best steaks I've ever cooked. The rich fat crisps up the crust of the steak and creates an additional texture and flavor that you cannot find in average choice steaks. It's almost like a bacony smoky flavor. Paired with Thomas Keller's red wine jus and roasted garlic, we had ourselves a great meat dish. Quite happy about it. The jus worked with the wagyu quite well, a definite mutual complement.

還好牛排沒有 suck! 這應該是我煮過最肥滋滋的牛排了,一般人可能直覺都是要加長料理時間把油脂逼出來,大塊的脂肪是這樣做沒錯,但那些混合在肉裡的大理石油花可不能這樣做,我覺得反而是時間要縮短,我猜可能是油脂也容易導熱,所以縮短時間,讓肉生一點反而更好吃! 這應該是我煮過最好吃的牛排之一,因為油脂多,肉的外皮會更酥脆,也容易有個類似培根的煙燻味。跟 Thomas Keller 的紅酒醬和烤大蒜搭配,是個很不錯的主菜,真令人開心。

Last but not least is the molten chocolate cake. I've had this cake a few times at different places before. But nowhere was I more "moved" by it than when I had it at Jean-Georges Shanghai restaurant. I mean, the guy INVENTED this cake, from a kitchen accident. I guess only Michelin chefs could screw up their food and invent new dishes. This is for sure one of my all time favorite desserts. So, I went on the net to search for his recipe, and it is readily available! Best of all, I couldn't believe the simple ingredients involved. The challenge definitely came with greasing the mold and timing the baking time. Too short, and you get a self-exploding chocolate soup in the plate on the way to the dining table. Too long, you get brownie, yeah, brownie, nothing to wow guests. I tried it the night before and thought I got the timing down correctly. When I had to make EIGHT of them at the same time, somehow, the cooking time required was shorter -- i.e. we got a moist brownie on the first batch. Being very discouraged, I put the remaining batter in for a second shot and GOT IT RIGHT! (see pic on top) I'll just have to practice more, and I'm sure my friends don't mind that A BIT!

最後是本來應該是今晚第二高潮的巧克力融漿蛋糕... 我在幾家不同的餐廳都有吃過這個蛋糕,但直到我去了上海 Jean-Georges 餐廳吃到時才真正被感動。Jean-Georges 是發明這蛋糕的廚師,聽說是做一般巧克力蛋糕時意外發明的,我想也只有三星主廚才能甜點沒做好時又發明了新的甜點哈。這應該是我喜歡的甜點裡的前三名,也決定一定要學會怎麼做。上網查詢時才發覺喔這個食譜還蠻好找的,而且都號稱是 Jean-Georges 的食譜,材料也都很單純。我覺得最大的挑戰是如何把蛋糕模子塗足夠的奶油還有拿捏烤的時間。烤太久,就直接變布朗尼,沒啥驚艷感,烤太少,蛋糕會出模子後自動爆漿,也很不 OK。前一晚有先試做四個蛋糕,覺得時間已經抓好。今晚做八個時,不知為何就是烤過頭,沒爆漿,超失望。還好還有剩下的麵糊,再送一個進去烤...果然就爆了! (樓上第一張圖) 以後還是多練習幾次,這些美食團的朋友應該不介意多吃這個吧 :-)

最後是本來應該是今晚第二高潮的巧克力融漿蛋糕... 我在幾家不同的餐廳都有吃過這個蛋糕,但直到我去了上海 Jean-Georges 餐廳吃到時才真正被感動。Jean-Georges 是發明這蛋糕的廚師,聽說是做一般巧克力蛋糕時意外發明的,我想也只有三星主廚才能甜點沒做好時又發明了新的甜點哈。這應該是我喜歡的甜點裡的前三名,也決定一定要學會怎麼做。上網查詢時才發覺喔這個食譜還蠻好找的,而且都號稱是 Jean-Georges 的食譜,材料也都很單純。我覺得最大的挑戰是如何把蛋糕模子塗足夠的奶油還有拿捏烤的時間。烤太久,就直接變布朗尼,沒啥驚艷感,烤太少,蛋糕會出模子後自動爆漿,也很不 OK。前一晚有先試做四個蛋糕,覺得時間已經抓好。今晚烤八個蛋糕時,不知為何就是烤過頭,沒爆漿,超失望。還好還有剩下的麵糊,再送一個進去烤...果然就爆了! (樓上第一張圖) 以後還是多練習幾次,這些美食團的朋友應該不介意多吃這個吧 :-)

As always, happy cooking!


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