One of things that makes dining at 1844 House so special is the passion and special attention to detail that we put into preparing our food (and in our service and atmosphere). There are few restaurants that prepare virtually everything that comes out of their kitchen from scratch the way we do here.
Our bacon is no exception. Some cooks think that “bacon makes everything better”. I tend to disagree; I believe “great bacon can make many dishes better”. Of course, I am a southern born Chef with a particular affinity for most things pork. I am also a proponent for “snout to tail eating”, that is, total utilization with little waste. Which comes in handy when you are purchasing pork from a local farm. There are only so many pork chops on a hog; it is important to incorporate all the other cuts of meat into your menu so that you can help the farmer use the entire animal.
Like our pork bellies, most of our pork is raised at Pat & April’s Pork in Ft. Covington, NY. They do a great job and offer many different cuts of pork.
I use a dry rub method of curing as opposed to liquid brining, as it allows me a little more control over the sodium content and flavor. My dry rub includes locally produced maple sugar and I usually crust the bellies with fresh ground pepper after they are done curing, but before they are air dried. Then I cold smoke them in my smoker with apple wood from our own apple trees until they are perfect. This process takes about 10 days to complete, but it is so worth the effort. Our bacon is used to accent many of the things we create here from our chowders, kale salads, potato hash, warm dressings for salads, beef burgundy, etc. We believe that putting this much effort into each ingredient produces a superior quality product. We think you will agree.
I was very excited today to get our first delivery of fresh eggs from two new farms, M & M Eggs in Massena and Gulf Creek Farm in Canton. This is one of those occasions where social media helped bring people together to solve a problem. We needed a new supplier for our eggs, so I put a post on our Face Book page and one of our guests put us in contact with the farm(s).
The eggs are as delicious as they are beautiful. You can taste the chicken eggs in a variety of our dishes; poached on our kale salad, as a rosemary creme brulee, as meringue in our pavlova, etc. I will be “playing” with the duck eggs in my kitchen tomorrow to see how to best showcase them on our menu.
The chicken eggs are on the left and the duck eggs are on the right in this picture.
Rillettes of Pork is one of my favorite types of pâté. It also happens to be one of my favorite memories of a mid- day meal while we were in Paris. I ordered it in several different bistros (along with a carafe of white wine) in different areas around the city so I could taste the differences in each chefs preparation. It was satisfying every time.
Rillettes can be made from rabbit, duck, fish, and many other meats, but pork is my favorite (with duck close behind). It must be my southern heritage. Rillettes are made by braising fresh pork (I used shoulder) with mire poix, and aromatics until the meat begins to fall apart; much like pulled pork in the south. The meat is blended up along with some of the reduced stock and some of its rendered fat until it shreds apart and begins to turn into a spreadable paste. I do this in my Kitchen Aide with the paddle attachment. It is then placed in jars and then more fat is poured over the top to seal and protect the meat. It is served cold and spread over bread or crackers and often with flavorful condiments. I really enjoy the sweet and tangy flavor of my caramelized onion jam (there is red wine vinegar in it) as well as gherkins with their sweetness and hint of spice. This is a perfect lunch with a side of fresh greens and herbs tossed in Champagne vinaigrette or in this case a nice glass of crisp white Bordeaux or Proseco sparkling wine at our cozy wine bar.
Since we opened in 2006, we have finished our year with special menu items that reflect my love for classic European and American cuisines and my training under 3 ACF Certified Master Chefs (1 American, 1 French, 1 German). One of our traditions is to make this classic dessert. It remains one of our guest favorites and we are so happy to bring it back again this year.
Cream Puff Swan
A Grand Marnier mousse filled cream puff swan swimming in a pool of raspberry coulis.
Simple. Elegant. Delicious.
Happy New Year from all of us at 1844 House. We look forward to spending many more special occasions with you in 2016!
Today I prepared one of the dishes that I have been preparing each fall/winter season since we opened back in 2006. I love the comfort food aspect of it and the fact that it incorporates so many ingredients that can still be found locally/regionally like NY state apples and cider, pork, brussel sprouts, butternut squash, onions, sage from our garden and bread from our local bakery. This dish is Cider Glazed Apple and Sage Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with spiced butternut squash puree and house made bacon sauteed brussel sprouts.
For this evenings featured entree (Saturday, November 13th), Chef Arthur crusted an ahi tuna filet with a mélange of fresh ground pepper corns (red, green, white, and black). It is seared to rare, sliced thin and served on a creamy Birdsfoot Farm kale risotto and complemented with honey roasted parsnips and truffle infused brandy sauce. Bon Appetite!
Autumn is our favorite time of year here at 1844 House. It is when there is an abundance of fresh local ingredients at the local farmers markets that allow us to create dishes that nourish both the body and soul.
One of my favorite cooking methods in the fall months; as the weather begins to turn cold, is braising. Braising is a combination cooking method that is a blend of roasting and stewing. It is a great way to prepare those cuts of meat that are not necessarily palatable by sauteéing, frying, poaching, grilling. This would include (but not limited to) ribs, short ribs, chuck, brisket, etc. There is something satisfying about seasoning and searing meat to give it a great crust, then braising it in a stock made from its own bones with fresh vegetables from the local farms. The resulting dish has such a deep flavor that really showcases the characteristics of the type of meat you are cooking. We puree the vegetables (mire poix) right into the finished stock to produce a very flavorful liquid that we then blend right into the meat after we “pull it” to keep it moist and intensify the flavor. Not only will you end up with a wonderful meal, but your kitchen and home will be filled with wonderful aromas. A perfect example of this is our Featured Entree of the evening.
Braised Boneless Beef Short Ribs with a truffle infused brandy-pepper corn sauce, porcini mushroom “beggars purses”, and crisp buttermilk fried onion rings.
I hope you are able to take the time this fall season to wander your local farmers market and bring home the ingredients to create your own food memory.