A Visit to M & M Egg Farm

One of the great things about having a farm to table restaurant in an agricultural community, is my ability to visit the farms that produce the foods we serve.  This past week, I had the good fortune to take my daughters on a ride to Massena, NY to visit Matt and Michelle at M&M Eggs.  The purpose of our visit was two fold; first to purchase some chicks for our girls to raise at our home over the summer and secondly for me to tour the farm and check on the flocks of ducks that they are raising for the restaurant.

We were fortunate that the rain held off while we toured the farm.  It has rained nearly everyday for the past few weeks.  Matt took some time off from his evening chores to educate me on the different breeds and methods he uses to raise his beautiful birds.

There are few ingredients in the kitchen that are more important and versatile as the egg.  We use them in so many different ways and in so many preparations.  That is why it is so important that we get the best quality eggs available.  M&M supplies us with not only chicken eggs, but duck eggs as well.  You can see them used through out our seasonal menus.  We often build entire dishes around them.

Flock of ducks at M&M Farm These are a few of the ducks that they are raising for us.  It is such a gift to have access to fresh ducks, especially ones that are raised free range with out growth hormones or antibiotics (just like their chickens and turkeys). Our first batch of ducks will be ready for processing in just 2 weeks.  They will transport our birds to a USDA inspected facility to be processed.  This adds a layer of protection to be sure that we are serving healthy birds, and is required by the NYSDOH in order for us to serve them to our guests.

M&M Eggs sells eggs and birds to people all over our area. If you are looking for fresh eggs, birds to raise at home, or a Thanksgiving turkey, I highly recommend that you contact them. You can contact them via their website M&M Eggs, and a Face Book Page.

Happy Eating!  Chef Brian

Turkey

Pan Seared Mushroom Mille Feuille

Pan Seared Mushroom Mille FeuilleToday I worked on creating a new vegetarian dish for our winter menu. Although I am not sure this is going to be a permanent menu item, it is definitely one I will be repeating.

One important aspect of vegetarian dining for me is a combination of different textures. I was inspired by German strudel pastry as I read through a holiday baking book, so I started with a box of phyllo dough.  I began brushing layers of of the dough with beaten egg and sprinkling fresh herb infused bread crumbs between the layers.  Then I baked the pastry layers until they were crispy.  This is why I used the term “mille feuille” which translates from French to “thousand leaves” to describe these delicious crispy layers.  For additional texture I chose shiitake and crimini mushrooms as well as some kale from my garden.  By slicing the mushrooms thick and searing them quickly in brown butter they retain a wonderful chewiness that satisfies the palate much like meat.  Finally, needed something to bind it all together.   For this I chose some  sweet organic parsnips that we purchased from BirdsFoot Farm.  Combined with just a dollop of goat cheese between each layer it adds the perfect creaminess to balance the crisp and chewy textures.

This is one of those vegetarian dishes that might just win over a few carnivores.   We look forward to seeing you soon!

Bon Appetite! Chef Brian

Pan Seared Mushroom Mille Feuille
Forest mushrooms, tender kale, sweet parsnip puree
& creamy goat cheese between layers of crisp
phyllo & herbs.

Pan Roasted Maine Lobster

Pan Roasted Lobster with rosemary cream, boiled potatoes and local organic brussel sproutsFor this weekend’s featured entree I have prepared a Pan Roasted Maine Lobster with rosemary cream, boiled potatoes, and local organic brussel sprouts.  It is a wonderfully comforting dish that is perfect for these cool autumn evenings.    This is one of the dishes that defines my cooking style; simple, elegant, Pan Roasted Lobster in the saute pandelicious.  I just love preparing one pan “a la minute” (cooked to order) dishes.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Bon Appetite!  Chef Brian

The Chef’s Garden at 1844 House

Bushel basket full of fresh fruits and vegetables from our chefs gardenAs our summer growing season evolves into our autumn harvest season, it is exciting to see the fruits of our labors.  We had a challenging summer with very hot and dry conditions, but we still managed to bring in a record crop; both in volume of food produced and variety.  It has been a very rewarding experience to really get into the dirt and grow some of the food we serve here at 1844 House.  I could not have done it without a lot of help from our GM, Barry Sears and our resident farmer/consultant Sue Rau.

This weekend we harvested some heirloom tomatoes, hot Hungarian wax peppers, habanero chili’s, Russian red kale, purple cabbage, fresh sage, apples, shiitake mushrooms, fresh raspberries, English lavender, and nasturtium flowers.  All of which will be served here this week.

We have already begun preparations for next years garden.  We have cut out the sod and prepped the soil to double our production in the 2017 growing season.  We are also putting the finishing touches on our outdoor dining  area that will allow our guests to dine out in the gardens next summer.  We look forward to hosting our Chef’s Table dinners in the garden or in our newly renovated barn next season.

Bon Appetite!  Chef Brian

Duck Confit

Duck Confit with potato gnocchiMy favorite time of year for cooking is finally here and we have just launched our new fall menu.  Over the next week or so, I will be sharing pictures and stories about our new menu items on our page.

The first dish I would like to introduce is my favorite dish on the fall menu that is a completely new addition; the Duck Confit.  Duck Confit has been one of my favorite ways to enjoy duck since I first encountered it as a student at The Culinary Institute of America.  I was very excited when a local farmer approached me about using his duck on our menu.  He raises ducks for egg production, so he was looking for an outlet for his male ducks.  He brought me a sample duck, and I decided to prepare the entire duck confit style.  It was delicious!  My kitchen staff and I enjoyed preparing it in many ways and enjoying it for lunch for several days.

House Made Duck ConfitFor those of you who do not know what “confit” is, here is a very simplified explanation.  This method is an old world style of preserving meat so it wont spoil as quickly.  The duck is butchered and rubbed with a cure/spice mixture and pressed for a couple of days.  This allows the salt to extract the moisture from the meat, while the meat absorbs the spice flavor.  Then the meat is rinsed to remove all the excess salt and spices and allowed to dry out on a rack in the cooler until a pellicle (dry skin) forms on the surface.  Then the meat is submerged in a bath of hot duck fat and slow cooked until the meat is tender and falls off the bone, similar to pulled pork.  The meat is cooled in the fat to allow it to reabsorb some of the fat and to prevent the air from getting to the meat.  The absence of water/moisture and air preserve the meat.

The final preparation came about kind of “on the fly” one afternoon as I was doing some early morning cooking.  My intention was to get some cooking done early, then hand off the kitchen to my Sous Chef and enjoy a weekend in Lake Placid with our GM, Barry as he celebrated his 40th birthday.  Unfortunately, my Sous Chef became ill, and I had to cancel my weekend.  I wanted to celebrate with Barry anyway, so I went into my kitchen and invented this dish.  We enjoyed it with some fresh baked baguette and a wonderful bottle of Super Tuscan wine.  It was a great lunch with a great friend.  Sometimes the best dishes just come out of nowhere.

Duck Confit
M&M Farm Duck Confit with Northwoods Farm mushrooms, brandy-peppercorn sauce and potato gnocchi.  Served in a “nest” of organic baby arugula that is dressed with truffle oil, Pecorino cheese and fresh ground pepper and topped with a poached duck egg.

Bon Appetite!  Chef Brian

Sour Dough Bread & Buttermilk Biscuits

Sour dough breadOne of the things that makes 1844 House unique to our community is our passion for freshness and preparing food from scratch.  Our talented team of committed young chefs work hard each day transforming fresh local ingredients into our award winning cuisine.

Many of our guests are surprised when they find that we make almost everything that we serve here in our kitchen.  From the croutons, dressings, stocks and sauces; to our fresh cut steaks from local meat and all of our desserts, sorbets & ice creams.  We simply love to cook, and it shows in the quality of our food.  This is what culinary passion looks like.

While we proudly offer organic country white bread from the local bakery in our bread baskets, we also love to complement it with our  own fresh baked breads.  In this case, it is a potato sour dough.  I love to bake different kinds of bread and experiment with sponges, starters and dough’s.

Buttermilk BiscuitsI also love biscuits!  It must be my southern heritage.  So when I get the craving, I will bake up a batch for myself and a maybe even a few for our guests.  In the picture to the left, the large one is for my staff and myself and the smaller ones were for the guests.  They were great smeared with my home made hot pepper jelly (with peppers from our Chefs’ garden) and cream cheese.

Any of these breads are a wonderful start to a great meal here at 1844 House; especially when you enjoy them with our signature flavored butters.  Just think, if we put this much passion into a product we don’t even charge for; how much passion goes into everything else.

We look forward to seeing you soon.

Bon Appetite!  Chef Brian

Seared Scallops

Seared Scallops with sweet corn, English pea, and fresh fennel risotto.To complement the amazing New England scallops we brought in for this evenings featured entree; Chef Arthur did not have to look much further than our own gardens and a farm just around the corner….

 

Seared Scallops
Sweet corn, English Pea and fresh fennel risotto, heirloom tomato vinaigrette, spicy roasted chili cream.

Bon Appetite!  Chef Brian

 

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