in the kitchen x prosciutto & melon

Recently, I have been working on a dessert version of a popular summer snack, prosciutto & melon. There's nothing quite like a cold, sweet juicy slice of melon wrapped in salty prosciutto while dining al fresco and sipping a chilled glass of prosecco. This idea occurred to me when, half-joking, a cook gave me prosciutto scraps and suggested I make ice cream out of it. Someone mentioned prosciutto and melon and BAM, I was taking them up on their offer of prosciutto scraps. I decided on a prosciutto ice cream, fresh honeydew melon, olive oil cake, balsamic reduction, and ricotta, yogurt, and mint sauce.The addition of balsamic, olive oil, and mint are reminiscent of the original prosciutto and melon. I fried the prosciutto until crispy, before infusing it in milk and heavy cream mixture overnight. The resulting liquid end up making a delicious sweet, salty, and bacon-esque eggy ice cream. I didn't want to put actual prosciutto pieces in the dessert, since those slivers of salty goodness can overpower all the other subtle flavors at work. Unfortunately, I'm still waiting for really amazing honeydew melon to pop up at the market before making it part of the dessert repertoire. Now everyone in the kitchen are offering me scraps chicken skin and pork blood and challenging me to make ice cream with them. Take note future pastry chefs, savory cooks will do this quite often. Sigh.

in the kitchen x rhubarb, yay or nay

We're in the midst of rhubarb season and I'm ready to call it quits. Sure, it's got great acidity, but so do lemons. Otherwise, I can't seem to get on the rhubarb fan bandwagon. I have been known to call it the pink celery (my lack of enthusiasm regarding celery is quite known at work). My feelings are neither love or hate, just meh, which is how it becomes when you overcook it. I decided to update one of my menu dessert staples with some rhubarb, since it is in season. Sometimes, playing with an ingredient is enough to get you started. Now, I currently have it as a garnish and sorbet in the restaurant and a whole week of rhubarb & strawberry crumble piping hot and bubbly with a side of luscious whipped cream coming next week at the cafe. I'm easily won over. DSC_1680




in the kitchen x grapefruit, green tea, yogurt

Now that we're nearing the end of winter, brainstorming for Spring desserts have become my biggest priority. When thinking of a new seasonal menu, I never think of flavors together, but rather ways in which to highlight an ingredient. My idea was to play around with citrus, a bridge between winter and spring. What better way than to make a fruit curd. Popular curd flavors include lemon, lime, and orange. My favorite flavor of curd happens to be grapefruit. I love how the bitter grapefruit is tamed with the addition of eggs, sugar, and butter. The biggest surprise of this dessert happens to be the crumble. It is a basic green tea crumble, but it's the flavors that are added after that makes it come alive. This entire dessert brings about flavors and ideas people are familiar with, such as curd or a crumble, but it is the way it has been treated that makes the familiar new. My first attempt at plating. Featuring a green tea crumble, greek yogurt sorbet, and my flexi grapefruit curd.

This one is a keeper! It's a basic crumble with matcha powder. After it is baked and cooled, I add lime zest, lime juice, toasted pistachios, and salt. Tart, sweet, salty, nutty, and bitter.

Mise en place. Grapefruit curd, apricot gel, green tea crumble, and extra matcha powder to dust on top.

The second version with apricot gel.

The final plated version. I admit I had a little too much fun with the grapefruit curd. But I think this highlights the best aspect of the curd in a set form, as oppose to a spreadable mixture.

One last look!