5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.
The National Restaurant Association recently announced that one in three chefs the organization surveyed named gardens as the next big restaurant trend. (Sorry, bacon - your time might be up.) If that’s the case, Rob Weland is plowing ahead of the curve.
The executive chef of Poste Moderne Brasserie in Washington D.C. grows approximately 20 percent of what the restaurant uses in the onsite courtyard garden, as well as composts about 40,000 pounds of food a year.
Let’s just say, you won’t find any semi-homemade cooking under Weland’s watch - and he paid a call to 5@5 to encourage you to do the same.
Five Favorite Things to Make from Scratch: Rob Weland
I source a lot of artisanal vinegars, but decided to start a little project and make my own - infusing them with fruits and herbs from the restaurant’s garden. My project keeps growing as the seasons change, and I love playing with the flavor profiles and making sure that nothing goes to waste in the garden.
Right now, I’ve got a few going like black heirloom raspberry, fig, heirloom apple and peach that will be infused with lavender. The process is more simple than it sounds - I start by juicing the fruit and placing in a clean vessel in a dark room, adding wine yeast and stirring it gently once a day. The process varies with each vinegar, but you can easily tell when the conversion from alcohol to vinegar starts happening. Once that happens, we strain through a coffee filter and seal in jars, keeping the vinegar in a dark room for another month or so."
2. Pickled stuff
4. Compost for my garden
5. Head cheese
"I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but we try not to waste in our kitchen. The same rule applies to animals and we serve a lot of it at our Poste Roasts - so I try to make use of it all. My head cheese is made with pig heads consisting of the meat from the cheeks, tongue, snout and trotters. Our tête de veau (calf's head) is made from our Randall Lineback rose veal, which we receive a half-side of each month.
Head cheese is made by simply simmering the head gently in a flavorful broth, then picking the meat while the head is still warm, reducing the broth and then covering the picked meat again in a terrine form. We treat the tails the same way and usually bread and fry them for the bar menu."
Got a favorite thing to make from scratch? Think homemade really is always better? Share your homemade concoctions and opinions in the comments below.
Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.
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