Halloween is here!!!
Halloween can be a tricky time of year for chefs (pun intended). The temperatures are getting colder (and rainier) and guests have parties and upcoming holiday events on their mind. This is the perfect time of year to start to adopt some cold weather cooking techniques and ingredients. Your guests will leave warm, happy, and satisfied.
Braising is the perfect cold weather cooking technique to really make the most of the season’s ingredients and colder temperatures. Give the grill a rest until spring and crank up your trusty oven. Guests will crave dishes like duck confit, fish stews and chowders, and braised short ribs. Elevate your richer heavier dishes with acidic items like pickles and freshly dressed greens and veggies.
Contrary to popular belief, a smoking technique can be applied to just about anything – not just ribs and pulled pork. Try broadening your smoking horizons this fall – to other proteins like seafood and shellfish (cough cough smoked oysters are mind blowing) and even veggies like carrots and potatoes! Those smoky flavors will warm your guests hearts and transport them to their nearest woodsy bonfire memories. Don’t have a smoker? Try adding smoked salt or pepper to your favorite dishes – that’ll do the trick!
Soups and Broths
A soup or broth added to a typical entrée can instantly take it from meh to soul warming. Instead of putting a simply seared piece of fish on a plate, why not move it to a bowl, and add a rich broth of tomato and clam… Or perhaps the entrée becomes a soup entirely. Those braised short ribs would make the perfect addition to a steaming bowl of ramen or udon. Soups can often be made in advance in large batches, are easy to heat, and can be dressed up in so many ways. Viva la sopa!
Make it spooky
This time of year is the ideal opportunity to get in touch with your inner creepy character. If there were ever a time to include bones, spatters of blood (beet puree), or eyeballs (fresh lychee) on your dishes, this is it! Black ingredients like truffle, vegetable ash, and squid ink can quickly make a serving very spooky. Despite the added eeriness, be sure to taste your food! No matter how cool it looks, there is nothing scarier than an unbalanced plate!