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Author Archive: "Kenny Shopsin"

Odd Menu Items

New menu item today, suggested by my neighbor the cheesemonger, and named after an infamous Rolling Stones movie: suceur de bite blues — elongated blueberry pancakes rolled around pork sausages. Let's see if anyone gets the joke.

Over the years, we have put numerous odd menu items on. All have been ordered, and some became permanent. Salad with John blue cheese (Belushi) dressing; Rodney — well-beaten eggs, a la king, on a club roll; Bobby Orr — eggs cooked in a ring form and browned so they resemble hockey pucks; sillycybin — wild mushroom cream over poached eggs; Twain — huckleberry finnish crepes; postmodern pancakes — pancakes stuffed with pancakes; hobo stew — carrot ends, discarded vegetable parts, and some meat bones in a weak broth, served in an old Savarin coffee can with no lid.

Lewd remarks about big zucchinis, pornographic food arrangements, snide remarks about customers' looks, horrible mean comments about fellow workers, repeating odd or horrible news stories; all happen at the same time everything else is running full speed.


The Kitchen Dance

In Zack's words, "I got Mexican herpes." He was cutting habaneros and the spray from the peppers irritated his eyes, so he rubbed them. He danced around a while and it got better. Later on that day, he shook a very hot sauté and it flared up and burnt my eyebrows. When the stove has all burners blazing, handles sometimes get red hot — if you pick them up, you can hear your hand sizzle; but do not drop it or you lose the food.

Believe it or not, these are sources of happy diversion. The "kitchen dance" has people constantly bumping into each other, focused on their individual and shared cooking tasks. When it runs well, it is a joy; when it runs badly, well, it is still a joy.

Someone ordered a yin/yang soup with a rice I never heard of (cream of garlic). I am sure I knew what it was when I thought of it, but that was a long time ago. On a hot griddle, I put clarified butter, bread crumbs, and crushed ...


Constructing Food Synergistically

Very busy on Tuesday. A customer (Jack) with whom we have had good relations, jumped right in and helped wait on tables. It is nice when stress produces new depth in a relationship. Zack and I cooked together better than ever before. We cooked like Huey, Dewey, and Louie talk. Constructing food synergistically. Fun.

Sold two Jamaican oxtail breakfast plates and 2 state fairs (corn dog andouille, southern fried eggs, s'mores pancakes). It seems difficult to think of a combination that is too outré. Made two cheese bowls — took too long, but came out nice; maybe use a dry cheese to speed up the process.

Mara says I need to be funnier on this blog; but today I feel like the dustpan in her cartoon, which has meanings upon meanings upon...


Cuchifrito

Cuchifrito means "small fried things" in Spanish. Usually it consists of the less desirable parts of the pig (ears, nose, etc.). I have had it as a menu section title for a while, but I think most of my customers do not know what it announces. We fry up lots of stuff (onions, okra, pickles, mac'n cheese, eggplant, peas, haricot vert, zucchini, shrimp, chicken), but they are not as popular as they should be. Up until now this has been fine because we never learned how to cook them really well. But Mara figured it out — dip frozen sliced okra in hot water for a bit. Drain and put it in a bowl of bread crumbs, add half an egg, and mix; put the mixture in another bowl and coat the exposed okra with flour. Pan fry in peanut oil. Serve with "come-back-sauce" (Russian, clarified butter, capers, Frank's hot sauce). So I am changing the name to kuchi-koo in the hopes that people will know they have figured out what each item is. In the next couple of days I ...


Cheese Bowls and Salami

Elliot the dentist reminded me of Jewish salami and eggs. Take some slices of Hebrew National salami in a lightly buttered (clarified) egg pan; heat on medium until the salami forms convex domes; add mixed-up eggs. Cooking on the same medium light, move the eggs slightly until you can peek under them and see that they have lightly browned. Flip them, cook till you are happy, and serve with rye toast.

Ate Cuban yesterday with my sons and got an order of mussels over what tasted like fried cheese. We also had corn on the cob with a mayo-manchengo dressing. I thought to griddle flattened jack cheese on both sides and then, while pliable, jam it between two bowls to shape it into a cheese bowl. I will steam some frozen corn, mix it with butter, jalapeno relish, and either eggs or chorizo and serve it in the cheese bowl.

Ground up a cooked pastrami through a rough head, spiced it with cumin, etc., to make pastrami chili.


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