Like some of you, I’ve been cooking my way through MICHAEL’S GENUINE FOOD in my kitchen at home. I tend to cook in a spontaneous style, but a fortunate result of it being my job to embrace this cookbook – from its development to promotion – is my embracing recipe use in general. Recipes can be a great tool for even the most (over-) confident of cooks to learn new techniques. Here’s my successful first attempt at roasting a chicken (yes, it’s so embarrassing, but I’ll admit it) which I posted this weekend on my blog, Kitchen Interviews. Michael’s technique nixes the roasting pan for a small 9-inch saute. The chicken was so good, and more importantly, easy, that I made it again the following night for my mom and brother. I added the toasted bread drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar, a touch inspired by my visit with Chef to Zuni Cafe, home of another famous whole roasted chicken, in San Francisco earlier this month. You can’t keep a cook from improvising!
Sometimes the best ingredients aren’t produced locally, like in the case of great olive oil.
We use a lot of olive oil at MGFD. We cook with it, and, with an Italian sensibility, we finish dishes like Burrata with generous drizzles. We insist on finishing with oil that has great flavor; used raw for that last layer of seasoning, it needs to be of higher quality than one you heat as a cooking agent.
For finishing, you want a first cold press extra-virgin olive oil straight from the source. Traceability of a product made in Italy is especially important, and you must know and trust your source to ensure what’s in the bottle is what it says on the label. In Miami, we’re fortunate to have a family-owned company producing and importing some of the best olive oil sold commercially, Lucini Italia. CEO Renee Frigo Graeff has just assumed the post as our local convivium leader at Slow Food, the international non-profit organization with Italian roots and now firmly rooted in cities across America in defense of good, clean and fair food.
We began purchasing Lucini Italia Organic Limited Reserve Extra Virgin Olive Oil, its premium pick and press, a couple of months ago for the restaurant and wanted to share a little with you about the company — who they are and how they make the product. This is always the most important step for us in our relationships with suppliers. And who better to do so than the ultimate conduit, a native South Floridian who just returned from three years living in Roma and married an Italian chef with family olive groves. Take it away, Ellie.
Of Adriana Duran, MGFD executive pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith writes:
-She’s a team player and unlike other positions, she is able to step in and help the line with any task thrown at her.
-Her enthusiasm is contagious.
-She’s meticulous, which is an essential baking ingredient ; )
Like Hedy, we’re so thrilled to have Adriana as our Grand Cayman restaurant pastry chef. As you can see, she’s been doing great work for the past year, and it is about time we learned a little more about her here on the blog, Please enjoy her questionnaire responses, below (pastry eye candy included!)
Sun, sand, and clear blue waves again meet great food and drink on Florida’s northern Gulf coast. Last April, Michael was hosted by Colleen Duffley, photographer and owner of Studio b. in Alys Beach, for a weekend of fun including fishing for cobia, mackerel, and kingfish, and a dinner for 20 as part of Destin’s 2010 Wine & Dine in Paradise event. Michael had so much fun that he’s going back over the Memorial Day holiday with a fresh line-up of activities featuring more locally-sourced ingredients (cue the Grayton Beer) — and bringing his family along for the ride. Studio b.’s creative venue brings together authors, artists, musicians, and chefs to create unique events and experiences for guests. Tickets are limited, but click the flyer below to purchase!
Saturdays and Sundays start early for Pete Morales, one of our line cooks in Miami who runs a weekend taco stand at the Yellow Green Farmers Market in Hollywood, FL. You won’t encounter many farmers in the surrounding booths, but last weekend I found Pete and his girlfriend Silvana working hard and churning out some good food and drink, including breakfast and lunch tacos, quesadillas, and ice cold canned and bottled drinks like fruit juices (without corn syrup, a sign proclaims), and ethnic sodas including Jarritos and Mexican Cokes.