It's Rough Being an Alaskan

It's Rough Being an Alaskan
King Crab stock with Kaffir Lime & Coriander for Thai Bisque

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Always be Thankful for your Dishwashers

It's Sunday: clean-up day! And, it's my least favorite day to work. Sometimes we get it off, most often not. My husband and I start off our day with a big hearty breakfast, heavy on protein and carbs. This morning we had hash browns, pan-seared lamb sirloin with garlic and rosemary, over-easy eggs for him and pan-fried rockfish glistening with fresh lemon, sauteed mustard greens and sprigs of cilantro for me. We don't normally eat such heavy fare for breakfast, but I had to use them up before the proteins went bad! I snarfed down a crispy Braeburn apple, so I didn't feel so guilty. And, after watching some trashy television, swilling down a few mugs of coffee, off to work we go.

Not one, two but three of our vans are usually full of dirty dishes after a busy Saturday and loaded to the brim for our dishwasher's hard-working hands. Some people think catering is exciting, some think it's easy, but not really. Off-site catering (what we specialize in) is an immense amount of physical labor from days of prep in the kitchen to our caterers hauling vans of equipment to location and then back again. The glue that holds it all together (besides me barking at them of course) are the dishwashers who clean, load, fold laundry, sweep, mop, wipe, scrub, chop, and the list goes on. Catering is not for the faint of heart.
I get irritated with TV shows that promote culinary positions like it's some sort of glamorous career. It's physically exhausting, stressful and packed with long days standing on your feet, sweating. Some chefs I know have feet issues, cracked dry hands, tempers, weight issues, knife scars, burn marks and are severly over-worked. Oh dear, this is starting to sound scary! But of course, most chefs and bakers I know do it for the deep love, drive and passion of their trade. I really mean it!
Today is Joey's birthday one of our newer dishwashers--so of course, we bought him a case of the nasty yet addictive Rockstar beverage, his one "true love." I'm not sure what the correlation between kitchen staff and caffeine loaded beverages are, but it happens. I'm baking Joey some lava fudge filled chocolate-raspberry cupcakes, which I'm sure will be a big hit.
After I wander around the kitchen aimlessly today pretending to work and checking my email, and my husband enlists our main guy Damon his never-ending list of projects, we will enjoy a small part of Sunday over dinner. It's funny that food is what brings us all together, every single day of our lives.
I feel like we need a Roast Chicken Moment, so that's the menu for tonight with my one "true love," mashed potatoes with rich chicken jus gravy. I would probably choose mashed potatoes and gravy as my last meal on earth. Creamy, earthy, garlicky--as the Barefoot Contessa likes to say, "it doesn't get better than this!"

Restaurant Style Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Serves 4
2 Pounds Red Potatoes

Chop potatoes in medium dice with skin-on and place in heavy-bottom pot. Fill with cold water until just covered and add 2 tsp. kosher salt. I like the taste of the skins, but you can peel them if you desire. Bring to boil, stirring here and there and cook until the potatoes are extremely soft. Drain potatoes thoroughly and then put the pot back on the stove, cook for 2 minutes on very low heat until all the excess water is absorbed from bottom of pan.
Using your hand masher or ricer, mash the potatoes until they are super smooth and creamy.
Add in:
1/4 cup peeled garlic cloves roasted with 1/2 cup olive oil and sprig of thyme
(30 min in oven in small dish until soft and tender), drained and pureed until smooth. Save the garlic oil for making salad dressings, cooking steaks, brushing on bread, etc.
Pour in:
1 cup Heavy Cream heated until scalding with 6 tbs. Butter
Stir until absorbed and silky. Season to taste with fresh ground Pepper and Salt. For a little freshness add in 1 tbs. chopped chives or parsley.
If you are trying to be healthy or low-fat, don't bother even using this recipe and substituting items: it's not the same! I would recommend just enjoying some oven roasted potatoes instead.

Our very silly prep-cook, utility and do-it-all guy, Damon Kay
His shirt motto "It's funny how you think I'm listening!"

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