Eating My Words

Recent Posts

Private Chef Service: Photos 2015

Private Chef Service: Photos 2015

Private Chef Service: Photos 2015 This past summer I made my first foray into the world of private chef services. Until this summer, I had prepared an occasional private event, usually for good customers of the restaurants I was involved with, or for friends. But […]

Spicy & Aromatic Crab Curry

Spicy & Aromatic Crab Curry

Spicy & Aromatic Crab Curry Lately, I have been working with my friend and fellow chef Jay Jadeja to develop recipes and menus for his new restaurant, West East Bistro, in Oakdale, New York. He plans to open the doors in February 2016 and he […]

Grilling at Home with Bincho-tan

Grilling at Home with Bincho-tan

Everyone loves food that is cooked on a grill and for a lot of people who might not otherwise cook, grilling food can be a cathartic experience. Over the last few years, there have been a lot more options available to home cooks such as the Big Green Egg and the Kamado grill. These are great machines that can be used in a lot of different ways to achieve a lot of different cooking outcomes. (more…)

Private Chef Services

Private Chef Services

PRIVATE CHEF SERVICES This past summer I made my first foray into the world of private chef services. Until this summer, I had prepared an occasional private event, usually for good customers of the restaurants I was involved with, or for friends. But I have […]

My Thanksgiving Recipes in Newsday

My Thanksgiving Recipes in Newsday

My Thanksgiving Recipes in Newsday Today in Newsday, my friend Erica Marcus wrote their annual Thanksgiving story and I provided the recipes for the article. The recipes were developed before the photo shoot and they were revised and refined as we shot the dishes. What […]

Food Photos from the Summer 2015

Food Photos from the Summer 2015

Click below link to view my shared Lightroom collection:
http://adobe.ly/1S0oToN

Bay Scallop Season is Back

Bay Scallop Season is Back

Atlantic Bay Scallop Season is Here The first Monday of November is a day I always look forward to, but this hasn’t always been the case. The Atlantic bay scallop season begins on that day and over the years it has been a rollercoaster ride […]

Chick-fil-A hits Long Island

Chick-fil-A hits Long Island

Chick-fil-A, the Atlanta-based fast-food chain that specializes in fried chicken sandwiches and nuggets, recently opened in Port Jefferson, NY. The chain enjoys a large and dedicated following that loves the reasonably priced offerings on the menu. The quality of those offerings is another thing to […]

Burgers and The Food Lab Cookbook

Burgers and The Food Lab Cookbook

I have been reading through an excellent new cookbook called “The Food Lab” by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt. First of all, if you like to cook, buy the book. Kenji does a great job of demystifying the process on a number of levels and his book is also fun to read and easy to follow. The recipes are very well-tested and explained and the photography really helps with the explanatory process. As a working chef who has spent over 30 years in restaurant kitchens, I can also attest to the deliciousness of the recipes.

Lately, I have been reading through his discussion of burgers and the logic behind cooking them well. He does a great job of nailing the “smash” burger technique and his “pub-style” burger discussion is also excellent. If you read them and follow his lead you will be cooking outstanding hamburgers at home (pay special attention to his discussion of beef at the beginning of the section).

Back in 2008, when I was the executive chef of the 1770 House and cittanuova in East Hampton, NY, we decided to overhaul our burger operations at both restaurants. The first move was to come up with a better beef blend for the burgers. We had always used ground chuck that typically was eighty percent lean and twenty percent fat (80/20) and we had a pretty solid burger. But I wanted something more indulgent. I approached my friends at Main Street Meats in Farmingdale, NY about the project and after testing a lot of blends we came up with one that used beef chuck as the base and we added brisket, flap meat, and aged rib cap to finish it. The flavor was great, but the texture was not what I was looking for. We tried a grind that was coarser and we finally had our blend. The coarser grind allowed the fat to melt more slowly and gave the burger a better chew. And it was very indulgent.

My burger, originally designed for the 1770 House
My burger, originally designed for the 1770 House. Note the coarse grind of the meat.
Seasoned burger, originally designed for the 1770 House in East Hampton, NY.
Seasoned burger is ready to be smashed and griddled. Use plenty of salt and pepper.

From the standpoint of technique, the burger was already cooked using the “smash” method on a griddle but it was an eight ounce burger, closer to what Kenji refers to in his book as a “pub-style” burger. So the burger I developed for the restaurants was a mash-up of the two styles of burgers he discusses in The Food Lab. Check out my photos (from 2009 I think) and buy Kenji’s cookbook. It’s all good fun.

Toasted burger bun
Toasted burger bun is first buttered
Seasoned burger, on the griddle.
Seasoned burger, on the griddle, after the smash.
On the griddle. Designed originally for the 1770 House in East Hampton, NY. Typically between 75/25 and 80/20, ground chuck, brisket, aged rib cap.
On the griddle and after the flip. Typically between 75/25 and 80/20, ground chuck, brisket, aged rib cap and flap meat.

copyright 2015 Kevin Penner

Summer Food 2015 in Pictures

Summer Food 2015 in Pictures

Here is a photo recollection of the things I cooked this summer and some photos of local foods as well–the things I get to cook. Copyright 2015 Kevin Penner