Archive for the Jayne S. Cole Category

“Hawaii 2.0 – Chef’s Little Secret” by JSC

Posted in Jayne S. Cole on July 16, 2009 by houndstoothnyc

IMG_1681Before the big party took place in Hawaii, Chef Bentley gave an impromptu cooking class and served dinner to a small group of locals who wanted to learn how to serve restaurant quality dishes at home.

Sticking to a simple menu, he made figs topped with gorgonzola and prosciutto, tuna tartare on a bed of miso glazed eggplant and braised short ribs on a warm salad of double smoked bacon, apples, potatoes and sunchokes.

While it may sound complicated, any chef knows the secret is to get things started early in the day. This makes prepping much easier and everything a little less overwhelming.

Just before dinner was served, the figs were sliced in half and topped with gorgonzola, which was all wrapped in proscuitto. After sitting under the broiler for a few minutes, the cheese was melted and the proscuitto deliciously crispy.

The tuna got a quick rough chop and the eggplant cooked over a low heat with miso paste. The miso seasoning, in addition with some fresh herbs added at the end gave the tartare a fresh, rounded flavor and the textures of tuna and eggplant complimented each other nicely.

After their long braise, the short ribs almost melted in the mouth while the acidity of the red wine reduction drizzled over them complimented the fattiness of the ribs.

All the dishes were successful and everyone left pleased with the quality and simplicity of the summer menu!

“Spam-tastic!” by JSC

Posted in Jayne S. Cole on July 15, 2009 by houndstoothnyc

IMG_1652Being a “chef’s helper” definitely has it’s perks as I’ve gotten to travel with Chef Bentley for a Forth of July party here in Hawaii. However, I quickly learned the hard way that being part of an entourage sometimes isn’t all it’s cracked up to be!
Like something out of a Top Chef challenge, our first task was to hit the Kailua farmer’s market almost immediately after stepping off the plane. We had to pick up fresh fruits and vegetables for the 100-person party and after an 8-hour flight from Mexico this wasn’t as easy as it should have been. However, when traveling it’s always fun to see what the local farmer’s market has in stock.
Hawaii doesn’t offer the extensive produce that one finds on the mainland (I think possibly because of the more limited tropical climate here) but we did find gorgeous papaya and obviously lots of pineapple, mango and herbs such as basil and mint.
Since this is my second visit here, I knew that it was essential to my sanity to find these amazing creations called spam musubi. Offered in pretty much any deli, they’re composed of a slice of spam and a block of rice wrapped in nori (dried seaweed), sort of resembling sushi. I admit, I was highly skeptical before trying one (all I could think of were the stacks of spam in cans gathering dust on grocery shelves) but was immediately a musubi convert after my first bite.
Served hot, the spam is typically cooked in teriyaki sauce, which mirrors the sea saltiness of the nori wrapped around it. Depending on where you get it, a light splash of soy sauce is also added to the rice for a greater depth of flavor. No matter how great your fear of spam may be, I highly recommend this local treat for anyone that makes the trip over to Hawaii.

“Is this Really Mexico?” by JSC

Posted in Jayne S. Cole on July 11, 2009 by houndstoothnyc

IMG_1582Before jetting off to Hawaii, I got to sample another of Chef Bentley’s dishes – hand rolled farfalle with pork meatballs, tomato marinara sauce and fresh basil.
Hand-made pasta is always such a treat and this was definitely no exception. Whether it was the lack of freezer burn or just the love that goes into making things by hand, the farfalle was light as air and had a faint buttery taste to it.
On the other hand, the pork meatballs added a great heartiness to the dish. Made with the usual suspects (breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, eggs, onions and fresh herbs) along with ground pork, Chef Bentley chose to make them smaller in size (a little bigger than marbles) than the huge meatballs I’m use to. This made the dish on the whole seem more manageable for a small person like me and afterwards I didn’t fall into a deep food coma.
Last but certainly not least, the tomato marinara sauce was glorious in its simplicity. I almost didn’t want to believe that it was nothing more than a combination of crushed tomatoes, olive oil and parsley. After coming across many marinara sauces embellished with unnecessary ingredients, it was a nice change of pace.

“Ohhhhh Mexico” by JSC

Posted in Jayne S. Cole on July 9, 2009 by houndstoothnyc

tulum_mexico__best_beach_for_kite_board_surfing__and_lessonTulum, Mexico – warm sun, cool ocean breezes and a bustling culinary feast for the financially sound traveler.
I spent three nights here in Tulum in the care of virtually unknown mastermind chef Paul Bentley at a local resort where he presides over the kitchen. The restaurant, Que Fresco. The food, que bueno! Paul has created a menu of both locally inspired dishes (i.e tacos maya – a combination of spicy Achiote marinated fish and shrimp) and dishes inspired by his travels around the globe. Most are perfect for wandering travelers that frequent the area looking for elegant, rustic food that fills stomachs but doesn’t empty wallets. He offers classics like eggs benedict and fish and chips to refined versions of pizza and pasta dishes.
Making use of the wood-fired pizza oven on premises, Chef Bentley is able to create delicious thin-crusted pizza that I often miss when leaving the NYC area. I sampled a white pizza with tallegio cheese, field mushrooms and black truffle oil. Being a white pizza, I expected it to be on the lighter side lacking the robustness tomatoes usually provide but was surprised with the depth of flavor both the cheese and mushrooms created.
The tallegio cheese is a soft Italian cheese reminiscent of French Brie or Camembert varieties that gives the pizza a deep creamy, earthy flavor. On top of the cheese, Chef Bentley scatters a mixture of field mushrooms and sets the pizza in the large wood-fired oven. The result is a complimentary assortment of bubbling, smokey cheese and caramelized mushrooms topped with fresh parsley and white truffle oil, which round out the dish.
Hasta Luego!

“Heeerrrrre’sssss Jayney!” by Jayne Sully Cole

Posted in Jayne S. Cole on July 8, 2009 by houndstoothnyc

IMG_1469For me, food has always been a large part of my life. I was raised a vegetarian and from a very young age my parents instilled a deep love of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. Although I’ve since crossed over to being a carnivore, I still spend many nights with my mom in the kitchen singing, dancing and making wholesome vegetarian meals together.
Unfortunately, growing up in the pressure-cooker that is Westchester County in upstate New York, being involved with food professionally wasn’t really an option for me. I went to a private high school where I was pushed towards excelling in subjects I hated and wound up at a major university where I was unhappy because I felt like I never fit in. I was doing miserably in all my classes and I couldn’t understand why I absolutely hated being a student of liberal arts.
Then one summer, I got the chance to work as a daytime reservationist at Suba restaurant where I learned the ins and outs of restaurant life. Although I was doing menial secretary work (answering phones, taking reservations, keeping track of invoices, etc.) I loved working in a restaurant. Everyday a new challenge presented itself, which always kept me on my toes and for the first time, I woke up every morning excited to start the day rather than wishing I never woke up.
From that point on, I finally felt like I’d found my place amongst people from all over the world, who all shared a love for food. It was as if everything suddenly made sense and I no longer felt like an outsider. Since working at Suba, I’ve worked in different positions from hostess to office manager trying to absorb as much as I can about all aspects of restaurants. I’ve since started a restaurant consulting business based in Mexico with chef Paul Bentley that allows me to travel throughout Mexico and other parts of the world. I hope to bring my love of food and travel to all of you houndstoothny readers!