It’s the start of spring – we’re flipping between sunny, warm and hail and snow. It’s a confusing time of year for clothing and it’s these days that I get really excited about the coming season of food (yes, I am that obsessed).
As we’ve gained more friends who work within food and it’s related professions, it’s been exciting to hear of a lot of them trying new menus for their restaurants, experimenting with new dishes and preparing for the coming seasons of plenty that will change the fresh flavors available to those of us who have come through a long, cold winter.
It’s been fun brainstorming food with a few chef/ restaurant owners. What will be ‘hot’ this season, what will people want to eat and what should one stay away from? I have to admit that hearing all of this talk about restaurants, menu design and seasonal cooking got me a little envious. I felt like I was missing out on some sort of perverse fun…
So I’ve decided to join the fray.
We’re not opening a restaurant. But I am going to start developing my menu – with no plans to implement in an actual restaurant.
I want to stay as local is practical and am going to try to develop it with similar constraints to a professional kitchen – conscious of price, waste, effort vs. payoff and ability to reproduce reliably. We’ll also include our own passions of local, seasonal, sustainable (and sometimes all 3) and incorporate preserved ingredients at the same time.
As part of this project I have also decided to start from scratch. I’m not going to old favourites – it’s a complete blank slate and a new start. I want to use some ingredients I’ve never used before and others I haven’t explored in a long time.
I am also going to take the luxury of taking as long as I need to develop the menu. It might take weeks but it could take months or years. I’m not trying to simulate the experience of a chef – nearly build skills that I would be proud enough to place on a menu and offer to paying strangers. We’ll share our progress as we experiment.
I have the basis of a few recipe ideas floating inside my head that I simply have to try. I know that there is a slow-braised rabbit ravioli that is an absolute must (something that can be made in advance and will keep well and cook quick on final prep) and am pretty excited to get working on it. This dish came to me in my sleep which somewhat concerns me because the last thing I dreamed up (beef jerky infused vodka) was less than fantastic. There is also some form of risotto, likely with mushrooms (and a stash of mushroom powder to give it extra ooompf). Wild moose and deer are off the menu as I couldn’t legally sell them in Ontario (nor get the quantities needed).
What would be on your menu? Anyone want to play along?