Mary's blog and Sharon's chalkboard features - March 31, 2017
And, another fine week it has been. The weather has been very accommodating, other than the last few rainy days, to walking the pups over hill and dale. They are working toward their “summer” fitness as the winter months are limiting as to how far we can travel. Both, Niki at 12 and Pico at 11, are still agile and anxious to get on the road at anytime. Garden flowers are abundant and I have already cut chives and tender parsley to add to whatever I’m cooking at the time. Lately, the garlic sprouts flavored a homemade garbanzo bean burger. And, I’m watching rhubarb grow by the day. The deer, now back in full force, didn’t munch on anything, thanks to the thin mesh netting that is wrapped over whatever can be in the fall. Although bulbs are just poking up I still have spring flowers – beautiful and delicate Snow Drops and lovely Lenten Roses. How nice to see some blooms.
The Knights of Columbus celebrated their 135th anniversary of their founding on Wednesday. It, K of C, is named after Christopher Columbus who brought the Catholic faith to the New World. Over the years the Knights have donated more than 1.5 billion to charity, over half of that to developmentally disabled persons, given countless hours of humanitarian service and donated nearly 50 thousand pints of blood. Let us all and always remember that It is in Giving that we Receive. It doesn’t matter how much or why. It is not only personally gratifying but makes for a better world –
Many of you tell me how much fun it is to watch the kitchen as you enjoy the fruits of their labor, your meals. Sharon and I are the “head hancho” chefs of the bistro. The buck stops with us. Ultimately, good or bad, we’re responsible for it. So we work closely together on menus and operations. She and sous chef, Greg Brown, handle the day-to-day running of a very busy kitchen. Then there are the grill, sauté and pantry cooks who work the “line.” With an open kitchen, such as ours, they become actors on a stage. The stage, their stations, must be stocked to the max before the curtain is raised. The line takes hours to get ready for business and is continually re-stocked during the course of a day.
The pantry is where all the cold food, salads, appetizers and sandwiches come from. Oh, don’t forget the desserts too. This station is tiny and organization is imperative. Next to pantry is the sauté section. Hot entrees are prepared here. The word sauté means to cook quickly in a handled shallow pan with the appropriate cooking medium, which may be clarified butter, olive or other oil. Sauté has always been my favorite because it requires precise plate presentation which I love. You can’t just plop food on a plate. There is a bit of artist in all of my cooks. From the grill area come burgers, hot sandwiches, and fried items. This is not an easy spot to work. The grill is big enough for 30 burgers and buns. It is always full and, since we cook our burgers “to order” the person in this spot may have five or six different temperatures to determine at any given time. i.e. well, medium well, medium, medium rare, etc. And, then there are the two fryers that are full of fries, wings, calamari and fish and chips and a char-grill for the steaks and chops that he or she is also responsible for .
Before any stations can be stocked the food must be prepped. Each item has it’s beginnings in the “back” kitchen. Just for an example the Caesar salad requires the following: order all ingredients, wash and cut romaine, grate fresh parmesan, make the Caesar dressing (an original recipe from 7 mile), cut and bake croutons, and finally, stock the pantry station with all of the above. This process is followed for everything on our menu including the Chalk Board Features everyday.
On top of all this preparatory work are all the pots, pans, dishes and utensils that come with it. Our dishwashers are the best and an important part of the operation.
The next time you’re watching the line cooks know that each of them is adept at every station. They are all “rounds men” meaning that their trained to work anywhere they are needed that particular shift. Their job requires that they’re agile, can “dance” around each other and are able to keep their cool during some very intense times. What a great profession! Sharon and I count our blessing to have such a great staff – front and back. Thanks for making us look good one and all!
Enjoy the show!
Chalkboard Features are awesome Per Se. Pacific Halibut is Pan Roasted and Presented with Carrot & Potato Mashers and a toss of Radish-Micro Greens; A 14 Oz. NY Strip is Grilled and Served with a Cauliflower, Broccoli and Cheddar Gratin and DJB ZIP Sauce; Baked Rainbow Trout is Accompanied with Artichoke Risotto, Boursin Butter and Blood Orange Salad and for our Veggies a Spinach, Leek, Tomato and Fresh Mozzarella Frittata Made with Organic Michigan Eggs, Topped with Lemon Arugula and Crispy Shoestring Potatoes. YUM!!!
We wish you Many Million Dollar Days!!
See you at the Bistro!
Xxoo, Mary, Niki, Picasso, Z and Pico