Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happy Holidays

As we rapidly approach a new 2011 year, I want to wish everyone a very happy and prosperous 2011. May the food scene in Sacramento get even better and may you all get to enjoy it!


Stay tuned for our film release in March, until then here is a short trailer!


Watch for our new website launching January 1, 2011~

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving; Sous Vide Turkey part 2

Thanksgiving; Sous Vide Turkey Part 2

Ok, so the first day of Thanksgiving has come to a wrap. A pretty easy going day, finished by a little crab, beurre monte, and Rombauer.

I've learned that putting a lot of hard work up front makes for an easier event day, be it Thanksgiving or any other. So here is what was accomplished with the Turkey.

Sous Vide Turkey, part 2.

So first off, meet the Turkey. A small bird, about 15 lbs, but really beautiful Brannigan Turkey acquired from John Paul Khoury of Preferred Meats.

Of course, mise en place. This is the standard mirepoix for the Turkey stock that will be ready to go for the bones.

Leg/Thigh portions separated, breasts, wing, and back broken down. Ready to proceed.

Above is the curing mix for the legs. As you can see, I have cured the legs below. They will stay like this until the morning, about 12-16 hours. At that time, I will post further photos.

Next up the brine. Here is the brine, ready for the bird. The breasts will brine about 6 hours, because they are thin and will be fully penetrated by the salt within that time frame. (See the ice cubes? Liquid is cold!)

Below is the browning of the bones. Fry them in very hot oil until nicely browned on both sides, transfer them to a pot. Work in batches. Then fry up all your mirepoix in the same pan. Add the mirepoix to the stockpot, then deglaze the frying pan with white wine, scraping all the browned pieces and reduce. Add that to the stockpot. Add water, garlic and herbs. Simmer 2.5 hours, then strain.

I did not skim and skim this stock away. I left it clouded and filled with fat because it will be used to make the gravy and to flavor the stuffing. So it will be better this way!

Tomorrow... I will post the photos of the turkey being bagged, compressed and cooked sous vide.

I will finish with a photo of the dinner we enjoyed! Nothing like the Holidays with Family! Until tomorrow... Cheers!

Thanksgiving part 1

Who knew this year would fly by so fast? Most people are still trying to grasp the fact that Thanksgiving is now 2 days away while frantically searching for family recipes. This year I have decided to take a "modern" approach to cooking the turkey.

Many people dread roasting the whole bird, aiming to get the perfect color and equal doneness of both the light and dark meat. It is impossible to do. So, I have decided to approach the bird as I would any other protien, and cook it in such a way as to maximize the qualities of each cut.

Sous Vide turkey for Thanksgiving!

The first step requires an amazing bird. Nothing but the best, a Brannigan Turkey. Remove the breasts with skin on, and the leg and thigh pieces with skin also on.

Debone the legs and thighs. For the breast, I brine in the following solution;

~ 7 cups ice water
~ 1/2 cup salt
~ 1/4 cup honey
~ 1/4 cup brown sugar
~ 1 cup apple cider
~ 6 bay leaves
~ 1 bunch thyme
~ 1 bunch sage, chopped
~ 2 Tablespoons black peppercorns
~ 1 green apple diced
~ 2 cinnamon sticks
~ 1 tablespoon candied ginger
~ zest and juice of 1 meyer lemon

Bring 1 cup water and 1 cup cider to boil with all ingredients. Once salt and sugar are dissolved, pout into a bowl and add remaining 6 cups of ice water to chill. Make sure this is ice cold, then add the breasts and brine in the refrigerator for 6 hours.

I find the above trick with ice water is the way to instant brining and not having to cool overnight prior to using.

I then place the breasts in a bag with 1 stick of butter, 2 tablspoons of maple syrup, a splash of bourbon that has been cooked, garlic, sage and thyme. Cook 3.5 hours sous vide at 144 degrees.

For the legs, I dry cure in the following recipe;

~ 1/2 cup salt (1/2 kosher and 1/2 pink curing salt)
~ 1/2 cup sugar (1/2 brown sugar and 1/2 white sugar)
~ 2 Tablspoons chopped thyme
~ 2 tablspoons chopped sage
~ 2 tablespoons peppercorns
~ 3 bay leaves crumbled
~ dash of all spice, cinnamon, nutmeg

Rub the legs and thighs with the mix and place in the refrigerator on a sheet tray overnight, at least 12 hours. Rinse, then add to a sous vide bag and compress with 1 stick butter, 1 cup olive oil, sage and garlic. Cook 12 hours at 174 degrees.

For the carcass, I make an amazing turkey stock. Start by chopping into smaller pieces of 4" or less, frying until very dark, adding mirepoix, apples, sage, thyme, deglazing with white wine, apple cider. Then transfer to a stockpot and simmer for 2.5 hours. Strain and reserve. Use this for your stuffing and gravy!

When the turkey is done cooking, I simply will remove the pieces from the bag, dry them off, place them under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp up the skin and my Turkey will be served!

Of course, no big grand entrance of the bird, but I will be able to drink a lot more and worry much less on Turkey day!

Cheers... photos coming as I take them! Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Epicure and Discoveries in Wine

People have been asking me continuously, "what is this event?" Well here I will sum up our goals and ideas which brought this collaboration into action. Anani Lawson, Sommelier at The French Laundry and myself both started conversation back in December. The talks were regarding the possibility of collaborating to share some food and wine knowledge, better yet to share a fabulous dining experience in an approachable and comforting environment to the people of Sacramento.

We started working the details out months ago, and today, we are less than two weeks from the launch date. March 27th, Anani and I will host 18 Sacramento diners for a truly unique, fresh dining experience. Part educational, part indulgence, this event will focus on specific elements of the dining experience. From flavor profiles, modern culinary techniques, textural variations and more to finding the perfect wine and the reason behind the choice.... Wines vary greatly based on the flavors they are paired with, but why? Do you know why? Many of us do not and Anani will point out several techniques in successfully choosing wines and maximizing their value by appropriately pairing them with the correct foods.

The evening will be a culmination of modern food utilizing amazing quality ingredients and specifically chosen wines to elevate the dishes. We have established relationships with some of the most amazing local small farms to supply us with some of the specialty products. We have utilized our access to Mishima Ranch Wagyu beef, to acquire a cut of "Calotte" or cap of ribeye, which will be a real experience for most diners to taste. Foie Gras, Kurobuta Pork, and many more specialty ingredients prepared with such care will be offered.

To add to the element of surprise, we will be offering several dishes not on the stated menu. Anani will be introducing a vary wide array of wines to taste and experience and will personally walk you through each one. Anani is a very personable guy, very approachable and definately breaks the mold of the common "Sommelier". He will also be offering some amazing "surprises" through the evening.

In addition, I will be sharing cooking techniques and recipes of the nights dishes. I will happily engage anyone interested in learning the ropes of a molecular kitchen, from hyrdrocolloids to modified food starches, cooking under vacuum vs. low temperature cooking, introducing the use of machinery such as the paco jet and why it is beneficial and much more. From the most basic cooking techniques and theories to the most modern, I will be happy to entertain your conversation.

I understand that people do not know what to expect and may be considering the price as a factor in their decision of attending; We have not offered much information purposely to elevate the overall experience. For these people, I ask for your trust. I ask for your faith in our vision. We will provide you with something so extremely unique, so amazing that you will want to return; and our goal is that we do this so well that you tell everyone you know! Word of mouth advertising for us is priceless and we will clearly display our vision through these events. Trust me, this will be an amazing value for the cost.

To purchase tickets, visit

or call me directly at 916-532-7178


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sacramento Catering

Sacramento Catering

Pajo's Boutique Catering is a local Sacramento Catering company. We specialize in a boutique catering experience, providing our clients with an amazing experience every time. We are dedicated to Sacramento, and we strive to be Sacramento's Best Caterer.

Our catering services are very rare and go beyond that of traditional sacramento catering companies. Pajo's Boutique Catering is commited to excellence and has secured relationships with leading farmers and producers to acquire the most exquisite products for our clients. We offer rare cuts of the highest quality of Wagyu beef, local lamb that is stunning, fish that is as fresh as possible and never frozen, produce which is of the rarest heirloom varieties. And we are proud that the products we source are from passionate artisans who raise their products with sustainable practices in mind. The products we procure are of the highest possible quality.

We offer wine pairings from one of the industry's leading Sommeliers. Anani Lawson of ATL Consulting and Sommelier at the Nation's best rated restaruant, The French Laundry, is happy to offer his personal wine service as an exclusive collaboration with Pajo's Boutique Catering.

We are proud to offer our elite services to the community of Sacramento and its surrounding areas. We believe we are the elite Caterer in Sacramento when it comes to food service.

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Sacramento Caterer
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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Le Santuaire

This weekend I was lucky enough to visit Le Sanctuaire for the first time. Wow, is really all I can say. It was pretty amazing to witness first hand the kind of dedication these people have devoted to their business. They have taken no shortcuts and have vowed to remain true to their beliefs and only carry the highest quality ingredients. The girl helping me, name slips my mind at the moment, was the sister of the owner. She was explaining that when they started, everyone thought they were crazy for carrying such expensive and rare ingredients. Molecular was not common place in the days that they started, but now they have an amazing business.

Saffron of the highest quality, salts mined from around the globe, china handmade in berlin, rotovaps, liquid nitrogen, culinary books never before seen in the United States, single farmed risotto, handpicked specialty peppercorns - really amazing and really expensive stuff. But the highest quality is worth every penny. So I spent my many pennies indeed with the intention of sharing such fine and rare ingredients with my clients. I hope they can learn to appreciate it.