Tentop Presents: The Modernist with Chef Cafiero

My skepticism about modernist cuisine, so named after ‘molecular gastronomy‘ fell out of favor; is not a thing I hide. As it is with so many things, the doubts stem from ignorance, intimidation, and unabashed pig-headed stubbornness. When Chef Anthony Cafiero (AKA Tony Two Fingers) approached me about doing a tentop based on modernist techniques, my skepticism faded as I began to understand the kind of dishes he wanted to do. This wouldn’t be a masterbatorial onslaught of foams, gels, and powders; a showcase of chef-jizz that just barley resembled food. No, Tony has a real knack for applying these techniques in a very non-obnoxious way, and his infectious enthusiasm one cannot help being swept up in. And while this dinner did in fact have foams, gels, and powders; they were all used as an interesting twist on something Tony is quite good at, making food taste good. I mean, you’ve eaten at Tabla, right?

I felt those pangs of skepticism return as mid way through the first day of prep, we hadn’t actually cooked anything. We had used the blender about eight times, had done some steeping, so I guess there was some heat applied, but cooking? This wasn’t quite cooking yet. We made a curried carrot foam that would keep it’s shape for days. We made passion fruit pearls (or ‘caviar’) in a way that I would almost call easy. We made a panna cotta that was intended to be served warm. Yeah…warm panna cotta…I was digging this, I was learning things here. We brined some venison loins, and that was the closest to my comfort zone as we were going to get that day.

It wasn’t until the day of service that we started to ‘cook.’ Pork bellies were tanked for a long, slow swim in the circulator. Tombo tuna was butchered. Venison came off the brine and also went into the tank to cook sous vide. As we started to set up the mise en place for service, I started to get a sense of the full scope of what were about to do. We had five one to two bite ‘tastes’ followed by eight courses of modern tapas, 6 savory and two sweet. We had an intermission planned with aroma therapy and cocktails. We had Chris Onstad on hand to document it all in his distinct, eloquent prose. As the guests started to arrive, I knew that this was going to be a once in a lifetime dinner.

Service was a bit of a blur, I can’t lie. Each course came together as planned, but I was shocked as the colors and flavors popped the way they did, it being the middle of winter and all. We rolled through the small bites, we smoked tombo to order, Tony seared sturgeon and I finally felt heat on my arms as the fire burned hot and fast. As we plated the ‘Umami Cereal,’ I had one of those moments where I thought ‘Wow, this is my job,’ and whatever I had done to get there I silently rejoiced in. It’s crazy to watch a dinner go from a page filled with scribbles to such a visceral experience. During our short intermission, we served a cocktail called a ‘neBroni,’ where in we made a simple negroni augmented with root beer liqueur. We sealed it up in a cryovac bag and had Eric squeeze it into the glasses like an udder, pouring it over orange ice cubes. Eat your heart out Morgenthaler. The most memorable plating for me was the one pictured above, a coffee crusted venison loin with a concord grape fluid gel and beluga lentils. The venison was a succulent morsel, and I had a blast with the ‘blood spatter‘ style plating.

A play by play of this dinner would only serve to trivialize it, as it was an experience that cannot be replicated with words or otherwise. Suffice to say Chef Cafiero is cooking WAY over our heads, all the while being one of the most approachable and friendly dudes on the scene. Here’s the full menu from this amazing night. Click here to log into facebook and see the entire set of pictures.

tentop presents

the modernist with Chef Anthony Cafiero


apple & absinthe granita w/ pork powder, sangria sphere with finger lime & shiso, mushroom cream w/truffle pearls, licorice w/eucalyptus & pickled pears, apple cider w/ chorizo gel and crispy crepe

small fish

smoked tombo tuna w/lemon gel & passion fruit

big fish

sturgeon w/ celery root, red cabbage & curried carrot

small veg

warm red kuri squash panna cotta w/ teff & espilette

big veg

umami ‘cereal’ w/maitake, wheat berries, jamon broth, millet & brussel sprouts

small meat

pork belly, romesco, mushroom ‘air,’ paprika

big meat

venison tenderloin, coffee, cocoa, beluga lentils, concord grape


lemon curd, cranberry sheet, 42 second almond cake


ganache, chili, crispy soy, smoked meringue, graham struesel


Chef’s and faithful readers the world over have had a long standing obsession with ramen, and not just the instant ramen that has fed countless generations of college students the world over. This Japanese comfort food calls more and more food lovers into it’s ranks yearly, but relatively few have taken the challenge of trying to make their own.  David Chang’s expose on the topic in the first issue of Lucky Peach magazine recently has had many kitchens buzzing, and mine is no exception. I tried making his recipes verbatim soon after reading the magazine, and felt so armed to start fucking around with my own version.

The noodles for this ended up being Chang’s recipe, verbatim. I experimented with making potato noodles using potato flour; didn’t work. The noodles kept expanding then turning to mush when I went to cook them. After I had given up I was told that I should have worked in xanthan as a binder, which one day I may try.

For the broth, we did a traditional corned beef braise; wherein a beef brisket is brined for five days, then braised for four hours in a low oven. We strained off the broth, augmented it with a simple beef stock made from cows’ necks. We steeped in konbu and ground dried shiitake mushrooms, and reduced the broth by one third. The traditional seasoning for ramen broth comes from what’s called tare (tar-ay,) a rich syrupy stuff made from chicken backs, soy, mirin, sake, and bacon. We tweaked this by using hanger steak instead of the chicken backs, and smoked ham hock along with the bacon. The tare is blended into the broth right before it hits the bowl. Again, I adapted all of this from Lucky Peach, so I hope David Chang doesn’t sue me. However, I guess if he was going to, he would have already.
The idea behind this dish was to “fuse” corn beef and cabbage with ramen, and the garnishes reinforced this. We had baby carrots, roasted fingerling potatoes, raw shredded cabbage, pickled mushrooms, and a breaded and fried soft boiled egg. We made a radicchio chip that had the very similar texture and flavor to the traditional nori. The hunk of corned beef was pull apart tender, warmed through in a little bit of the ramen broth.

Overall, I was extremely happy with this dish. As my own toughest critic, I have a few critiques. Firstly, ramen should not be part of a multi-coursed dinner. Ramen IS a multi-coursed dinner. I did not have enough broth in relation to the other ingredients in the bowl because I was worried about over filling people, as is my custom. Ramen should be a huge satisfying meal unto itself, not just a stop on runaway fusion train.

It’s worth mentioning that PDX Eater did a little piece on this dish for their reoccurring Chef in the Kitchen feature. A big and warm thanks to Erin Dejesus for her great article and ongoing interest in KitchenCru, and as many thanks to the talented photographer Dina Avila for her beautiful photos. The article is cool in an of it self and all, all though I was so excited during the shoot I forgot to put the corned beef in it. The real joy of this article however, came the day after; when people started to comment. Check it out, it’s worth a good laugh.

Best Job in Portland.

Anyone who has visited me at Kitchen Cru more than likely now struggles with a deep seeded jealously. At the very least; they leave puzzled by my insistent smile, and my inability to explain what it is exactly that I do. The actual physical work includes such glorious and noble tasks as compost bin scrubbing, towel folding, and applying the occasional “How’s Your Father?” to various kitchen equipment. Truth be told, these everyday kitchen tasks seem few and far between over a forty hour week. That’s right, I said 40 hour week. Jealous yet, cooks? Did I mention vacation? Sick days? I had to look that last one up!

I remember when I was first coming up in kitchens, on the fringe of an era where Chef’s still hit their cooks. Part of the dogma back then used the term ‘Forty Hour Man’ as a dis for the uncommitted, the cooks who didn’t let “The Life’ rule their lives. Many of those early ideas have left me wanting, constantly striving to reach a balance between inside and outside, career vs. life. What I wanted from a kitchen and what I felt was “owed” them. I’ve come to realize, I have zero fucks to give for kitchen dogma. I mean sure, there are certain things to which I subscribe. I can’t deny that my personal spirituality, my ‘religion’ is balls deep in kitchen concepts, the catch phrases that repeat in my head as I stalk and hover around the kitchen. “Behind You” can mean ‘Get out of the way,’ and ‘Ive got your back’ in the same breath. Mise en place IS my religion, not to get all Bourdain on you. And if it did come down to taking sides, you know where I stand. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to spend 60-70 hour weeks breaking my back to make 35 K a year. It’s just not sustainable. That’s why I feel this kitchen was basically designed for me to run.

At Kitchen Cru no two days are the same. One day I’ll witness thousands of vegan pastries spring into existence; the sweet smells mingling with that of caramel smelling smoke from ham hocks; tight like apples. Across the kitchen a tasting at the counter sports smiles and it’s own crisp odors, and beyond, PIES!! Another day you might find a little whole animal butchery going on, a pig, lamb, or deer. And of course, yes; there is tentop. My infrequent posts to this blog are testament to my busyness with that project. I’ve gotten to cook with my baby again, too. Which has been nice, to say the least. Even taught a class with her. The event space will keep a kitchen manager busy as well, wine dinners and market places and beer tastings and what have you. In spite of being at a nexus of all things culinary, it’s another aspect of the job that truly satisfies: the community. This kitchen draws the best people, so much talent has passed through these doors in only eight months. I’ve learned so much, just from being there. ‘The right place at the right time’ has never rang more true to me. You probably can see through all this nonsense, my wack attempts at waxing poetic. The truth of the matter is that the constant shwag supply chain that I am at the end of. From the numerous “Can you taste this?” requests to the beloved “Want this?” as various cuts of fresh animal or boxes of produce are thrust upon me. I’m a fat ass, it’s widely known. My faithful readers know that mama never taught me how to say no to food. I should mention as well that a HUGE part of my love of KitchenCru has to do with my employer, Michael Madigan (pictured above.) I don’t want to get to into the details, he’ll give me shit about vying for a raise. Suffice to say he takes care of me, and he’s a blast to work with.

Milk Braised Rabbit Casonsei with Mike Perez.


It should come as no surprise that tentop’s recent Pastafarian dinner was a resounding success.  Pasta is universally loved around the world and our guests were happy to eat five courses of it. The highly exalted Flying Spaghetti Monster was pleased and we felt his benevolent smile shining upon us all. The guest Chef, one Michael Perez; is a talented cook, one as immersed in the Chef life as I’ve seen. Fucking guy lives and breathes kitchens, and this pasta dinner proved his skill. It was a blast working with him again, we’ve got a rich history. Each dish was more succulent than the last, but recipe that follows was by far my favorite. As I was picking the meat off the rabbit carcasses I kept popping the plump little milk braised garlic cloves into my mouth. Your supposed to save those for the farce I guess. Use this filling to stuff your favorite pasta, we did casonsei, which look like little candy wrappers. Don’t be afraid to bust out your dick shaped cutter for other fun filled shape. I bet it would also make a great burrito filling.

Milk Braised Rabbit farce by Mike Perez

1 rabbit (hind quarters)
4 Spanish yellow onions(julienne)
1 gallon milk
1 bulb garlic
6 oz Pecorino Romano
1 bunch thyme (1/2 picked and chopped)
1 bunch rosemary (1/2 picked and chopped)

Season legs and sear. Rest on a rack. Add onions to pan and caramelize, reserve half of the caramelized onions for later. Add all the garlic to the onions in the pan with the thyme and rosemary (whole) sauté until you smell the aromatics. Add legs back to pan and add milk to cover. Braise at 300*f until meat is falling off bone.
Shred pecorino. While hot pick rabbit off bone and salvage any garlic left in the milk, discard milk (it will be separated) and braised onions. In a food processor; process rabbit, fresh milk, chopped herbs(to taste), reserved onions, pecorino, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Balls deep.
-side note
You HAVE to process everything while hot or it will not be emulsify correctly or have a proper consistency. When the farce cools it will tighten up and be ready to pipe into any number of dick shaped pastas.

Sweetbread Pastilla from Mark Dunleavy.

At tentop’s recent Offal Good dinner we served many of Chef Dunleavy’s creations; and one of the stand outs was this little goddammit here. A riff on the classic dish of Algeria; one seen throughout the Maghreb. An age-old sweet and savory combination, Pastilla combines a salty meat filling and a buttery sweet crust. Mark pushed the envelope a bit by replacing the traditional squab with veal sweetbreads, and the addition of a creamy carrot ice cream. The sweetbreads were seasoned with popular Moroccan blend of spices called Ras al Hanout, which kept me thinking of this guy, It all came together nicely with marcona almonds and fresh herbs. My faithful readers should take heart in the story of Chef Dunleavy, a real rags to riches story. Or in his case, a jizz-mopper to Chef story. I salute any who take on this recipe, the pay off is truly worth it.

Veal Sweetbreads Pastilla by Mark Dunleavy


2 lbs sweetbreads

1qt veal stock

1 T ras al hanout

1/8 c parsley, chopped

1/8 c chervil, chopped

1/8 c chives, chopped

pinch saffron

salt & pepper

soak sweetbreads in a couple changes of mildly salty water overnight . drain and dry. Remove membrane. Season with ras al hanout and salt. Sear in a rondeau until golden on both sides. Remove. Add veal stock, ras al hanout and saffron. Bring to a simmer. Add sweetbreads cover and place in 350F oven for about 10 minutes, or until cooked with a minimal amount of pink remaining. Cool in braising liquid at room temperature and then press sweetbreads between two sheet pans. Reduce braising liquid by ¾. Clean sweetbreads and portion into popcorn size nuggets. Mix with a ¼ c of reduced braising liquid, 1 T crème fraiche, the chopped herbs and salt, pepper and ras al hanout to taste.

1 package of filo

½ c marcona almonds

1 T sugar

½ tsp cinnamon

Prepared filling

¼ c parsley, chopped

½ c melted butter

Prepare four layers of filo with butter and parsley spread between each layer. Crush marcona almonds and toss with sugar, cinnamon and pinch of salt. Portion 1 ½ oz of filling and place on the filo. top with a covering of marcona mixture. Cut a rectangle 2” x 3” around the filling. Roll like a chimichanga, motherfucker.

Carrot I.C. (adapted from someone else’s recipe)

600 ml carrot juice

50 g glucose powder

40 g sugar

10 g glucose syrup

2 g ice cream stabilizer

Pinch salt

5 egg yolks

300 ml cream

Reduce 300 ml of the carrot juice to a syrup. Add remaining juice, glucose powder, sugar, glucose syrup, ice cream stabilizer and salt. Scald. Temper into yolks. Cook to custard and strain into cream. Freeze

Bake filo pouches at 350 f until golden. Serve with carrot i.c and nut garnish.

Tentop Takes the Next Step.

My original idea for tentop was not to create a thematic supper club. I knew when I took the kitchen manager job at KitchenCru that i would need a creative outlet, a venue where I could experiment with food and write about it.  I also thought I might be able to create a place for buddies of mine to cook; sous chefs or line cooks. Talented people who wanted to cook their own food, but worked under another Chef, so couldn’t. Not another venue to give the reach around to the usual suspects of the Portland food scene, but a place for the talented up and comers who make those Chefs’ celebrity possible. As noble as that all sounds, I also saw it as a chance to continue learning new techniques and biting ideas, the foundation of my culinary prowess. And the obvious benefit of doing half the work and receiving the same amount of glory was not unappealing, truth be told.

So, proud to say; our latest dinner showcased talented Chef Mark Dunleavy of Tabla on NE 28th. I met Mark at Ten-01, and I’ve written about him before on this blog. He picked a menu direction that turned out to be a hard sell: offal. I was a bit disappointed and surprised by this in Portland, with everyone preaching the whole “nose to tail” eating and all that farm to table shit. I figured people would be tripping over themselves to eat this stuff, but we didn’t fill the seats until the last minute. Chef Dunleavy created a menu both interesting and accessible, for the veterans of organ meats and noobs alike. The guests who attended were blown away, we had one couple tell us they wanted to buy a season pass to tentop; and they were visiting from DC.

After posting the pictures from this dinner on facebook, I’ve been inundated with requests from cook buddies in Portland who want to get in here and do a dinner with tentop; and I couldn’t be happier. Upcoming dinners will include themes like “Fusion,” because love it or hate it, it’s where innovation in food comes from. Also “Molecular,” because I know a talented Chef who can teach me some cool shit. And what about straight up Mexican? Everybody loves that shit, and I’ve got a guy for that. So stay tuned faithful readers, if there is still any of you out there. Here’s Mark’s menu, I handled the dessert, of course. I’ll be bugging him to hook me up with some recipes to post.

Offal Good

Chef Mark Dunleavy

foie gras mousse

“ants on a log”

pig heart rueben

house made rye, heart pastrami

confit lamb tongue

beets, watercress, horseradish


pig’s head, marinated mushrooms, pickled mustard seeds

veal kidneys

deviled with potatoes, grilled hanger steak and parsley sauce


in the style of pastilla with carrot ice cream


“pig tail,” blood caramel, milk chocolate mousse

Hamburger & Hot Dog.

What’s more comforting to faithful readers like yourselves than a hamburger and hotdog? For me, I always want to eat one or the other of these invented elsewhere but perfected by America delicacies. I eat hot dogs or hamburgers more than anything else, Shorty can verify, and there are few things that I will argue more vehemently than the proper way to make/cook a burger. It’s my favorite food, there I said it. I am a simple man with simple tastes.

For tentop’s Junk Food dinner, we spun the old classics into something we could call our own, It’s just how we roll. The dog we did in the style of choucroute, the classic Alsatian dish of sauerkraut, sausage, pork belly, and sometimes potatoes. We followed through on the theme with a soft pretzel bun and whole grain mustard. We made our own smoked andouille sausage, a milestone for me. I’ve seen sausage piped into casings dozens of times, but have never done it myself. It’s easier than it looks, but it ain’t exactly easy.

The burger was a version of something I’ve been wanting to try for awhile, which I discovered here. It’s one of those “because fuck you that’s why” kind of dishes. We took truffle mac e chee, solidified it in the fridge, then cut out round discs which we stuffed into the burgers. The trim left over we breaded and deep fried as a side, and just called it “hamburger with truffle mac e chee,” making the stuffed part a surprise. The buns were a recipe I’m coming to lean on more and more from Ideas in Food. By the way, every time I say “Ideas in Food,” I think of something else.  It’s a simple dough that is highly adaptable to many applications; foccacia, loaves, buns, etc. I even used it once as a spare tire on my car. Anyway, I stole it from one of the best books released this year, go buy a copy. But first make this bread.

Fail Safe Bread by Ideas in Food.

975 g AP flour

4.5 g dry active yeast

12.5 g sugar (or honey, or maple syrup, or brown sugar)

18 g salt

2.5 cups water, milk, tea, beer, etc warm like bathwater, not too hot

oil for brushing, semolina for tray.

  • preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper. Oil a medium large bowl.
  • Weigh all the ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix just until a ball of dough forms. cover the bowl and rest 15 minutes.
  • After the rest, mix on second (medium) speed for 7 minutes. Mold the dough into a ball and transfer to the oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise two hours, or until doubled in size.
  • Punch the dough down and let it rise again until not quite doubled in size, about one hour.
  • Portion the dough into roll size (3-4 oz) divide in half and roll into loaves, or maybe a loaf pan? Or flatten onto a oiled sheet pan for foccacia. Bake for ten minutes at 400, then rotate the pan reduce the temperature to 325 and bake an additional 12 minutes

Nachos and Wings

The latest tentop dinner at KitchenCru was a smash, or at the very least; we all got smashed. We opened both evenings with a big bowl of espillette almond caramel corn, and an even bigger bowl of iced down coldies. I mean what better way to kick off a Junk Food dinner than with an ice cold PBR or Ranier?

Pictured above was the first (and my favorite) course of the menu, Nachos. We cut some white corn tortillas into triangles and fried ‘em off, then smeared ‘em with white bean puree. Then they got some cooked chorizo, a big hunk of octopus, manchego cheese and a sunny side quail egg. In my humble assessment, this was one of the most successful food items I have created. And, it breaks the “No Cheese With Seafood” rule quite readily. We served this with a startlingly outstanding Sangria Slushie, cold and refreshing. I had the lovely miss Chen portion this up in front of quests, it’s just so damn COOL to see a whole cooked octopus. Incidentally, cooking octopus is not as nearly as intimidating as I once thought. Simply blanch it real quick in nearly boiling water, then pressure cook it for an hour, and let the steam dissipate naturally. Furthermore, pressure cookers aren’t nearly as terrifying as I expected them to be. Thanks to Tony Two Fingers for walking me through this technique.

The second appetizer course was Wings, a trio of those plump little beauties. And just to be clear, this. If I had my way I would never eat a drumette, only wings. And since I do get my way at tentop, only wings were served. I steamed all the wings after brining them overnight for twelve minutes. Then the wings sat on a rack over night to dry out for ultimate crispiness. When we finally went to fry them they had a full on pellicle going . We had three types, starting with the classic Buffalo. The only way to eat hot wings of this style is with blue cheese dressing, and because we do things a bit over the top here at tentop, we chose Rossini blue cheese for ours. This is hands down the best blue cheese on the planet, and it should be for the price. Shit for the price you should get a free bowl of soup. Second we had an Asian style wing, with a spicy chili crust and a plum dipping sauce. Lastly, my favorite; the Cool Ranch Dorito breaded wing with spicy peanut sauce. I used to put Doritos on my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and that’s where the idea had it’s origins.

These first two courses were a real microcosm of what we do at tentop. We take an idea, and then we push it as far over the top as we can. And that’s not for everybody, and that’s OK. Fuck the haters. We only want ten at a time anyway.

Cool Ranch Breaded Chicken Wings with Spicy Peanut Sauce

3 lbs chicken wings

3/4 cup kosher salt

3/4 cup sugar

2 cups boiling water from

1 gallon of water

1 tblsp fresh ground black pepper

5 eggs

3 cups flour

1 large bag of Cool Ranch Doritos

1. Measure the gallon of water and remove 2 cups of it, placing it in a pot and bringing it to a boil. When boiling, remove from heat and whisk in the salt, sugar, and black pepper. Stir to dissolve. Add this mixture back into the gallon of water.

2. Add the wings to the brine and cover, refrigerate for 5-6 hrs. Rinse wings well and pat dry. Lightly steam or quickly blanch the wings, about ten minutes in the steamer or 2 minutes in boiling water. Place wings on a rack set over a sheet pan and let dry out, uncovered, over night in the fridge.

3. Next day, pulverize the Cool Ranch Doritos in a food processor and create a work space for the standard breading procedure, with the ground Doritos as the breading. Proceed with breading in the manner described in the linked article.

4. Preheat your deep fryer to 350. Fry the wings until GBD, about 4-5 minutes. Serve with…

Spicy Peanut Sauce

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1 teaspoon red curry paste
1 shallot, peeled and roughly chopped

1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

A Fortieth Birthday Cake

Because you know, it’s like you’re dying; turning forty. At least that’s the joke. Anyway, I had fun making this one. I hadn’t made a sheet cake in awhile, maybe not since Didier’s 39th birthday cake a year ago. The cake itself was a lemon sponge, the filling vanilla butt cream and fresh blueberries and raspberries. The coffin is made from the same, minus the berries, and glazed with chocolate and crusted with cocoa nibs. I made the tombstone out of chocolate shortbread.

The cake was well recieved, and the party was well attended; as all the Porteaud parties are. Kara and Didier Porteau are two of the most beloved people I know, an integral part of the family that adopted me at Ten-01. The party included much eating, drinking, and merriment, and I did a good amount of what I like to call “dancing.” Didier was a real sport about the cake, and there was much hugging and high-fiving long before I reached the “I love you man” stage, which was inevitable. When the numerous candles were finally blown out, we lowered the coffin into the grave before eating.

Lemon Sponge Cake

makes 6 1/2 sheet cakes

  • 12 eggs
  • 5 - 3/4 cups sugar
  • 6 tsp vanilla
  • 1 jar of mayonnaise
  • 12 cups AP flour
  • 4 - 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 - 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 - 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 - 1/2 cups lemon juice
  • zest of 8 lemons

Measure the eggs, sugar, vanilla, mayo, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer. This probably won’t fit in your standard Kitchen Aid, you may want to halve it. Whip this mixture on medium high until light and fluffy, about 6-8 minutes. It can really just keep whipping. Whip the shit out of it as they say.

While the eggs are having the shit whipped out of them, sift together the AP flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Zest and juice the lemons. Measure the milk.

On low speed, add the wet and dry ingredients in three steps, alternating between the two. Start and end with the dry ingredients. When it’s all in, kick the mixer up to medium to ensure total incorporation.

Line six half sheet pans with parchment. Divide the batter evenly between the pans. I weigh each, 34 ounces is a nice amount for a layer. Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven until GBD, rotating once during baking; about 12 - 18 minutes total.

Chicken Skin Crusted Pot Pie.

Sadly, in my excitement; I only got this one crappy picture of this truly delicious awesomeness before it was descended upon like so much carrion by vultures. In truth, half the pie made it over to Clyde, where it was traded to glassy-eyed bar tenders for artisan cocktails. Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself, faithful readers. Let’s set the way back machine to two months ago, right around Pi Day.

The creation of this pie was yet another result of my highly perked job as manager of KitchenCru’s glorious facility. It all started with leaf lard, which I obtained via our high profile clients; Tails & Trotters. They had a bunch of trimmings that they didn’t have the time or inclination to do anything with, so they passed it along to me. After cleaning and rendering I ended up with about six thirty-two ounce deli cups of pure white lard, perfect for a sumptuous and flaky pie crust. Of which, I of course; made way to much. I had pie dough for miles. The first pie I made in celebration of Pi Day, a fig-apple-caramel delight that I believe I also traded a portion of for beverages at my favorite bar. The second pie i wanted to be savory. The day that I decided to do it, happened to be a day that my employer and co-worker had put on a lunch including corn beef sandwiches, knish, and other delicious NY deli items. A by-product of the shmaltz needed to make knish: cooked chicken meat and skin. I had a direction. I started my pie filling with some home made pancetta I had scored from Chef Andrew Garret of High Heat Catering.

Lard Crust

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour chilled
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup diced, frozen lard
1/3 cup ice water

  • Measure the salt and flour into a bowl. Cut in the flour until it has a granular appearance.
  • Add in water and mix until just barely combined. Wrap the dough and chill at least 1 hour before rolling.

Chicken Skin Crusted Pot Pie

Roll out the pie dough like a boss, line the pie tin and set in the fridge to chill.

Render the pancetta over medium heat, be careful not to brown too much, as it will continue to cook.

Add the shallots and garlic and reduce the heat, sweat ‘em.

Add the carrots, celery, mushrooms, and saute until partially cooked. Add the flour and cook for three minutes

Add the stock and cream and bring to a simmer. Cook at least ten minutes to thicken and cook off flour taste. Add the frozen peas.

Add the cooked chicken and fold together the filling. Allow it to cool to room temp.

Dump the filling into the prepared crust and roll out the top piece of dough like a boss. Fill the pie level to heaping, but don’t over-fill. If you have extra, eat it.

When you’ve got the pie topped and have crimped the edges,  egg wash that bitch. Sprinkle on the chicken skin, making sure every bit is covered. Pat it in a little to make sure it’s secure.

Bake that sucker until the crust is GBD. Cool to room temp before attempting to slice.