Sunday, June 29, 2008

Yeastspotting-Power Bread

I've been busy working on getting the kitchen/restaurant ready to go and have been out of the bread making loop for almost an entire month. Well, except for making bagels once a week, struan, and a couple varieties of corn muffins which I'm testing to use as a fresh bread option at the restaurant. If anyone has a great corn muffin recipe, pass it on and maybe you can be immortalized at Donovan's Steak & Ale. I think we're looking for a combination of sweet and savory since we're Yankees up here and like our corn bread and muffins on the sweetish side.

So here's the recipe, nearly verbatim, ingredient-wise anyway, from Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads

Day 1: Pre-Soaker
71g Raisins (I used Golden Raisins)
14g Flax Seeds (I used golden and brown)
170g Water

1. Combine all and soak for 8-24 hours.
2. Puree.

Day 2: Soaker
255g (all) Pre-Soaker
170g Whole Wheat Flour
14g Wheat Bran (Reinhart calls for Oat Bran, but as I didn't have it, I substituted)
4g Salt

1. Combine and hold at room temperature 12-24 hours.

Day 2: Biga
170g Whole Wheat Flour
1g Instant Yeast
142g Buttermilk

1. Combine and knead about 3 minutes.
2. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours until ready to make final dough. Pull from refrigerator to warm up 2 hours prior to making final dough.

Day 3: Final Dough
443g (all) Soaker
313g Biga
57g Sunflower Seeds, ground into flour in small batches in coffee grinder
57g Whole Wheat Flour
29g Sesame Seeds
10g Flax Seed Meal (my only addition to the original recipe)
4g Salt
7g Instant Yeast
21g Maple Syrup from my trees

1. Cut Soaker and Biga into 12 pieces each.
2. Combine remaining ingredients in mixer bowl.
3. Add Soaker and Biga to mixer and work on low for about 1 minute until it all forms a ball.
4. Knead on low (kitchenaid 1) for about 3 minutes until tacky and nicely cohesive.
Or knead with your hands on a lightly floured board until tacky and nicely cohesive.
5. Rest 5 minutes and then knead 1 more minute.
6. Remove to an oiled bowl for 45-60 minutes until increased to 1.5 times its original size. Pre-heat oven to 425F. Place a steam pan in the bottom of the oven.
7. Form into loaf and place in oiled loaf pan, slash down the middle, and allow to rise for 45-60 minutes until increased to 1.5 times its original size.
8. Put in the oven. Reduce temperature to 350F. Bake with about 4 oz. water in the steam pan for 20 minutes.
9 Remove steam pan, rotate 180 degrees and bake 20 to 30 more minutes until nicely browned and hollow sounding when thunked on the bottom.
10. Cool on rack for at least 1 hour before slicing.

I just cut into it and tried it. It's very tasty and lighter & airier than I was expecting having gotten used to the struan which is a similar looking bread. I think that is due mostly to my using the Biga pre-ferment rather than my white levain. I guess I'll have to try a Biga-struan to make sure.

And here's the photo

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Drive Easy

Heard this on NPR this morning and it makes sense to me considering that now that I have a 75 mile round trip commute each day I'll be spending something like $250/month just getting to work. I can afford an extra 3-5 minutes in the car to save $.20/gallon on gas. Yikes!

Here's a link to the interview I heard on our local NPR station.

Lunch Menu

Finally, the exciting stuff!

So far it seems like we'll be starting dinner Wednesday 7/9 and lunch Friday 7/11, just to give ourselves a slightly more manageable opening schedule. We'll be corning our own beef, making our own Pastrami and smoking some brisket too. Very excited about all that. Here's the Lunch Menu...


BBQ Veal Sliders
Roasted Garlic Aioli

Chicken Wings

Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail

Clams Steamed in Beer

Crab Cakes
Cucumber Salad, Spicy Remoulade

Beer Battered Mozzarella
Puttanesca Sauce

Baked Brie
Seasonal Fruit Compote

French Onion Soup

Lobster Bisque with Madeira Cream


Grilled Sirloin Steak & Iceberg Wedge
Crumbled Bleu Cheese, Bacon, Red Onion,
And Balsamic Glaze

Home-made Dressing, Croutons, and Tomatoes
With your Choice of Grilled Chicken or
Pepper Grilled Tuna

Spinach Salad
Brie, Strawberries, and Honey~Sherry Vinaigrette

Seared Duck Salad
Roasted Apples, Pistachios, Bleu Cheese
Mixed Greens and Gorgonzola Vinaigrette

All Burgers are accompanied by freshly made Potato Chips and a Pickle

Donovan’s Burger
Chive & Horseradish Havarti, Haystack Onions
Garlic Aioli

Bacon~Bleu Burger
Applewood Smoked Bacon, Bleu Cheese
Caramelized Onions

Steakhouse Burger
Swiss cheese, House Steak Sauce, Sautéed
Mushrooms and Haystack Onions

Up North Burger
McCadam Cheddar, Home made Maple
Horseradish Mustard, Applewood Smoked Bacon

Royale with Cheese
Brie, Sautéed Mushrooms, Caramelized Onions
Our special Thousand Islands dressing

American cheese

Other Sandwiches
Our own Home made Corned Beef, Kraut,
Swiss cheese and Thousand Island dressing

Pistol on Whiskey
Our own Home made Pastrami on Rye

Oven-roasted Turkey Breast, Kraut
Swiss cheese and Thousand Island dressing

Turkey Club
Layers of Oven-Roasted Turkey Breast,
Applewood Smoked Bacon, Garlic Aioli, Lettuce and Tomato

Tuna, Avocado & Bacon “Club”
Seared Tuna, Lettuce and Tomato,
Spicy Remoulade

Three Cheese Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Lettuce and Tomato

Tarragon Chicken Salad Sandwich
Lettuce and Tomato

Crab Cake Sandwich
Lettuce and Tomato, Spicy Remoulade

¼ Pound All Beef Hot Dog
Kraut, Spicy Mustard

Open-Faced Prime Rib Sandwich
Jus, Balsamic Onions and Mushrooms
And Swiss cheese

Next up, the Dinner Menu!!!

I don't think I'll bother posting the Kid's Menu; nothing to very excited about. Boring old kids.

Dinner Menu Finalized???

or anyway, close to finalized.

Donovan’s Steak & Ale

BBQ Veal Sliders
Roasted Garlic Aioli

Chicken Wings

Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail

Clams Steamed in Beer

Crab Cakes
Cucumber Salad, Spicy Remoulade

Beer Battered Mozzarella
Puttanesca Sauce

Baked Brie
Seasonal Fruit Compote

French Onion Soup

Lobster Bisque with Madeira Cream

Grilled Sirloin Steak & Iceberg Wedge
Crumbled Bleu Cheese, Bacon, Red Onion,
And Balsamic Glaze

Home-made Dressing, Croutons, and Tomatoes
With your Choice of Grilled Chicken or
Pepper Grilled Tuna

Spinach Salad
Brie, Strawberries, and Honey~Sherry Vinaigrette

Seared Duck Salad
Roasted Apples, Pistachios, Bleu Cheese
Mixed Greens and Gorgonzola Vinaigrette

Entrees Served with Seasonal Vegetables

Grilled Delmonico Steak
Steak Fries, Balsamic Glazed Mushrooms and Onions
Maple~Bourbon Sauce

Pan-Seared Filet of Beef
Garlic Whipped Potatoes, Béarnaise Sauce,
Haystack Onions

Slow~Roasted Prime Rib
Herb Roasted Potatoes
Jus, Whole Grain Mustard & Horseradish Cream

Grilled Dry Aged New York Strip
Bacon, Cheddar and Scallion Baked Potato Pie,
Brandy~Mushroom Sauce, Haystack Onions

Grilled Sirloin Steak
Steak Fries, House Steak Sauce

Other Meats

Applewood Bacon~Wrapped Pork Filet
Fried Mac & Cheese, Caramelized Onion Sauce

Pan~Roasted Half Chicken
Herb-Roasted Potatoes, Tarragon Pan Sauce

Sweet Tea Brined Chicken
Fried Mac & Cheese, Red-Eye Sauce

Seared Duck Breast
Herb-Roasted Potatoes, Balsamic Glaze


Crab Stuffed Trout
Vegetable Couscous, Sage~Madeira Brown Butter

Sautéed Crab Cakes
Vegetable Couscous, Spicy Remoulade

Pan~Roasted Atlantic Salmon
Vegetable Couscous, Cucumber Salad
Roasted Pepper & Tomato Sauce

Grilled Yellowfin Tuna
Herb Roasted Potatoes, Tomato~Caper Sauce


Shellfish Mac & Cheese Gratin
Shrimp & Crab, Penne, and Asparagus Tips,
Baked in a Madeira & McCadam Cheddar Sauce

Shrimp Scampi with Linguine

Four Cheese Ravioli

Grilled Eggplant & Mozzarella Stack
Grilled Peppers, Portabella Mushroom
Tomato~Pepper Coulis

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Days 5 thru now

I've heard through the grapevine that I'm disappointing people by not posting about our progress like I said I was going to. What with the terrible weather that smacked NNY around a couple of Tuesdays ago and losing a big maple tree, and losing our power for several days, and this & that I slacked off a bit. Anyway, cataloging every bit of cleaning I did made for some dry writing, and reading too I'm sure. By now, the kitchen is clean and nearly organized and about ready to open. I think we've finalized the menu...for now. At least we have a menu we're ready to distribute to the waitstaff in a day or two and open with on the 9th. Donovan, Dana, Art (Donovan's dad) and Marilyn (Donovan's mom) and many others have done a lot of work getting the front of the house looking great. Between the staining and poly-ing of the bar and bar floor that Art has done, the cleaning, planting, painting and pruning that Marilyn has done, and EVERYTHING that Donovan and Dana have done, the place is going to look fabulous when we open. They've begun the process of filling the place with cool antiques that really lend personality, and have found some Malone newspapers for June, 1944 to dress the table-tops with. One of Donovan's uncles was in yesterday doing some electrical work and will be back to do more, including installing a 220v electrical service somewhere in the kitchen so we can plug in the Alto-Shaam. Jeremy, a fellow Maxfields alumnus joined the crew and started working last Saturday. Unfortunately for him, he's tall so I gave him the job of cleaning the ceilings. Now they're all done though. My mom, Janet, even pitched in several days worth of kitchen cleaning for the cause too.

That's about all for now. I'll try to come up with some good pictures and maybe post the menu soon too. Sorry for the hiatus. Opening a restaurant is a lot of work, but it doesn't necessarily make for gripping reading. Back with more soon.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Day 4

I didn't get too much actual labor accomplished today besides steel-wooling the burners for the six-burner stove so that they're clean and new looking again as opposed to rust and crud encrusted. I washed some more of the walls in the kitchen and finally got the menu planned. Now I need to type it up over the weekend, make it look and sound nice and let the owners, Donovan and Dana Reyome give it the twice over and price it. Sorry if I mis-spelled your name Dana. Now I also know the name for sure...Donovan's Steak & Ale. In Malone, New York. Tentative opening is July 9. Once we get the menu truly finalized I'll post it.

We also went to lunch at St. Lucia in Malone to check out the competition. It's a very nice looking place, with a reasonably interesting menu and well-prepared food. Of course, ours will be better! But they seem to be geared more toward lunch and we'll be shooting more for the dinner clientèle. Donovan also gave me a tour of Malone, his hometown, and a place that although I grew up only 30 miles away I am totally unfamiliar with. Very nice-looking town, and not at all what it looks like from my only experience of it driving through on Rt. 11 on the way to Vermont. That's about it for now. More pictures some day soon.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Day 3

Nothing very interesting to write about today. I chiseled cooked on grease off the fryers and then boiled them out three times to get the several inch thick layer of sedimentary gunk out of the inside. Now they look almost like new. Started the super fun task of scrubbing down all the kitchen walls so the Health Inspector can't complain about them. The kitchen is starting to look pretty clean. The only remaining off odor is that of gas that isn't being consumed by pilot lights or sucked out through the hood yet. There's still plenty of organizing to do. I wrote out some questions for potential cooks/dishwashers. I did the critical walk through to see what points there are to tighten up before our preliminary health inspection. I made bagels, brought home-made Strawberry Rhubarb Jam and other goodies to share with the owners and ended up being the only one to show up today. Oh well, more for me & my family. Anyway, that's all I accomplished today. More tomorrow and maybe exterior pics if the weather's good.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Day 2

Today I took a break from scrubbing stainless steel and scooping up gobs of grease and did something a little more fun. I hunted through the kitchen and located a good powerful bar blender, assembled a functioning food processor, cleaned all the kitchen utensils I could find, found squirt bottles and bar pourers to use on the line for wine and oil etc, and cleaned them. Ok, I said a little more fun. At least I have a better idea what we have and what we need. Considering the state of cleanliness of the place, it is remarkably well equipped. There's a nice, mostly well maintained six burner stove
and two nice "sandwich" units, here's the big one on the saute side

On the other hand, the 2 nice fryers were left in disgusting shape, see

But I can fix that when I get some of the magic fryer boiling-out powder. We get our dish-machine from Ecolab in about 10 days to fill this space in the dish room

Tomorrow I'll work on scrubbing down the walls in the kitchen and take a long, hard look around to start getting prepared for our pre-open health inspection. Maybe it will be nice enough outside to take some pictures of the property.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Opening a Restaurant Day 1

Today was my first day at my new job after a 10 day vacation since finishing at Maxfields. I saw the restaurant about six weeks ago after the principal owner found the site and offered me the job, but not since then. Quite a bit of cosmetic work has been done in that time. Of course, today I didn't remember to bring the camera so I have no shots of the kitchen before I started cleaning. Maybe I'll remember tomorrow. The last tenants left in a hurry after getting in too far over their heads with debts from previous failed ventures. Anyway, they weren't too careful about cleaning anything before running away. There was a big fat layer of grease and grime all over every piece of equipment in the kitchen, even in the utensil drawers. Plenty of left over potato chips, dead lettuce, and nameless goo in the deep dark corners of the reach-ins. I fixed all that today, cleaned and polished all the stainless steel, and began a list of needs, wants, and wishes as well as some thoughts about how to re-arrange the kitchen for maximum efficiency and proper flow. More cleaning, sorting, and cataloging tomorrow. Time to finally go back to Maxfields and reposess my meat grinder, sharpening stone, and radio so I can feel at home. The new restaurant will be a Steakhouse with some twists. I'll check with the owner about publishing the name, his name, and the menu in the near future. We're supposed to be finalizing the menu the day after tomorrow so that will be a big step out of the way. I'll try to keep this updated regularly if for no other reason than the fact that it will be a resource for Amy & me if we're ever crazy enough, and out of debt enough, to do it ourselves. Also I'll try to remember the camera so there will be something to look at.