So, last night our new competitor (more bar than restaurant) opened for sure. They have been trying to open their new location(next door to us) for the past week or two. Needless to say, we were dead last night(no busines) due to their grand opening. I think it was their grand opening because it was packed all night. I'm sure many of our drinking patrons decided to check out the place. Let's hope our booze prices are equal to theirs.lol I know if I were going out, with the sole purpose being to have some drinks...I would go there instead. Of course if I were wanting to drink wine and eat a delicious dinner, I would eat at Harmoni. Obviously our food is a million times better than theirs, so that's what we need to focus on. Running the kitchen tight but smooth, devolope a rythm and flow for high business periods, all while maintaining consistancy in our recipes. I'm sure we'll pull ahead. We have an experienced bar manager to handle that aspect of the business.
Anyways, I was too tired to even look at the computer last night after work. Felt like I ran into some trees on the way home.lol . So one of the assistant managers had an idea for a special, with the talapia we currently have. The flavors were not bad at all, in fact I rather enjoyed them compared to what my expectations predicted. So the tilapia was baked in a chili pepper, sweet, citrus sauce and drizzled with a reduction of that sauce(tweeked a bit.lol). Then we used some grilled asparagus and then....ummm....mashed potatoes.......????? I felt bad and did not want to shit on his recipe(because it was actually pretty good). He even wanted the potatoes lemon and herb infused but the problem was MASHED POTATOES(and a little heavy on the lemon zest)!!! I'm very sorry sir, but mashed potatoes and fish just do not go together. Great flavor, but definitely not a restaurant quality dish. It just looks terrible on the plate with the other components and the textures do not fit. Very simple solution would have been to roast some red potatoes, season and toss in the avoglemono sauce I made last time with the roast potatoes as a side for the Moussaka I made. I am happy that other people would like to get involved and have some input into the kitchen specials. Aside from the potato mishap, the plate was great...and I don't see anyone else stepping up and suggesting anything anyways. Good job Justin!
I had a pretty descent idea for some tilapia fish tacos and as dinner sluggishly rolled forward I was able to work on other little things. I took some half baked and seasoned (light cajun spices) tilapia and flaked them up. I then took some fresh pineapple salsa I made and added to the tilapia. I made a key lime sauce reduction, and I made a spicy creamy cheese sauce as well.
If possible, you should make your salsa the night before, just so all the flavors can really have a chance to meld together. For the salsa I used half a pineapple, cored(obviously) and diced, 1/2 mango diced, half of one large red onion diced, 1 large jalapeno diced(no seeds), 1 red bell pepper diced, half green bell pepper diced, juice of 1 lime and 1/2 tsp of lime zest, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 bushel of fresh cilantro, 2 tsp sea salt and pepper(based on preference).
You could dry rub your tilapia filets and cover and refrigerate overnight or you take 4 tilapia filets and grill them and dust with cajun spices. Break up the filets in a 2 quart mixing bowl. Set aside.
Grab two one quart sauce pans. Put a 4 tbsp of olive oil in one and place over heat, and in the other pan place 1/2 cup fresh lime juice, 1 tsp lime zest, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 cup bottled water(or tap), and place over heat and reduce by half to two thirds. In the olive oil pan when it is hot, you will place 4 Tbsp of shallots, 1 tbsp of ground ginger and cook till it is thick or au sec and then deglaze with 1 cup of white wine(pinot grigio or chardonnay), and reduce by 2/3. Taste the water and see if there is enough sugar in the other pan. It will be pretty tart if you don't adjust the sugar to your liking. Dont's worry about spice, that is coming in a second.haha. When both pans are succesfully reduced(takes 10 minutes or so), mix the two pans together and then pour through a fine strainer or china cap (chinois) and pour liquid back into pan and bring to a boil unless already pretty thick. Boil until it reaches disired thickness. Now, when you finally pull that off the heat your going to add about 1/8 lb. of unsalted butter(half stick) diced into 1/2" x 1/2" drop in a few at a time and let melt half way and then start to fold the butter into the sauce until it's all incorporated.
Spicey Cheese Sauce
In another hot 2 quart sauce pan, put 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tbsp shallot minced, another half bushel cilantro(you may use the leftover half with stems-minced up), 2 tsp cayenne pepper and let simmer for 5 mins deglaze with water or very little white wine. Then pour in 1 quart of heavy cream and reduce slowly to half. If you want it to go faster then you must stand there stirring it the whole time, so as not to burn the cream. Otherwise you may reduce the heat to medium and check it periodically while you do something else. When the cream is half reduced, remove from heat and strain out the cream. Place back into the pan and bring back to medium heat. Now your gonna take a half bushel of cilantro(you may use the reamining half with the stems minced extra well), a 1/4 cup of cream cheese, 1/2 cup goat cheese and 1/4 cup puree'd chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and drop them nto the sauce and simmer on low for 30 minutes or so,until disired thickness.
Building a taco
Now take a fresh warm tortilla and pile fresh sliced green leaf lettuce tortilla on top of the center, drop some tilapia flakes(generous amount) over the lettuce, then the pineappple salsa, then drizzle the spicy chipotle cheese sauce down the middle in a zig zg formation. Then drizzle right up the middle with the key lime sauce. For a crunch you may obviously use shells or bake or deep fry your own if you want, or You may cut some very thin strips of another tortilla or perhaps a pita, salt n pepper and olive oil and throw them into an oven at 425 for like 5-7 minutes depending on the efficiancy of your oven at home or wherever you are.
Well I'm gonna attempt to take a nap if possible. My sleep schedule is way the hell outta wack the past few days. Next tuesday I go back to Le Cordon Bleu to get all enrolled and paperwork and all that great stuff! Tonight I have work again and then I work at 8am in the morning...absolutley genius if you ask me. Take the one guy(actually one of two) that needs to be back in the morning before anybody else and make him work the night before. Hugs and kisses on that one.lol
If I have missed anything on the recipe or anyone has any questions about it,or any cooking questions at all for that matter just ask. I don't know everything but I know a good amount.lol