Wall of Fire: A ChefSteps Story

 

 

We have a tradition here at ChefSteps. Every spring, just as Seattle awakes from its winter hibernation, we devise an outlandish culinary exploit, and invite our friends to come and gawk at it. There are three requirements for these exploits: One, an enormous amount of heat. Two, an enormous amount of meat. And three, an enormous contraption for wielding the heat, so it cooks the meat. We design and build that contraption from scratch, and then we invite a bunch of our family and friends to a barbecue starring the flaming invention, and set up a smorgasbord of sides cooked using recipes from our development kitchen. Sounds fun, right?

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Carotene Butter

 

 

This carotene butter tastes more like a carrot than a carrot, and more like butter than butter. That’s because skimming off the carrot’s cellulose (the insoluble polysaccharides that make up the cell walls of plants), strips away any watery, fibrous flavor normally found in a raw carrot, leaving only the carrot’s purest essence: sweet, slightly nutty, and, of course, bright orange. Likewise, skimming whey off melted butter yields a pure butterfat flavor—creamy, smooth, and rich.

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Chicken Noodle Soup

 

 

Let’s just get it out there right away: Our eccentric take on chicken noodle soup transforms the noodles into actual chicken noodles, meaning, in other words, that the noodles are actually made of chicken.

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What is Espresso?

 

 

Espresso is simple enough: It’s finely-ground coffee that’s brewed under pressure, a-la-minute. You know, espresso—your morning ritual; your hands wrapped around a cup of warm deliciousness; a noisy coffee shop filled with chatter. Today more than ever, espresso and coffee culture play a big part in our lives.

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Canelés

 

 

A canelé is a classic French pastry made from eggs, milk, and sugar. These little two-bite morsels encapsulate everything you want in a pastry: a crunchy caramelized crust gives way to a custardy interior, with a delicate balance of sweet and savory flavors.

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Nick’s Nasti Salad Soup

 

 

Anything can inspire a dish. A painting, a comfort-food craving, a slab of purple-red tuna belly sparkling behind the counter at the seafood shop. This lilypad-invoking creation was inspired by nasturtium, a peppery plant with edible red, orange, and yellow blossoms.

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Savory Ice Cream Salad

 

 

“Modernist ingredients aside, this is pretty much the ultimate farm-to-table starter—the sort of dish you see served on mismatched, grandmotherly china, a mason jar of local rosé on hand to wash it down. Raw Jersey milk lends inimitable brightness to the slightly sweet, slightly salty ice cream; as it melts, it creates a rich, yet subtle, dressing for a tender salad of microgreens. Raw milk flavor is key—you can sub in the pasteurized stuff, but the ice cream won’t be as fresh and bright.

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Melty Cheese Slices

 

 

“Many an American childhood involves processed cheese—there’s just something about a warm grilled cheese, filled with gooey, melty Kraft American, or a big bowl of creamy Velveeta Shells & Cheese, that appeals to kids’ tastebuds. As adults we still crave the comforting texture and unctuousness of processed cheese, but most of us also crave cheese that’s a little more nuanced in flavor—the nutty, earthy notes of Gruyère, for instance, or the wake-you-up funk of Roquefort or Stilton.

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