Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Cuisineist deconstructs a Caesar Salad

We have had numerous inquiry's over the last month about deconstructing dishes. Being not well versed in the subject ourselves we did some of our own research into the subject.

Any deconstructed dish should contain all the classic components found in the “original.” The difference is in the preparation. When creating a dish utilizing deconstructive techniques, the ingredients are essentially prepared and treated on their own. It is during the plating and presentation stages that everything is brought together.

However, many feel deconstructed food is elaborate and hard work. For example , someone making deconstructed lasagna may decide to present the dish as a casserole. In this case the elements are cooked individually and then combined and finished off in the oven.

The Cuisineist's kitchen's went to work and came up with a deconstructed Caesar Salad.

Serves 4


• 1 head of romaine lettuce, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds
• Four 1/2-inch thick slices crusty peasant bread or baguette
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or unsalted butter, melted
• 2 garlic cloves, halved
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• About 1/4 cup All-Purpose Garlic, Olive Oil and Anchovy Sauce (see recipe)
• About 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley.
• 4 to 5 ounces Parmgiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat the oven to 425°. Discard the tough outer leaves and trim the tough ends of the head of romaine. Slice the head lengthwise through the heart into four equal quarters, and place each quarter on a salad plate; reserve.

Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet and brush with the olive oil or melted butter. Place in the oven and toast the bread until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Rub each slice lightly with a cut shallot or garlic clove; sprinkle with salt.

Drizzle 2 or 3 teaspoons of the sauce over each serving of romaine, followed by some chopped parsley. With a vegetable peeler or plane grater, shave long, flat strips of Parmigiano over the salads. Nestle the garlic toasts alongside and serve at once. Lemon juice is essential when this sauce is used to dress salads, providing the perfect bridge between green and dressing.

Anyone who experiments in deconstructed dishes has to appreciate the artistic elements of the process. We can all make a grilled cheese from two slices of bread . Playing with the form is fun a and interesting. But when all is said and done , food should first and foremost taste good.

Bon Appetit !

The Cuisineist gets a big dose of "Ole Blue Eyes" at SINATRA in the ENCORE Resort

We have had the opportunity to speak with Executive Chef Theo Schoenegger on a few occasions . This time we visited his restaurant Sinatra located in Steve Wynn's newest work of art , ENCORE.

The restaurant pays respect to Frank Sinatra and Chef Theo Schoenegger does his best Sinatra impression using his impressive talents in the kitchen for a very special dining experience. Displayed near the restaurant’s entrance are awards chosen by Steve Wynn and the Sinatra family that showcase Sinatra’s vast career and achievements. Included are his Oscar for From Here to Eternity, his Emmy for Frank Sinatra: A Man and His Music and his Grammy® for Strangers in the Night. Photos of Sinatra, a gold album he received for his Classic Sinatra album and a letter penned by Sammy Davis, Jr. grace the walls of the restaurant. The restaurant’s soundtrack features classic Sinatra as well as tunes from his friends, including Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Tony Bennett and Nat King Cole as well a his films on TVs at the bar.

Sinatra is located off the casino floor and has become a romantic hot spot on the strip. Chef Schoenegger’s showcases Italian dishes prepared with seasonal ingredients and his menu highlights dishes from northern Italy and includes pastas, risottos and game meat dishes.

He opened Sinatra at Encore after five years as executive chef of the Patina Group’s signature restaurant, Patina. His menu helped the restaurant win a three-star review from the Los Angeles Times and a coveted Michelin star.

Growing up in the town of San Candio, Italy, Schoenegger found his calling at age nine when he started helping his mother in the kitchen. At 18, he began a five-year program at a culinary school in Merano, Italy. After graduation, Schoenegger moved to Munich, Germany to work at the restaurant Aubergine Tantris. While in Munich, he met restaurateur Tony May who asked Schoenegger to join him in New York City. Schoenegger left Germany in 1986 and worked for May first at Palio restaurant, then at San Domenico. During his time as executive chef, San Domenico was considered the premier Italian restaurant in the country and received a three-star review from the New York Times.

In 1996, Schoenegger headed to Palm Beach, Florida where he worked as executive chef of Aquoria for four years, and then returned to New York to reopen Rock Center Café with Nick Valenti and Restaurant Associates. Shortly thereafter, Schoenegger accepted the position at Patina and moved to Los Angeles.

The menu is divided into assagini, antipasti, primi, pesci, carni and contorni, followed by dolci.

Signature primi options include a classic zuppa di fagioli, made from a cream of borlotti beans, tubettini and garlic-rosemary oil; agnolotti with ricotta, herbs, chives and winter truffle; and risotto con astice made from organic Arborio rice and Maine lobster.

For a main dish, guests can choose from a selection of pesci and carne dishes, such as cioppino with lobster, scallops, clams and fennel in tomato saffron broth; the “New York,” consisting of dry-aged 16-ounce New York strip with cipollini onions and king trumpet mushroom; and ossobucco “My Way,” a braised veal ossobucco with risotto cannelloni and gremolata. Contorni include capponatina, which is a vegetable ratatouille; polenta mantecata with mascarpone and parmesan cheese; and funghi trifolati, a wild mushroom sauté.

For dessert, the selection of dolci includes include zeppolini, warm little doughnuts filled with lemon raspberry and zabaglione; torta di ricotta, a lemon ricotta cheesecake with raspberry sorbet; and a daily selection of homemade gelati and sorbetti.

Our visit to Sinatra was an amazing experience from a stop a the beautiful bar for a cocktail and then on to our table with exceptional service and one of a kind dishes. If you like "Frank" and want to dine like he once did in his favorite city, Sinatra is worth a visit.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Cuisineist kitchen goes to England and enjoys making the classic Beef Wellington

Beef Wellington

by The Cuisineist

This dish was prepared for and named after Arthur Wellesley, who was made the first Duke of Wellington having defeated Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815 . . . despite the fact that it is believed he wasn't particularly interested in food on the whole, with this dish being one of the few he really savored.

Serves 4


1½ lb Fillet of Beef (in one piece)

Black Pepper

1 tbsp Vegetable Oil

1oz Butter

6oz Mushrooms

4oz Smooth Liver Pate

11oz Puff Pastry

Beaten Egg to glaze


1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Tie the fillet with string at intervals to ensure it keeps its shape during cooking and season well with freshly ground Black Pepper.

2. Melt the butter and oil in a frying pan until very hot, add the beef and seal well on all sides.

3. Transfer to a roasting pan and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

3. Slice the mushrooms thinly. Reheat the oil and butter in the frying pan, add the mushrooms and sauté gently until soft. Set aside to cool.

4. Re-heat the oven to 425F. On a floured surface, roll the pastry out to an oblong large enough to enclose the joint of meat.

5. Once cool, in a small bowl mix together the mushrooms and pate until well blended.

6. Spread the mushroom mixture down the centre of the pastry, lay the meat on top. Brush the edges with a little beaten egg then pull up the long edges to overlap at the top: press down to seal.

7. Fold up the short ends of the pastry making a parcel, cutting off any excess pastry.

8. Use the pastry trimmings to decorate the top, brush with beaten egg and bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving into 4 thick slices.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Valentino and The Cleveland Clinic team up to Wine and Dine


In honor of its 10th anniversary inside the Venetian Resort, Hotel & Casino, Valentino Las Vegas has announced “Wine & Dine For The Cause.” Now through the end of September, a portion of the proceeds from Valentino’s daily specials, tasting menus and select wines will benefit “Keep Memory Alive” and the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health for Alzheimer’s research.

“We have been friends with Larry Ruvo (Chairman, Keep Memory Alive) since we opened our doors in Las Vegas back in 1999 and have done several special events and wine dinners together,” said Valentino Las Vegas Executive Chef and Partner, Luciano Pellegrini. “When we started thinking about our 10-year anniversary and how to celebrate it, we wanted to do more than just a one-night dinner, with the hopes that more money can be raised for Keep Memory Alive.”

Guests have the option of ordering one of the daily specials, select wines or a signature Valentino tasting menu created by Chef Pellegrini. This is a great way to experience some of Las Vegas’ finest cuisine while raising money for a worthy cause. To learn more about the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and Keep Memory Alive visit

Valentino Las Vegas, sister restaurant to the world-renowned Valentino in Santa Monica. The menu, created by James Beard Award-winning Executive Chef Luciano Pellegrini, features an array of traditional and contemporary Italian cuisine that includes a variety of homemade pasta dishes, enticing entrees and decadent desserts. Valentino Las Vegas is located in the Venetian Hotel & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. The Grill at Valentino opens daily at 11:30 a.m. for lunch and is available for business functions during the day. The fine dining room opens for dinner at 5:30 p.m. daily. Call (702) 414-3000 or visit

Keep Memory Alive supports the mission of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. We are dedicated to the conquest of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, ALS and all forms of memory disorders. Our focus is to provide enhanced treatments and services for those afflicted with neurodegenerative diseases and to ultimately find cures with innovative medicine that is complimented by a focus on an improved patient experience. Both are 501(c)(3) organizations. To learn more about Keep Memory Alive and the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, call (702) 263-9797 or visit