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Getting wasted with Dan Barber.

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DAN BARBER GOT US WASTED. STONED ON BLUE HILL AT STONE BARNS. No bong needed here for a buzz of heady malt rootlet aroma and a high of milled and baked-on-site, warm whole wheat bread loaves. As if on a psychedelic trip, we flirted with skate wing skeletons, exploring their striking pectoral fins as chickpea liquid morphed into foamy stiff peaks. The munchies inevitably struck, and we almost binged on the alluring fresh asparagus table arrangements, but instead, we shot up Jerusalem artichoke shoots, radicchio roses, and pressed almond flour cookies. Our bender eventually ended and the Hudson River's fertile banks faded as the train home groaned through the iron underground. Yet our euphoria persisted and we ascended, enlightened and delighted by taste revelations reflecting our new social contract: to extol the wasteland of plenty.

For three weeks in March, 2015, Blue Hill restaurant in Greenwich Village temporarily reinvented itself as wastED (ED an abbreviation for education), a pop-up devoted to repurposing food waste. Its self-proclaimed goal of "what chefs do everyday on their menus--create something delicious" came with one twist--to use food "ignored, or un-coveted, and inspire new applications for the overlooked by-products of our food system."

That same fall, thirty world leaders, including French President Frangois Hollande and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon sat down to a catered lunch by Barber and other chefs. On the menu: America's favorite comfort dish, the hamburger and French fries. But something was lost in translation--intentionally. Barber radically designed patties formed from carrots and beet juice pulp, slathered them with bruised beet special sauce, and tucked pickled cucumber scraps between the stale rye buns. The suits snacked on super-sized sides of cow corn fries. And why not, given that the starchy animal feed represents 99 percent of the 90 million acres of corn grown in the U.S. The lunch not only raised eyebrows and questions, it whetted appetites for seconds.

For the record, approximately one-third of the world's total food supply--133 billion pounds of food every year--gets thrown in the trash and ends up in landfills. While industry and corporations shoulder much of the blame, on average, each of us wastes 15 to 20% of our own food. As scandalous quantities of food go uneaten in America, one in six Americans don't know where their next meal will come from daily, and 16 million children go hungry.

Barber wants to help re-write the whole food system at every point along the continuum from farming to processing to consumption, by fostering a culture and demand for ingredients that today get thrown away. His model creates an environment bolstered by waste.

Is wastED regarded as merely a socially responsible trendy stunt?

Is wastED wasted on spoiled consumers taught to fear spoilage and accustomed to the privelege of shunning scraps? Barber isn't roiled by fatalists or other skeptics. He considers his burger and fries and other wastED concepts rooted in "ageless ideas" and "thousands of years of peasant cooking," a spirit of mindfulness he hopes to rekindle.

Barber realizes that advocacy alone won't change wasteful food practices. As he told the Washington Post after the success of the U.N. meal, "You don't do that by lecturing--you do it by hedonism, by making these world leaders have a delicious meal that will make them think about spreading that message."

We offer up sketches of Barber's waste-centric and yes--delicious--recipes that follow his annotations: Holy Shoots germinated when Blue Hill chefs harvesting Jerusalem artichokes with farmers noticed a shoot growing out of the top. Barber tells us, "A quick nibble immediately inspired a culinary response, and what would otherwise have been left in the field has become the center of a new dish."

Other experiments include the nut cookie dipped into dark chocolate. About it, Barber says, "In nut oil processing, a hard 'cake' forms after the nuts have been pressed and nearly all of the oil has been extracted. The by-product, the nut cake, sometimes gets used for animal feed."

Skate Wing Cartilage and Chickpea Foam might well outshine fish and chips if served on school lunch menus. Barber fries skate wing skeletons left after removing the fillets and fries them. He says, "We serve them with chickpea foam, made from chickpea water, which is exactly what it sounds like: the liquid drained and typically discarded from a can of chickpeas, whipped to a light foam. No need to add gelatin or stabilizers. It will remain whipped for a half hour."

Compressed Radicchio Stem with Fish Cream utilizes the fibrous stumps of radicchio, saving them from their destined compost bin fate. "This is the vegetable equivalent of nose-totail cooking. And we rescue rich flavor from fish scraps and bones and infuse them into a cream."

Malt rootlets, the germinated roots of the grain that form during the malting process are a by-product normally discarded or used as livestock feed. Barber transforms them into a dry rub. "The resulting flavor is unusually delicious, sweet, and smoky," he says.

In a country where excess seems to underlie the American dream, transforming eating and farming habits will take patience and prescience. We have the technology, creativity, and resources to combat food waste. Barber's continued experiments in the kitchen and plans for wastED to invade the U.K. and elsewhere will continue to stretch expectations.

Story by Carol M. Newman | Photos by Evan Sung

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HOLY SHOOTS!

Serves 6-8

Dan Barber
Blue Hill at Stone Barns

For the blood vinaigrette:

200 grams blood sausage, casing
  removed
100 milliliters chicken stock
6 milliliters lemon juice
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the dish:

Bell bloom shoots, as needed
Cima di rapa shoots *, as needed
Red brier shoots, as needed
Jerusalem artichoke shoots, as needed
Mung bean sprouts, as needed
Pea shoots, as needed
Lemon juice to taste
Lemon vinegar to taste
Salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste

* Cima di rapa, turnip top, or broccoli di rape,
is a strong, bitter turnip green in the mustard
family and popular in Southern Italy.

FOR THE BLOOD VINAIGRETTE: In a blender, add blood
sausage. With blender running, pour in chicken stock to
form a thin, but emulsified, puree. Remove from blender and
season with lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

TO SERVE: Blanch Jerusalem artichoke shoots in boiling
water for 5 minutes. Remove and shock in an ice water bath.
When cool, peel Jerusalem artichoke shoots and place on a
serving plate. Add all other shoots and sprouts. Dress with
lemon juice, lemon vinegar, salt, and pepper. Place small
pools of blood vinaigrette on plate and arrange dressed
shoots on top.


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COMPRESSED RADICCHIO STEM with FISH CREAM
Serves 4

Blue Hill at Stone Barns

For the radicchio stems:

4 heads Treviso or Tardivo radicchio
90 milliliters water
60 milliliters rice vinegar
30 grams sugar
10 grams salt

For the fish cream:

200 grams heavy cream
200 grams fish bones and scraps
12 milliliters lemon juice
Salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste

For the garnish:

Bottarga


FOR THE radicchio STEMS: Peel away all leaves until just stems remain. Reserve leaves for another purpose. In a small pot, add water, vinegar, sugar, and salt and let dissolve. Cool to room temperature. Place radicchio stems and liquid in a large plastic bag, seal, and place in a commercial vacuum sealing machine, vacuuming on full pressure. Remove stems from bag and pat dry with paper towels.

FOR the fish CREAM: In a large pot, add cream and fish bones and scraps. Place over indirect heat for 2 hours to let flavors infuse. Remove from heat and strain through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding bones. Chill cream in refrigerator. When cold, transfer to bowl of an electric mixer fitted with wire whip. Whip cream to firm peaks. Add lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

TO SERVE: Place radicchio stem on a plate. Dollop fish cream on the side. Sprinkle fish cream with bottarga.

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PORK ROOTLET
Serves 8-10

Dan Barber

Blue Hill at Stone Barns

For the rootlet brine:

20 liters water
1.7 kilograms salt
560 grams sugar
250 grams malt rootlets
For the pork:

1 2.25 kilograms bone-in pork
  loin roast
Olive oil, as needed
Rootlet brine, from above
15 milliliters grape seed oil
15 grams pork fat


FOR THE ROOTLET BRINE: In a large pot, bring water to a boil and add salt and sugar. Turn off heat, then add rootlets. Let cool completely.

FOR THE PORK: Place pork roast into a deep bowl and coat with olive oil. Add rootlet brine, covering pork. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill in brine 24 hours. Remove the pork from brine about 1 hour before cooking to temper. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Set the roast, bone-side down inside a roasting pan. Rub all sides of pork loin with grape seed oil and pork fat. Sear the pork in the oven for 15 minutes until it is caramelized on all sides. Lower the heat to 325 degrees, and roast until a cooking thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat, away from the bone, registers an internal temperature of 145 degrees, cooked to medium. Transfer to a cutting board, cover loosely with foil, and allow to rest 10 minutes before carving.

TO SERVE: Carve, and place slices of pork on a plate. Spoon with pan juices.

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RHUBARB NEEDLES
IN A RHUBARB
HAYSTACK Serves 8

Dan Barber
Blue Hill at Stone Barns

For the dried rhubarb haystack:

Rhubarb peels, as needed

For the rhubarb leaves:

Rhubarb leaves, as needed
Rice, as needed

For the rhubarb needles:

100 grams rhubarb peels and trim
500 grams rhubarb, cut into
  roughly 1 -inch x 3-Inch pieces,
  peels and trim reserved
4 liters water
1 kilogram raspberry puree
1.75 kilograms sugar
200 grams simple syrup
Maple sugar, as needed

FOR THE DRIED RHUBARB HAYSTACK: Take a Small
handfull of rhubarb peelings and twirl to create a
loosely-bound ball. Place on a sheet tray lined with
a Silpat. Dehydrate in a 150 degree oven for 2-5
hours, until peels dry completely. Remove from the
oven and reserve at room temperature, or until color
fades, approximately 1-2 weeks.

FOR THE RHUBARB LEAVES: Place cleaned rhubarb
leaves into 2-inch tartlet pans. Place a pile of
approximately 75 grams of rice into a square of
aluminum foil and wrap tightly. Place rice bundles
into tart shell to weigh down the leaves. Line a full
sheet tray covered with a Silpat and place tarts on
top. Cover with a piece of parchment, ensuring that
the tops of leaves stay flat. Place another Silpat
on top of parchment paper. Dehydrate in oven at
50-95 degrees, overnight, and up to 36 hours, until
the rhubarb leaves dry completely. The slower and
lower the drying temperature, the greener the leaves.
Remove from oven and let leaves cool on wire racks.
for the rhubarb NEEDLES: In a large pot, add
rhubarb peels and trim and cover with water. Add
raspberry puree and bring to a boil. Once the
stock has reached a boil, strain through a finemesh
sieve, returning the liquid to the pot and
discarding peels and trim. Add sugar and bring to
a boil. Add the rhubarb pieces, stirring constantly.
Poach for 5-7 minutes, until outside of the
rhubarb is tender, but inside is still slightly firm.
Once cooked, remove pot from heat, cover with
plastic wrap, and steam for 3-5 minutes. Strain
out rhubarb pieces through a fine-mesh sieve
and spread out on a sheet tray, leaving one finger
width between each piece. Cover with a Silpat.
Dehydrate in oven at 150 degrees for 8-10 hours,
until rhubarb is tender but no longer wet. If wet,
turn pieces over and return to oven, dehydrating
until tender. Remove and let cool completely.
Lightly toss in simple syrup. Rearrange on tray
with Silpat and dehydrate again for 30-45 minutes
until syrup on rhubarb is sticky. Let rhubarb cool
completely and toss in maple sugar. Cut each
piece lengthwise, then in half.

TO SERVE: On a plate, add the dried rhubarb leaf.
Place the rhubarb haystack on top. Position 5
rhubarb needles within the haystack.


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SKATE WING
CARTILAGE AND
CHICKPEA FOAM
Serves 20

Dan Barber
Blue Hill at Stone Barns

For the skate wing:

180 grams skate wing cartilage,
excess meat removed, cut into
1/2-inch x 2-inch pieces

Wondra flour for dusting

For the aquafaba mayo:

100 milliliters chickpea water
from can

8 milliliters lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

FOR THE SKATE WING: Preheat a
deep fryer to 350 degrees. Scatter
flour over a large dish. Lightly dredge
skate wing cartilage in the flour on
both sides. When oil is hot but not
smoking, fry for 3 minutes until
golden brown and crispy. Drain on
paper towels.

FOR THE AQUAFABA MAYO: In an
electric mixer fitted with wire whisk,
add the chickpea water and whip to
reach firm peaks. With the machine
still running, add lemon juice.

Season with salt and pepper.

TO SERVE: PLATE AS SHOWN.


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NUT PRESS
COOKIES.
Makes 80

Dan Barber
Blue Hill at Stone Barns

For the cookies:

500 grams nut press flour

100 grams light brown sugar

8 grams salt

225 grams butter, melted
Flour for dusting

300 grams 70% chocolate

Fennel pollen, as needed

FOR THE COOKIES: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a stand
mixer with the paddle attachment add all of the dry ingredients.
With machine running on low, add melted butter, continuing to
mix until a dough forms. Dust a work surface lightly with flour.
Press dough into a ball and turn onto a clean work surface. Roll
dough into Vi-inch thick round. Cut into 1-inch x 2-inch pieces
and spread out on a Silpat-lined sheet tray. Bake for 15 minutes.
Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool. Place chocolate in a
small, heatproof bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water
on low heat. Melt chocolate, stirring until smooth and warm, being
careful not to let it get too hot. Dip cookies into melted chocolate,
completely coating each cookie. Top with a pinch of fennel pollen
and set on a parchment-lined sheet tray for 2 hours.


BEVERAGE ADDENDUM

Take a seat inside this imposing granite Norman-style building and a warm welcome by the sommelier team disarms. You'll learn about the cocktails that, as Charles Puglia, Wine Director at Blue Hill at Stone Barns says, "are probably as local as it gets, with most ingredients foraged on the property by the sommelier team, and aligned with the kitchen in emphasizing technique and seasonal ingredients." Puglia says that his team uses waste ingredients from the kitchen and farm, such as leftover whey from making yogurt that goes into the Whey Punch. The beverage program at Bluehill at Stone Barns enthusiastically showcases and promotes over 50 wine selections representing New York State's diversity of distilleries, breweries, and winemakers. The award-winning world-wine list runs 2,000 selections deep. Forty percent of guests order pairings based on the tasting menu's progression of plates titled, "Grazing, Pecking and Rooting." Puglia explains, "It is more of an experience rather than a traditional tasting menu, as dishes change throughout the night, even table to table. Because the experience intends to surprise, guests often rely on us to select the best bottles or to create the best pairings for their evening."
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Author:Newman, Carol M.
Publication:Art Culinaire
Date:Sep 22, 2016
Words:2574
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