Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Boulder Country Dinner - Autumnal Equinox Feast

The Boulder Country Dinner returns to the country on 22 September 2012...

‘The devil is in the details! Chef Robert Corey¹s Boulder Country Dinner series is the equivalent of having your bucket list meal – and best of all you get to repeat the experience every month! Guitarists call Hendrix a guitar player's guitarist. Chefs call Robert Corey a Chef's Chef! What else can be said about gourmet cuisine, wine and fellowship in this bucolic country setting? Jump on it, you will be happy you did!’ ~Christopher J. Davies, Co-Founder, Editor & Publisher - Wine Country International® Magazine & Vino Tasting

The Boulder Country Dinner series continues with a Food & Wine pairing on Saturday, the 22nd of September, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. Once again we will be at the ‘Country House’ in Niwot, Colorado.

I invite you to come to our table to dine with us in the country!!! We will set a table for 20 guests. Seated together you will dine communally, outdoors or indoors as the weather permits. The fashionable concepts of a Slow Food, Seasonal Menu of Farm-to-Table, Local and Organic Foods are integrated within one vision – my food is carefully and caringly sourced, prepared and served to you, usually with a French accent!

The Dinner will be composed of seven-courses of my ‘Nouvelle Classics’ paired with wines – all with seasonal tones. My menu vision comes from the Autumnal produce of Munson Farms in Boulder, Colorado.

I will have some very special chefs in the kitchen with me on this go ‘round… The wine service will be a tasting of novel and boutique wineries that deserve our attention. My plates and bowls are small, multiple course creations - it will not be fine dining, but the dining will be fine.

Please advise us of any special seating needs or dietary requirements. The cost is $125.00 per person (including wine service), paid in advance to secure your place at the table. So…who’s coming to dinner?

The Boulder Country Dinner Menu.

Hors d'Oeuvres - Blini & Gravlax/Champagne.

1st Course -‘Rubik’s Magic Cube’ Soup - Butternut Squash Soup, Apples, Cranberries.

2nd Course - Seared Smoked Sea Scallop, Red Grapefruit, Basil, Pimenton Oil.

3rd Course - ‘Valpolipitaya’ (Toast, Smoked Salmon, Shrimp Salad, Crème Fraiche, Dill, Cucumbers, Butter Lettuce, Caviar, Pear Tomatoes, Chopped Egg).

4th Course - Roasted Corn, Husk, Cheesy Grits, Braised Green Chile & Pork, Poached Egg, Pickled Red Onion.

5th Course - Grilled Pizzaof Bechamel, Gruyere, Asparagus, Mushrooms, Egg & Prosciutto.

6th Course - Slow-Smoked Pork Ribs, Peach Chutney, Chokecherry Cider BBQ, Perfect Fries.

7th Course - Crostata, Grilled Peaches, Golden Delicious Apple, Cinnamon Tuile, Lemoncello Zabaglione and Warm Madeleines.

Wine pairings to follow…

Let me know if you have any specific food allergies or dislikes… Call for additional information @ 303.667.3768 or e-mail me at 12Seasons@comcast.net

Send your remittance/check to: Chef Robert N. Corey P.O. Box 270487 Louisville, Colorado 80027. Upon receipt of payment, I will send you confirmation of your reservation and directions to the ‘Country House’.

See you in the Country! Peace.


Life Lessons from Jiro's Life - A Primer for Cooks Across the Globe

Jiro Ono is 85 years old. He has been working with and serving Sushi since he was a young man, maybe 8 years old.  He is now preparing minimalist, completely simple, perfect sushi. A 20-course sushi tasting at his 10-seat restaurant in a Tokyo subway stop will cost you 30,000 yen. That's about $400 USD and you might be able to devour that menu in 15 minutes making your subway stop much more expensive than you may have been prepared for. The following are the highlights from the cult movie 'Jiro dreams of Sushi' now available to view On Demand if you have Comcast Cable TV.

It's humorous to me that I am writing early morning thoughts about a man who dreams of preparing only sushi. I awoke @ 1:15 a.m. thinking about a lecture and presentation that I am doing on 'Umami - The Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm of Deliciousness' for JWU and @ Metro University later in September. Thus, 'I Dreamt of Umami' and 'Jiro Dreamed of Sushi.'

Repetition - Jiro's mantra is a quest to improve and make better sushi, everyday. Simple. Exact. Powerful. How can something so simple have so much depth of flavor? Uber-high quality of tuna, sea urchins and rice and the exacting detail of a life spent doing the same repetitive things... Jiro says in his Japanese sushi-warrior way that 'ultimate simplicity leads to purity'. It comes down to effort and repeating the same thing everyday. There are no secrets in the methods and techniques required here. Jiro speaks about his cooks and states that 'some are born with a natural gift. Some have a sensitive palate and sense of smell. In this business, if you work hard you'll get good over time. But, if you want to reach the next level, you'll need talent.'   You'll NEED talent.  Much of the philosophy behind these words is directly relevant to students of the culinary arts. Man, it's not easy - but it's easier if you dedicate yourself.

Flavor - 'If it doesn't taste good, you can't serve it'. Regardless of the language of origination these words speak to 'The Need to Feed.' Again, if it doesn't taste good you can't serve it. Simple. Start by purchasing the best products available. Use your first choice of product or use nothing. Jiro's menu is rewritten every day based on product availability, or - more succinctly - based on the quality of available products... Flavor is all that matters. If you read F. Point you get the same parable.

Jiro makes this ultimate point when speaking about delicious food. 'In order to make delicious food you must eat delicious food. A cook needs to develop a palate capable of discerning good from bad.'
This should be required knowledge because I DESPISE paying for sub-par food, especially when the sign in the window says 'Incredible Italian' or 'The Most Delicious' or 'Better Than Grandma Used to Make'...

The concept of 'a point' in French cooking is that everything has a perfect point at which it is cooked. Jiro speaks about 'every ingredient has an ideal moment of deliciousness.' His understanding about umami is that it comes out through a balance of flavors. Jiro's umami is the 'ahhhhhhh' when you eat or drink, the satisfaction that your body has reacted to what you've put in your mouth. Umami is a physical response. I find that this tacit knowledge is cerebral and mystical at the same time. However, with food, you'll know when you know you've got something good going on on your plate.

Think about that last concept. Without having good taste how can you prepare good food? Perhaps you might sell it, but will your guests return for more? If your sense of taste is less than the people you are cooking for you will never be able to impress anyone...

On Jiro - According to Jiro's eldest son, and one can't argue much on these qualities, the following are the best qualities of Jiro who dreams of sushi:

1. He sets a standard for self-discipline

2. He is never satisfied with his work

3. He is always looking ahead

4. Jiro is self-critical

5. He is always looking to improve his skills

On Work - 'Once you decide on your occupation, immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work. Never complain about your job. You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill. That is the secret to success and the key to being regarded honorably.' It is readily apparent that most people can't keep up with the hard work of the kitchen. Be it Sushi or Thai, BBQ or Haute Cuisine - there is NO EASY OR FAST ROAD. As a cook, and then a chef, we must always try to improve upon ourselves. Jiro 'looks ahead'. He's 85 and he has something everyday to look forward to, even though he's been doing the same thing everyday, all his life. Oliver Cromwell said the same thing 350 years ago when he wrote 'He who stops being better stops being good.'

The Chef - Jiro believes that the following 5 attributes are necessry for a cook to be a Chef, a good Chef. Heed these sage words, grasshoppers....:

1. They ('good Chefs') take their work very seriously and consistently perform on the highest level

2. They aspire to improve their skills

3. Cleanliness. They work clean. ('THANK YOU, Jiro!!!!!!!!!!')

4. They have impatience and are better Leaders than Collaborators... and lastly,

5. A great chef is passionate.

Sit back and read those attibutes again and measure yourself, honestly, against the power of that advice... Get to work and work hard.

Details - It is essential in Jiro's world (not his dreams) to check every detail. Everyday he stamps his name and his life on the sushi served to his guests across the counter in a Tokyo subway stop. He gives detailed instructions and requires detailed effort in return. Students often ask me 'How do I get better?' Once again it comes back to repetition - perfectly repeat the same perfect things everyday. 'Perfect practice makes perfect...'

4:01 a.m. Time to dream... Peace.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Zen Thoughts on a Sunday Morning Ride

The sun's rays obscured the road as I turned uphill on Coalton Road from the rotary at 25 miles per hour.  I knew the direction I needed to travel yet the early morning fire in the sky made seeing the path difficult at best. Head down, standing in the saddle, I churned the pedals like pistons in my highest gear, gaining momentum as I climbed the percent grade.  My thighs burned.  I have grown to love the awaiting challenge of the hills.  It's become narcotic.  Work the hills in order to enjoy the wind in your face on the other side, the downhill side.....

And then it hit me.  The metaphor for how we live our lives.  The sun, like the clouded future that lies before us, obscures the path we are often on.  Even with our feet, or our bicycle tires, firmly on the pavement or ground we are often unable to understand and comprehend that which lies in our future.  The uphill struggles are tests which prepare us for the moment when we win the summit or find our way through the tangle of our life's maze.  Traveling towards our goals and pinnacles may burn, hurt, amaze, conflict, confound and otherwise test all our emotions and physical abilities.  Getting there brings the gift of pleasure, victory, and satisfaction.  In any language or thought the physical victories feel the same.  How we process these thoughts defines our creed. 

My Western Zen mind and pseudo-Jack Kerouac thoughts come to me at the moment I crest the hill and begin the early Sunday morning ride into my hometown.  Filled with a new sense of purpose the road is clear of any traffic and my mind is clear of the reasons and need to write my thoughts, if only to capture them in a more permanent place.

My mind changes gears to the culinary world.  Students and young culinarians need the safety and security of instructors and mentors-as-training-wheels whilst they teeter through the basics of food science, preparation and technique.  Once stable they can maneuver themselves into the pelaton of the kitchen, the line, the all-day production brigade.  Once competent they may be able to join the tour of elite and lithe spirits that dominate our world.  You must be in the thick of the maelstrom to truly understand and appreciate top-notch chefs and cuisiniers

Using the metaphor once again - Embrace what challenges you.  Enter the challenge fearlessly.  Learn through failure and victory.  Rise up and face the next challenge.  Today a new hill rises... 



The 'Bicycling Frog' is by Catherine Cleary, a profound artist friend who lives and works in Colorado.  I adpoted the frog as mascot for The French Manner...  Merci, Catherine!

Monday, August 13, 2012


Reflections & Ruminations in this time of my life.

The quotations and ideas below are not my words, my visions or my ideas.  However, when I use them on a daily basis, in a class or on paper or even in my mind, they become my words and my thoughts.  Cooking and food revolve, spin and weave through each of the following thoughts. 

In my soul some words and ideas like these have been germinating for years, perhaps decades, and when they leap to the forefront of my consciousness and into my actions it is possible that true genius will be revealed...  The best years, words and actions are ahead of me.  Time to take action, ignore the 'nay-sayers', strike down the inner demons.  Carpe Diem.

My comments below each thought describe all that I feel that is powerful, precious and wonderous in our world.  I share this with you and your own passions...
 'And, If Not Now, Then When.  YOLO.'
'The only art that makes use of ALL the senses is the Culinary Arts.  I love the Chef that I have become...'

'My 'Table for Four' includes Albert Einstein, Thomas Jefferson, Michelangelo & DaVinci.  I'll have to cook because I don't know if I could follow the conversation...'

'and...You must be the change you wish to see in the world.'

'Artsy words from Kurt Vonnegut.  Also, 'So it goes.'  The oft-repeated refrain from Slaughterhouse-Five.  Three words that simultaneously accept and dismiss everything and encompass a whole way of life. In other, vulgar, words - 'Shit happens'.


'Making a difference requires one to, do.'

'Nuff said.'

'I adopted this as an example of working saute on a 12-burner stove in Lowell, Massachusetts @ La Boniche.  All star-burners were filled.  A 'wicked' busy night.  I needed a 13th burner!  I'd reached how far I could go...saute hell.'

'I need this tattooed on my forehead.  O.K.  Maybe on my - nevermind...'

'I read...happy, dependent, peaceful & thoughtful....  So, there you go.  Peace.'


Saturday, August 11, 2012

La Grande Cuisine

Consider the following:  Shakespeare. Mozart.  Jesus of Nazareth.  Michelangelo.  Caruso.  Goethe.  Beatles.  Pele.  Lindbergh.  Magellen.  Babe Ruth.  Jefferson.  Buddha.  Marco Polo.  Baryshnikov.  Newton.  MLK, Jr.  The common thread from all the previous?  All are of great Legend, born into Genius and are culturally or historically Iconic.

As are A. Escoffier and his seminal work Le Guide Culinaire and following, F. Point, he of Ma Gastronomie and chef-patron of perhaps the greatest restaurant ever, Restauarnt de la Pyramide, in Viennes, France.  Such is the status of  La Grande Cuisine or Classical French Cuisine as the timeless standard-bearer of Gastronomy.  I yearn to learn...  Time to get my francophile on....

Georges Auguste Escoffier

Fernand Point

There will be a stream of dishes coming from me, through and from the two greatest chefs in our history.  Our family tree somewhere and somehow intertwines and the branches that have sprouted myself and others live on and are rooted in their work.  Peace.


Monday, August 6, 2012


Attention!  THESE beauties are tomatoes.  You can only get them IN SEASON!!!!!  The other pieces of crapola that you buy in December and February are never, never, never, never, never, never (did I say 'never') going to send your taste buds into a delirium of yum yum.

I tried sending these babies 'taste-o-gram' through 'aromacasa' by way of 'umaminet'...but that doesn't exist, yet.  Trust me.  The pictures do not do justice to the taste and the aroma - the flavor is ultra-summerrific!!! 

The tomatoes are from Munson Farms, Boulder, Colorado.  Lunch with tomatoes (maldon salt, fresh cracked pepper) includes smoked pork loin, fresh garden greens, cabernet sauvignon-balsamic reduction, toasted pistachios and potato salad.  I ate it instead of sending it's picture, but then my mother chastized me for doing so...  Totally barbaric of me, but delicious.  So - for my mother I've included the luncheon picture.  Mea culpa, mea culpa, me culpa.

and finally -
For Mom.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Farm-to-Table Dinner @ Munsons Farm, Boulder, Colorado

Fund-Raiser Farm-to-Table Dinner for Sacred Heart of Jesus School
04 August 2012

 At the Munson Farms Farmstand, corner of 75th Street & Valmont in Boulder, Colorado

What's for dinner...?

These are laminated placemats that were made, with the menu on the reverse, just for this event...they are fun and farmer-oriented.

Rockin the Big Green Egg...

Smoked Pork Loin.  Delicious!

Smoke is a good thing...

Huitlacoche.  Corn Truffle. Corn Smut.  By any name it is a delectable treat.

'Under the Cottonwoods'

Dinner table in the corn

'Pan Tomate'

Corn heads...

Guests on the Farm Tour

Kitchen in the corn meadow

More of the table...

Main plates


The treat to finish the evening...
12Seasons & The French Manner
present a Farm-to-Table Dinner
A Colorado-Harvested, Slow Food Menu


A Farm-to-Table Fundraising Dinner

For Sacred Heart of Jesus School

@ Munson Farms

04 August 2012

Colorado-Harvested, Slow Food Menu

Under the Cottonwoods
Watermelon & Cantaloupe with Pistachio, Basil & Cab Sauv-Balsamic Reduction
Onion, Poblano & Sharp Cheddar Tarts with Cilantro
Belgian Endive with Goat Cheese & Parsley
Upslope Brown Ale & IPA & Borgo Magredo Prosecco, Extra Dry

Bread & Salad
Grilled Country Loaf ‘Pan Tomate’
Arugula, Mixed Greens & Field Tomato Salad with Tomato Tarragon Vinaigrette
Perrier Sparkling Water

Main Plate
Smoked Pork Loin, Garlic-Rubbed Grilled Leg of Lamb & Adobo Grilled Chicken Breast

‘Hash’ of Grilled Corn, Roasted Summer Squash, Fried Brussels Sprouts, Shallots
& Dried Cherries
Minted Bell Pepper and Green Pole Bean Salad
New Yukon Potato & Parsley Salad
2011 Beringer California Collection Sauvignon Blanc & 2010 Morse Code Padthaway Shiraz

12Seasons Almond Scones, Colorado Peaches, Toasted Almonds, Soft-Caramel
& Toasted Meringue ‘S’More’

Cooking in the corn field.  How do you teach that? 

Last evening, I and two student volunteers from Johnson and Wales University cooked and served four courses to 37 diners in the corn field at Munson Farms outside of Boulder, Colorado.  The event was a fund-raising dinner for Sacred Heart of Jesus School in Boulder.  Some of the intrigue of cooking and dining in the meadow and corn row of the farm was heightened by the uneven rocky ground, the V-flights of dozens of Canada Geese, the luminescence of night-balloons from a party miles away from ours, and the great beauty of being on a working farm.  Guests were treated to appetizers and Prosecco 'Under the Cottonwoods', a walking tour of the farm with Mike Munson (principal farmer and son of Bob Munson who started the farm in 1957 and was instrumental in starting the Boulder farmer's Market 25 years ago), and the choosing of the best seats at the east-west table set between the corn rows.   

I delivered mirrors of appetizers, walking through the squash and tomato plants growing in neat rows of chocolate truffle-colored soil.  The weather was perfect with a high of just 82 degrees F.  I decided to wear shorts and clogs for more comfort and there were many comments of my Mario-look... My clogs were black.  They are now a dirty mess and may just be retierd!

With the coming twilight, luminarias were lit upon the exit path from the meadow.  Cleaning in the dark with the near-full moon rising in the east we ponder....'are we having fun yet?'  The focus of the Need to Feed is understanding why we do what we do.  Forty-six hours in three days were spent shopping at the Farmer's Market, at the farmstand, brining and smoking the pork, baking scones, prepping for salads, dessert, garlic-crusted leg of lamb, Adobo Sauce for the chicken....then loading the truck, picking up the rented grills, getting to the event, setting the stage of tents, tables, grills, prep tables, etc.  Tomorrow is cleaning day for the china, pans, utensils, coolers, cutting boards, and all the other equipment that gets shipped around the county to satisfy my need.... 

In a large measure it is the Thank You...  We aim to make people happy through food, wine, and the pleasure of company in a congenial atmosphere.  That could be in your own home, the restaurant - or even in the corn.