Citric Acid ⇄ Roasted Green Tea

GEEKOUT!!!! Is that a word? A noun? If not, I just made it one. It’s right up there with ‘LOLFEST.’

Ok, ok. Other stuff first. Uhmmmmmm….

Yay for ninja senses. And yes, I know; I plead guilty to vacillating on the awesomeness of ninjas based on how it can serve me in a given situation. The point is, I can hear people go up and down the steps between the prep area and the kitchen, the fan sounds different when things go past it, and there is nothing wrong with my peripheral vision which allows me to note light changes in the reflection on the paper towel dispenser above the sink I’m using. This means that if you come up behind me and whisper, “What are you doing?” in a supposedly very eery voice, I am not going to jump, because I was just waiting for you to do it.

I learned how to clean out the fryer today! It was one of those experiences where, until I’m actually past it, I’m constantly wondering if others were right not to trust me with such a task in past. It was as semi-traumatizing as the first time I pulled stock by myself. And not because the actual cleaning is particularly tricky, but because getting several gallons of spent oil and yucky gunk-filled water down the steps and through the patio and out to the grease can in the alley without spilling any  of it is not quite as easy for a relatively petite person such as moi in comparison to, say, any of the 6-foot-plus and much more muscular persons with whom I’ve generally found myself in constant company. Anyway, Chef teased and Richard praised and it all came out alright.

Last time I made raita, we didn’t have carrots. This time, we didn’t have cucumbers. Go figure. I still haven’t tasted raita with both. Oh well.

I love our mango salsa =) Of course, Jason half attempted to give me measurements, and then gave up. “So… when you say 2 tbsp, do you mean, go measure 2 tbsp, or do you mean something that looks like 2 tbsp?” “What do you think, Ais? How do I work?” “Ok, ok! Something that looks like 2 tbsp…”

Side note from the first day, Jason had me try black salt, which he apparently detests, and which he supposed [correctly] that I would like very much, as its flavor profile puts one in mind of balut.

Prep was fairly light and full of little things, like mincing chicken, picking through greens, basil chiffonade, jalapeno brunoise, breaking down lamb racks, portioning potli mix… etc. I was in at 11 and Jason wasn’t in until 14:30. We were fed naan and sliders, and Chef sent me home with some pears from a guy who has pear trees in his backyard and just brings us bags because he doesn’t know what else to do with them.

Ok, so, the geekout. The first thing Jason did when he came in was put a small bottle of citric acid next to my cutting board. I blogged about the day he taught me to make the tulsi marinade, but didn’t blog about the part where we used some basil oleoresin because we were short on basil and consequently geeked out. Jason tried to explain to Matt – who was making naan dough on the prep table next to us at the time – the strength of oleoresins, how much difference a few drops make, and how a clementine oleoresin from one part of the world can smell and taste completely different from a clementine oleoresin from the other side of the world. Of course, I had to interject, “It’s like terroir in wine.” “Exactly.” So it was that today, when I was cleaning and reorganizing the shelf in the prep area before leaving work, I put the citric acid next to the basil oleoresin and grinned. Jason said the citric acid’s for the mint chutney. Flavor chemistry rocks. I fortunately had brought in roasted green tea for Jason and was able to contribute to the geekout. Jason once stated, back when we were still at Daveed’s, that he knew how to make a perfect cup of green tea, and then went into all sorts of temperature requirements, etc. I’d tried roasted green tea for the first time on Monday, and my mind was blown. It has – and I articulated this to Jason when I gave it to him – an incredible flavor profile; it loses the delicacy that I would normally associate with green tea, yet not in any bad sort of way, and instead has a rich nutty characteristic which I found that I adored. Jason had never tried it before, either, and consequently liked it, too =)

Maybe I should submit a definition of geekout to urban dictionary. Hey, they accepted my definition of sidebar…

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