Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Wedding Show is almost here!

The Wedding Show is almost here!


So once again in the slow time we are usually doing interesting things.
With the 2006 Wedding Show now just 5 days til D-day it starts getting
down to the "Come to Jesus" realities. That is when we have to start to
ditch some of the myriad of things we are all going to do for the
wedding show.

Slide show on the wall is now out. No time to deal with the technical
aspects of it. Champagne bar in, cheese cave in, Specialty lighting in,
Al's New Cake Business in, three of the appies we were going to feed
out, brisket carving live in, two home cured hams for carving in, salmon
in, trout in, all of the presentation plates in, topless females out,
(gotcha) Garden theme in, etc., etc.

Point is for us, shoot for the Moon if you miss you still end up among
the stars..... or so the saying goes.

So I have burned the crap out of my hands working sugar, built several
sprinkler can fountains with my welding set up. Got them operational.
Set up all the halide lighting, and general got all my plates rounded

Al has got all his cakes done, brought in his cool plates so we can
evaluate their use in the booth for food displays and generally kept the
entire catering operations food going out the door.

Zane has built all the copper center pieces, done his pressed mold sugar
type art, built the other two fountains we need and met with me every
night on my way home to discuss the booth so we can continue to whittle
down what we want.

To give you an idea of way these meetings are so important, Zane had
been looking at this antique wooden box for a week. He wanted to use it
but could not figure out what to do with it. I walked in and told him,
but the little fruit baskets in it that match the flavors of different
wines. Done deal. And I was really fretting about the cheese display.
Finally Zane says just build an entire cave out of our marble and we'll
build it on top of one of our Oak Wine Barrels. I said alright and I
will do some fancy lighting for it. Done deal!

Down to the plates and the plating's. As everyone keeps talking about the
plates. Today Al added in two nice presentation plates one chicken and
one beef tenderloin.

Meanwhile Mary Lou is laying out all the decorations, all the components
required so we have a great looking display. She has fretted and changed
and added and dropped a million ideas in the last three weeks. All for
one six hour show!

But this is no ordinary show, this is what fills your summer weekends
and your bank accounts, this is what decides who will be the CATERER and
who will be just catering. So big big stakes and for Al even bigger,
will Al be making cakes and catering or will all be slinging hash for
catering only. Al has a great chance at a successful launch. As Al has
great talent with these cakes. And as it happens Al is in our booth and
not stuck on his own in a corner. Of course Al is in the booth because
he is an important part of the catering business in his own right. But I
think this position will give him a leg up on the launch.

So come Sunday after the traditional beers in the lounge after the show,
we will come back to the kitchen and debrief ourselves on what worked
and what did not work, on what knocked 'em dead and what was well, not as
spectacular as we thought it would be.

I have two big ideas being tested that I hope will grow the business a
little more. I am putting forth the Bridal Shower Afternoon Tea as the
value added item all brides must have this year. And of course have set
the research on High Tea and Low Tea to cause the competitors to
stumble. And I am pushing the Cheese Cave as a line item that can be
ordered for the Rehearsal or Wedding dinner.

Zane and I are pushing the new micro dinner as heavy appies replacement.
Complete meals only in the micro version. For my part I have purchased a
dozen old Soul Food books from e-bay over the last six months and plan
to plate out the best micro soul food dinners ever. My oldest book is a
hand written collection of Soul Foods of The Alabama Black Churches,
Circa 1930. Zane has done a bunch of little seafood meals for it the

Mary Lou has the decorations and booth traffic traveling so it will trap
the people into our booth and run them all the way through without being
able to escape. This is very important when the booth is jammed from
opening to closing. We don't want people not giving at least their name
and number to us.

For Al I think he is tranque darting the brides that don't taste his
cake. Well, whatever method works to book business!

Anyway I just wanted you to know what type of stuff goes through our
minds while we are gearing up for the show in our SLOW time.

Here is hoping you open one, let it breath 30 minutes and enjoy!

Til will talk again

Chef Bob Ballantyne

The Cowboy and The Rose Catering

Grand Junction, Colorado, USA

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Deep Woods Pizza, black iron at work


 Deep Woods Pizza Methods


Caterers get asked to present all sorts of foods in all sorts of places.
On occasion people like pizza in the mountains. Since anyone can just
order some pizza, drop it in a hotbox and pull out the thing after
driving to the mountains you would think you would not get asked. But if
you have fed someone real pizza or if you have ever had pizza right from
a stone or brick oven you know that stuff that they deliver has a
problem. Mainly the crust (the heart and very sole of a pizza) begins to
turn into some type of oversized noodle as soon as the box lid closes.
Even with the little vents, the fancy cardboard disks, boxing ruins
pizza. So if we are to produce fantastic pizza for the end of a 15 mile
horse ride it is going to have to be cooked on site. No exceptions ever.
Partly because of my Italian Pizza Shop background, partly because I
believe comfort food should be cooked correctly as well as gourmet food.
He11 done correctly many comfort foods are gourmet to some people.

So how to do it in the woods. The test, can we devise a method and some
way to build a pizza to order in the woods?

Make the dough the night before, to do otherwise is to cheat yourself of
what wonderful things yeast can do to dough cold and slow overnight.
Plus if the dough is reefered it will hold while you are out on the
trail., sauce can be prepared ahead of time. (A little hint for those of
you who did not come from the pizza shop business. Contadina does not
make a bad canned pizza sauce. Just needs a little basil for cheese and
vegetable pizza and oregano for meat topping pizzas) Also shred the
cheese ahead of time and bag it or purchase the preshredded pizza
cheese. I shred mine as I like low moisture Mozzarella at 65 percent of
the mix and the rest mild cheddar.

While I have messed around with the in a tube pizza crusts and the bread
rounds, I just don't think they come close to a little time making your

My dough is:

3 cups flour

1 tbsp dry yeast

1 tsp salt

1 cup 115F to 120F warm water

1/2 tsp sugar

2 tbsp vegetable oil or Olive Oil

Shift half the flour and all dry ingredients together. Add in warm
water, mix in as much of the remaining flour as you can with a large
spoon. Knead 6 to 8 minutes. rest 10 minutes. At this point you can make
pizzas if you want. I divide this into two balls, cover with plastic
wrap and set in the reefer overnight. (about 12 hours, no more than 18
hours or the dough will start to suffer Cardboard tastisis)

So go on the horse ride and when you get back we will make the pizza.

And stop along the way to enjoy the scenery!

And then when you get back to the trailer it is time to water the beasts
and fire up the charcoal cause we are going to make pizza in the black

I used a 12 inch fry pan with a lid. The other pan you see is for the
steak fajitas'!

Now a word from experience, you want to start with the coals on top of
the pizza pan for about 20 minutes before adding the heat underneath
with coals.

When you wait the 22 minutes it takes you end up with this

And when you pop it out of the pan you can place it on a round pizza pan

Now the testing and stuff was done at the house before I headed up to
the woods with this stuff. And it now works every single time. You can
put whatever you would like on top a pizza. But in the mountains with
all that air and all that scenery you just have to have wine to drink!
Beer is an acceptable substitute when its hot, but wine is great in the
mountains. Now since anyone that tells you they only drink the expensive
wine just does not drink wine very often and that is not good. I am not
afraid to chase for special wines that cost next to nothing but drink
well and with the right friends along drink downright great! So I do use
a lot of Woodbridge Wines in the magnums. Cheap in price and actually
very good for a table wine. So be wary of those that only claim to drink
the best, unless they are rich they just don't drink a lot of wine,
could not afford to drink like that, so don't be afraid to try these 9
to 18 dollar magnums, they really do have some nice drinkable wine at
real deals.

Til will talk again

Chef Bob Ballantyne

The Cowboy and The Rose Catering

Grand Junction, Colorado, USA

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Another busy day during the slow time

Another Busy Day during a Slow Time!


Rabbit on the menu again for this weekend! Damn nice eating meat.

Another thing was fit into the slow times today. Seems the State Revenue
department came down on another establishment that forgot to pay its
sales taxes. The auction was yesterday, sent our ringer in with the

Picked up a couple stainless steel work tables, 3 year old Wolf 3 foot
by 6 foot flattop with double ovens under it and two eyes out on the
end. Set up on the casters already. Nice piece, two door reefer one year
old nice shape not a scratch on it. Also finally got a pillow ice
machine, 12 minute cycle, water cooled, and 500 pound bin. We have been
watching patiently for three years to get a new ice machine at the
correct price. This is a nice machine as it is only 8 months old. Had to
shell out $600 for it. What a deal! All in all we picked the equipment
up for an average of 10 cents on the wholesale dollar.

To give you a little insight in why we are so intent on only purchasing
good equipment at the bottom price. Debt load kills more businesses than
any other facet of business. In catering servicing debt load during the
off season often decides who comes back next year and who sells out to
our ringer bidding to the gavel!

We have a good idea we are going to be putting together a 5000 person
remote man camp kitchen. With these final pieces we can now set an
entire kitchen with our own equipment that is paid for in full. Anyone
else bidding a man camp of this size is going to add debt loading onto
the bid for the equipment they will have to lease or purchase. When it
comes down to it at there break even costs we are already making money.
This is an important advantage in the high stakes game of field kitchen

The same applies to our regular business as well. We don't have the debt
service that most of our competitors carry so when the going gets
competitive only those who designed their business to be extremely
competitive from the beginning can still be banking money and creating
free cash flow when the others are paying debts. I always like to see
one of our competitors show up with a new trailer or brag about a new
set of ovens. It is one more stake in their coffin, one step closer to
us getting it at auction rate prices. I hope and encourage our
competitors to purchase the best equipment! I tell them oh we can not
afford that really high end stuff you guys can afford, we buy are
equipment at auction. (And the only way we afford the high end stuff is
if they purchase it first and we get it at auction! So buy the best
because I would like the best) So please competitors who watch these
boards, purchase a really nice double combi-oven with the stand and
casters. Because bbally wants one real bad at sometime at the 2006

Some call it cruel, some are very offended, but the reality is you need
to set yourself to have the lowest overhead and the maximum left over
cash you can possible squeeze out of the gross revenue! To plan for
anything else is just postponing bankruptcy in my opinion!

We will talk again soon, I think it is time for a Sunlight Martini,
stirred not diluted all to he11 by shaking the snot out of it! Relax you
now have a little insight into how the game is won!

Chef Bob Ballantyne

The Cowboy and The Rose Catering

Grand Junction, Colorado, USA

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

What we do during the Slow Times

 What we do during the Slow Times


I get asked what we do in the slow times at the catering company. To
answer the question I tell people "there is no slow time, there is time
when the cooking is slow, but there are plenty of things to keep one

So since it is a cooking slow time now I have been spending time working
with everyone on the Wedding Show booth. Since we started the MOVE
during the wedding show five years ago we have incredible pressure to
have "THE BOOTH" every year. We started five years ago by spending all
the marketing money on Prime Rib and homemade desserts to roll out the
new upscale catering and say good bye to the utility catering forever!
So every year we have to top it.

This year we have several cool things, First Big Dog Chef will be
rolling out Artisan Pastry in the booth. Finally a cake place and a bake
place! The rental outfit we use when we don't have enough of our own
stuff is also in the booth. But with 60 feet we have the space.

Mary Lou has the complete place settings to complete four different
themed bistro tables. The entire back wall will be filled with one off
plates of our food offerings, from Bar-B-Q to Tuscan and Basque to
Russian we will have plates of mains, sides and desserts for review.

Dolphin Ice Sculpture this year. Surrounded by lobster, shrimp, oysters,
clams and crabs it is always a great display of ice and seafood.

Zane is doing the copper sculpture work for the elevated center pieces.
And he will be putting together the Champagne Buffet. We plan to offer
it as an additional charged for item. Allowing people to choose from
many sparkling wines.

I am doing the six foot wide and four foot high multi-leveled complete
marble Artisan Cheese Buffet. Complete with neon lighting in the
different marble caves. Each cave offering three cheese choices. Covered
with fruit and vines it should present well.

The live carving station will be offering the Heirloom Country Cured Ham
and the Bourbon cocktail meatballs. Plus a large variety of desserts.
And then there is always the salmon. Rule change prevents the salmon
from being everywhere this year. Apparently a catering company
complained that last year our name was everywhere and in almost every
booth. I had the forethought to offer free salmon and crackers to every
booth that did not do food. I guessed it pissed the competition off a
little. So this year it does not say I can not deliver box lunches to
every booth. (This is a little self serving as all the non food booths
come to our booth to eat.) This might keep them out of our hair so we
can work the floor.

I got a real nice Braggart Chef Coat for the event. I love this show, it
is a little weird this year as we are going into it with very few open
slots for weddings. People are learning to book us early or risk not
getting the top caterer.

I love branding! And man did we scorch this one into their minds!

Take Care and grab a glass of wine, we will talk again

Chef Bob Ballantyne

The Cowboy and The Rose Catering

Grand Junction, Colorado, USA

Sunday, January 8, 2006

Winter, almost 50 F, break out the charcoal!

Winter? almost 50F breakout the Charcoal!


Welcome, I know a lot of you wonder what do Chefs eat when at home. The
real answer is we don't. But we do sometimes.

Since we are having a mild winter here on the western slope of Colorado
I thought I would breakout the Charcoal grill. Not the char gas grill
but the real deal. I use Charcoal a lot even when I am using our giant
gas grill I keep a hibachi around and touch it off for the EFFECT. The
effect I am talking about is the universal signal sent out when the
smell of charcoal lighter is touched off. This smell wafts around the
neighborhood and tells everyone, "something special" going on over
there. Interestingly enough when I am teaching my class on environmental
conditioning to the Colorado Culinary Academy students they all have
trouble understanding what I am talking about until we light off the
charcoal outside. When I take them out that all say Grill. And that is
the subliminal message we want to plant. Then we talk about the H2
reaction and its role in both appetite and satisfaction of the meal. Then
we go on to lighting and sound, but you get the idea, it will be the
culinary science of the next decade.

So to make a long story longer. The temperature was correct for a little
grill meal. And yes we have pictures as I know from the e-mails you want

First I had to dig around in the freezer. I found a smaller rack of lamb
from a damaged lamb I purchased from my normal lamb rancher. This lamb
broke a foreleg and Chance called over to see if I would please buy it
from him. He is a 4-H boy that has been supplying me lamb since he was
about 12 years old. He is 19 now so he is no longer a boy, but to me he
always will be the kid with the lambs. I get quite a few from him every

The rack is an interesting cut:

And the hide side looks like this:

Little small for Colorado lamb but when they break a foreleg you take
them at the size they are and end the suffering.

Next we need to set it up for the marinade. Over to my wife's kitchen
greenhouse window and pull down the Rosemary plant, it is about to get a

You can see the Ziploc bag in the background of the plant. I love
Ziplocs for marinating. You can smash the air out for better contact
time with the meat, you can flip them over by reaching in and flipping
the bag with no mess.

Have to pick a wine for marinating. Lately I am really likely the
Rosemount Shiraz. This wine is very nice and at about $8 per bottle by
the case extremely price friendly.

I add a little thyme, rosemary, wine and salt and pepper. Tad of onion
and very little garlic. I also add some blackberries down in the
marinade. I have it marinate for about 4 hours.

Now we must talk about the sides. Because even when we cook at home we
worry about the sides and the dish balance. It is a curse, but a good
curse. So for sides I found a nice organic (I don't require organic, but
organic growers make neat stuff this time of the year) butternut squash.
I decided to a roasted diced butter nut would be great along with some
oven browned potatoes.

Then added a honey brown sugar glaze to it. This was Mise only at this
point. As I like to relax on the weekend when I am not cooking I have
learned to use the microwave oven as a tool to speed up everything. So
this went into the microwave for 7 minutes on high and lidded. That will
steam it to al dente and be ready for a quick 30 minute final roasting.

For the starch I wanted to do oven roasted potatoes. This allowed me to
test a new potato offering I have been thinking about adding to the
catering business for a while.

First I sweated the onions and peppers:

Then add in the potatoes and roast to a finished product:

Along with a package of dry Good Seasonings Zesty Italian dressing. Now
what it does not show is a trick that allows the potato to keeps its
good looks. I lid this pan for the first 40 minutes and only finish it
for the last 30 minutes uncovered to brown the potatoes. This in essence
steams the potatoes with the onion pepper sweat and infuses the dressing
mix into the potato. And as the last thirty minutes is also the finish
time for the butternut they are in finishing together.

Meanwhile out back of the ranch we have to get the mis for the meat
cooking operations. Now this actually happened after the prep of the
butternut and potatoes but before the sweat and microwaving started.
Charcoal needs time to come up to temp.

These four items allow you to drive the neighbors nuts. I can not count
the times I fired this off and after about one hour you can see the
other ranchettes firing up the same! Like a lemming thing.

Once started you can get back to the prep.

After the ovens are full and the mis finished you can finally start on
the meat. About 20 minutes out you can start grilling. My son does not
eat lamb so I pulled out one of our boneless chops from the pigs we
butcher every year.

Lamb fat does darken heavily. Don't worry about it, just keep cooking to
hit 128 degrees. You can scrap the dark off and finish lightly just
before pulling. Now make sure it is the fat getting dark not the meat!

And when it hits temp pull and rest it for 10 minutes inside. This all
combines to create a little quick meal that plates out at home like

Came out very nice. I was happy with everything but the Black Raspberry
Crème Brule I made for dessert. I was trying something different and it
went wrong. It tasted great but was not what I was looking for so it is
not pictured here. When I get it fixed up I will do a blog on it. But
for now it remains a recipe in progress.

That is all for now, hope you find a way to pull together a little time
on the Bar B Q it is really a great way to cook and eat! And don't
forget wine, like salt and pepper, belongs on the table for every meal!

Chef Bob Ballantyne

The Cowboy and The Rose Catering

Grand Junction, Colorado, USA

Saturday, January 7, 2006

Bell Tolled, beef hanging around

Bell Tolled, Beef Hanging Around!


Well had to make my end of first week stop to the butcher shop and check
on the beef. I must say the new straight corn method has produced an
excellent carcass. As you can see in this picture the sides all Graded
Prime. Receiving this grade is a combination of the correct genetics
with the proper feed ration. Since my son took over the custom beef
raising five years ago he has got the feed rations down to a science.
(which it is a science) These cattle came out particularly nice. Perhaps
250 pounds over finished. A little over finish just means you wasted
money making additional cover (fat) on the carcass instead of maximizing
the growing finishing process. Part of that was due to the slaughter
house not accepting animals the end of December so we had three weeks of
growth at 4.6 pounds per day or so of cover added on to the carcass.

Take a look at the sides of all of them hanging in this picture:

Nice and uniform. You will notice the oxtail hanging down and even it
show a little bit of cover. Can not wait for the oxtail, black truffle
soup this year! I am making one big batch and freezing it this year.

This next picture shows the forward shoulder again the almost complete
cover is very encouraging to see. We are going for 21 days dry age, the
more uniform the cover the better chance we have of getting to 21 days
without the USDA rep going nuts and making me have them cut up.

All in all this is going to be a great steak grilling summer. Another
nice thing about these angus cross are the beautiful shanks they create.
The marrow is really nice and dark with the meat on the outside fairly
well covering the bone. This makes for great braised beef shanks (beef
osso buco) but I do have to tie the shanks, as with the 2 inch cut I
ask for, the meat will slide off if I don't tie them. Anytime you can
get lesser cuts to be premium you are getting a much better value out of
the feed and time put into raising these animals.

I wanted everyone to get an idea of what a whole steer looks like and
give you some scale to see what size these things really are when they
are slaughtered. My butcher is 5 foot 11 inches tall, the foreleg of the
shoulder is about 6 inches above the aging locker floor. We are talking
about handling a large large carcass.

This picture shows the 684# red angus, the largest this year was the
white face cross at 705 on the rail and the smallest what the char/angus
cross at 645# on the rail. All in all a good growing year for these
animals not one got sick so they were raised with no growth hormone, no
injections at all. They did receive the pour on 8 months ago for
internal parasites when we received them from the delivery truck.

These guys have two more weeks of just hanging around before they get
dressed up in their whites with the blue stamp stating what is inside
the white butcher paper.

Ahh I can smell that T-bone wafting around the backyard now!


Til we talk over a steak,

Chef Bob Ballantyne

The Cowboy and The Rose Catering

Grand Junction, Colorado, USA

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Making Cured Smoked Salmon, a picture guide

 Making Cured Smoked Salmon: A Picture Guide


Well since it has been a hit and is now one of our best selling items I
figured I ought to give a picture guide to the cured salmon. Those of
you commercial people wanting to do this in your area can e-mail for a
few more tricks of the trade.

First we need the salmon. After Lorraine requested salmon I decided to
mess around with a little Canadian Atlantic. So this is a picture guide
using Canadian Atlantic Salmon:

First fly the salmon in, the fresher you can get it, the better product
you will turn out.

Then you must wash the salmon I always use ice water to wash the salmon
down and cool it further. A little trick here is to make this water a
brine, it tightens the flesh up for a nicer finished product.

While the salmon is in the brine for half an hour you want to get your
cure spices together. First you cure salt, 3 table spoons for 30 pounds
of fish. 4 pounds of salt, then you can add what ever else you like. I
use, ginger, brown sugar, ground clove, nutmeg, tarragon, bay leaf and
white pepper. I also add in a little chili powder.

Nest you layer in the salmon with the cure, so cure, salmon cure salmon
etc. After that I go back over it until all the cure is used up. The I
will come back over each salmon side with a sugar. I have been using
maple sugar. But honey and regular sugar will work, as will any number
of fruit compotes.

Let this sit for 6 hours and then wash the sides. And set them in the
cooler to dry for at least 12 hours. Then next morning into the smoker.
(I am skipping the smoker picture as you have seen it in the bacon and
ham blogs. Same thing with fish in it.

When it reaches 152 degrees pull it and let it sit for half an hour,
then into the cooler overnight.

Of interest to me was the fat that comes out of these Canadian salmon. I
have cut a few tails off and an going to make some salmon ravioli with
them to see what we can do with that smoke filled fat!

Would like to point out the June 24, 2006 C2C fund raiser we are hosting
in Grand Junction Colorado. Have room for some volunteers if you want to
work with Great Chefs and learn and work for a great cause. And tickets
are on sale now at $109.00 per plate. We can also use people coming
through the front door to help the cause! Consider it, educated people
to have a vocation that allows them to make a living is a noble cause!

Hope you enjoy this, talk at you later.

Chef Bob Ballantyne

The Cowboy and The Rose Catering

Grand Junction, Colorado, USA

Monday, January 2, 2006

Kitchen Musing and the commercial Chef World

 Kitchen Musings and the commercial chef world


Since the picture blogs seem to be most popular according to the e-mails
I receive. I put together this random kitchen musings blog along with my
thoughts and comments:

One of my favorite times is the early morning. I like coming in early
and seeing the place dark and clean, unmolested and ready for the task
that will be placed on it for the days work.

I think this says a lot, my leather jacket hanging on the corner. I like
seeing the dark kitchen, make the first pot of coffee, smell it as it
covers the whole room because the hoods are still not fired up. Quiet,
no heat, no yelling, no whirring, nothing, just a coffee pot brewing and
the tickets for the days work laid out on the board for review. It is
nice to snatch a little bit of sanity in this early morning world!

So I turn on the lights and check the line:

Nothing hot yet, no rags, gloves or anything needed to start bringing
the "factory" up online for the days work.

I fire the lights up over the dish machine and run it for first fill.

This is the calmest it will be during the next 12 to 16 hours. From this
point on stuff only gets behind schedule and things only go wrong. Well
not exactly the things that go correctly don't need any attention so
they are just taken in stride. It is the stuff that goes wrong putting
everyone behind schedule that needs the attention and the adrenaline
pumping and the mind focused. We do get in the weeds in catering. And it
usually means between 150 and 500 meals are going to be late. And that
is unacceptable in this business. So you work, you sweat you cook stuff
as fast as you can, pan it, cambro it, label it and get on to the next
thing that is behind or needs to be completed. It is exhausting and
exciting, exhilarating and disappointing, stressful and wonderful all at
the same time. They say when you really hit the stride in catering you
are an animal addicted to the rush and that the highs and lows you
experience can be clinically diagnoses as bi-polar. I believe it,
because I live it and I love it.

I have to brag on Chef Al Menard a little. I think he is like 11 feet tall or something. He has moved all the
pot racks up so high I need a damn ladder to get the stuff down. Anyway
he made these strawberries for New Years Eve and I thought his tower of
strawberry was really cool. I am not talking thawed these out and plated
them, we do all our own food be damned with frozen meals!

Then Chef Al left to go celebrate New Years with his wife.

I have a friend that works at the local stone shop. I have been
collecting stone cuts since Chef Florian Wehrli suggested it in August
at his C2C fund raiser.

Chef Mike did up a stone platter for the winery party.

The pear is made of the same cheese mixture we made the snowmen out of,
only they used real sticks instead of Udon noodles so they stayed
straight this time.

This is another shot of the cheese plate. You can see Chef Al's work
station on the other side he was plating up our smoked salmon for the

I was going over to the hall at the Catholic Church to serve a New Years

The people had a lot of fun and so did we. One of the things I love
about catering is that usually you are doing a celebration so most
people are in a great mood. I am not saying we don't run into the big
"purple barney" Chef Polcyn spoke of in his blog, but they are not the
norm. Hence we have are own party in the BOH while the FOH is keeping
people happy. However FOH personnel can get out of control and here is
the proof!

Russ was suggesting that he had found a side that was better than the
twice baked potatoes I had made, and wanted to share the secret recipe
with me. I will cut his fingers off later!!!!

The group was its usually jolly self and was trying to deal with feed a
hundred people or so and have some sort of merriment about New Years!

To close, I got up this morning and my son and I hooked up the trailer
and delivered the steers to the slaughter house and butcher shop.

They have about 20 days of aging to do without organs and then they get
prettied up in their dress whites and report to freezers in the area.
Including our own. Oh I have been out of rib steaks to long!

Have a great day and enjoy a good wine tonight! We will speak later you
can count on it.

Chef Bob Ballantyne

The Cowboy and The Rose Catering

Grand Junction, Colorado, USA