black butte ranch


During culinary school the importance of using salt was drilled into my head from the first day that i stepped into the kitchen. I can remember back in my sauces class when I had to make an orange gastrique, a sweet and sour sauce if you will, for duck, and I was so proud of my accomplishment that I ran over to the chef for him to try it. His response was less than impressed, he asked “did you season this sauce?” I told him “no”, he then proceeded to throw the pot away and told me to start over and to properly season it this time. At this point I realized that whether sweet or savory salt was a key ingredient.

The best way to test salts flavoring abilities is to make a base for creme brulee or ice cream, a nice and rich custard with vanilla, before you turn it into ice cream or creme brulee, taste the base, add a little salt and taste it again, add a little more until you start to notice the flavors of vanilla stand out and the richness of the cream get deeper. This lesson has been very valuable in my career in being able to train my staff properly and to taste food and season it properly.

Aside from salts ability to enhance I have realized, over the years, that salt can do more than enhance favors, sea salts from different regions can create an experience unlike any other. Aside from flavor, sea salts contain different minerals and nutrients that you cannot get from ordinary table salt. The simplicity that is salt can help us live a healthier life, and with OLIVE OIL, SEA SALT, & PEPPER we can .

What I love about this book, from the first few pages that I read, is that it teaches you what I teach the interns that come to my restaurant, in order to eat healthy you need to learn to cook healthy, keep it simple and use what you have, try not to over think it. At our Christmas buffet we had people left and right complementing our baked yams, everyone asked how we did it and my response to them was “Do you have a piece of paper and a pen? You will need olive oil, salt, and pepper”. Their response was always “That’s it?!” and I would reassure them that that was all they needed to cook a great meal. A good steak takes a grill, a good quality well raised cow, salt, pepper, and olive oil. In the summer we go out to our garden to pick fresh arugula that we toss with olive oil, salt and a little lemon. Simplicity is where we need to start, and this book demonstrates how easy it is to cook simple, great tasting food. I feel that this book will provide a great outline for everybody to live by to have a healthier life.

Roasted Yams with Caramelized Onions and a Nutmeg Cream

The crew at Black Butte Ranch had a great couple of holiday weeks and as the dust settles it is time to play and create new ideas and recipes for the upcoming summer. Before we jump into some new recipes here is one of the more popular ones from our Christmas buffet last year, roasted yams with caramelized onions and a sweet nutmeg cream. This side dish is very easy to make, in fact the most difficult component to make will be the Nutmeg cream, which is a creme anglaise with nutmeg. When yams are in season they are full of sugars that are ready to create a nice crust and a sweet soft center. The use of fresh grated nutmeg is going to define this dish over anything else. Since the day I started cooking I have bought whole spices and a spice grinder and ground them as needed, they last a lot longer and the flavor is unmatched. If and when I make these again I will add pictures.

Nutmeg Creme Anglaise

1C Heavy Cream

1ea Nut of Nutmeg

2.5ea Egg Yolks

1/4C Sugar

  • Start by putting your cream on the stove over medium-high heat until it boils.While you wait for it to boil prepare and ice bath and set a clean (preferably metal) container in it, this is where you will strain your anglaise into.
  • Remove the cream from the heat and grate 1/2 the nutmeg into it with a micro plane.
  • Let stand while you mix your egg yolks and sugar.
  • Using a heat proof spatula mix your egg yolks and sugar.
  • Ladle a small amount of the warm cream into the egg mixture and stir immediately to incorporate. Add another ladle and stir.
  • Take the egg mixture and dump it into the rest of the cream in the pot and return to the stove.
  • If you have experience making anglaise you can use medium to high heat, if this is your first time I recommend low heat, if you loose your focus for a second on high you can curdle the eggs in the sauce.
  • Stir the anglaise with a heat proof spatula until it visually begins to thicken. Pull the spatula out and draw a line using your finger and if it holds then the anglaise is done, if not then cook a little bit more.
  • Once thickened pour through a chinois or china cap into the chilled pan on ice.
  • While this cools, you can begin to prepare the yams.

Caramelized Onions and Roasted Yams

4ea Yams

1ea Red or Yellow Onion

2T Butter

2T Oil


  • Peel and large dice the yams, place in a container with cold water until.ready to roast.
  • Preheat your oven to 350°
  • Cut the ends off of your onion and then cut it in half and julienne.
  • Place a skillet over medium heat and add the butter, once melted add the onions.
  • Cook the onions until they begin to brown and the pan begins to show color, add a tablespoon of water to deglaze the pan and continue to cook the onions until they are the color of caramel.
  • Once the oven has been preheated, drain the yams and toss with oil and S&P, dump the yams onto a roasting pan and place them in the oven.
  • The yams will take about 45 minutes in a convection oven and a little longer in a conventional. Every 10 to 15 minutes you will want to open the oven and stir the yams around so they roast evenly.
  • When you do this check the firmness of the yams, when done they will be very soft.
  • Once the yams are soft add the caramelized onions and cook for another five minutes.
  • Remove the yams from the oven after the five minutes and place them on a platter, Top with your nutmeg creme anglaise and enjoy!

Stuffed Squash Blossoms

We recently had two very cold frosts out at Black Butte Ranch, which seems a little early, we lost our tomatoes but I was able to pick a bunch of squash and I picked all of the blossoms for stuffing. Squash blossoms have great flavor and are very easy to deal with, they can be stuffed, tempura fried, or my staffs favorite, folded in a cheese quesadilla. My favorite preparation is stuffed then tempura fried, a light tempura batter is key so you don’t mask any of the flavors, which can be very light. For this recipe, I stuffed it with two types of cheeses and some strong spices to help the filling stand out, as well as some cocoa nibs to balance and add crunch to the filling.

Squash Blossom Stuffing

Yields approximately 12 stuffed blossoms

1/4C Ricotta

1/4C Mascarpone

1/8t Mushroom Powder

1/8t Fennel Pollen

1ea Egg yolk

2t Orange Zest

1.5t Cocoa Nibs

Garbanzo Tempura

1C  Cornstarch

1/2C  Garbanzo Bean Flour

AN  Soda Water

  • Using a spray can duster or the big lungs you have blow off as much dirt as you can, you do not want to rinse in water as they will get soggy.
  • Combine all of the ingredients above and fold together with a spatula, if you use a mixer you might break the mascarpone, so it is safer to mix by hand.

  • Place the filling in a piping bag or a Ziploc bag and cut a hole in the bottom to squeeze it out of.

  • Carefully open the flowers and stuff them until they are half full.

  • Once stuffed, set aside and prepare the tempura.

Garbanzo Bean Tempura

  • I wanted to keep the dish gluten-free so I used cornstarch and garbanzo bean flour.  The cornstarch will ensure that you have a very nice and crisp coating, the garbanzo bean flour will add flavor.
  • Combine the cornstarch and garbanzo bean flour and mix.
  • Stream in the soda water until you have a thin batter, the batter should be thick enough to just coat the blossoms.
  • Set your fryer to 350° and once heated dip your blossoms then fry, you may need to weigh them down as they will float.

I used them as a garnish on our pork chop dish.

Rainshadow Organics Delivery

Despite being another warm day in Central Oregon our delivery of fresh produce from Rainshadow Organics made it into the kitchen. Aside from the lettuce that is being grown for us, not your standard mesclun mix, our blend of baby lettuces were selected at the beginning of the season and have been plentiful through the summer, we also select different vegetables every week.

This week we received our first batch of heirloom tomatoes, fava beans, and dragon beans. Look for these items as specials for the next week here at Black Butte Ranch.




7/25/2012 Produce from Tumalo Garden Market

The kitchen just received a fresh shipment of lettuce grown for The Lodge Restaurant at Black Butte Ranch. Picked this morning and ready for service, Michael Ludeman has graciously started growing many different types of lettuce for our use.  Today we have red romaine used specifically in our Oregon Caesar salad, red mustard frisee that is used in a multitude of dishes, fresh and beautifully vine ripened tomatoes, and lemon basil. These items can only be enjoyed at The Lodge Restaurant through this weekend, until the next cutting, the tomatoes will be featured as a special in a few days, they need a couple of days to soften up.

From left to right: Red mustard frisee, this lettuce has become my favorite replacement for arugula, nothing against arugula but the market is saturated with it. Red mustard gives you that nice peppery/mustard flavor and has a beautiful color. There are a few types available that range in spiciness and bitterness.
Tomatoes, greenhouse grown and never refrigerated, some of the best that I have ever had.
Red romaine, two types are shown here, great flavor and color, and more delicate than green romaine. We use this at the Lodge Restaurant in our Oregon Caesar salad.

Lemon basil. Strong floral lemon smell, mild lemon and slight basil and mint flavor when you eat it. This will go great with the tomatoes in the background.

Baby red romaine

Red Mustard Frisee

Again all of these products will be available this weekend and Tumalo Garden Market and myself, will try to keep them in stock until the end of the summer.