JUNE 11, 2012

MEET THE SOUS CHEF

ETHAN HOLMES, CHEF DE CUISINE, SECOND BAR + KITCHEN

Ask Ethan Holmes about his favorite Texas barbecue joint, and he recounts a tale of family tradition, family betrayal and smoked meat (click here to find out his favorite).

The native Austinite, currently chef de cuisine at Second Bar + Kitchen, attended culinary school in Vermont ("I froze my ass off."). He then cooked in kitchens in Boston, Santa Monica and San Francisco before returning home to Texas.

"The best-kept secret about my hometown," he says, "is how much the food scene here has evolved and changed recently. It’s not just Tex-Mex." Holmes further proves his point by baking a Berry Crisp with Vanilla Goat-Cheese Mousse for the Sous Chef Series (click here for the recipe).

Click here to see the slide show, discover Holmes' favorite tools and techniques, and learn what he’d eat for his last supper.

TRACK THIS CHEF

Ethan Holmes':
See Recipe See the recipe for Ethan Holmes' Berry Crisp with Vanilla-Goat Cheese Mousse

DAY IN THE LIFE

TIPS & TECHNIQUES

The Best Tool for the Job

"Buy yourself a good peeler. I like the flat Y-shaped ones, which I call ‘razor peelers.’ They’re inexpensive, so you should get a new one once it gets dull. I give the peelers to all of my cooks for Christmas."

Crisp 101

To make the topping for his fruit crisp, Holmes first rolls cubes of butter in a bit of flour to coat, then adds the coated butter to the remaining flour; he thinks it makes it easier to incorporate the butter into the flour. And instead of a pastry cutter, he uses his bare hands.

MAKE THE
Berry Crisp with Vanilla-Goat Cheese Mousse
Berry Crisp with Vanilla-Goat Cheese Mousse

YIELD

8 servings

INGREDIENTS

Berries

1 pound strawberries, hulled and quartered

1 cup blueberries

½ cup packed light brown sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons Marsala wine

½ vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped away and reserved

Topping

¾ cup sliced almonds

¾ cup almond meal (or flour)

½ cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup packed light brown sugar

Pinch kosher salt

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

Mousse

8 ounces fat-free fromage blanc

4 ounces goat’s-milk cheese (chèvre)

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 375°. In a large bowl toss the strawberries and blueberries together. Add the 1/2 cup of light brown sugar, cornstarch and black pepper and gently toss to combine. In a small bowl, whisk together the Marsala wine and vanilla seeds and pour over the berries, stirring gently. Turn the berries out into an 8-inch baking dish and set aside.

2. Make the topping: In a large bowl, toss together the almonds, almond meal, all but 1 tablespoon of the all-purpose flour, the sugar and salt. In a small bowl and using your fingers, toss the butter cubes with the remaining tablespoon of flour and then add the flour-coated butter cubes to the almond mixture. Rub the butter into the almond mixture until the mixture resembles small pebbles. Evenly sprinkle the topping over the berries and bake until the topping is golden and crisp, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool to barely warm or room temperature, about 1 hour.

3. Make the mousse: In a large bowl, vigorously whisk together the fromage blanc, goat cheese, sugar, vanilla seeds and extract until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is light and airy. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Serve on top of the berry crisp.

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