New dish for dinner menu at restaurant.

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So as some of you guys know i started working once again as a line cook. Currently working at a nice fine casual place downtown in my city. I´ve just been really trying to do my best and show my worth in the kitchen. 

Today after a brutal mothersday service, as i was leaving my bosses asked me to come up with 2 new dishes. One cheap lunch dish, and one dish for dinner. 

The lunch dish i have already come up with.

The problem is this dinner dish. The place is nice and casual, great decoration etc...

The restaurant doesn´t really have a main cuisine or theme, very free with lots of different dishes with varying flavors. 

We do however have a lot fo pasta and rice dishes, and since im great at making pasta i really wanted to be different and do gnocchi. 

Problem is, pre-cooking or freezing gnocchi to me can result in the negative affect of them being heavy. So after contemplating i scratched that idea and now i can´t really come up with anything. 

The kitchen isn´t the largest but its very well equipped. 

Im trying to focus on a dish that is simple to make, store and have done and sent out of the pass fast. 

Since the restaurant is a bit informal, i don´t want to do something so out there that someone who sees it on the menu won´t understand it or feel weird or out of place to them, nothing complicated, something hearty, and most of all it has to taste good. 

I have so many ideas in my head, but they all keep going to pasta (something we have in excess in the restaurant), but i know i should steer away from the direction. 

Now im thinking of using something with lots of fruit and vegetables, maybe using beef, watermelon, and tomatoes, problem is seedless watermelon which is difficult to find here in Brazil. 

I really want something fun, tropical, and tasty, since i scratched the idea of gnocchi from my head i want to do something really tropical insipired, with fruits and citrus. 

Im trying to get insipired by the name of the restaurant which is "Red Elephant", and since i feel pasta is being overdone and gnocchi won´t fly i want to do something really fun, tasty, but not complicated. 

So far the ideas:

-Something using watermelon, tomatoes, and beef (again seedless watermelon can be a problem). 

-Something with Carrots, oranges, fish/poultry, pickled veg.

- I was also thinking on doing something with beef or pork and using an apple puree, or even maybe battered fried apples (like a tempura), problem would maybe be battering the apples. Apple chips are a possiblity too. 

Im trying to avoid using repeated fish in the restaurant (we already have salmon/flounder/cod dishes, along with other fish normally found in brazil). 

If i was to use chicken it would need to be a WOW!! chicken dish, because we already use chicken 3 ways (2 salads and one main) and we already use cockerel and pheasant as other poultry. Duck is difficult to find in my town and in brazil in general. 

Since this place is not fine dining, i can´t get expensive things like truffles, hazenuts, halibut etc, the majority of the items are quite cheap, but the way they are prepared and seasoned is really good. Its a casual, informal, hip spot, great decor, nice jazz, and a bit of elephant sculptures around the walls and tables, but all very nice. 
 
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pete

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With a name like "Red Elephant" my mind immediately turns to India and Southeast Asia for inspiration.  You could go lots of ways with that, but I'm thinking of an upscale take on a Thai Curry.  Sautéed, or roasted fish set on a pool of fish broth lightly accented with the flavors of a Thai Red Curry and served with a salad of green mango.
 
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Pete i thought the same thing, and i even contemplated using mango as well, since here in Brazil we can get our hands on mango almost every month of the year. Im definitely thinking about asian and idian cuisine.  

I also got really inspired by african cuisine with the name. 
 
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pete

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I did also, but most of my favorite African dishes are stews and braises.  Wasn't sure if you were looking for something like that.
 
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-Something with Carrots, oranges, fish/poultry, pickled veg.
How about an Asian style orange fried chicken but instead of the orange glaze do a carrot chipotle glaze (easy and way intense crazy good  flavor) serve with a Malay onion sambal with the addition of chiffonade carrots, cabbage, and orange supremes and also serve with a toasted coconut rice
 
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How about using beef cheek, slow cooked with an African spice inspired sauce - kind of a dry curry. Serve with an interesting grain - lentils, quinoa or similar and use the mango in there as well.
You're saying you want something hearty, so if you want to move away from pasta, I can't see why a stew/braise style dish wouldn't go nicely in your casual dining environment.
Spices could be Moroccan, chermoula etc.
 

pete

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One of my favorite dishes, from the short time I spent in Sierra Leone was "Ground Nut Stew," a stew of chicken, sweet potatoes and other veggies in a spicy sauce thickened with peanuts (I use peanut butter).  It usually gets served with rice.
 
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I think im getting inspired once again,



Cheflayne do you by any chance have a chipotle carrot glaze recipe?

I was thinking almost on the same wavelength as layne, doing some time of glazed protein, with a salad of veg. My original idea was cucumber, red onion, mango and tomatoe, with some time of spicy and sweet glazed protein. 

Maybe something grilled or roasted. 
 
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Originally Posted by KaiqueKuisine  

Cheflayne do you by any chance have a chipotle carrot glaze recipe?
It is one that I never actually wrote down but basically it is carrot juice reduced until thick (skimming scum as it rises) finish with some finely minced chipotle in adobo. Blend. Strain through an etamine pushing to extract as much liquid as possible.
 
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All this talk on asian and african inspired food got me more inspired. 

Im definitely gonna attempt some type of sweet and spicey sauce or glaze with protein, maybe chicken

Im thinking about using something with nuts, maybe a salad, playing on different textures. 

Thanks for all the input guys!!
 
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