Welcome to Chef Reveals, a new feature to Eater Philly and @eater_philly on Instagram, in which we display the day-to-day essentials of the city's top chefs all shot from above by the very talented TommyBaboon. This week, Marcie Turney shows us her basic necessities.
[ : @tommybaboon] @marcieturney's every day essentials (clockwise from top left): morita chiles, cookbooks, Pedro Ximenex sherry vinegar, fresh herbs, @lacolombecoffee, tasting spoons, Marcona almonds, salt cured anchovies, citrus, roasted garlic. Click the link in the bio for all the details. Tag your own kitchen essentials with #eaterchefreveals.
You name it, Marcie Turney can cook it. Any cuisine, any dish, any style, Turney's brain boasts a fully-stocked arsenal of recipes, techniques, and culinary know-how ready and able at your slightest whim. Her book collection alone is one of the city's most impressive displays of food-obsession, the others being her many restaurants dotted along the 13th Street corridor between Locust and Chestnut Streets. To say the least, Turney's a talent, and with her partner Val Safran, she's turned that neighborhood into what it is today: a wonderful avenue full of great shopping and even better eating. Right now, the two own five restaurants, a boutique grocer, and a couple gift shops in Midtown Village, and while that may seem like an unmanageable amount of responsibility, Turney and Safran seem to do it with a certain grace, each spot offering the same three things: serious value, great atmosphere, and a fresh idea.
Explained in clockwise order from the picture above (start top left):
Morita chiles: A dried and smoked variety of the red (ripe) jalapeño. "At Lolita we pickle moritas with piloncillo, vinegar, garlic & onion and use them in salsas or as a sweet-spicy condiment for tacos. We also make a paste after rehydrating them and use to marinate meats."
Cookbooks: I have over 500 cookbooks displayed in our private dining space above Barbuzzo. All our chefs are welcome to come up and browse through for inspiration. Buvette is definitely my favorite right now.
Pedro Ximenex sherry vinegar: A DOC protected vinegar that must be produced in "the sherry triangle" of southern Spain. A small amount of PX sherry is added to the vinegar and then aged using the solera system, so the finished vinegar is really a blend of many ages of vinegar. It tastes slightly sweet, raisin-like, nutty and oaky.
Fresh herbs: "We use whole small leaves of various herbs in our salads, crudos and even cocktails. My favorite combo is thai basil, cilantro and mint. The herbs we use the most, though, are thyme, basil and parsley.
La Colombe Corsica: "It's what gets me through the long days we work."
Tasting spoons: "This is something I love to collect. I'll use them for food styling shots when I get around to writing my cookbook." She also collects vintage silver trays, plateware and glasses.
Marcona almonds: The "queen of almonds" is imported from Spain. Shorter, fatter, and sweeter than the California variety. "We fry them in olive oil and salt them for salads, on cheese boards, and over grilled vegetables. Or we blanch them for picadas, or grind them into salad dressings."
Salt-cured anchovies: "I soak and fillet the anchovies. Then mince them and use as the start of a pasta sauce where it basically melts away into the sauce, but offers a foundation of flavor. They're also great sautéed with olive oil and garlic, cooled and then used to make an aioli or dressing."
Citrus: Lemon, lime, grapefruit. "We serve chunks raw with crudo, and in salads or vegetable dishes for that acidic bite. We add shaved peel to gremolatas and salsa verdes and use the pith and seeds when we make jams, since they're a natural thickener. We also like to preserve citrus in salt, water and aromatics for braises or shellfish dishes."
Roasted garlic cloves, head, and slivers: "I think garlic is the MVP of all our restaurants. We use roasted garlic to give body to braised sauces and vinaigrettes. We slice it raw and soak it in milk, then fry for crudo garnish. We slice it thinly and leave it raw to serve in our pasta dishes. We get hot oil fragrant with garlic then remove it before we sauté vegetables in it. We roast and smoke garlic for a lot of our sauces and aiolis. Probably the most simple way we serve it, and the most decadent, is roasted whole in its skin, with lots of EVOO and salt, then serve it with crusty bread and a knife to spread the garlic just like it was a pad of butter."