Sunday, June 03, 2007
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Cannellinis with Chevre
When that awesome, huge package of chevre was hanging around our house, before we finished it off with Peter’s (delicious) bread on Monday, I shoved a spoonful into some hot beans that I had warmed on the stove and threw in some coriander and cumin. The cheese was so soft to begin with that it melted instantly and created a really nice, warm, comforting bowl of mush.
White Bean Dip
1 can Cannellini beans
1 roasted red pepper
lots of salt, pepper, and fresh herbs
a healthy sprinkling of breadcrumbs.
Put everything in the food processor and blend.
This one is from the amazing Gourmet Cookbook, which we swear by in Bed Stuy. There had been some talk about how to make hummus really creamy before, and I think the addition of the bread crumbs could be a help. It gave the dip plenty of body, and it really came out smooth without the addition of any fat. Not sure how it would work with chickpeas, which tend to be drier than cannelinis, but successful here, nonetheless.
Herb wise, I used a bunch of basil and parsley from the jungle that has become our front steps. Super easy and kinda pretty too.
Anyhow, I’m always looking for new bean-y things to try, especially if they involve a food processor, so feel free to suggest.
And I’m just gonna put it out there that Tagalongs may actually be better than Thin Mints.
The burgers I made this weekend turned out pretty well (pun intended...nice!). I think what made them turn out so well (again!) was the added sausage that Pete and I bought at the amazing Italian deli down 7th Ave. There's not much of a recipe, so just enjoy the pictures.
Also, with considerably less success, I tried to make sweet potato fries. While they were still tasty, they lacked the crispiness that I had been hoping for. Some people still ate them.
Monday, May 21, 2007
I envy Simon’s passion and patience—the way he lovingly cares for his collards and kale, infusing them with a precise blend of spices probably ground by hand, massaging every leaf clean, and cooking to perfection—but sometimes you don’t have the time or energy for all of that foreplay. I offer two quick green ideas as a counterpoint, a complement, a quickie to his honeymoon.
One For The Top Of The Stove...
Ok, so this is essentially a stripped down version of Simon’s, I admit it.
-Wash and chop into bite-sized pieces
-Heat a bit of olive oil in a large skillet (or pot, or wok, I don’t care). When it’s hot throw in some garlic. And yes, I love the pre-minced kind you buy at the store; it’s always ready for some action. Cook it all a bit.
-Throw in the greens, stems first if you aren’t as lazy as I am, and cook, stirring, over medium-high or so. I really couldn’t tell you how long it takes. They’ll wilt but stay bright green.
-While the leaves are wilting, grind some salt and pepper into the mix, plus a little heat if you choose (cayenne is nice). I like cumin in everything.
-When it’s done, turn off the heat and throw in some acid. Lemon juice works well, so does vinegar. ‘Tis all.
And One For The Bottom…
Roasted Kale is nearly orgasmic. Thank you, Michael Pollan.
-Wash, separate the stems from the leaves, and chop.
-Heat the oven to 450 degrees, the hotter the better.
-On a sheet pan, spread out the bite size leaves of the kale, spray lightly with olive oil and season. Salt and Pepper are, of course, essential, but again, add whatever the hell you want. I’m a sucker for red pepper flakes, as un-gourmet as they are.
-Stick it in the over and roast until crispy, and eat with your fingers. Only with your fingers. Nice with some vinegar thrown on top too.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Greens do not need a recipe. Accordingly, this rather exhaustive list is not so much a recipe as it is a set of notes. No measurements have been given, because none are (or should be) used. Greens should not be about an intensity of focus. Cooking them is really about throwing a bunch of stuff in a pot and letting it simmer until it is delicious. This is the essence of the recipe, and greens may be cooked as simply as that. If one wishes to incorporate these techniques into the cooking process, however, something that is already delicious will only get better.
When I made these greens for the brunch in March, I utilized several different approaches towards the cooking of greens, involving flavors and techniques from several different green-friendly cultures. The oil infusion is drawn out of the standard Indian approach towards spices. The liquid mix—tossing together wine, broth, and brown sugar—is second-generation American. The reservation of the pot likker was drawn from the south; and the uses that it is put to, found in the third installment to come, will be French and Portuguese.
Fusion is nothing new, of course (white guys with dreads and 3-inch ear plugs are collecting social-security right this moment), but greens are so direct, happy, and non-confrontational that they are a great opportunity to practice these techniques. This dish will always be satisfying, but when you get something just right it will let you know.
KITCHEN SINK GREENS
KITCHEN SINK GREENS
Notes on Equipment.
Large cooking device: This can be a pot, saucepan, or a dutch oven. Make this as big as you can.
A large bowl: You will want somewhere to put and move your heaps of greens. This should also be used for reserving the pot likker, so it should be large enough to handle…
A colander. A large mesh sieve will do as well.
Kale (get twice as much as you think you’ll need, as it cooks down)
Onion (1 onion per big bunch of kale or collards)
Garlic (as much as you like)
- 2 parts Tumeric
- 2 parts Cumin Powder
- 1 part Coriander Powder
- 1 part Garam Masala
- 1 part Cayenne Pepper
- 1 part Smoked Paprika
- ½ part Ginger Powder
- Red Wine
- Rice Vinegar
- Dry Vermouth
- Hot Sauce
- Vegetable broth
This recipe takes place through 4 steps: Prep, Infuse, Wilt, Simmer, Drain.
- Rinse the greens for grit: This can be done by hand, in a colander, or by waving them through a large bowl of water. Dry if you wish.
- Prep your workspace. Greens will take up a lot of space, so make sure to have an extremely large container to deposit them into. You will want a large bowl for the greens, a medium bowl for the stems, and a small trash bowl for the iffy bits.
- Strip the leaves from the stems. One easy way to do strip the leaves is to draw a paring knife along the stem on each side. With kale, it is often easy to pull the leaves from the stems in pieces.
- Chiffonade: Spread the leaves flat in a stack, like you’re about to roll a cigar. Roll them up, and tuck the edge under, where it will be held by the cutting board. Slice your tube o’ greens into thin strips. If you’re doing this with a flat-leaf green, cutting the tube at an angle will give you grade-school thunderbolts.
- Chop the Stems: Gather together a handful of the stems. Chop off the cruddy ends and discard. Chop the stems reasonably short, in 1/8th inch segments.
Onion and Garlic
- Cube the onion into 1/8th inch size: there’s a billion ways. Look out for future notes on my favorite onion techniques.
- Mess up the garlic: You have three options—press, mince, or mash. If you want mashed-up garlic and don’t have a press on hand, you can grind the garlic across the cutting board with the flat of the knife, dragging the spine of the knife against the cutting board.
- Throw all the powders together into a small cup or shot glass—they will all go in together.
- Crack the cinnamon in half, and leave it on hand. It’ll go in first.
- Mix everything in the liquids header together. Dissolve the brown sugar into it, and stir. The taste should be that of a balanced vinaigrette. Keep it in a glass (with a spout, if possible) on hand by the stove.
- If you are including the raisins, drop them in the liquid to plump.
1. Infusing Oil
- Heat your huge pot to medium. Add the butter and the ghee (the oil) in equal parts. Wait until they are liquid.
- Drop in the onions. Cook them until they begin to turn translucent, then scoop them out of the pan or scrape them out to the sides. You don’t need to be precise and get every one, but the oil needs to pool at the bottom of the pan free of onion. If there is little oil left, add some more to the pan.
- Drop in the cinnamon stick and the garlic. Once the smell of cinnamon wafts out of the pan,
- Throw in the spice powders. Stir vigorously to combine with the oil. Once the smells start coming up (10 to 30 seconds),
- Incorporate the onion back into the pan. Stir to coat the onion with the spice-ghee.
2. Wilting the Greens
- Take two generous handfuls of greens, and throw them into the pot. The pot should not overflow, but you should no longer be able to see the bottom
- Stir lazily, tossing the greens every minute or two, until the greens have turned bright and their volume has decreased.
- Pull them out of the pot, and repeat for another generous clump. If you’re feeling cavalier and you have a really big pot, don’t bother pulling them out—just add more greens.
- Once all the greens are wilted,
3. Cooking the Greens
- Throw all the greens back into the pot. Pour the liquid mixture in there.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, for as long as you want. Add in salt and pepper to adjust the flavor. Taste often.
- You can pull the greens out early, when they have just turned a darker green and still have a bite to them—then the flavor will be light on the outside, with the distinctive greens bitterness. Or you can wait until they melt down soft and lose a little color—then you’ll have a full incorporation of flavors with a little less green presence.
4. Draining the Greens
- The greens should be cooking in a nice pool of liquid by then. This is the pot likker, and it is spectacular and amazing. Its got a significant portion of the nutrients of the greens, all the flavor of the spices, and a deep savoury richness to boot. The pot likker is half the reason to make greens this way, so make sure to reserve it.
- Put a colander over a wide pot or bowl. If you are using the same bowl that housed the raw greens, don’t forget to rinse it out.
- Put the assemblage in the sink (this may get messy).
- Pour the greens into the colander. Spill as little as possible. Check the level of pot likker. If the level is below the bottom of the colander, leave it in the bowl. If it comes above the bottom, place the colander on a wide plate or bowl with a lip.
- Let the greens drain for 2 minutes.
Greens are really meant to share the plate, so they will taste best when paired with protein and carbohydrate. Cheese and meat will mix well with them. Neutral carbohydrates will also appreciate them: think about grits or polenta, or thick hunks of bread. A poached egg will do wonders when cracked into a bed of these greens. Your mouth will love you.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Greens grow best during the winter. Way back when—back when the world was still tied to the seasons—this was a godsend; all that nutrition coming in a handy package, growing just when we needed it most. We may be able to get mangos in February, but even now greens seem a little miraculous. When all the produce we’re eating is shipped up from the southern hemisphere, we can still get greens fresh—even if they’re not always at the greenmarket stands, they’re growing out of the ground six stops out of grand central.
Greens tell us when they’re done by sight and smell and sound. But they’re durable cookers, too—we can forget about them for a while, and they’ll still come out pretty much fine. We can decide, like I usually do, to throw in something halfway through cooking that really should have gone in first, and they’ll roll with it. They even make their own gravy. Whatever made greens made them right.
Accordingly, greens are utilized in a legion of cuisines. The
In Part Two, a recipe of sorts appears.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Monday, April 09, 2007
As we all know, Im not really a cook. Not that I'm unable to (tho I always joke so) but that time restricts me. So with that, why the hell am I on this thing??
My expertises lie elsewhere :-)
PURPLE RAIN MARTINI
based well on a movie that apparently I auditioned for recently, I thought I'd introduce a drink to our mix.
-2 1/2 oz Pomegranate-infused Sake (explained below)
-2 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
-1/2 oz Chambord
For Pomegranate-infused Sake: Take one liter of Sake in a clean closed jar/bottle, add the seeds of two Pomegranates and Infuse it for about a week, keeping it away from sunlight and shaking every couple of days (for an instant method, just use 2 1/2 oz Sake and 1/2 oz Pomegranate Juice......if you wanna cheat).
For Cocktail-Combine ingredients in a shaker with Ice. Shake and Strain into Martini Glass. No Garnish necessary but if you want to top with tiny umbrella or prince guitar, then thats great presentation.
I've yet to try it, but the Pineapple/Pomegranate/Rasberry mix with the sake style bite will be more than enough to let you party like its.......its......damn, I can't figure out a good Prince reference
Saturday, April 07, 2007
juice and grated rind of an orange
grated rind of half a lemon (I missed the "half" part and did a whole one, it tasted fine)
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons oil (canola or some such)
pinch of salt
1 cup matzoh cake meal
1 tablespoon potato starch
First off, separate the whole dozen eggs' yolks and whites. Beat egg yolks, juice, rind, oil and 1 C sugar. Set aside. Wash beaters thoroughly. Then beat egg whites until stiff but not dry, with salt (to hold them together, also using a bit of the lemon's juice for this won't hurt) and mix in additional sugar. (Make sure you do this in a big bowl, a dozen egg whites will get HUGE, as we learned.)
(My mom adds that the lemon and orange should not be skinned with a zester, but that the coarse-hole side of a cheese grater is the best option. She even theorizes that the coarsely grated rind, and often use of a huge freakin' orange, are why her spongecake is so especially loved by our local community.)
Fold egg white into egg yolk mixture thoroughly. Use long, gentle motions with a rubber spatula, down one side of the bowl, across the bottom, up the other, getting the yolk mixture up from the bottom of the bowl and into the whites without breaking down the whites excessively. When you think you're done, check the bottom of the bowl because you'll probably find a pool of yolks there still.
Mix the cake meal and cornstarch together and fold into the egg mixture a quarter cup or so at a time. Use the same technique and once again, when you think you're done, you probably aren't.
Scrape into an ungreased angelfood cake pan.
(Eli note here: What's most important is that it's an angelfood pan with the spire in the center--because that way the cake can cling to the cylinder, since there's nothing to make it rise--and that it come apart into two pieces--my mom's actually isn't springform, but mine is.)
(Beautiful ain't it? Mine is actually wider and shorter than my mom's, which I thought would cause a problem. The cake came out looking different, but it was still delicious and cooked all the way through. Continuing on...)
Push a long knife or metal spatula straight down through the batter to the bottom of the pan and then holding it vertical, pull it all the way around the pan to collapse any air pockets. Bake for an hour at 325°.
Remove from oven and invert immediately, setting the tube over a ketchup bottle or some other bottle with a slender neck so that air can circulate all around the pan while it cools. Most pans have tiny legs but they are not enough. Let the cake cool completely before you remove it from the pan.
(So yeah, it'll just hover upside down for a few hours, always goofy lookin'.)
To remove it from its pan, simply run a long, thin knife (preferably serrated breadknife) around the edges until you can separate the two parts of the pan. The cake will stay with the cylinder. Then do the same thing again, running the knife around the cylinder and underneath the cake until it can come free.
Friday, April 06, 2007
The original recipe is as follows:
PASSOVER TORTE aka “THE DESSERT,” aka “IT,” as in “Are you making IT?” “I love IT!” “I look forward to IT every year!”
(recipe as transmitted by Freda Delton, z’l, 1932-1998; Carol Delton’s comments below; read the whole thing through and meditate on it before you attempt IT!)
1 ½ cups egg whites (approx 10 large eggs)
½ tsp salt
2 ½ cups sugar, divided (too much, reduce)
3 cups whipping cream
2 cups slivered almonds, toasted
8 squares, 1 oz each) semi-sweet chocolate (or 8 oz chips)
Beat egg whites with salt until they stand in peaks.Melt 7 squares of chocolate and spread on cooled layers.
Add 1 ½ cups sugar gradually and continue beating until stiff.
Trace three 9 inch circles on brown paper (or parchment paper), placed on baking sheets.
Fill in the circles by spreading beaten egg whites.
Bake at 250 degrees for 2 ½ hours. Cool.
Let stand until chocolate is firm.Beat cream until thickened. Continue beating and add remaining sugar gradually.
Gently fold in almonds. Frost top of layers with cream.
Shave one square of chocolate and sprinkle over top. Place in freezer
Cuts best when frozen.
But I ran into a few snags, myself. As has already been shown by Simon and my little adventure a few posts prior, beating egg whites properly is really difficult. On Monday I went through a whole ten eggs (and good eggs too) that never even got to the stiff point they were supposed too, they simply jumped right ahead to goop. I was not happy. So with the NEXT ten eggs I was incredibly careful, and I found a tip online about putting in a few drops of lemon juice (or anything acidic) to help hold them together.
This worked quite well and I got some perfect egg whites out of it. Unfortunately, I wasn't used to quite so many as ten, and so when I was pouring them from the mixing bowl I discovered that there was a whole third of egg whites at the bottom that were still liquid. Oops. So I ended up with only two layers of meringue instead of three... not the end of the world at a small seder.
But, as you can see, the meringues didn't quite come out right either. Here the one on the right is at least kind of whole, but once I tried to separate it from its paper it came entirely into pieces. I would have freaked out, except that I was overjoyed that they even tasted and felt like meringue. It's all about the small victories. So, once I had a big plate of meringue pieces I figured... what the fuck, let's dump chocolate on them anyway. After all, Carol had given me the great advice that the secret to making it come out good is to not worry how it'll look.
By the way, I melted the chocolate chips in a wide bowl that sat nicely on top of a pot of boiling water, using the steam's heat. Every now and then I'd pour a little water into the bowl to keep the chocolate from clumping too much.
Anyway, at this point I put it into the freezer to solidify the chocolate, Peter whipped the hell out of some whipping cream, and I mixed in the sugar and almonds, and spread it all on top. Since what was supposed to be three layers was really only one this left us with an abundance of sweetened, almond-filled whipped cream... no one complained. The whole thing went in the freezer for the rest of the day, and when it came out, I'll be damned if it didn't taste great. It sure as hell didn't come out like it was supposed to, but it was all held together pretty well and it was enough for six people to all have at least two slices. Good times.
With the two dishes I made for the passover, while I followed recipes, I also did a fair amount of improvising. I made a test batch of the macaroons the weekend before we got together, and they turned out a bit too sweet for my liking. They also didn't stay together as well as I would have liked. So, the night I made them for y'all, I altered the recipe just a bit. IT went something like this:
About 2 egg whites
1 entire bag of shredded coconut (roughly 2.5 cups)
4-5 tables spoons of flour
3-4 table spoons of sugar
A pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Mix the dry goods together thoroughly, sugar included. Whisk the eggs till they become light in color and texture. Mix both the wet and dry ingredients together. Form the macaroons and place them on a well greased baking sheet. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until they become brown around the edges.
You can add more or less sugar to the recipe depending on how sweet you like your macaroons. I personally enjoyed them a little less sweet, with the whipped cream Eli made.
Borscht is an interesting dish, in that I am pretty sure you can make it however you want, so long as it's served cold and contains a shit-ton of beets. I made it the way my mom makes it, with whole slices of beets in the broth, but it is also common (maybe more common) to find the beets shredded. Anyway, here is how my borscht making went down:
6-8 medium sized beets
1 large onion
1/4 cup of lemon juice
3-4 table spoons of brown sugar (Used light, but dark would be tasty I'm sure)
4 cups of water
Cut the stems completely from the beets. If you like, you can include them in the soup later. I chose not to. Clean the beets well, scrubbing them with your hands. Place the beets in a large pot, and completely cover them in water. Boil them for about 15 minutes, or until they are close to being completely cooked (you should be able to poke one with a knife with little resistance). While the beets are cooking, prepare the remainder of the ingredients. Prepare the onion however you like. I elected to thinly julienne them, a task made more enjoyable by my new knife (thank you again Simon and Peter). You can also cut the stems and leaves of the beets now, should you want to include them int he soup. Once the beet are done boiling remove them from the pot,saving the water, and slide of their skins. This is fairly effortless at this point. Slice the beet however you would like. Again, I elected to slice them into roughly 1 centimeter thick discs and half discs, but whatever works. Add your 4 cups of water to the beet broth you have made. Also add your beets, onions, brown sugar, and lemon juice. Bring this mixture to a boil and immediately reduce to a low boil/simmer. Cook another 20 minutes, or until the onions and other vegetables, should you choose to add them, are cooked through. Add salt to taste.
Chill before serving, and garnish. There are many garnishes that are traditional when it comes to borscht. The most popular being hard boiled eggs and sour cream.
Word, now its everyone else's turn.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Of course, the food was spectacular. I wish I'd gotten more pictures of it all, so by all means those who took pictures put up what you got. Peter's deviled eggs were wondrous, as was Jen's tsimmes, and Blake's macaroons, and really everything. So for God's sake let's start upping some recipes, I'll throw up my two desserts pretty soon too.
Sunday, April 01, 2007
“You just can’t fuck up eggs! You cant!” –Elijah Kinch Spector
Eli and I were working on a dry-run for IT, the pesach dessert. It involved beating egg whites into peaks, and the first time around we failed miserably. The eggs were overbeaten, and we were left with three cups of goopy sweetened egg-froth.
This egg-froth was greenmarket in origin, so we didn’t just want to throw it out. But we just didn’t know what to do with them. We beat the egg yolks and folded them into the whites, and then added some melted chocolate. Still nothing. After staring blankly at the froth for a while (taking copious samples for inspiration) we came up with a couple of plans:
1: throw it in the oven.
2: drink it.
The first option turned into an accidental soufflé. The second turned into a cocktail.
Chocolate-Egg Froth Base:
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ c sugar
1/3 c bittersweet chocolate
- Separate the whites from the yolks.
- Overbeat the whites until they reach the consistency of whipped cream.
- Beat the yolks, and fold them into the whites.
- Melt chocolate.
- Temper chocolate with 1/3 of the meringue. Fold the chocolate mixture into the rest of the foam.
Definitely a successful mistake:
Chocolate-Egg Froth Base
- Preheat oven to 265.
- Pour the foam into baking dishes: ramekins, or a small casserole dish. Place the dishes on a cookie sheet, and the cookie sheet in the oven.
- Bake until its done. The time will depend on the size of the dishes, but they should take at least 30 mins. You will know when they are done by the smell. Too little time in the oven, and the middle of the soufflé will be a little goopy. Too much, and it will smell a little eggy. In either case, it will be delicious.
Louis XIV drank this when he chased ribbon-pigs:
Cloches de Pâques:
6 parts Chocolate-Egg Froth Base
12 parts milk or cream
1 part Coffee Liquor
1 part vodka
Splash of Crème de Menthe
- Pour milk, coffee liquor, vodka, and crème de menthe into small glass. Pour froth on top. Mix lightly with a spoon. Drink, and try not to think about your arteries hardening.
Note: This recipe was made with Greenmarket eggs, which are (presumably) not subject to the environmental stresses of industrial eggs. The likelihood of salmonella infection is negligible to begin with, but it is virtually non-existent in this case. Use either farm-eggs or organic eggs for this recipe (it will taste better), and don't worry about it. If you really want to worry about something, worry about auto accidents—they're a lot more likely to hurt you than salmonella is.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Back to the topic at hand. Simon and I were discussing the substantial merrits of adding orange and lemon zest to baked goods and other dishes. Frugal gourmet that he is, he informed me that he keeps a bag of orange rind shavings in the freezer, next to his gun. Inspiration struck me to try what I am sure is a not-new-to-anyone-else-but-me kitchen tactic, but I was so impressed with the results that I wanted to share. Orange and lemon zest (superficial and thin shavings of the fruit's outer skin) keeps remarkably well, no doubt because it's the plant's first line of defense against the elements. I went a little zest-crazy since I found out and added bits of my stash into crepes, pancakes, pie crust, and even curry. The flavor that comes out is remarkably potent but doesn't interfere with the rest of the dish and adapts very well wherever it is added.
According to Wikipedia (integrity be damned), the oil in citrus rinds contain flavonids and limonids, both important but non-essential compounds produced during the growth of the fruit. They defend the fruit from insect infestation and provide pigmentation for color, but are low enough in toxicity to be edible. In addition, flavonids are anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-viral, anti-carcinogen, and pro-choice. Put another way, flavonids are like a really awesome team of characters from Transformers that conquer the evil forces of the Poor Healthicons.
Rind oil itself is bitter, but this is easily disguised in most dishes and leaves only the essential taste. To get the best flavor, it is wise to make the peices of rind as small as possible, or to 'zest' a larger peice of rind with the proper tool. Smaller bits of rind maintain the best diffusion of oil and won't get stuck in your teeth. The best advice, then, is to peel the orange with a knife or vegitable grater into larger slices to freeze, then grate or dice them into smaller bits before using them in cooking. A little goes a long way, and aesthetically the fragments of color are quite pleasing. Also a neat trick, if you are trying to seduce someone and want to perfume a room, take a peice of peel and squeeze some of the oil out into the flame of a candle (careful, it is very flammable).
So save rinds! It's good for you, and one large orange will give you more zest than you can probably use in a week (although you never know).
Friday, March 02, 2007
For those not in the know (losers), last night Simon, Martine, Jen, and I went to a swanky downtown desert joint called Room 4 Dessert. Being that I am more inclined to criticize than to praise, I'd like to say right off the bat that the food was amazing. I'm pretty sure i managed to try everyone's order, and they all lived up to the super-swanky-dessert-joint hype. I don't really recall what everyone else ordered, thought I do distinctly remember my Chocobubbles. Memorable not only for its tastiness, but also for its supremely retarded title.
And so, there in lies the ultimate downfall of Room 4 Dessert. For despite its many culinary accomplishments, the inherent retardedness of the entire affair prevents the experience from being altogether memorable, or at least in any good way. The many pitfalls of R4D (not to be mistaken for the H is O, i.e. the Heat is On) regrettably don't end with the word choice on their menu. What irked me the most about the meal was the way, way too in-your-face server, who insisted upon positioning herself almost directly in front of me for the entire meal. Standing a good foot or so taller than I while sitting at the bar, she managed to make me feel completely uncomfortable almost the entire evening. Even when I tried to break the awkwardness with a joke, albeit a corny one, she barely responded.
Truth be told, there were only a few other minor flaws. The price being one of them, I felt the $10 minimum for dessert to be a bit inflated, and the $5 coffee to be completely disappointing. Moreover, I couldn't help but feel a little guilty knowing that just next door, you could get what I would assume is an amazing slice of cheesecake for just a couple bucks.
Cost and douchey staff aside though, the food was great.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
RED VELVET CAKE
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3½ cups cake flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa
1½ teaspoons salt
2 cups canola oil (yeah, that's 2 CUPS)
2¼ cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) red food coloring
1½ teaspoons vanilla
1¼ cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons baking soda
2½ teaspoons white vinegar (weird but excellent)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place teaspoon of butter in each of 3 round 9-inch layer cake pans and place pans in oven for a few minutes until butter melts. Remove pans from oven, brush interior bottom and sides of each with butter and line bottoms with parchment.
2. Whisk cake flour, cocoa and salt in a bowl.
3. Place oil and sugar in bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed until well-blended. Beat in eggs one at a time. With machine on low, very slowly add red food coloring. (Take care: it may splash.) Add vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk in two batches. Scrape down bowl and beat just long enough to combine.
4. Place baking soda in a small dish, stir in vinegar and add to batter with machine running. Beat for 10 seconds.
5. Divide batter among pans, place in oven and bake until a cake tester comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in pans 20 minutes. Then remove from pans, flip layers over and peel off parchment. Cool completely before frosting.
Yield: 3 cake layers.
I improvised on my recipe a fair ammount, but I will try to recreate the scene of the crime as best I can. The Charge? Tasty was the case that they gave me...
2 Large Sweet Potatoes (about 2 cups when mashed)
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 Cup Sugar
2 Tbsp. Butter
1/4 tsp. Ground Cloves
1/2 Cup Milk
1. Bake the Sweet Potatoes at 375 for about an hour or until very soft. Many of the recipes I consulted said to boil and skin the potatoes first, which I'm sure is faster but I like to bake them for the smell and so they get really tender. Once baked, scoop out the flesh (the skins will practically slip off) into a bowl. You'll barely need to mash them but do so to get a proper mush.
2. Add in Sugar, Salt, Cinnamon, Butter, and Cloves while mixing. Butter first is a good idea so that the heat melts it. This is also your chance to mix in all other extras to your taste. Proportions of spices can be varied also in order to get the right taste before the egg goes in. Finally, stir the egg into the milk and combine with the rest of the ingredients. Mixture should be most soupy. Let it chill in the fridge.
2 Cups White Flour! (Or one White and one Wheat, like a Sinatra/Wonder Duet)
1 tsp. Salt
Lemon or Orange Zest (Not necessary, but so good)
3/4 stick of butter (6 Tbsp.), partly frozen
Iced out Water
1. Mix Flour, Salt, and Zest together in a bowl. Zesting the citrus can be done with a knife for that raw quality, but it adds more taste if you do it with a fine grater).
2. Take the chilled butter and stick it on a fork. Get busy with a sharp knife or carrot slicer and shave the stick of butter as thinly as you can into the flour mix. The last bits you may have to dice differently but this should work for most of it.
3. Add the cold water a Tablespoon at a time and start mixing. The game is over once you have turned the dry ingredients into a dough with as little water as possible. Roll into a dough ball and set aside.
The Main Event:
1. Butter up 2 muffin tins. Start pinching off small pieces of dough and roll them out into rough circles, about 5 inches in diameter. They don't need to be very thick, but making a wider circle may be a better aesthetic choice. Place the crust circles into the muffin wells. Unlike a regular pie, these crusts will fold and overlap on the sides a little because of what I am sure is an interesting topology problem.
2. Pour in filling mixture evenly for all twelve mini-pies. Preheat the oven to 350 and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until a knife comes out relatively clean.
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons shortening
1 cup chilled buttermilk
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Using your fingertips, rub butter and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs. (The faster the better, you don't want the fats to melt.)
Make a well in the center and pour in the chilled buttermilk. Stir just until the dough comes together. The dough will be very sticky.
Turn dough onto floured surface, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 5 or 6 times. Press into a 1-inch thick round. Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch cutter, being sure to push straight down through the dough. Place biscuits on baking sheet so that they just touch. Reform scrap dough, working it as little as possible and continue cutting. (Biscuits from the second pass will not be quite as light as those from the first, but hey, that's life.)
Bake until biscuits are tall and light gold on top, 15 to 20 minutes.
Having made these three times in the span of about 12 hours, I have the process pretty burned into my brain. It's really easy, and produces a damn fine biscuit.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
1 yellow onion, minced
2 + cloves of garlic, minced
2 1/2 handfuls of chopped (or grated) cheese of your choice, my choice was sharp cheddar
grits (3 tbs for every cup of water = 1 serving)
fat of your choice
chives (optional, but make it a whole lot better)
In one pot caramelize onions and garlic (if you're me use butter/lard/olive/canola/whatever is at hand oil, if you're Jen use water, if you can figure out how). In another pot bring water to a boil. When water is boiled add to the onions and add grits. Stir grits regularly until they are creamy and al dente. Take off heat. Add cheese. Stir until melted (if you want to flip off God, add half and half until grits are the consistency your desire). Add chives.
While on the plate stir in Jen's creamed corn to make it extra delicious.
I swear this comes out creamy and delicious with only buttermilk if you aren't trying to frost a cake at the same time (and you don't oversalt-sorry). This is an Alton Brown recipe.
1/2 onion, diced
1 tablespoon butter
2 pinches kosher salt
8 ears fresh corn
1 sprig fresh rosemary, bruised (you know, or chives, whatever you want)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
1 cup heavy cream
Fresh ground black pepper
In a saucepan over medium heat, sweat the onion in butter and salt until translucent.
In a large mixing bowl, place a paper bowl in the middle of the bowl. Resting the cob on the bowl in a vertical position remove only the tops of the kernel with a knife, using long smooth downward strokes and rotating the cob as you go. After the cob has been stripped, use the dull backside of your knife to scrape any remaining pulp and milk off the cob.
Add the corn and pulp mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium high until the juice from the corn has tightened. Add the rosemary. Sprinkle the corn with the sugar and turmeric. Stir constantly for about 2 minutes. Sprinkle the cornmeal onto the corn, using a whisk to combine well. Add the heavy cream and cook until the corn has softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the rosemary. Season with freshly ground black pepper.
Monday, February 19, 2007
Sunday, February 18, 2007
To start, I'd like to know what went into Pete's empanadas from a couple months ago. I think that was the Mexican themed brunch where we made huevos rancheros.