We'll give them a couple of weeks in the fridge to meld and mellow and then we'll see what happens next.
We'll give them a couple of weeks in the fridge to meld and mellow and then we'll see what happens next.
For me, springtime means pie. It's not that I don't make pie in the winter but I seem to make less of it. Cookies and brownies and other smaller desserts are more of a thing in our house during the cold season. Perhaps because that gives me an opportunity to turn the oven on every day. Easter is the beginning of my pie season with strawberry pie. After that the organic fruit supply in our local markets slowly starts to build. Bit by bit, options expand. This week were taken by some flashy stalks of rhubarb, their vibrant pink color camouflaging the deeply tart flavor within.
Now there are people who adore rhubarb pie. I've never made one in the past. There was so much juicy, sweet fruit to play with that I avoided using it in pie, even though we grew it in our old garden at Twin Oak. For some reason this week I got the urge. We had plenty of rhubarb to work with and I happened to have some exceptionally sweet and fragrant strawberries in the fridge. Unsurprisingly it was a match made in heaven. The recipe below calls for equal amounts of rhubarb and strawberries, I used perhaps slightly more rhubarb and you can skew the proportions according to your taste. This pie is rich and sweet, tart and lively. It's almost too easy to eat a whole slice on its own (me) or snuggled up beside some freshly whipped cream (Amaya) or paired with some creamy frozen custard (Alex). We bring our supply home from the shop in pint containers but you could use vanilla ice cream instead. No matter how you eat it, this is some good pie.
Makes one 9-inch pie
2 premade pie crusts, one pressed into a buttered 9-inch pie pan with a 1-inch overhang, and one rolled out and ready to go.
3 cups rhubarb, sliced 1/2-inch thick, 2-3 large stalks
3 cups strawberries, quartered, about 24 ounces / 680 grams
1 cup / 200 grams sugar
2 ½ tablespoons / 20 grams cornstarch
1 ½ tablespoons / 11 grams tapioca starch (you can use all cornstarch but the tapioca gives the gel a softer, silkier texture)
½ teaspoon / 3 grams fine sea salt
1 teaspoon / 4 grams vanilla paste or extract
1 tablespoon / 14 grams heavy cream
1/4 cup/ 60 grams raw sugar
Preheat oven to 400°F. (205°C.)
Put the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, tapioca starch, and salt in a medium bowl and mix gently with a rubber spatula to blend. Add the vanilla and gently fold it into the fruit. Pour the fruit into the prepared pie pan lined with piecrust and use the spatula to distribute it evenly in the pan.
Lay the second pie crust over the top, press it gently down around the fruit, and then trim to so that the the outer edge just overlaps the edge of the bottom crust. Fold the edge of the top crust over and under the bottom crust and roll it inwards, all the way around the edge, to seal the crust. Pinch the crust all the way around the circumference to create a decorative border and double seal the edge so that the pie doesn't drip. Place the pie on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, brush the cream over the entire top crust and sprinkle the raw sugar evenly over the pie. Bake for 20 minutes and reduce the heat to 350°F. (175°C.) without opening the door. Bake for 50 minutes, rotating the pie once, if needed.
Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Cool completely before serving.
I finally got really tired of throwing out the bottoms of asparagus. Today I put them into the oven and roasted them until they carbonized. The result, asparagus charcoal. What does one do with asparagus charcoal? I let the mind wander and dream up uses: to grill asparagus over it, grind it into a fine flour to make asparagus bread and toast, to mix with salt and use as a seasoning, to blend with fats to coat alternatively cooked asparagus, to flavor Hollandaise sauce, to make ice cream, to ....
I fired up the brick oven. I took a gutted and scaled black bass, deeply scored its sides, and salted it. Then I spatchcocked it, spreading open the two sides underneath the backbone, so that the fish appeared to be swimming in the pan with some olive oil, a few cloves of garlic, and some white wine. I slid the pan deep into the oven and let the flames and heat go to work. The wine quickly steamed off and the oil began to sizzle. I rotated the pan to cook the other side of the fish. Once it was finished, I pulled the fish out of the oven and poured a few ladles of prosciutto-ramp broth over the top. It sizzled in the pan and blended with the juices and garlicky fat. I basted the fish a few times with the quick pan sauce. And that was dinner.
May 2, 2005
This video resonated with us because, in our consulting business, much like copy editors, we strive to be invisible. Our job isn't to make your food like ours, it's to make your food more fully what you want it to be. It's the details, techniques, and collaboration that inspire us. It's the journey that motivates us. And yes, the occasional shout out is heart warming and makes it all worth while.
May 1, 2006
We put the sandy potato chips into action today. We started with a chocolate glazed doughnut. We coated the glaze with a new pretzel crumb that utilizes Dulcey, caramelized white chocolate. To complete the doughnut we filled the hole with the sandy potato chips. The salty, sweet, crunchy elements were a delicious addition to our base doughnut. Tomorrow I'm looking to indulge in one topped with frozen custard. Oh yeah, and I've now begun looking at chips and dip using the sandy potato chips and the frozen custard. Look for that here and possibly at Curiosity Doughnuts.
Take a look over at Bon Appetit.com for a delicious article on yeasted versus cake doughnuts. We got to share some of our thoughts on the subject. We make both at Curiosity Doughnuts because we understand cravings and it's hard to find one place where you can satisfy them both to your heart's content. In the end, it's worth having a split personality so you may chase delicious in both camps.
April 29, 2007
April 29, 2005
April 28, 2005
We boiled a quail egg for 2 minutes and 45 seconds in acidulated water. We shocked it in vinegar spiked water as well. The vinegar appeared to ease the peeling of the soft cooked egg. Once the egg was peeled we wrapped it in phyllo dough brushed with butter. We fried the egg for 30 seconds to crisp the phyllo and warm the egg. We seasoned the fried egg with salt and espelette pepper. After frying we grated cheddar cheese over the top and added a slice of country ham. A delicious take on the an original.
April 27, 2005
Organic leeks were on sale at the store today. They were fat and happy, tender and firm, so I put some in my cart. I have a tendency to buy leeks and then forget about them. This time I made a point of leaving the yellow onions in the store and resolved to use the leeks instead. While they are from the same family, leeks a subtle sweetness and a grassy earthiness that give them a distinctive flavor. They went over beautifully in stir fried noodles but not so well in teriyaki meatloaf. (I'm on a bit of a Asian kick.) Still it's been fun to use them in different ways. Instead of changing my dishes to suit the leeks, I'm simply adding them to what I have in mind. I've learned a lot in the process about their flavor and their presence in a dish. They definitely fare better with savory than sweet and ginger seems to bring out too much funk in the alliums. I've still got a couple left in the fridge and I'm expecting them to be a stellar addition to a rich chicken broth with miso for ramen tomorrow night. We'll see...
April 25, 2011
April 25, 2008
Today we made a modification to our banana cream pie doughnut. It took a small move to shift our thoughts. Instead of finishing the doughnut with our cream cheese cookie crumbs I reached for our white chocolate and pretzel crumb. This seemingly thoughtless element exchange has since catalyzed some delicious ideas. The darker toasted notes and the saltiness of the pretzels blended with the vanilla notes of the white chocolate were an amazing compliment to the banana cream pie doughnut: new fashioned doughnut, brown butter-freeze dried banana sugar, betterscotch glaze and cannoli cream.
The doughnut is our canvas, today. But imagine a pretzel pie crust for a banana cream pie. Imagine banana ice cream with betterscotch sauce and pretzel praline. Imagine a banana-betterscotch cheesecake with the white chocolate-pretzel crumb crust.
April 24, 2005
I've made, eaten and served plenty of hot fudge. I have not had much experience with white hot fudge. Since I hadn't experienced it, I figured I should create my own. I started with hard crack sugar syrup. I added cream to dissolve the sugar mass. I stirred white chocolate and salt into the cream-sugar mixture. The finished hot fudge resembled the traditional dark chocolate version in chew and pourability. The flavor is sweet, vanilla and rich fattiness, molten white chocolate. Time to start topping some frozen custard.
Years ago we made potato chip praline to accompany potato chip ice cream. The praline was a riff off of our pretzel praline. The pralines are deeply flavored and really crunchy. I wanted to revisit the praline for Doughnutland but wanted an element to compliment the doughnuts rather than overpower them. I borrowed the idea of sandy nuts, an approach we have applied to pretzels for the shop. I guess I have a pattern. First pretzels, then potatoes. Thanks to my idiosyncratic nature we now have experienced the wonderfulness of sandy potato chips. I dusted sugar on the potato chips in a hot pan and let the sugar melt and crystalize on the chips. I got a light coating of sugar with some caramelization happening on a few chips. I put the coated chips on parchment lined sheet pan and sprinkled on salt. I needed to compliment the sugar in my search for balance in the world of sweet and salt. With the final salt in place the chips are now ready for our spud-nuts.
Those big, fat, juicy asparagus that are everywhere right now do well with a quick peel (to eliminate dirt under the triangles and tough membranes) and a soak in cold water. There's always a few soft ones in any bunch and a short (or long) soak in fresh cold water will liven them right up. You can prep them first and then just leave them in the water until you're ready to cook them. The soaked asparagus will cook up juicy and tender regardless of whether you roast, grill, steam, braise, or saute them.
April 21, 2009
Before food blogs were everywhere and instagram and facebook dominated the landscape sneak peaks and behind the scenes looks into restaurants were few and far between. When Anthony Bourdain dove into a meal at The French Laundry he shared what many wanted to know. It was culinary voyeurism.
Today I was reminiscing on the segment that ran on The Food Network. We had recorded it on VHS. We, well I, watched it too many times, looking for details and insights I had not experienced. In the land of instant that we live in today we spend so much time creating new and now. We don't rewatch. We retweet. We don't reread, we skim at best.
Revisiting the video for the umpteenth time, well closer to hundredth, brought an old smile back to my face and reminded me the importance of appreciating what you find.
We get used to doing things a certain way. We have a plan in place. We know where we are going and the fastest way to get there. When you take someone else along, they wander. Our first instinct is to herd them back in line. To get them to follow the directions. To continue it the way we had planned. Our second reaction is to get frustrated because they are not following along. The third phase is to get upset at the delay. To want to yell.
Stopping ourselves from reacting is essential to being able to see things differently. Finding humor in any situation allows us to open up to it. To experience sameness from a different perspective. Controlling our need for control is essential to our ability to open new doors and connect ideas.
April 19, 2006
It was only a matter or time. Vanilla and marble (chocolate and vanilla swirled) ice cream cones for the frozen custard at Curiosity Doughnuts, utilizing our doughnut doughs in a new way.
Strawberry sugar and lemon sugar, good separately, but together you've got strawberry lemonade...doughnut holes.
April 16, 2011
The colors of Spring.
Steam? Roast? Grill?
It's all good.
April 15, 2010
April 15, 2006
Alex texted me yesterday afternoon requesting brownies or blondies for dessert. Since the Easter bunnies have been slowly disappearing there has been a lot of chocolate going on, so I decided to make blondies--with chocolate chips. I like to use whole grain flours in bars because they work well with their chewy yet tender nature and I like that bit of fiber to help slow down digestion and hopefully ease the sugar rush. While I generally lean toward oat flour for these I wanted to add a bit of quinoa flour to add slightly nutty dimension and I balanced this with a little all purpose so I'd get a little more texture in the cake. You can always make this with 100% oat or 100% AP if that's how you roll. The bars ended up with a little bonus layer of caramelized sugar at the bottom, reminiscent of Scotch tablet, that was quite delicious. These are made in one pot and the batter comes together quickly. We like our blondies a little thicker and cut them smaller (well I do, Alex is a bit more generous for himself. And for Amaya she gets mommy style.) These blondies have a fudgey, chewy texture, rich with brown sugar, and broken up by bites of caramel and chocolate chips. You could top them with whipped cream or ice cream (as Alex did) or really go whole hog and make them the base of a sundae with some chocolate caramel sauce to make this dessert a true indulgence. ( An idea Alex wish he had thought of.)
Whole Grain Chocolate Chip Blondies
Makes one 8-inch square pan
8 ounces / 225 grams unsalted butter, sliced
1/2 cups / 100 grams dark brown sugar
1/2 cup / 106 grams light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon / 3 grams fine sea salt
2 large cold eggs
1 teaspoon / 4 grams vanilla paste or extract
1/4 teaspoon / 1 gram almond extract
1 cup / 120 grams oat flour
1/2 cup / 56 grams quinoa flour
1/2 cup / 75 grams all purpose flour
1 cup / 175 grams bittersweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°F. / 175°C.
Butter a one 8-inch square baking pan. You can use the waxed paper/foil that was around the butter you are using for the blondies to do this.
Melt the butter in a medium pot and set over medium low heat. One the butter is melted, remove from heat and add the dark brown sugar, light brown sugar, and salt. Stir until completely smooth. Let the mixture cool slightly and then add 1 large egg, stirring rapidly with a silicone spatula to incorporate it into the butter mixture before it starts to coagulate. Once that egg is completely absorbed, add the second egg and repeat. Once the mixture is smooth add the vanilla paste or extract and the almond extract and stir to blend. Add the oat flour, quinoa flour, and all purpose flour and stir vigorously to blend. Give it about 50 strokes, until the batter is smooth and silky and falls like a ribbon back into the pan when you lift the spatula. stir in the chocolate chips and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the center is set. You can test this by gently pressing against it with your fingertip or with a cake tester. The tester should feel as though it is pushing through a set cake and come back out clean. Let cool completely before serving. These blondies will cut more easily and hold together better if they have time to set up.
This past week we introduced caramel custard at Curiosity Doughnuts. We have the ability to serve one flavor at a time. We have stayed true to idea that a blank slate can be built upon. We created and refined our vanilla-buttermilk custard. But my restless spirit kept poking me for more. I finally succumbed to my inner voices. By waiting an extended time to change the custard flavor I gave myself a lot of time to think through the modifications. I adapted our original custard and caramel custard was born. I caramelized the sugar and condensed milk in the recipe. I took them to a dark caramel and added the dairy to them. From that point on our recipe remained the same. The changes were minor. The results were worth the wait. Taking the time to ponder and analyze our process allowed me to mentally make mistakes. Also, the time allowed us to refine and improve the original custard without throwing additional distracting variables into the equation.
April 12, 2006
Brilliant work from Austin Kleon. We have rule 10 framed in our dining room.
April 10, 2006
It’s easy to point out the flaws of others. We all do it differently, that's the point. Some days you need to go in a different direction. In our need to make it different we often forget about making it better. Improvement is the game. Cook what you want to eat and make it your own. Don't look for a new angle, look for your angle.
April 9, 2005
For days when you don't have time to wait for the grill.
Today I took 1 part toasted doughnut crumbs and added 3 parts white chocolate. I pulsed the mixture in the food processor until the white chocolate became pulverized and began to melt. I added 0.4% salt to the mix to pique and unite the flavors. The crumb is destined for a doughnut to start. After that I'm sure it'll grace some frozen custard. It's rich and rounded flavor has me looking into using it as a tart shell base. Of course a little extra processing of the mixture will allow me to set it into a block and shave it. That to may top a doughnut, custard and the tart.
The idea was simple grits. I started with 4 parts water and 1 part grits. I added a large hunk of ham. The idea was evolving. I pressure cooked the grits in a bowl insert in an inch of water in our pressure cooker for one hour. I let the pressure dissipate naturally. I stirred the ham into the grits. They felt a bit thick. I added some water and stirred in some ghee for flavorful fat. I was looking for a clean spicy acidity to finish the grits. Usually I add hot sauce. With the ham in play, yellow mustard popped into my head. And I finished the ham grits with a healthy dose of yellow mustard. The acidity and heat brought the grits into balance. And ham and mustard grits were introduced into our repertoire.
April 5, 2006
It took years to realize that we could wrap something beside prosciutto around asparagus. The realization lead to the delicious experience of eating mortadella wrapped asparagus. Tonight we roasted the asparagus on a sheet pan in the oven. They were juicy and tender. The mortadella was crispy on ones side, tender and soft on the other. And what I realized is that meat and vegetables work well making each other taste better.
Thursdays or Fridays, depending on how our week is going, are generally days to take inventory and go through the drawers in the refrigerator to see what must be used up to make space for fresh ingredients. There was a time when I emptied old vegetables into the bin but experience has taught me that if I get to the odd vegetable bits before they soften and begin to rot I can easily use them up by turning them into mirepoix, which can be a base for sauces, soups, meatballs/loaf, or almost anything I'm whipping up over the weekend. I clean up all my vegetable bits and then I put my food processor to good use.
This particular batch could have been chopped in there instead of ground to make coleslaw a la Kentucky Fried Chicken, but meatballs were on the menu that evening, so I went for a fine grind. While the vegetables were processing I set an iron skillet over low heat to warm. When they were done I coated the bottom with olive oil and tipped the vegetables into the pan with some salt. They slowly softened and caramelized into a tender vegetable base.
I also found some white mushrooms in the back of the fridge and ground them while the vegetables were cooking. When the mirepoix was soft and aromatic, I added the mushrooms, because mushrooms in the meatballs seemed like a no-brainer. They added an earthy richness to the blend, rounding out the sweetness of the vegetables.
I added them to the pan with salt and a generous splash of soy sauce and continued to cook the mixture, stirring occasionally until it was almost dry and homogenous, another 15-20 minutes. Once it cooled Alex folded some of the mirepoix into his meatball mixture and we saved the rest to use over the weekend. Yes, we still have the vegetables in our fridge but they are fully prepped and ready to go. It's a lot easier to toss a spoonful of cooked mirepoix into your pasta sauce or braise at the last minute to give it depth and savor, along with some extra texture, than it is to see a bunch of raw vegetables waiting for inspiration. A good pantry is priceless.
April 2, 2005
We've been exploring the local shopping scene and so far the pickings have been great. There's an Italian market, a local butcher, a great bakery, and a promising looking farm stand just down the road. The culinary potential is growing here in PA. This prosciutto skin is a great example of impromptu inspiration. We could use it for a stock or a soup, or we could pressure cook them to make "prosciutto noodles," dice it and crisp it like lardons, or use it as the base on which to roast vegetables or potatoes. The possibilities abound.
We attended a musical celebration by the the local first grade, Amaya being in first grade. As we walked the school hallway toward the gymnasium-auditorium I was struck by the students artwork. And the quotes that accented the creations.
I like to do these in a shallow pan because the sausages tend to brown more deeply this way. I had some leftover apples and onions that had been baked under the Easter Ham and I laid them in the bottom of my baking dish. You could easily substitute some freshly sliced apples and onions or even just some good applesauce to add moisture and sweetness. Then I added a layer of seasoned cauliflower and broccoli and arranged my sausages (garlic and sweet fennel) on top. They were completely exposed to the hot air of the oven, the vegetables acting as a rack of sorts, so the juices could run down into the pan. I pricked the sausages with a cake tester and put them in a 400°F oven for 30 minutes. Then I flipped the sausages over to brown the bottoms and baked them for another 15-20 minutes. Add some crusty bread and you have an easy weeknight dinner that everyone will enjoy.
We took the trimmings from making doughnuts and mashed them together. We refrigerated the dough mass overnight. I lightly floured the counter and rolled the dough into a rough rectangle. I sprinkled the dough with brown sugar, folded the dough into thirds adding more sprinkles of sugar on the exposed dough layers. I flipped the dough and added more sugar. I rolled it out, cut it into 8 pieces and put a knob of salted butter in the center of each piece. I put a knob of butter into 8 muffin tins. I folded the dough onto itself and jammed it into the muffin tins. I let the dough rise for 30 minutes. Before going in the oven I sprinkled white sugar over the top of each pastry. I baked the kouign amann for 45 minutes at 350°F with the convection fan on.
After baking I popped the pastries out of the pans and when they were cool enough to handle began to devour them. Doughnut dough strikes again.
March 28, 2009
I use the camera as a notebook. I take pictures of what I don't know. I take pictures of what is interesting. I take pictures to trigger ideas. Having a camera in my pocket makes taking photographic notes easy. And with the technology on hand I miss the pen and paper. I miss the drawing, the scribbling the writing, the pondering. Even though these notes are destined to be transcribed into a computer log for supposed ease of searching and utilizing. I'm still working on blending technology and tradition. The balance may be a lifelong challenge. A constant ebb and flow of working with what works and can be worked on.
March 27, 2010
March 27, 2006
We brought back the chocolate new fashioned doughnut with a few tweaks: increased and blended sugars, an extra egg and some more buttermilk. The cuttings are our debris. Debris has a cult following at the shop. Perhaps its the irregular shapes. Perhaps its the crispier appearance. Perhaps its the similarities to beignets and funnel cakes. Perhaps its the people and their unique personalities that makes debris special. Perhaps it's all in the name, debris.
After searing pork chops we added store bought tortellini to the fat in the pan. We added some water and covered the pan. I turned up the heat. The water steamed the tortellini. Eventually all the water evaporated and the steamed pasta seared in the flavorful pork fat. The bottom of the tortellini developed a lacy crisp crust. The tops were tender and moist. Makes me wonder what other pastas and preparations we should be cooking pot sticker style.
Soaking cashews plumps and softens them. Our initial plan was cashew milk. As the cashews sat on the counter in plain view, ideas beyond milk emerged: cream, creme fraiche, buttermilk, cream cheese, super thin cashew crisps, cashew hummus, and ice cream. By making the processing simpler we gain productivity and expand what is possible with an ingredient.
A little spice can make even the simplest meal special. Chicken thighs, broccoli, olive oil, salt, and Kibbeh #15. Simply delicious.
March 23, 2010
March 23, 2005
Can't wait to get the oven set up at the new house!
I've been thinking a lot about bread lately, perhaps because we're moving and the kitchen has been packed away. It makes me long for things I haven't baked in a while, like fresh crusty rolls. There's something cathartic about bread making. I think it has to do with the process of creating a dough and then leaving it alone to do it's thing. Even though you may have brought it to life, what it does most of the important work on its own. There's magic in yeast and when you check back in to see how the dough has risen, filling with bubbles and seeming to have a breath of its own, you feel the power of your food. When it's baking and the aroma fills the air, you feel warm and happy inside. And after you've waited, not so patiently, for the bread to cool, you are rewarded by something warm and crisp just waiting to be enjoyed. Good bread usually feels lighter than it looks, with a crackling exterior that breaks open to release even more of that comforting, slightly sweet, yeasty scent of warm bread. The first bite can be transcendent and the next, even better. I like to savor the first couple of bites before adding butter, so that it can add it's own sweet, creamy flavor to blend. A few grains of coarse salt for crunch and the bread is transformed, with new textures and deeper dimensions of flavor. It's that experience that draws me back to the kitchen again and again, to create something of my own. Knowing that I've used the best ingredients and put a little of myself into a meal makes it taste even better. That love of food that fires my passion for cooking, no matter who it's for or what their dietary restrictions may be. Whenever I small freshly baked bread it reminds me that cooking is a privilege that I heartily embrace.
*If this makes you want to bake bread, try our Fail Safe Bread Recipe.
March 15, 2011
The Fried Chicken Project has been interestingly received by our customers at Curiosity Doughnuts. The responses range from curiosity to excitement to dismay--because they had no idea it existed and they were all filled up on barbecue. We have been evolving the chicken offering, while still serving 12 orders a day. Currently we are pairing the fried chicken with our doughnut bread pudding. We top the doughnuts with a glaze made from caramel, pickle brine, black lime, and Luchito Honey.
The tinkering has been fun. The refinement of our processes has been exciting. Now that some of the pieces of the puzzle are in place I am ready to begin bringing new ideas to the table. Where we go with it will be part of the project.
March 13, 2009
For our fried chicken project we score chicken thighs and bath them in a smoked buttermilk brine. They sit in the brine for 24ish hours. We remove them from the brine and dredge them in our new dredge: masa and potato starch. We lay the dredged thighs on sheet pans lined with parchment paper and wrap them in plastic wrap. We refrigerate the thighs overnight, allowing the starches to hydrate and adhere to the chicken. We fry our thighs for 3 minutes at 375°F.
1000 grams buttermilk
500 grams pickle brine
120 grams Crystal Hot Sauce
40 grams liquid smoke
35 grams salt
Put the buttermilk, pickle brine, hot sauce, liquid smoke and salt into a bowl. Whisk the ingredients together to combine and dissolve the salt. Submerge scored chicken thighs in the brine and refrigerate the chicken in brine for 24 hours.
March 12, 2011
Last week I stopped by the King of Prussia Shake Shack. I ordered a smoke shack and a chicken shack. I started with the chicken shack and bounced to the smoke shack. I went back and forth. When I was halfway through both sandwiches I realized I wanted them as one. The union on my tray sparked the connection in my mind. I needed to eat a cheese burger topped with fried chicken.
Today, after rolling doughnuts, I popped into the kitchen at Charcoal BYOB. I shared my my chicken-burger experience and ensuing want. Thankfully Mark was game to bring the burger to life. He topped their signature CVaped cheeseburger with a piece of their fried chicken. He added Firehouse pickles and their french fry sauce.
We quartered up the creation and quietly ate. It was worth the wait. We crushed the first of many fried chicken cheeseburgers I'll be eating.
March 11, 2006
I have a cornflakes fetish. It is well known. I have made crepe cakes, ice cream, caneles, crusted clams and chicken fried steak. Today I took cornflakes into topping land for Curiosity Doughnuts. I toasted the cornflakes in a 250°F convection oven for 15 minutes. I let the cornflakes cool and ground them into a coarse crumb. I added twice as much white chocolate chips to the food processor and pulsed the mixture until it formed a uniformly irregular crumb. I seasoned the crumbs with 0.75% salt and the topping was complete. It is sweet, salty, toasted and rich. The topping is destined for doughnuts and our vanilla-buttermilk frozen custard.
March 10, 2005
I am not one for soggy bacon or even once crispy and now overly leathery bacon on a doughnut. I do like the idea of smoke and maple together. Over the years we have done a lot with smoked maple syrup: from tapioca pudding to buttermilk-maple puree. In the land of doughnuts we started with the incredible barrel aged and smoked maple syrup from Blis.
I made a glaze with the syrup adding buttermilk, (apparently our signature) salt and powdered sugar. I dipped our cluster doughnuts (recently being referred to as doughnut daisies) into the glaze. I topped the doughnuts with a sprinkling of our cream cheese cookie crumbs. Maple and smoke in harmony on a doughnut without the pointless bacon.
Sure, these were probably grown in a greenhouse, still, the colors were vibrant and the stalks were firm and juicy. These were the nicest asparagus I've seem in the market in ages.
After a quick toss with olive oil and salt followed by 20 minutes in a 400°F. oven, they were, infinitely sweeter and softer. We ate them with our fingers straight from the sheet pan. As we savored and laughed at the the way the juices ran down our fingers, it felt like springtime had finally arrived.
I've eaten pickles. I've eaten pickled jalapenos. I've eaten pickles made spicy with jalapenos and habaneros in the pickling brine. What I had not eaten, until last night, was a jar of pickles upgraded with fresh sliced jalapenos. Over at Charcoal BYOB they start with Firehouse Pickles and then add a freshly sliced jalapeno to the jar. The fresh heat added to the vinegar pickles was insanely hot, bright and gripping. I could not stop eating the pickles and the jalapenos. And now I will be jalapenoizing pickles from now on.