Someone brought these to party we happened to be attending and we were entranced.
Sheer genius and seriously delicious.
What would you serve as nachos?
Someone brought these to party we happened to be attending and we were entranced.
Sheer genius and seriously delicious.
What would you serve as nachos?
Here an abundance of thinly sliced scallions briefly marinated with some Minus8 Vinegar and sea salt are liberally applied to skirt steak, though almost any dish can be improved with this last minute addition. Think fried chicken, grilled fish, sauteed shrimp, seared crab cakes, roasted corn, sauteed mushrooms, you get the idea. These steaks were coated with a good smear of sweet butter and some Smoked Soy Sauce before being topped with our Scallion Salad. After they rested for about ten minutes, we sliced up the beef and all of the flavors mingled together for a rich, savory steak dish accented by the bright flavor of the onions for a dinner with maximum impact.
The other day we shared our zucchini chop and people were very curious about the results. Now we can say that it cooked up beautifully. Each silky ribbon kept a crisp-tender texture and absorbed some lovely caramelized flavors from the sear. We served this with a lamb chop that had been cooked in the CVap for 2 hours at 54°C. Then we cooled the chop, actually the whole rack down, in the blast chiller. When it was cold we portioned it into double chops. We seared the cold meat in olive oil and then re-thermed it in the CVap for 15 minutes. When the inside temperature was warm we re-seared the chops in olive oil. As we let the lamb rest we seared and basted the zucchini chops in the lamb infused oil. We topped the zucchini with some of the juices from the resting lamb. We sliced the lamb and served a chop on the chop, finishing the lamb with coarse salt, black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. The double chop was a delicious evolution of an idea.
July 17, 2009
There are certain meals that we enjoy eating alone. This is not because we don't think anyone else will enjoy them. It is because they evoke a certain memory or feeling that is somehow best savored on our own. Many years ago I worked as an au pair in Brussels. It was a consuming experience. My bedroom was next to a tiny half bathroom off the kitchen. It was essentially a laundry room with a bed in it. There was a bathtub in the center or the room that the washing machine drained into and clotheslines strung across the far wall. I was in charge of a lovely toddler named Roberta who was mostly sweet and good-natured although her temperament was not quite enough to compensate for the fact that I was lucky to get more than an hour to myself on any given day from the time that she woke up until the time she went to bed. While the work was not in any way onerous, the hours were extremely long.
One night the family went out to dinner and I was left on my own for the evening. Although I knew there wasn't much in the fridge for my supper, I still savored the time on my own. As I was living with an Italian family, I knew there was pasta and cheese and olive oil so I would not go hungry. I found an onion and chopped it up as the water was heating. I put the onion in a saute pan with a generous glug of olive oil and set it over low heat while I poked through the refrigerator. I found a tube of anchovy paste and added a good squirt to the onions. I grated some parmesan and dropped my spaghetti into the water. Once the noodles were supple and bouncy I transferred them into the saute pan with the onions. I added some of the cooking water and small pat of butter, and then stirred everything together. I added a healthy sprinkling of cheese and stirred it up again. It was one of the best meals I've ever eaten, salty, savory noodles slicked with butter and oil, gritty with cheese, flecked with tender, sweet onion bits, and eaten in blessed silence. It was a meal to remember.
Over the years I've made small changes. I add garlic when it's available, crushed red pepper for heat, and a good squeeze of lemon juice at the very end to brighten things up. It's still a meal I prefer to eat alone when in need of comfort and coddling. It fills my belly and warms my spirit in ways I cannot explain. It's comfort food just because it makes me feel good.
We thinly sliced some medium zucchini with a Japanese mandoline. Then we lightly salted the slices, stacked them on a tray, and refrigerated them for several hours to let moisture drip away. When the slices were tender and pliable we patted them dry and rolled each zucchini into a pinwheel. We tied the wheels together to hold the shape and then cut young garlic stems into 6-inch long "bones" and inserted them into the zucchini roulades. And the zucchini chop was born. Once we had the chops formed we laid them out on a cooling rack and refrigerated them overnight to dry so we would be able to easily roast and sear them. The fact that the air drying also allows the zucchini's flavors to concentrate is an added bonus.
The combination of tomatoes and mozzarella is a classic. The lactic richness of the cheese compliments the sweet fruitiness of the tomato. With that as the starting point it seemed to reason that tomatoes dressed with buttermilk would be equally amazing. We seasoned the tomatoes with coarse salt and smoked coriander and then we drizzled olive oil and buttermilk around them. As a final touch we sprinkled small leaves of summer savory over the top. A bright, rich, and refreshing soupy salad was born. It's definitely one you want to eat with a spoon.
The obstacle with purple snow peas is that when you apply heat they lose their color. Amaya was super excited to find them in the farmer's market because they were purple so the challenge was how to retain that color. Fortunately the peas were fresh and sweet. You could easily snap the ends and pull the strings. It became a game to see if you get the entire string to pull from each side of peas, curling into ribbons as they dangled from the stems.
We ate our basket of peas raw, as a snack, like popcorn. Eating them raw solved the color issue. And our exploration in dipping sauces and condiments begins.
July 2, 2009
When a price is put on something, it is given a value. It was exciting to see bins of the often discarded broccoli leaves for sale at the farmers market. When a farmer assigns worth to an ingredient, so does the cook.
After 18-ish days of drying, our luchito salumi was ready. It had lost 35% of its weight. The Mexican chile paste provided smoke, heat, and savory undertones to the pork shoulder and belly. The meat had acquired a slice-able firmness and balanced acidity. While we happily consumed several slice straight up, I see a happy home for this on our next pizza.
The appearance of garlic scapes in the market and, subsequently, in our kitchen has triggered a series of ideas. In seasons past we have made garlic scape butter, garlic scape sausages, garlic scape mayonnaise, it's warm cousin: garlic scape hollandaise, garlic scape soup, pork and garlic scape dumplings, and garlic scape pickles.
This year I have noodles at the top of the list. Soon to be followed by infusing soy and fish sauces with ground garlic scapes: raw, charred, and smoked.
June 29, 2010
We are finally seeing and smelling the heady aroma of fresh strawberries in our local farmer's market. The beauty is the complexity of the fruit. The wonderment is in the amount of work needed to bring the fruit to market. When we look closely not just at the end result, but at the entire process involved, we gain a grander appreciation for the ingredients themselves.
Summer is officially here and that means cooking gets a little bit easier because there is an abundance of great ingredients to work with. Alex found some beautifully marbled pork chops at the local market. Being of a practical mindset, I salted them and put them on a rack in the fridge as soon as he got home with them so they would be perfectly seasoned and ready to go by the time we were ready to cook them.
I'm a fan of chopped salads, they present a wonderful range of textures and flavors, and they are easy to eat. With that in mind, I took the fresh tomatoes, celery, and cucumbers that he also brought home, chopped them up, and combined them in a bowl with some salt. I left them at room temperature to let their flavors mingle while Alex grilled the chops. Just before serving we added a splash of BLiS smoked soy sauce and minus 8 white wine vinegar and then spooned the salad over the pork chops. Finally we spooned the collected meat juices from the platter (a combination of melted butter, smoked soy sauce and the rested pork chop juices) over everything and I ran out to the weed patch for some chives to add to the mix. It was the perfect summer supper: rich, savory and bursting with flavor.
Happy Father's Day
June 19, 2005
We continue the Salumi Sessions. We started with Michael Ruhlman's and Bryan Polcyn's recipe for Nduja as the foundation. I love the fact that they use straight up pork belly for the meat and fat to make this spreadable salumi. We lowered down their levels of hot and sweet paprika and added a healthy dose of gochujang to balance things out. Now the meat is hanging, drying, and developing. After tasting the just ground meat and then the fermented sample (the meat left in the stuffer that we vacuum seal and put in the fermenting cabinet to test the ph after it has fermented for 21 hours) of the Nduja we know we are in for a delightful end result.
June 15, 2006
We were exploring a mushroom sausage. Instead of cooking all the liquid out of the mushrooms we opted to capture the moisture. We minced crimini mushrooms in the food processor. We added soy sauce, eggs, salt, egg white powder, and raw rolled oats to the mushrooms. Then we vacuum sealed the mixture and cooked it in the CVap for 2 hours. The result was a moist, full flavored mushroom base. It was reminiscent of sausage in both its robust seasoning and it's texture and consistency. Upon further reflection after cooking a patty, we realized that it resembled a juicy yet well-done burger. When sauteed, it had a light, crisp crust and a savory, tender bite. That was the light bulb. The mixture is the ultimate mushroom patty for anyone who loves a great sandwich. Not ones to wait on a good thing, we served ours on Bacon Fat Potato Rolls with kimchi and ketchup.
Makes 6-8 burgers, depending on how big you like them
770 grams cleaned crimini mushrooms
2 large eggs (108 grams)
50 grams soy sauce
7.5 grams salt
25 grams powdered egg whites
250 grams rolled oats
Put the mushrooms into a food processor and pulse the machine until the mushrooms are finely minced. Add the eggs, soy sauce and salt and puree the mixture for 30 seconds. Turn the machine off and add the powdered egg whites. Puree for 10 seconds, until the egg whites are absorbed into the mushroom base. Add the oatmeal and puree into the base for 10 seconds, until smooth.
Pour the mixture into a large vacuum bag and seal. Roll the filling out in the bag, edge to edge so that the filling is of a uniform thickness. Cook in a CVap or immersion circulator set at 90°C for 2 hours.
After cooking cool the mixture in an ice bath. Open the bag, cut the mushroom base into patties and sear or grill for burgers.
We constantly create. And tinker. These rolls are the result of our many failures. They provided the foundation for the delicious results. These are the best and most delicious rolls we have made so far. The crumb is soft and tender, but holds together well when saturated with the juices from a sandwich. The combination of cooked potatoes, bacon fat and buttermilk creates a harmonious blend, giving the rolls a slightly sweet, faintly meaty, savory flavor, that stands out when eaten on its own and blends nicely with a filling. We designed them for burgers, breakfast sandwiches, and the Chicken and the Egg.
Bacon Fat Potato Rolls
337.5 grams water
300 grams peeled and sliced potatoes
100 grams bacon fat
18 grams salt
975 grams flour
37.5 grams sugar
6 grams yeast
275 grams buttermilk
15 grams water
Put the water, potatoes, bacon fat, and 1.5 grams of salt into a medium pot on medium heat. Cook the potatoes until they are tender, about 30 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and let the potatoes cool in the liquid to room temperature.
Put the remaining salt, flour, sugar and yeast into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook. Turn the mixer on to blend the dry ingredients. Turn off the mixer.
Put the cooked potatoes with their liquid and the buttermilk in a blender and turn it on low. Increase the speed to high and puree for 5 seconds until the mixture is smooth.
Turn the mixer on low and pour the pureed potato mixture into the flour. Increase the speed to medium and knead until a moist dough forms, about 5 minutes. Cover the dough and let it rise for 2 hours at room temperature.
Knock the dough down and then turn it out onto a heavily floured counter top. Portion the dough into 100 gram pieces and shape into rolls Spray sixteen 4-inch flan rings with pan release and arrange them on 3 sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Cover the rolls with plastic wrap and a dish towel. Let the dough rise for another 45 minutes to an hour.
Brush the rolls with an egg wash made with 1 whole egg and 15 grams of water. Bake for 20 minutes at 450°F, rotating half way through. If baking a loaf bake for 45 minutes, turning the heat down to 400°F after the first 15 minutes. Cool completely before serving.
June 13, 2008
Adam Aschner is a former client and friend. When he contacted us to let us know that he was designing a newer, better Chef Spoon we thought it was a brilliant idea. He sent us a few of the early prototypes to play with and they quickly became our go-to spoons in the kitchen. They have a nice feel our hands. Their weight and shape making them feel well balanced and easy to maneuver. The almost pointed ends make it easier to direct the flow of the contents of the spoon and nicely sized bowl allows us to either baste or portion easily.
In addition to being a chef, Adam is also and artist. He has designed the spoons so that each handle has a small window with a picture. This means you can personalize your spoons using one of his many designs or by sending him your logo or personal design to put into place. He surprised us with an Ideas in Food spoon, imagine how good your logo would look here. You could give them to your staff as gifts, sell them in your restaurant, or gift them to frequent diners so they'll think of you whenever they're cooking at home. Adam is Kickstarting his spoons so please go check out the campaign. The spoons are reasonably priced, essential kitchen tools that you can customize to your taste. What's not to love about that?
We were at the first farmers market of the season in Concord. We were captivated by Joan's Famous Composting Worms. Amaya was taken in by the pink sign with the words Dig In. She could watch the worms dig and squirm in the soil. We were drawn in by her interest. We did some research on worm composting in years past. Then we let the idea get buried by other distractions. Hopefully we can dig in this year and make it happen for Amaya, us, and the worms. I'm sure we'd have plenty of good eats for them to devour.
May 16, 2009
Steve Stallard is a good friend of ours. We've bonded over our love of good food made possible by enhancing impeccable ingredients. Just yesterday he gifted us with these two bottles of his newest creations.
His latest offering begins with the incredible Yamamoto Soy Sauce. Then he applies innovation, experience and a deft hand of creativity. Steve has created BLiS barrel aged GMO free soy sauces. The sauce is first aged for one year in Japan (by Yamamoto). Then Steve got his hand on it aged some of the sauce another year, here in the States, in twenty year old maple syrup cured bourbon barrels. Pause for a second and wrap your brain around that. The second version, he smoked. It tastes smoke kissed and gently warmed.
He has crafted two distinguished soy sauces, one maple barrel aged and one smoked. They are both simply remarkable. You have no idea what you're missing. Heck, we had no idea what we were missing and we have smoked and barrel aged soy sauce before. Steve just does it way better. These soy sauces have an incredible richness and depth of flavor. When you taste a few drops, you can roll it around on your tongue, they are smooth and mellow, seasoned and full of mellow umami flavors. These are finishing soy sauces, if there is such a thing, meant to be added at the end of cooking so that their full flavors can shine through and complement the main ingredients.
May 15, 2005
We made an interesting discovery after we moved to NH, there's no income tax here unless you're self-employed. That was a rude awakening. Fortunately a little something from Arcobaleno showed up in the mail to cheer us up. These dies are for people who like a sturdier pasta. The noodle walls are 1.2mm thick. As soon as we fire them up, we'll give a sneak peek at the results.
April 15, 2010
April 15, 2006
We started with the reserved dairy from the encapsulated cauliflower. We weighed it and seasoned it with 0.5% salt. We also calculated 0.4% iota carrageenan and 0.1% kappa carrageenan. We sheared the carrageenans into the dairy in the blender. After 15 seconds we poured the mixture into a medium pot set over medium heat. We cooked the dairy, stirring, till it reached 80°C to fully hydrated the carrageenans. We strained the cauliflower base and dispensed it into bowls. We cooled the cauliflower at room temperature for 15 minutes and then refrigerated it to set the gel. The texture is smooth, rich and creamy. It is reminiscent of a baked egg custard with all of the richness and no eggs. After tasting our sample we reserved the remaining bowls of cauliflower custard to finish the dish.
It is with great pleasure that we raise a glass to the official publication of our latest book: Gluten Free Flour Power. The recipes in the book are a true collection. The photographs, taken by Aki, tell the stories. We brought forward some of our favorite foods from maple stroopwafels to seamless ravioli From fried chicken to steamed buns. From carrot cake to coconut caneles. From yeasted chocolate cake to Japanese cheesecake. These are recipes you need to have in your repertoire, gluten free or not. Because even though it's a gluten free cookbook, the recipes also work, gram for gram, with all purpose flour. So it's truly a book for anyone who loves good food. Gluten Free Flour Power: Bringing Your Favorite Foods Back to the Table. You definitely want to add this one to your kitchen library.
March 23, 2010
March 23, 2005
When you start trimming and cleaning vegetables, several parts and pieces develop as you work. First you think about the end goal. And then, as you work with the vegetables, you realize that there are levels of trim and some of them can be put to good use. First we removed the strings from the tips and tails of the snow peas. We threw those away. Then we trimmed the peas into rectangles.
We were left with a mountain of triangular tips and tails, which inspired the sauce. We charred these pieces on the griddle with the idea of creating a variation of salsa verde. We charred some tomatillos too. Then we combined the two charred vegetables in the blender and added salt, soy sauce, and sherry vinegar. The idea for the sauce evolved into a rich and tangy dressing. It was the ideal match for the snow pea rectangles we prepared. And it was a fabulous foundation for exploring spring time flavors. Adding herbs, spices, and flavorful elements like whey and brines will allow us to customize the idea to specific vegetables and evolving dishes.
While researching plating techniques for an online course I'm going to be teaching for NECI, I came across this video. I enjoyed it so much that I knew I had to share it here with you. It's from The Art of Plating. The Chef's Cut: The Art of Kaiseki with Niki Nakayama, the video is a combination of plating and philosophy. I found it inspiring and it's definitely worth a few minutes of your time.
Amaya has been hounding us for banana bread. Every time we picked up bananas intended for bread we ended up devouring them. Hence no bread. Prior to departing for Costa Rica we had plans for making banana bread. This time the bananas ripened and we ran out of time. The night before leaving I put the bananas in the freezer. I was ready with ripe bananas for the next time Amaya asked for banana bread. Which was the morning after our 21-hour journey home.
Aki pulled the bananas out of the freezer and let them thaw on the cutting board. I took over and began adapting our Bananas Foster Bread from Ideas in Food. The freezing and thawing of the ripened bananas made them even softer. We had only 4 bananas ready for bread. I cut the recipe in half. Mostly. I started making modifications. And I got distracted in the process. I ended up using all 5 eggs that the original recipe calls for. For Amaya I omitted the rum. I added buttermilk in its place.
I also wanted to make the entire bread in the food processor. Banana bread is often tender. The extra working of the gluten in the machine should give it some additional structure. Since I was not going to cook the bananas in rum I added 20 grams of brown butter solids for toasty rich notes. I baked the bread in a pain de mie pan mainly for shape. Because I changed the shape of the pan and added the lid I shortened the baking time. I baked the loaf for 45 minutes. It was 190°F internally. As I removed the lid I made the connection, banana de mie. We let the bread cool for 15 minutes in the pan. After the initial cooling we removed the pan and let the bread cool on a wire rack.
The structure of the bread is delicate. It is not fall apart tender. The crumb is even and moist. I look forward to making more quick breads even quicker and with more structure in the food processor.
A rack of pork is a phenomenal centerpiece to a dinner. We continue to play with various cooking methods. In a recent workshop we salted the roast 24 hours in advance. Then we cooked it at 57°C in the CVap for 5 hours. We finished the roast under the broiler. We rotate the meat around the screaming hot element to achieve maximum, rich, foxy browning. We brush the hot crust with butter and let the meat rest for 10 minutes before carving. The carving of the roast is interesting. Do we cut individual chops? Do we break the roast down into its separate muscles and then slice them up? The carving changes depending on our audience.
Looking at the cross section of a hand peeled orange reveals aesthetic and flavor potential. The membrane may be seasoned and stained. It may be coated in flavorful rubs. The cut surface can be a base to build upon. It could be used to quickly cure. If we look beyond the citrus and look at other ingredients and assemble them and treat them like segments we start to see unified potential.
We leap from idea to idea. Sometimes we move fleet footed and fast across the stepping stones. Sometimes we realize it's worth stopping on a stone and thinking about how deep that idea can go. Flexibility makes anything possible.
February 23, 2007
February 23, 2006
February 23, 2005
There are plenty of moving parts. Which ones do we need to pay attention to? And when? Sometimes the views that draw our notice are not the ones that need it most.
February 20, 2011
February 20, 2005
We quickly put our Ho Fun noodles and my Chow Fun skills to the test. I want to make Peking Duck chow fun but today I was sorely lacking in ingredients to execute my inspiration. I made do. I started with succulent guanciale from Joshua Smith of Moody's Delicatessen & Provsions and New England Charcuterie. I added some green onion and quickly followed that with just cooked ho fun noodles. Next came a spoonful of our homemade hoisin sauce and a splash of soy sauce. The noodles were slippery and chewy, decadent and delicious. The meat, fatty and funky in the very best way. The hoisin sauce added depth and brightened the dish and the green onions contributed the fresh allium flavor that Aki requires. It was a tasty plate of food. And I'm ready to tackle the duck version next.
After making the everything bundt bread we were faced with a glut of bread. The three of us can only eat so much. Then it dawned on me. Stuffing. We should make everything stuffing. At first we were going to make the stuffing as a bed to roast a chicken on. Then I thought, what about making it our bundt pan?
We combined the diced bread, sauteed mushrooms with sausage and green onions, a blend of milk, eggs, and soy sauce, and a slew of beef braised onions. We baked the bundt for an hour covered at 350°F. We removed the cover and baked it for 30 more minutes to brown the top. When we pulled the accompanying chicken out of the other oven, we poured the roasting juices over the top of the stuffing. The tricky part is the un-molding. Then onto the crushing it.
February 13, 2007
It started as a baguette recipe. When the dough was ready to be shaped Amaya and I changed the plan. We sprayed the inside of a bundt pan with pan release. We put the wet dough into the pan and topped it with a hybrid Everything Topping: caraway seeds, poppy seeds, roasted yeast, garlic flakes, and onion flakes. We let the dough rise and refrigerated it overnight. We let the dough sit at room temperature for 2 hours to rise a bit more. I used scissors to snip, rather than slash, the top of the bread and then baked the bundt at 425°F for 20 minutes. We rotated the pan and turned the oven down to 375°F and baked the bundt for another 20 minutes. I removed the bundt from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 15 minutes. I then knocked the loaf out of the pan and cooled it on a rack for several hours. When it was cool it had a crackling crust and soft moist interior. Slicing the bundt was simple and enjoyable. I can't wait to try other breads in this form.
When you wash as many pots and pans as we do, you really value the tried and true tips and tricks for getting things clean. Like chilling the macaroni and cheese pot so that all that cheese easily scrapes off the bottom. Or using baking soda to clean a scorched stainless steel pot: sprinkle a generous layer of baking soda on the bottom, pour boiling water over, let sit for 10 minutes or so, and then clean as usual. To really polish up your stainless pots and pans you want to get your hands on some Bar Keepers Friend. With a little elbow grease, this stuff works like magic to clean off stains and those ugly brown oven marks that collect on the bottoms of your pans. It also works on range tops, sinks, tubs, and showers. A little caveat, it dries out my hands in a big way, although it doesn't seem to affect Alex at all. This is likely because the "secret ingredient" is oxalic acid and all acids should be treated with a little caution and common sense. Wearing gloves when scrubbing with cleanser makes it easy to avoid any ill effects on your skin. The benefits totally outweigh and minor side effect and we use it because it makes our pots shine.
February 2, 2005
We started with a first cut chuck shoulder. We submerged it in a vadouvan spiked version of Ruhlman's pastrami brine. Then we cold smoked the shoulder for 2 hours using the Amazen Tube Pellet Smoker. After it was smoked we braised it for 5 hours in a tomato and white wine sauce. We cooled the meat in the sauce and let the meat sit for several days. This morning we warmed it gently in the sauce. When the meat was just pliable, we took it off the heat, and pulled the smoked corned beef from the bones. We removed the fat pockets and connective tissue and cut the meat into chunks. We reserved the meat, after repeated flavor tests, for our chili. The smoke and meat infused tomato sauce became the foundation for the chili proper. We added beans and vegetables and let them simmer all afternoon long. Just before serving we'll add the meat back to the chili and let it warm gently in the stew. Something to look forward to during the big game.
Pasta dies need to warm up. The cold die produces a coarse noodle with excessive irregularities. As the die warms up through the extrusion process the dough comes together more cohesively. The irregular noodles are simply broken up and fed back into the hopper, mixed into the dough, crumbled, and extruded as new noodles. While the machine continues to work, the pasta gains a visual smoothness, still retaining the signature rough texture from the bronze die. It's a subtle difference that can only be discerned with experience. I have a theory that the warming of the die helps with the hydration of the flour, thus producing the smoother textured noodle. It's yet another case where patience will yield exponentially better results.
Last December Peg was here for a visit and she made her famous fried eggplant. We were hanging out with her in the kitchen while she cooked and noticed that she floured all of her eggplant slices before getting her eggs and breadcrumbs ready. Then she left them in a stack on the cutting board while she assembled her abbreviated breading station. By flouring all the eggplant first she made the entire system more efficient. You don't have to worry about getting confused about which hand to use or crossing hands over pans. You have two hands and two stations: eggs and crumbs. If you're pressed for time, you can even flour the slices, leave them to rest for a couple of hours, and then finish breading and frying later on. Thanks to Aunt Peg for the whack on the side of the head.
We've taken to using spent bourbon bottles to mix and bubble our vinegars. Today we started sweet vermouth vinegar. We blended 1000 grams of sweet vermouth and 800 grams of our Everywine Vinegar in the bottle. Then we put the tube from an aquarium bubbler into the bottle. We plugged in the bubbler and now we wait. Only we will not be waiting for weeks. The constant aeration should help the acetobactors consume the alcohol and convert it into vinegar. By week's end we should be tasting finished sweet vermouth vinegar. From there we will explore where to take it.
January 27, 2005
Just clip it.
January 23, 2005
We started the evening with Ranch powder dusted trout skins topped with their roe and fried rice paper with a celery root and blood and tongue sausage remoulade.
The first dish was chilled king trumpet mushrooms (resembling sliced scallops) with a carrot-apple-ginger-lemon vinaigrette, frozen buttermilk, pistachio oil and mushroom Maldon.
We moved into black toro (mimicking the famous black cod in marinade with sorghum and squid ink added as mid-western audibles) on a salad of dried and marinated cuttlefish and braised pig skin. The dish was finished with an intense porky dashi and a sesame heavy furikake.
We brought our Ramenized risotto to the table. We enriched it with Parmigiano Reggiano and broiled unagi. We finished the dish with powdered nori.
We followed the risotto with a cranberry bean soup enriched with Pepperoni XO. The carrots, and salsify were glazed and roasted with the XO sauce. A crunchy pesto topped the vegetables.
Smoked duck fat roasted Brussels sprouts were topped with blood orange and brown butter vinaigrette, caramelized coconut milk, and a spaghetti squash tuile.
We brought our vision of pork and beans to fruition. We wrapped bean curd skins around Mexican 'Nduja to make a ravioli. We glazed the ravioli and seared ring bologna in baked bean sauce. To cut through the richness we added a touch of seaweed mustard.
Korean rice cakes were seared in a caraway infused bacon fat-brown butter mixture. They were folded into kimchi and bacon bolognese sauce. We lay them in a pool of smoked molten mozzarella.
Leg of lamb was served with a sunchoke and vadouvan puree. Crispy sunchoke skins and shaved lamb prosciutto accented the meat. Parsley stems added brightness and an espresso lamb jus piqued the elements.
Dessert began with a crushable coffee drenched yeast cake with crispy meringue, coffee mascarpone ice cream sticks, coffee pate bomb and white chocolate-coffee shortbread.
Cannele's were willingly sacrificed to make cannele bread pudding. We served it with cream cheese ice cream and rum caramel.
Mignardise were cookies and cream, pretzels and chocolate, and an oatmeal rum raisin ice cream sandwich.
We enjoyed a successful dinner and an inspirational weekend.
January 20, 2005
We started with our yeast noodles. There savoriness has a very toasted bread-like flavor and aroma that was quite similar to the buttery pie dough we use in our chicken pot pie. Amaya has a thing for broth so we've been making pressure cooked stocks from leftover meat and bones on a regular basis. This made it easy for Aki to put together a rendition of our base pot pie filling, keeping it on the looser side. She opted to use smoked flour instead of tapioca and cornstarch to add flavor while thickening the base. When the pot pie filling was ready we boiled the yeast flavored rigatoni, mixed the them together, and topped our bowls with a sprinkling of Parmigiano Reggiano. We were eating chicken pot pie, as noodles, and nobody missed a thing
January 15, 2005
We've been playing around with sprouted flours lately, just to get a feel for what they're all about. We were pleasantly surprised by the amount of flavor in this sprouted spelt flour and felt that while the flavor of the grain was pronounced, it lacked the bitter edge that sometimes appears in whole grain flours. All in all it got us fired up to find some more sprouted flours to work with. The noodles pictured were made with 50% sprouted spelt flour and 50% semolina. The cooked pasta was supple and elastic, with a nice chewy texture. The flavor was earthy and sweet with a hint of nuttiness from the spelt. We tried them with pepperoni bolognese, they'd be equally good with spicy lobster or crab.
January 12, 2005
We combined 100 grams of the roasted yeast flour with 900 grams semolina flour. We put the two into the hopper of the Arcobaleno AEX 18. We added 300 grams water for 30% hydration. After mixing for 8-ish minutes we extruded thick walled rigatoni, die #80 1.2mm thick.
The flavor of the yeast added a dynamic savory flavor to the noodles. It diminished a bit after boiling. It was not lost, it became an accent rather than the focus.
January 11, 2011
January 11, 2005
We revisited the idea of mosaics. Visually I suppose these are closer in appearance to stone: marble, granite, quartz. Since the idea of avocado on toast has somehow taken the world by storm, we felt we could play with it too. We started with an avocado mosaic. We cut the avocado into pieces and sealed them in a vacuum bag. Then we flattened the avocado inside the bag into a thin layer and froze it. While the avocado was in the freezer we brushed phyllo dough with brown butter seasoned with smoked paprika and sprinkled each layer with Parmigiano Reggiano. We made our phyllo six layers thick and then baked it between to silpats. We put the golden brown phyllo onto a cutting board and cut it into planks. We cut the frozen avocado into identical planks. We removed the plastic from the avocado and placed it on top of the phyllo. We let the avocado thaw. Just before serving we seasoned it with lime zest, lemon olive oil, Maldon salt and Espelette pepper. It was a delicious test run on the idea. Now we can build upon it.
January 10, 2007
January 10, 2005
We were having lobsters. Aki wanted baked stuffed lobsters for her birthday. Specifically stuffed with the potato chip and shrimp filling I made on the fly years ago. With baked stuffed lobsters comes the mess of shells and the process of picking and digging out the meat at the table. Given that we had both younger and older at the table, this did not seem like a practical approach. Instead we took the potato chip stuffing in another direction.
I removed the lobster and shrimp (key stuffing element) from their shells and then cooked them in salted butter right before serving. I was inspired by Amaya's love of polenta and an alliteration presented itself. I decided to cook polenta in the pressure cooker (with a little water of course) and fold in potato chips at the end. We have been exploring longer cooking times, so I cooked the polenta for 45 minutes. When it was done and the pressure had dissipated, we stirred in potato chips and a large amount of cheddar cheese. The polenta attained its signature creamy texture accented with the toasty, nutty flavor of the potato chips. The cheddar cheese added salt, creaminess, and acidity to cut through this rich porridge. Finally we spooned buttery crustaceans and sauce over a bed of potato chip polenta and roasted asparagus. A delicious evolution for 2015.
...And look for pretzel polenta coming soon.
The words are not coming easily. I thought they would. You were eloquent and clever. Quick witted and sharp. Loving and caring. You were gruff and kind. You needed to teach lessons. And we needed to learn.
You saved lives on mountains, in board rooms, and living rooms. You loved a good fight, to test your mind, and voice your opinions.
We are sorry you are gone. And we are thankful for our time together.
Thank you for showing us the way and not dragging us down the path behind you.
Your last lesson to me: Do it for yourself.
The idea is not selfish. It is a directed, focused view. If you don't pursue things for yourself, while still helping others whenever you can, you will never be happy. Live life with this in mind and you are onto something.
I met you as a child and dodged foam rocks from you, as Mr. Putnam. I learned life lessons driving cross country and spending time in the mountains wit you, as "Bear". You became family as "Oso". And then I lost you both as a loving grandfather to me and glowing great grandfather to our little girl Amaya.
With salty tears and loving memories your love is celebrated.
When we find good looking cuts of meat at the store we pick them up. Aki found a good looking, well marbled 2-bone end cut rib roast. We scored the meat with 1-inch cross hatching that was a 1/4 of an inch thick. Then we seasoned the meat with our meat seasoning from Ideas in Food. Aki adapted the meat seasoning on the rib roast with the Izak N.37 sweet chili blend from La Boite. We let the meat air dry in the refrigerator at least overnight, and with thick cuts like these, 2 nights is fine. When the roast was dry I fired up our tube smoker. We cold smoked the roast for 2 hours. Then we returned the meat to the refrigerator for another day. We could have used it immediately. The original plan was to roast it whole. But with various delays and a shifting number of people at the table, we called an audible and cut it in half. The rib eye was seared and slow roasted it at 200°F until it reached a perfect medium rare. The other half was frozen for another day and another project.
The smoke permeated the meat. It did not turn the roast into bacon, what it did was add a wonderful layer of deliciousness. The finished beef was reminiscent of pastrami in flavor, the floral chili blend replacing the coriander and black pepper. The meat was juicy and succulent. And since Aki served the steak with roasted fingerling potatoes finished with sauteed sauerkraut (thanks Rich!) the association to pastrami was amplified even further.
A mason jar, a pressure cooker, and a fresh bag of yeast walked into our kitchen. It seems the start of a bad joke and it is a commonplace occurrence in our world. We have caramelized some fantastic ingredients in mason jars in the pressure cooker: milk solids and candied ginger were highlights. We were looking at the flavors of yeast and wanted to exploit its funky notes combined with the aromatics of toasted bread, only without making the bread. We wanted to amplify the flavor of the yeast. It dawned on us that we could toast the yeast in the pressure cooker and then use it as a flavorful ingredient. So we did. We put the yeast in the jar, lightly sealed the lid, put 2 inches of water in the pressure cooker and cooked the yeast for 90 minutes at high pressure.
The result was evenly caramelized, foxy brown yeast. It has the wonderful aroma of freshly baked bread. The pressure toasted yeast has tremendous potential in our kitchen. Finely ground with salt--think yeast gomasio, infused into dairy for ice cream, and or blended with cream to season butter. We could fold it into a bread dough for an intense yeast flavor without the functional properties of yeast. Cookies too, ideally shortbread to get started. And of course we could put it in noodles. There will certainly be more ideas to explore. These will get us started.
Frying donuts in lard has a perverse feel. New England frugality meets trendy porcine popularity. The idea of frying in lard evokes days past, a kiss of nostalgia wrapped up in the idea of old fashioned flavor. Lard doesn't taste like canola oil. It lends a soft sweetness to the ingredients bathed in its goodness, adding a rich flavor that coats your lips, and makes the reality of eating fried food inescapable.
These donuts were crisp. Really crisp. The cakey interior was soft and sweet, tender and tasty. The donuts absorbed the flavors of the lard, giving the exterior a faint earthy sweetness that acted in counterpoint to the shattering crunch of the crust. At first bite the richness and flavor may give you pause. Someone said they weren't sure whether they liked the doughnuts or not, a common reaction. But one bite inevitably leads to another. The crunchy exterior seduces, while the sweet, soft crumb comforts your palate. After the third donut I was certainly converted and the empty bags would seem to indicate that everyone else was too.