Thursday, August 30, 2007

Blueberry Muffins for Breakfast

A benefit of having frozen berries at the ready is you can whip up muffins in a pinch. Seriously, though, muffins don't take long at all. So long as you tie yourself over with a banana and a glass of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice you'll be fine. An hour later you'll have your muffins and be late for your "job" or whatever it is you do.

What you CAN do, though, is prep the muffin mix the night before. Separate the wet from the dry, keep them in the fridge. When you wake up, preheat your oven and grease your muffin tins. Whatever recipe you may use, try substituting some sour cream as part of the liquid (whether it be milk, buttermilk, or yogurt.) There's nothing better. The key is, of course, need I say it???? Do NOT overmix. Stir with a chopstick if that helps. Barely moistened...I like to top my muffins with however I'm feeling that day. Crushed almonds, butter, brown sugar, a touch of flour?

Jump in the shower and by now your timer should just be going off, unless you're a water whore.

I think I ate four of these. Me not too smart.

Wish a bite you could have,

PS By the way I totally burned my fingers with boiling blueberry juice as I was trying to take this pic.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Friday, August 17, 2007

Biscuit Recipe SHHHHHH!!!! It's a secret!!!

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
6 T f$*king cold butter, cubed
7/8 cup uber cold buttermilk
melted butter, cooled (for brushing tops, optional)

Preheat oven to 425. Whisk together dry ingredients. Using a pastry cutter or working quickly with your hands, cut in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. It's OK to leave some lumps. (When the heat hits the butter, it turns to steam and creates the fluffy layers.)

Using a wooden spoon, stir in the buttermilk until the mixture just comes together. Dump out onto a cold pastry stone (or whatever you might have) and GENTLY knead until light and gorgeous, no more than 6 turns. It's tempting, yes, but don't do it.

Gently roll to 3/4" and cut with 1 1/2" to 2" biscuit rounds that have been dusted in flour. Having a clean cut ensures a better rise in the dough.

Brush the tops with melted butter, or more buttermilk, and bake for 11-13 minutes until golden. Take pics, send to me, then serve immediately.

Go make those biscuits!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Biscuits Biscuits Biscuits

Biscuits remind me of my homeland...the hot humid summers, mosquitoes galore, little Asian kids running barefoot. Sound like Vietnam? Think again. Think the American South. Think Virginia.

Do you think about fried chicken and biscuits when you think about the South? Do you even THINK about the South ever? Yes I am ashamed that Virginia was part of the Confederacy, but I forgive Mr. Robert E. Lee. It wasn't his fault. His momma probably convinced him to stay with her tasty Southern delights.

So, I freakin' LOVE biscuits. I love carbs in general. I made these to go with a chicken soup I'd made for lunch. I know there are tons of biscuit recipes out there, but what it really comes down to is technique. How many times do I have to say DO NOT OVERMIX? DO NOT OVERMIX. And, REALLY COLD ingredients. Scones and biscuits are in the same category. Rock hard = bad.

If you want my biscuit recipe which I've painstakingly developed over the years, I'll post it up for you :)

Go test out your biscuit hand!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Berries for Breakfast

I think one of my favorite weekend breakfasts is challah french toast with a fresh berry compote. I get my challah from Canter's, always uncut...very un-Jewlike...oh, sorry, wrong blog. That way I can make my slices as thick as I like 'em to be. Mmm.

Anyway, if the berries are really sweet and fresh (which is such a rarity these days) I might opt for keeping them fresh sprinkled with some vanilla sugar and grated lemon zest. However, cooking them down a bit with some sugar and water usually results in a more palatable accompaniment to the toast. I even like to add maple syrup at the very end for that extra bit of sweetness.

It's really important to add your water and sugar at the beginning of cooking, as adding it later on will give you a gummy texture, and that's not delicious, is it?

Oh, and something else I like to do (there's ALWAYS something.) I buy a TON of berries at their peak season, freeze them on a flat tray so they don't stick to each other, then date and bag them. That way I have berries for months on end.

Add a little berry to your breakfast. Everybody's doing it!


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Chocolate Grand Marnier Cake

What do you do with 5 bars of Valrhona 71% chocolate? Hmm...I've got it!! Melt down 3 of them, add some eggs, Grand Marnier, a touch of flour (or cocoa if you're really hardcore), and bake it. With the other 2 bars, make a ganache for the icing on the cake.

I'm a huge fan of grand marnier, as you may know. The combination of orange and chocolate is divine. Try dipping orange zest (but not the pith, as that is bitter) in a chocolate ganache and make your own chocolate orange peels. I can't seem to shake this chocolate obsession. Oh well.

WARNING: This cake is not for the faint of heart. Perfect with raspberries, tea, coffee, or ice cream. If you'd like the recipe, please let me know and I'll post!

Wish you could have a bite,

Friday, August 03, 2007

Why's it gotta be about black and white???

Sometimes it should just be about GREY (SALT.) Now grey salt is pretty damn spectacular. An unprocessed sea salt hailing from the Brittany coast of France, its slightly moist crystals deliver an oceanic punch straight to your mouth, which also means you don't need to use a lot.

The grey hue comes from all the minerals present in the salt, including magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium, sulfur, copper, silicon, iodine, among others. I love finishing off salads, fish and meat with this stuff, and also cook with it. I love it in stocks and soups as well, adding it during the cooking process and then to finish it off.

And please, none of that table salt. At least go Kosher. You'll also start using less salt on your food.

Have a little salt tasting. You'll really notice the difference!!!

No matter how you spell it, it's great,

PS It even says "flavorful" on the label. Now are you really going to challenge that?