Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Valrhona Cake

I made a cake from 71% Valrhona chocolate. It was labor intensive. Here are some pics.

Wish you could have a room temperature bite with some port,

Monday, November 26, 2007

Soup for the Soul

What do you do with a turkey carcass, 5 lbs of carrots, and fresh herbs? Duh, turkey soup...The great thing about roasting the turkey is that half the work is done for you, so it's just up to you not to f&#% it up!

I start with sweating a mirepoix in some olive oil, then add the carcass and whatever turkey trimmings didn't make it into my belly (reserving some meat for the finished soup), turnips, parsnips, parsley, thyme, whole black peppercorns, a couple goldfish, my cat if I had one, and of course some fresh water. (BTW, for the record I do not like cats, even though I had a couple for 2 years but not by choice. No offense cat lovers.)

Then I boil rapidly for a few minutes and skim off the impurities (scum), lower the heat and simmer in my 7 quart Le Creuset Dutch oven until I forget it's on the stove and exclaim, "OH S$%#!!!!" But by then my stock is perfect.

Strain into my 4 quart All Clad stock pot, add fresh veggies, thyme leaves and torn turkey meat and I'm in business, 10 hours later. Now that's soup for the soul.

Wish you could have a sip,

Friday, November 23, 2007

I'm thankful...

Some pics from the festivities...

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I know I did!!!


Monday, November 19, 2007

Blue and Blackberry Pie

So I'm hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year with the help of some family members and friends, but I'm making the turkey, stuffing, pie, and biscuits. Let's start with the pie...I know I have a picture of a berry pie here (because I had my berries in the freezer, of course), but I think I'm going to make the traditional deep dish apple pie. In my opinion it's all about the crust, and if you can't get the crust right you might as well just make an apple cobbler or fill a bucket with water and throw some apples in there for bobbing.

It's just like making biscuits, really, except your ingredients have to be F-CKING cold. Dice your butter and put in the freezer. Use a Cuisinart to coarsely chop the also frozen shortening and butter into the flour so as not to heat up the ingredients with your hands. Or if you don't own a Cuisinart use 2 knives or a pastry blender. And of course, when adding the ice water, DO NOT OVERMIX. Pulse, pulse, STOP. I promise you it'll come together, even though it may look like coarse sand.

In making this double crusted blueberry pie I added pulverized tapioca pearls to the blueberries to thicken the juices. It's nice because it doesn't add any noticeable flavor to the berries, like cornstarch or flour might. Try it and see, or use potato starch if you can find it!

Oh, and for my apple pie, just a little sugar, a couple pats of butter, a tiny bit of cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg, allspice, lemon zest and juice and that's it. Let the apples speak for themselves, and let the crust do its thing.

Pics to follow on the big Day. Also, to brine or not to brine--that is the question...

Wish you could have a blueberry bite,

Monday, November 12, 2007

Flied Lice

All right all right that's a little racist, but hey, everyone's a little bit racist sometimes... That's from one of my favorite musicals, Avenue Q, because it was named after me. Racist and egocentric. What more could you want?

You can make fried rice however your heart desires, from shrimp to pork to vegetarian to plain. The one thing I always do consistently, though, is how I cook the rice. If you go to a tepinyaki restaurant they usually cook the egg separately from the rice. What I like to do is stir the raw egg INTO the cooked rice. This way every grain stays fluffy, light and flavorful. With a searing hot wok I drizzle in a little canola oil then add my rice. Working quickly with a spatula, constantly work the rice until it is cooked, being mindful not to smash it against the wok. I like mine a little toasty. Sometimes I even add the canola oil into the rice with the egg. I also add Maggi sauce to the rice at this point to give it a little more flavor and color. You could use soy sauce as well.

I then cook all my vegetables separately from the rice so as not to make the rice soggy. Who likes soggy fried rice? Not the puppets from Avenue Q that's for sure...In Thailand they always serve fresh cucumbers on the side, so I've started doing that as well. They provide a cool, crunchy contrast to the dish. Finally, no chopsticks. Did you know that they use forks and spoons in Thailand?

Enjoy. Don't burn yourself, especially if you have a stove that goes up to 17,000 BTU like mine. I love it.

Wish you could have a bite,

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Oh Snap!!!

So I'm back from Iowa, where I made friends with the kind folks at the Twisted Chicken and McGregor Coffee Roasters--catering and crafty on the show we just wrapped. Among my favorite snacks were the snappy yet chewy ginger snap cookies Diana made us. Holy crap they're amazing...

Just because they're called "snaps" doesn't mean they should be rock hard, the way they usually come in those brown bags at the general store. You know, the general store on the corner that sells everything from leather cleaner to cowboy hats to eggs? Do you think the snap refers to a "snap of the tooth?" Regardless, these cookies are awesome and you should make them for all your friends until they turn into unfiltered molasses.

So here's the recipe.

3/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses (I use the unfiltered kind...dark and nasty baby)
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp salt (although I used a little more in one batch and it was DELICIOUS)

Cream together shortening and sugar. Add egg and molasses and beat well. Sift together dry ingredients and stir into the wet mixture. Refrigerate until chilled. Form 1 inch balls, roll in sugar, and flatten them out onto a baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Thus begins the addiction.

Chewy, moist, delicious. It's like Christmas all year round. Enjoy!

Wish you could have a gingery soft bite,