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on the downward side of the age mountain.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Andoh morphs with Bittman and Vongrichten

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Do you ever have a recipe that niggles at your pea brain whispering “make me”, “eat me”; “make me” “eat me”? You see dear readers where I’m going.

I’ve been delving into Japanese cuisine this month stretching my Asian techniques and adding different flavor profiles to my palate. Washoku by Elizabeth Andoh has been my culinary backbone on this trip. On first perusal the book looks too good to cook from. Large, glossy paper, beautiful pictures, a coffee table gal. Once cracked open Elizabeth brings me into her kitchen and we cook.

Oyako Domburi, Chicken Omelet over Rice grabbed me. It certainly wasn’t the initial English translation which lacked enticement but the real translation of Parent and Child that hooked me. The parent, being pieces of chicken, and the child being scrambled eggs are cooked together and served over hot rice. Parent & Egg how… Japanese!

I found myself watching a quick video of Mark Bittman making a riff on Jean-Georges Ginger Fried Rice (Video at www.nytimes.com dining/wine then the video window 1.27.2010). I felt the continental plates collide when I thought about the two simple dishes together.

That night I gathered the simple ingredients and started. The hardest part was cutting the fresh ginger into minuscule cubes other than that it was a Rheine de Saba.

Results? Wow! Comfort meets unctuous oink! I couldn’t keep from moaning with delight on each bite. I kept looking over at NSSP to see if it was as good for him as it was for me.
True to form we used Japanese chopsticks next time I’ll use a shovel.

4lg Eggs, 2 broken
1C Chicken Broth
2T Soy Sauce
1T Saké (or Sherry)
1t Sugar
1sm Onion (or ½ medium) Medium Diced
2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs (1/2# Meat)
2T Finely Diced Ginger
2T Finely Chopped Ginger
1T Sesame Oil
3T Corn Oil (it will be divided)
3C Cooked White Rice
1 Scallion Sliced on the Diagonal for Garnish

Break 2 eggs in a bowl. Break the yolk and stir briefly. Keep streaky.

In another bowl mix the broth, soy sauce, saké, & sugar. Stir to combine.

Cut up the chicken into small pieces. Remove any fat, silver skin or tough pieces. Set aside.
Slice the scallion, set aside.

Finely dice garlic and ginger. Put 1T corn oil and 1T sesame oil in a small pan. Once hot add ginger and garlic. Cook until golden brown. Strain, saving the oil, and place the cubes on a paper towel to dry and crisp. They cook quickly! Give them all of your attention!
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Chop onion and put in a large pan or wok with 2T corn oil. Cook on medium heat until the onions are soft. Raise the heat to high and crumble the rice over the onions and fry. Add the left over oil from the garlic and ginger. Stir fry. The onions will turn toasty brown. The rice will dry out and become a little crispy.
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Heat the broth in a medium sized pan. When small bubbles form around the edge, add the chicken and poach until firm.

Strain out the chicken and put it in a bowl, pour the broth back in the pan and reduce for about a minute until it is reduced by a generous ½.

Add the stirred eggs and swirl them in the pan to cook when almost done break the other 2 eggs into the pan and put a lid on to poach. Add the cooked chicken to re-heat.

To serve, put the rice in individual bowls or on one big platter, gently scoop out the poached eggs placing them on top. Scatter the chicken and pour the sauce.

Garnish w/ the toasted garlic,ginger and scallions.

Serve with fruit.
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Monday, January 25, 2010

A Little Loaf Letter

I received a request from Bub (AKA The Princess's BFF) wanting suggestions for a surprise birthday party. Knowing $,Time and Technical ability are in short supply I thought the basic loaf would fit the bill.This is what I sent- What are your variations?

Meat Loaf with Options-
Preheat oven to the universal 350°

4# Ground Beef (or 3#beef and 1# spicy sausage) 10% fat less fat less ooze a bit more $. If you buy a tube of beef (5#) use it all and jack the quantities a bit.

3C Finely Chopped Onion (or 1 large)

4CL. Garlic, minced

2C Bread Crumbs (I grind fresh edges and all if you use store bought dry the soak in a bit of beef broth or milk to moisten)

3LG Eggs Slightly Beaten

2-3t Kosher Salt

Generous Grinds of Fresh Black Pepper

Optional flavorings-

2t Worcestershire Sauce (or Soy Sauce)

Generous Sprinkle of Onion Powder & Garlic Powder over the top of mixture

1/3-1/2C Chopped Parsley (or make it Mexican w/ Cilantro) Serve w/ Salsa instead of Ketchup

1C Sautéed Sliced Mushrooms

2/3C Ketchup (Mixed in or a stripe down the top) definitely served with

Put the ingredients in a big bowl and mix it up.

Since this is a large quantity (more than 1 loaf pan) I suggest a couple of baking ideas. If you have a large rectangular pan spread it “brownie” style the cut same.
If you have a rimmed cookie sheet (line w/ foil first for easy cleaning!) you can make football shaped individual loafs.
It’s only meatloaf in name- I would make them dense so they don’t look like burgers.
I would figure about 45min-1hr. depending on density.

Baked potatoes take about 1 hr. (hence the convenience!) If you want to do head-you can make twice baked potatoes and just reheat.
I would go the salad route-again can be made ahead w/ moist paper towel over it and seran wrap or enlist a helper.
Wish I was there to play w/ you!
I got a cookbook this Christmas that highlighted the prime ingredients like this and liked it-what do you think?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I'm in Love with Baby De(longhi)

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Full Frontal Baby De(longhi)

What can I say? I’m in love! There’s nothing like a new Toaster Oven that works to make me weak in the knees. Now that I have your attention- a bit of back story.

This past year has been rough on ol’ NSSP and me. That’s what unemployment will do. Throughout the year, when we could fantasize about a more normal future, we would tempt each other with quality of life (QOL) purchases that would make us happy. Finish the kitchen, new rugs, hell, a new house in a different state! Golf clubs, a trip to see The Princess the list got bigger when we felt our reality slipping.

The first QOL promise that held our marriage together was to purchase a new Toaster Oven when the world righted itself. I don’t know how I failed the family with the last 2 /Toaster Ovens; I became greedy for upgrades, bells, and whistles. After our old Black & Decker died I discovered a toaster oven with a removable Teflon insert making it a dream to clean. No cheese burned foil, just slip out the insert and wipe clean. Too bad it gave bad toast. I was heartbroken. The next “upgraded” Toaster Oven sent The Princess into a morning rage. It was a stealth toaster. You see it would lay in wait. After you spun the dial to brown, it would refuse to do anything. Then when you put the dial on dark its coils would glow with glee and change the bread into charcoal. There was no avoiding burnt bread. I wondered if it could make the charcoal into diamonds, I'm sure he would fail at that as well.

I didn’t tell the Toaster Oven that his days were numbered. Sometimes I thought it would follow me to the grave. The God’s prevailed and I got the best text message ever. “U can buy a tstr oven.” It brought tears to my eyes and a flutter to my heart. Good toast! I had sweaty palms thinking about it! At first I wanted to dash to the nearest Bed Bath & Beyond. If I did, I knew I would make yet another debacle in the Toaster Oven purchasing department. I cooled my jets.

The next day I gloated when I looked at Toaster Oven. I gave it my last toast “Do your best! Your hours are numbered!” It ignored me and proceeded to turn out a mottled unsatisfying charred crust. I charged to Bed Bath & Beyond. I was so focused that I ignored the last dregs of the Christmas sales and the various shouting T.V.’s hawking infomercials. I stopped and stared, the Toaster Oven Aisle! So many! I calmed myself and started stroking. Then I became confused. These new gadgets did so much, and they were big. They rotisseried, convected, some even had nuke abilities. I didn’t need a sumo wrestler when an average joe would suffice. All I wanted was good toast, brown bagel, and an occasional hot pizza slice.

I spied a little man making displays.

“Can I help you?” he queried. I was impressed that he saw me. Up until now I had been ignored.

I decided to challenge and taunt. “Yes you can help me, I want a Toaster Oven, I want it to give good toast my last two failed. Money is no object, its quality I’m after. I don’t need fancy pants gizmos. What would you suggest?”

He led me directly to Baby De(longhi).
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Baby's Right Side 
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Baby's Left Side

“Are you sure? He’s so small and reasonably priced…I don’t need anything more expensive?” I looked at the lurking Cuisi’s, KitchiAid’s ,and bulked up Blacky Decks.

“His bigger brother Mr. De(longhi) has a stellar rep in Small Appliance Land. Amazon is gaga about the De(longhi) family. We are the only ones carrying Baby De(longhi). Trust me lady, the Baby gives good toast.” I pretended to play hard to get and when he went back to his displays I counted to 10 and grabbed Baby De(longhi).

Once home, I ripped Toaster Oven’s electrical cord from its socket. “You’ve burnt your last bread Toaster Oven!”

NSSP emerged from his Bat Cave and eyed the scene. “Do you think we should keep Toaster Oven in the garage just in case? Or should we give him to Good Will?”
“Are you crazy??” I shouted, “You want to torture unsuspecting poor people with Toaster Oven? No, NO I never want him to darken bread again!” I raced out and hurled Toaster Oven in the trash.

The Moment of Truth had arrived. I lovingly removed Baby De(longhi) and put him on the counter. He snuggled in next to the bread basket. “Shall we take him for a spin?” NSSP looked with wonder. NSSP had become a proud new Toaster Father.

We plugged Baby in and set his clock. Removing his Instructional Bible written in 4 languages we read his liturgy with reverence. Like giddy new parents we put a piece of bread in and set the timer to T-3 and waited with bated breath. Once done Baby let out 3 loud “Come and get it” bleats. Opening the door together we let out a collective sigh of love at first Toast.

Baby's First Toast!
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A few days later I came home to NSSP all aglow. “Hey, I just tried the Baby’s Broiler!”

“How did he do?”

“He’s a little champ that Baby De(longhi)! He aced broiling 101 with flying colors.”

That night as I turned out the kitchen light I whispered to Baby. “Sleep tight! Tomorrow we’ll make cheese bread on T-4.”

His clock blinked that another minute had passed.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Dining with Louis- A Repast from Past to Present

A banquet for Louis XIV, recreated at the Palace of Versailles
Twenty or more not-so-dainty dishes would have been a typical evening repast for Louis XIV of France. To celebrate a show of the Sun King's art collection at the Palace of Versailles, one chef worked for a year to stage a recreation of a royal belt-buster.

By Lee C Wallick. Photographs by Tim Richmond
Published: 6:55AM GMT 21 Jan 2010


Les Hors d’œuvre

Matching wine and food with Gary Rhodes

Royal ballotine of pheasant

Petit pâté en croûte à la bourgeoise

Fresh deep-sea oysters

Lobster aspic chaud-froid

Les Potages

Beef madrilène with gold leaf spangles

Pureed chestnut soup with truffles from the Court of Italy

Bisque of shellfish from our coasts with a boletus infusion

Pumpkin soup, fresh from the royal vegetable garden


Les Rôts

Scallops with oyster liquor

Wild duck cromesquis à la Villeroy

Hare stew

Roast beef, carrots and smoked eel

Wild salmon au sel


Les Entremets

Green and fresh herb salad in gold leaf

Rice salad à la royale

Morel soufflé

Iced cheese

Hard-boiled egg



Edible candle

Hosting a historic meal for 40 is one thing, holding it in France’s most prized palace is another. 'We decided to recreate the Sun King’s Table at Versailles as a tribute to the cultural heritage that witnessed the birth of both champagne and luxury,’ said Richard Geoffroy, Chef de Cave – the chief wine­maker – of the champagne house Dom Pérignon. 'This is the first time anything like this has happened, and it probably won’t happen again.’

Moët Hennessy, which owns Dom Pérignon, is sponsoring an exhibition at Versailles – 'Louis XIV: The Man and the King’ – showing more than 300 of the lavish works of art he commissioned during his 72-year reign, some of which have not been seen since the 1789 Revolution. As a testament to Louis’s appetite for luxury, Dom Pérignon (the winemaker Louis most favoured), with the aid of the Michelin-starred chef Jean-François Piège, has spent more than a year working on a modern-day reinterpretation of a typical Louis XIV dinner. 'We wanted to bring back the soul of the cuisine, and its extravagance,’ said Piège, who developed the menu with the aid of Geoffroy and a range of historic publications.

Versailles is a fully functioning museum, and every inch of it is guarded in the name of preservation, so no real candles, no touching and certainly no spilling is allowed. And creating a meal that was historically accurate was a logistical nightmare, as there is no kitchen near Louis XIV’s antechamber, the room where he usually took his meals from 1684 until his death in 1715 (four days before his 77th birthday). France’s most popular king loved extravagance but was also a stickler for ritual, routine and ceremony. His daily schedule was no exception. Every moment was structured, from the valet de chambre’s wake-up call at 7.30am to the King’s dinner, or Grand Couvert. At 10pm each evening his guests would squeeze into the antechamber to attend the Grand Couvert, an important court ceremony, which was also open to the public. The King’s chair would be placed at the centre of a rectangular table, on the longer side, with its back to the fireplace. The guests would be seated on the shorter sides, with the other longer side remaining empty to facilitate the service and keep the line of sight clear. Facing Louis was a platform where musicians might play.

Opulence and ritual were of key importance during the Ancien Régime, and so the meals were divided into several services: hors d’œuvre, soups, main dishes, go-betweens and fruit. Within each service (except for the fruit course) there were between two and eight dishes. By the time Louis retired at 11.30pm, he would have eaten some 20 to 30 dishes, after which he would then pocket the candied fruit and nibble on a boiled egg as he made his way to bed.

Because of the extreme restrictions put in place by the palace, Piège, 39, a protégé of Alain Ducasse, best known for revitalising the Hôtel de Crillon’s Les Ambassadeurs restaurant in Paris, had to prepare each of the painstakingly researched dishes 300 metres away, before they were wheeled through several corridors and galleries on blanketed trolleys.

Louis loved performances, some of which would last for days, and so as the guests assembled in the richly decorated Oeil-de-Boeuf Salon (which takes its name from its bull’s-eye window) the dinner began with chamber music. 'Barley grain’ conical glass flutes, based on glasses from the Louis XIV period, had been specially reproduced, and each filled with Dom Pérignon Oenothèque 1976. The protocol of the time dictated that glasses were not set on the table, but presented by servers on silver trays. Each guest would have to finish their drink in its entirety before setting the glass back on the tray.

The First Service, or hors d’oeuvre – pheasant, pâté in a crust, shellfish and crustaceans – once brought out, remained on the table until the end of the meal. As each successive platter arrived, it was laid on the table (traditionally, it would have been presented to Louis first and then down through the ranks) in a strict 'symmetrical, repeated and practical pattern’ – a diamond, square or circle. The larger main dishes formed central points, with the smaller ones filling in the pattern, so that guests would be able to serve themselves throughout the meal.

Each course provided an insight into the Sun King’s life. The first dish, the pheasant, was a tribute to the Bourbons’ love of hunting, and its feathers were often used to decorate the dishes. The seafood illustrated the 'chasse-marées’ system, whereby sellers brought fish from the coast to the cities. Oysters principally came from St Malo and Cancale, while lobsters came from Normandy and reached Paris at about 4am. The purveyor then had to deliver the supplies to the palace by 5am (a system so stressful that one chef, François Vatel, impaled himself after a late delivery).

'All our ingredients were sourced locally from the gardens of Versailles, Paris and nearby regions, just as they were at the time of Louis XIV,’ Piège said. The soups (les Potages) included Beef madrilène with gold leaf spangles, puréed chestnut soup with truffles from the Court of Italy, a bisque of shellfish with a boletus mushroom infusion and a pumpkin soup, fresh from the vegetable garden at Versailles. Between 1678 and 1683, Louis’s gardener, Jean-Baptiste de la Quintinie, a former lawyer, established a vegetable garden that quickly became the pride of Versailles. Quintinie was adept at producing vegetables well in advance of the season and extending yields through the use of heated greenhouses and glass cloches, the creation of microclimates, pruning trees to maximise the exposure of fruit to sunlight, and selecting varieties through grafting.

One of the main courses (les Rôts), wild duck cromesquis à la Villeroy (breaded foie gras with rice), was a reference to the trend in the 17th century for dishes bearing the names of the aristocracy. Often served 'media­noche’, or after midnight, the cromesquis was also a creative way of circumventing the Church-sanctioned meatless days – Fridays, Lent and so on.

Other main courses included scallops with oyster liquor, hare stew, some exquisite roast beef and carrots with horseradish, and wild salmon au sel, the salmon served on a fish-shaped block of salt. 'Salmon were known as “royal fish”,’ Piège said. 'The salt that accompanied it was also highly valued, and so heavily taxed that it represented six per cent of the royal revenues. Not only did it enhance the flavour of food, it made it possible to preserve it.’ The third service, or 'Go-betweens’ (entremets), served between the main dishes featured a herb salad sprinkled with gold leaf, violet and borage flowers, a rice salad with langoustines and truffles, and a heavenly morel soufflé. In 1718 Louis XIV’s sister-in-law, Princess Palatine, wrote, 'He could eat four plates of soup, a whole pheasant, a partridge, a large plate of salad, two slices of ham, mutton au jus with garlic, a plate of pastry, all followed by fruit and hard-boiled eggs.’

Finally, as the guests were invited to retire to the Oeil-de-Boeuf Salon with a glass of Dom Pérignon Vintage 2000, the last service of the evening arrived. And while there was glazed fruit or what Louis would have called 'dry jam’, it was Piège’s contemporary take on chocolate that marked the end of an extraordinary evening: chocolate truffle 'edible candles’ in candelabras, a tribute to both the fashion for cocoa during Louis IV’s reign and the extreme restrictions Piège and Geoffroy encountered – Versailles were never going to allow the 96 or so candles that would have illuminated the Sun King’s Table at that time.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Unleashing my Inner Moosewood

I’m putting the finishing touches on a dinner party tonight. I gathered the gals to help me. Julia Child offered forth her beef boogie, Madeline Kamman suggested spaetzle as an accompaniment, and Molly Kazan whispered her honey poppy seed dressing for my salad of butter lettuce, avocado, grapefruit, and splashed with diced red and yellow peppers. I didn’t think twice about cracking open Mastering and In Madeline’s Kitchen we chat quite often. It was Moosewood that sent me sailing down memory lane.

I bought the book in 1980 as noted inside with my reacquired last name. It was during my culinary hay day. Careening across Boston working 2 jobs and still not making ends meet. I was learning my profession and loving the challenge. I marveled at the simplicity of the book. Hand drawn pictures and random asides garnishing the pages. My book was in good shape but I remember several restaurants where I had worked that Moosewood was go to cookbook. I must have made Tempura Vegetables because the page has food ooze on it. Marinated Vegetables also got some use. This was the bible for Hummus, Baba Ganouj, and Tabouli. It was the cookbook for the Age of Aquarius, Vietnam War, and budding vegetarians.

It was a time to shed the constraints of Joy and dip into Whole Wheat Macaroni-Russian Style. We learned about tamari, filo dough, polenta and nut butters other than peanut. Chopsticks were infiltrating the silverware drawer. Beans were soaking and seeds were sprouting. We were young and vibrant.

A few years ago I went to Ithaca on a college viewing extravaganza with The Princess. There it was! The Moosewood of my youth! We HAD to eat there! As with most things it wasn’t what I had thought. The spare menu stated “fine international cuisine”. The menu topped at $6.50 for lunch entrées. An area was set aside for aging hippies to buy memorabilia (I bought a sweat shirt). It was~O.K.

I wonder how I can explain the magic of the time and memories that the Moosewood Cookbook unleashed, to a younger generation. Maybe it’s not worth it and I should call up old friends and go down memory lane with them instead…They would understand…

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Uh-oh, SpaghettiOs!!

Donald Goerke the inventor of the SpaghettiO concept died 1.10.2010 of heart failure at 83. He was the marketing manager for Franco-American and was asked to supervise the development of a canned pasta for children. The "O" fit the bill. easy to pick up on a spoon, strong enough to be reheated, and relatively neat to eat.
FYI-150 million cans of SpaghettiOs are sold each year!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Learning Japanese~

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I’ve been meaning to write about my 2010 obsession. For years I have hated the idea of a January diet. Not only is it a glum month but a glum project as well. Last year NSSP gave me Elizabeth Andoh’s Washoku cookbook. On first perusal it looks like a coffee table cookbook on recipes from the Japanese home kitchen. I thumbed through it, tried a recipe and went back to pasta and polenta. This year is different. As I savored holiday fare I secretly plotted my first of the year quest.

First I skimmed through the whole book to get a rhythm of the dishes. Next I made an extensive list of pantry and perishable foods I would need. I cleaned out my Asian shelf in the pantry pushing Chinese and Indian ingredients to the far side. I checked all expiration dates (always humbling), and did the old heave-ho. I made notes of items I had and checked them against the book.

Trundling off to Uwajimaya, our local fabulous mega Japanese/Asian store, I slowly went up and down each aisle checking ingredients against the book and recipes I might want to try. If the ingredient was only in Japanese on the container I took out a magic marker and wrote the English translation on the container.

Once home, I lovingly started to take out the new ingredients. I couldn’t bear to have them canoodling with the other Asian counterparts so I put them on a rolling cart. When I was ready to cook, out rolled the cart from pantry to kitchen. What a dream!

I am the first to admit I am a recipe skimmer. I get the gist and start cooking from the hip. Not this time. I had to think about each ingredient, cooking process, and assembly. I was determined to charge ahead. Our first Japanese meal was Eggplant stuffed with ground chicken, carrots and asparagus in a creamy tofu sauce, pickled rokkyo bulbs (which I bought), rice, and Clementine’s. Thank God NSSP isn’t a 5pm dinner kind of guy!

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The Japanese eggplant was cut in half then the half was sliced but not all the way through. I used 4oz for 4 “sandwiches” so the eggplant was flavored with the chicken but not stuffed by American standards. The pieces were fried skin side down so it stayed purple and got very crispy. The carrots w/ creamy tofu sauce were o.k. NSSP liked them I thought so-so needs work. I was all over the rokkyo bulbs and NSSP was not. They are similar to little scallion bulbs that are pickled in a sweet slightly sour marinade. Poor NSSP they will be on the table again!

I have moved on to curried chicken, gingery seared pork, Shabu-Shabu (from Japanese Cooking Now by Joan Itoh). There was a recipe for asparagus with black sesame seeds that I tackled even though the description mentioned the sesame seed sauce consistency to be like soft sand…flavor great black paste out of my comfort zone.

I do slip off the culinary wagon. Two days ago it was hanger steak, mashed potatoes and kale. Tonight I might slip off to Italy. All in all I’m feeling a lot more comfortable with Japanese food and its flavor components. By setting a block of time aside to delve into the cuisine I’m internalizing the recipes and widening my repertoire.

Below are some other cookbooks I have used. I like to go to www.alibris.com, www.powellsbooks.com, or www.ecookbooks.com to buy them.
Food of Japan by Shirley Booth Excellent descriptions of ingredients, uses, other names- good resource!

Japanese Cooking by Jon Spayde

The Decorative Art of Japanese Food Carving by Hiroshi Nagashima sharpen your knives and have some fun!

Asian Dumplings by Andrea Nguyen wallow in the world of tasty Gyōza, Spring Rolls & Samosas

Takashi’s Noodles by Harris Salat

Japanese Hot Pots by Tadashi Ono & Harris Salat

Where shall I go next year?
Read, Eat, Enjoy!

Friday, January 08, 2010

What dogs can do!

What does a grey poodle with pink bows in its ears who speaks English, a little Japanese lady who speaks Japanese as an "assistant" and www.youtube.com have in common?
Cooking with Dog! Move over Ray, Flay, and Bam! Francis the poodle has you licked!
Type in youtube, then in the search engine cooking with dog you'll be amazed!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

RIP Pez Man

I’m not an ambulance chaser, relisher of doom or much of an obituary reader but life is ebb and flow we all play a part in the circle of life. I read that Curtis Allina, 87 died. Who was this pivotal person in our lives?

A gentleman born in Prague, raised in Vienna and the only one of his family to survive several concentration camps. After the war he went to New York and worked in the food industry until…He joined the Pez-Hass US branch in 1953.

Are you having a gotcha moment? He was the man behind the Pez-Head! The candy itself was invented in 1927 by Eduard Haas III. Its name reflected the original flavor of mint (pfefferminz- a German word for peppermint) it was marketed to adults as an alternative to smoking. Originally it was sold in tins then later in thin dispensers made to mirror the shape of a lighter.

Allina persuaded Pez-Haas to market the candy to children with the flip top heads. The first 2 character dispensers were Santa Claus and Space Trooper. The rest is history with every conceivable head around. While I don’t remember the first 2 dispensers, Pez was part of growing up in the 50’s & 60’s. I never liked the candy but how could you refuse a flip top head spitting out a small rectangular sweet? There also was the challenge of filling them by pushing down the little spring to insert the candy. It was a true technical space age invention in those innocent years of Ike.

Thanks to this gentleman’s chutzpa and BOB (Burst Of Brilliance),there are Pez museums, international conferences, web sites, and a 2006 documentary-“PEZheads: The Movie”. May we all leave a small legacy to future generations!

A full obit can be found in NYT obituaries 1.5.10 Curtis Allina

Friday, January 01, 2010

Gougere by any other name is tasty-

I’m all about changing, experimenting and tweaking a recipe but there are times when a recipe for reasons only it knows becomes imbedded in my repertoire, not to be manipulated. Thus it was a surprise that I even considered a shift in the cheese profile of gougére.

Gougére and I go way back. It was a recipe that a cooking teacher in Boston taught with regularity while I assisted. His recipe came from the Madeline Kamman, a culinary beacon on the Boston horizon. P.R. made the gougére with 3 cheeses; Swiss, Emmentaler, and Gruyére. I thought it was perfection, nutty, unctuous, and rich. Hot from the oven, cheese bound dough oozing buttery goodness.

Gougére and my booze laden chicken liver pâté are my “most requested” dishes. Nouveau Beaujolais is not the same without them. This year we didn’t celebrate Nouveau Beaujolais with a large party and by the time New Year’s rolled around I realized I hadn’t had my gougére fix.

My eyes passed by a recipe for cheddar chive gougére. I was intrigued but hesitant. Would it be as good? I would hate to waste the calories on a gougére wannabe. I emailed our New Year’s couple and floated the change by them. The response was go for it!

With the chive/cheddar mantra ringing in my head I pondered the world of cheddar. At first all I wanted was a robust Vermont aged. Then I stroked some artisanal cheddars. Moving up and down the cheese aisle I moved from country to country. Goat to cow, American to---British Cotswold and Double Gloucester! Now you’re talking!

I couldn’t abandon dear Madeline so I went down to my library and retrieved The Making of a Cook 1971 edition. Smoothing out the book to page 526, I said a silent apology to “Burgundy Gougére” for using British cheese. I was sure on some level the recipe would fail in a culinary clash.

There were a couple of tweaks I did make to ramp up the cheddar experience. I omitted the nutmeg and added a teaspoon of mustard. I also formed it in a bread epi stile instead of the Burgundian Crown.

The results? Wow! The 4 of us had no problem finishing off the full recipe and although it wasn’t voiced I know we all would have eaten more.

Gougére is dough made with the choux paste technique. Butter and liquid boil together. Flour is added and cooked for a bit, forming a paste. Eggs are added and emulsified. Seasonings and cheese folded into the paste. it is then formed,baked and eaten hot. The dough can be made a day ahead but must be baked and eaten at once.

Cheddar or Swiss it will become one of your most requested dishes!

~Burgundy Gougére~

Preheat Oven 400°

Line cookie sheet with parchment paper, silplat, or butter

1C Chicken Broth
7T Unsalted Butter, diced
1/4t grated fresh Nutmeg (if using cheddar omit and sub 1t prepared mustard)
Healthy pinch of Cayenne
1/2t Kosher Salt
Several grinds of Black Pepper
3/4C All Purpose Flour
4 Large Eggs
1-1 1/2C Cheese (the big three Swiss or Cheddar) - I am not shy in the fromage department and add as much as I think the dough can hold.
1 Egg yolk (optional see #8)
3T Milk (optional see #8)
More Cheese!!
1. Combine stock, butter, nutmeg (or not) cayenne. Bring to a boil.
2. Grate cheeses and set aside.
3. Turn off the heat and add all of the flour at once beat with a whisk, spatula, wooden spoon until a smooth paste.
4. Turn a burner on medium and “cook” the paste. STIR CONSTANTLY! And cook until you see a slight buttery sheen. If you move the pan on and off the heat you will notice steam evaporating. This takes about 5 minutes.
5. Add the eggs 1 at a time beating well in-between if you have an electric hand mixer it works well otherwise exercise those biceps!
6. Back to the whisk, spatula, or wooden spoon, add salt, black pepper and cheese (also mustard if cheddar).
7. Drop large spoonfuls in a circle or blobs that touch like heels of a foot with toes pointed outward.
8. This is not necessary. Mix egg yolk and milk together and paint the creation. Top the dough with more cheese.
9. Bake for about 34-40 minutes. It will puff slightly (weighted down by pounds of cheese!) and be a beautiful melty golden cheesy brown.
10. Slice into wedges and serve immediately!

If this is going to be your entree, all you need is a simple salad and fruit.

Read! Eat! and Always Enjoy!

2010 And Beyond

To all culinary questers a most stomach filled and happy new year. Go forth and explore food, life, and art enjoy for that is what its all about. Celebrate 2010!