Category ... Savory Cooking
Feb 13, 2016 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Special Stories 2016
This is a special story which I wrote years ago for the LA Times Syndicate. Because someone on Face Book this week wrote about his visit to Bernachon in Lyon, France, I was inspired to share this story with him and with all of you. It starts out with a special technique I discovered for roasting duck but my favorite part is about Maurice Bernachon and the lunch we shared at one of the finest restaurants in the world--Chapel. And only now--this very moment, after all these years--as I write the name Chapel, do I realize how fitting was Alain Chapel's name, for eating at his restaurant was truly a religious experience.
Perfect Crisp Roasted Duck
(a revolutionary technique for the fairest of all fowl)
Duck, with its rich moist flesh and flavorful crispy skin, can be the most delicious of all poultry. However, when not cooked properly it is greasy with fat, the flesh over-cooked and dry and the skin soft and uninteresting. Because I love duck so much and even in restaurants have more often than not been disappointed, I set out years ago to find a way to roast duck which would eliminate the maximum amount of fat while maintaining the juiciness.
The solution turned out to be extraordinarily simple: boiling water is poured over the skin to tighten it, then the duck is air dried (which can be accomplished overnight in the refrigerator). The most important part is that during roasting, the skin of the duck is pricked, the oven temperature is very high to release the fat and boiling water is poured directly on the duck to keep it moist and to prevent the fat from splattering. The resulting duck is virtually fat-free, moist with crisp skin and, as an added benefit, it cooks in under an hour. I have never prepared duck another way for 15 years since this technique evolved. But I do have a memory of quite a different duck that was more delicious still at an unforgettable lunch in the south of France. I was in Lyon, working with the Bernachons on the translation of their book:
The book is no longer in print but is still available for a song at some bookstores and Amazon, where it received a 5 star review.
Papa Bernachon invited me to lunch to celebrate its completion and asked me to choose between Bocuse and Chapel. I was torn. Both were brilliant chefs but Chapel, with his near military precision and passionate perfection was the chef of my heart and soul and his was my favorite restaurant in all the world. Despite this, and after some hesitation, I chose Bocuse because I knew that Maurice Bernachon's son Jean Jacques is married to Paul Bocuse's daughter. Politesse won out over passion--not to mention the fact that I knew we would eat magnificently at either place. And I comforted myself with the promise that someday soon I would return to Chapel.
The day of the luncheon arrived. We folded our aprons, changed out of our whites, and drove off to what turned out, to my joyful astonishment, to be Chapel. The greeting Bernachon received from the Maitre d' was worthy of a king. But then, of course, he is considered the king of chocolatiers in France and his neighbors in the food establishment are very proud of him. But with his silver mane of hair and courtly gallant manners, I felt as if I were dining with the long fantasized French grandfather of my dreams. Chapel came out to greet us and serious discussion ensued (as only seems to happen in France) about our culinary fate (choice of food). I was so overjoyed I could have cried with pleasure.
The first coarse arrived and from then on the meal seemed never to end. We ate for four hours, but so slowly I had the illusion of never being too full. (Afterwards, though, I went to my hotel and slept for 5 hours. And when I awoke, I was not hungry for dinner!)
I remember best the splendid regional Vacherin Mt. d'Or, which was at its peak, the glorious burgundy that was the best I ever tasted and seemed like a musical note to rise at the end of each sip, and the canneton à la vapeur which was the best duck I ever tasted. (Canneton is a young duck which he poached in a flavorful broth and then roasted the legs to have the contrast of the crisp skin.) When Bernachon mentioned my appreciation to Chapel, as we were enjoying our digestif brandy on the porch, his answer was approvingly emphatic: "she is right. I asked my purveyor to find the best duck in France and it turned out they come from Alsace." I felt as if I had passed an exam.
At some point, during the course of the meal, I mentioned to Bernachon how much I enjoyed the French facial expressions known as les moeux--how you could see in their faces exactly what they are thinking. To my surprise his response was: "You also have a face like that." And finally I knew how it was we ended up at Chapel instead of Bocuse! And a good thing too as it turned out to be the last time. My beloved Chapel died soon after.
Herewith, my best recipe for duck. It will make even the ordinary varieties taste like something special.
Continue reading "Papa Bernachon--An Unforgettable Man and Chocolatier Extraordinaire" »
Jan 09, 2016 | From the kitchen of Rose
Elizabeth Karmel, dear friend, chef/owner of Carolina Cue to Go, and author of Taming the Flame, created this marvelous recipe for Thanksgiving several years ago. She serves it as a side dish and even as a pie.
Elizabeth and I love the garnet yams for their beautiful color. This inspired me to add little flecks of Aleppo pepper which is not only colorful but also mildly spicy and flavorful.
Here is my adaptation:
Chipotle Sweet Potato and Maple Syrup Puree
Serves: 6 to 8
sweet potatoes/yams preferably garnet: 2.2 kg/5 pounds (10 medium or 5
maple syrup: 382 grams/1 cup plus 2 tablespoons
sour cream: 242 grams/1 cup
unsalted butter, softened: 113 grams/1 stick/8 tablespoons
2 to 3 canned chipotles in adobo sauce
ground cinnamon: 2-1/2 teaspoons
Fine sea salt to taste
Optional: Aleppo pepper
Choose medium-size potatoes, about 5 inches long and feeling very heavy for their size. Clean off any dirt and bad spots with a rough brush or veggie cleaner. Dry well. Prick the tops with a fork about three times.
Set the potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet and turn the oven (unpreheated) to 425°F. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour (1 hour if the potatoes are large and 1-1/4 hours if very large. Turn off the heat and let sit in the oven for 1 hour. The insides will be meltingly soft.
Meanwhile combine maple syrup, sour cream, butter, chipotles in adobo, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl. Scrape the mixture into a blender or food processor and puree until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
Cut the potatoes in lengthwise halves. Scoop the hot insides into the blender or food processor. Process until silky smooth, stirring down the sides as needed. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt if needed. If desired, sprinkle with Aleppo pepper.
Nov 28, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose
This is the terrific recipe I blogged about after visiting Toronto this past summer for the Parapan Olympics and enjoyed it for lunch at The Chef's House. Chef Oliver Li emailed the recipe and I have now tried it with both the fabulous MamaO's kimchi paste and their kimchi. The kimchi paste is faster and coats the rice more evenly but my first choice is the chopped kimchi as it adds a lovely crispness as well as flavor. This is now a permanent recipe in my repertoire.
from The Chef's House, Oliver Li CCC, Chef de Cuisine, Toronto
Serves: 2 to 3 for lunch, 4 to 6 as a side dish
Vegetable oil: 2 tablespoons
4 bacon strips/120 grams, cut cross-wise into 1/4 inch slices
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
183 grams/1 cup chopped kimchi or 1 tablespoon kimchi paste
2 cups cooked the day before rice, I prefer basmati (100 grams/1/2 cup raw)
2 scallions, sliced thin on the diagonal
salt and pepper to taste
Over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok, preferably non-stick.
Add the bacon, onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the onion begins to soften and just begins to brown--about 5 minutes.
Turn the heat to high if using the chopped kimchi, add the second tablespoon of oil, and stir it for 2 to 3 minutes. If using the paste, leave the heat on medium and stir it in until combined.
Add the rice and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring. Then add the scallions and cook, stirring for 1 minute more.
Note: basmati is the only rice that when cooked grows longer and also increases by 4 times. With other varieties the usual increase is X3.
Oct 11, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose
I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of my favorite people in the food world.
I first met Paul Prudhomme over 20 years ago during an International Association of Culinary Professionals regional meeting in New Orleans. I had stood in line for over an hour with some of my colleagues to eat at his famed restaurant K-Paul. During the long wait one of the people in line told us about chef Paul's "Cajun martini." I made sure to order one and it was the first and only time that alcohol cured my sinus headache instead of making it worse! Here's how it is made:
Take a bottle of gin and insert a Jalapeno pepper. Fill the neck with vermouth. Close the bottle and let it sit for several days depending on how much "heat" you desire. The amazing results are ice cold gin with a surrounding blast of hot pepper.
Chef Paul gave a lecture the following day and I was so moved by his sincere eloquence that I stood in line once again but this time to talk to him. After telling him my thoughts about his lecture he put out his arms to hug me. It was the warmest hug I've ever received, not just because of this 500 pounds filling every nook and cranny, but because of the sentiment behind it.
Chef Paul was scheduled to visit New York a few months later to give a demo on making Cajun popcorn shrimp. I made the most delicious dessert in my repertoire to bring to him: a Galette des Rois (King's Cake, made with puff pastry filled with frangipane).
A few weeks later, I was lying in bed reading next to my husband when the phone rang. A beautiful deep voice said: "This is Paul Prudhomme." My New York sarcastic response was "Yeah right! Who is this?" "It's Paul! I'm calling to thank you for that incredible pastry. But please never do that again--I ate the whole thing by myself!"
We were friends ever since. Several years later Paul's weight made it difficult for him to stand or walk so he used an electric scooter. At various food events, he would drive down the aisle to my booth, beaming with the joie de vivre that was so much a part of his being, for another of his incomparable hugs.
Here is the feature that I wrote about him in 1994 for my former column at the LA Times Syndicate, along with the recipe that propelled him into the public eye, which had a stunning effect on our appreciation of Cajun cooking, and the population of redfish.
Continue reading "Tribute to Chef Paul Prudhomme" »
Feb 20, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose
I just love the discovery of a terrific new taste sensation and Mama O's Premium Kimchi is IT!
It was introduced to me by Denise Mickelsen. I first met Denise when she was editing my story on lemon icebox cake for Fine Cooking Magazine and became reacquainted with her a few months ago in her role of acquiring editor at Craftsy (the wonderful on line series of "how to" classes in which I will happily soon be participating).
Denise is married to a chef (lucky her!) and both Denise and her husband Bill came up with some great ways to use this paste which consists of lime, garlic, ginger, chili pepper, and other ingredients. She suggested rubbing it into shrimp before sautéeing, warning me that a little goes a long way. It was a perfect synergy with the shrimp, not overwhelming but rather accentuating the shrimpy flavor. She also mentioned that she uses the paste as a umami packed condiment for dipping vegetables by adding a smidgen of the paste to mayonnaise and also uses the mayonnaise on sandwiches. I just tried it with cold sliced chicken breast. Yes!
I searched for the paste on Amazon and they have several other varieties from Mama O but not the paste so click on the Mama O link above and you will find it and may well wonder as I do how you ever lived without it.
Jan 24, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose
Ceramic coated pans are great but eventually the lining wears. When I discovered this 100% ceramic pan from Trema I knew I was going to have to try it out. Although it is not as non-stick as ceramic coating it has many other virtues that ceramic coating is lacking: it is microwavable, it can be used both on the cooktop on high heat and under the broiler, and is scratch-proof--it can even be cleaned with a scouring pad if necessary.
One of my favorite uses of the Trema ceramic pan is cooking salmon. I sprinkle the salmon with a sugar and spice seasoning. I start by preheating the broiler. Then I begin heating the pan, first on medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes and then on high heat. I add a little oil and place the salmon skin side up if I want to preserve the skin intact or skin side down.
After about 3 minutes I transfer the pan with the salmon to the broiler and broil for about 2 minutes or until the skin is golden and crispy (or, if skin side down, until the top of the salmon is golden. I like my salmon medium rare so i test it with a metal skewer and if it feels warm it's perfectly cooked. For those who like salmon cooked longer, simply turn off the broiler and leave in the oven for a few minutes more.
Slip a spatula under the samon and transfer it to a serving plate.
Aug 16, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
I've been grilling ribs for years now on a charcoal grill with indirect heat but I have recently discovered a far better way to make them and my ribs will never be the same. I have adapted the recipe from Food-52 "Genius Recipes." In the original recipe, the ribs are first baked in the oven for 2 hours until they are falling off the bone. We like our meat with a bit of bite and still clinging well to the bone so I halved the baking time. They were also cut into servings of 4 ribs each and wrapped in aluminum foil. I cut the rack(s) in half, place them in a roasting pan and cover the entire pan with foil. They suggest that grilling the baked ribs is optional but I much prefer them crispy with a gilding of barbecue sauce of your favorite barbecue sauce.
The beauty of this technique is that by baking the ribs with a little water, tightly covered, almost all the fat is removed but the ribs stay incredibly juicy. Also, it works perfectly to bake the ribs a day ahead, refrigerate them, and in under 10 minutes they grill to perfection. For the short amount of grilling time I now use my gas grill as the preheating time is so much shorter.
Note: baby back ribs come anywhere from 1 pound to 2 pounds. I prefer the less fatty 1 pound racks. 1 pound of ribs per person makes a generous serving.
Several hours ahead make a spice rub and rub it into both sides of the rack(s)
for every 2 pounds of ribs combine:
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chipotle or cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika (preferably smoked)
Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C. If necessary, cut each rack in half and set the racks in a roasting pan. For each rack add 1 tablespoon of water. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1-1/2 hours (or longer if you prefer).
Carefully open the foil to allow the steam to escape and lift out the racks. (Pour off the juices and, if desired, cool and refrigerate them for adding to rice or stock. The fat that rises to the top can be used for frying or discarded.) Grill the ribs or allow them to cool and refrigerate them until shortly before you are ready to grill and serve them.
Preheat the grill as per manufacturer's directions. Grill the racks on high heat for 2 minutes a side or until browned. If desired, brush the ribs side with barbecue sauce and return the racks to the grill, ribs side up, but turn off the center burners or move them away from the coals as the sauce burns quickly. Continue grilling for another 2 minutes to set the sauce. Then flip the racks and repeat with the meaty side.
Mar 15, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
When Woody and I visited Hector Wong in Hawaii, a year ago December, we discovered what a great savory cook he is as well as a baker. One of the many dishes that he made for us from his Peruvian roots I knew I would have to replicate on our return home. It is called salsa criolla, and is served as a condiment for every dish, akin to kimchee for Koreans or ketchup for Americans. It also works well as a salad.
Hector says that he also calls the recipe cáscara which means skin of a fruit or egg. This is no doubt because the onions are so thinly sliced and on marination become so delightfully crisp.
Although my intention was to make it right away, somehow time got away from me but it was not forgotten. Here is the recipe for you to enjoy as well. I've named it Oinyums!
1 large onion
1 tablespoon sea salt (More salt is fine. It will accelerate the wilt and any excess is washed off.)
1 lemon, well scrubbed
Optional one small hot pepper of your desired heat!
Slice the onion into rings, as thinly as possible. Set the onion rings into a glass bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Toss to mix well and and let them sit for 1 hour til wilted. Drain and discard the liquid.
Squeeze the lemon, saving the empty lemon shells and refrigerate the juice.
Rinse the onions well under running water. Return them to the bowl. Add cold water to cover and the empty lemon shells. Allow them to soak for 1 hour or longer. Squeeze the lemon shells to release their oil from the lemon peel into the water. Thinly slice the hot pepper into the onions. Drain and stir in the lemon juice. Refrigerate for a minimum of one hour until serving to blend the flavors.
The onions stay crunchy for several days.
May 18, 2013 | From the kitchen of Rose
I've been enjoying 'blackened' string beans since Paul Prudhomme was a little boy and blackened redfish wasn't yet a gleam in his eye! That's because my grandmother once burned the string beans and I found it to be so delicious I always threatened not to eat the string beans unless she burned them.
Some years ago, my dear friend Elizabeth Karmel, renowned grilling author and chef, taught me how to make grilled string beans. She is such a skilled griller only one or two beans ever slipped between the grates but when I tried, I mourned each of several beans that slipped through. I tried a grill pan with holes but had to be very careful as the ones available were all very shallow and didn't have large enough holes to expose enough of the string beans to the flame. This is no longer a problem as Elizabeth has created the ideal grill basket, Elizabeth Karmel's Grill Friends Sizzlin' Skillet Grill Basket. Its curved sides enable you to toss the beans without risk of a single one leaping out. The wire mesh is strong but fine, leaving the maximum open space for 'blackening.'
The grill basket is easy to clean and even dishwasher safe. And it comes with a great-sounding recipe for "firecracker shrimp," which gives new definition to "shrimp in the basket."
I posted the recipe for grilled string beans about three years ago. Here it is again but this time in the basket!
For beans with a little bite, simply toss the washed and trimmed string beans with salt and olive oil and then to toss them in the grill basket and continue tossing them with tongs until they are deliciously browned, partially blackened, and beginning to shrivel.
For a softer texture, par boil the beans in salted water for 3 minutes, drain them, and toss them in the olive oil and salt, though sometimes I use melted bacon fat. Then into the grill basket they go to be browned and blackened as above.
Either way, season with lots of freshly ground pepper.
Note: The handle is easy to remove for grilling and to replace when removing the basket from the grill, but it is not designed for emptying the beans into a serving bowl as the basket will flip over. Use tongs to lift the beans into the bowl.
Oct 13, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Savory Cooking
When Bob Trinque, product manager of my new Rose™ Line, told me that his dream was to make a good pizza crust and that his crust always turned out like a rock, my heart went out to him. Bob is one of the most generous people I know so it was great to be handed a way to do something special for him.
Of course I already had my idea of what the perfect pizza crust should be, but I knew this would never do for Bob who is a self-proclaimed cook and non-baker. As
detail oriented and exacting as I am is how fly by the seat of his pants is Bob. So I set out to create a pizza that he would be willing and therefore able to reproduce.
My criteria were:
Easy to find ingredients
Speed of preparation
A sturdy enough dough not to tear easily
A crust that is crisp but also pillowy soft inside
I started testing pizza dough three months in advance of our August date. After about 6 different versions, I finally hit on one that so fulfilled all my goals it's now going to be my go to pizza dough as well. The big break through was a visit to Charlie Van Over in Connecticut. Charlie, a multi-talented chef of many enterprises invented the Hearth Kit (oven stone for baking bread). He also came up with an excellent technique for making bread dough in a Cuisinart. He gave me some of his baguettes to taste, saying that something about the way in which a food processor mixes dough makes it unnecessary to have a starter or biga for flavor. Sure enough, his baguettes had excellent flavor and texture so I decided to try this technique for the pizza dough. Eureka! This is the easiest pizza dough ever, mixed in under a minute in the food processor. It needs to be mixed a minimum of 4 hours ahead of shaping and baking, but can be refrigerated for as long as 2 days.
I told Bob that the one deal breaker was that he had to use a scale, at least for the first time he made the dough so he could see what the consistency of it needs to be. I explained that if the dough is not sticky after mixing, it will not puff into the pizza of his dreams and will return to the stone dough of his past experience! (The proof was in the pizza.)
On a beautiful August day, I set out to visit Bob in South Salem, NY, along with my half Sicilian cousin Elizabeth Granatelli who had never made her own pizza dough before. She brought her own tomato sauce, however, and is generously allowing me to post it on the blog after I get a chance to test it (it was absolutely delicious!).
I jokingly asked Bob if he had a wood-fired oven and his answer was: yes--but the birds are nesting in it so we can't use it! So we decided to use his electric oven with pizza stone and his gas grill.
Bob was in charge of amassing all the topping ingredients. In addition to the requisite mozzarella (he bought an excellent fresh one) we also used fresh oregano from his garden, crumbled sautéed sausage on one and pepperoni on the other, and a sprinkling of Romano and Parmesan on top after baking.
Bob's cat Spartacus (my very favorite cat in the world) was the most attentive observer.
We ate our pizzas in the cozy tank room (Bob has a magnificent old house with very modern kitchen that was a dream to work in). Elizabeth had brought an excellent pinot (Red Bicyclette). Then, as it was such a clear night, we sat out under the stars and talked until bedtime. We were, all three of us, pizza proud!
Continue reading "Casting Pizza on the Water" »
Apr 08, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Special Stories
This is a story about a dish from my childhood that sounds more like an exclamation than a recipe. My grandmother used to make it on rare occasions because it was somewhat labor intensive and only my uncle would eat it. But when I grew up I developed a real passion for this garlic, veal, and tender cartilaginous-studded gelatin-encased delicacy (whew--a mouthful!)
Recently, Grace Bello of Tablet Magazine interviewed me on the subject of this dish and has just posted this well-researched and informative article on it.
I've always described pitcha's appearance as similar to terrazzo tile, but I much prefer Grace's vision: With its neat appearance, its translucent amber hue, and its settled flecks of meat, it looks not unlike an odd gem, luminous and undiscovered.
Mar 24, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Restaurant Reviews
My New Favorite Neighborhood Restaurant
The Dutch, located in Soho in New York City, on the corner of Prince and Sullivan, is a mere five-minute walk from my house (and a 30 second walk from my favorite butcher Pino). My first visit, a few weeks ago, was for an early dinner. I was so smitten by the crisp fried oyster slider on an exquisite brioche roll I knew I would return again soon. My next experience was lunch. I began with a selection of the oysters of the day, two from the East Coast, two from the West Coast, each exquisitely briny and sweet with a lovely lingering aftertaste. I had no desire to corrupt their pure ocean flavor with any of the usual accompaniments.
Next, both my friend and I ordered the famous fried chicken. We could've ordered just one to share as it was a most generous serving of an entire half chicken. It was the best fried chicken I've ever tasted--juicy on the inside, with a perfectly golden brown and crunchy, fantastically flavored crust, so even when I was full I continued nibbling on little bits of crust alone. The crust was mildly spicy with a touch of paprika and cayenne which gave it a gorgeous russet hue.
Photo Credit: Noah Fecks
My friend Marie Lyons, special event planner for the Dutch and also the nearby Locanda Verde, joined us for a short visit. She encouraged us to try the chicken, telling us that chef Andrew Carmellini searched all over the country to find the very best chicken for this dish. Clearly his hunt proved to be successful. My friend David finished his entire chicken but I packed enough of mine to serve as dinner the next night! The recipe appears is chef Carmellini's exciting new book American Flavor!
Chef Carmellini most graciously has given me permission to share the recipe on this link:
We were both too full for dessert so my heart fell when the wait person set the table again with new forks--a sure indication that dessert was on its way. It's a real testament to pastry chef Kierin Baldwin that we plowed through most of the two pies, for which she is justifiably famous, in short order. Our favorite was the lemon meringue poppyseed pie.
Lemon poppy seed cake is my signature cake but I never thought of making a pie version. There were poppy seeds in the pâte sucrée (cookie crust), and in the meringue itself. The pie was accompanied by a delicious buttermilk ice cream (sitting on crunchy crumbs made from the same crust), and thin slices of poached lemon, along with a little of the poaching liquid as sauce. Pure bliss.I can't wait to go back again!
Feb 04, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose
Can it be--an oven that is perfectly even?! Over the years I have baked in many an oven. I even drove several hours deep into Connecticut, with cream puff pastry ready to pipe, to try out a Gaggenau oven that promised to be perfectly even. It was from top to bottom but not from front to back. Resigned to this disappointing fact that ovens are just not perfectly even, I have written solutions into recipes, such as turning a cake two-thirds of the way through baking, or bread half way through baking, but when it comes to cream puff pastry or sponge type cakes such as génoise, opening the oven door to move the pan would spell disaster as the baked item would deflate like a balloon stuck with a pin.
A few years ago I happened to speak to someone at the Breville company about another one of their appliances and the representative told me about their Smart Oven saying it was "an oven with a brain," and that I had to try it. I was intrigued and then disappointed when it never arrived. Many months later I met Julia Leisinger, the delightful manager of Sur La Tabla Soho store, and noticing that they sell the oven, asked her what she thought of it. She told me that she has one and that not only is it even, its size makes it ideal for small apartments. Julia is a baker so now I was really determined to try the oven so that I could know whether I could recommend it.
A year passed and to my surprise and delight I heard from Julia that she had met with the Breville people and reminded them of their promise to me. Shortly after the oven arrived and then, I must confess, sat reproachfully on my dining room table for months while I waited for my schedule to clear to approach this promising new appliance.
FInally I bit the bullet and gave it my standard acid test: I piped a spiral of cream puff pastry on parchment set on the 15-inch pan that comes with the oven, placed the rack at the bottom position as recommended in the booklet, and set the oven on bake, convection, but using 425˚F/220˚F for the first 10 minutes of baking instead of lowering the temperature the usual 25 degrees for convection baking. Then I lowered the temperature to the usual 350˚F/175˚C and continued to bake for the usual 15 minutes. As you can see from the photo, the proof is in the puff--it was perfectly, effortless, evenly golden brown.
Next I piped little 1-1/2 inch cream puffs. They blossomed from 3/4 inch high to 1-1/2 inches and again were perfectly evenly golden-brown.
This is a beautifully designed little oven that does just about everything except microwave. I moved it into permanent position in my apartment. How many ovens do I have? Four are in NY and 2-1/2 in Hope, NJ. (The half is the GE toaster oven I've had for 44 years and still performs perfectly for toast, baked potato, and other small items, taking up minimal space on the counter.)
As a cookbook author, it is important to test recipes in different types of ovens as the oven is the common denominator of success or failure in baking.
Here is my recipe for cream puff pastry which can be filled with whipped cream, or ice cream (profiteroles) or a savory filling. And as promised, this is the first in a series of monthly postings featuring Safest Choice Pasteurized Eggs.
Continue reading "Bravo Breville--The Perfectly Even Oven!" »
Dec 17, 2011 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Savory Cooking
My old friend from India, Madhu Trehan, told me many years ago that she would never buy yogurt as home-made is so easy and so much better. She added that all one has to do is save a little from the present batch to start the next batch.
I've long been intending to try making my own yogurt but somehow never got around to it until inspired by my new bread proofer! I wanted to be sure that it would work so I purchased some freeze-dried yogurt culture from Integral Yoga--a store in the West Village in New York. Yogurt culture is also available on line.
In the space of one afternoon I produced 4 half pint jars of deliciously creamy and flavorful yogurt--ever so much better than anything I have ever tasted that was store-bought. I received some excellent guidance from Michael Taylor, producer of the bread proofer. He also gave me moral support when, after about 3-1/2 hours I could detect no thickening. But sure enough, after about 4 hours I could see it was beginning to 'take.'
Michael said he uses commercial yogurt as a starter and to check on the container to make sure it says live culture. He uses 1/4 cup per gallon of milk. (I scaled it down to 1 tablespoon for 1 quart of milk. Now I wish I had made more but it's a simple matter to make a new batch.)
Michael's basic technique is as follows:
Pre-heat the proofer to 115˚F/46˚C with four empty quart Mason
jars inside to get them warm. (This keeps from cooling down the milk when poured into the jars). After heating the milk to 180˚F/82˚C and cooling to 120˚F/49˚C, remove 1 cup of milk, add 1/4 cup of fresh organic yogurt, then stir it back in. Immediately pour the milk/yogurt starter into the jars. The temperature drops to about 112˚F/44˚C. Put all the jars (covered) back in the proofer at 115˚F/46˚C for an hour, then turn down to 110˚F/43˚C. (As the temperature didn't drop after pouring the mixture into the jars--and was 115˚F/46˚C I used 110˚F/43˚C for the entire time.) The total time once the mixture is in the jars and in the proofer is about 4-1/2 hours but if you want more tang leave it in longer.
Michael writes: Incredible! Creamy and luscious with the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity. I entirely agree!
I may stop buying crème fraîche as well now that I have the perfect place to incubate it! All you need is 1 cup of heavy cream and 1 tablespoon of buttermilk. Ultra-pasteurized cream will take as long as 36 hours but plain pasteurized cream at 90˚F/32˚C usually takes 12 to 14 hours. I'm going to try 110˚F/43˚C. No need to heat the cream and buttermilk mixture before placing it in the jar(s).
Mar 12, 2011 | From the kitchen of Rose
You know the rest (make lemonade)! But here's my newest discovery: When life hands you a Heritage chicken, make coq au vin!
I received two precious Heritage chickens and roasted the first. The flavor was exceptional but the skin, one of my favorite parts, was like shoe leather. Also, the meat was a bit too chewy for my taste and my mother the dentist made sure that I have all my teeth and in good shape! So my thoughts turned to a dish I haven't had in a long time: coq au vin. In fact, the last time I had it was in the Loire valley when my dear friend Nadège Brossollet made it for Hervé This (before he became father of molecular gastronomy) and me many years ago. Nadège told me that the dish was created in this region and that she was making the classic version with le vraie coq (ie a rooster).
Continue reading "When Life Hands You Lemons..." »
Feb 08, 2011 | From the kitchen of Rose
On a recent visit to Kalustyan, the mid-eastern specialty store in New York City, I spied this exquisite pale green rice labelled bamboo rice.
I followed the directions on the package to add what would be the equivalent of 100 grams of rice to 200 grams of water and simmered it for 10 minutes. (I also added a scant 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the water.) On tasting it, I could not detect any unusual flavor what-so-ever. On researching the rice I learned that it is infused with liquid from young green bamboo and is high in vitamin B with a flavor similar to jasmine tea. This I did not detect. But remembering how Hector told me that his mother would break an egg onto the rice in the rice cooker and let it sit for 5 minutes after the rice was cooked I tried it with this rice for today's lunch.
I added a little boiling water to the cooked rice to create steam (not necessary in a rice cooker with a keep warm function), added the egg, covered it, and let it sit until the white was opaque. It was indeed a beautiful combination, not least of all because it was a Menegus egg from a free range chicken.
I think I'll make the rice again for dinner this week to accompany grilled blood sausage. I'm thinking visual here as in "green eggs and ham" à la Dr. Seuss!
Oct 30, 2010 | From the kitchen of Rose
When I meet with my dear friend Leslie Harlib, who is a brilliant food writer in the Bay Area of San Francisco, I have to have a note pad because she is so forthcoming with fantastic information and ideas. On her most recent visit to New York she mentioned her excitement about rice bran oil, telling me that it had many virtues and that I must try it.
I decided that a fair test would be both savory and sweet so I made deep fried clams and lemon chiffon cake.
I've been working on the perfect recipe for fried clams for a while now. Thanks to my friend Sam at the Lobster Place on Bleecker Street, I was able to pick up some steamer clams. First try he actually shelled them for me which is not an easy task for this type of clam. I found it was best to steam before frying--just enough to have them open on their own, as that kept the clam intact.
The fried clams were a perfect golden brown with not a trace of greasiness (of course temperature is also a factor here as too low a temperature results in absorption of any oil).
Here's my recipe for Fried Clams:
30 steamers (about 2 1/3 pounds)
The one problem with steamers is that they are invariably sandy. There are two ways to deal with this:
1) About 2 hours before cooking use a stiff brush to scrub the outer shell under cold running water. Fill a large bowl with 1 gallon of water and stir in 1/3 cup of salt and 1 tablespoon of cornmeal. Add the clams, refrigerate, and allow them to soak for about 1 hour. This will cause them to expel any sand. OR
2) After steaming the clams just until they are open, strain the liquid and use it to wash any sand from the clams.
Steam the clams for about 3 minutes or just until they open. Remove the clams from their shells.
In a shallow dish, stir together 1.7 ounces/50g cornmeal, 1.7 ounces/50 g all purpose flour (about 1/3 cup of each), and 1/2t salt.
Lightly combine 1 whole egg with 3 tablespoons of evaporated milk. Dip the clams first in this mixture and then coat in the cornmeal mixture.
Heat oil to 350ºF/177Cº. Fry the clams in two batches for about 2 minutes or just until golden. Drain onto paper towels and salt to taste. Serve with a lemon wedge to squeeze on them just before eating.
I was most interested to see what would happen with the chiffon cake as some oils impair foaming and result in a less airy texture. As you can see, the crumb was slightly more open but perfectly spongy and excellent.
Here are some interesting facts from the California Rice Oil Co.:
Rice oil is the healthiest oil on earth, rich in a natural occurring viatmin E complex (tocopherols and tocotrienols, a unique antioxidant known as gamma oryzanol). Skin & muscle are a couple things that reap the benefits from this complex.
There's been many studies proving the lowering of LDL "bad" cholestrerol. Rice oil is trans-fat free & hypo-allergenic & additionally, our rice oil is GMO free as well.
Comparing known vegetable oils and rice bran oil to the fatty acid profile recommended by the American Heart Association, we find RBO is the closest to the AHA recommendations. Compared to other oils RBO is the most "balanced fat" which is easier for the body to digest & process throughout.
Rice bran oil has a shelf life of minimum 18 months and it is recommended to keep it in a cupboard or pantry at room temperature and away from direct sunlight (as with most oils).
Sep 02, 2010 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Special Stories
(Apologies for this blurry photo but I had only my cell phone and romantic lighting to blame.)
This past spring, my dear friends Karen Paige and Andrew Dornenburg recommended that we go to a neighborhood trattoria Bellavitae to have, among other things, chef-owner Jon Mudder's pesto which he made to order at the bar in an actual marble mortar.
We visited Bella Vitae on Mother's Day and loved the food but it was too early for pesto. I anxiously awaited the start of the fresh basil season and returned to be rewarded by a most exceptional pasta and pesto. Jon revealed it's secret: He imported the basil from Israel! He explained that the Israeli basil was more tender than the basil commonly available here. The result was a pesto that seemed to melt on the tongue. The pasta had just the right firmness and sure enough it turned out that Jon was using my favorite and most expensive Latini pasta. Can you imagine the cost for these ingredients! Could this be why the wonderful restaurant, joyfully and recently discovered by me closed a few weeks after my third visit?
Hopefully Jon will open a restaurant again soon but in the meantime you can visit him on his highly rated blog. Here's the link.
I've written about pesto at least twice on this blog, and this being the height of the basil season, it seems like a good time to offer my favorite recipe:
wanuts halves/100 grams/3.5 ounces/1 cup
basil leaves: 200 grams/7 ounces/14 cups
5 large cloves garlic, smashed
extra virgin olive oil: 216 grams/7.5 ounces/1 cup
salt: 1 teaspoon
sugar: 1/2 teaspoon
black pepper, freshly ground: 1/2 teaspoon
cayenne pepper: 3 dashes
grated Parmesan: Reggiano: 200 grams/ 7 ounces/ 2 1/3 cups
Place the nuts in processor container and pulse until coarsely chopped. Remove the nuts to a bowl and set aside.
Place the basil in a food processor and process until coarsely chopped, stirring down the leaves from time to time. Add garlic and process a few seconds until evenly mixed into the basil. Add oil and seasonings and process only until mixed. Add the Parmesan and nuts and pulse just until uniform.
Freeze 2 tablespoon size portions in aluminum foil packets. Add ½ tablespoon of butter when serving. Pass additional grated cheese.
This amount yields 26 servings!)
May 08, 2010 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Savory Cooking
What do do with them?! Friend and esteemed colleague Nick Malgieri told a class that he saved them in a huge container and when it was full...he threw them out!
i've filled my freezer with them, occasionally making an angel food cake. Recently I decided to discard the 2007 and 2008 containers. Too late, my husband Elllott reminded me he likes egg white omelets. I still had the 09 batch so he was not deprived. I set out to perfect his omelet.
As Elliott was aspiring to eliminate as much cholesterol as possible, i heated a small non stick frying pan over medium heat. When it reached 350˚F (hot enough to make a drop of water sizzle) I sprayed the pan with baking spray (Pam) and poured in 2 lightly beaten egg whites. I sprinkled them with a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper.
The first time I rolled it up and served it plain but the second time Elliott organized 3 slices of cooked sausage and a few pieces of cheese. When I lifted an edge to assure that the bottom was nicely browned, I turned the heat off and set the cheese and sausages in the middle of the set egg white. Then I flipped over each side of the egg white to cover it and let it cook for about a minute to melt the cheese. (The plate was heated first in a low oven so it worked perfectly but it would also work to zap it in the microwave for 7 seconds on high.
Now I'm looking forward to collecting more egg white (no problem), and while waiting to be transformed into Elliott Omelets they serve to keep the freezer more filled. Freezers work most efficiently when filled even if it means filling milk cartons with water and freezing them so why not egg whites instead?!
Apr 17, 2010 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Savory Cooking
There are as many recipes for pasta as stars in the firmament but it still surprises me that it took me all these years to encounter one of the top classics.
If you like cheese, black pepper, and pasta (and who doesn't') you will love this simple dish. The only part that's not simple is finding the best cheese, which is the main determinant of flavor in this recipe.
I mentioned on the posting of Maialiono and the suckling pig that I was planning to return for lunch. My intention was to have a sandwich of the suckling pig but when I learned there was no crackling in it I decided to try a pasta dish instead.
My dear friend/colleague Nancy Weber noticed cacio e pepe on the menu and said, This is my test of an Italian restaurant. My eyes had skimmed right over the unfamiliar words but on so strong a recommendation of course I had to try it.
Wow! Firm pasta cloaked with creamy cheesy sauce and a most pleasant bite of intense slightly smoky black pepper.
Nancy explained that cacio is--a great Roman cheese with excellent melting, properties with "the right suppleness and coefficient of blah to offset the tang of the pecorino. Did I mention that Nancy is a food writer and novelist? (Need I have?!) Maialino's version passed the test for Nancy and as for me, I enjoyed it so much I can't even remember the other pasta dish I had ordered though I do remember enjoying it--just not as much as the new experience of something I would never have thought to order.
We both enjoyed a glass of bold red wine with the pasta--actually a half a glass so that we could try to go back to work after lunch--it didn't work.
Continue reading "Cacio E Pepe (Pasta Perfecto)" »