Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Look at that. An everything bagel. I pick up a dozen at a local bakery. The paper bag in which they were placed is already fragrant, the seeds and bread combining to let off an earthy, seedy, wonderful smell. Usually I crave simplicity; a few ingredients combining to create a final dish with distinct flavors. Not here. On my bagel I want it all. I want everything. Hence the name.
I realize why I like the everything bagel so much. The spices, seeds, and bread become an entity. An everything bagel isn't a bagel with garlic flakes, sesame seeds, caraway seeds, onion flakes etc. It's just an everything bagel.
Spread with cream cheese, and there are few greater breakfast pleasures.
Why did I think of this?
Hey! A man's gotta find a way to occupy his time in Spanish class.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
There is nowhere better to get pasta in Philadelphia (arguably the whole U.S.) than Vetri. The product is the result of a master who trained in a Bergamo kitchen, perfecting pasta with little old Italian ladies. Though I had worked at Osteria (Vetri's newer restaurant that uses the same recipe) I was never able to get a hold of Vetri's almost legendary pasta recipe-that is, until just recently when Vetri was featured in a Philadelphia Inquirer article.
Now I have a tried and true pasta recipe already, from the French Laundry Cookbook, so I was eager to see how Vetri's would stack up. Thomas Keller also trained in Italy, so I guess this is basically a war of little old Italian ladies, to see whose pasta is superior. Will Vetri's little old Italian lady bring home the W for Bergamo? Or will Thomas Keller's Nona represent for Piedmont? Let's find out!
Contrary to The French Laundry Version, which uses only AP flour, Vetri's recipe calls for semolina and 00 flour, both of which I had on hand. Vetri's recipes also requires 9 egg yolks. 9!!! That's a whole lotta yolk. I put all the ingredients in a paddle-fitted kitchen aid, and blended until they came together. The fact that this recipe uses a kitchen aid, as opposed to the well method kinda turned me off. I prefer getting my hands dirty. Basically I'm like a five year old. The Kitchen aid method was quicker though, and soon I began kneading the dough. Unlike Keller's recipe which calls for excessive kneading, and states that "you can't over knead this dough," Vetri's only calls for five minutes.
Vetri's dough is noticeably wetter and easier to work with. Keller's is rather tough. Both recipes call for some resting time, and then, you roll out.
After blanching in salted water, I tossed the pasta in the frying pan with some butter and some of the pasta water. Vetri's pasta is soooo (for loss of a better adjective) yummy. It gives a slight bite, it's not as tough and Keller's, and seems smoother. Though it contains a higher egg yolk to flour ratio than Keller's, it's not noticeably richer. It does seem smoother however.
So who will take home the Nona throwdown crown back to their little old, humble abodes, with salami hanging in the kitchen, and olives growing in the backyard, and truffles in the rice, and wild boar grazing in the distance? Vetri's Nona gets the slight edge. But don't worry, I still love you Tommy K (who by the way is coming to the Philadelphia free library soon)
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
I face that daily dilemma of whether I should cook, or do homework.
(Lancaster grass fed fillet Mignon)
Cooking usually wins.
(Fillet Mignon, mashed potatoes, bordelaise sauce)
Monday, October 13, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
(the flat top)
I've had my fair share of, "wtf was I thinking" moments at Lacroix. Like the time my pan for my water bath for the potato gratin was too small, and I spilled much water, along with much cream while trying to take it out of the oven. Or the time I was making croutons, and burnt the bread, got some new bread, cut it into croutons, then burnt them again. Or maybe the time I was making the vinaigrette for the night's service, and though I had made the same vinaigrette at home many times before, it broke just before service. The list goes on.
Last Saturday I was helping prep for the "Matthew's Salad." I was to char tomatillos and corn. I grabbed some tomatillos which I quartered, then seasoned with salt, pepper and olive oil. I charred these in the center of the flat-top, moving them around with a fish spatula. I then grabbed 8 ears of corn, and cut them off the cob. I seasoned these, grabbed my spatula, then plopped them on the flat top. They started off silently, pop pop, and I barely took notice. Pop Pop, I began to contemplate the origin of the sound. POP! POP! wow, we got a problem here. I checked to make sure I wasn't Orville Redenbacher then decided I didn't want popcorn. The popping continued, only now it was more frequent and vigorous POP! POP! POP! POP! I was getting stares from all over the kitchen. I tried as best I could to move the corn to the edge of the flat top, but the kernels slipped through the perforated fish spat. "I think I just got hit with a piece of corn" someone said. Someone was cracking up behind me, I ignored it. By now I was getting THE STARE, from one chef. If you don't work at Lacroix, you don't know what I'm talking about, but if you do, let's hold hands and sing Kum by yah, cause you understand. I've gotten THE STARE, throughout my time at Lacroix, and it is never a good thing. Like an anvil cloud to a sailor, it looms down on you, foreboding, dangerous and terrifying. The storm just ahead, you anticipate the lightning strike. I glanced over, he shook his head in disappointment. The simple head motion was worse than a yell. He wasn't mad, he was just disappointed. He could have yelled all he wanted, and it wouldn't have made as big an impact. The shake of a head signified shame, lack of potential, inability. He came over, not yelling, nor screaming, and told me that next time, I grill the corn before cutting it off the cob. He grabbed a dough scraper and cleared the rest of the corn from the flat-top, and placed it in a bowl.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
I know you're jealous.
This is undoubtedly the latest and greatest cookbook to hit the market, and it's stuffed with enough food porn to last you plenty a lonely night. The pictures are amazing, and the philosophy is new and unique, yet understandable and logical.
The only downside? Um, well, considering I don't have an immersion circulator, antigriddle, or a dehydrator, it looks like I won't be cooking out of this book anytime soon. It's ok though. Did I mention the pretty pictures?