Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Spicy Pork Sausage & Rice Cakes

When we went to David Chang’s Momofuku Ssäm Bar I ordered a spicy pork dish that was really good. When I got home one of the first things I did was look through his new book Momofuku to see if it was in there and sure enough there it was.

I found that the biggest challenge for this recipe was finding the ingredients. Silken tofu, kochukaru, rice cakes, these were just some of the things that I had to find on Asian grocery scavenger hunt. Some might find it frustrating, some might take a look at the ingredients and take a pass, but there is just something about finding this stuff that has been a lot of fun.

The ingredients, while different, have many similarities to American ingredients. Kochukaru is basically chili powder. Rice cakes (in stick form) are not the lightweight prepackaged diet snacks you typically think of, but doughy sticks that have the dense chewiness of gnocchi. Silken tofu, when whipped, has a mellowing affect on spice like one would expect from sour cream. For me it’s the kind of thing that gets the mind going a mile a minute as to the application of these ingredients on some of my favorite foods.

If you’re up for the challenge of finding the ingredients, this is a great recipe for any spice lover. My only caveat would be to make the dish with the dried chiles but pick them out when everything is done. If you’re adventurous go ahead and try them but consider yourself warned. This does freeze and warm up well.

Spicy Pork Sausage & Rice Cakes

Spicy Pork Sausage & Rice Cakes

by David Chang from Momofuku

  • ½ cup grapeseed or other neutral oil
  • 3 large yellow onions, cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 very loosely packed cups (1-1/2 ounces) dried red chiles
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons toban djan (jarred Chinese fermented bean and chile sauce) or ssämjang (the Korean analogue to toban djan)
  • 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon kochukaru (Korean chile powder)
  • 6 tablespoons of water
  • 1 tablespoon usukuchi (light soy sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cups sliced or coarsely chopped Chinese vegetables, such as Chinese broccoli or bok choy
  • 8 long cylindrical rice sticks, cut in 1 inch lengths
  • 8 ounces silken tofu, drained
  • 1 cup sliced scallions, greens and whites
  • ½ cup packaged Chinese fried shallots

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a wide skillet over medium-high heat. After a minute or two, when the oil is hot, add the onions and ½ teaspoons of the salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions start to take on color and begin to shrink in the pan, about 10 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium and cook, turning the onions over on themselves every 5 or so minutes, until golden and soft and sweet, about 20 minutes longer.
  2. Meanwhile, heat another tablespoon of the oil in a wide skillet over medium-high heat. After a minute or two, when the oil is hot, add the ground pork and cook, jabbing at the meat with the edge of the spoon to break it up, for about 10 minutes, just until it has lost its raw pinkness but not so long that it brown or threatens to dry out. Transfer the pork to a bowl and reserve it. Return the pan to the stove.
  3. Add the remaining 5 tablespoons oil to the pan turn the heat down to medium, and let the oil heat up for a minute. Add the dried chiles and warm them through in the oil for 1 minute, until they’re fragrant. Add the sliced garlic and cook, stirring, for a minute to infuse its flavor into the oil – it doesn’t need to color, but when the aroma of garlic is rising from the pan, it’s ready, Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the Chinese chile bean sauce, Sichuan peppercorns, and kochukaru. Reserve until the onions are cooked.
  4. Add the water, cooked onions, and pork to the pan with the chile sauce and stir to combine. Stir in the soy, sugar, and remaining2 teaspoons salt. At this point, you can cool the sauce and refrigerate it (for a few days) or freeze (for a few weeks), if desired.
  5. Meanwhile, put a large pot of water on to boil and salt it well.
  6. Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium heat and stir in the chopped greens. Cook them for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the stems are just tender.
  7. Drop the rice cakes into the boiling water and cook them for 2 to 3 minutes, until warmed through. Drain and add them to the pan with the pork sauce. Whisk the tofu until creamy and fluid and then stir it into the rice cake mixture.
  8. Divide the rice cakes and ragu among serving bowls, garnish each with some scallions and packages fried shallots, and serve hot.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Cleveland.com Food & Wine

I’m going to say it was about a year ago that I made the decision to stop posting on the Cleveland.com Food + Wine forum. While some of the topics, such as locating certain products around town, upcoming events, and reports of lesser known eateries, were helpful; I found that the overall tone of the forum was way too negative.

Personal attacks, childish banter, and the general belittlement of others who are not as well versed in all things food as others, are almost daily occurrences on this website. Those who eat at chain restaurants are treated like a card carrying member of al qaeda. Arguments prattle on line after line about something as simple as a restaurant having nitrates in their hot dogs. Believe me when I tell you – this is a nasty lot.

You would think something like this would be moderated by someone, wouldn’t you? Well, actually, it is (and it isn’t.) You see, Linda Griffith is technically the moderator, but she’s also an active participant in the disputes. Did you ever see referee Mills Lane team up with Mike Tyson to try and take out Evander Holyfield? That’s kind of what happens here – opinions are stated that seem to exacerbate the problem and then it becomes a no holds barred free-for-all.

On a couple of occasions I’ve actually heard out-of-towners stumble upon this forum and ask why the people on that forum are trying to tear down the image of their own city’s restaurant scene. What do you say to that? I don’t know; it really is embarrassing when you think about it. Our city, with all of its warts, can boast that it has a lot of good restaurants at many different price points. Why do so many on this forum feel so compelled to tear down the reputations of these restaurants and their chefs? I’m absolutely puzzled.

I think the single most damaging thing I’ve seen on that forum is people who go on there and complain about XYZ at such and such a restaurant and then give the play-by-play of everything that went wrong. So what’s the problem with that you might ask? Well, the problem is that you’re giving your own account of what happened. Right or wrong, you’re implicating the restaurant as a whole on a public forum and, intentionally or unintentionally, branding them as having poor service, unsanitary conditions, etc. Your hiding behind a screen name and making accusations that may, or may not, be true.

So the post goes up, what’s a restaurant owner supposed to do? Are they expected to apologize on the forum and make things right with the upset customer? Should they ignore the fact anything has been posted at all and just wait for the post to go to the next page? How do you prepare a rebuttal without drawing more attention to an already inflamed topic? The restaurant is in a no win situation. The fact is that the original poster is an asshole and shouldn’t be rewarded for their bad behavior. Often times you’ll see the owner or chef of the restaurant post a “call me, we want to make things right.” That’s total bullshit. If the food, service, or cleanliness was so bad, why didn’t they call over a manager right then and there and settle the issue?

So how would I improve what would/should be a really fun and interesting community?

Give the moderator the power to immediately delete material that violates posting etiquette. As it stands now, the moderator has no power to immediately delete anything, so it stays up for an inordinate period (measured in days) of time and perpetuates more nasty comments. One person says something snotty and then the snowball begins to roll.

The moderator should either moderate or be a contributor, but not both. They’re called moderators for a reason. I don’t see how someone who heads up the Slow Food Convivium here in Cleveland is going to see Joe Bag of Donut’s point of view on why Olive Garden is his favorite restaurant. There’s a fundamental conflict there – and it shows.

Adopt Chowhound's rules of etiquette. I can’t think of a more respectful place to read about food than at Chowhound. Their rules are pretty simple: Keep the site informative, friendly and hype-free. If a post violates any of these three expectations - it gets deleted. On the FF all of these expectations get violated routinely. I just don’t see the problem with someone having an opinion if it’s a positive one. So someone doesn’t buy organic vegetables, are you going to pay their grocery bill? Too often I see people marginalized because the vocal minority tells them about how wrong they are. Shut up and cook your own goddamn food, and let them cook theirs.

Delete the accounts of repeat etiquette offenders. It’s pretty simple. I know some would say that they’ll just re-register. Yeah. So? Do you not spray for roaches because they’ll just keep coming back? If their comments are being deleted in an appropriate time period it becomes too much of a hassle after a while. Maybe if they’re treated with respect in the first place they won’t make such nasty comments.

I think this forum could be a lot of fun, but in its current form it’s an absolute joke. There’s a good reason novice home cooks, restaurant owners, and chefs don’t contribute to this site – they get beat on. Until the negativity halts this problem is going to persist.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The B Spot

Make sure to check here for more Cleveland posts

As has been the custom in the past, I called Cheesecake to go out and try a place my wife doesn’t typically like to go – a burger place. On this occasion we decided on Michael Symon’s B Spot.

If there’s a restaurant interior that seems to really fit Symon’s persona, at least from an aesthetic standpoint, it’s this place. Decked out in a range of black, chrome, and shiny, the décor seems to be inspired by the opening credits in his Dinner Impossible days – complete with faux stamped motorcycle parts hanging above the bar and a studded bathroom door. The U-shaped bar sits in the middle-rear of the room, while being surrounded by an assortment of free standing tables, booths, and high boys.

Our server Amy, who was dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, took our orders on a pda type device. When I tried to order a Bear Republic Hop Rod she was able to see that they were all out of it. It was then that I opted for the $1 PBR (vast departure I know). Cheesecake went with his usual Bacon Cheeseburger. Being a creature of habit myself, I opted for whatever appeared to be the hottest thing on the menu in this case the Red Hot Burger (with pulled pork, pickled tomato, hot peppers, pepperjack cheese, siracha mayo.) We decided to share an order of the Lola fries.

The place was packed; it was prime dinner time so I expected things would take a while. Surprisingly the food came out in no time at all.

I would estimate that the burgers were slightly taller than they were wide. As I bit into my burger I noticed to things: 1) The meat was juicy as hell 2) There was nothing hot about this thing.

I’m not as “in the know” as some people are, so I wasn't sure who the hell Pat La Frieda was (or maybe I knew, but I don’t know it). It turns out this meat company from NYC cranks out top notch product.

When I bit into the burger juice spewed from the patty. High marks for the burger patty itself.

Some people have complained about the bun. Is it my style? No. I’m partial to the softer more generic type bun like they have at Buckeye Beer Engine (which is Shake Shack-esque but a little more substantial.) The Shake Shack bun is my favorite of all time; but it wouldn’t work with the burgers here at B Spot; the patties are too thick for that type of bun. I think they DO call for a thick bun like they’ve got. I just wasn’t all that crazy about it. I think it was a little crumbly in the top part of the bun?

Whenever I order something hot, my nose is the gauge for just how spicy a dish really is. This burger didn’t register a single nose wipe - not even twinge. Perhaps the spicy stuff was cut by the beef and pulled pork. I don’t know, but hot it wasn’t.

The Lola fries were good but a little shy of what I would pay $3 for.

In the end I’m not as high on it as some (here, here and especially here, and I’m not as down on it as here), but I don’t know that I’ll be rushing back. Symon has obviously done his homework and positioned himself in an area that is absolutely starved for this type of dining option. My guess is that he will never be short on customers at this location. I can’t speak for lunch, but dinner can have a half hour to hour wait. Thankfully they are pretty good with their time estimates, so Barnes & Noble, Trader Joe’s, etc. are the perfect place to spend that time.

I hear that the bun has been altered so as to not get as soggy from the juices emanating from the burger patty. I cannot personally attest to the new version, since I haven't eaten it, but apparently the kitchen has responded to this situation.

Michael Symon's B Spot
28699 Chagrin Boulevard
Woodmere, OH 44122
(216) 292-5567

B Spot Burgers on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Momofuku Milk Bar

If there was ever a reason to practice restraint at dinner (other than calorie control), Momofuku Milk Bar is it.

We had just finished up dinner at the adjoining Momofuku Ssäm Bar, painfully leaving behind bowls with food still left in them due to stomach space concerns. If it’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that dutifully finishing ALL of your food can sometimes lead to “episodes” later on (without access to a public bathroom, think Trainspotting– not good when you have a ways to walk.

Not knowing that the two businesses were connected via an indoor hallway, we walked out the front door of Ssäm, walked around the corner, and through the front door at Milk Bar like a couple of goobers. We had unknowingly eaten sixty feet away from where we were going to have dessert.

As you enter from the sidewalk there are two large tables where people can stand and eat if they don’t want their desserts to go. Immediately to the left is an open work area where the staff is preparing more desserts. On the night we were there, pastry chef Christina Tosi was still there working. Straight ahead is the case with all of the pies, cookies, and cakes, along with the soft serve ice cream machine against the back wall.

If there’s one word to describe this bakery as a whole it would have to be “different”. Desserts have names like Crack Pie™, *reminds me of the Clint Eastwood psa from the 80’s “See this cute little tin here? It’s Crack Pie™ in it’s most addictive form.”* Candy Bar Pie™, and Compost Cookie™. Ingredients such as corn flakes, milk crumbs (powdered milk and white chocolate), and potato chips are used in some of the concoctions. The soft serve machine oozes flavors such as Cereal Milk™, Salty Pistachio Caramel, and Old Fashioned Donut. You can’t tell me you’re not the least bit intrigued.

Citing poor lighting and lots of people in the bakery, you can go here to see some great pictures of MMB.

My brain was on overload from the get go, mind you I had just got done eating pork belly sliders, deep fried Brussels sprouts, and most of a big bowl of spicy pork so I wasn’t exactly starving. I felt like Spalding Smales in Caddyshack, “I want a Compost Cookie™. No, Salty Pistachio Caramel. I want a Blueberry and Cream Cookie. I want Chocolate Malt Cake.” With the exception of the soft serve, we took the two cookies and the cake back to the hotel, most of which doubled as breakfast the next morning.

Impressions? My favorite was the Blueberry and Cream Cookie, which I actually made at home and did a post on here. The only thing I didn’t like was the Chocolate Malt Cake. The actual cake portion was pretty dry and the filling in between the layers was a little too sweet even for my taste.

Like Ssäm, everyone that was working here really seemed to be enjoying themselves. They were eager to explain the desserts, what they were made of, what they tasted like. It wasn’t a salesman pitch, but rather a genuine enjoyment in sharing these unique creations to a curious audience.

I don’t know that this is a place you want to bring a less adventurous eater or even a classic dessert lover (it reminds me of when I recommended the movie Momento to my mom). The offerings are unconventional and are also skewed to the sweeter side. I think I would describe it as “WD50 for desserts but with a homey aesthetic”.

Update: You can now order Crack Pie™ along with an assortment of cookies (including the ever popular Compost Cookie™) via Fedex. Just go to link this link here and set up an account.

Momofuku Milk Bar
207 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003
(212) 254-3500

Momofuku Bakery & Milk Bar on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ssäm Bar

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when we decided to go to Dave Chang’s Ssäm Bar. Since reservations are not accepted at Ssäm Bar it’s a little unsettling since you don’t know if you’re going to find a line out the door or not – not that it would’ve stopped us.

Since we had driven out from Cleveland that day we were pretty tired so we wanted to eat earlier (6:30pm on a Monday). As luck would have it we were seated right away.

A bar runs the down the left side of the restaurant where people can sit across from each other. Down the right side are a collection of tables for larger parties. In the very back of the room is the kitchen.

As we sat down, a server took our drink order and gave us a rundown on the menu. I already knew we were going to try the famed Pork Buns, but found myself struggling to narrow down my choices. We finally settled on the Cured Hamachi and Pork Buns for appetizer – both of which I highly recommend.

I got the Spicy Pork Sausage & Rice Cakes and Regina tried the Pork Sandwich. I’m not going to go into the play-by-play of each dish, but I thought the Spicy Pork Sausage was monster. Certainly not for those who are averse to spice (or grease for that matter), but is a must try. The spice and the texture of this dish made it absolutely impossible to lay down the chopsticks. I kept picking the rice cakes out and getting a good bit of stuff to go with it.

The service here is a collective effort. The person that takes your drink order may, or may not, be the same person takes your dinner order, which may be the different from the person who rings up your check. We decided against dessert since we were going to Milk Bar (which is connected to the back of Ssäm Bar.)

I love the vibe here. The seating, the food, the music, the service – it’s all great.

Momofuku Ssäm Bar

207 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003
(212) 254-3500

Momofuku Ssäm Bar on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 14, 2009

Blueberry and Cream Cookies

We recently had the thrill of experiencing Christina Tosi's incredibly original desserts at Momofuku Milk Bar in the East Village. Bucking today's trend of shopping on the outside isles of the grocery store, Tosi and her distinguished staff's inspiration points them straight to the interior. Using things such as non-fat milk powder, coffee grounds, packaged white bread, potato chips, and the kitchen sink, you find yourself wanting one of everything in the dessert case.

I tried one of the Blueberry and Cream cookies (along with compost cookie, the malted marshmallow cake, and salty pistachio caramel soft serve), and could have easily devoured three more on the spot. I thought chewiness of this cookie was awesome, but was particularly intrigued by the concept of milk crumbs, not to mention blueberries, in cookies.

This is actually one of the more mainstream desserts sold at MMB that won't scare the less adventurous eater. You can watch the video here of Christina making the cookies on Martha Stewart.

If you haven't seen David Chang's book Momofuku you have got to take a look. There are a few more recipes from Tosi in the book that are featured on the Momofuku Ko's menu.

Blueberry + Cream Cookies

Blueberry + Cream Cookies (a two part recipe)

by Christina Tosi

Milk Crumbs
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon nonfat milk powder
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons milk powder, flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt. Stir in melted butter until well combined. Spread mixture on prepared baking sheet and transfer to oven. Bake until dried and crumbly, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove milk crumble from oven and let cool completely.
  3. Transfer milk crumble to a large bowl and fold in remaining 2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons milk powder and white chocolate. Use immediately or transfer to an airtight container and keep refrigerated until ready to use.
Blueberry and Cream Cookies
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) Plugra European-style unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons light-brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup glucose
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup dried blueberries
  • 1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup Milk Crumbs
  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment mix together butter, sugars, and glucose until well combined. Add egg and mix until well combined.
  3. Add flour mixture and mix until well combined. Add blueberries and milk crumbs and mix until well combined. Using an ice cream scoop about 2 1/8 inches in diameter, scoop dough into balls and place about 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Transfer baking sheets to refrigerator until dough is chilled, about 15 minutes. Transfer baking sheets to oven and bake, rotating pans halfway through baking, until cookies are golden brown and tops begin to crackle, about 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Momofuku Pickled Carrots

For Thanksgiving we had ordered the Salad Box from The Chef’s Garden. Looking for something a little out of the ordinary for the special occasion we thought a unique variety leafy greens, some which we knew others we didn’t, would make for a great presentation. As it turned out, it was huge success. But we’d made an executive to save the gorgeous carrots that came in the box.

Chef's Garden Carrots

So we had these beautiful miniature carrots, but hadn’t planned on making anything with them. I knew I didn’t want to chop them up into little pieces. There was no doubt these things were going to be prepared whole. It was their birth rite. These carrots knew from day one they were not some workhorse carrot that was going to get cut into a fine dice. God had big plans for these things.

Since we were headed out of town I decided to try a pickling recipe. It would be perfect. If I started them on Saturday or Sunday slender orange bits of deliciousness would be ripe for the picking when I got home a week later. It was destiny.

David Chang has a pickling recipe in his new book Momofuku. The book is awesome. Usually you get a few stories sprinkled throughout the book with the majority of the pages devoted to recipes; this thing is packed with both. The stories range anywhere from how he became a chef, to the developing philosophy of each restaurant, to the story behind each recipe (my favorite.)

Pickled Carrots
Pickled Carrots
David Chang Momofuku
2 pounds baby carrots (as in infant or dwarf, the whittled and bagged supermarket variety), scrubbed, peeled, and attached and clean them well; it makes for a better presentation. The carrots we get from Satur Farms on Long Island are 5 to 6 inches ong and slender – perfect for our purposes. For larger (but still small) carrots, cut them lengthwise into halves or thirds – they should be a size that’s comfortable to pick up and snack on, though they don’t need to be bite-sized.

  • Vinegar Pickles, Master Recipe
  • 1 cup water, piping hot from the tap
  • ½ cup rice wine vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Vegetable or fruit, prepared as indicated
  1. Combine the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Pack the prepared vegetables into a quart container. Pour the brine over the vegetables, cover, and refrigerate. You can eat the pickles immediately but they will taste better after they’ve had time to sit – 3 to 4 days at a minimum, a week for optimum flavor. Most of these pickles will keep for at least a month, except where noted, though we typically go through them in a week or so after they’ve had a chance to sit and mature.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Grindouts, Roadtrips, and BCP's. Oh my!

The last three months have been an absolute blur. Between the travel and office work there has been absolutely no time to update this blog with the frequency I’d like. Save for the weekend recipe here and there, I really haven’t been able to do a whole lot.

I’m not sure how most other bloggers go about composing (or in my case “composting”) a post, but my typical process is to start one in Word and sort of add and subtract to it. I sometimes decide that I’m going to just grind my way through the post - complete with misspellings and bad grammar. Go ahead. Look. I left all of the mistakes there. The grind outs are usually pretty easy to spot – disorganized and hard to follow.

The Thanksgiving post sucked. There were enough things going on that it could have been much better. Textbook grind out.

There was sufficient reason for the hurried post, though. We had to clean up the Thanksgiving mess and put everything back together before we headed out of town.

As a “thank you” to my wife, for being abandoned every other week this past fall, I decided to empty the Hilton Honors account and go on a food binge to New York and Philadelphia. How could I go wrong?

We’d had a few aborted attempts over the summer, but decided that the weather wasn’t going to get any warmer and Regina’s schedule was going to be full from Christmas until April. The time was now.

David Chang, Mario Battali, Andrew Carmellini, Jean Georges Vongerichten, Marc Vetri, bellies were going to be full and waistbands were going to expand. We were going to get a jump on the holiday feasting.

Cleveland people hate reading about stuff in New York. New York people don't care about reading about anything but, well, New York. The next couple of weeks will be a little bit of both; as I clear out the drafts from this year.

Now that my travel is done for the year I can finally sit down and post some of this stuff. It’s time to get ready for a new decade. Doesn’t it seem like we just celebrated the new millennium three years ago? The clock is ticking way too fast.

Off topic…

It’s funny, Sitemeter tells me a lot about the people who read this blog, where the readers are from, what posts they’re reading, and what site (if any) referred them. There has been a massive response to the Cauliflower Soup post from of all places Sofia, Bulgaria.

Lately, I’ll take a look and say, “What the hell? There’s more Bulgarian Cauliflower People today than there were yesterday!”

It seems like it’s being emailed because there is no referring site listed. The traffic on this thing just seems to be spreading like wildfire. Then one of the BCP’s left this comment on that particular post yesterday:

“We all eat vitamins and store garlic are used in his great taste and flavor is also good natural antibiotics even swine flu.”

Now it all makes sense….

BTW Dave, I don't want you to think I'm ignoring you. Do you think you might bust out a post on your blog of your favorite cauliflower recipe? Does it all have to be from Live to Cook? What happens when you've made everything in the book? Is the blog over? Inquiring minds want to know...

If you haven't seen his blog Live to Cook it really is well done. It takes a lot of time to do it the way he's doing it. Not to mention that your taking pictures of the stuff while it's cooking, giving cost breakdowns of the ingredients, and providing the origin of the food. [Insane] Lazy asses like me just set up a shot of the final product and put the recipe up. Great job.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Salty Carmel Ice Cream with Chocolate Crumble

I'm a huge fan of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams' Salted Caramel flavor, so when I saw this recipe I had to try it. As you can tell from the list of ingredients this is very rich with an intense caramel flavor. Not intense like rosewater, but intense like "it packs a lot of punch so one scoop will satiate me". Its overall consistency reminds my a lot like gelato.

To add a little something to compliment the chewiness of the ice cream I sprinkled it with a chocolate crumble. Johnny Iuzzini uses this at Jean Georges by laying the ice cream on a small bed of this stuff, to keep it from sliding around. It also does a fantastic job of adding some texture to the dessert.

Salted Caramel Ice Cream with Chocolate Crumble

Caramel Ice Cream
Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller
  • 1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups whole milk, warm
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream, warm
  • 10 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Put 1-1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons of the sugar ina deep heavy saucepan and stir in the water to moisten the sugar and make a mixture that resembles wet sand. (This will help the sugar caramelize evenly.) Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then simmer, without stirring, for 15 minutes, or until the sugar melts into a rich amber caramel. *for me it started to turn, and fast, at about 13 1/2 minutes. Make sure you're paying attention.* If any sugar crystallizes on the sides of the pan, brush with a wet pastry brush.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly (to prevent bubbling up) stir in the milk and cream. Should the caramel seize and harden, return the mixture to the heat and stir to dissolve the caramel, then remove from the heat.
  3. Whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and yolks in a medium bowl until slightly thickened and the whisk leaves a trail. Slowly, while whisking, add about 1/2 cup of the hot liquid to the yolks, then whisk in the remaining liquid. Set a fine-mesh basket strainer over a clean saucepan and strain the liquid into the pan.
  4. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl. Set a medium bowl in the ice bath; have a strainer ready.
  5. Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom and sides often with a wooden spoon, until steam begins to rise from the surface and the custard thickens enough to coat the spoon. Strain into the bowl, add the salt, and let cool, stirring from time to time.
  6. Refrigerate until cold or, preferably, overnight.
  7. Pour the custard into an ice cream machine and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. When the texture is "soft serve," transfer to a storage container and freeze to harden. (The ice cream is best eaten within a day, but it can be made several days ahead.)
Chocolate Crumble
Dessert Fourplay by Johnny Iuzzini

  • 6-1/2 tablespoons (94g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup (30g) unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Valrhona)
  • 1/4 cup (94g) all-purpose flour
  • 7 tablespoons (87g) sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1g) coarse salt
  1. Heat the oven to 375 or 350 convection. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment.
  2. Cut the butter into pieces and put it in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle. Whisk the cocoa powder, flour, sugar, and salt together and add to the bowl. Mix at medium speed until well combined, dark brown, and in big crumbs.
  3. Spread out on the baking sheet breaking up the biggest crumbs and leaving room for spreading. Bake until crisp, about 20 minutes *I burned the first batch at 16 minutes, and the next batch was decent at 13. I'd start checking it at about 11 minutes. It takes less than a minute to burn* rotating the pan halfway through baking. Let cool.
  4. When the crumble is cool, put it in a food processor and process to fine, even crumbs. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.