Friday, January 23, 2009

Cooking Week In Review with Pretty Food Porn

Oh, sweet beautiful butter. I've been cooking and creating at home most of the week since Sunday and I've been making all types of random goodies. Some of the things I put together this week for fun, research, study and or practice include: 28 hour shortribs, butter (as seen above and below), true buttermilk biscuits, cannele de Bordeaux, charred balsamic brussels and bacon chive creamy grits.
I feel at this point, I've got a real feel for making great butter and cannele. Butter is probably one of the easiest things to make in the world - requiring only great cream (I primarily use Straus, because I can't buy raw cream for less than $8 a pint) and patience. A lot of things are dependent on the quality of cream including taste, density and color. I've definitely made underwhelming butter with not-so-great creams. The cream also needs time to properly convert sugars to lactic acid. Many dairies add active cultures, but you can get a desired tang with butter by letting it sit for a period of time. I suggest keeping a dairy diary (say that combo 5 times) to track times and temperatures when letting cream sit. It's very important to getting a consistent product. All in all, it is super easy to get a good butter to the quality you desire.
Cannele are quite a different story. Do not attempt to produce cannele if you are an impatient person because you will inevitably fail the first 3-4 times getting the recipe straight and buying the right type of oil (for brushing the cannele mold/tin). Even then, it will take 3-4 more tries to get the cooking timing right and 2-3 tries to establish consistently. Did I mention each try is a 2-3 day process? Did I mention once you pass a 6 hour window to eat these suckers, they become soft and no longer crispy? Did I mention all that mis en place shown below only makes less than 20 of them? Yea, I will say the reward is worth the effort though... especially after the 6th time of making them.
Well, creating and cooking at home was good stuff, but last night, I worked Mission Street Food and assisted Ryan Farr. It was a rockin' good time. The line out the door seemed to be 50-60 deep throughout the night and we practically ran out of everything. The only thing left were wieners and pie. Nothing more American than that I guess. A photo update coming up soon!

Cheesecloth strain


Nice Big Ball

Cannele de Bordeaux mis en place

Nice Rack


Biscuit mis en place, with less butter of course

Chop chop, baby.

Beautiful Brussels

1 comment:

  1. Mmm. Yum! Cannele looks delish.

    Can you post a recipe for brussel sprouts? I am having a strange affinity for them. Don't laugh... I had some at Google's cafeteria earlier in the week and the were crispy and crunchy and super flavorful... now I'm craving some!