Friday, July 10, 2009

Mary Louise Parker Sexy With Pie

For some reason, I have an insane amount of magazine subscriptions for no reason other than the fact that they probably all cost less than $20 total. Great bathroom reading I guess is very important. I think I signed up for Rolling Stone 6 years ago for a 3 year subscription for $9 bucks maybe and I've been getting them since...

For those of you that don't read or care about Esquire when Megan Fox is not on the cover, I will ask that you look into this month's issue featuring Mary Louise Parker and her pie recipe. I thought about the borderline smut factor in posting this, but then I felt I had an obligation to make a point and show people that a woman who can master pie crust and look ridiculously smart and sexy at it. That's nothing to scoff at, many a wonderful baker has sucked at making good pie crust. Mary Louise Parker has always been pretty underrated. She was always a welcome sight on West Wing as the definition of what "librarian hot potential" could lead to.

I think my mom once told me that I should learn to cook because I couldn't trust that a woman in my generation would know or bother to try learning. While that may not be necessarily true in many cases, I want to tell the female race that the knowledge and power to cook is unbelievably sexy and intimate. It's definitely not a sexist I-want-to-put-you-away-in-a-kitchen-forever or a put-the-lotion-on-the-skin-or-she-gets-the-hose-again thing, because that's just the type of thing that would never fly in my kitchen. Cooking is very much a symbolic display that represents little bit about your passion, a little bit about your nurture, and a little bit about your tradition.

I told you there was a point to this post and not just hot gratuitous pie rolling in black lace and apron with butt crack action. Well, I guess that's also part of it, too.

And to that, Hot Food Porn salutes Mary Louise Parker and her hot pie.


Her recipe:

How to Make a Pie By Mary-Louise Parker

Turn your oven to 425 degrees. Put three sticks of butter and a bowl of water that has ice in it in the fridge. Cubes, not chips. Put the food-processor bowl and the sharp blade thingy in the freezer.

When that stuff gets cold, take out the bowl and blade and put in 2 3/4 cups of flour, a teaspoon of sugar, and a teaspoon of salt. Cut 2 1/4 sticks of butter into pieces the size of a camera battery and drop them in a couple at a time while hitting "pulse" on the machine till it all looks like coarse meal. If you don't know what that is, go look at the smaller pieces of gravel in your driveway.

Slowly pour, like, 7 or 8 tablespoons of the ice water in with the flour gravel and pulse it till it comes together into a ball that isn't sticky. Take it out and knead it on a counter sprinkled with flour, but not too much or the molecules will get stretchy and the dough will be tough. Form the dough into two big air-hockey pucks and cover with plastic wrap. Put them in the fridge for at least an hour. If you forget about the dough, you can throw it in the freezer (but once the seasons have changed, chuck it).

Roll the pucks into circles bigger than a pie. Drape one over the pie pan with a little extra hanging over, and fill it with cut-up fruit mixed with a little flour, cinnamon, and a drop or two of rum, and dot the top with butter. Cover it with the other dough circle, pinch the edges together, and cut some little holes in the top of the pie with a knife. Make a design or write a message to someone, code or otherwise. For a yummy, richer crust, brush with heavy cream and sprinkle with raw sugar from the packets at Starbucks. Put foil all around the edge so it doesn't burn; take it off after the pie has cooked for, like, 20 minutes and turn the temp down to 350. Cook for 25 minutes more or until juice is bubbling out of the Morse-code slashes. Take it out and let it sit for as long as you can wait but not so long that it gets cold.


Eyes on the pie.

This will never happen for me... ever....sigh.

Personally, classic French rolling pins are sexier.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Where Do I Buy Meat?


I thoroughly despise Whole Foods and I hate the idea of ever spending $15 lb on any cut of meat. For myself, I have resources to buy better stuff and access to well farmed meat most of the time, but I think one of the main problems with trying to adjust people into the practice of eating properly farmed meat is inaccessibility.

I do not have a strong feelings with urging people to buy sustainable meat from quality farms only because I feel that it would be improper to make a stand on an ideal that is unsustainable and ridiculously inconvenient for the common consumer. People may balk at my thoughts regarding this, but quality sustainably farmed meat is a luxury and will continue to be one until the issue of accessibility to properly addressed. Unfortunately, if you want to address said issue, please keep in mind that the argument opens a can of worms that nobody wants to touch, e.g. some issues include updating federal mandated regulation for farms, subsidies for farm conversions to organic or other regulation based approval, country-wide commodity price adjustments, etc..

It is true that we are in a predicament with the overabundance of abusive farms and unsanitary meat processing, but how are people supposed to change and adapt to a new quality purveyor source when that source is almost completely unattainable. There is a great and slow movement in a lot of cities to now provide outlets for quality meat, but those are few and far away. Stores that carry these pricey sustainable meat items are normally targeted to a wealthier younger crowds with disposable income as supposed to ethnic neighborhoods and families that consume the most meat. There are 3 Safeways less than five minutes from my work and home, but getting to Mollie Stone's, Whole Foods, or Prather Ranch is completely out of the way.

I'm not offering solutions but rather just a talking point. San Francisco can be a bit overzealous with mixing food and personal philosophies. I feel that sometimes that attitude can cause too many people to completely overlook the true reality for the majority of common people in a time of recession. Yep, just another food issue without any vision or specific solution.

But you know, we could hear more people bitch and moan about foie gras - because that's really important.

Monday, July 6, 2009

FUGU!

I just found this awesome video of a chef cleaning a Fugu fish. I love how the fish is still breathing as its getting cut up. TOTALLY AWESOME.


Weekend Cannele Making

I spent some of this weekend making cannele and also creating a new savory cheese cannele recipe. For those that do not know what a cannele is (pronounced as can -neh - lay), it is a French custard pastry originated from the region of Bordeaux. This little wonder normally comes is a round conical shape (similar to a mini holeless bundt cake). Here are some painstaking details on making cannele:

1. The batter needs to be made 24-48 hours ahead of time.
2. Molds need to be oil/waxed, set to drip out, then frozen for 30 mins before filling with batter
3. Cooking takes 75 minutes long
4. Tin/copper molds cost an arm and a leg each ($8+ for each tin, $20+ for copper)
5. They need an hour at least to cool before eating
6. They go soft after 6-7 hours or so
7. Ingredients include stuff beeswax, ultrafine baker's sugar, vanilla beans, dark rum
8. One batch is approximately 8 cannele

These things are a pain in the ass to make, they're expensive and you can't eat them the day after. But the good thing about something that requires so much annoying work, is that it tastes pretty damn amazing. It's crispy, chewy, soft and custardy all at once.

Some new developments in my cannele making this weekend included using a set of new tin molds and making cheese cannele. I developed my own recipe for the cheese cannele, but they were slightly too dense and heavy with the cheese. I used a good amount of crescenza, so I will likely have to cut back on how much I put in there. I think if I were to make a new cheese batter, I may not wait 24 hours to let the air in the batter settle. The good thing was that the cheese cannele crisped and browned almost exactly the same as the regular ones. I may try to incorporate more air in the batter somehow, though I balk at the thought of working in egg whites - it is not lost on me that that would make it a souffle.

The new tin molds made ridiculously beautiful cannele and the shape is much nicer. This sadly means that I need to blow more money to have a bigger set of these... eventually getting rid of the silicone ones. I'm now spoiled by how sexy they came out yesterday. Dammit.

Some pics:

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Old Mold, Cheese Cannele

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Sexy New Tin Molds