Monday, December 29, 2008

Bánh bột lọc

These are homemade Bánh bột lọc.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Shrimp From Hung Vuong

These are the 21-25's sold at Hung Vuong. They've been battered and fried.

Love the Asian greens and fried seafood combination with
Nước chấm.
I'm not sure if these are farm raised. They have a shell like fresh water shrimp and they are sold with the shell split -- about $9/#. These were previously frozen but they they seemed to have been handled with care. Great texture, good flavor and freshness with excellent eye appeal. They are however a affected by the preservative that is used in processing some shellfish, here it didn't really bug me much.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day

This is the Paris-Brest. I wasn't super pleased. It's good looking and festive enough but the filling was not so good a match. I used the blood orange pastry cream recipe from the Metropolitan Bakery cookbook. I neglected to keep tasting the cream as I added the blood orange syrup. I was looking for color and not checking the flavor. It was extremely orange-y and would have been a better match for a smaller pastry, cream puff or mini eclair. Still very nice dessert and maybe way better with praline cream that is traditional.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

'Paris-Brest ' ................. Christmas Dessert?

Starting with the ices last spring, moving on to the canele and then the eclairs and pastry cream my food issues developed food issues.

Most of the recipes for the sweet dishes came from other bloggers. The choux instructions came from an amazing blog loaded with culinary info!

This guy has amazing culinary knowledge along with mad photography skills. His posts are always interesting stories about food factories, restaurants, markets and families. They are informative, concise and entertaining!

I learned about Paris-Brest the pastry from the Hertzman blog and then found this blog showing various interpretations. I felt that it would make a splendid Christmas dish using the blood orange pastry cream and chocolate and pistachio. WholeFoods Market has fine blood oranges $1 each.
I grabbed a pastry bag and tips at Fantes today.

Pictures coming


Italian Market Today

Lots of holiday shoppers visiting the market seeking those authentic touches that keep the yule tide real.

Fingers Cordon Bleu

Monday, December 22, 2008

Hột vịt lộn

We grabbed a flat of duck eggs in Hung Vong last week. They were .89 each. A few were eaten at the party and a few we cooked today.
I couldn't do it.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

10 for a Dollar

10 for a dollar in the Italian Mkt and cephalopods in Hung Vuong both Friday afternoon.

Hung Vuong had smaller lobsters at about $ 7.00/#. While there we bought a pound and half of 26-30 shrimp they were fine. Also grabbed veg & wraps for spring rolls and mustard powder.

At the Italian we got excellent baked ham from Claudio and a chunk of Gruyere.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Winter Solstice Soiree Menu

Close to a last minute the little lady decided to host a small gathering. We ruminated on menu ideas for a short while and decided on a bar-menu like selection of comfort-y dishes. We made Shrimp Spring Rolls, Croque Monsieur, Chili Garlic Chicken Wings and Chile Rellenos.

For desert we had Cannele and Eclairs with Chestnut Pastry Cream and the ginger plum tarte (pic) from Metro.

I was both busy and hungry so no good pictures. This was a very easy menu to execute quickly since all but one of the dishes were baked or re-heated.

The days are getting longer.

Solstice Haiku

The Wheel of the Year

turns again: Seasons' Greetings

Happy Holidays

Lorraine Margueritte Gasrel Black

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Continental South!

NO F'en WAY!

The Steven Starr(bucks) Restaurant Organization seems ready to act on its threat to convert the Broad St Diner into continental south!

Photo: Thomas Boutell

Monday, December 15, 2008

Canele Cannele Canelle Cannelle

No luck at all with consistency in the Canele dept. I have made maybe 15 batches in 6 weeks or so.
I have learned a few things. Using the beeswax is critical to getting desirable crunch and gloss (not everyone agrees). Silicone molds give excellent results. Recipes vary hugely. I tried Paula Wolferts recipe and did not like the eggy-ness of it at all. The zucchini and chocolate recipe I've been using works well but iI get varying results. I believe that using pastry flour makes the batter rise very high and can cause it flop over. A blend of pastry and all purpose works better for me. I have Pierre Herme's recipe along with Metropolitan Bakery recipe in my fridge right now. I will test them out tomorrow.

Update: The photo shows the results of Pierre Herme's recipe.
These were quite excellent. Crusty shell and very custardy moist filling with subtle, satisfying flavor. You can see the accumulated vanilla seeds in the center of the canele. With this recipe the filling doesn't rise so high as to topple, maybe the effect of the 10x sugar?

The metro bakery recipe yielded a fluffier cakey canele that was less sweet and more eggy and not as photogenic.

UPDATE: it is a good idea to follow the zuchini and chocolate recipe to the letter with one exception. DO make a butter beeswax mixture to coat the (lightly) molds before baking.

Johnny Bears

Last night I went to a holiday get together at Johnny Bears. The hospitality there was surer, more genuine and thoughtful than most anything I've experienced in town for a while. John's Mom's meatballs were spectacularly light and tasty. Also delicious Arancini, home made sopressata and pineapple bread, superb bar tending and wine giveaways.

I brought cannele.

Some Sunday Cooking

I rinsed and carefully froze those shells from the T'day appetizer. Made stock with them today.

Cape may frying oysters are extremely fine fryers and available nearly year round.

Fresh florida 21-25'5 $7.50/# at Cape May Lobster House, very fresh, sweet and tasty. Used some for fried shrimp, some went to shrimp salad and the rest go to shrimp chowder using the lobster broth.

Cape May Salts, blah blah blah ......standard Cape May shell oysters perfectly sublime $7 dz.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Acer japonicum 'Aka omote'

Autumn color of 'Aka omote'.
'Aka omote' is a cultivar in the japonicum group of maples.

Tasty Match-up

The other day WholeFoods Market was sampling Chicken Parm and brocoli rabe as a combo. it was delicious, surprisingly delicious.

Another tasty match up thats easy on the carbs is pork parm with caesar salad (hold the croutons).
These cutlets are sliced and trimmed nicely by WFM $7.99#. The salad is romaine from their salad bar with a dash of lemon juice, some reggiano, black pepper, hard boiled eggs and Cardini dressing.

Comices Comices

Only a handful of vendors in Headhouse today.

I grabbed a few Comice pears from Beechwood.