Saturday, May 31, 2008

Roll that my way!

We recently developed a partnership with Living Harvest Bakery. They do very nice daily breads/sandwich breads. In return for using our store as a customer pick-up location, we get an occassional loaf or goodie. Yesterday they brought us a cinnamon roll. I warmed it up, added the butter and I was off to a good start this morning.

Viva Espana

Cooking light just did a piece on Catalonian cuisine, so we prepared a few of the dishes. First was an intense garlic soup that was so good, but so smelly (days later our house reeks all the way out to the street), a vegetable mixture (samfaina) with smoked paprika, and a paprika pepper cod. It was an intense meal that was washed down with a hearty Spanish red.

Bitter batter bretton

Our down-the-street friends, Tom y Consuelo had us up for dinner the other night for a nice roast and homemade tortillas. While the boys talked existentialism (no, really), I was shooting pics of a Galette Bretton with grapefruit peel. I topped it with berries and cinnamon studded cream. A bit dense and heavy for summer, but good twang from the peel. (BTW, they live up the street, but Tom insists on reversing directions when talking about people on our street, so two can play at that game.)

Run man! Run!

Check out this little dude. He's running as fast as he can. I'm not quite sure why. Maybe he had too much olive oil and now he's running to ye ancient pot. Maybe he just realized he's naked. Either way, he's running! This was a recent gracias gift from our favorite bike team. We used it last night on our salads and tonight its going on a cold pasta salad. A mild oil with a grassy start and peppery finish - should be perfect for tonight.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Welcome home meal

Tyler's home and he doesn't eat much red meat, nor does he eat many desserts, so here we go! A harissa marinated bison fillet from our recently purchased bison (locally raised and processed) with my 5-grain sourdough (which has sold out each day), and finished with a chocolate orange walnut cup.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Galo's Italian Grill - Richmond, IN

I've been in Richmond, Indiana for the past couple weeks, going to another intensive class.
Last time I was in Richmond, I ate at Palais Royale in Centerville, and blogged about it. This time, someone told me that Palais Royale has closed, but a new place has opened in Richmond.

As I understand it, Galo's Italian Grill was opened by the people who own Old Richmond Inn, which used to be the only "nice" restaurant in town. (When Rob and I got married [not legally] while we were living in Richmond, we had our reception dinner at Old Richmond Inn.)

Inside, Galo's is a little cavernous, and my friends said they had heard it can be loud, which I can see. The wine list was good, and had some nice Italian wines. The menu is fairly extensive, so it was easy for all of us to find something we wanted. One of us had "brick oven" pizza, which is a house speciality. The crust was some kind of whole wheat, and looked good. I had spaghetti, which was good and flavorful, and my other friend had eggplant Parmesan. Everything seemed to be made from scratch, and was tasty. For dessert, we had a creme brulee and a fruit tart, both of which were good but not fabulous (I have to compare everything to Rob).

The only real downside for anyone traveling in Eastern Indiana is the size of the portions at Galo's. You definitely knew you were in Indiana, where people don't feel like they've eaten if it hasn't been super-sized. I couldn't even finish half of my dinner, and was glad I was staying in a dorm room with a microwave available, so I could take my food home and have it for lunch the next day. It would have been a real waste if I'd been in a hotel.


If you're ever in DFW Airport with a couple hours between flights, I recommend you make your way to Concourse D. It's the newest concourse in the airport, and one of the nicest I've been in. There are plenty of shops to while away some time, but it also has some of the better restaurants in DFW -- you won't have to eat at Micky D's or I Wish It Weren't Friday's.

I couldn't find Papadoux (the restaurant Rob wanted me to go to), but there are two nice restaurants on the second level of Concourse D. I ate at Cantina Laredo this time -- on a previous trip I ate at the Reata Grill. Sit on the balcony with the big windows showing the blue Texas sky, and you can almost pretend you're somewhere outdoors and not stuck in an airport between flights.

There are also some really fun interactive, walk-through sculptures in Concourse D that your kids might want to play in -- or your inner child might enjoy.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Scrap & Sizzle

I'm nearing the time of Tyler being gone, and I have yet to go shopping except at our store. The fridge is essentially empty. The cupboards are bare. The shelves have nothing but dust. But I did have a bit of Spanish chorizo that had started to mold on the ends and two packages of ancient ramen that have been taking shelf space - now that the shelves were empty, they stood out like sore thumbs. So for lunch, seared chorizo with ramen noodles, pan fried in sesame oil and finished with black sesame seed. (I just love both of these pictures - great lighting today - worth you clicking to enlarge!)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Open for business

I've always wanted to be able to bake consistently and sell my creations. No one in our town is doing anything special, but now's not really the time to be opening a bakery business with the price of flour and dairy. So I found a middle ground. I'm doing focused baking - meaning sure sales that won't have me working ungodly hours.

Today was the first day and here's what I made:
Chocolate Apricot Tart

Then I made browned butter, muscovado chocolate chip cookies using 60.5% Venezuelan chocolate discs

And finally I'm able to make one sourdough boule and two baguettes each day from my juniper berry starter

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Pomp and Mousse

Yesterday our intern, Patrick, graduated from high school. He heads off next fall for New Mexico State University for their 4-year culinary and hospitality program. He asked me to make a few sweets for his party so here's what I did.

Toffee Tartlets: Crushed cacao nibs on the bottom, covered in wet toffee, thick 64% ganache and a kadaifi nest smothered in honey and turbinado - that should get the ol' diabetes going!

Mango Cheesecake with Lemongrass Cream:

Raspberry Macarons: Filled with a bittersweet ganache to cut the sweetness.

Molé Mousse: A 45% chocolate mousse infused with molé rojo set atop a chocolate coated baked corn tortilla with an ancho piñon.

Just let it go!

Have you noticed how battles around the world keep going and going? No, not the Middle Eastern wars going on right now...Moors and Christians! I decided I really should eat something so I looked in the cupboard and it was mostly bare. But I did find some of our Singing Pines hand harvested wood parched wild rice, a can of organic black beans,a and a wrinkled old bell pepper. Then I took a trip to my past and whipped up a pot of Moors e Cristianos (I'm probably butchering the spelling). I lived on beans and rice for so many years. First in St. Louis when I was running and needed constant energy, and then in New Orleans where I had red beans and rice every Monday (wash day).

I didn't bother finding a recipe, so I added some Maldon Sea Salt, fresh cracked pepper, a red onion, some bourbon smoked paprika (a recent sample sent by the sorghum company) and Greek Olive Oil. Turned out to be the best thing I've had since Tyler left.

I paired it with a New Mexico table red wine that a friend gave us. It has chocolate in it - how could that be wrong?! It suprisingly wasn't too bad. I'll have some more tonight.

Light Lunch

Lunch on Friday was some of my sourdough with LeBlanc olive oil, a bit of freshly ground pepper and a really great hard goat cheese from Trinidad, CO, that some friends shared with me. It was a bit rubbery, but the initial and lingering tastes were out of this world!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Cheese Fame!

For those of you who aren't in the area, here's a video that one of our members (Richard from Gallery 400) made of our last party. You don't get to see the cheese or the speech that I make, but you get the idea...notice the wine table with about 40 bottles...all but 3 were empty by the end of the night.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sorghum - Such an ugly word

But what an amazing aroma! We just received sorghum at the store and now I'm playing with it. The taste is sweeter and cleaner than molasses (they are two different beasts), and the aroma is like a sweet, dark beer.

Sweet sorghum is a delicious syrup that is created from the sorghum cane. Juices are extracted and then concentrated through evaporation into a healthy and sweet syrup. Genuine sorghum contains nutrients such as iron, calcium and potassium and used to be prescribed by doctors before dietary supplements were available.

Sorghum is not molasses. While it is sometimes called sorghum molasses, the proper name is sweet sorghum or sorghum syrup. Molasses is made from the sugar cane and is typically a byproduct of the sugar making process. Sorghum is made from the sorghum cane which is typically planted for the sole purpose of making the syrup. The flavor of sorghum is also very different from molasses.

My guess is that we'll see a renewal of sorghum in culinary circles as the sorghum growers get their marketing acts together.

Tonight I made Sorghum Chewie Bars from Oatey, slightly sweet, and hearty, these were really tasty treats.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I will survive

Tyler called concerned last night because he hadn't seen any posts of savory foods - assuming correctly that I haven't eaten much since he left. So today I decided to make a decent lunch - Applegate Farms pepperoni, cherry tomatoes, and buffalo mozzerella on pita. There - I ate.

Coming in to port

Last night was meloncholy with all of the sad world news, so I plopped in front of a tape that my mom sent and enjoyed a nice glass of this zin port. A bit young, but still a nice end to the day.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Gearing up

I'm gearing up for my sans-Tyler baking spree! So far on the docket:

-Cashew Dacquoise with Kumquat Confit and Chocolate Sorbet (Amernick)
-Coffee Eclairs (Greenspan ala Fauchon)
-Brioche Tart w/ Apricots and Mango (Ferber)
-Walnut Tart w/ Orange and Chocolate (Ferber)
-Milk Chocolate and Peanut Butter bars (Ong)
-Pistachio Rose thumbprint cookies (Ong)
-Banana Butterscotch Cream Pie (Lebovitz)

That's the start...

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Say Cheese!

I don't know if any of the people who attend our cheese parties read this blog, but I'd sure like to know what they think of the parties. We've been throwing parties about once a month for nearly four years. Each time I bring a cheese in and sell it at nearly wholesale cost just for the sake of bringing great cheese to Silver City.

Tonight's was nothing too exciting - just Comté - but we gobbled up nearly forty pounds of it. For those of you not from this area what you have to realize is we're a town of around 10,000. There are over 125 members to this club - the Silver City Cut the Cheese Club. I'm blown away every time I think of that. What other town anywhere in the US has that high of a percentage of people in a cheese club - let alone any club!

Its not for the love of cheese for most members. Rather its for the love of a great party, but still, cheese is what brings us together. It makes me rather proud, and immensely happy that we throw these parties, and now I'm just waiting for the Dairy Council to see what a great marketing opportunity they have with us :)

Remember - you have a friend in cheeses!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Celery Cage Death Match

Yet another celery dessert - this one a cake for two co-workers who had birthdays this week. Strawberry dacqois base, topped with three layers of strawberry genoise, filled with lemon curd, strawberry jam, surrounded by celery mousse and coated in a white chocolate ganache. The cage turned out ugly, but look at that beautiful white chocolate orb in the center!

So why do I keep using celery? Until you've had it you won't quite understand, but as I've said before it is perfect to balance the cloyingly sweetness of many of my desserts. Every celery dessert has been a hit, and until the National Celery Council hires me to be its spokesperson, I won't stop!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A gift fit for a crab

We get fun (and odd gifts) from time to time. And you know that a gift is often related to how someone views you. So all of you Freuds out there...interpret this:

Chip off the old block

I won't bore you with countless pictures of the sourdough I'm creating right now, but this loaf is a bit different. When you bake sourdough you need to increase the humidity in the oven. Normally this requires spritzing and splashing. For this loaf, I soaked cherry wood chips (used for smoking meat), and tossed them in. It did its job as far as steam, but I'm not completely sold on the flavor aspect. I definitely tasted the cherry wood, but did not like the taste with a basic white sourdough. I think it would be better on a whole wheat.

Suppa de Pesce

One of the foods we left for the bikers, that was still around was a number of fish fillets (cod, halibut, salmon), so I asked eGullet friends for a good fish stew recipe. HERE is what they gave me and we made it last night. It was easy to make and very good. A hint of lemon, a subtle wine undertone and luscious onions - superb.

Farewell my friend

Today Tyler leaves for three weeks of seminary - be prepared for many posts about desserts and fast meals. But another sad moment happened today. I threw away a shirt I've worn for 15 years. It was tattered and ripped, but I continued to wear it even to the most important meeting. It was my friend, my guardian, my hope for a better tomorrow. It is gone. Farewell. Enjoy your journey. Forgive me for making your final days lived at the bottom of a trashcan. I should have burned thee.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Banana Boats

See what a little extra pate brisee and some stolen bananas can make! I lined the bottom of the boats with turbinado for texture, placed in one banana slice sauteed in butter and palm sugar, and filled in with 75% ganache. I only made six and they were gone within five minutes. Good thing I ran this morning.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Nothin' says summer like a skull!

Or maybe the first cactus bloom of the new year.

Akuna Fritata

Tyler always makes our Sunday lunch while I take a little nap - its the only day that I have that luxury. He cranked out a fast fritata of mushrooms, red onions, garlic, Ricotta Fresca (a super cheese), and a few other odds and ends. Served with a salad and green chile cheese bread.

Das Boat

We've had two bikers staying with us for the Tour of the Gila bike race which is on the pro tour. These guys had stayed with us a couple of years ago, and so it was nice to have familiar guests.

When we said our goodbyes today I saw some leftover bananas and immediately started planning a dessert - pate brisee boats filled with carmelized bananas in palm sugar with a layer of ganache - sounds good huh?! Well they took the nanas leaving me with an empty boat waiting to be filled (They may be reading this so - its alright, I'll get more bananas). Then in a twist of fate, Tyler came home when dinner was coming out of the oven (bison steak) and said, can we share our dinner with friends. Truthfully, I was reluctant, but we did. So being bananaless, I needed to whip up a fast dessert - leftover lime curd with frozen berries.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Everybody hurts...

That classic REM song is my yang to the Good mornin' yin. Today that's the song that's been going through my head. Ongoing staff issues at the paying job, staff who have major family problems that are causing lot's of pain, maddening winds, lost keys...Calgon take me away!

Or, better yet...let's pop another loaf in the oven! On days like this, I take a slightly longer lunch, crank up the oven as high as it will go, and prepare another banneton of sourdough. Loaves are fine - bread of life stuff - but banneton (wicker bread forms) formed bread sings to me. All of you lazy readers, don't skip the opportunity to click on these pics and see how beautiful bread is. This is what I needed to take a sad song and make it brighter (geez, I fit in one more musical reference...not too bad!).

Good mornin', good mornin'...

I'm a morning person and many mornings I wake up with the Singing in the Rain classic, "Good mornin', good mornin'" song going through my head. Yesterday was like that. I woke up rearing to go and so I turned on the oven and popped in a loaf of the sourdough that was thinking about its short life before I popped it in the oven...

Everyone should have such a pretty oven!

And, its almost gone already...