23 September 2012


I've preparing for a busy Fall so I have been trying out things that I can make in larger batches and freeze, and I have also been on a taco kick (been buying whole chickens, grinding up the meat for tacos and freezing the raw meat in small portions, rendering the fat for something delicious in the future and making stock to have on hand). The weeks of my farmer's market are numbered, so I bought a bone-in pork shoulder (just over 3lbs) and made carnitas.

I seared the meat on both sides, which had been salted a couple of hours before, in bacon grease. I then ground up one dried ancho chili with a tablespoon or so of cumin, and added that, two bay leaves, a stick of cinnamon, a quartered onion, five or six cloves of sliced garlic, and five dried cayenne peppers to the pot. I then added enough water to cover and a pinch of salt. This I cooked in the oven at 325ºF (160ºC) for about four hours (I removed the cinnamon halfwat through as it was pungent and didn't want it do dominate; this worked well). Here was the result:

 I removed the meat and strained the liquid; then shredded the pork.

Once shredded, the meat was tossed with the braising liquid and pout back in the oven for a few minutes. The carnitas were delicious with diced onion, cilantro and jalapenos; I forgot to add lime, but I think that this would have brightened the flavor a bit.

15 September 2012

rosemary gin fizz

Back when my rosemary was thriving I infused some gin. I added a decent amount (as shown) and let it sit for three days, then filtered the gin through cheesecloth. The gin turned the color of a rich olive oil and smelled heavenly. A month later, this made great gin fizzes with lemon, club soda and a bit of sugar; Broker's gin worked very well; any well-rouned gin would do.

13 September 2012

mousse de foies de volaille

For party food, you really can't go wrong with Julia Child's chicken liver mousse in aspic. Very simple (okay, not the aspic, but that's optional), and very delicious. And good chicken livers have become more and more available.

11 September 2012

canelés, attempt nº 2

The second attempt at canelés was much better. Started at 400ºF, lowered to 350º after 30 mins. I also used a coating mixture that was higher in beeswax than safflower oil, and being the second attempt they were probably better seasoned, the canelés slid right out of the molds—perfectly.

10 September 2012

canelés, attempt nº 1

I was recently in Paris and have been wanting to make canelés for years. I went to Dehillerin—the finest cookware supply store that exists (since 1820!)—and bought some canelé molds.

Following Paula Wolfert's Canelé de Bordeaux recipe, I started by seasoning the new molds. They get oiled and then baked.

The batter is similar to a crêpe batter—very wet—with the addition of rum. This needs to rest at least 24 hours.

And since these adorable molds are tin-lined copper that bakes for at least an hour, butter will not do. Wolfert suggests beeswav and safflower oil. Beeswax is the key to the perfect crust. It is also very difficult to get off of and out of containers and utensils.

I filled each tin with the mixture—"white oil"—to get a decent covering. I preheated the tins in the oven (on warming setting). At first I thought I had too much wax, so re-did some.

These then rest for 6-7 hours and go into the freezer before filling.

The molds get filled most of the way up.

These aren't the larger molds, and took about an hour.

Of thirteen molds, these six were presentable. More wax on try nº2! The are, nonetheless, delicious (and much better than the average pâtisserie's limp and few-days-old canelés).

Wolfert notes, on cleaning the molds: "After baking, don't wash or scrub the interiors of the molds. To remove baked debris: place the molds in a moderate oven; heat until debris burns; remove debris with paper toweling." Of course, this is a messy and smoky process.

04 September 2012

panino con trippa alla fiorentina

Last time that I had a tripe sandwhich was in Philly; This one, in Florence, was melt-in-your-mouth tender and delicious, cooked with tomato and seasoned with chilli pepper on a simple bun.