Here’s a hard-core post! Those of you inclined to pop your own popcorn or fry your own nuts in peanut oil know that using table salt just doesn’t provide the same eating experience you get from popcorn or nuts which are salted with very finely ground salt crystals. What you want is “popcorn salt” available from Morton Salt here. It comes in pallets of 12 small packages for $17 a pallet. You’ll find that they make terrific presents.
I make it a practice of photographing anything we make that looks good enough to eat (ahem, that means most of what we actually eat). I thought it might provide a bit of inspiration if I posted some examples. (Foodies: please email me your latest creations so I can post them here as well.)
We recently finished the wild Maine blueberry season which meant adieu to our Blueberry Tarte, something that gets made on the first day those fabulous blueberries appear in the market (Wilson Farm and Russo’s, in my experience); and, at least on that inaugural occasion, completely consumed by the two of us within hours. We average two blueberry tartes a week during the season. Recipe on request (the most requested recipe published by Women’s Day in their first 50 years)!
Then, of course, it’s also the tomato season and we’ve had terrific luck at the farmers’ markets at the Charles Hotel and in front of the Science Center. Every other day we have this boring combination of tomatoes, fresh mozzarella (Mozzarella House at Russo’s), and Greek oregano with slivers of basil (not yet added).
With too many tomatoes (an oxymoron), we also make gazpacho from the recipe in David Rosengarten’s fabulous It’s All American Food, a collection of recipes for the classic dishes of various immigrant groups as made in America:
Last in the tomato category is the wonderful bread salad the Tuscans call panzanella, according to the recipe in Guiliano Bugialli’s The Fine Art of Italian Cooking (by which he means Tuscan cooking):
When we get into American-mode, one of our favorite things (after Buffalo Chicken Wings), is corned beef hash the way it used to be made, with sizable dice of corned beef, potato, and lots of onions with a fried egg on top:
Finally, dessert: the problem is to find good peaches and we’ve found it enormously hard. But when we do (Kimball’s Fruit Farm), we go for peach shortcake:
Then, here are a couple of Tips and Tricks which will whet the appetite for our meeting on October 17th where they’ll be demonstrated. We have a house rule that if we want to eat a potato chip, we need to have made it ourselves. And when the craving becomes too much to bear, that’s what we do. But when we need a lighter starch to go with the grilled sirloin, we do a variation the French call gaufrettes — you too can do it with your handy mandolin:
Finally, a garnish trick that I wish I’d known about years ago: fry a slice of prosciutto in bacon fat until well done; drain and blot on paper towels; and you’ve got a stunning garnish (I don’t mean pretty, I mean tasty), here crunched over our red pepper soup:
I’ve been steaming milk for my several-a-day cappuccini for many, many years. But I only recently realized something that every barista must know: in order to get that stiff foam which lasts during the period one drinks a cappunccino, you have to let the milk sit for two or three minutes after steaming it before you pour it into the cup. You’ll find that this make a terrific difference.
What do food bloggers do except write elaborate descriptions of the outrageous meals they made on a weeknight? (So, you’ve been warned!)
Some five years ago, Manhattan food critics were stunned when Daniel Boulud put the foie gras hamburger on the menu at DB Bistro Moderne. They mostly commented on the price ($32 today) rather than on the novelty; after all, Larousse Gastronomique contains the recipe. I’ve never had enough curiosity to give up a Manhattan meal at, say, Anthos, to try the DB Bistro version but I was always curious about whether the combination actually worked.
All this to say that it’s not hard to find out. Get the fresh foie at Savenor’s:
Grind your hamburger from chuck making certain that you have at least 20% fat:
Grill it up and put it on top of some caramelized onions:
Finally, sear some foie gras for the top:
It’s really good!