Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Even Cats Love Big Gay Ice Cream


Random Street Art



Strawberry Cheesecake Tart

OK so the reasons I am posting this is not because of the cute kid or her cute dad with his sexy accent, it's because he does something I have never seen done before and it kind of blows my mind.

He is about to blind bake his rolled out tart pastry when he grabs a piece of plastic wrap and covers the tart dough with it and then fills it up with beans to weigh it down then he puts it in a hot oven!  When he removes the baked shell out of the oven the plastic wrap hasn't melted?

Weird, plastic wrap doesn't melt in a 375F oven?  Has anyone ever done this or heard of this before?  I always use parchment or tin foil. Why doesn't the plastic on the bottom melt?  On a side note I think it is in a way kind of hysterical to see this dapper French Chef making a recipe with a little bit of Philadelphia (cream cheese), but I love the creme fraiche and white chocolate.....and late season Strawberries have been at the market....organic cream cheese from Whole Foods, or some good Ricotta....unfortunately there is no recipe except what is given on the video.  I'll see what I can figure out and get back to you.

                   

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

P&H Soda Co. The Video

A while back I did one of many visits to The Brooklyn Kitchen, in this particular visit I saw some very nicely package home made soda syrup from a company called P&H Soda Co.

Today I came across a video with the soda master and owner of P&H Soda Anton Nocito.  With the rise in popularity of Soda Stream seltzer machines I think Mr. Nocito's timing is perfect, now you can make a variety of home made sodas at home, some seasonal, and bypass the nasty commercial ones.   And you get to make them fresh, when you want them, so they become a home made treat not just another store bought thing.  As Anton points out in the video soda should be drunk on occasion as a treat, making them with home made syrup at home helps to create sodas that are indeed treat worthy.

When I used to travel a lot in SE Asia I would often come across festivals/parties happening on the streets or in the courtyard of a Wat (Buddhist temple) I think I was in Vietnam where I got into a conversation with a local who told me that the drinking of Coke was so prohibitively expensive that the only times many kids ever drank it was on their birthday.  Then he pointed out it was cheaper to buy a can of local beer.

Cheers.


P&H Soda Co: Refreshing All Natural Syrups for Soda Lovers from SkeeterNYC on Vimeo.

Alice, Alice and More Alice


This past weekend was, as I have mentioned before, the big 40th birthday celebration of Alice Water's iconic restaurant Chez Panisse.  Alumni Pastry Chef David Lebovitz has done two more articles on it (he was there so it's first hand reporting) including a delicious digression about Camino restaurant in Oakland where everything is cooked over a wood flame (gotta go).  Grist also ways in on Alice and her food legacy.

What an amazing celebration I wish I could have been there!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

In the Wake of Irene: The East Village and LES Comes Back to Life

Here are some pictures of what I saw today on the Lower East Side and in the East Village. I tried when I tool pictures of restaurants that were open to include the name so if you are looking for a place to eat tonight you will know at least a few places to try.
And several people drinking booze...this was a common sign to see lots of places that could open but the cooks were MIA because of the storm.
I got some grease on my camera lens and it's not coming off and it's making me crazy!
Frankies on Clinton Street.
Lavagna on East 5th and Avenue B.
Casimir on Ave B and 6th.

Tiramisu anyone? Paradiso has you covered.
The carnage in at our community garden La Plaza Cultural, we lost one of the big Willows, a Linden and a Plum tree....and maybe one or two others I couldn't see from behind the fence.

Thankfully the Brix wine store across the street was open so we could drown our sorrows over the loss of that Willow...
The Sunburnt Cow whose back room just missed being crushed by a downed tree was open and happening!
And at Zum Schneider it was business as usual, which means packed.


Yet Another Crumble: Peach Ginger

As I was making this crumble, as part of my I'm-stuck-in-the-house-because-there-is-a-hurricane make work project I realized that this was like the millionth crumble I have featured on this blog since I started and although the fruit and seasonings may vary the recipe is basically the same.  This crumble was born out of a batch of less than thrilling peaches which Neil said were not good eating peaches.  So in this case I added a cup of sugar to the filling, which is about a third cup more then usual and 4 heaping tablespoons of crystallized ginger for excitement (this is for 8 cups of fruit).
 
I love how buttery the topping is.  I added 4 Tablespoons of flour to this crumble and it still was runny after baking, not in a bad way just not in the thick like a can of pie filling thick way that I was hoping for.  Not that canned pie filling should be something to aspire to, but I do like a bit of thickness to the fruit juice in my crumble.  I used to use instant Tapioca to thicken it, but lately have been using flour, which strikes me as old fashioned (more authentic) and less processed, but maybe in the end doesn't do as good a job?  Not sure, next time I'll try 6 Tablespoons.

Here it is all topped and ready for the oven (375 F for about 40 minutes)
Even with the cup of sugar the filing was not over sweet, there was still a suggestion of sourness which I like as it gives a nice contrast to the sweet rich topping.
Still to go back to the original question, why do I make so many crumbles?  Why not pies or cobblers or buckles?  The answer may seem somewhat lame, I think crumbles showcase seasonal fruit in an easy to prepare way that can be dressed up with whipped cream or ice cream and make a lovely dessert even for the fanciest of meals.  You can make individual ones, you can change the topping by adding different nuts or old fashioned rolled oats, you can add more or less sugar and each one you make is an of the moment reflection of the season.   It can also be a great way to use the frozen fruit you put up in August to cheer up a dreary, dark February night. 
So I apologize for my seeming crumble obsession, but I think you have to agree with me that every time you take an aromatic bubbly fruit crumble out of the oven you are always glad you made it.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

New York Restaurants, Bars and Stores Prepare for Irene

 Things at this West Village cafe were bustling this afternoon.

 ...but a lot of places looked like this:
 
A 9/11 memorial, a collection of small clay plaques hanging on a chain link fence on Seventh Avenue South and Greenwich Avenue for the last 10 years, was being taken down by volunteers and moved to someplace safe.
 I love how every sign in every window was personalized. 
 Grocery stores, wine stores, hardware stores, bodegas all were doing a bustling business today.
This is the scene at the Key Foods in the East Village.  I read in the Times that Whole Foods stayed open all night, but was closed at noon.
 Beauty is always calm and collected.
 The restaurants that were open this afternoon all seemed to be doing a bang up business.
Upstate Craft Beer and Oysters was being manned by the owner who lived around the corner and was dedicated to staying open as late as he could.
My favorite Indian grocery store was open for business, but preparing for the worst.
Bars were by far the most definite group...
This was outside an Irish Pub whose cooks hadn't made it into work but whose bartenders had, so no brunch tomorrow but - come hell or high water (literally) - they were planning on being open!


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