Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Chive Blossom Vermouth

Sauces are elegant. They connect the dots. A great sauce is sop worthy. In classic sauce making shallots are cooked down with wine and aromatics. The alcohol mostly cooks off, the wine flavor boils away and we are left with an acidic allium syrup. The sauce is built on this platform. We wanted to see if we could use the wine as the sauce. We started with vermouth and added chive blossoms. Then we spun them in the rotary evaporator. The process removed the alcohol and the harsh hot notes of the chives. We were left with the aromatic herbal notes of the vermouth infused with the tamed chive blossoms. The finished product yielded 400 grams of essence. The essence is a sauce. Almost. It carries a full flavor across the palate. The vermouth and chive blossom unite to form a distinct whole. It needs something. A bit of fat, a touch of body. And these additions will allow us to differentiate and customize the sauce to the application. For our first sauce we seasoned the essence with 0.5% salt. We gave it mouthfeel with 0.1% xanthan gum, 0.5% gum arabic. We browned 113 grams of butter and added 30 grams of pistachio oil. We enriched the essence with the blend of pistachio oil and brown butter. The only debate is whether to keep the sauce broken or emulsified.

Buttermilk Marinated Tofu

We Don't Know Any Better

We are often asked how we are able to work, live and do pretty much everything together. The funny because it's true answer is we don't know any better. Perhaps we don't know anything different. We met in a kitchen and have been cooking together ever since. We each have roles. They overlap. We bang heads. Sparks do fly. And we are better as a whole than we could ever be as individuals. Today we celebrate 13 years of not knowing. Give it a shot, you'll be surprised at what you learn.

Preserved Lemon Sausage Begins

We started with pork shoulder and belly. We seasoned the meat with 0.75% salt and a heavy dose of Lacto lemons. We added smoked crushed red pepper for additional spice and savoriness. We topped the meat off with some white wine. We are letting the meat marinate for two days and then we will grind it.

In the Kitchen with Alain Passard

It is billed as a graphic novel. I guess that is a popular genre today. It doesn't matter how it is being described. In the Kitchen with Alain Passard is an incredible introduction to the processes of Alain Passard. It shows his approach to ingredients. It explores his passion for flavors. The book captures the essence of a culinary icon. The drawings bring the ideas into action. The small selection of recipes are smart and engaging. They provide a platform to build and grow upon. And if you have Alain Passard: The Art of Cooking With Vegetables this graphic novel brings life to those recipes too.

Blueberry Syrup

We froze the blueberries. We put them into the rotary evaporator with our modified glassware. We added maple syrup. The blueberries thawed and released their juices. It blended with the maple syrup. The berries began to burst and the evaporator removed some moisture. The flavors concentrated. The blueberries are still plump. We used no heat. We seasoned the mixture with 0.3% salt. The syrup is bright, clean and tastes of fresh picked blueberries. We now have a great topping for buttermilk pancakes, buttermilk ice cream and buttermilk pancake ice cream.

Frozen Fruit Pie

I needed pie. Peaches aren't ripe yet. Cherries are just coming into season. We don't have a pantry stocked with jars of preserved cherries and peaches. We do have access to supermarkets. And they are selling some ripe picked and flash frozen fruit. The fruit is not cooked. It is a blank canvas preserved Han Solo style. And we take advantage of it. Aki whipped up a pie crust. While it chilled she cooked the frozen fruit filling. Then she hot loaded the pie, pinched on the top crust and put it in the oven. When is was cooked we not so patiently cooled it. The fruits blended. The crust was flakey, crispy and cooked. The juices overflowed. This was a great pie that did not last long. Good thing we can get more frozen fruit.