Friday, June 30, 2006

16 Tons, and what do you get?

Another year in the bag folks....

Yesterday I turned 31 and, to quote Ice Cube, it was a good day. I was a little bit flustered because I had to stay late at work (which I almost NEVER have to do) but it was all worth it in the end.

Kerrie had gone out of her way to bake me a birfday cake and got me a copy of Anthony Bourdain's latest epic The Nasty Bits. The book, so far, is classic Bourdain. Rants and scathing bitterness toward all the left and rightwing fucktards that make dining more of a trauma than a pleasure. My cake, and let me be clear on this matter, was excellent: Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting. I LOVE yellow cake with chocolate frosting. I only ask for it and get it once a year, which is on my birfday. There is something so intense and satisfying for me about a slice of what is undeniably the cheapest, quickest, plainest cake ever. It's a thing, people, you don't need to understand it.

Dinner last night was equally exceptional. Again, I went with Flat Iron steaks with garlic smashed potatoes and julienned snow peas. Garnished with a modest sprinkle of Hawaiian Red Salt, this is one of my favorite meals.

On the topic of desserts, I really outdid myself this past week...

A few weeks ago I saw a recipe for Creme Fraiche ice cream. This really got me thinking about an idea I had a while back. The process took a few days, but the end result was worth it...

First off I made the Creme Fraiche which took 24 hours to sit and then another 24 hours to set. On the third day I baked off my crust and made the base for the ice cream. Again, 24 hours. The fourth day though, that was the money shot. And it goes a litte something like this:

Creme Fraiche Ice Cream In All Spice Graham Cracker Crust
Creme Fraiche -
2 Cups Heavy Cream
1/4 Buttermilk
Ice Cream -
1 Cup Whole Milk
2 Ounces plus 1 T Sugar
4 Egg Yolks
8 Ounces Creme Fraiche
Crust -
1 pack of graham crackers from box
1/2 Stick of Butter (Cold)
1 t All Spice
1/4 Cup Sugar

Start by making the Creme Fraiche. In a glass measuring cup, combine the heavy cream and the buttermilk. Cover with a clean towel to the mix can breath and set out on the counter at room temp for 24 hours. After this initial period of sitting, whip the Creme Fraiche lightly for no more than 5 to 10 seconds, the place in a airtight container and refridgerate for 24 hours. In the end you will have a classic "sour cream" that is FAR superior to anything you can buy in the grocery store. This process can get a little weird for people, but.. you know, c'mon folks. Don't be a pansy.
Next, make the ice cream base. Start by combining the egg yolks and the 1 T of sugar in a medium sized mixing bowl. Next, mix the Milk and the 2 Ounces of Sugar in a heavy sauce pan and bring to a light boil. Now, temper the egg mix slowly with the hot milk. Finally, add the Creme Fraiche and return to the sauce pan. Continually cook over low heat until the mix thickens slightly. Place mix in a a glass mixing bowl and refridgerat for 24 hours.
Finally, make the crusts. In a food processor, combine all the crust ingredients until you have a soft crumbs mix. Press the crumbs into a small springform pan lined with aluminum foil, reserving some for a topping. (1 to 3 Tablespoons.) Bake the crust at 350F for 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly golden. Let cool completely before filling with ice cream.
For the assembly, put on some BT or The Clash and get focused. Start by freezing the ice cream base in a ice cream maker. Once the base is frozen, scoop into the crust and freeze until set; 2 to 6 hours. Finally, use your reserved crumb mix to evenly top the ice cream. At this point, use a torch to lightly toast the crumbs on top. Carefully release the springform and unfold the foil. Slide onto a plate and the rest is up to you.

I garnished my dessert with Strawberries macerated in Triple Sec and a Pirouline cookie, and the plate with some crumbs and chocolate sauce.

In the end, a good with the possibilites for work and life mounting.

"If I had my time again, I'd do it all the same..."
- B.A.D II

16 Tons - Tennessee Ernie Ford
Rush - Big Audio Dynamite II
Global Underground Ibiza: Disc 2 - Sasha (REALLY good stuff...)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

How many people wanna kick some ass?

I could tell you that I've been busy, but why bother. I've just gone lazy... And I've been busy.

Work has been crazy. And not Jackass crazy where we all have a good laugh at the end of the day but more like I'd like to talk to you about The Lord crazy. Our exec is off for an undetermined amount of time. Then there are the eminent cuts being made to the staff for the summer months. And of course, no commercial kitchen is complete without a needy, clingy, dopey fat kid who just graduated with a culinary degree but isn't quite sure how many quarts make up a gallon.

The foodservice director is a super nice guy though. I was really not sure of him at first, but now I feel that he's an alright guy.

Now, with the summer in full swing, things are changing 'round these parts. Kerrie and I are exercising more and swimming a lot, our apartment is more of a home than a place to live, and the food around here is fucking phenomenal.


Last week I made an amazing salad of Avocados and Napolitos. Baby cactus leaves aren't something people are always too keen on, but they taste amazing. This week I made a really great Mango salad with Balsamic Vinegar. This Friday I plan to do Bourbon Style Sirloins with Fried Polenta, Mixed Greens, & Shocked String Beans.

Having such amazing access to any type of food-stuff I want can be dangerous. I get crazy with some of my ideas and I'm not always sure if Kerrie will be digging on the stuff I kick out. None the less, I keep moving forward and am thankfully not stuck in a rut. I crave the craziness of the nouvelle menu, but am a sucker for some good old fashioned comfort food. (Black & Bleu Burgers are a repeating favorite of mine...)

Tonight I plan on making Coriander Rubbed Pork Chops with a Peach Relish for dinner, and Chocolate covered caramels with Sea Salt for dessert. White wine for dinner and maybe one of the vintage ports I've been hoarding for dessert.

So yeah. In addition to the cooking, I'm still working on the Podcasting gig (I need to finish my first four essays before I can start recording) plus I'd like to get into the habit of one blog post per week. I'm also working on some new music with Jeb and a DJ mix that I want out by October. Of course, this all comes smashed up with work, exercise, and the general distraction of video games. Lots of video games...

Till next time...

Stroke 9 - Kick Some Ass
Toy Dolls - Livin' La Vida Loca
Chris Classic & Nazareth - Unleashed
The Smiths - Panic
Faith No More - Falling to Pieces