Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Wonderboy, what is the secret of your power?

Making the Take 5 was an amazing experience.

Recently I've been pondering my specialties and my strong points. I mean, I'm good in the kitchen, but where and why are always questions in the back of my head. Right now I love doing the Inventory, as I have a certain affection for numbers.

But every once in a while I get a crazy assed idea in my head and start running with it. Sometimes I run too fast, other times with scissors. This time, I paced myself and the result was worth the work...

(Moses and the Tablets...)


(Layering peanuts, caramel, then pretzels.)

(Making the PB filling.)

(Spreading the PB filling.)

(Making the Ganache.)

(Coating the bars with chocolate.)

(My angel...)

(Wrapped and ready to go...)

This whole thing was a little time consuming to be honest. We got the project started on a Tuesday and barely got it done by the time Sue and Claire showed up on Saturday.

Giant Take 5
* - The only special items required to make this "pimp" are 3'rd Pans and a lot of refridgerator space.
Chopped Peanuts
Caramel Sauce
Mini Pretzels
Peanut Butter
Powdered Sugar
Semi Sweet Chocolate
Heavy Whipping Cream
European Candy Coating
(I'm not putting measurements in because I used standard formulas instead.)

Start by lining the 3'rd Pans with plastic wrap.
Next, sprinkle (generously) chopped peanuts across the bottom of the pan then gently pour caramel sauce on until peanuts are completely topped.
Lay pretzels (again, generously) on top of caramel, then place pans in refridgerator to firm up a tad.
To make the peanut butter filling, mix together 1/2 cup PB, 3 T melted butter, and 1 cup of powdered sugar. (This formula can be scaled up to fit the needs of the project. Let's just say, I used a lot...) Remove the pans from the fridge and gently spread the PB over the pretzels so as not to disturb the basic shape of the candy bar. Place the pans back in the fridge and chill overnight.
The next day, make the ganache in a heavy stock pot. I made a medium ganache which is a basic ratio of 1:1, meaning: for every pound of chocolate you plan to use, you will need 8 oz. of heavy whipping cream. I used 5 pounds of chocolate, 40 oz. of whipping cream and my trusty Calphalon stock pot. To make the ganache, start by chopping the chocolate, then simply bring the cream to a boil, remove from the stove, and add the chocolate to the pot. At this point, just keep stirring the chocolate into the cream until you have a smooth glossy liquid ganache. You will need to let the ganache cool for a while so it's cool enough to pour over the PB without melting it. Once cool enough to pour, fill the 3'rd Pans with ganache, then place in the freezer overnight.
Once frozen solid, melt enough of European Candy Coating in a double boiler to coat the bottoms of the candy bar. (The part with the ganache showing.)
Quickly pour on the coating, spread evenly to all ends of the pan, then place in the refridgerator to harden. Once the coating is sufficiently hard, turn the candy bars out onto a clean working space. (I used two wire cooling racks covered with wax paper.)
Melt enough chocolate coating to cover the bars with a thin but full cover. Place in the fridge to harden. At this point you may notice a bit of the caramel seeping out from tiny holes; Don't Panic. Once the first coating of chocolate is hardened, melt more chocolate coating for a second more generous covering.
Finally, trim the edges and you are done... (Making the wrapper was simple. We used Gold Wrapping paper for the letters and red wrapping paper for the outer wrapper.)

And there you have it. What happens when you cross a professional, an artist, and a mad scientist? A giant f*%&ing Take 5, That's what...

Tenacious D - Wonderboy
The Sonics - Have Love, Will Travel
Arctic Monkeys - I bet that you look good on the dancefloor
Roger Allen Wade - If yer Gonna Be Dumb
The Minutemen - Corona

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Call ME!

In the past I've told you about the "dopey" kid that I used to work with, well... now, via Audioblogger, you too can experience the magic of what it's like to get a call from him late at night...
this is an audio post - click to play

Also, FBF is now running an RSS feed. Maybe thats good, maybe not. Check it, yo.

Food Baddies Forever RSS Feed

Blondie - Call Me
Cracker - Get off this
Nilsson - Without You
Cake - Nugget

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Peer into the drain, as the water goes down...

I received the latest issue of Food Arts yesterday and it's somewhat disheartening to see that they are already gearing up for "Fall" cooking. I love cooking according to the different seasons, but C'mon... August isn't even here yet!

Yesterday, Kerrie and I had barbecued Chicken and fresh cut French Fries for dinner last night. There is something undeniably wonderful about the tearing through a piece of chicken with the sticky sauces oozing all over the place, then washing it down with a hefty glass of Cutty Sark.

Later in the evening I made Kerrie's lunch which was a fruit salad that consisted of Honeydew Melon, Clementines, Apricots, Kiwi, and Strawberry's tossed with Rose Water.

Yeah, I chose this path...

Dream Warriors - Wash Your Face in my Sink
Blondie - One way or another
The Smiths - Panic
BT - Godspeed

Sunday, July 16, 2006

You don't know how you move me...

I have a love\hate relationship with my home town of Toledo, Ohio. Well, maybe not so much of a love\hate scenario but more like a "I love to hate Toledo" thing.

Toledo, the town which I am forever tethered, is where my family resides. They like it there because it is all they want. And that's fine... They're "comfy" there, but I need a little more.

I love Cincinnati. I love the access I have to the more exotic foods, and the selection of restaurants to chose from is more than ample. But, and there is always a "but", I sometimes find myself diving headfirst into a wading pool of nostalgia longing for a few of the old times.

Just recently, I tried coming up with a list of all the good things in Toledo and realized I was running very low on ideas. None the less, there are a few undeniably good places that forever changed my outlook on food and eating.

Charlie's Restaurant & Coney
Troy (AKA - Carnage) probably also looks back fondly on the days of us all piling into the Bucket and going to Charlie's in Perrysburg and in the Southwyck Mall looking for greasy burgers, gyros, chicken tenders and fries. Charlie's is basically a dumpy dive of a diner, but one of those places that NEVER lets you run out of a cup of coffee.

Calvino's is a place I often think back on when I make my own marinara or Neapolitan ragu. Calvino's is one of the few places you can go and get tomato sauce with fennel in it. They have amazingly good fresh baked bread and the atmosphere is intimate and cool. Still, the memories of driving to Calvino's in the pouring rain while listening to "Don't Fear the Reaper" probably still haunts Tom to this day.

Maxwell's Brew
Back around 1995, a great little coffeehouse opened up right off the campus of UT and they had one of THE best French Dip sandwiches I have ever tasted. Their coffee and desserts are so-so, but that sandwich paired with a heaping plate of perfect golden crisp french fries is to die for.

Poco Piatti
Poco Piatti serves as a compass when it comes to eating good food for me. Recently, after gushing over their grilled baby lamb chops, Kerrie asked me -point blank- why I like Poco Piatti so much. I froze for a moment and realized I had no acceptable answer except that the food is SO good. Grilled Pulpo, Kibbe Aras, Saganaki Kasseri, the aforementioned Grilled Baby Lamb Chops, sangria, and the list goes on and on... Never have I had a bad meal there, and more importantly, NEVER have I left unsatisfied. Poco Piatti serves as one of the few true dining experiences I've ever had.

And then what? A few places here and there, but nothing I long for. Many of the good places shriveled up and died (Carly Cheena's, Dominic's) long ago. Everything else is just There. Chains and crappy momandpops places that aren't NEARLY worth the capital it took to get them opened. What else can I say? (The Mango Tree was alright but not nearly the experience I had hoped it would be...)

On a side note, my Take 5 came out with spec-fucking-tacular results. Kerrie's sister Sue came to town with her daughter Claire just in time for the unveiling. It was, in my most humble opinion, well worth the effort. (Pics comings soon)

Matthew Sweet - Sick of myself
Butthole Surfers - Pepper
The Roots - The Seed 2.0
Ugly Kid joe - I hate everything about you

Thursday, July 13, 2006

This ain't no love-in, this ain't no happenin'...

Tonight I make one of my cheesecakes so as to "wow" my boss. Trite? Absolutely. But there is a good chance you've never had one of my cheesecakes. I'm not prone to bragging about much, but I make a fucktasticly good cheesecake.

Also, my Take5 is coming along nicely. It's in the final stages now, so I'm hoping all goes well as Kerrie and I finish it.

Tonight, while there is a break is the craptacular weather here in Cincinnati, I'm going to grill steaks for dinner. Not much to say there, but a good flat-iron done bourbon style speaks for itself.

Finally, Paul Oakenfold's new stuff is rocking my world.

Oh yeah, I said it...

Misfits - Night of the living dead
Paul Oakenfold - Faster Kill Pussycat
Blondie - Hangin' on the Telephone
Siouxsie & The Banshees - Cities in Dust

Monday, July 10, 2006

You can touch it, smell it, taste it so sweet...

Tonight I begin a new food "pimp".

Tonight begins a process of confectionery lunacy. An undertaking so crazy and time consuming and ultimately pointless that it surely make people say: Yup, Jay's definitely behind this one...

Faith No More - Epic
Sex Pistols - Pretty Vacant
Musto & Bones - Dangerous on the Dancefloor
MC 900 Foot Jesus - If I only had a brain
Misfits - Come Back