Archive for the ‘experiments’ Category

2
Nov

Setting the bar low

   Posted by: Livia

So I’ve been thinking about how I’ve been having trouble finding time to post lately. And by lately, I mean an embarrassingly long time.

Then I read this open letter to food bloggers.

And I thought, you know – this not posting probably has an upside. I could offer things, and everyone could win.

So comment on this post letting me know what you can’t/won’t eat or colors you like and hate or something quirky about yourself (and then I’ll drop you an email for a mailing address – don’t put that on the publicly viewable side unless you really do that regularly), and I shall send you something I’ve made. It might be food. It might be paper arts. It might be a rock. It might be some random tea from my cupboard. Who knows? But everybody wins.

That’s the plan at least. I’m guessing that even if I spread this around a bit, there still won’t be more that 20 things to make and send. I’ll definitely do the first 20. If there’s more response, I’ll do my best.

ETA (15 Dec 2010): All packages have been sent out, but feel free to still stop by and leave a comment.

16
Jul

Bagels in Philadelphia

   Posted by: Livia

For years, Philadelphia has been a bizarrely unsatisfying city for bagels. I mean, New York is right over there! I could get good bagels in the suburbs – why so hard here?

I used to swing by my parents’ bagel place every time I’d visit for a dozen day old bagels to freeze. Then that place had a fire and closed that location.

I tried the authentic New York bagel place on the edge of the city in an awkward shopping center… and, yes, they were authentic and tasty, but in that way where the crust is so hard it hurts. Those are not my favorite kinds of New York bagels.

Then – a fancipants market opened up near my yoga studio. It’s not the kind of market where you can just go for random groceries, but it’s pretty good as a place to bring all the small, expensive, artisan foodstuffs from around the city to within easy walking distance. The sourced some pretty darn good bagels from South Street, and I considered all my problems solved.

And then – Capogiro, the local gelato chain, started importing H&H bagels from New York. Whee! They’re pretty tasty, too. And only $2 for half a dozen after 5pm.

And now my suburban bagel place has reopened!

And! And! There’s news that in the future there will be a Montreal-style bagelry.

So I think I want to have a Bagel Showdown Brunch in early October or early November. Only savory bagels will be offered, as a matter of principle. Who’d be interested? Let’s talk schedules

Menu Planning

Bagels
1 each
  • plain
  • everything
  • sesame
  • onion
  • poppy
  • egg
  • and salt (for the boss fight)

cut into eights or twelfths
from

Spreads
butter

cream cheese

  • scallion cheese
  • roasted red pepper cream cheese
  • parsley and roasted garlic
  • olive and almond

Toppings
onion
tomatoes
hot sauce
possibly lox

Other brunch dishes
eggs to order
bacon
collard greens & tomatoes
fresh fruit
feel free to bring something (small)

Beverages
Coffee only if you ask ahead of time
Tea in abundance
Orange Juice (Fairly fresh if I get to either my new tea place or to Earth Cup – otherwise from a carton)
whole milk
water
feel free to bring/request cocktails

Note: this meal would be neither vegan nor celiac friendly. It could accommodate vegetarians with advanced warning.

So there were pretty beets at the market. Well, about a week and a half ago… but they’re still in my fridge. And I’d meant to make my usual beet and purple cabbage shred, but there haven’t been any purple cabbage these days. So I’d been pondering what to do with them.

I didn’t want to substitute a different variety of cabbage because the color bleed would be unfortunate. So I’ve just been sitting around with beets and not using them.

I also have in my pantry a package of black rice noodles. I had a plan to use them in some showy way for company… possibly as a cold soba type salad variation.

And then I just sort of played from there.

Cold Black Rice Noodle and Beet Salad

Julienne 4 raw beets (but it could easily have been a few more).

Boil some water

Julienne carrots until you have about a third the quantity of beets. You could also throw in some red bell pepper or cucumber or whatnot.

Cooking the noodles – do not believe the package! The package says to put the noodles into the cold water, bring it to a boil, and then cook for a few minutes. This will lead to mush and tears. Instead, boil the water, turn the heat OFF, then add the noodles (I did two of the little wrapped packages, so that’s about 5 ounces), and within a minute or so they will be plenty soft. Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking even though you will lose starch. Actually, for these purposes, there wasn’t much harm in losing the released starch.

Dump the noodles in with the vegetables.

Squeeze 2 limes, add 2 Tablespoons of black vinegar and about an eight of a cup of plain rice vinegar, sprinkle in about 2 teaspoons of brown sugar, and a healthy glug of toasted sesame oil. Mix that all together and see whether it feels like the proper amount of sauciness and whether the tastes are balanced.

Toast some unsweetened shredded coconut, and add it (this really improved the dish!).

And then feel free to go through your cupboards looking for other fun things. The only thing else I added were some toasted almond slivers, but sesame seeds or tofu or more vegetables all would have been good. Cabbage would be a good addition, too.

The end result was charmingly vegan and gluten free, but I was tempted to try adding a splash of fish sauce, and it’s with noting to people with dietary concerns that the noodles contain corn starch.

And now I know what I’ll be taking to the next food blogger pot luck.

6
Apr

Beef tongue

   Posted by: Livia Tags: ,

Friends of mine recently went in for a half share of beef. And then a few months later the couple brought a third into their household – only the new person was vegetarian and had trouble with meat just being cooked in the same room.

It helps that I like the person, but I’d be excited anyway because this is bringing a lot of free beef into my life.

It’s also bringing the weird beef into my life. For some reason half of a cow (or steer, I suppose) yielded 2 tongues. I don’t know.

I knew exactly what I wanted to do with this tongue – I wanted to cure it and slice it thinly onto sandwiches. Only I don’t own pink salt, and I didn’t have any other plans for the huge amount I’d have left over. And basically, it was going to end up procrastinated for months taking up space in my freezer.

So I started looking for more options, and happened upon Tacos de Lingas. Woot! Just slow braising the tongue until it reaches joy.

I followed the recipe pretty closely to start, and I put into my soup pot

  • 1 frozen tongue
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • plenty of water to cover
  • and I just added a little sprinkle of salt

And here’s why I skimped on the salt. You see, I’ve just recently written up my recipe for carnitas, and I figured that if I cooked all the liquid out and ended up with something shredded, that would be delicious and would have flavors so concentrated that I’d want to wait on correcting the salt until later.

So I cooked it down until the meat was cooked through, and I took it out to slice into 1″ this rounds, to break up the grain. I also peeled the tongue… to discover that even right underneath the thick skin/membrane there was the same rough tongue texture. So I ended up cutting off the skin, instead of peeling, so that I’d get below the texture.

All back in the pot, and I cooked until there was very little liquid left. Then I poked the meat with a wooden fork – and it didn’t shred. So I added half a pot of water and started cooking it down again, poking occasionally as I went.

Still not shredding.

I tasted the meat, and it was okay, but it could use a little more flavor. So I added some wine. And some ground oregano and black pepper.

Cooked down until there was very little liquid, and it still wasn’t shredding.

So I added a pot full of water again, and about quarter of a cup of balsamic vinegar and another quarter of a cup of red wine vinegar.

By the time this cooked down again (let’s say the total is about 14 hours over a few days), the meat still wasn’t shredding, but it had the lose give of good pot roast. So I declared it done.

Pulled out the meat, and I had about a cup of liquid left behind. I corrected the seasonings (mostly with salt and a bit of pepper), and I starting sifting whole wheat flout into it gradually. About 2 teaspoons later, I had a good dark broth. I remembered that I had some water hanging out in my fridge from reconstituting some dried mushrooms, so I added that, too – it added a nice flavor, but was totally optional.

And then I forgot about the tacos, and I had it over leftover cooked brown rice with gravy.

1
Apr

Cobbler-esque

   Posted by: Livia Tags: , , ,

I’ve always refused to look in a cookbook for a recipe for cobbler or crisp or anything that is pretty much baked fruit. It’s so easy, it should just be intuitive.

And I’m sure no one is surprised that my results have usually be disappointing. Well, no one other than me. It’s always a surprise.

So there I was with a package of blueberries from a month ago that wasn’t moldy or rotten, just a bit wrinkled, and nothing to do with it other than some kind of baked fruit joy.

So I got out two ramekins. And a tart green apple.

I diced the apple, and I added half to one ramekin and half to the other. Then I picked through the blueberries and split them evenly between the ramekins, too.

Also, for added complication, I wanted a lot of flavor out of as few calories as possible, so I did not put a pat of butter into each of these. Nor did I add a lot of sugar.

I added to each about half a teaspoon of vanilla sugar from Marx Food*, a healthy dash of Korintje cinnamon, and a pinch of salt.

And then that was it for the first one, and it was ready to pop into the oven.

For the second one, I tried a crust.

I mixed together 2 heaping teaspoons of old fashioned rolled oatmeal, roughly the same quantity of leftover cooked brown rice, 1 heaping teaspoon of Trader Joe’s whole wheat baking mix (think Bisquik), and half a teaspoon of Demerara sugar. Mix together first, then spread over the top of the fruit.

And then I baked it for a while in a 350F oven. I didn’t time it, just kept peeping at it while I was cooking something else. I’ll guess they stayed in for about half an hour.

results – crustless
It was tart!

But I’d spent the cooking time also looking through my Weight Watchers cookbook for light dessert recipes, and I’d come across a beverage with added lime juice and I hadn’t noticed that it was a drink at first. And that just seemed right.

So I tried adding lime juice to the already tart baked fruit. And it was amazing! It was a gooey, bubbly dessert that also felt refreshing. Would make again. Don’t know if my friends would like it – but a lump of ice cream on top would probably mellow it out nicely.

When I took the first one out, the crust still wasn’t looking like a cohesive crust. So, I sliced a thin teaspoon of butter off the stick and lay that on top to melt in. And that worked well.

About 10 minutes later, when I’d finished the first dessert (only took so long because it had needed time to cool down from molten), I pulled out the 2nd cobbler.

results – with crust
I loved this. The rice dried out a little and got crunchy, but I thought that was delicious. The topping was a good mix of crispy and chewy, and it had a lot of the richness I like even it is wasn’t packed full of butter. The exact same fruit ended up tasting not nearly as tart with the starchy topping.

So – FINALLY – I’ve had a random experiment with cobbler turn out as joyous as I’d hoped.

*After I reviewed the Black Garlic the sent me for free, they sent me a mix box (related to a mix tape, I’m sure) of more things to try. Also for free. There was not any expectation of more fun from the first experiment, but there is a bit of a relationship now. And now a review of their vanilla sugar:

I have a friend who regularly orders vanilla beans from Penzey’s and makes her own vanilla sugar from scratch. In most cases, when given a choice between regular sugar and the vanilla, I prefer the plain. In fact, I’d pretty much only use it as a substitute for vanilla extract, which I don’t keep on hand either. No, I don’t do much baking. But this seemed a perfect time for a bit of extra.

They use a fine sugar, which is almost a confectioners sugar. I don’t know if it’s thicker because it’s a different grade or because of the additional vanilla, but it seemed a slightly different texture. Oh, hey – there’s a picture/explanation on their website. I think I like their sugar better for just popping on my tongue… not that I did that a lot. :) But I don’t know that there’s much functional difference in a setting where you can’t enjoy the texture. It would make a lovely dusting for a chocolate bundt cake.

Cooking fish is a milestone for me in the land of cooking.

I grew up with a father who did not like fish, not even the smell of it in the house. And since I’ve moved out on my own, I’ve mostly stuck with cheaper meat options (with a goal price point of $2/lb or less – though, yes, I’ve been reconsidering my ethics lately). Also, Philadelphia is not known for its seafood, so I don’t know of a reliable fish monger near me.

But I just happened to be out today in the vicinity of a reputable source of seafood – Ippolito’s – so I stepped in and professed my cluelessness. I did ask for something a little more challenging that a salmon steak, so I ended up selecting a beautiful 18″-ish striped bass. And since I don’t have fish-worth knives at home, I did ask them to filet it for me, but to also include the head, tail, and bones for stock.

Turns out that I only ended up with the meat. I’m a little disappointed, but I suppose that any day I call ahead and go there asking for a bag of random fish scraps, I’ll be able to get them for fairly cheaply… and I wasn’t going back today because it took a lot of looking to find a decent parking spot that wasn’t on a snow emergency route.

So after I did the dishes and cleared a workspace, the first thing I did was open up my packet and fondle my meat. Erm… I mean notice that there weren’t any miscellaneous bits. And then I pulled out only three tiny bones that the store missed. And, yes, my eyes had been right – the flesh felt smooth and supple and there was no fish smell even this close.

So, being an amateur, the first thing I did was to cut the filets down so that one was 4 ounces and the other 3.5 ounces. I did that by trimming off the thinner flaps on the side and down by the tail so that the filets would have a more even thickness. I have no idea whether that is acceptable in formal fish circles or not, but it seemed logical to me.

I then had about 2.5 ounces of very fresh fish to play with.

Ceviche

So I diced the fish finely, slightly less than 1cm x 1cm x .5cm, and I did not bother with removing the skin except in a couple spots where it wasn’t cutting easily.

I added half a jalapeno, minced. And then I added about 2 tablespoons of finely minced red onion. I stirred that about and tasted it.

Oh, right, I was missing the acid – that’s key to ceviche. So I pulled out a lemon and a lime and ending up that I wanted to use the lime. The juice of a whole lime seemed a bit too much after I added it. Hmmm…

I also minced up some fresh flat-leaf parsley (I love the small salad spinner I got for my birthday!). And I added some salt, pepper, and a chunk of gingerj.

Now I think I’ve covered all of the basics of ceviche, but it still wasn’t tasting any good, even after marinating for half an hour. So I started looking around my kitchen – ah, yes, the persimmons.

I diced up one, and even with their odd skin/flesh texture, the persimmon was the perfect answer. Well, I suspect any particularly strong fruit. But instantly (well, with even more salt, too) the flavors came together and the ceviche was tasty.

So I spent the rest of the day googling recipes for striped bass, calling my mother for advice, and seriously pondering the fail-proof parchment method, which showed up in such a timely fashion on my twitter feed.

And then I sucked it up and reminded myself that I had managed to find exceptionally fresh fish, so I’d better just trust my ingredients.

Pan Seared Striped Bass

So I took out a good, thick skillet, and I heated it up fairly high (medium-high, actually, so not as hot as for steak) with a teaspoon of olive oil in the pan.

When hot, I took my nice, even-thickness 4 ounce filet, and lay it down (I put the skin down first). And then I didn’t let myself look at it or poke at it to monitor.

I just waited 3 minutes. And then I sprinkled salt and pepper on the up side, flipped it, and sprinkled the skin side, too.

Ever so slightly more than three more minutes later (I don’t know why I held off, but it seemed right), I served up onto a plate a perfect piece of fish with nice browning on both sides, easy flake, and just oozing juicy tenderness.

I’d say it was as good as the best fish I’ve had in a restaurant. Wow!

I still have one more filet, so I’ll see if I can duplicate my results and call it skill/intuition or if it was just beginner’s luck.

And how did I manage not to poke at the fish? By assembling a salad for the side. This was my second run with this basic salad frame, but the first one was too acidic, so I was more generous this time with the more oily ingredients.

Persimmon & Arugula Salad

Cold parts
2.5 ounces of arugula, washed – and spun!
2 persimmons, cut up and scattered artfully
a dozen dry roasted almonds (unsalted) roughly broken up with a knife
2 ounces of semi-soft mild flavored cheese

Dressing
1/2 tsp brown mustard
1/2 tsp tamarind sauce/chutney
1 tsp white balsamic vinegar

24
Feb

Fish and Stock Pots

   Posted by: Livia

This is the slightly neurotic backstory to the cook fish story

So I woke up this morning and really didn’t want to get out of bed, but I did manage to barely get out of the house in time to acquire the 20L stock pot a nifty Philadelphia food person had offered on Twitter. I did not do public transportation, nor the brisk walk I had thought might be fun. I drove. But still – pot acquired. And even though I had grabbed a small book I’d made and a bar of fancy chocolate to offer in exchange, I did not remember to hand them over… a bit out of sorts today.

But then I was in the vague vicinity of the one place in all of Philadelphia to get reliable fresh seafood. So I stopped in and made a fool of myself and clearly admitted I knew nothing but would they please point me toward something fun. And I ended up with a pretty whole fish, which I asked them to fillet and give me the bones and head and all so I could make stock.

So I get home and have to look quite hard, but I do find a close-ish parking spot off of the snow emergency route (oh, hey, looks like we’ll probably get more snow).

So I get home and do the dishes, so I’ll have a clear workspace for the fish. And there are a lot of dishes (just because). And I open up the fish, and there are only two lovely fillets – no bones or bits. Grrr.

But I’ve got this weird thing going where I should have left five minutes ago, if I were going to go to work, but I have to get the fish sorted before I leave. No idea why I can’t just shove it in the fridge.

So I trim the awkward bits (not really awkward in the real world, but I was looking to make them smaller, anyway, so that was my excuse for picking on the thinner area) off the fillets and set them aside to dice and make ceviche. And I wrap the now 3.5 and 4 oz fillets back up tightly and back in the plastic bag. Next, I pull out my ice bin and line it with foil before I put in the bag with the fish to approximate the rig Alton Brown had which took up a whole shelf in a decoratively empty fridge.

And then I look at the clock, and I could just put on clothes and grab a cab and make it to work five minutes late… so I start preparing the ceviche. It’s a weird disconnect that happens sometimes, but not so much since I quit being stressed from college. So I called out sick and had a great day of it.

23
Feb

Eggplant and pasta + Salt question

   Posted by: Livia Tags: , , , ,

Many of my food experiments are directly the result of instigation from my friend Meghan. And her latest blog post about eggplant sludge, though not attractively named, was also inspiring.

Luckily, another friend had recently gifted me with an eggplant from her organic produce delivery service, which was getting on in days and needed to be eaten quickly in a dish where appearances didn’t matter.

Eggplant and Pasta

In 1 teaspoon of olive oil, I sauteed 1 diced yellow onion and then 3 minced cloves of garlic.

Once the onions cooked to translucency, I peeled the eggplant and cut out any brown spots, and then I took my box grater and just grated it right into the pan.

In reference to my friend Meghan’s post, I’d been chatting with her about whether or not salting eggplants was useful, and there was googling. The end conclusion was that pre-salting doesn’t ‘draw out bitterness,’ but saltiness does counteract bitterness.

So I salted the hell out of this dish. Erm, buy which I mean that I took three chunks of fancy pink Himalayan salt and ground them down into regular powder and added that to the dish such that I was pleased with the saltiness and there was not noticeable bitterness.

I also cut small and added two dried peppers – one cayenne and one other one I dried, which memory tells me was a red jalapeno but could have been something else similar, too.

When it looked a little dry, I peeled and cut in the edible half of the tomato my friend had also given me for urgent consumption.

And then I cooked it until the eggplant was not only soft, but also releasing liquid, then seasoned with a generous amount of cinnamon and black pepper.

Shamelessly (well, mostly shamelessly), I then added about half a cup of jarred tomato sauce. (Yes, I’ve had bad jarred tomato sauce, and I see why you don’t like it. But Classico rarely has off flavors, has a wonderful product as a base for sauces, and I love the jars for reuse.)

Mixed in 4 ounces of cooked macaroni (selected because that box was in front of the queue, but it was a good pairing for the sauce), and that made two generous portions.

Because I’m back on the Weight Watchers wagon, I topped it with 2 thinly sliced scallions and about a teaspoon of freshly grated parmesan.

So please explain to me what to do with this fancy Himalayan Pink Salt.

The crystals are too large to sprinkle on top to finish.

And when you grind it down, it only looks pink next to other salt.

Is it mostly useful in a pretty, transparent grinder and then used as you would regular salt?

Or is there a way to take advantage of the pretty without having to buy purely decorative hardware?

note: This salt was given to me gratis for review by Marx Foods as a result of the entry I made for their free black garlic. There were many more things in the new sampler, too, so there will be several entries mentioning them in the near future.

10
Jan

Black Garlic experiments

   Posted by: Livia Tags: , , , ,

About a month ago (at the start of December) Marx Foods ran a promotion where they’d offer esoteric food items to food bloggers willing to write up reviews. And, honestly, this was my first ever shot at free food just because I have this hobby, so I gleefully bopped on over and signed up.

And also for full disclosure, I found out about the company in the first place because my friend, Meghan, had been to their site and entered a photo contest that had scored her some vanilla beans, of which she spoke highly.

So of three choices, I asked to try the Black Garlic because earlier in the year there had been a wave of food bloggers trying out this ingredient, too, and it’s appeal seemed to come from its flavor as well as its novelty value.

And right away I had to change my shipping address and had to try out their customer service – and received prompt emails back from Justin Marx on a weekend. Wow! And he was very supportive of my little amateur blog and every welcoming even though many of the things he sells just seem way out of my league / price range. So I am very impressed by them.

But how impressive is the black garlic?

Scent – I had it shipped to my work address, and I could not resist opening the package and poking at it right away. At first it didn’t seem to have much scent, but then I left the office to do something, and I came back to realize that there was quite a strong, dark garlic scent all through my office. Oh, yeah. I am full of professionalism. Luckily, no one has to share the office with me. But it made me very hungry for the rest of the day.

It ended up arriving at a fairly busy time for me, and the first recipe I made from it was born of a need for simplicity. That Friday, was the Philadelphia Food Bloggers pot luck, and I’d been planning to make stuffed dates… and then just didn’t have any time to assemble them. So I went with an incredibly easy cream cheese dip instead.

Recipe 1 – flavored cream cheese with crackers
I made two side-by-side bowls of dip.

Garlic & Parsley Cream Cheese

Garlic (3 cloves minced black garlic in one, 5 cloves mashed roasted garlic in the other)
12 ounces neuchatel cheese
large bunch of flat leaf parsley, minced (the last from the summer garden)
2 Tablespoons finely minced purple onion
pinch of salt

So with exactly the same recipe, I set out to see what people thought the differences were.

First off – after a full day at work, the cream cheese with the black garlic needed to be mixed up with a fork again to be presentable because the brown color had seeped out into the surrounding cheese. (And with the leftovers, it continued to spread and blend into the cream cheese until there was an even mocha color – I might recommend making this 2-3 days ahead for maximum joy)

No one thought there was a licorice flavor to the black garlic spread. Descriptions tended more toward round and dark and complex, but no one could quite name the difference. That said, people loved them both equally, but separately. They were not interchangeable at all.

Recipe #2 – flavored butter
So since it melted to well into the cream cheese, I figured I’d try mixing it with butter, too.

Now, I’d already read Diane’s entry from White on Rice where she found that it didn’t infuse well into oil, but I figured it would not only be useful to confirm her results, but also be useful for extending the experiment – since I’d only acquired 2 heads of garlic.

And, no, the garlic didn’t melt into the butter at all. But it was still tasty spread on bread. My favorite experiment at this stage was making toast with the black garlic butter and a thin smear of thick, smooth Frontera salsa.

Texture: The reason so many descriptions of black garlic evoke licorice is that’s exactly what it looks like coming out of the papery husk. The paper skin is so thin, there’s not more than a single layer between you and the clove, but the clove has shrunk down to a thick black nub. It’s dry and squishy and a bit sticky/tacky as you but into it. Putting it in the freezer doesn’t change its texture much at all and doesn’t make it easier to slice. I ended up resenting the fine layer it would leave behind on my knife because I had so little to work with.

Experiment #3 – Black garlic in mushroom barley
I’d been trying to hold out against a Black Garlic Risotto recipe because that would be too ridiculously easy. How could black garlic not be tasty in that set up? But I caved because the taste matched exactly a Roman barley recipe, which I made for my last Roman cooking workshop (and, huh, never got around to writing up) and had promised myself I would revisit. So a cold night and much starch and there was a tasty, garlicy meal of joy. Guaranteed crowd pleaser. I’ll get my copy of Apicius and try to remember to make a separate entry for that one, but trust me – it’s a lot like risotto.

Taste: So it doesn’t taste quite like garlic, so what does it taste like? Well, darker and rounder and definitely umami… but that’s not helpful. The best description is that it tastes like garlic breath – everything around the flavor of garlic, without the obvious front taste. It’s dark and musky, but it’s all around the edges of flavor without confronting you directly.

Experiment #4 – Chocolate Truffles
Now I was a little dubious about this from the start, but the Marx Food people has promised this would be useful for savories or sweets. And they had even offered up a chocolate truffle recipe. Having read it, I’m kind of dubious about their preparation – which has a regular truffle center, rolled in minced black garlic. I think the garlic would end up too chewy and right there on your tongue.

So I set about to make the garlic part of the filling. I mixed together butter and garlic again, and I added as much chocolate as necessary to keep it from being overwhelmingly butter. I added enough sugar to make it feel like dessert, but I also added some salt and smoked paprika to bring out the smokier notes. I chilled this and dipped it in a pretty dark chocolate coating (a ratio of 2 squares unsweetened to 1 square semi-sweet Ghirardelli chocolate) and then garnished with a dusting a regular paprika.

And… it turned out bad. Not devastatingly bad, but not something I want to eat. Other people who tried it described it as a flavor explosion. But it wasn’t a pleasing one by my call, and I threw out the untried ones, instead of taking them home with me. (right, and I also need to write up the other, more sucessful, truffle recipes)

Experiment #5 – Black Garlic omelet
So I had just one clove left, and I decided to go with something I knew would be good. I sliced it very thinly, and I fried them crisp in a teaspoon and a half of bacon fat.

note: it was hard to track their cooking progress because they were already black. I don’t know why this didn’t occur to me before, but yeah worth pointing out.

And then I scrambled together an egg and almost an equal quantity of light cream. Poured in just enough to coat the pan, pulled the garlic slices back into the pan so they were evenly distributed, and rolled out a soft, luscious omelet of pure bliss!

(Note: this same trick of frying slices of garlic was also used in Steamy Kitchen‘s experiment, where she made Scallops with Black Garlic)

Conclusion: This was a lot of fun to try, and I’d definitely use them again… but I’m not sure it’s something I’ll feel the need to seek out.

30
Dec

planning a truffle experiment

   Posted by: Livia Tags: ,

I’m taking off work tomorrow, and I have vague plans to make truffles all day. I suspect I lack most of the useful knowledge, skills, and tools – but I have about 4 pounds of chocolate, and how bad can that be?

So I’m pondering possible flavor combinations. Let me know what you think.

1) Black Garlic. I got some as a free sample from Marx Foods to review on my blog. So far I’ve made three savory things, and I should make a sweet for comparison. Even the sweet recipe sample on their blog is a truffle – only they just roll the chocolate in a coating of garlic, and that sounds nasty.

So here’s the plan – make garlic butter, add extra salt and maybe some hard cheese. Swirl enough semi-melted chocolate into the butter to make it more like a buttery chocolate center than a center of butter. Make rounds, cool. Dip in dark chocolate

Topping to distinguish them from all others: I’m torn between a quarter of a pecan or some sweet paprika.

2) Earl Grey truffles

She recommends enrobing in a dark milk chocolate, so I’d need to buy more chocolate to make that happen. La la la!

If my skill is up to it, I think I want to decorate these with a drippy swirly, rather than a coating.

3) Masala truffles – I have black cardamom, instead of green. So I think I’ll crush a couple instead of steeping them whole.

Dust with curry powder (and toasted mustard seeds?)

4) vegan coconut truffles

I’d need to buy coconut… and then figure out what to do with the rest of the bag.

5) Almonds – smash some almonds, mix them with the filling

dark coating? milk coating?

dust in cinnamon/confectioners sugar

6) Spicy – center with chipotle, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

milk coating

decoration – If I stud it with a clove, do you think people will know not to eat it? Probably not. Ummm… I could tie it with a strip of cayenne pepper like raffia, but that’s still not tasty. Demerara sugar! And the extra sweet will help moderate the spicy.

7) ginger – I have ginger juice and powdered ginger. Does this also need candied ginger?

decoration – I think powdered ginger on the outside might be too strong, so how about these be the ones rolled in cocoa powder?

to buy: