Archive for November 2009
We had just had a lovely lunch at Perbacco, and were expecting to have a lovely dinner at Ad Hoc (Yountville). But how to spend the few hours in between the meals. We usually keep ourselves busy at work between lunch and dinner, but were playing hooky that day. It had to be something appropriate to celebrate a rare day away from work. Champagne, we thought, just might hit the spot. It was a hypothesis worth testing thoroughly.
Evolution played a cruel trick on me by giving me a sweet tooth and then robbing me of the ability to digest lactose – a common component of milk. As a result I look longingly at ice-creams and then have to console myself with a chocolate souffle or two. But no more. Human ingenuity trumps nature again. A sorbet company based in the San Francisco Bay Area makes sorbets that are as creamy textured as ice creams, and have purer flavors to boot. Various organizations that give out awards to geniuses and what not, please take note.
The ingredients are high-quality and fresh, largely bought from local farmer’s markets, which is reflected in the clean flavors of their sorbets. It is also reflected in the sometimes unusual flavors, such as Anaheim Chile and Beet Lemon. They didn’t have Chile or Beet this weekend at our local farmer’s market. But they did have Sweet Potato and Coconut, which was intensely coconut-ty and sweet potato-ey. No fillers, just the taste ma’am. Peanut butter and caramel had that fresh roasted peanut flavor and was mercifully not cloyingly sweet. Hazelnut and Blanxart cocoa sorbet was just heavenly. As each little spoonful melted on my tongue, the perfume of hazelnuts and the lush flavor of cocoa made me want to go back and get a few gallons of the stuff for the week. Good sense prevailed as usual. I shall instead spend this week in anticipation of next week’s farmer’s market and a new set of wonderful tastes.
A note on the texture of these sorbets: I had expected hazelnuts to impart a slightly gritty texture to the sorbet, but it was as smooth as a gelato or ice cream. (Perhaps a Pacojet is involved in the process.)
Indian cooking frequently calls for ginger-garlic paste. Instead of buying a jar (with preservatives) of this paste from an Indian store, I follow Atul Kochhar’s suggestion and make a bottle of the paste at a time and it lasts me a week or two. It freezes well for 4-6 weeks. For my version, I blend the following together:
- 2 cups of peeled and chopped ginger
- Peeled cloves from one head of garlic
- A bunch of coriander stems (optional)
- 6 thai chillis
- 4 Tbsp of peeled raw turmeric (in season, optional)
- 4 Tbsp vinegar
- Wine: Soleil, AOC Puisseguin
- Vineyard: Château Soleil
- Year: 2005
- Grape: Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon
- Appellation: Saint-Emilion
- Region: Bordeaux, France
- Source: K&L Wines (08/2008)
Château Soleil’s vines are mostly located on the clay-limestone plateau just like the best terroirs of Saint-Emilion. The grape varieties are typical for Saint-Emilion, with 80% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Their wine-making philosophy and practices can be found at their website.
We have been making traditional egg tortilla casserole for what seems like a long time now. This variation presented here is a restaurant style adaptation of the dish – a little easier to eat and much prettier to look at.
The Fresh Tastes of India’s New Cuisine: A culinary ride through India – traditional food presented for modern palates.
- Slim book but all the recipes are distinct. Many of these you will come back to again and again.
- Atul presents traditional food from different parts of India so there is a large variation in flavors. Although he is a celebrity chef, he has presented recipes for the home cook.
- Many full page color photographs.
- This is not a teaching cookbook. There are only a few general tips discussed.
- This is not an introductory cookbook. While the cooking style is suitable for home cook, the number of spices he uses is large.
- There is no indication regarding what parts of the dishes can be made ahead of time