There is a recipe for rice crackers in the Eleven Madison Park cookbook that really caught my eye. In a nutshell: over-cook some sushi rice, then roll it into a thin sheet between two pieces of parchment. Next, dry out the sheet of rice in a low oven or dehydrator. Once it is nice and hard, break into desired shapes and deep-fry. I was fascinated by this recipe because the procedure is identical to chicharrón but applied to a wildly different ingredient. What other starches or grains could this be applied to? Lentils? Pearl barley? Pinto beans?
My first attempt at the recipe was only a moderate success. As the sheet of rice dried several cracks developed. The final dried … Continue reading.
While not a full-fledged fad, I’ve seen plenty of chickpea flour fritters on restaurant menus the last few years. From the panelle di ceci at Uccellino, to the chickpea fries at Canteen, to the panissa at Teatro, chickpea flour fritters are a gluten-free and vegan-friendly starch with great textures. My own introduction to this kind of preparation was the Provencal version called panisse.
At its simplest panisse is water, chickpea flour, and a bit of olive oil, cooked in a pot into a thick porridge that is then spread into a pan, chilled, sliced, and fried. It is very much like polenta fritta, only made with chickpea flour instead of cornmeal. One interesting difference is that most … Continue reading.
This dish featuring salmon wontons checked a lot of boxes for me. We have a salmon entrée on our menu and we accumulate a lot of trim from cleaning and portioning the fillets. I challenged myself to make a dish that could use up this trim so it doesn’t go to waste. I also wanted to make a dish that used a mousseline, partly because it’s a fantastic classic technique, but also because it is a required element in the CCC practical exam.
Most importantly I wanted to make a dish that would be an example of how to adapt a simple traditional preparation for service as a composed dish in a fine-dining setting. To give a specific example, this … Continue reading.
Kuchen (“cake”) and Obstkuchen (“fruit cake”) can refer to many different desserts and pastries in Austria and Germany. By Austrian fruit cake I am referring to a very simple, very common preparation of a dense but tender cake that is topped with seasonal fruit before going in the oven. It’s made throughout the year with whatever fruit happens to be best that day. I was in Austria in May, June, and July, and saw it made first with rhubarb, then cherries, then apricots. The fruit settles into the cake nicely during the bake, but is still visible from the top. I think soft fruits that get a touch jammy when cooked work best for this (as opposed to, say, apples … Continue reading.
It’s been something of a personal crusade of mine to get more people deep-frying at home (see this post, and this class). Even though I consider French fries the single most important fried food in western cooking, I rarely make them at home. The main reason is that when working with a standard pot it takes several batches to fry enough potatoes to feed my family. While I don’t mind frying half a chicken and putting it in the oven while the second half is fried, the six batches required for fries is a bit tedious. With that said, when I’m feeling ambitious this is how I make fries at home.
I did not grow up eating matzo ball soup; it was completely unknown to me and my family. In fact it was so foreign that the first several times I heard mention of it I assumed it was “mozza ball soup”, which I guess would be some kind of Italian-American soup containing mozzarella cheese. This is emphatically not the case.
Matzo balls are a kind of dumpling. Matzo ball soup is usually a chicken soup with matzo balls in it.
It turns out this classic Jewish preparation is much more familiar to me than I ever would have suspected. While the most common term in North America is matzo ball, the true Yiddish word for the dumpling … Continue reading.
One time I was at my parents’ house on Boxing Day, and I used their Christmas leftovers to make a turkey pot pie. I shredded the turkey leg meat, combined it with mashed potatoes, glazed carrots, and gravy, then baked the mixture in a pie crust.
When we sat down for supper my dad said that his mom used to make “pot pie”, but that it wasn’t a pie.
“A pot pie that wasn’t a pie? What was it then?”
He thought for quite a while before saying, “It was chicken with dumplings.” He couldn’t tell me much more, except that the dumplings were roundish.
I’ve mentioned many times in many different places that Michael Ruhlman’s book Ratio changed my life. The ratio given for bread in that book is 5:3 flour to water, which represents a hydration rate of 60%.
It’s not a huge change, but I’ve started using 3:2 (67% hydration) for many of my workhorse bread recipes, notably pizza dough (which I’ve already posted here), pita dough (which I hope to post shortly), and a standby I’m calling pan bread. I find that this ratio, when kneaded properly, makes super-tacky but workable dough that ultimately yields a much better crumb.
In the spirit of Ratio, I love to tailor the flavours in this pan bread to fit how it will … Continue reading.
I wanted to develop a bread that I would feel good about eating every morning. For me that means using only whole wheat flour, no white flour at all, and lots of added whole grains and seeds. The result was this brown bread recipe.
This recipe is adapted from the Whole-Wheat Bread recipe in one of my favourite books on bread, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. Full disclosure: it is a bit of an ordeal. To coax flavour from the whole wheat flour and make a moist, tender loaf, this recipe employs a soaker and a poolish to create a rather wet, sticky dough that can be difficult to work with and requires very long fermentation and proofing times. It … Continue reading.
Spätzle are little dumplings. They are sometimes described as egg noodles, though they are quite different than the broad, flat, twisted dried pasta sold as egg noodles.
In former times spätzle were shaped by cutting small pieces of dough with a knife or spoon and rolling them into a pot of boiling water. This process gives the noodles a long, tapered, vaguely avian appearance, which is the alleged origin of their name, which literally means “little sparrows”.
Originally a specialty of Swabia in the far south-east of Germany, spätzle is now common throughout southern Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. Shorter, more rounded versions are sometimes called knöpfli, which means little buttons.