Saturday, August 20, 2011

Grain Alcohol Day

I've been tasting fruit this past week from the roof dehydrator. It all came out nicely, very tart, chewy, serious plums, tomatoes and nectarines. And it then stuck me, why not go a step further? It must have been the limoncello recipe I was working on the other day. Why not toss everything into grain alcohol? I got a few little jars, you can see here in the center. Then I got carried away. The last meyer lemon on the tree with bay leaves and dried kumquats. Some shallots, ginger and lemon. Whole fresh tomatoes. Who knows? Some jars with spices like grains of paradise, cassia buds and long pepper. Went through 2 bottles. I have no idea which will be more interesting either, the fruit or the hooch.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Lion's Head

I've spent the 24 hours mostly testing recipes and shooting them. With a camera, of course. All for a big text book. Three World Cuisines. Equipment, ingredients, food and culture, etc. Recipes too. This shot of the Lion's Head Meat Ball will not go in, though I like it the most. The suggestive spoon and puddles of fat. It tasted the best after cooking a while. The other meatballs were younger and prettier, but the last did taste the best. So I share it with you. Pork shoulder chopped by hand very finely, ginger, shallot, Shaoxing, sesame oil, soy. Browned in the wok, then poached in stock with curly greens - the Lion's Mane! SO satisfying and delicous, you could even eat the wait staff. Tomorrow morning I'm ready to tackle hot and sour - OK, so I'm on the soup section. Soupcon.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Lamb Shanks in Almond Milk

Of all odd things, my wife and I came together on a single odd ingredient this past week. You have to understand, she doesn't eat anything I make on principle. But recently it has gone further: a raw food diet. I'll eat fish raw, meat, love it. Even human flesh. But vegetables in the juicer? And a never ending string of vegetal mush plates with nuts. They don't taste bad, but I'd shoot myself in the head before I ate only this.

And then I see boxes of almond milk. Horrid industrial pabulum. BUT, it can also be made from raw almonds and has been since the Middle Ages. Then there suddenly appeared raw almonds for about 12 dollars a pound at the health food store, and only 3 at the farmer's market. Must do it.

SO, you soak them over night, peel meticulously, and pound them in a big mortar, pour over hot water, soak several hours and strain, then you get this, above. Exactly like milk. Look closely. And delicious on its own. One jar went into various vegetal shakes. The other into lamb shanks with herbs, pepper, verjus (fresh unripe grapejuice) pinch of sugar and cinnamon. Can you see the marrow oozing out of the bones? Let me tell you folks! The almond milk works much like coconut, and even regular milk. You can also make cheese and butter out of it. OH, those are in the last cookbook. Well, check it out. A fabulously unctuous ingredient, well worth the time to make at home, even if it ends up in a shake.