Despite the fact that my studio kitchen is barely large enough to turn around in, it's always difficult for me to say no to a shiny new kitchen toy. I also happen to have a talent for rationalizing the purchase of cool specialty equipment in the name of feeding myself; thus, the introduction of a beautiful pasta machine to my collection of gadgets, and the impetus for several rounds of ravioli experimentation! In honor of the season, I decided to make mushroom ravioli, flavored with parsley and spring onion, and studded with toasted walnuts. And with Beemster X-O in my arsenal, I couldn't resist whipping up a rich and creamy sauce to drizzle on top!
It’s so lovely when you like your neighbors. Granted, sometimes I don’t think I like all of mine, but there are some awesome ones in my building! One in particular, Melissa, is an excellent hostess who ALWAYS manages to have the perfect little plates, utensils, and pretty finishing touches at every event she hosts.
This past week, Melissa made this dessert – she called it lazy cannoli. It was delicious, easy, and downright enlightening. Even a kitchen klutz like me could make it. As someone who thinks about efficiency a lot, is this “lazy” or merely “highly efficient?" Anyway, try it for yourselves! Beware, though, you might not want to share it once you taste it.
Melissa’s “Lazy Cannoli” Recipe
15oz Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
1/2 Cup Confectioners Powdered Sugar
Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips to taste (around 1/2 cup as well). You can grate a dark chocolate bar instead of using mini chocolate chips.
Optional: some diced Maraschino Cherries to taste
It's nearly that time of year again. The family gathers, sounds of football playing in the background. The table is set. It groans with food: the massive brown bird, the hot stuffing, rich with gravy. Potatoes, sweet and mashed. Pies, at least pumpkin, or sweet potato; sometimes apple and more.
WHAT'S MISSING FROM THIS PICTURE?
This is odd, because according to the Plymouth Plantation museum, as early as 1627 the Plymouth colony had quite a dairy herd:
Shortly after the kids are born down the road, I venture to another part of my region where I begin my yearly foraging ritual. Ramps are among the teasers of a lush season. They the first wild and foraged ingredient I used when I started cooking and studying food at a professional level. The culinary application on ramps has taken off in the last few years and now ramps are perhaps the hippest of alliums that chefs and other food enthusiasts tinker with. During the months of April through June, every restaurant around spotlights ramps and makes them the star of each dish they are on. Some of the interesting ramp applications I saw last season were ramp spaetzle, pickled ramp (faux) caviar, ramp vichyssoise and ramp kimchee. I know I will be impressed at a handful more this year. For me, I like them done simple- grilled, sautéed or puréed.
I love cocktail party food.
It's not a dignified admission for a man to make, but it's true. I harbor untoward desires for pickled fish on a cracker, or dates broiled with bacon, or any other small salty thing that crosses my path. The feelings are especially strong when there's a drink in my hand (Tanqueray martini, two olives). It's a compulsion, and with the approach of the Fancy Food Show this weekend, one that could do some serious harm.
For those who've never attended, Fancy Food is a massive gathering of specialty food producers, a trade show closed to the public with free samples of everything from cheese to olives to jelly beans and more. Attending what's essentially a 10,000-person, 3-day cocktail party when you're at the mercy of your snacking demon is a prescription for the vapors.
The journal Nature recently published a fascinating study from Northeastern University on the prevalence of similar taste compounds in cuisines around the world. The researchers began by making a massive database of foods and the chemicals known to affect the flavor of those foods. They then made a map connecting those foods to one another based on how many of the same flavor compounds those foods shared, essentially creating a "cuisine genome" of interrelated flavors.
It began with this tweet:
@CurdNerd 47 different specialties using Meiji Hokkaido Tokachi Cheese.
It lead to a strangely beautiful site from Japanese cheese manufacturer Meji. I have no idea what's going on, or what I'm supposed to do, but clicking around the map seems to pull up regional dishes prepared with Meji's products.
Honestly, I get a very "Everything goes better with Jell-o 1965" vibe from the site: here we have some clear soup, spiked with tiny white cheese cubes. Here it's pieces of fish and pickles interleaved with cheese. Pretty, but sometimes dubious combos, put out by a company trying hard to find new niches for their product.
Following hot on the heels of Elaine's post on cheese and cardiac health, here's a dip that probably ain't good for you. Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Dip comes via Slice & Dice, a foodblog that makes no apologies for richness.
The question is, is it good? On the one hand, sugar, butter, cream cheese, chocolate. On the other, too much butter, sugar, cream cheese and chocolate?
It's never going to win a James Beard award, but when I first tasted cookie dough ice-cream, I'd never have guessed that it'd be ubiquitous a decade later. And the inside-out approach has really worked for molecular cuisine. Heck, you don't even need a sous-vide machine.
Well I guess you can say I was lost in the woods for awhile and the summer ‘heat’ got the best of me. Now that things have cooled off a bit, I’m back in action and getting all kinds of ideas for blogs.
Fall is one of my favorite times of year- the cool crisp air, being able to wear cozy sweaters and slippers, and enjoying fall’s seasonal food such as squash and apples.
We order apples by the bushel at the cheese shop I work at and they (as some may know) compliment cheese beautifully. The many different varietals are overwhelming. You got your McIntosh, Gala, Empire, and Honey Crisp, and lesser known varietals such as Roxbury Russets, Cox Orange Pippin, Mutsu or Northern Spy. Each of them have varying flavor and texture profiles.