Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Coming Soon

Some projects I'd like to undertake in the near future:

  • Homebrewing. I used to make some pretty decent beer, but I've fallen out of the habit in recent years. In particular I'm remembering the pale ale I made with orange blossom honey a few years ago.

  • Fun with sodium alginate. Take a tasty liquid, like pea soup, green tea, a fruit or vegetable juice, something like that, and mix it with sodium alginate. Then drop a spoonful of the liquid (or dribble little drops of it) into a calcium chloride solution. The globule forms a thin skin, and you wind up with a little freestanding hunk of liquid. You know how salmon eggs have that really cool way of bursting in your mouth and turning into a little splash of salty liquid? It's like that, only different. I'm chuffed to try this after having seen Homaro Cantu battle Masaharu Morimoto on Iron Chef America Sunday night. The theme ingredient was beets, and Morimoto made gunkan sushi using "caviar" made of beet juice. Cool beyond words! Cantu also did some pretty impressive stuff with liquid nitrogen -- putting a small amount of beet juice and other liquid ingredients into a ballooon, inflating the balloon, rolling it around in liquid nitrogen till it froze, then removing the balloon from the perfect hollow sphere of beet sorbet. In five years, Williams Sonomoa will be selling chemicals.

  • Cassoulet.

  • Renaming this blog. "eatdrinkeat" is just lame. Any suggestions?
Dinner tonight: half-remembering a recipe that was in the Washington Post food section years ago, I sauteed a couple of pork chops (generously salted and peppered) in butter, deglazed the pan with about 2 tbsp. bourbon, reduced that by about a third, then stirred in roughly 2 tsp. each dijon mustard and worcestershire sauce. Puddled the sauce under the chops and had spinach quickly sauteed with garlic alongside, with the last half of a bottle of 2004 Mas Fondreche O'Sud (thanks Philippe). Yum, by god yum.

12 comments:

Tes said...

Hmm...I think the name is fine, actually--not lame at all. Though I suppose you could get more exciting--I dunno, "Captain Cassoulet and the Globules of Doom?-- or "I Ate Dingo Babies?"

I'm not so sure about the globules of liquid thing. J & I started watching that Iron Chef but then decided we had better get to work so we could stop an hour later to watch "The L Word".... But getting back to homebrewing--that sounds fabulous to me!

Rob said...

Captain Cassoulet and the Globules of Doom? Hm. That has possibilities.

There's an extensive discussion of the sodium alginate trick on eGullet.

An Briosca Mor said...

Well, which would you rather have, a great blog with a lame name, or a good name for a blog but nothing to back it up? Sort of like the choice between playing a great tune that you have no name for, or just starting the one that you know the name of but otherwise is a trite piece of dreck. Myself, I'm loaded with names that have nothing behind them. An empty blog called An Briosca Mor, a CD I'll probably never record called The Venti Smithwick's, and a tune I'll never write called Mayor Barry's Crack Pipe. Which of us is the richer man?

As for globules of liquid becoming the next big thing, I'm not so sure. Could be one of those food fads that doesn't stand the test of time. I'm reminded of the commentary on Julia Child's many aspic recipes in Julie/Julia. Un-natural mouthfeels may excite for an instant, but who wants a steady diet of them? (Of course, I'm one who thinks that gelatin is an un-natural mouthfeel, so I may not be a good data point for this discuusion...)

Coming soon for me: More smoking, but with things other than wood chips. Green tea, for one.

Back to blog names, how about "O'Carolan's Welcome to Hell" for an accordion player's Irish music blog?

Rob said...

I admit to a huge amount of fascination with molecular gastronomy. Underneath the gimmickery there's some very serious thinking going on about how we taste things, why we like certain kinds of flavors in combination (and what other combinations might be interesting to try, based on that), how our experience of flavor changes from the first bite of a dish to the last, how the other senses might be engaged by a dish (Homaro Cantu uses spoons and forks with corkscrew handles, into which he winds sprigs of aromatic herbs that you're supposed to smell as you're tasting the food), and so on. I don't think it's a style of cooking that will ever supplant the pleasures of, say, a good rare steak and a bottle of wine, but it does offer some interesting challenges to how we think about food and cooking.

I think I'll start changing the title of this thing each week till I find something that sticks.

Rob said...

What are you going to smoke with the tea? Teaism's tea-smoked salmon comes immediately to mind... ooh, and it's almost lunchtime, what a coinkydink...

An Briosca Mor said...

Salmon would work. Initially I was going to try chicken breast, after seeing a suggestion about doing that on the Indoor Smoking thread on eGullet. They also had a link to a New York Times article about Indoor Smoking that had lots of good suggestions and a few recipes.

Gee, I wish they had Teaism out here in the 'burbs...

Tes said...

I'm with John: gelatin is not a natural-feeling substance. And speaking of which: I'll have to dig up the recipe for the ominous and vile Pretzel Salad, much beloved in my family. Basically, it's a base of crunched up pretzels mixed with margarine, then cream cheese mixed with Cool Whip, and then, finally, a layer of strawberry jello with strawberries cut up in it. Vile, I tell you, vile. What makes it even worse is that it's served not as a dessert, but along with the entree at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

And John, now I ask you: why, again, don't you blog?

And...speaking of globules--did you guys see Top Chef last night?

Rob said...

Ew. My own childhood was marred by a few "congealed salads" as well -- yep, that's what you called them, Mom, it didn't help -- but nothing to rival that. Shudder.

And I always miss Top Chef because it's on session night. I'll have to catch the recap. But it's down to Ilan and Marcel now, right? I hope Marcel wins. Ilan's a patzer.

Tes said...

Yeah, Ilan sucks. What a little dumbass. Here, we were rooting for Elia (surprise, surprise)--mainly because she shaved her head :-)

Rob said...

Heh. Yeah, and didn't she just look screamingly hot that way? I wish she'd kept it shaved.

I saw a rerun of the latest ep last night. I suspect the remaining contestants were encouraged by the producers to amp up the Marcel-hate. Which is a shame because (now that they're down to the four who really can cook) they all look like whiny little crybabies. "Oooh! Marcel moved my steamer off the burner I wasn't using! Marcel's too busy to help me plate my food!" You'd think they'd never been in a restaurant kitchen before.

An Briosca Mor said...

And John, now I ask you: why, again, don't you blog?

Well, um, it seems that now I do.

anbrioscamor.blogspot.com

Rob said...

Noted and linked.