Friday, February 9, 2007

Short Subjects


  • Anthony Bourdain, guest-blogging on ruhlman.com, has written a scathing and hilarious rant critiquing the Food Network. "Oh, Mario! Oh great one! They shut down Molto Mario--only the smartest and best of the stand-up cooking shows. Is there any more egregiously under-used, criminally mishandled, dismissively treated chef on television? Relegated to the circus of Iron Chef America, where--like a great, toothless lion, fouling his cage, he hangs on..." I hope Bourdain never starts his own blog, because if he does, well, to paraphrase Robert Christgau, I'll just have to fold up my penis and go home.

  • How have I gone this long as a business traveler without this website?

  • Speaking of business travel, I'm heading to Irvine, California in a couple of weeks. Anybody have any restaurant recommendations? Last time I was there I had a good dinner at Las Brisas in Laguna Beach. I also had lunch at a place there I can't remember the name of, nor can I remember what I had because my waitress was the first person I'd been able to peg as a botox user, and I couldn't stop staring at her immobile, disturbingly youthful forehead. I think I enjoyed whatever it was I ate, though. I came back from that trip convinced that there is no decent coffee to be had in the whole of Orange County. This trip I'll be packing a bag of beans, a grinder, and my small coffee press. Yes, I'm an addict. And a dork. You didn't know this already?

  • Julie/Julia is done. Now there's French Laundry at Home.

  • Chicken Fried Bacon. Man, the things I'd miss if not for eGullet.



  • Speaking of eGullet, between the discussion going on there and John's pizza adventures, I've gotten excited to try Mark Bittman's method for no-knead bread, as reported in the New York Times and discussed here. I'm going to throw my first loaf together tonight, let it rise overnight and tomorrow, and bake it tomorrow evening. Stay tuned.

  • Late-Breaking Update! Mike has just emailed me a link to a live webcam feed of a cheddar cheese aging. I think this may be the most important use of the internet to date.

11 comments:

An Briosca Mor said...

Rob, if you haven't already seen it look at the comment I added to the pizza post on my blog, and spare yourself the agony of the towel. My towel experience was not as bad as Tina's, but I was scarred nonetheless. I used a green kitchen towel the first time I did this dough, and when the bread was in the oven there was still a good bit of dough stuck to the towel. So I soaked it in my big stockpot with soapy water, and then got most of the dough off the towel by hand before throwing it in the washer. Key word: most. I thought the few wet bits of dough left on the towel would wash off in the machine. So, I did my load, pulled it and threw it in the dryer. A couple of days later, I pulled a pair of socks out of the dryer and said Hmmm, what are these hard little green-pea shaped balls of stuff stuck to my socks? Then I yanked the green towel out, saw the same little balls of stuff stuck to it, and knew exactly what they were. Fortunately I didn't have anything of great consequence in that load of wash.

Anyway, the moral of the story is that you don't really need the towel.

Rob said...

Wow, that's a true tale of woe. I'll use parchement below and plastic wrap above. Though this might be a good time to buy a Silpat. Hm.

An Briosca Mor said...

Actually, what I did the second time around when I made this for pizza dough was to ferment it in a bowl for 18-24 hours per the instructions, then dump it on the floured counter, fold it over on itself, cover with saran wrap and let it sit for 15 minutes, again per the instructions. But then, instead of doing the final rise by balling up the dough (which is kind of a misnomer, because it's so loose at this point that it won't hold a ball shape) and placing it between floured towels for two hours, I instead just dumped it into an oiled bowl and covered it loosely with plastic wrap so it wouldn't dry out. You could probably use a towel for cover here instead of the plastic wrap since it's not in contact with the dough anyway (unless your bowl is too small). This approach worked fine and was a much easier cleanup.

T said...

Jesus fucking christ. That bacon.

Rob said...

I know! It's horrible and fascinating, and probably tastes really good too. (With cream gravy, yet.) Of course I'm going to have to try making it.

T said...

(Once again)--JFC, Rob! (Yes, I do mean my abbreviation to approximate KFC :-)

Yes--my mind kept tricking me into thinking that the white stuff had some bite, like some sort of garlic mayo with some citrus or vinegar--still artery-stopping, but somehow a little easier on the mind's stomach than white gravy! Urrrrgh.

Rob said...

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing -- a little acid or hot-pepperyness to balance out the onslaught of fat. What would be really good is a dose of rouille, the spicy garlicky mayonnaisse that traditionally goes with bouillabaise. Or that green-onion-and-coriander chutney that I can't think of the proper name of right now.

Or -- oh, man, I can feel my arteries bracing themselves even as I think of it -- bearnaise.

Yeah. Gonna have to try this.

Rob said...

And you know, we are so showing ourselves to be the effete east-coast urban liberal lotus eaters that we are. If we were honest Texas diner chefs, we'd see that of course there's no other possible accompaniment to chicken-fried bacon than a nice crock of white gravy. I mean, come on.

Mike said...

Chicken fried bacon was sort of implied in Matt Groening's Futurama, with references to futuristic breakfast dishes such as "caffeinated bacon," "baconated grapefruit" and "Admiral Crunch."

Mike said...

The cheddarcam is a nice idea, but not beyond improvement. You could set up a microphone and a web site next time you make beer so we could all hear your yeast belch every few minutes.

T said...

Now, THAT would be cool! Hearing the beer belch. Definitely in the category of TCMTC.

Yeah, I've lost my iron Southern gut. I miss it...especially since I can't eat bacon, full stop--much less chicken-fried bacon. Oh, well....