Monday, March 26, 2007

the sweet and the meat tooth

i crave all kinds of things all the time. i also have a meat tooth, and a sweet tooth.
when i didn't eat meat, i definitely had an umami tooth. i craved that meaty taste that tofurkey could never replicate. i tried to cope by putting nutritional yeast on everything, which i still love. i love nutritional yeast-y fake cheese sauce, nutritional yeast flakes, butter and fleur de sel on english muffins, and nutritional yeast and onion powder popcorn. one non-veg friend compared the taste to old, funky cheese, which i am fine with.
i must admit, i recently purchased a small tin of msg. i love MSG, it satisfies the meat tooth. the MSG is hidden in the back of the cupboard under some hagelslag purchased in amsterdam, behind 3 packages of nori and 5 pounds of brown rice. my tell-tale heart. my dirty little secret. i don't even think my boyfriend knows that i have it back there. i sprinkle it on frozen corn; i've even tried putting it on my popcorn. and i always sprinkle it on bland tofu dishes that i cook for my vegetarian boyfriend because i have to eat that crap, too. it's embarrassing for a professional cook to put this out there. it's like telling people i have a ginsu knife or a george foreman grill. i swear, it's for personal use ONLY.
i have the salt tooth; it's been a monkey on my back since i was small. my mom had high blood pressure and we never had salt in the house. ironic, because we had gallons of soy sauce, but no salt. (my mom also purchased MSG by the 5-pound bag, but i digress). I remember going to dinner at popeye's chicken--a big night out for the my family. everything tasted better, sharper, more intense. my parents couldn't stand it; the food was too salty. salt? this magic fairy dust that makes everything taste better. i wanted more.
great article in chowhound about salty sweets, which i am a fan of. i am obsessed with the yin and yang of food. balancing a hoedown with a thin mint. fat and acid. the salty and the sweet. angela's favorite treat: hot chocolate with a sprinkle of sea salt. sometimes i go really crazy and make hot chocolate with thick, fresh cream from the farmers' market, chunks of chocolate, sel gris and a sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper. mmmm. all i need is a side of bacon to satisfy all of my cravings.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

what would bacon do?

i have been very sick and very neglectful of b.s.s.
drinks at tavolata, followed by jay's special concoctions have led to this blog, in which i extole the virtues of bacon.

-my personal bacon concoctions: the b.l.tini (bacon salt rim, lovage infused gin, tomato water), apple tarte tatin with blue cheese ice cream and candied bacon, bacon caramel-filled chocolates, and bacon brittle (recipe below).

-my suggestion of adding bacon bits to the chocolate gelato and peanut butter caramel dessert at oliver's twist

-bacon mints, bacon wallet, bacon band aids, and my personal favorite, "what would bacon do?" spin folder- courtesy of archie mcphee's wake n' bacon wooden pig-shaped alarm clock that wakes you up with the delicious smell of one strip of frozen bacon cooked under a halogen lamp.

-amazon lists 116,911 books with the keyword "bacon"; 745 of those are in the Gay/Lesbian subheading...really not surprising considering all the euphimisms (meat curtains, hiding the double-smoked, cured winter salami), as well as my two most recent purchases: Seduced by Bacon and Pork & Sons.

-Au Pied de Cochon Restaurant in Montreal

-Pork soup dumplings from New Bo Green in New York's chinatown

-in my fourth or fifth blog mention, i must also include the tonkotsu ramen at Samurai Ramen. liquid pig goodness, lip-sticky demi-glace-ness, pure deliciousness. somehow, minus the pork slice, plus tofu balances out the pigginess for me.

-bacon soda, rumor has it, local soda company Jones Soda came out with it as a follow-up to their popular turkey and gravy soda...

-"bacon is for lovers" bacon aphrodisiac dinners at david greggory restau*lounge in d.c.

-rauchbier, a family friend brought back this smokebeer from germany. seriously, bacon-flavored beer. "The intensely smokey flavor in this dark, rich beer comes from exposing the unsprouted malt to burning slats of local beechwood. " sure, whatever it takes to talk you into drinking bacon. yes, you can actually get a faux-hooters girl, excuse me, "highly trained expert" to come to your house and "prepare" bacon for you, "exactly the way you want it". ANY way i want it? that's the way i get it?

-my only hit for bacon porn pulled up this gem, "Bacon makes everything crazy. Tie two hot dogs together with bacon. Strangle Bay scallops with bacon. Devil an egg and then stab it with bacon. Stick seventy-seven strips of bacon up a Cornish hen's ass. Rape a baked potato with bacon. Fuck with your peanut butter sandwich. When it's expecting the grape jam, hit it with the bacon. Crush 6 pounds of the extra crispy stuff and make your soups and salad cry. Oh, and bacon gravy! Throw 97 biscuits into a hot tub full of bacon gravy. Clog arteries. Grow love handles. Eat bacon. Wake up and smell the bacon, Utah. If cleanliness is godliness, bacon is truth. And the truth shall make you clean. Nobody wants to smell like bacon, obviously, but in the spirit of watching The Black Table's kooky ideas gurgle, belch, and shit all over the floor, we bring you bacon soap."

Bacon Brittle
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1 cup crispy cooked bacon, in bits (about 12 oz. uncooked bacon)

Grease or butter a large nonstick baking sheet, or line with a Silpat mat. In a heavy medium-sized saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves and the syrup comes to a boil. Attach a candy thermometer to the pan, increase the heat to high, and cook without stirring until the mixture reaches 290 degrees. Immediately remove from the heat. Stir in the butter, vanilla, baking soda, salt, pecans, and bacon bits. The mixture will foam quite a bit. When the foam subsides, pour the hot mixture out onto the prepared baking sheet and, working quickly, spread thin using a silicone spatula or two forks. If the brittle starts to set up before you have spread it out thin, set the baking sheet in a hot oven until the candy softens and continue to spread. Cool at least 10 minutes before breaking into pieces. Store in a covered container.

p.s. jay made me a cocktail with black radish, tequila, sea salt and lime juice. mmmmm.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

speaking of sour...

check out this story by white girl, sara dickerman, on the flip cookbook Memories of Philippine Kitchens. read the first comment about how flip food isn't all that because the flavors aren't strong. maybe your co-workers thought your weak american ass couldn't handle it. gee, i got chinese food at the mall and it wasn't all that. can one find the necessary ingredients in this country? outside of a major city? how about giving filipinos a break because, like most asian nations, their cuisine was created from an impoverished people just trying to get by?

Pan Asian Peanut Sauce
(adapted from)Cendrillon's Recipe

1 cup peanuts
1 lemongrass, minced
3 shallots, minced
2 inch ginger, minced
1T peanut oil
1 cup coconut milk
1T chili sauce
2T soy sauce (or 1T soy and 1T nam pla)
1T mirin
1t chili flakes, or to taste
Hard toast peanuts in oven. Buzz in food processor until coarsely chopped. Reserve 2 tablespoons. Lightly brown the lemongrass, shallots, and ginger in a small pot with peanut oil. Add the peanuts and coconut milk. Simmer for 5 minutes. Season with the chili sauce, soy sauce and mirin. Let cool to room temp. Pulse in the blender until smooth. Fold in reserved peanuts.
i love this with brown rice and pan-fried tempeh (don't forget to splash on some patchouli and change into your PETA shirt). it's good on lumpia, vietnamese summer rolls and your finger.

Cendrillon's website
p.s. The photos in the book are by Mika's papa, Mr. Neal Oshima. Mika did Cendrillon's website, by the by.

Monday, March 12, 2007

bitter sour salty drunk

although it has always been acceptable to drink on the job, i am currently a paid alcoholic guinea pig. three hours of refining a moet white star champagne cocktail has has fuzzied up the rage i felt upon entering the kitchen this morning. "springing forward" an hour combined forces with a pair of misplaced eyeglasses and a chronicly terrible employee and, within minutes of being at work, i was plotting the deaths of co-workers.
thank god for bubbly cocktails.

chef d's mid-shift attitude adjuster
1/2 oz. pear william
1 oz. aviation gin
1 oz. moet & chandon white star champers
1 sugar cube soaked in fee's peach bitters
lemon twist
multiply by three for mondays.

brandon's happy maker
1/2 oz. liquer 43
1 oz. applejack
1 oz. moet & chandon white star
lemon twist
repeat until rage dissipates.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

pour a jug on the ground...

for fallen homie, ernest gallo. he died today, so we will imbibe a jug in honor of the man who created an empire from a library pamphlet recipe for wine. one out of every four bottles that americans drink is a fine gallo blend.
my parents were fans of peach-y riunite. riunite on ice, that's nice! i poured myself a big ol' mug of the stuff in eighth grade. this shit was off the hook, it tasted like peach nehi and made you feel all warm and fuzzy.
julie labar's pot-smoking, wiccan, hippy mom was a fan of the gallo jug. we'd sneak some when we were working on wax voodoo dolls, apple switch magic wands and love potions, which was a lovely combo of old kitchen spices (ground cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice), vials of my mom's sample perfumes (chanel no.5, giorgio, poison) and julie's mom's sandalwood and patchouli oils. it smelled like an mexican bus full of strippers baking pies. is "witch nerd" a common social phenomenon among pre-pubescent teens?
check out ernest's arch enemy's web site to create an homage to the master.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

dinner at the harvest vine

divine, as always:
creamy bacon crostini
duck confit, pickled pears
candied walnuts
roasted beets
calabasa soup with fried shallots
duck confit with sherry reduction
scallop, foie gras and lacquered beet square, beet green crisp
tuna belly with vanilla olive oil
clams, white beans and bacon
tripe and chorizo-love, love, loved this so much
seared squab and black trumpet mushrooms
mini ganache sandwiches
quince ice cream with quince-pine nut tart
and an bottomless glass of cava