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Archive for the ‘Condiments’ Category

Goes well with cheeses, etc.

In a pickle

I will admit off the bat that I didn’t follow this recipe to a tee. I would’ve liked to have honored it completely; most chefs say you should always follow a recipe exactly as it states the first time you make it, then you can fuss around with it and make it your own the next time. It’s just that I didn’t know I was missing a crucial ingredient—the honey—until I chopped up all the rhubarb into the batons, and at that point, there was no looking back (“I want to make this, and I want to make it now, dammit!” said Veruca Salt in my head). Yes, piss-poor mis-en-place-ing, j’accuse!. . .myself.

Part of Step 2

Part of Step 2; point of no return

I was able to work around it, however, with the resulting pickle being more tart and sour, I would guess, than the original recipe. I found agave in the cabinet, so I subbed that in for half of the honey. I also found some Mymoune pomegranate molasses, which is way more tart and not as sweet as the Al Wadi Al Akhdar pomegranate molasses, but I used that to sub for the grenadine and the other half of the honey. And I added quarter of a cup of turbinado sugar to aim for the sweet side, but it wasn’t sweet enough. There’s a lot of tartness here: the vinegars, the rhubarb, and now the pom molasses, and no deeply rich and sweet honey to balance it completely. But all things considered, it turned out pretty tasty, with some extra residual zing.

Star anises, steeping

Star anises, steeping

I had it with some cheese (Bergumer, which is like a nuttier Swiss) the other day, and it was good, but I’m going to buy some others, maybe a goat or something soft and creamy to snack with it, and maybe cook up some panna cotta, as per Chef Iuzzini’s suggestion. If you have followed the original recipe, please share how it went! I might try the recipe from the old boss next.

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Oh, the promise of snacktime

Oh, the promise of snacktime

We were in NJ on Saturday en route to visiting family, so we stopped at the giant Wal-Mart-ish Korean food shopping complex in Ridgefield, NJ, called Hmart. A smaller outpost is right smack in the middle of 32nd Street, but this sprawling market is no joke. You want a trip back to your motherland down some food aisles? You’ll take it and you’ll like it.

Above are stacks of Choco Pies, which are treats comprised of two chocolate-covered cake discs smooshing some chewy marshmallow in the middle. I could once hoover up boxes of them, and deservingly, I was quite the tubby child as a result.

Or Oh No, depending on your diet

Or Oh No, depending on your diet

I’ve had Oh Yeses before, but I don’t remember them clearly. On the Haitai website, it’s positioned as a direct competitor to Choco Pies, which is made by Orion: “Unlike The Dry and Hard Choco Pie, The Soft Cake and Chocolate Cream Softly Melts in Your Mouth.” Sounds titillating.

There are lots of little stations set up with workers hawking items for tasting: fish of the week, snacks, and drinks. Below are some pomegranate drinking vinegars (the two bottles on the left), and a persimmon vinegar (on the right) I picked up for the rhubarb pickle recipe. Generally speaking, Koreans form a big market for interesting health remedies, so I think the drinking vinegars are pitched as some sort of detoxifying tonic or a weight-loss aid, but it is also pretty tasty, health claims aside (but not exactly healthy; the label lists high-fructose corn syrup as an ingredient, albeit close to the end). Mix some of the drinking vinegar with some seltzer, and you have an imitation kombucha sans the lactobacilli.

vinegars

The most exciting and heart-stopping part was when we came upon this machine below, which makes slightly-sweet puffed rice discs. The metal device spins out the rice puff, and when it does, it makes an explosive (!!!) pop, literally like a gunshot, and the rice disc hits the plexiglass and chills out until it gets packaged and finds a home in a happy tummy.  I regret not taking a video to amuse you readers—total blog fail! Next time.

This machine will scare any hiccups right out

This machine will scare any hiccups right out

Hmart is located on 321 Broad Ave, Ridgefield, NJ; 201-943-9600. In K-town, it’s at 25 w. 32nd Street; 212-695-3283. And of course(!) there’s one in Flushing: 29-02 Union St.; 718-445-5656.

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At last, I picked up a bottle of sherry vinegar for the rhubarb pickle project: El Majuelo Vinagre de Jerez. Except I bought the rhubarb stalks a week and a half ago, and now they’re flaccid from spending a long time in the crisper. (Then why are they called crispers?) How do I live with myself?

And another project lined up: a cookie plate for my sister, who’s hosting a luncheon for fellow school teachers. Martha Stewart’s carrot cake cookies with cream cheese icing, salty shortbread cookies dipped in chocolate, and sesame tuiles. Something for everyone.

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…of liking the recipe but being skeptical of the source. I’ve heard some Stories about Johnny Iuzzini from fellow classmates (that’s not a typo, stories with a capital “S”). And c’mon! His book is called Dessert Fourplay! Its tagline should really be Mining the Sexual Fantasies of Hungry Suburban Housewives.

But good for him, cashing in on his nasty boy image. I will set aside my dislike for now, because this recipe piques my interest. Reading the ingredients, I can’t imagine at all how it’s supposed to taste. So mysterious!

Style vs. substance showdown! Results TBA.

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