domingo, 23 de noviembre de 2008

Pear-Honey Panna Cotta

I recently attended one of those dinners where everyone’s supposed to bring something. Curiously when the idea of getting together came up, I was just commenting on the dinner I made a couple weeks back. So they asked me for dessert.

I mulled the idea for different desserts, but since I wanted to give them something that wouldn’t keep me in the kitchen a long time, I went for panna cotta, as I could simply put it in to a disposable vessel.

After pondering many ideas, and seeing I had some pears left in my fridge. I thought about making a honey panna cotta with a pear compote. My wife also wanted to incorporate anise and dried fruits into the mix, so the final idea became: Honey and Pear Panna Cotta; Star Anise, Muscovado and Jerez raisins and Bacon Nougatine.

For my Buddy Adrián, I’ll post the recipe:

Honey Pear Panna Cotta

600ml. Whipping Cream

200 ml. Pear and Honey Purée (Follows)

5g Gelatin Sheets, bloomed.

For the Pear and Honey Purée

4 small Pears, peeled, cored and quartered.

4 tbsps Honey.

To make the purée, heat the honey in a sauté pan until hot and bubbly. Arrange the pears on the honey. Lower heat to a simmer and cook until desired color and texture, moving occasionally. Cool.

Mix the cooled purée with the cream and bring to a boil. Add the gelatin and mix to dissolve. Pour the mixture into molds and refrigerate until set.

Star Anise, Muscovado and Jerez Raisins

115g Water

115g Muscovado Sugar

4 Pods Star Anise

½ Cups Raisins

15ml. Jerez

Bring the star anise, muscovado and water to a boil. Pour over the raisins and let them steep. When the raisins are soft, remove from the syrup. Reduce the syrup to desired consistency and return the raisins. Add the Jerez and Stir. Reserve.

Bacon Nougatine





Cut bacon into small strips. Place in a cold sauté pan and bring over a low flame. Allow the fat to render and turn heat up to medium. Sauté until crispy and browned. Place over paper towel to remove excess fat.

Freeze the bacon, weigh and grind. I’m sure some liquid Nitrogen or Tapioca Maltodextrin would’ve made this last step easier, but alas I have none.

On a small pot, place the same amount as the bacon of glucose and sugar. Heat up until it forms a dark caramel and add the same amount of cold butter in small pieces and the bacon. Stir well and pour over a silicone mat. Allow to cool and break it into shards or cut into shapes before it’s completely cooled down.

To serve, place some raisins and syrup on top of the panna cotta. Decorate with the nougatine.

I used plastic test tubes.

jueves, 20 de noviembre de 2008

Music to eat by...

TreceVeinte, a modern lifestyle journal has published an article on how music affects us while shopping. One of the journal's sections even has advice on how to build playlists for different moments of the day, including shopping.

It's known that sound is an important factor in setting the atmosphere where customers will enjoy our products. Usually the biggest problem is noise, busy restaurants become noisy places and the experience might be hindered. I've had good meals become modest meals because of either extremely noisy ambiances or, yes, bad music.

If you're spending a significant amount of your paycheck at arguably the best restaurant in town, you don't want your ears booming with the electronic pulses of the latest pop band (let alone their hollering).

So the question is, what music do we eat by?

Laurent Gras had his own music made...

domingo, 2 de noviembre de 2008

TGRWT #12 Chanterelle and Apricot.

We're just starting to relax from the last event and next one's already up. This time it's being hosted by Tri-2-cook. The challenge: Apricot and Chanterelle.

Martin has already posted a bit on the chemical information involved in the pairing and I did some searching of my own. A word of warning though, on the Good Scents people don't list "chanterelle" specifically so the search is for component matches between mushrooms and apricots. This comes somewhat handy as I believe chanterelles are a bit tough to come by in this area.

I'm already cooking up some ideas...

TGRWT #11 The late one.

I had the ideas, the ingredients ready, and all of a sudden all hell breaks loose and I didn't have the time to get this one done on time.

The idea I had was to make caramelized bananas sprinked with clove. For some reason I couldn't let it rest there and had to go and make things complicated. Thus I came with the idea for making a Roquefort 40-second cake. I had read about this in a few blogs and finally took the recipe from Linda at playing with fire and water (which y'all should read if you aren't already).

I followed her recipe verbatim just substituting the chocolate for melted Roquefort cheese. Speaking of the technique itself, it really is all that and more. It's quite interesting to see the batter rise in the microwave. I believe that roquefort was a little bit too fatty for the recipe because the final product was not as spongy as the ones in Linda's blog.

Tasting it was a whole different experience. Just out of the microwave the cake appeared almost salty and with a lot of cheese aroma. It wasn't the taste I was looking for. Colder however, the sweetness came out and it was just what I had in mind. Unfortunately, the texture also changed rendering it a little chewy.

The caramelized bananas, due to my time constraint had to become a purée. The bananas had become incredibly soft during the couple of extra resting days they had (I had bought them pretty much ready to use on the same day). It was quite a straighforward thing: I ground some cloves, heated some butter, added muscovado sugar, ground clove and let it come together; I then added the bananas and cooked until soft; the whole thing was then processed to a smooth paste (with some speckles of clove there). The purée tasted quite good, with the aroma of the cloves really coming forward and marrying itself with the banana.

I tasted the whole dish twice, once with the hot cake and a second one with a colder one. The first one wasn't too enjoyable, because of the aformentioned reasons (cake). Colder, it was very good. I believe the taste combination has potential to develop some other desserts, perhaps using more traditional means.

A final Head's up: The next TGRWT is already up!