Archives

All posts for the month April, 2009

 

A Pie You Could MakeThis is a basic pie dough recipe that can be used for tarts, crostadas, and pies. It is a simple recipe that is balanced for both savory and sweet applications. Because this recipe is basic, it can easily be expanded through experimentation.

Basic Pie Dough

Yield: 1 9 inch Tart

  • 1 ½ Cups Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Salt
  • 8 Tablespoons, Chilled Unsalted Butter Cut into 1 Tablespoon Pieces
  • 4 Tablespoons, Ice Cold Water

Add the flour, sugar, and salt to a food processor and pulse several times to mix. Add one tablespoon of butter into the food processor and pulse until the butter has been incorporated into the flour. Repeat this until there is no more butter remaining. Try to use as few pulses as possible as too much friction from the blades will melt the butter. The finished product should contain pea-sized bits of butter covered in flour.

To make this a dough, add the ice cold water one tablespoon at a time. Pulse the dough and see if it starts to come together to look like a dough. If it does not, continue adding the water and pulsing. The exact amount of water needed to bring the dough together will vary depending on the humidity that day, the type of flour, and other factors. Sometimes less than four tablespoons of water is needed and every now and then, the flour will need a bit more. However, it is better if the dough is slightly dry than too wet.

Once the dough looks right, remove it from the food processor and gently roll it to combine it into a ball. Do not overwork the dough, or the resulting crust will be chewy.

Add flour to a rolling surface and cut the ball into five to eight pieces. Roll each piece once on the mat using the palm of your hand, then collect the dough and set aside. Repeat for the other pieces, combine the dough, and form it into a disk at least one inch wide. Chill in the freezer for at least eight hours.

While the dough is chilling, find a recipe for a good filling. Because this dough can be used in all types of tarts, just about any filling will do. After eight hours, preheat the oven to the temperature specified by the recipe. Roll out the dough on a pastry mat that has been covered with a little flour. Use a cold rolling pin if possible.

After the dough has been rolled, follow the rest of the recipe instructions for making the filling, bake, and enjoy.

Thanks to thebittenword.com for the image.

Chef Debbie GoldFine dining is very much alive in Kansas City, MO at The American Restaurant.  Located right next to Crown Center, The American is making a name for Kansas City upscale/fine dining cuisine and serves wonderful contemporary American food.

The American and Chef Debbie Gold

Returning to helm the kitchen at The American is Chef Debbie Gold, an easy going, likeable chef who was more than happy to talk cooking.  I got to talk to Chef for a few minutes about her career, the restaurant and all topics food.  Like all of the KC chefs I’ve talked to, I was very impressed with Chef Gold’s passion for food.  For instance, the question “What’s your favorite Spring vegetable?” could not be answered with a single vegetable.

Chef Gold on Molecular Gastronomy

On the topic of trends, she mentioned molecular gastronomy at which point she made a statement I found deeply profound.  It seems Chef Gold is not a huge proponent of molecular gastronomy because, as she put it “We’ve worked so hard to get the chemicals out of our food when we grow it, why would we put it in in the end when we cook it?”  As much of a fan of Chef Richard Blais, the gastronomic wizard from Top Chef, I found myself suddenly calling into question the whole practice.

Why’s She Not Yelling?

Still, what stands out most to me about Chef Gold, other than her food, which we’ll get to in a moment, was just how happy her brigade seemed to be.  I live and die on Gordon Ramsey reruns so I am used to the idea of the chef as screaming slave driver.  A Gordon Ramsey kitchen seems devoid of humor and fun.  From the moment I walked into the kitchen, I could tell her staff was having a good time.  Yes, there was dinner going on, but everyone was all smiles and there was a enthusiasm  in everyone’s work.

Strangely enough, there was no fear Chef Gold was going to break into a tirade of F bombs and screaming.  By the end of the tour, i wanted to work for her.

Lamb Belly and Duck Breast

So, the thing that stands out most about Chef Gold including her food was her food.  She treated me to some of her roast lamb belly (the meat near the stomach, not the stomach itself!) served on top of a green peas with a little splash of what I think was a tomato ginger relish.  This dish reflects both the high and the low point of the meal.

That lamb belly was… supercalifragilisticexpedaladocious.  I seriously can’t think of another word for it.  Granted, I don’t eat a lot of lamb, but the lamb belly I had there was unbelievable.  The best I ever had.  I could cut it with my fork.  It was flavorful, perfectly seasoned with simple salt and pepper, and cooked, I think, just on it’s own fat.  Amazing.  The tomato relish was also wonderful.  It was strong, so there wasn’t much, but it mixed with the lamb and the peas.

Which brings us to the low point.  The peas.  I was not a fan of the peas.  They were a little too al dente for my taste and could have used a little…something else.  It wasn’t bad enough to detract from the lamb, but not perfect.

I also had the La Belle duck breast served on a sunchoke puree with ramps.  The sauce was a Grand Marnier gastrique.  This dish was a total success.  The duck was rich, but tender.  The sunchokes were mild, but worked perfectly with the duck and the broad beans were terrific.  Had I only had this meal, I would have been very happy.  However, after the lamb… well… I can say the duck’s major failing was that it wasn’t a second plate of lamb belly.

All in all, I had a great talk with Chef and a great meal.  The next time you are looking for a fine meal, a place for an anniversary, or just a tremendous view of the city, stop by The American Restaurant.  Ask for the lamb and tell them BlogWellDone sent you.  Enjoy!!

Thanks to the Kansas City Star for the picture.

My friend Heidi sent me this:

 

Smoothie Soireé on Sunday

Only at the Uptown Theater

3700 Broadway St., KCMO, 64111

Broadway Room

5-7PM

$10

 

All you can drink Organic SuperFüD Smoothies and Introduction Party!

 

Meet the Superfriends of SolFüD!

 

Special Guests: Daniel Greenamyre * Nicolas Garcia * Chris Perrin * Heidi VanPelt

 

Atmospheric Sounds Orchestrated by Jerimiah Belle

 

Come and taste the future of liquefied foods! Get Glowing!

 

Daniel Greenamyre, Superfood Advisor and distributor is hosting a cornucopia of superfoods to get your juices flowing and your glow glowing! He will talk about how he got the glow in less than 6 months and how you can too!

 

Meet Nicolas Garcia an Urban Legend Organic Farmer and Guerrilla Gardener whose drive and passion is to redesign and teach alternatives to lawns and use of green spaces for the hungry.   He comes from a long line of gardeners, farmers and political roustabouts and hopes to continue in the tradition of all of the above with good company.  Come join the movement!

 

Meet Chris Perrin- Author of Startbeingproductive.com, Food Blogger (Blogwelldone), gamer, programmer and Vegan Chef extraordinaire, woo! This man does not sleep he will give you 5 easy tips on how to Start Being Productive right now!

 

Meet Heidi VanPelt- Living Food Educator and Chef of SolFüD products. She will give you a quick Tune Your Fork Raw demo at 6pm!

Welcome to my first ever Where Life and Lunch Meet

This is a new thing inspired heavily by reading Jeffrey Steingarten and Tony Bourdain (specifically his book Nasty Bits.)  I have found these two men’s tales about their (often obsessive) explorations of food to be educational, insightful, sometimes humorous, and generally, a fine thing to read.  Plus, they’re always laden with food terms you can use to impress and astound your friends.

I hope to bring similarly good literatue to you, O gentle reader!

I have a theory about Thai food restaurants.  This is what I always tell people when I take them for their first Thai experience. 

However, before the theory, some background.  When it comes to your first Thai meal with me, you have two choices: phad thai and phad sea eaw.  Phad thai is the official dish of Thailand and is made from rice noodles, shrimp, chicken, this tangy/sweet sauce, peanuts, green onions and chilies.  Phad sea eaw is a great noodle dish featuring wider rice noodles, mushrooms, broccoli, and a sauce made from soy sauce and dark soy sauce. 

By the way, no curries allowed.  Phad thai or phad sea eaw only.  I am a vicious Thai taskmaster.

With that aside, elementary phad thai theory goes like this.  When figuring out whether you should order phad thai or phad sea eaw, there are two things you should know. 

  1. I have never had a bad plate of phad sea eaw.  It delivers every time, varying between a 7 and an 8 on a scale of 1-10.
  2. I have had bad phad thai.  Sometimes I order it and it’s a solid 2.  Other times I order it and it’s an 10… or a 12.  I don’t know if it’s the chef or the freshness of the ingredients or stray alpha particles, but there just some days when phad thai is garbage and sometimes it’s a dream.

So…which do you choose?

That decision is up to you.  It depends on what you want.  The sure thing that is good or the chance for something great.

There’s no right or wrong answer.  There’s just lunch. 

Me?  I’m a Phad Thai man myself.  I do enjoy a good phad sea eaw, but a bad dish (which can be salvagaed with a little sambal olek) is more than worth a plate of amazing phad thai.

SunchokesTonight I interviewed Chef Debbie Gold from The American restuarant in Kansas City, MO. I had a fabulous meal include a lamb dish that unseated Fogo de Chao’s lamb as the best lamb dish I had ever had. But that’s another blog post.

Today, we’re talking about

Sunchokes

While talking Chef Gold and touring her immaculate kitchen, she showed me some really beautiful sunchokes in her walk-in and she gave me a brief tutorial about them. Of course, later, when given the chance, Ihad to order the LaBelle duck which rested on a pillowy bed of sunchoke puree.

I thought I’d share what she told me with all of you:

Continue Reading

GazpachoGazpacho is tomato soup, served cold that hails from the Andalusia region of Spain.  The thought of eating ice cold tomato soup at first may appear strange, especially for those from the United States that grew up with grilled cheese sandwiches and hot tomato soup as the cure for the winter chills.  However, this dish is both traditional, and delicious.

Classic Gazpacho

The classic version of the dish features tomatoes, bell peppers, olive oil, garlic, salt and vinegar.  This version adds ginger and more vegetables, making it perfect for summer when the days are hot and the produce are in season.

Continue Reading

Braised Chuck in a Mexican Mole Sauce

Don’t look now, but this post is coming at you from Big Acres Gourmet Products!

I first learned of Big Acres Gourment when I overheard a conversation on Twitter (is that overtweard?) @melanieyunk talking about her amazing mole sauce that she demoed on the radio.

I. Love. Mole.

So of course I asked for a bottle.  I should have asked for case because I am so craving some more

Beef Mole

I promise not to say holy mole!  I promise!  But boy howdy was this stuff good.  For those who don’t know what mole is, it’s a Mexican sauce and the most widely known savory (non-dessert) usage of chocolate.  Mole is a combination of peppers and spices and bitter chocolate that forms this indescribable sauce.  When it’s done right, it’s mindblowing.

When it’s not done right… well, they’re called doggy bags for a reason.

The thing I liked about Big Acres is that their mole was sweet (from the raisins that they add), but also pleasantly spicy.  It also had good body (I am assuming that came from the nuts they add.)

Now, the traditional mole dish is chicken mole, where cooked chicken is combined with mole and usually served with beans, rice, and tortillas.  So of course, when I got my bottle, I couldn’t do chicken mole.  Where’s the challenge?

Ready to see what I did?

Continue Reading

Tonight I had a great time cooling with @ShellyKramer in her fantastic kitchen (currently being remodeled.)  It was fun to chat about recipes and try a new pork recipe.

The pork was not a 100% success.  It was a bit tough, but all in all good times were achieved.

I also made some rice on the side which I enjoyed, my wife hated because it was overcooked and Shelly hated because it was undercooked.  There’s just no pleasing everyone. 🙂

I also made creamed spinach.  That was pretty simple.  Just spinach, sauted onions, chicken broth, cream and garlic.  We didn’t have any ouzo, but it was still pretty good.

More to come later!

I got the scoop on a brand new faux meat product.

University Science and Food, a company loosely affiliated with several research universities, is set to release Mahn, a 100% certified non-GMO soy-based product.  University scientists, especially those who work with cannibal tribes in the primeval South American jungles, are excited by the release of Mahn.

“I lost my best grad assistant just last month,” says Dr. Albert Willingheim, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Kansas.  “If only we’d had some Mahn.”

Those who have tried Mahn report nothing but good results.  “Yeah, I had some Mahn.  And good thing, too,” says Dr. Thomas Newcastle, research Fellow at Yale.  “So this one tribe had us tied up Han Solo/Ewok style over a fire pit.  Well my back pack dropped in the flames and suddenly everything smelled like burnt skin.  Next thing I know someone’s jumping in after my pack and they’re letting us go if we promise to bring more Mahn in a can.”

Mahn is the brain child of two visionaries: Glen Carson and Paul Winters, two former goths and creater of Blud.  “Well, after Blud, we got to thinking ‘What’s next?’  It could only be Mahn,” says Carson.

“We got both the taste and texture down perfect using our patented formula,” added Winters.

When asked how they could be so sure, both men smile.  “Blind taste tests.”

Will Mahn do well your grocer’s freezer?  These two men bet yes.

Happy April Fool’s!