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Branagh Muffins?

This sounds utterly filthy! Can’t wait.

I wonder if he'll use bleached flour?

I wonder if he'll use bleached flour?

Happy Valentine’s Day from ManoloFood!

Cheers!

Cheers!

I like their spirit(s)!

Cheese It!

Grilled Cheese there are limits to deluxe

Grilled Cheese: there are limits to deluxe

You’d think so, wouldn’t you? You’d think that the simple Grilled Cheese Sandwich, beloved by ketchup-slinging toddlers and truffle-scented gourmets alike, could be appreciated for its own merits, without being tarted up like a four year old beauty pageant contestant, but noooooooooo.

Honestly, if you want to get fancy, make the pickle on the side an artisanal pickle and you’re good. Super-deluxe it by slicing some fresh mushrooms on top of the cheese before frying if you want, and you’ll even find that the enzymes in the mushrooms make melt-resistant cheese as soft and pliable as a wodge of velveeta in the heart of Eyjafjallajökull. Why, the low rent version made with margarine instead of butter may even contain the secret to immortality!

But that’s not enough for some people; indeed, some people never met a food they weren’t capable of enthusiastically ruining, including God’s Own Comfort Food, the glorious grilled cheese sandwich. I’d like to present (very much WITH comment) the world’s most expensive grilled cheese sandwich.

Now, it’s not the simple $50 fontina and truffle version featured on Gossip Girl.

For the Grilled Cheese Sandwich:
• 8 slices of fresh baked white bread; look for a local bakery
• 16 slices of fontina cheese
• 2 tablespoons sweet butter
• 2 oz. fresh shaved black winter truffles
• Salt and pepper

Layer 2 slices of fontina cheese between 2 slices of white bread and shave a couple of slices of truffles in the middle of each sandwich; do the same for all four sandwiches. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and add the butter. When the butter melts, add the sandwiches and cook until the bread is nice and toasted. Remove and slice sandwiches in half and place onto four plates.

Adding a few extraneous truffles to something is, as we all know, the first resort of the unimaginative trying to make something ostentatiously and purposelessly expensive. Besides, truffles taste like toe jam that’s gone off.

There. I said it. Truffles are to mushrooms as durian is to mangosteen, which is to say, they are the version of that food that is served in HELL.

But I digress. Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. It’s a post about Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.

Right, the world’s most expensive grilled cheese sandwich, other than the $28,000 one with St. Mary of Cracker Barrel on it, is the $170 version made for the Frome Cheese Show and consisting of:

…cheddar cheese blended with white truffles, quail egg, heirloom black tomato, apple, figs, dainty mustard red frills, pea shoots, red amaranth, 100-year-old balsamic vinegar dressing and sourdough bread topped with edible gold dust.

Edible Gold Dust on a grilled cheese sandwich. Edible. Gold. Dust.

Please report on the geographic coordinates of your supreme being at this time.

Wonderful French Toast – First, buy the Challah

For this recipe I recommend an unseeded Challah.

I am a big fan of breakfasts, as is the rest of my family. I often skip it, but I love it. Lunch I can pretty much do without. Dinner is the best.

One of my favorites for breakfast is French Toast and a while back I cam across a recipe for for French Toast that I love. It is less eggy than many recipes which look like nothing more than a fried egg with bread in it. The recipe can be made with other breads but Challah (or Hallah), makes it an exceptional breakfast item, as good as virtually any you will find at a restaurant.

As an aside, Challah bread is a traditional Jewish bread generally eaten on the Sabbath and holidays. It is made generally with eggs, sugar, water and fine white flour. It is very rich and eggy which helps make it a perfect bread for this French Toast recipe which omits the egg whites. Another special ingredient makes this even better.

French Toast:

One loaf of good quality Challah

1-1/2 cups room temperature milk (2% or whole)
pinch of salt
a generous 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
0-2 tablespoons melted butter
3 egg yolks
3 tablespoons brown sugar

And, in order of awesomeness, one of the following:
One Tablespoon Pear Eau De Vie (Our present favorite is Kuchan™ Poire Williams / Bartlett Pear Eau De Vie from Old World Spirits . For the LiquorLocusts review of this product, click here.)
or
One Tablespoon Bourbon, of a kindler, gentler nature like Woodford Reserve or Makers Mark.
or
One Tablespoon vanilla.

The Pear Eau De Vie should be tried. It is great. A subtle but rich flavoring. Bourbon versus vanilla is more a matter of personal taste, but everyone should try the pear.

For the bread, preheat the oven to 280 degrees. Slice bread about 1-1/4″ thick. Put on a baking sheet and put in oven for 15 minutes, flipping bread once, half way through. Take it out and let it cool. Alternately, take your bread out of the wrapper and let it get stale for a few days. The baking works better though, but if your bread is already stale, there you are.

Mix milk, salt, cinnamon, egg yolks brown sugar and your choice of the eau de vie, bourbon or vanilla in a medium bowl. Add melted butter by preference. It is not necessary but does add a bit of richness to the flavor. If you use non-fat milk I would definitely add 2 tablespoons, one for 2% and personally I would still add one with whole milk. If you are not using Challah, which is a rich, buttery bread, I would perhaps add 3 tablespoons melted butter and definitely two,.

Pour the liquid in a 9×13 baking dish. Put slices of challah in and let soak 15-20 seconds per side (both sides) and move to another sheet to sit. Let the bread sit for 2-3 minutes before putting on griddle.

Cook the french toast on a griddle or non-stick pan until golden brown.

Serve with a simple

blueberry compote:

2 cups fresh blueberrys or 1-3/4 cups frozen Wyman’s Wild blueberries.
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon corn starch
3-4 tablespoons of Sugar in the Raw (Turbinado) or plain sugar

cook in heavy saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook approximately 10 minutes, until blueberries break down somewhat. Allow to cool to just warm.

Finally, a bit of ham, a half a grapefruit, and to kill your day,

Diamond Gin Fizzes.

Recipe is here at LiquorLocusts.

Anyway, I think you will find this an excellent and enjoyable recipe.

An Aged Roast

This week I tried my first dry aged roast and I must say that I was quite happy with how it turned out.

Meat in the United States is almost always wet aged.  It is kept in a plastic bag of some sort and refrigerated at just above freezing for 1 to 4 weeks.  90+ percent of the beef aged in the United States is done in this fashion.  This makes the beef more tender as the aging process allows the natural enzymes to break down the connective tissue in the meat.  However, there is no flavor concentration because the plastic bagging keeps the moisture in the meat so there is no weight loss.

Now very fine beef for schmancy restaurants and such can be dry aged.  This is where large primal cuts are kept in air for approximately the same 1-4 weeks in refrigeration. This promotes the same tenderizing from the enzyme process and enhances it because it promotes the growth of certain molds on the surface of the meat that increase the tenderizing process. These molds do not actually rot the meat and the moldy surface is trimmed off before it is cut into roasts and steaks.

Fine cuts are used because a nice marbling of fat is important for dry aging.

Dry aging is not often done because you will lose up to 20% of the meat from it drying out and being trimmed. This does, however, result in a delicious concentration of flavor in the beef.

Now, I had read about doing this at home for 3 or 4 days instead of long term aging so this week I tried it out. I had a top sirloin roast of about 4 pounds. I put it in the refrigerator set at 34 degrees up on a rack and covered with paper towels. All that I did was change the paper towels twice during the aging process. After this trim away dry parts of the meat and fat. Leave as much of the fat as possible for the flavor and also so you can make a nice gravy, as I did.

This bit of aging made a wonderful roast. Very tender, with a mellow but full beef flavor. Tasting this you realize that the regular roasts have a much more watery flavor at the same degree of doneness. Next I need to try aging the meat for a full week and see how that is. My mouth is watering already.

Notes:
You can also age the meat very nicely in cheesecloth, but change it a couple of times.
For safety, make sure that your refrigerator is set below 40 degrees for the aging and perhaps use a thermometer to check your actual temperature.

OM NOM NOM

It’s Christm…..National Sangria Day!

Yes, it is that most wonderful time of the year, National Sangria Day!  And since that coincides with the Holiday season through some weird coincidence, Cava Sangria would be excellent as a holiday punch.

Here is a good basic recipe for Cava Sangria:

8 oz. Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice (or good Tropicana not from concentrate)
A Generous shot of gin (if you have it, a nice citrusy one like Leopold’s)
A Generous shot of vodka
A bottle of Cava (which is a sparkling Spanish white wine-Spanish champagne as it were)
3 Tablespoons sugar or 4 of simple syrup (more or less according to your sweet tooth)
A double shot of Gran Marnier
Orange slices
Strawberry slices
Mix everything except the Cava and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.  Just before serving add ice and then the Cava.  Serve cold over ice.  Refreshing and invigorating until glass #4, then not so much.

A beautiful cava sangria for a festive New Year's or Christmas party.

Under New Management

Things are going to be different around here.

Bottom's up! Here's to your liver

VERY different.

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If all of your iPhone apps are food related…

Then do I have the thing for you —

Yes, it’s true. The only thing better than a soba sandwich? A soba iPhone cover.

From the always-innovative Japanese comes a series of plastic iPhone protectors designed to defend your most prized possession from nicks and scratches while making your stomach growl with gluttonous glee.

In addition to yaki soba, iMeshi the company behind the ingenious device is offering an assortment of other protectors “featuring some of the most popular Japanese food” like bento box, a sunny side up egg with bacon, and tonkatsu.

If you weren’t already rushing to buy one, perhaps the following description from iMeshi will entice you –

So Realistic, you might think about eating Your iPhone

Even one piece of rice looks extremely realistic, your iPhone might start looking like your favorite dish. Who would have ever though of making your iPhone looking like food? We did!

Yes you did iMeshi, and the world is a better place for it! I want one NOW!

(via Serious Eats)

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