Friday, April 1, 2011

New Chef and New Season at B&O Brasserie!

by Xani

Sometimes, it's good to be a food blogger. In the past week, EP and I have been lucky enough to dine at two of Baltimore's best restaurants: Salt  (don't worry, post coming soon!) and B&O American Brasserie.  Now we've blogged about B&O before, but last night we were invited to try out the new B&O, with new Executive Chef Thomas Dunklin at the helm.  And, not to put too fine a point on it, the new menu ROCKS!
Check out that ink!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Grandmother's Recipe for Hamantaschen

by EP

Readers should note that the title of this post is not "MY grandmother's recipe for hamantaschen," but rather "A grandmother's recipe."  Our grandmothers didn't make hamantaschen (ruggelach is another story), so when I decided I wanted to make hamantaschen for Purim a few weeks ago, I had to find someone else's family recipe.  I found this NY Times recipe, which won me over with the author's sweet story about her grandmother and the adaptations she made to the recipe after WWII (the heaping tablespoons of lemon zest in the dough didn't hurt either).

So, while visiting the BCD parents out at Blackacre, BCD Mom and I set to making these three-pointed cookies made to resemble the hat of Haman, the bad guy in the Purim story who tried to kill all the Jews (what else is new?).

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Doughy Weekend

by Xani

I know everyone is just on the edge of their seats waiting for more info about our interview the other night.  Well, you will have to wait just a little bit longer, although I will tell you that Salt was just as good as I remember, even though the last time we ate there was in 2008!  More details to come very soon...

Meanwhile, I spent a pleasant weekend experimenting in the kitchen.  First, I decided to try another America's Test Kitchen recipe, this one for Chicago Style Deep-Dish Pizza.  Now, I'm normally a thin-crust girl.  I can practically whip up a grilled pie or flat bread in my sleep.  But deep-dish is another animal.  I'm hesitant to even call is "pizza," it's something else entirely.  But ATK provided a thorough recipe, complete with pictures and video (another reason I love their site), and it looked too delicious not to try.  I got started on the dough and actually remembered the take pictures this time!

Dough phase 1
After assembling the dough in my KitchenAid, I started getting a little nervous b/c it didn't have quite the glossy/tacky consistency the recipe called for.  REMAIN CALM, I instructed myself.  For once, I listened, and by the time it had risen all was well, and I was able to shape it into this:

Now the crazy part, you slather it with butter!

And roll 'er up...

This is a form of lamination (which I've discussed before) and the ATK testers found that it was an important part of getting the flaky, light crust that is crucial to true deep-dish (heavy and bready is no good!).

A few more steps and another rise (this time in the fridge)...
folded, seams pinched to form a ball
ready to rise again
and it was time to shape the dough, slide them into generously oiled cake pans, and top them with lots and lots of cheese!

a half pound of shredded mozz on each pie!! plus a little of my homemade red sauce
aaand a little more cheese...
A relatively quick 20 mins in a hot oven, and they were ready:
Ready for their close-up
Sliced nicely
OMG PIZZA!  I think you can tell from the pictures these pizzas were, in a word, ridic!  The crust got nice and crispy on the outside from the oiled pan and hot oven, but the crumb was nice and light on the inside, with a little richness from the butter.  Then, all that ooey-gooey cheese, and rich marinara sauce.  Yum.  One criticism was that the filling seemed a little wet, which after a few minutes affected the crispness of the crust and made things a little soggy.  Next time I will try using a low moisture mozzarella and/or cook down the sauce a bit more.

This was a fun recipe to try and a nice treat, but not the kind of thing I'm likely to make/eat all the time (one can only eat so much salad to balance out such things).  But this NEXT recipe is something I'm adding to my repertoire forever.  Another ATK recipe (god, I'm such a fangirl), this time for their Rustic Dinner Rolls.  I guess I've got a little confidence in my bread-making skills since my successful boule experiment, and dinner rolls seemed like a good fit since, unlike a large loaf, these can be frozen and individually defrosted as needed. (I hate throwing food away, and I think I would CRY if I had to throw away lovingly homemade bread because it went stale!)  Unfortunately, no pictures of the process (I got a migraine halfway through making these-- my wonderful boyfriend took over and "turned" the dough according to the recipe while I took my medication and laid in a dark room for a while), but the outcome.... WOW!

OK, they may not look like the prettiest rolls you've ever seen (again, they're "rustic") but they taste AMAZING.  Perfect crispy outer crust, great, light texture inside (from the higher hydration level-- love that ATK includes food science lessons in their recipes!), and amazing taste.  I could see these showing up in a bread basket in a nice restaurant for sure.  They re-crisp easily- just a few minutes in a hot oven and they taste out-of-the-oven fresh.

So, those were my adventures in dough this weekend.  What should I make next??


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