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eG Foodblog: Chris Hennes (2012) - Chocolate, Tamales, Modernism, etc.

Foodblog Chocolate

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#31 Hassouni

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 04:53 PM

Apart from my envy that Oklahoma seems to have markets that put the nation's capital to shame, I'm staggered that such chocolates can be made by hand at home. They look superb!

#32 Chris Hennes

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 05:09 PM

You getting any storms right now? We had some hail a bit ago...seems a bit tornado-ish....

They just passed over as I was filling the tamales. Speaking of which:

Here is the batter after the last 1/2 cup of stock was added and it was re-beaten
Finished batter.jpg

The filling is ricotta and red chard, steamed and tossed with the remaining garlic:
Red chard.jpg

Here is my assembly station:
Station.jpg

Step 1:
Assembly 1.jpg

Step 2:
Assembly 2.jpg

Step 3:
Assembly 3.jpg

And finally into the steamer. I don't have the right kind of steamer for this, so I just sort of tie them together into a standard vegetable steamer.
Ready to steam.jpg

So those are steaming now, and I've got the vegetables for the beet salad roasting as well:
Vegetables.jpg

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#33 Hassouni

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 05:13 PM

Do tamales keep well? I'm assuming those aren't all going to be finished at once?

#34 Chris Hennes

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 05:15 PM

Yes, they keep very well: we'll only eat four of them tonight, and then freeze the rest. To reheat you just steam them until hot.

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#35 rotuts

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 05:17 PM

Well Ive seen youve done the Tamal's before

the "station" concept is very very key.

even better is to get a person at each station.

margaritas work well for this.

#36 Chris Hennes

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 05:29 PM

the "station" concept is very very key.

even better is to get a person at each station.

margaritas work well for this.

Yes, absolutely: you need everything in front of you. I've never tried doing it assembly-line style. Even when I've made tamales with a group of people everyone had their own stations (sometimes with shared bowls in the middle. And add my vote for tamale-making with margaritas (preferably with a few friends over to enjoy them with).

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#37 ScottyBoy

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 05:37 PM

Just caught up, these are some serious eats!
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#38 Chris Hennes

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 05:43 PM

ScottyBoy, I think you will appreciate what I have in store for Friday :smile:

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#39 kayb

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 05:45 PM

Hello, almost-neighbor (I'm some 5 hours to the southeast). Looking forward to this. One of these days, I'll get ambitious enough to make my own tamales. Anxious to see what you have in store for us!

(edited to change directions)

Edited by kayb, 20 February 2012 - 05:46 PM.

Don't ask. Eat it.

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#40 ScottyBoy

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 05:46 PM

Man, Friday?! You must have big plans...
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#41 kalypso

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 05:51 PM

Chris, those chocolates are beautiful.

So are the tamales and using that kind of steamer is just fine.

#42 heidih

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 05:51 PM

Impressive markets Chris! Who knew such bounty was available in OK.

You take us to the place that must fry loads of chicharonnes and don't show us some or tell us about them - not fair :shock: . Have you had them, and what style or styles do they offer?

The chocolates are quite impressive. As I recall you are not a sweets person. Who currently has the pleasure of sampling your confectionary wares?

I see you are in the open-end school regarding tamale wrapping. Is that per the recipe or have you found that preference from experience? Also the string is new to me; again an experiencial result?

#43 Chris Hennes

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 06:02 PM

Impressive markets Chris! Who knew such bounty was available in OK.

Sure not me, when I moved here! I think I've been into dozens of markets in the metro area to find these gems. But man, now that I've found them! There are very, very few ingredients that I cannot find locally (not counting various Modernist powders, etc. that everyone orders over the internet anyway). I was worried when we moved to Oklahoma that finding ingredients would be a problem, and it turns out that with enough searching, you can get it all.

You take us to the place that must fry loads of chicharonnes and don't show us some or tell us about them - not fair :shock: . Have you had them, and what style or styles do they offer?

The only thing I have ever bought at that mercado is the lard, actually: it's typically my last stop on the grocery tour because of its location, so by that point I've got everything already, and have often just eaten lunch.

The chocolates are quite impressive. As I recall you are not a sweets person. Who currently has the pleasure of sampling your confectionary wares?

Thanks. You're right: I ate two of them, which was enough sugar to last me a week. These will go into my wife's office tomorrow, I think.

I see you are in the open-end school regarding tamale wrapping. Is that per the recipe or have you found that preference from experience? Also the string is new to me; again an experiencial result?

I didn't even realize that with corn husks closing them off was an option: I close banana leaf tamales, but leave the corn open. I never really thought about it, it's the way Consuelo Hester taught us at the tamale-making workshop I went to a few years ago. I use string because a) I an not as deft at producing them quickly as the real pros, so I like to make sure mine are tied at the bottom and b) I find it easier to work with than shredded corn husks for the same purpose. I have a huge spool of butcher's twine: may as well get some use out of it!

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#44 Chris Hennes

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 06:43 PM

Here are the roasted beets and onions:
Roasted beets.jpg

And the roasted poblanos:
Roasted peppers.jpg

That gets tossed with lime juice, Worcestershire, and cilantro and served at room temp. My wife got hold of the camera and shot this:
Me.jpg

Here are the steamed tamales:
Cooked tamales.jpg

And here it is served:
Dinner.jpg

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#45 David Ross

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 07:24 PM

Geesh. You make candy. You make bacon. You have a Whole Foods. You have a pretty good life my friend!

#46 ScottyBoy

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 09:00 PM

A whole lot better than my dinner tonight!
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#47 Chris Hennes

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 09:13 PM

Why, what did you have ScottyBoy?

Snack time: salsa. Straightforward prep, made in a food processor in three steps. I like the Muir Glen whole tomatoes for this one.

Ingredients:
DSC_0130.jpg

Step one, hand chop garlic fine, onion coarse, slice chile, add with salt and lime juice to food processor:
DSC_0132.jpg

Pulse a few times to chop:
DSC_0135.jpg

Add whole tomato
DSC_0137.jpg

Stir in tomato puree and serve:
DSC_0138.jpg

A little thinner than usual tonight: there were only two whole tomatoes in the can this time, the rest was puree (usually there are three).

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#48 heidih

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 09:28 PM

So what is the delivery vehicle for the salsa?

The tamales especially with the side vegetables sound really appealing. I must explore this. My Cuban neighbor made a chard and soft cheese tamale at her last tamale party and it was excellent.

#49 ScottyBoy

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 10:02 PM

Why, what did you have ScottyBoy?


Shaved a bunch of leftover veggies into a white sauce with pecorino. It wasn't bad but I always prefer other people's cooking. I need to give tamales a shot some time!
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#50 Chris Hennes

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 10:23 PM

So what is the delivery vehicle for the salsa?

Tostitos blue corn chips.

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#51 Mjx

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 11:43 PM

When we talk about chocolates with that showroom finish, this:



is what we are talking about.

YYEEEEEAAAAHHHHHH!!! Finally, after years of trying, today I have an entry for that topic! Yes! (yes, I really am that excited, this is far an away the best batch of chocolates I've ever made. Also, the taste is fantastic too).

Here's the interior:


Those are spectacular looking! Did I miss where you described what flavour these are?

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#52 weinoo

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 04:33 AM

Why, what did you have ScottyBoy?

Snack time: salsa. Straightforward prep, made in a food processor in three steps. I like the Muir Glen whole tomatoes for this one.

I like the Muir Glen products. Do you ever try the fire roasted tomatoes for the salsa? It gives it a bit of a Bayless.
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#53 Chris Hennes

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 06:58 AM

Those are spectacular looking! Did I miss where you described what flavour these are?

Thanks—the ganache is a milk chocolate flavored with orange/lime/vanilla/bourbon.

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#54 Chris Hennes

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 06:59 AM

I like the Muir Glen products. Do you ever try the fire roasted tomatoes for the salsa? It gives it a bit of a Bayless.

I make another salsa that I use the fire roasted in, but I've never tried them in this one.

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#55 Chris Hennes

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 07:00 AM

Tuesdays are my odd day out, I'm out of the office all morning, so I typically eat breakfast and lunch out. I'm on my way to Braum's for breakfast now.

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#56 Chris Amirault

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 07:29 AM

Blog on, Other Chris.

Can you give us a close-up of that masa? What do the ingredients say? I'm very curious to learn whether it's ground nixtamalized corn or made from harina.
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#57 Peter the eater

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 08:16 AM

Great stuff Chris. I'm catching up on a few amazing eG foodblogs . . .

You have an upstairs kitchen? What are the pros and cons?
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#58 Chris Hennes

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 09:59 AM

OK, I'm back at the office now. On Tuesday mornings I volunteer at the public library, which means a) I am up and about early, and need to eat a real breakfast, and b) I have the car today. So, after dropping my wife off at work I typically drive through someplace to pick up a breakfast sandwich. This week I went with Braum's, a regional fast food chain. They have the best breakfast sandwich around, IMO. It's not flawless, but it's damned good:

Bacon Egg Cheese Sandwich.jpg

Note the immense slice of cheese (and it's a cheese that actually has taste, unlike certain other fast food cheeses), and the plentiful crispy bacon. Yum. If only it were consistently awesome... every now and then the bacon comes out soggy, or the sandwich isn't quite hot enough to melt the cheese. I actually didn't eat it yet at this point, since as you can see the cheese is not melted yet. back into the wrapper, and into the bag, where I let it rest for a few minutes. Next on my list is a stop at the Gray Owl for a cup of coffee. They brew Intelligentsia here, and it's always fresh:

Gray Owl.jpg

At this point I was running a bit early today (library opens at 9) so I took a walk through nearby Andrews Park, and shot this:

Coffee mug.jpg

That's a mega-spillproof mug: non of this "spill-resistant" crap. I can turn that sucker upside down and shake it and it won't lose a drop. Nice when it's sitting on top of large stacks of books.

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#59 Chris Hennes

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 10:01 AM

You have an upstairs kitchen? What are the pros and cons?

No, actually: my house is a single level (no basement, even).

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#60 Chris Hennes

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 10:10 AM

Can you give us a close-up of that masa? What do the ingredients say? I'm very curious to learn whether it's ground nixtamalized corn or made from harina.

I'm glad you asked! I'm actually not sure whether the ingredients list would actually look any different between masa made from reconstituted masa harina and that made from corn, but as you can see, I am buying a masa that has preservatives added, and I'm doing it on purpose:

Masa bag.jpg

In my experience, if you are not using fresh masa within 24-48 hours of the time it's made, it starts to develop a weird off flavor. Since I am buying it in five pound bags and am only cooking for two, it typically takes me about two weeks to use a whole bag, by which time the other available brands (without preservatives in them) are more or less inedible. I've found that this particular variety has the freshest, cleanest flavors of the bunch, and lasts far longer. Amazing, those preservatives actually work!

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