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Everything posted by Zeemanb

  1. Zeemanb

    Paula Dean

    While I'm not a big fan of Paula's, I tend to agree...she knows her audience and caters to a breed of sycophant whose doppelganger is easily found in the ranks of the too-cool-to-be-called-a-foodie elite. Put a few bourbons in Bourdain, have him stop by and pick up David Chang, provide the emotional comfort that comes with a cleanly sourced product....and swoon over the same level of heart-attack inducing gluttony because Tony uses alliteration as he devours the hand that feeds him. There are a million reasons to question Paula's timing, but I suspect most of them stem from the fact she's just annoying as hell.
  2. Yes, and a TON of it at that. Dough rises for an hour, and then the loaves rise for another hour before baking.
  3. It's somewhat similar, but I think the dough recipe is different and the mouthfeel with the "goo" vs. fruit is pretty different. Funny you ask, because the same ladies I know who are great at povitica also do a MEAN apple strudel. Using Shelby's comparison to a cinnamon roll, I think flavor and texture-wise it's pretty close to the whole thing being made of the center part of a cinnamon roll, minus the cinnamon (at least in the traditional recipe) and throwing in a Baklava-ish nut filling. And Kim- if you DID find it in Richmond, unless the family making it could trace its tree back to "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair you didn't eat the genuine article!
  4. Awesome blog, one I will definitely use as a point of reference, very educational for me.
  5. After it bakes, the top layer or two is kind of crispy/flaky, and a commercial/mediocre loaf is more like a cinnamon roll in that the layers are a little looser (the dough layers MUCH thicker) and if you tried picking up a slice you'd have layers flake and fall away and filling would spill out. Even bad povitica is still pretty good, but the good homemade stuff is way, way more dense and extremely heavy. The layers don't really flake, but you could unroll them if you wanted....they'd just be moist and buttery, and the filling would adhere much tighter. It will fall apart under its own weight, and is best eaten with a fork after you nuke it for a few seconds and add a pat of butter on top. Edited to add: I thought I'd at least find a decent example of the good stuff via Google images, but what I got was twelve pages of pretty sorry examples...nothing remotely close to the thin/tight layers you're going for in a good batch.
  6. This weekend I had the opportunity to partake in what was definitely one of the coolest hands-on learning experiences ever. A good friend whose family is primarily Croatian is getting married in May, and these people do not have a reception without plenty of liquor, sausage, the occasional fist fight, and "povitica". For those who haven't even heard of it, povitica (POE-vu-TEETZ-uh) is a sweet bread made of micro-thin (if you are doing it correctly) dough layered with a filling of very finely ground walnuts, sugar, and other stuff I promised not to give away. I grew up eating this stuff in Kansas City, Kansas, where there has always been a large population of Croatians and Serbians on "Strawberry Hill". Whether the bread is originally Polish, Croatian...I have no idea, but I'm always shocked when I run into people from this area who haven't even heard of it before. And I'm even more shocked when people gush over the commercially produced version from the "Strawberry Hill Povitica Company". If you've ever eaten that stuff, comparing it to the real, grandma-made version is like Wonder Bread vs. whomever makes your favorite artisanal small batch breads. For the wedding they needed 16 loaves to put in the freezer, so Saturday we made 8 and yesterday they made another 8. It is NOT a short process, and so even though I've got a few photos, I don't have any of the finished, baked product yet....but I'm going to put together a whole blog write-up with a ton of photos (and as I promised the ladies- absolutely no detailed recipe intel, lol). This was the first time in my 42 years I've ever actually seen this stuff made.... Enough dough for 2 loaves- It is stretched thin on top of a floured cotton bed sheet- Once you can read a newspaper through it without destroying it in the process, the filling is dumped in the middle and spread as thinly as possible to cover every square millimeter. Oh, and speaking of the filling...I got to take a small leftover amount home, and on the instruction of our host we picked up some Pillsbury crescent rolls and rolled the filling into those before baking. It wasn't terrible. And the "no guts no glory" moment when you lift that sheet and send the dough rolling down onto itself.... Repeat the above process four times and you've got eight loaves ready for the oven.... I'll post a pic of a finished loaf when I get them, but this was a crazy amount of fun. I might try and make it at home sometime, on a smaller scale, but I have a feeling the ladies who have baked it their entire lives made it look much easier than it is, lol.
  7. Zeemanb

    Pig Ears

    This weekend I'm taking the first in a series of pig butchery classes...first one on Sunday is dedicated to the head. I'm hoping that in addition to headcheese and guanciale we get into processing the ears. If so I'll be sure to post some notes, and I will definitely be taking some of the above info with me to class....especially the pickling, that sounds pretty delicious.
  8. Zeemanb

    eG Cook-Off 58: Hash

    Sounds like a job for some pastrami cured beef tongue....
  9. One preparation I learned from a local chef that is incredibly delicious and highlights the flavor of good pork is what I refer to as "candied shoulder".... You take a good sized shoulder/butt, and cure it for 24hrs in a mixture of salt, sugar and chile flakes, it draws out a pretty amazing amount of liquid. Rinse it, dry it, and place it in a low temp oven (~250) until you could just about pull the bone from it. Take it out, let it cool down to a point where it is still warm and coat it with a mixture of brown sugar, a little bit of salt, and chile-related flakes and powders to taste, I even throw in a little cumin. After you have a pretty thick coating on it, put it back in the oven at a much higher temp (~450+) until the coating is good and melted in and the fat cap has a "jiggle" to it when you touch it. Fresh tortillas, an array of condiments....it does good Berkshire, Duroc, Red Wattle, etc. PROUD.
  10. Zeemanb

    Pig Ears

    I don't know how much flavor you'd be able to infuse, but I do know people who brine them prior to frying. The places I know of here in KC that serve pig ear sandwiches pretty much just boil them like you do the skin. For me it is definitely all about the texture. Crispy pig ear salads seem to be very popular right now, but for me they are usually TOO crisp and end up having more of an overcooked pork rind flavor. The absolue best preparation I've had was at Eola in DC- brined then (I think) par-boiled, sliced, and tempura battered and fried. Served kind of like fries, and they had the best gummy, lip smackety texture along with the crispness. I'd be very curious to hear how your sous vide experimenation goes...I would give that a whirl if I had a better point of reference to dial it in (I'm thinking chilling, slicing and frying after they come of of the bath). Tons of possibilities there, and the ears are super cheap at our Asian markets. If you're in Omaha I probably don't have to ramble about The Boiler Room to you, but we ate there for the first time a couple of months ago and loved it. From the personalities of the folks I met and their diverse menu, if I were you I'd even get Chef Kulik on the horn and get some ideas from him. They'll post their nightly specials on Facebook and many times I'm tempted to make that 2 1/2 hour drive on a random Wednesday... Edited to Add: The brining at Eola may have been tongue, not pig ear....can't remember the exact preparation, but the result was insanely delicious.
  11. Zeemanb

    Gimme an Herb ...

    Winter savory may fit into the thyme vs. sage continuum..... and maybe toasted caraway? Does that just sound too crazy?
  12. The current evolutionary phase of food tv entertainment, and the next one, and the one after that, will all be traced back to one common event. It is known as The Big "BAM!".
  13. Dakki- that does look outstanding! Very similar to one of our favorite taco places here in KC, they take it to a crazy level and throw a fried egg on top. We had some leftover Mexican chorizo in the fridge after our NYE party, and my wife added mixed it in w/the burger meat one night. I am definitely a fan, nice addition.
  14. I'm not ashamed to admit (safely guarded behind my stapled stomach) that I've already seen at least five things on there that whispered "at your neeext diinnner paaarty" like Field of Dreams. Nutella Ice Cream Sandwiches......absolutely.
  15. This person's tweets are hit and miss chuckle-wise, but @AngryBobbyFlay can be pretty funny.
  16. I can't get enough of this show. For me it's like seeing a much, much FATTER guy with his shirt off at the beach....hard to look at, but I look like a lithe ninja next to him. It will be required viewing prior to being seated at one of my dinner parties...yes I will go that far to bandage my fractured self esteem.
  17. I used the white corn for my NYE batch of pozole, and it was absolutely outstanding....far beyond what I thought was "good" canned hominy. Texturally wonderful, and actually smelled like corn instead of canned water. Also used the runner cannelini's to make the confetti bean spread from the RG cookbook. Great stuff, and while the recipe may sound like it doesn't make that much....it does. Unless you're feeding 50 people, don't go doubling it or something crazy like that. I think this spread would make very good ravioli filling if thinned just a bit.
  18. I go stick my head in the freezer. No, Seriously. I quickly lose track of everything that is in there, so a quick trip to the garage and...wow, tri-tip, beef ribs, duck breast...DUCK CONFIT! Always something in there that forces me to think and build around it.
  19. Many fine books this year, but right now I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of "The Art of Living According to Joe Beef". I ordered it as soon as I knew I wasn't getting it as a Christmas gift. First glance at a friend's copy a couple of week's ago was love at first sight.
  20. LizD518- those really are some good results! Last week I finally finished one last semi-successful batch to round out the holiday gift macaron assortment I've been rambling about for months now. Some examples are more shameful than others, but in order to salvage 18 or 20 dozen finished cookies I had to settle for some inconsistencies. Six different flavors, five hundred different shapes and sizes.... I found these cool gift boxes online, there's a sleeve with a little round window on one end that slides over it. I got this size and a smaller one. Flavors: Pistachio- found a really great pistachio paste on Amazon and just added it to some Italian meringue based buttercream. Probably my favorite of the bunch. Chocolate/Vanilla- In my top 2, used Dagoba (sp?) cocoa powder. Chocolate/Mint Amarena Cherry- Just added chopped cherries and juice to a very basic paddled butter and sugar mix for the filling. Cinnamon Apple Butter Buttercream Salted Dulce de Leche- made the dulce de leche in the SVS...85C for around fifteen hours. Based on a comment from Panaderia Canadiense I made sure to make it thick enough to stand on its own as a filling. I did top each dollop with several flakes of fleur de sel to round out the sweetness a bit. Overall I'm pretty happy with this year's results. What I lacked in precision I more than made up for in sheer volume. The nice thing is that I've done so damn many batches at this point it feels almost effortless to throw one together, lol. Now to decide what flavor combo to create for a Mexican themed NYE party....I'm already taking some of the dulce de leche's along. Horchata...there is one possibility. Actually, let's just say Horchata will be it. Done and done.
  21. Lol, almost EXACTLY the same here! EMP Cookbook and a silicone pan liner, but one with little indentations specifically for making macarons. I am very excited to see how it goes with that....
  22. First and foremost (if you haven't done it yet), get to know your smoker. By that I mean forget about everything else until you know how to get consistent temperature (~225F) for extended periods of time. The amount of fuel (don't know if you're just using charcoal or wood as your heat source), how you set your vents....how you have to modify it to get consistent results no matter the weather conditions. As you learn about your smoker, practice on cheap and easy meats....start with chicken and country style ribs (very thick sliced pork butt/shoulder) for shorter 2-5hr cooks, and a nice sized pork butt for longer, 12-14hr cooks. It will help you get to know how much smoke is too much, how much fuel you need to add and when, and you'll be able to spend time playing around with rubs, marinades and sauces to figure out your personal preference...try them all. Sounds kind of boring and elementary, but until you have your heat and timing down, you're not going to have a solid data set from which to work on various, trickier cuts of meat....like whole brisket. It's as much art as science.
  23. Agree with much of what has already been mentioned. I have my miniature gastric-bypass stomach to contend with, but still manage to enjoy lots of tasting menus. Haven't been to Alinea, but maybe my minibar meal would be closest to that as far as quantity of food. As hard as it is to leave anything on the plate, definitely do not feel compelled to eat every scrap...for me this is especially true with meat courses, the solid proteins fill me up really quickly. In the past year what I've started doing is politely asking if I could have a little more time in between courses whenever I feel like I'm starting to get too much too quickly. I can see that being an issue if you're dining with a group and not everyone needs the extra time, but all of the places I've eaten have really worked with me. I try not to be a pain with it...I ask way ahead of time of the next dish being fired, I do realize I'm tinkering with the clockwork going on in the kitchen. But it has really, REALLY helped me....when you get a tactical nuke like the Foie Gras BLT at Eola in DC dropped on you, you need some recovery time, lol.
  24. Yes, same scenario with coffee beans......old, old, old beans. After using only home roasted, fresher beans for ten or so years, any time I happen to taste the Folgers, etc. of the world these days it's just not coffee. Similarly with the RG products, for-real beans have a flavor and texture that makes them a true main dish instead of a wimpy side.
  25. Ah yes, my order from Rancho Gordo should be arriving very soon, today or tomorrow, in plenty of time for our holiday party cooking. Choosing from the different varieties can be a little overwhelming...what I did was use my RG cookbook as a guide, deciding which recipes sounded the best for my immediate needs and ordering those beans. Confetti spread, Moors and Christians, pozole.....can't remember what other recipes inspired the whole order.
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