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tharrison

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  1. That's what I was doing the other night when I decided I didn't want to use chcocolate with it. Hence why I also bought a few more at the store along with the brand of Kriek they say on the bottle they mixed it with for a comparison. On that first tasting evening is when I realized it was a 10% alcohol beer...
  2. I agree with Neil on this. (I should first admit that I'm not a beer drink at all! But I do know I don't like dry liquours with sweet desserts.) I see doing something like a salted cheese flan or custard (not blue.........maybe brie or a sharp cheddar) in a phyllo cup (or a savory puff pastry straw to garnish) with caramelized peanuts that have been salted and peppered. Maybe a savory herb in there like thyme or rosemary.........I'm curious how a curry would work too. ← The cheese stuff really makes sense. This is why I knew I could ask here (you are helping to push my brain up to speed) Like I said, I have no clear idea on how to pair stuff, esp with this beer. It's not as port-like as the official description makes it seem and isn't sweet. Now that I think about it, other then with a cheese or bordering on savory dessert -- I don't know how it could really be considered a dessert beer because it tastes pretty much like a nut brown ale to me. I like the beer and peanut idea, Wendy. I bought a bottle of the brand of cherry lambic that Ommegang says they mix into the ale and I could see that beer being much easier to pair and use in a dessert. It's sweet and very cherry flavored -- to me it tastes more like a less syrupy-sweet cherry soda -- like hard cherry cider if you will. It almost seems like they used maybe a drop of that stuff in the other beer. Ok, more brainstorming... which if it sucks, I'll just blame on the percocet -- I just had all of my wisdom teeth removed a few hours ago Looking through some books for inspiration I came across a triple-creme tart in Claudia Flemming's book. Basically it says it's like a cheese souffle baked in a hazelnut tart. Would something like that be headed more in the direction I want to go? I love hazelnuts but would almonds be better? Are cherries in any incarnation out? Something inside of me wants to put cherries (not anything too sweet... just cherries) somewhere and somehow that seems wrong too. And I'm trying to think of accompaniments to make a composed plate out of everything... Are there any unwritten rules/hints, besides the general ones and ones we've covered that maybe you guys have learned through trial and error that could unlock the secret to pairing that I'm missing... or is it all just practice and trying things out? Now to take another nap, oy.
  3. I'm leaning towards just pairing flavors (but incorporation is fine too). The beer isn't very sweet which isn't really a problem for me since I don't usually make insanely sweet desserts as it is. Not being a beer connoisseur I'd say that the beer reminds me a lot of Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale with a slight hint of sweetness that comes from the kriek (cherry lambic) added. Before you even mentioned an almond cake, I had been thinking about a financier (nuttiness of the beurre noisette and almonds seems a good match to that beer). Maybe with some sort of cherry compote? Almonds and cherries are a "traditional" pair as well, right? I thought about maybe a drizzle of chocolate sauce (not a puddle or anything) as well since the descriptions mentioned the chocolate. It seems to me that if chocolate was the main flavor the beer itself would completely be left in the dust. Please feel free to tear this idea to shreds though since I'm new to this whole pairing thing and definitely second guessing myself! hehe
  4. I'm trying to figure out a great dessert/flavor components that I can pair with a specific beer. This is my first attempt at doing any sort of pairing like this. It doesn't matter whether I use the beer itself is a component in the dessert -- just that the flavors match together well. The beer in question is Brewery Ommegang's Three Philopsophers 2004 Quadrupel which is a Belgian-style ale with some Kriek (cherry lambic) mixed in. I'm drinking some right now trying to analyze it. The official flavor description is this: "A dark, mysterious cherry-chestnut color. Flavors of dried dark fruit, chocolate, toffee, and caramel lend to the overall port-like aroma. A soft malt center gives way to a dry, warm wine-like finish. The strength and complexity of thei ale make it a good candidate for aging gracefully, as spicy sherry and port notes should intensify." I've read a lot of reviews online that keep mentioning the chocolate-covered cherry taste and maltiness. Any jumping-off points/ideas you guys might have would be awesome :)
  5. I'm easily persuadable To be honest, this is the first time I'll be actually decorating cookies (well, beyond outline-icing gingerbread men with store bought tubes of icing when I was a child). So any advice/tips are greatly appreciated. I really wish that fragility wasn't a big issue because I love shortbread. Which icing do you recommend I use? To make this easier, this is what I am going to be icing then using sanding sugar as an accent on. Only difference is that my colors are going to be white, yellow, and green.
  6. I did a few searches trying to find if this had been covered before, but I didn't find anything. I'm wondering what everyone's favorite sugar/butter/shortbread/etc cookie recipes for decorating (with royal icing) are. Maybe this could end up being another one of the "find the ultimate recipe" threads? Basically, I'm looking for something that I can roll and cut easily but that also isn't super fragile. I need a recipe that won't crumble or break too easily. Since I'll be taking the time to actually decorate them, the less I lose to breakage the better. A base recipe would be great. I can play with flavors and random additions later. I have a stack of recipes to try, just figured I'd ask here for a jumping off point since I trust you guys I also don't have enough free time to try out a gazillion different recipes (nor do I want to have to wash the dishes after all that) However, taste is paramount. I hate the beautiful decorated cookies that you see all over the place that when you bite into them they either break your teeth, taste horrible, or both. Right now I'm thinking maybe that I'd prefer on the thin side, buttery, and leaning towards crisp (but not hard), but I'm totally open-minded about it. If it helps everyone to help me pick the best texture, they're going to be served with crème brulée.
  7. Ferdy works for Taka now (who also used to work at Soto) and I totally concur that he is an awesome waiter. If you like Soto and you haven't tried Taka Sushi Cafe, you should. It's much more casual and we always have a great time. It's on Pharr Road across from where the old Oxford Bookstore used to be...
  8. Chocolate Sparkle Cookies (Modified) Serves 36 as Dessert. This is a version of Thomas Haas's Chocolate Sparkle Cookies where I've expanded on the instructions. I did an experiment last time where in one batch I used (Haas recommended) Valrhona Guanaja 70% and Scharffen-Berger Bittersweet 70% in the other. In a side-by-side tasting, the Scharffen-Berger cookies disappeared first. For reference, I use Scharffen-Berger cocoa powder, Florida Crystals granulated sugar, and Plugrá unsalted butter. Also, I always make at least 2 batches of these cookies since they get eaten so quickly. Some notes about my method: - I find a can get more volume in the beaten eggs with the genoise method. I warm my eggs and sugar/honey, whisking constantly, over a double boiler until very warm (about 120°F) and the sugar is dissolved. The eggs will probably take around 10 minutes at medium-high speed in a stand mixer to reach full volume (will take longer if you double the recipe) -- you want nice thick ribbons to fall from the beaters. This is important since the eggs are the sole leavening in these cookies. You also want to be gentle when you fold in the chocolate and almond flour. There's not much gained by "lightening" the chocolate with any of the whipped egg in this recipe, so I skip that step. Feel free to fold the almonds into the chocolate and then fold it into the eggs. - If you can't find almond flour, pulse slivered almonds in a food processor with some sugar until finely ground (try not to over-process and make almond butter. Also, don't forget to reduce the sugar in the recipe by how much you've added to the almonds). - You'll need to refrigerate the batter overnight so that it can "set." It's not necessary but when I go to scoop the cookies I found that keeping the batter container in a bowl of ice and wearing a pair of gloves helps tremendously (ambient room temperature and your body heat will start to "melt" the batter and make it harder to work with). - The original recipe said to bake at 325°F never mentioning that temperature was for a convection oven. Since I have a conventional oven, I set mine to 375°F and let it preheat well. Try not to over-bake -- you'll want to take them out while they still look ever so slightly wet in the middle. - The finished cookie should be poofy like this, not flat. Please don't be intimidated by all these "notes" -- the cookies are actually very easy to make. I'm just passing on info I've learned through trial and error to make them (hopefully) virtually failure-proof for you. Since it's my preferred way of working, I've converted the recipe into weight for those of you that have a scale (see original for volume measures). Chocolate Sparkle Cookies 228 g best quality/favorite bittersweet Chocolate 43 g unsalted butter, room temperature 2 large eggs 67 g granulated sugar 21 g mild-flavored honey (I use tupelo; Haas calls for blackberry if you can find it) 4 g cocoa powder 71 g ground almonds pinch of salt powdered sugar for dusting 1. Put the eggs, sugar, and honey in the bowl of your mixer. Over a double boiler, whisk constantly until eggs are quite warm (about 120°F) and the sugar is dissolved. Be careful not to let the eggs start to cook! Remove from the heat and immediately start to whip on medium-high speed until the mixture is pale in color and it falls in thick ribbons from the beater(s), about 10 minutes. 2. While egg mixture is whipping, carefully melt the chocolate and butter together over a double boiler, stirring so it doesn't scortch. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly. In a small bowl, toss the ground almonds with the cocoa powder and pinch of salt. 3. After the eggs have been whipped and the chocolate has cooled slightly, use a rubber spatula to gently fold in the chocolate-butter mixture. Before it's completely mixed in, add the ground almond mixture and finish folding. Gently place in a container, cover, and refrigerate overnight until firm. 4. Place a rack in the lower middle of oven and preheat to 375°F. Use a cookie scoop to make 1-inch balls of dough, roll in granulated sugar, and place on a freezer-safe dish. When all cookies have been formed and rolled in the sugar, place the dish in the freezer for around 15-20 minutes or until the cookies are quite cold (I don't think they'll ever freeze solid). 5. Remove cookies from the freezer, give each a second coating of granulated sugar, and place 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Immediately place them in the oven and bake for about 8 or 9 minutes or until the centers look just barely underdone. Return any unbaked cookies to the freezer while the others are baking. Let the baked cookies cool a few minutes on the cookie sheet and then lightly dust them with the powdered sugar. Keywords: Dessert, Chocolate, Cookie ( RG1079 )
  9. Chocolate Sparkle Cookies (Modified) Serves 36 as Dessert. This is a version of Thomas Haas's Chocolate Sparkle Cookies where I've expanded on the instructions. I did an experiment last time where in one batch I used (Haas recommended) Valrhona Guanaja 70% and Scharffen-Berger Bittersweet 70% in the other. In a side-by-side tasting, the Scharffen-Berger cookies disappeared first. For reference, I use Scharffen-Berger cocoa powder, Florida Crystals granulated sugar, and Plugrá unsalted butter. Also, I always make at least 2 batches of these cookies since they get eaten so quickly. Some notes about my method: - I find a can get more volume in the beaten eggs with the genoise method. I warm my eggs and sugar/honey, whisking constantly, over a double boiler until very warm (about 120°F) and the sugar is dissolved. The eggs will probably take around 10 minutes at medium-high speed in a stand mixer to reach full volume (will take longer if you double the recipe) -- you want nice thick ribbons to fall from the beaters. This is important since the eggs are the sole leavening in these cookies. You also want to be gentle when you fold in the chocolate and almond flour. There's not much gained by "lightening" the chocolate with any of the whipped egg in this recipe, so I skip that step. Feel free to fold the almonds into the chocolate and then fold it into the eggs. - If you can't find almond flour, pulse slivered almonds in a food processor with some sugar until finely ground (try not to over-process and make almond butter. Also, don't forget to reduce the sugar in the recipe by how much you've added to the almonds). - You'll need to refrigerate the batter overnight so that it can "set." It's not necessary but when I go to scoop the cookies I found that keeping the batter container in a bowl of ice and wearing a pair of gloves helps tremendously (ambient room temperature and your body heat will start to "melt" the batter and make it harder to work with). - The original recipe said to bake at 325°F never mentioning that temperature was for a convection oven. Since I have a conventional oven, I set mine to 375°F and let it preheat well. Try not to over-bake -- you'll want to take them out while they still look ever so slightly wet in the middle. - The finished cookie should be poofy like this, not flat. Please don't be intimidated by all these "notes" -- the cookies are actually very easy to make. I'm just passing on info I've learned through trial and error to make them (hopefully) virtually failure-proof for you. Since it's my preferred way of working, I've converted the recipe into weight for those of you that have a scale (see original for volume measures). Chocolate Sparkle Cookies 228 g best quality/favorite bittersweet Chocolate 43 g unsalted butter, room temperature 2 large eggs 67 g granulated sugar 21 g mild-flavored honey (I use tupelo; Haas calls for blackberry if you can find it) 4 g cocoa powder 71 g ground almonds pinch of salt powdered sugar for dusting 1. Put the eggs, sugar, and honey in the bowl of your mixer. Over a double boiler, whisk constantly until eggs are quite warm (about 120°F) and the sugar is dissolved. Be careful not to let the eggs start to cook! Remove from the heat and immediately start to whip on medium-high speed until the mixture is pale in color and it falls in thick ribbons from the beater(s), about 10 minutes. 2. While egg mixture is whipping, carefully melt the chocolate and butter together over a double boiler, stirring so it doesn't scortch. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly. In a small bowl, toss the ground almonds with the cocoa powder and pinch of salt. 3. After the eggs have been whipped and the chocolate has cooled slightly, use a rubber spatula to gently fold in the chocolate-butter mixture. Before it's completely mixed in, add the ground almond mixture and finish folding. Gently place in a container, cover, and refrigerate overnight until firm. 4. Place a rack in the lower middle of oven and preheat to 375°F. Use a cookie scoop to make 1-inch balls of dough, roll in granulated sugar, and place on a freezer-safe dish. When all cookies have been formed and rolled in the sugar, place the dish in the freezer for around 15-20 minutes or until the cookies are quite cold (I don't think they'll ever freeze solid). 5. Remove cookies from the freezer, give each a second coating of granulated sugar, and place 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Immediately place them in the oven and bake for about 8 or 9 minutes or until the centers look just barely underdone. Return any unbaked cookies to the freezer while the others are baking. Let the baked cookies cool a few minutes on the cookie sheet and then lightly dust them with the powdered sugar. Keywords: Dessert, Chocolate, Cookie ( RG1079 )
  10. tharrison

    Iris

    If you haven't already, please check out Iris I've been twice in the past week and I can't give it enough praise. Carpaccio, tuna tartare, lobster bisque, lamb, oh my! Not to mention a super friendly staff. Try it, if you don't love it well then I don't know what to say
  11. My friend Painting and I had dinner at Joël on May 17th. Here's our combined review. I'm plain text and his comments are in bold: Me: We arrived at Joël about 30 minutes early for our 8:30pm reservation. We thought we might be having a third person join us so we called to note that on our reservation. They asked if we wanted to be seated or to wait at the bar. We decided to wait at the bar. I couldn't decide on what I wanted so I ordered a Vodka Collins (with some new fancy vodka the bartender recommended. Precis or something like that). Isaac had a Manhattan. We nibbled on the party mix and chatted. It's probably because it was a Monday night but the bar was almost completely empty. I would definitely go back just to hang at that bar. Mostly because Cornelius, the bartender, was just so damn nice. I don't think I've ever met a more genuinely nice bartender (not to mention he mixed great drinks). We were having such a nice time we didn't even realize we had hung out at the bar until 9pm! Painting: Cornelius is the man yo. I liked him better then that punk ass on Soul Train. I didn't really want to leave the bar, even though my Manhattan was too Manhattany. I'm definitely going here instead of watching drunken office workers trying to get hip at Halo the next time I’m in Atlanta. Me: Yeah, Halo was lame (the bouncer was the coolest part). We'll definitely have to do something with our "Manhattan Flavored Maraschino Cherries" idea! We decided our other party was going to be a no show so we asked Cornelius to transfer our tab and went to get seated. They sat us at a banquette just in case our other person showed up. I was facing the wall so I didn't really get a great look at the interior. I remember huge ceilings and warm but not bright lighting. I hadn't eaten all day and hindsight being 20/20, I really probably shouldn't have had that vodka collins Feeling pretty good now though. Painting: Just say it; we got stood up by a very well known chef. *kill kill* and just admit it -- you're a lush! A lush with very expensive taste. My wallet is still smokin. Anyways, going to Joël was a last minute switch since Blais closed a few days before our reservation. Our second choice was Iris but it is closed on Mondays which was the only free evening that we had. Never thought dining in ATL was so complicated! Me: The sommelier, Chantelle, was great. She asked us what we were in the mood for and helped us pick a lovely Alsatian Pinot Gris to start. It was delicious. Her knowledge and passion for and about wine was just awesome. Painting: I asked her to be my wife (in my wet dreams) but damnit, her French husband wouldn't like that, damn the French! The wine was a bastard child of my dislike of anything dry and Tammy’s mood for Pinot Gris. Chantelle had a tough request but she pulled it off perfectly. Mmmm, wine. Me: To be quite honest, nothing on the menu screamed out to me. Usually, I'll be like "oooh what to get? I want it all!" We didn't notice anything about a tasting menu and the server never mentioned one. We usually get those so we can sample a whole bunch of stuff. One of the few things on the menu that stood out to me was the quail. It was slightly tough (overcooked?) and had a less-than-flavorful jus. The lentils had a cumin-dominated flavor. It seemed to be wavering on middle eastern but not really there. If you're gonna do Mid-east -- do it all the way. I wasn't really into it too much. Painting can tell you, I usually devour things like a rabid animal. He's embarassed to be around me because there will be crumbs and animal pieces flying everywhere. Not to mention, I usually need a bib and for them to put down other napkins to cover all my spills. Anyways, Isaac got the tuna tartare with avocado ice cream. This was much better than mine but the ice cream was almost too sweet. I would have guessed that they had made it with a paco jet and therefore wouldn’t have needed all the sugar to get the ice cream to the right consistency. It was at least an interesting concept so it gets some brownie points for that (mmm, brownies...) I gave Isaac the other half of my quail to nibble on. Painting: Yeah, the menu offerings were so spread out that the only theme was: air, land & sea. I've only had quail when I worked for my uncle (he used to raise bob-whites) and always overcooked them; maybe that's how it's done? No idea, but I loved the quail. And no, you gave me the tiny, itsy-bitsy legs, mere table scraps but I enjoyed it immensely Me: There were 4 pieces (two breast halves and two legs) and I promise I only ate one of each. I only had the leg hoping it would be juicier than the breast. Maybe it is supposed to be "overcooked" and I've only had it made by people that like it "undercooked"? Maybe it was just a different breed or age and therefore inherently tougher? Painting:The avocado ice cream reminded me of Sakai-san on Iron Chef and his unnatural fish eyes and codfish ice creams. But as the cute Japanese woman taster would say: "ooooh, but it's so good, it slides down my throat! It tastes like springtime girls festival! *giggle*" The tuna tartare part itself wasn’t all that unique but it was tasty and of course very fresh. Me: Technically I know I shouldn't have ordered scallops after having quail first but well, once again it was the only thing that caught my eye. I'm not too keen on picking the "boring" choice of steak when other more interesting stuff is on the menu. Isaac wavered between the red snapper and the halibut. He decided to go with the Halibut with Thai broth. Painting: Tammy, you’re such a rebel! Makes me hot when you take such risks. Me: The scallops were much better than the quail but the flavors seemed muted. They seemed like scallops in a thinned out garlic alfredo sauce (albeit a fancy alfredo sauce). If I'm eating 3k calories worth of cream and butter I want to taste the richness. To their credit, the scallops were cooked perfectly and succulent and sweet. Forget the sauce, just gimme those with some butter next time. Painting: Your scallops were good (not over cooked, that’s a great sign) but your stuffed pasta was the best part of that dish, mmmm! Me: Issac's halibut was nice but the broth was way too subtle. When the word "Thai" is used in a dish's description I'm expecting the flavors to just explode all over my tongue. Painting: When I was eating the halibut, all I could think about is West's version of halibut and how I love subtle flavorings but like Tammy said, I wanted some more oomph in this particular dish. Me: We coerced Chantelle into having the last glass of the Pinot Gris (not that it took much convincing) and ordered another bottle, leaving the choice entirely up to her. She came back to us with another Pinot Gris Grand Cru from Alsace. She informed us that they only get in 2 bottles a year so it's not even listed on the books Painting:I felt so honored and unworthy to be drinking these Grand Crus. Even to me, a novice at wine, I was blown away by the layers that unfolded in your mouth over time in that wine, not to mention, it tasted really damn good Me: Man, that wine was fantabulously delicious. It was even more my style than the first, with slightly less residual sugar and more intense layers of complexity. Of course, we wanted her to have a glass too (a great way to get on any sommelier's good side). Painting: Nooooo, don’t tell them our secrets! Then Chantelle won't be so nice to us anymore Me: We ordered desserts, which I was really looking forward to (even though I know Givre left). Isaac got the Pavlova and I got the Coffee Granite (trying to avoid any of the obviously wheat/gluten containing things which was most of them). Painting: It was my first time having a Pavlova and honestly, the first time even knowing about it (Tammy explained it to me after I asked). It was good but nothing to write home to momma about. The avocado ice cream was a better dessert worth noting Me: The granite's coffee wasn't quite strong enough so it tasted a little watered down. I ended up spilling most of it reaching for something because I'm a dumbass (not to mention, I wasn't completely sober at this point). Next time, intestinal villi be damned, I'm getting something else. Even though it wasn't perfect and I've had much better meals in ATL, I definitely would like to try again because it seems like some place I could really like. I hope disappointment was my tastebuds malfunctioning or maybe I didn't order the right things. Maybe I'll go for the prix fixe lunch. Anyone like to join me? Definitely make sure you get Chantelle as your sommelier if you go -- we can't thank her enough. Painting: Right on, Chantelle and Cornelius were the star attractions at Joël for us. Like I said before, I’ll be going back just because of them. The staff made it that much more enjoyable and memorable. The food was superb. We may bitch a lot but it doesn’t mean we didn’t enjoy the food. You've also got to remember that our hobby is traveling around and eating at the best places we can get into.
  12. It's pricey compared to RuSan's all you can eat catfood... but for good sushi it's not that expensive (unless you're a bottomless pit). $15 for the lobster with uni mousse, which contained quite a bit of lobster (yum), a little less for the langostine, $45 for the sashimi omakase (which we asked for 2 and only got 1). The omakase platter had (counting) 3 pieces each of mauguro, chu-toro, o-toro, giant clam, squid with shiso, salmon (trying to remember), and hamachi i think. We would have ordered more of the other stuff but the waiter never really came back. By the time he did, he wanted to give us the check, and we had already given up trying to get anything else. Next time I think I'll stick to my guns and order more anyways. The quality was better than the few places I went to when I lived in the bay area, but I wasn't an adventurous eater out there (damn me). I think that was because the places I went in the bay were more casual and busy so they didn't always serve only the freshest (people want what they want when they want it and don't want to hear that it wasn't fresh enough to serve). While it's really good fish and Soto-san is amazing to watch (his zen-like concentration is cool) I got the vibe that you're almost a burden being there (though, burden isn't really the correct word). Not because anyone is rude; it's tacit. Soto is also so into his craft, sitting at the bar, you almost feel bad wanting to make him make you more. It has to be draining. Plus most of the other people there dining there were the pushy type (ugh). I mean, thank god the place is tiny and they don't really allow walk-ins because if they did I'd probably never go back because that vibe would be overwhelmingly strong. I will be back, of course. I just will take my time. My favorite sushi place in Atlanta has to be Taka Sushi Cafe mostly because the fish is really fresh and it's fun eating there. I always enjoy myself immensely. Which a lot of the time is what dining out is about for me. There's the food and there's the atmosphere and if both aren't great what's the point?
  13. Is Dante one of the crocodiles? Hehe. I have no clue how much this place is, but I'll go ahead and assume that the chocolate fondue is probably at least $10/person (minimum of 6 people) since their other desserts are $6.50+
  14. You misunderstood me This place isn't really a high food quality establishment -- it's more about the place itself than the food (you get charged an "entertainment fee" before you even get seated). So the "hand-picked from the market" most likely means from the kroger down the street not a local farmer's market. The stuff from the supermarkets isn't much better than Sysco (they probably have the same suppliers). I was just being sarcastic that they mention that as a selling point.
  15. Ok, so I'm not crazy for thinking it sounds suspicious? I'm thinking they say they can only do one a night so people get intrigued and swear to order it next time. With a minimum of 6 people they rake in the dough on that one. I've never been to this place and probably never will, but I'm discussing this with other people and they seem impressed by the hubbabaloo surrounding it. I'm trying to explain to them not to be so gullible and wanted to make sure I was correct before continuing. I love how they add "The fruit is hand-picked at the market..." As opposed to what? Sysco's best?
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