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Chris Hennes

eG Foodblog: Chris Hennes - Pork and chocolate, together at last!

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Happy to see a fellow PA resident blogging. Have fun this week Chris. Pork is wonderful stuff I just smoked up a big hunk o pork on Sunday.

Unlike lots of folks I am not a Penn State guy. I went to Millersville, but enjoy visiting State College to watch the old guy's boys try to play in the Big 10.

I m looking forward to following along.

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OK, for dinner tonight I decided to go with pizza while the basil was still fresh. Here is the mise en place:

gallery_28660_5872_13491.jpg

The recipe is a hybrid of a Cook's Illustrated recipe, with dough from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and sauce inspired by Fat Guy's post over here.

Here is the dough, ready to be rolled out (we're going for a thin crust here):

gallery_28660_5872_69356.jpg

Here my wife got a hold of the camera :shock: -- me rolling out the dough:

gallery_28660_5872_88328.jpg

And saucing it:

gallery_28660_5872_29474.jpg

Here it is ready for the first shot in the oven. The trick with this recipe is that the pizza is baked twice, the cheese is added after the crust has started to set:

gallery_28660_5872_111521.jpg

Here it is with the cheese place on, before going into the oven again:

gallery_28660_5872_40626.jpg

And here is the finished pie:

gallery_28660_5872_44000.jpg

I had a bit of an adventure baking this: I cut my parchment sheet too large, and it curled under the pizza stones and came into contact with the heating elements (electric oven). And started on fire! Doh! We had all the windows open in an attempt to air the place out before the fire alarms went off in the whole building because of me :shock::sad: . But, the pizza was none the worse for wear, though perhaps a bit underdone, to my liking.

ETA: I forgot to mention: our attempt to stave off the fire alarms was successful :smile: .


Edited by Chris Hennes (log)

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Ooooooh Chris! That pizza looks good! :drool:

I'd pop it back under the broiler or onto the pizza stone if it still isn't cooked enough. Once the smoke cleared, of course. :wink:

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OK, I ran out of grenadine last night, which was fortuitous since we have an active thread over here on the subject of making your own. Here is my attempt at Katie Loeb's recipe:

First, the mise en place:

gallery_28660_5872_21170.jpg

The method makes half the grenadine by reducing pomegranate juice and sugar over heat, and the other half by combining cold juice with sugar and shaking vigorously for a long time:

gallery_28660_5872_11636.jpg

Here is the cold-method half after shaking:

gallery_28660_5872_27560.jpg

Here is me making a huge mess reducing the hot-method half:

gallery_28660_5872_12949.jpg

The hot-method grenadine looks disturbingly like stage blood (but it tastes better!):

gallery_28660_5872_23502.jpg

And here is some of the finished grenadine in my squeeze bottle:

gallery_28660_5872_28002.jpg

This really made wonderful grenadine: thanks, Katie! The orange flower water was a master stroke. You're a genius! :cool:

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Or at least, have a quick sitdown at Ye Olde College Diner to order one.

As a general rule I avoid Ye Olde College Diner like the plague, but perhaps for this blog I can make an exception to show everyone else the home of the "grilled sticky." Or maybe I'll just pick up a box of them at the Wegmans and top it with Haagen Daz instead! :biggrin: It is probably sacrilegious in these parts, but I'm not a huge fan of the local creamery ice cream...

Go to the Diner. I know you don't like it, and even though the sticky is good at home, the atmosphere adds a certain je ne sais quoi. Do the ones you can buy at Wegmans actually come from Ye Olde College Diner?

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Go to the Diner. I know you don't like it, and even though the sticky is good at home, the atmosphere adds a certain je ne sais quoi.  Do the ones you can buy at Wegmans actually come from Ye Olde College Diner?

Wow, what a groundswell of support for the diner! OK, I'll go there. I think the ones they sell elsewhere in town are all produced at the diner, but I'm not 100% sure of that.

I'm currently nursing a Manhattan and watching C.S.I reruns:

gallery_28660_5872_80405.jpg

gallery_28660_5872_41012.jpg

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Glad to see you roll your own!

Crust, that is.

I've tried hand-tossing and -stretching crusts on a few occasions, and every time, the result is the same -- a hole in the crust somewhere and wildly uneven thickness.

So I resort to the rolling pin too. I feel inauthentic doing it, but it gets me the crust I want.

That pie looked delicious! I'm sure it was worth the parchment-paper fire.

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Glad to see you roll your own!

lol, I don't even feel bad doing it anymore... as far as I am concerned, rolling it out is the only way to go when you want a thin, crisp crust.

Well, I promised you all chocolate, so here's the first project: Gingerbread Truffles from Shotts' Making Artisan Chocolates. Here is the mise en place:

gallery_28660_5872_36463.jpg

The procedure is to heat the cream and corn syrup to boiling, let it cool down just a bit, then pour over the chocolate to melt:

gallery_28660_5872_114083.jpg

Once the chocolate is melted, stir to emulsify:

gallery_28660_5872_64631.jpg

Add the butter and spices and stir to combine:

gallery_28660_5872_23928.jpg

Once firm enough (after approx. one episode of CSI :smile: ), pipe out (I am lazy and used a scoop, obviously:

gallery_28660_5872_76792.jpg

Now they sit overnight, and tomorrow I will shape and coat them.

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By karmic coincidence, I have a four-pound pork shoulder blade roast brining in the fridge at this very moment. The moon must be in Pork. :laugh:

Blog on!

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OK, I ran out of grenadine last night, which was fortuitous since we have an active thread over here on the subject of making your own. Here is my attempt at Katie Loeb's recipe:

This really made wonderful grenadine: thanks, Katie! The orange flower water was a master stroke. You're a genius!  :cool:

Thanks Chris (and Katie by default.........) I've been eyeing that thread and wondering if I should give it a go. I made Alton Brown's version about 4 months ago, and its been living in my freezer pretty happily, but I've thought it missed...*something*. Couldn't quite figure out what, but it wasn't what I wanted. It's almost gone, and I will be making this soon. Cool.

And cool blog. Loving it so far, Chris. Now I just gotta remember to ROLL my pizza dough instead of try to stretch it. Aside from inherant clummsiness, I also am possessed by the vanity of relatively long nails (NOT talon-like...shudder), and that doesn't go well with thin doughs.

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Great photos, Chris! Everything looks really sharp and crisp (or crispy, given the bacon/pork fest). :smile:

Did you already mention here or on another thread where you and your wife will be moving to--and what the food prospects are like there?

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Oh, dear reader, the lengths I will go to to satisfy your (inexplicable) craving for the one true grilled sticky experience. Behold, ladies and gentlement, Ye Olde College Diner a.k.a. "The Diner":

gallery_28660_5872_77779.jpg

Clearly, from this image, you may ascertain that there is no foie gras, no truffles, nay, this morning, no English frickin' muffins!! (though in their defense the high school-aged daughter of the owner was waiting the tables, and offered to go down to the store to buy some after her mother cussed her out).

The interior certainly belongs in the PA diner genre:

gallery_28660_5872_98003.jpg

I was seated relatively promptly, but from there on out I felt like I was in an episode of Seinfeld: is that the Soup Nazi over there?!? Or maybe in a Philadelphia, a la Mamet: "oh, no, we don't have that, sir" to nearly everything the gentleman at the table next to mine requested. Bagels? Nope. English muffins? Nope. Cereal? Nope. ("Well, there may be a box of Total down there somewhere," shouts the owner from across the diner.)

Finally, the waitress begins walking to my table, presumably to take my order. Hah! Hah hah hah!!! Dream on, kid. She takes a seat with the two guys at the table across the aisle, and takes five minutes to eat some breakfast and chat up her friends. Grrr. I've been here 12 minutes at this point, and have received a single cup of coffee. No order taken, no refill, nada. I am starting to recall why I avoid this place...

Finally, the waitress leaves (presumable to go to the store, or to school, or something) and the owner notices my table. I put in my order and it comes out promptly. Incredibly promptly. Like, how did they have time to scoop the ice cream that fast?!? Here it is, the moment you have all been waiting for, THE GRILLED STICKY A LA MODE:

gallery_28660_5872_91944.jpg

In all actuality, the sticky itself isn't bad, and the Penn State Creamery vanilla ice cream is perfectly acceptable. But for the love of god, you can get this at nearly every restaurant in town!! If you are ever in State College, walk the half block to the Corner Room and order exactly the same thing. It probably even costs the same! These grilled stickies are everywhere, which is presumably how The Diner stays in business.

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Oh, dear reader, the lengths I will go to to satisfy your (inexplicable) craving for the one true grilled sticky experience. Behold, ladies and gentlement, Ye Olde College Diner a.k.a. "The Diner":

gallery_28660_5872_77779.jpg

Clearly, from this image, you may ascertain that there is no foie gras, no truffles, nay, this morning, no English frickin' muffins!! (though in their defense the high school-aged daughter of the owner was waiting the tables, and offered to go down to the store to buy some after her mother cussed her out).

The interior certainly belongs in the PA diner genre:

gallery_28660_5872_98003.jpg

I was seated relatively promptly, but from there on out I felt like I was in an episode of Seinfeld: is that the Soup Nazi over there?!? Or maybe in a Philadelphia, a la Mamet: "oh, no, we don't have that, sir" to nearly everything the gentleman at the table next to mine requested. Bagels? Nope. English muffins? Nope. Cereal? Nope. ("Well, there may be a box of Total down there somewhere," shouts the owner from across the diner.)

Finally, the waitress begins walking to my table, presumably to take my order. Hah! Hah hah hah!!! Dream on, kid. She takes a seat with the two guys at the table across the aisle, and takes five minutes to eat some breakfast and chat up her friends. Grrr. I've been here 12 minutes at this point, and have received a single cup of coffee. No order taken, no refill, nada. I am starting to recall why I avoid this place...

Finally, the waitress leaves (presumable to go to the store, or to school, or something) and the owner notices my table. I put in my order and it comes out promptly. Incredibly promptly. Like, how did they have time to scoop the ice cream that fast?!? Here it is, the moment you have all been waiting for, THE GRILLED STICKY A LA MODE:

gallery_28660_5872_91944.jpg

In all actuality, the sticky itself isn't bad, and the Penn State Creamery vanilla ice cream is perfectly acceptable. But for the love of god, you can get this at nearly every restaurant in town!! If you are ever in State College, walk the half block to the Corner Room and order exactly the same thing. It probably even costs the same! These grilled stickies are everywhere, which is presumably how The Diner stays in business.

Thanks for suffering through that Chris.

Isn't half the experience suffering through the bad coffee and the service that is worse?

Soo, what's next? The final steps to making the chocolates you started last night?

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Thanks for suffering through that Chris.

Isn't half the experience suffering through the bad coffee and the service that is worse?

Soo, what's next? The final steps to making the chocolates you started last night?

I may have exaggerated the "suffering" bit a little: the coffee was perfectly acceptable, actually :smile: . The service really was so bad that I had to wonder if it was affected, like those places that were popular a few years ago esp. in Chicago where the waitstaff was deliberately rude. Somehow I doubt that, but you are all welcome to come here and find out for yourselves... just don't say I didn't warn you! :smile:

I'm at the office now, so the chocolates have to wait until this evening. I figured I would continue on with the tour of my kitchen, since that seems to be a foodblog tradition as well. Along those lines, this is a close-up of my kitchen bookcase, mostly containing cookbooks, of course:

gallery_28660_5872_27020.jpg

I'm sure there are quite a few familiar volumes up there... the top shelf is baking and pastry, the next is bartending, general cooking, and the complete collection of Cook's Illustrated annuals. The third shelf down contains the "subject-specific" books, plus Joy (which didn't fit on the shelf above when I needed room for the Maraschino liqueur!). On the bottom are the references, seldom-used volumes, and the pasta machine my grandmother gave me when she discovered Di Giorno :shock: . This week you'll be seeing quite a bit out of Ruhlman and Polcyn's Charcuterie as well as Greweling's Chocolates and Confections. Also, about 50% of my dinners come out of the Cook's Illustrated annuals.

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I am always on the lookout for complicated cooking projects (I'm an engineer, I always look for the most complicated solution!!  :raz: ), and charcuterie ranks right up there near the top in terms of complication.

We arrive at complication from opposite directions. I seek the simplest effective solution, and view complication as a necessity rather than a goal. Oddly, we both wind up taking on complicated cooking projects.

I do draw the line at charcuterie, with one exception – I would love to make a good, crumbly Mexican chorizo that does not involve a meat grinder, “good mold”, or botulism. Any suggestions?

I am particularly struck by the remarkable light in your food pictures. Daylight or artificial? Any photography/equipment tips that you care to share?

That is an amazing kitchen for an apartment. Glad you didn’t burn it down. :raz:

Thanks to you, I am now hankering for a Manhattan. Unfortunately it is way too early and I am “working” on taxes. :rolleyes:

Your blog is great fun, and I look forward to enjoying more of your self-induced complications this week.

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I do draw the line at charcuterie, with one exception – I would love to make a good, crumbly Mexican chorizo that does not involve a meat grinder, “good mold”, or botulism. Any suggestions?

Well, putting the kibosh on the meat grinder makes things tricky, but I have used a food processor successfully for "ground beef" before I got my grinder, so I suppose it would work OK for Mexican chorizo. Ruhlman's got a recipe in Charcuterie, but I haven't tried it yet. Mexican Chorizo doesn't require anything else exotic as far as I can recall.

I am particularly struck by the remarkable light in your food pictures. Daylight or artificial? Any photography/equipment tips that you care to share?

Thanks: I love food photography, so I spend more time than I really should doing things like white-balancing the images, etc. In general, the shots in my kitchen are taken with an external flash unit pointed at the ceiling, angled towards the rest of the kitchen light sources so the effect isn't too jarring. I typically use a wide-open aperture to give a very short depth-of-field, which I think is particularly effective for food, and I try to carefully white-balance the images. The shots taken elsewhere are all available-light shots, since I hate using a flash in public spaces. I am relaxing my self-imposed camera-in-restaurant ban for the week, at least when I am eating alone, but I still refuse to use the flash.

That is an amazing kitchen for an apartment. Glad you didn’t burn it down. :raz:

Me too! :biggrin:

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THE GRILLED STICKY A LA MODE:

gallery_28660_5872_91944.jpg

Ice cream for breakfast!!! :wub:

It SOUNDS and looks delicious. What is the flavor---is there fruit in there, or a caramelly layer? When they grill it, does it stick to the grill?

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OK, for dinner tonight I decided to go with pizza while the basil was still fresh.

And saucing it:

And here is the finished pie:

gallery_28660_5872_44000.jpg

I had a bit of an adventure baking this: I cut my parchment sheet too large, and it curled under the pizza stones and came into contact with the heating elements (electric oven).

Hey Chris! I'm glad you had the adventure! I now know to put parchment paper under my pizza so that it can be easily moved to the stone.

Thanks! great looking pizza. :biggrin:

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Ice cream for breakfast!!! :wub:

It SOUNDS and looks delicious.  What is the flavor---is there fruit in there, or a caramelly layer?  When they grill it, does it stick to the grill?

:biggrin: The ice cream for breakfast bit was a little much for me. I don't really care for much sugar at any time of day, but in the mornings especially. I drank a lot of black coffee with this "slice of heaven" :smile: . They don't grill it in front of you, so I don't know the mechanics of it, but there isn't a crisp layer, so I wouldn't be surprised if "grilled" was code for "held in the oven until ordered." The flavor is just carmel: no fruit involved. As far as caramel rolls go, these aren't bad, though. And as you may have gathered, they are what State College is "famous" for.

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Hey Chris! I'm glad you had the adventure! I now know to put parchment paper under my pizza so that it can be easily moved to the stone.

Yeah, it's sort of inexplicable to me why that is not recommended more (just make sure you trim it up so you don't set anything on fire!). I suspect that I am losing a little of the pizza stone effect since the stone can't absorb as much moisture through the parchment, but the crust still gets crisp, you don't have burning cornmeal, and it slides off the peel perfectly, without deforming.

Edited to correct first sentence.


Edited by Chris Hennes (log)

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Hello. I am so enjoying your blog! Thanks!!!

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Lunch today was at one of the first places I ever ate at in State College, and probably the one that does the most repeat business from me over the years: the Golden Wok.

gallery_28660_5872_51001.jpg

gallery_28660_5872_72568.jpg

Over the years I have tried basically everything on their menu and arrived at the simple conclusion that the correct answer to "What would you like today" is "Beef chow fun, side of hot oil, and an egg roll."

gallery_28660_5872_58143.jpg

gallery_28660_5872_32419.jpg

A few colleagues today decided to add on some egg drop soup, as well:

gallery_28660_5872_18851.jpg

The egg rolls here are worth the price of admission: GW is the only place in town to get a reasonably good, hot, crispy egg roll. The fact that the chow fun is mighty tasty is a bonus :smile: .

ETA: I forgot to mention the price---the chow fun and egg roll combo is about $7, which as far as I am concerned is a great value.


Edited by Chris Hennes (log)

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I mentioned in my first post yesterday that my days in State College were numbered. Well, now it's official: this summer I am moving to Oklahoma City. A few months ago I started an eGullet forum thread on places to eat in the OKC area, so if you live there and haven't checked it out yet, head on over and lend me a hand! One of the most exciting aspects of OKC, as far as I am concerned, is the prospect of having a gigantic garden someplace with a really long growing season. This summer I am going to have to live vicariously through the denizens of the eGullet gardening thread since I can't grow my own this year :sad: . But next year I will be back with a vengeance! Rumor has it I can grow just about everything there is to grow in the OKC region, but I'm most excited about tomatoes, peppers, asparagus, blackberries and strawberries. I'm already plotting a smoke house and a greenhouse, as well. This is gonna rock! (Sorry I won't be joining you in Philly, Katie and Sandy---no job offers there!)

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hehe, need some seed? I know some people. :biggrin: PM me, and I'll get ya stocked up for next spring.

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      Today I would like to share with you the recipe for the best chocolate crème I have ever eaten. It is thick, smooth and very chocolaty in flavour and colour. Despite the chocolate, the dessert isn't too sweet. But if somebody thinks that it is, I recommend serving it with slightly sour fruit mousse. You can use cherries, currants or cranberries. You will make an unusually yummy arrangement and your dessert will look beautiful.

      My children were delighted with this dessert. I told them about the fact it had been made with millet groats after they had eaten it, and ... they didn't believe me. Next time I will prepare the millet groats crème with a double portion of ingredients.

      Ingredients (for 4 people)
      chocolate crème
      100g of millet groats
      200g of dark chocolate
      1 tablespoon of dark cocoa
      250ml of almond milk
      fruit mousse
      250g of fresh cranberries
      juice and peel of one orange
      half a teaspoon of grated ginger
      4 tablespoons of brown sugar

      Boil the millet groats in salty water and drain them. Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie. Blend the millet groats, chocolate, cocoa and milk very thoroughly until you have very smooth crème. Pour the milk in gradually to make the right consistency of your desert. Prepare the fruit mousse. Put the washed cranberries, ginger, juice orange peel and sugar into a pot. Boil until the fruits are soft. Blend. Put the chocolate crème into some small bowls. Put the fruit mousse on top. Decorate with peppermint leaves. Serve at once or chilled.

      Enjoy your meal!


    • By ChristysConfections
      I am trying to find boxes like these pictured below, with matching candy trays and candy pads. They are about the size of a piece of paper and about 2-2 1/2 inches high. Haven’t had any luck finding them domestically. Anyone else use something like these? How do you store/package your bulk chocolates?
       


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