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Little-known trivia/terminology, or BS?


pastrygirl
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Recently I've encountered a few culinary terms or bits of information about which I am skeptical. Of course, I don't know everything about food, but I know a fair amount and I have to wonder if these are new things I need to learn, or just BS.

1) Chocolate petit four of caramel mousse on a 'mignonette cake'. I've only ever seen mignonette used to describe a sauce of vinegar and shallots. Maybe they meant it in the 'small, coin shaped piece of meat' sense of the word? I don't recall if the cake was round or square. What is mignonette cake?

2)Local restaurant has 'assorted olli & housemade charcuterie'. WTH are olli? The only culinary term I can find that comes close is 'oli', which is Italian for 'oils', but why would you both serve assorted oils with charcuterie and mix French and Italian on the menu? What are olli?

3)On the Top Chef Just Desserts season 2 finale, Matthew describes speculoos as 'a type of cookie made with roasted flour'. The judges did mention spice, so it seems he got that part of the cookie down, but is roasting the flour really definitive of speculoos? Or was he full of it?

Enlighten me! Or are they just making this stuff up?

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I'm calling BS, for what that's worth. I was unaware until Matthew enlightened us that roasting the flour was key to making speculoos. :unsure: I thought speculoos had a lot of spice in them, like pfeffernusse. Or were rolled out with a special rolling pin, but then I remembered that is springerle.

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Speculaas (the Dutch version) are just made with regular flour. Wikipedia says the Belgian version -- speculoos -- are often made with almond flour, so maybe the almonds are toasted first?

Mignonette sauce is vinegar and shallot, but "mignonette" refers to a cute little thing, also a fragrant but small,shy flower. So calling a cake "mignonette" might just indicate its dainty, pleasing qualities.

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Recently I've encountered a few culinary terms or bits of information about which I am skeptical. Of course, I don't know everything about food, but I know a fair amount and I have to wonder if these are new things I need to learn, or just BS.

1) Chocolate petit four of caramel mousse on a 'mignonette cake'. I've only ever seen mignonette used to describe a sauce of vinegar and shallots. Maybe they meant it in the 'small, coin shaped piece of meat' sense of the word? I don't recall if the cake was round or square. What is mignonette cake?

2)Local restaurant has 'assorted olli & housemade charcuterie'. WTH are olli? The only culinary term I can find that comes close is 'oli', which is Italian for 'oils', but why would you both serve assorted oils with charcuterie and mix French and Italian on the menu? What are olli?

3)On the Top Chef Just Desserts season 2 finale, Matthew describes speculoos as 'a type of cookie made with roasted flour'. The judges did mention spice, so it seems he got that part of the cookie down, but is roasting the flour really definitive of speculoos? Or was he full of it?

Enlighten me! Or are they just making this stuff up?

On the olli front I think it may refer to a company , especially if you are from virginia

Olli Salumeria

which makes sense in the context of the menu

meaning the plate has meats made by Olli and also housemade .

sorry can't help on the others.

"Why is the rum always gone?"

Captain Jack Sparrow

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2)Local restaurant has 'assorted olli & housemade charcuterie'. WTH are olli? The only culinary term I can find that comes close is 'oli', which is Italian for 'oils', but why would you both serve assorted oils with charcuterie and mix French and Italian on the menu? What are olli?

On the olli front I think it may refer to a company , especially if you are from virginia

Olli Salumeria

which makes sense in the context of the menu

meaning the plate has meats made by Olli and also housemade .

Interesting, could be a possibility. OTOH, Seattle is awfully far from VA, so it would be odd to presume anyone would know that 'olli' meant 'salumi from the company named Olli'. I should have asked when I was at the resto, maybe I'll call if it continues to bug me.

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Interesting, could be a possibility. OTOH, Seattle is awfully far from VA, so it would be odd to presume anyone would know that 'olli' meant 'salumi from the company named Olli'. I should have asked when I was at the resto, maybe I'll call if it continues to bug me.

Would you call anyway, because now I'm curious!! Or the next time you go there....

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Mignonette, in addition to the condiment, is a diminutive feminine suffix (ette) added to a “cute” (mignon) shape, be it airline liquor bottle, tiny cake or Smurf. There are thousands of arcane French culinary slang terms which vary from cook to cook or region and while their unfamiliarity may seem easy to dismiss as steer’s manure because the Google machine says they don’t exist, consider consulting a native speaker, or Google.fr.

Given the rich tradition and history of Virginia hams, it is reasonable for a restaurant to source its pork products from that area. Plenty of east coast restaurants import and cite west coast products (Fra’mani charcuterie, dairy products) or Michigan cherries which go in both directions and the provenance may not be recognized by the diners, or they just don’t give it any thought. In the context (it appears to be from RN74 in Seattle), Olli refers to either a producer or ingredient. It is unlikely that the Michael Mina group allows erroneous spelling on their menus, though there are a few missing or misplaced diacritics in the on-line version.

Toasting flour imparts flavor through caramelization of the natural sugars (Maillard reaction), much like boring brioche vs grilled brioche, bland bread crumbs vs toasted bread crumbs, raw vs roasted nuts or even humdrum spaghetti vs golden vermicelli. It is not uncommon for flour to be toasted when used as a thickener for traditional French braises or roux. While toasting the flour is not necessarily a trademark of speculaas, perhaps Matthew’s version uses it to distinguish it from others and highlights his understanding of flavor development and technique. Also, cookie recipes on a food-based game-show should not be revered as culinary scripture.

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I'm interested in the roasted flour for cookies....

As others have said, rosting flour does impart a nutty taste. The Swiss roast flour for a regional specialty called "Basler Mehlsuppe" which is a roasted flour soup, and is almost always served at "Fasnacht" or Mardi-gras time.

Roasting the flour also dimishes a lot of the flour's binding power, and I wonder if used in cookies it would have the same effect as cornstarch would--a very short crumbly texture.

I gotta start experimenting....

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I'm interested in the roasted flour for cookies....

Roasting the flour also dimishes a lot of the flour's binding power, and I wonder if used in cookies it would have the same effect as cornstarch would--a very short crumbly texture.

I gotta start experimenting....

I agree, it could be interesting and very tender. It also occurred to me that Matthew's definition might have been the result of some weird editing. He made a speculoos liquid sable, which still doesn't necessarily involve toasting the flour alone, but if he said 'I combine until crumbly then roast the flour, sugar, butter, egg yolk, and spices until browned then process in the robot coupe with a little oil until liquid' it could have been shortened in the TV making process. They didn't show him explaining the liquid sable part, just the speculoos part.

So...I'm still going with 98% chance of BS on all of these. :raz: I was hoping others would have some more examples, but maybe I'm the only one uptight enough to worry about theses things!

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I agree, it could be interesting and very tender.

Herve This discussed roasted flour in Art et Science. He specifically mentioned the resulting weakened gluten network being suited to uses where a crumbly or sandy texture is desired... such as sables. Not sure about it being a defining point in speculoos though, I've never heard or read that before.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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In the context (it appears to be from RN74 in Seattle), Olli refers to either a producer or ingredient. It is unlikely that the Michael Mina group allows erroneous spelling on their menus, though there are a few missing or misplaced diacritics in the on-line version.

Clearly. From the context - 'assorted olli' and 'select olli varieties' - it makes more sense as a product than a producer. Would you say 'select Oscar Meyer varieties' or 'assorted Boar's Head and charcuterie'? I wouldn't, maybe Mina would.

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If Baron d'Apcher is right and you are referring to the restaurant RN74 then the olli reference is to the producer because Olli Salumeria is mentioned in this seattle times article about the restuarant.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/restaurants/2016289232_cicero23.html

"Charcuterie includes exemplary pork pate and chicken liver mousse, both house-made, along with stellar cured meats from Olli Salumeria in Virginia. Hudson Valley foie gras sliders, packed with peppery sylvetta greens and served with caramelized onion jus, become the ultimate French dip."

It sounds like a pretty nice restuarant too.. I wouldn't mind lunch of nicoise salad with a hefty chuck of ahi tuna for 12$ .. YUM!

Clearly. From the context - 'assorted olli' and 'select olli varieties' - it makes more sense as a product than a producer. Would you say 'select Oscar Meyer varieties' or 'assorted Boar's Head and charcuterie'? I wouldn't, maybe Mina would.

I think it was meant as a whole statement.. " assorted olli & homemade charcuterie"

meaning it is an assortment mix olli charcuterie and homemade charcuterie

Edited by Ashen (log)

"Why is the rum always gone?"

Captain Jack Sparrow

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...Would you say 'select Oscar Meyer varieties' or 'assorted Boar's Head and charcuterie'? I wouldn't, maybe Mina would.

Most retail stores and supermarket do. Their products are not geared towards fine dining restaurants. Boar’s Head to Olli’s association and assorted vs select is like matching apples to carburetors. Also, Olli is capitalized (though all the typeface is capitalized in the RN74 menu) making it a proper noun –either a producer, geographic region or certified appellation- and noteworthy (justifying price and showcasing the ingredient).

If comparing the industrial familiarity of Oscar Mayer (owned by Kraft) to a small scale artisinal operation such as Olli’s (or Fra’mani or La Quercia) which uses pastured animals, then the suggestion of quality is completely wasted.

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If Baron d'Apcher is right and you are referring to the restaurant RN74 then the olli reference is to the producer because Olli Salumeria is mentioned in this seattle times article about the restuarant.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/restaurants/2016289232_cicero23.html

"Charcuterie includes exemplary pork pate and chicken liver mousse, both house-made, along with stellar cured meats from Olli Salumeria in Virginia. Hudson Valley foie gras sliders, packed with peppery sylvetta greens and served with caramelized onion jus, become the ultimate French dip."

Clearly. From the context - 'assorted olli' and 'select olli varieties' - it makes more sense as a product than a producer. Would you say 'select Oscar Meyer varieties' or 'assorted Boar's Head and charcuterie'? I wouldn't, maybe Mina would.

I think it was meant as a whole statement.. " assorted olli & homemade charcuterie"

meaning it is an assortment mix olli charcuterie and homemade charcuterie

I see. So I guess that one is not BS, but I still find it awkward in a grammatical sense. Thanks!

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I still think you could call shenanigans on it though.. I mean what kind of pretension to just say olli and expect all customers to know what that means, they could use a good Ro-Sham-Bo to knock some reality back into their world. lol

"Why is the rum always gone?"

Captain Jack Sparrow

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...I mean what kind of pretension to just say olli and expect all customers to know what that means...

Or you could ask. There really is no harm in engaging the server and finding out what scorzonera purée or a supion is. Finer restaurants are not compelled to dumb down their menus to satisfy the culinary ignorance of bashful diners –that’s Applebee’s condescending mission and what order-by-number value meals are for.

Melted is a direct translation of “fondue” which means that it has been left on the car's dashboard during a hot summer's day, or, in the context of alliums and crucifers, a vegetable that has been sweated in fat to the cusp of mushy.

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I think the problem with "olli" is that the menu is in all caps. If it were upper case/lower case, we would see that the word is "Olli," and be able to surmise that Olli is a producer, and that the restaurant serves both Olli charcuterie and its own housemade charcuterie.

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"Melted" is a fairly widely accepted modern cooking technique and not an invention of word-play. It means to cook a vegetable long but without searing or caramelizing it; sort of the equivalent of "caramelized onions" but without allowing the veg to take on any color. Even in very classical french menus, you will see "melted leek," etc.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm interested in the roasted flour for cookies....

Roasting the flour also dimishes a lot of the flour's binding power, and I wonder if used in cookies it would have the same effect as cornstarch would--a very short crumbly texture.

I gotta start experimenting....

I agree, it could be interesting and very tender. It also occurred to me that Matthew's definition might have been the result of some weird editing. He made a speculoos liquid sable, which still doesn't necessarily involve toasting the flour alone, but if he said 'I combine until crumbly then roast the flour, sugar, butter, egg yolk, and spices until browned then process in the robot coupe with a little oil until liquid' it could have been shortened in the TV making process. They didn't show him explaining the liquid sable part, just the speculoos part.

So...I'm still going with 98% chance of BS on all of these. :raz: I was hoping others would have some more examples, but maybe I'm the only one uptight enough to worry about theses things!

When I saw that episode, I assumed he was filling the chocolates with speculoos spread but I don't know where the roasted flour idea came from

Speculoos Spread

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