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Chris Hennes

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

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

Finished chocolates 1.jpg

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:

Finished chocolates 2.jpg

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

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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I haven't made a dedicated search yet, but I would like to find a source of fresh masa that's available in bulk--in other words in SMALL quantities. I shop for Mexican ingredients at Mi Pueblo (partly because I am addicted to the cuernos for breakfast and their bakery has really good ones) and although the masa, both preparado and non-prep is great and seems very fresh, it's only available in enormous bags. I never need all that masa. I don't know if there are preservatives in it or not, I'll have to check next time. I'm told that it can be frozen, though. Does anyone recommend this?

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I haven't made a dedicated search yet, but I would like to find a source of fresh masa that's available in bulk--in other words in SMALL quantities. I shop for Mexican ingredients at Mi Pueblo (partly because I am addicted to the cuernos for breakfast and their bakery has really good ones) and although the masa, both preparado and non-prep is great and seems very fresh, it's only available in enormous bags. I never need all that masa. I don't know if there are preservatives in it or not, I'll have to check next time. I'm told that it can be frozen, though. Does anyone recommend this?

I know the Berkeley Farmers Market used to have fresh masa - a friend was purchasing it there a year or so ago.

Here's a link. Primavera is the "brand"

I just phoned a friend in San Jose and she also recommended Mi Pubelo.

She shops at the Story road market in San Jose.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

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The cutting board in those kitchen photos is about ten years old, and I don't take very good care of it. As a result, it has started to crack. Rather than simply buying one, being the obstinate sort, I set out to make my own. Here is the current status:

Cutting board.jpg

End grain, of course, made of a Canadian hard maple. The target final dimensions are in the neighborhood of 23" x 16" x 2.5", though it looks like it's going to be a small bit larger in each dimension in the finished product, depending on how the final planing goes. I have 22 of 63 glue joints completed, and I'm doing them one at a time because it's easier and more reliable. Have any of you reading this made your own cutting board? How did you do your glue-up?

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Ive made them for years.

the partial assembly is helpful to keep the project flush. endgain is very very difficult to sand.

I used http://www.woodfinishsupply.com/SaladBowl.html for finish.

if you havent made your own cutting board before it will give you great pleasure every time you use it.


Edited by rotuts (log)

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Lunch time: since I have the car on Tuesdays, I usually go out for lunch. Today I went to Five Guys (I have a slight preference for Smashburger for this style of burger, but the nearest SB is 35 minutes away, whereas the nearest FG is five).

Bacon Cheeseburger with Fried Onions:

Five Guys Burger.jpg

Five Guys aficionados will notice something conspicuously lacking from this order: there are no fries. I'm sorry, Five Guys, I simply do not care which farm those potatoes came from or what day they were dug up if you do not know how to cook them!!! I like crispy fries, and Five Guys aren't. Total deal-breaker. But I love their burgers.

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Five Guys aficionados will notice something conspicuously lacking from this order: there are no fries. I'm sorry, Five Guys, I simply do not care which farm those potatoes came from or what day they were dug up if you do not know how to cook them!!! I like crispy fries, and Five Guys aren't. Total deal-breaker. But I love their burgers.

Agree the fries blow.

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Five Guys aficionados will notice something conspicuously lacking from this order: there are no fries. I'm sorry, Five Guys, I simply do not care which farm those potatoes came from or what day they were dug up if you do not know how to cook them!!! I like crispy fries, and Five Guys aren't. Total deal-breaker. But I love their burgers.

Agree the fries blow.

I think that they suck.

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You might have noticed in those kitchen shots one of those Jiffy greenhouse-things on the counter. That one's got peppers in it, that I just planted a couple days ago (they have not germinated yet). My tomatoes and tomatillos, however, are a couple weeks in:

Tomatoes.jpg

Does anyone else use those little peat pellets to start seeds? I usually take the plastic bits off when I pot them up for the first time: does anyone leave them on? And how big do you wait for your plants to get before potting them up?

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Chris - I've been enjoying your blog so far! I start my seeds in rockwool cubes - I get starts that look like your tomatoes/tomatillos after 4-5 days, rather than a couple of weeks. I find soaking the cubes in 5.5pH water initially, and then misting once in a while with the same water gets faster germination. Once I see the first set of true leaves, I'll transfer to my "incubator" which basically keeps the bottoms of the cubes bathed in 25% nutrient fog for a week or two until the roots are long enough to transfer into my normal window garden.

I've also heard really good things about Coco coir, and about these Rapid Rooter plugs.

While usually, the rockwool is only for hydro (since it doesn't degrade too easily (although it can be recycled)), the coco coir and Rapid Rooter are great for starts that will go into soil.

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Five Guys aficionados will notice something conspicuously lacking from this order: there are no fries. I'm sorry, Five Guys, I simply do not care which farm those potatoes came from or what day they were dug up if you do not know how to cook them!!! I like crispy fries, and Five Guys aren't. Total deal-breaker. But I love their burgers.

Agree the fries blow.

The fries suck at In & Out as well.. but if you ask for Well Done.. they are much better.. is there any chance Five Guys can do the same?

Incidentally, there is now a Five Guys in my town... but didn't know anyone who has tried one (lot of burgers around here... most good but not better than home made.. makes me unexcited to try new places)... but that does look good.

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Incidentally, there is now a Five Guys in my town... but didn't know anyone who has tried one (lot of burgers around here... most good but not better than home made.. makes me unexcited to try new places)... but that does look good.

I treat fast food burgers as a category unto themselves: none of them are going to compete with homemade, ever, since they are cooked to well-done. But for what they are, Five Guys is a great burger, as is Smashburger. No In-n-Outs here (yet!) so I haven't tried them.

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You might have noticed in those kitchen shots one of those Jiffy greenhouse-things on the counter. That one's got peppers in it, that I just planted a couple days ago (they have not germinated yet). My tomatoes and tomatillos, however, are a couple weeks in:

Tomatoes.jpg

Does anyone else use those little peat pellets to start seeds? I usually take the plastic bits off when I pot them up for the first time: does anyone leave them on? And how big do you wait for your plants to get before potting them up?

My husband is building a green house right now on to the back of our garage. So, I hope to get more in to growing from seed.

Every year we (and I say we very loosely...I mostly mean Mr. Shelby lol) start tomatoes from seed and every year it seems like, no matter what we try, they don't "harden" enough and when we plant them in the garden, they die asap. I do the planting so I'm very gentle with them etc. Kansas sun and wind are so hard on the young'uns, as is the weather in Oklahoma. My garden is not protected on any side from wind/sun.

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Maybe you need cloches. I use big soda bottles with the end cut off sometimes if i don't trust the weather.

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You might have noticed in those kitchen shots one of those Jiffy greenhouse-things on the counter. That one's got peppers in it, that I just planted a couple days ago (they have not germinated yet). My tomatoes and tomatillos, however, are a couple weeks in:

Tomatoes.jpg

Does anyone else use those little peat pellets to start seeds? I usually take the plastic bits off when I pot them up for the first time: does anyone leave them on? And how big do you wait for your plants to get before potting them up?

My husband is building a green house right now on to the back of our garage. So, I hope to get more in to growing from seed.

Every year we (and I say we very loosely...I mostly mean Mr. Shelby lol) start tomatoes from seed and every year it seems like, no matter what we try, they don't "harden" enough and when we plant them in the garden, they die asap. I do the planting so I'm very gentle with them etc. Kansas sun and wind are so hard on the young'uns, as is the weather in Oklahoma. My garden is not protected on any side from wind/sun.

I've had some luck putting a bit of newspaper around the stem when I plant tomatoes.

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