HELPING FAMILY FARMS FLOURISH. HELPING FEED THE HUNGRY.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Andrew's Gougeres and Chocolate Eclairs from Joanne Chang's "Flour"



        
Mark Bittman
Recently Mark Bittman used his Sunday NY Times Food pages to extoll the virtues and utter simplicity of making Pate a Choux. This dough is the basis for both Gougeres, bite sized cheese puffs that melt in your mouth and Chocolate Eclairs, my absolute favorite French pastry growing up.  Now Gougeres could not be all that hard to make because my Mother, challenged as she sometimes was in the kitchen, made them with some frequency.  But perhaps because the Eclairs of my memory involved a trip across town to a Montreal Patisserie, it was inconceivable to me that these could possibly be made at home.   So after Andrew had stuffed us all with Gougeres at Christmas Dinner, I was taken aback when he told me he was making Eclairs for New Year’s Eve Dinner.  Not only were they better than any éclair I have ever eaten, he pronounced them a cinch to make.  Frankly, I never quite believe him when he says something is easy but I’ll take his word for it.  Especially after it was seconded by Mr. Bittman.  These two pastries are so impressive they will dazzle anyone so if you want to sweeten your Super Bowl party or dazzle your Valentine, you've got it made.   As long as you don’t let on how easy they were to make. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Meatball Shop's Spicy Pork Meatballs with Parmesan Cream Sauce


"Meatball Mike" Chernow (left)  and
Chef Daniel Holzman
            Chef Daniel Holzman and his partner, Michael Chernow, AKA “Meatball Mike” are New York’s Kings of the Meatball.  With the opening of their 5th location, on the Far East side of Manhattan, at 1462 Second Avenue, they are the undisputed champs of the Meatball scene.  Their other locations are all downtown – in Chelsea, at 200 Ninth Avenue at 22nd Street, on the Lower East Side at 84 Stanton Street, and in the Village which has two locations:

170 Bedford just below Christopher St. and 64 Greenwich Avenue south of 7th Avenue South.  I had an errand to do which landed me practically outside their Greenwich Avenue door so I finally got to sample their beautiful balls.  I chose the Spicy Pork variation, a light and scrumptious meatball--or rather meatballs since an order consists of 5 the size of golf balls.  But what really knocked me out was the creamy Parmesan sauce that topped the dish. It was a complete indulgence of course and I have no clue what the fat content was nor do I care.  Life is meant to be lived, not calorie counted.  I’d made my foray into meatball territory alone so of course I wanted to make them for Andrew.  Or at least, that’s what I told myself. In truth, I could have eaten the whole batch of the things all by myself.  But then who doesn’t love a great meatball?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Cosmo Goss' Beer-Braised Pork Belly and Arugula Salad


        
Chef Cosmo
Goss "Hop Chef"
Gail Collins, the columnist who calls the New York Times Opinion pages home, loves a good name.  One of her all-time favorites is Butch Otter, the Governor of the great state of Idaho about whom Collins wrote: “ That is not really the point (of her editorial) but I always enjoy writing “Gov. Butch Otter”. For me, there's a chef's name that I enjoy writing too: "Cosmo Goss". But unlike Ms. Collins, I have a really good reason to write it.  He created a dinner salad that I've made twice in a week. And not because I ruined it the first time.  I just wanted more. Cosmo Goss is a chef at Publican restaurants in Chicago. Cosmo was recently named Brewery Ommegang’s “Hop Chef”, as winner of a cooking contest centered on--you guessed it--beer. This wonderful salad is also a salute to Pork Belly.  As if it needed one: Pork Belly is everywhere.  And proof of its popularity is its ever-escalating price.  Mine came in at 4.99 lb. When ground pork is 3.69, you have to wonder why 4.99 for something that looks very much like extremely fatty bacon.  However, one taste of this salad, with its sweet and slightly spicy dressing, golden slices of sauteed pear, tangy arugula and pork belly braised in an artisan ale will convince you that 4.99 is a very little price to pay.  Once you’re over that hump, onto the next one, which is the cost of the requisite ale.