Stay tuned, stay hungry, and go cook something already!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Impossible Burger ... they blinded me with science!

Seasonal Weirdness of the Week This week, I tried the much-talked-about “Impossible Burger.” This is a product of Silicon Valley scientists, politically correct investors, and it is taking the world by storm. Or at least the world of folks willing to spend around 15 dollars for a vegan burger that looks like meat, bleeds like meat, has a mouthfeel like meat, with one important difference. It really tastes nothing like beef, and kind of gave me a stomachache.

To try this item I went to Bareburger, a chain with multiple locations in New York which features some fantastic burger options (in retrospect, I wish I had eaten one of them). Elk, buffalo, and brisket are all on the menu, along with some killer hand-cut fries, butternut squash with blue cheese, and two amazing Brussels sprout options (sprouts roasted with Sriracha and sprouts with lemon zest and Asiago cheese), but I digress.

Let’s get back to the Impossible Burger. Here is what the makers say on their website:
“Our burger is made from simple, all-natural ingredients such as wheat, coconut oil, and potatoes. What makes the Impossible Burger unlike all others is an ingredient called heme. Heme is a basic building block of life on Earth, including plants, but it’s uniquely abundant in meat. [Yet they found a way through genetic modification to get it from plants! —Stacy] We discovered that heme is what makes meat smell, sizzle, bleed, and taste gloriously meaty. Consider it the “magic ingredient” that makes our burger a carnivore’s dream.”
I think “carnivore’s dream” is a bit much! Honestly, if you were to try it blindfolded I think no one would say it tastes like meat, it’s just the visuals that are so good. Then there is the gluten, which rules out half the hipsters. And the animal testing, which eliminates the vegans. The GMO element, which freaks out most people. And for those who care, the FDA has not approved of this heme plant product as safe for consumption by humans. Aside from that, it’s perfect!

In spite of all this, it has developed a cult following and David Chang sells it a Momofuku (so it must be good). All I know is I tasted it, for you my people (who I have ignored way too long), so now you don't have to. Here are the visuals.

  

It was kind of mushy. I asked for it rare and the waitress said “not a good plan” so we went with medium rare and it was unpleasant. It comes with cheap cheese, cheap pickles, cheap bun, and some cooked onions, none of which helped, except maybe to mask some of the weird flavor.

Go to the Impossible Burger website to find out more and see if they are available in your area. So far this is the only product they make, but they are promising more in the future, so beware! Would you eat it? Have you eaten it? Let me know what you think in the comments. I am going to go grind up some cow now. Bon Appetite!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Definitive Updated Bagel Recipe

Codex Bagelensis—The First Book of Bagels As the previous, excellent post by the one and only Monica Meehan shows, bagel making is alive and well in Santa Fe — thanks to the tireless efforts of a multi-talented scientist, bagpiper, and all-around eccentric genius known as Bagel Bob. He recently contacted me to let me know the version I have on the site from years ago has been updated and improved so here it is! There is also a 12-page, elaborate text which goes into the science of the bread and ingredient details which I would be happy to share — email me if you want a copy. Here is a photo from Terrace bagels in Park Slope Brooklyn who I think makes the best bagels in the city.


THE Definitive Updated Bagel RECIPE, in Abbreviated Form

As revealed to Bagelbob, aka Robert Shlaer

Ingredients
540 grams High Gluten Flour (about 4 cups) (King Arthur Sir Lancelot is good)
320 ml water (10-3/4 fl oz) (1-1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon) at 120 degrees F
1 teaspoon instant yeast (SAF is good)
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon Bob’s Red Mill Malted Barley Flour, no more;
   or 3/4 teaspoon diastatic malt powder
1 tablespoon dry malt extract, dark
1 tablespoon dry malt extract, amber
1 tablespoon malt syrup, dark
1 tablespoon baking soda in 5 cups (boiling) water
semolina flour

Procedure
Place the dry ingredients except the salt in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and run for 5-10 seconds to mix. Dissolve the salt and malt syrup in the warm water, and with the processor running pour the water quickly down the feed tube. Process for 30-45 seconds, until the dough forms a ball. Start a timer now so you can know when to begin retardation of the bagel rings. Remove the dough and knead by hand for 2-3 minutes. Cut into twelve equal pieces, roll out each one into a snake about ten inches long and pinch the ends together to form a ring. Dust a jellyroll pan with semolina flour, place the rings on it and cover with plastic film. When your timer shows 45 to 60 minutes from when you added liquid to the dry ingredients, put the bagels in the refrigerator and leave there for 12-18 hours to retard fermentation.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees, and while it is heating take a 2 qt saucepan, place in it 5 cups of water and 1 Tbsp soda, then bring to a boil. Remove the bagels from the refrigerator and poach each bagel for 20 seconds, no more, poking it down repeatedly if it floats, remove, and put on a rack to drain. Arrange the bagels on a heavy baking sheet lined with parchment paper, (they will stick firmly to Teflon or almost anything else,) place on a middle rack in the oven, and spray the bottom of the oven with water before closing. Spray the bottom of the interior of the oven with water again after 5 minutes. After another 10 minutes of baking (15 minutes total at this point) rotate the sheet and turn the oven down to 400 degrees. Bake another 15 minutes (total baking time 30 minutes) to a dark reddish-brown crust, then remove the bagels and put on a rack to cool.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Report from the Bagel-Making Workshop with Bagel Bob!

Hi folks, It's Monica! Just wanted to stop by and report on a fun thing my friend Laura and I did this past weekend. The Santa Fe Jewish Center hosted a bagel making-event with Bagel Bob! About 50 people attended — I think that was way more people than were expected so it was a little chaotic, but still fun. They had pre-formed, pre-risen bagels ready for boiling and baking (Laura and I got drafted to help with extra boiling stations and baking). Next, while the bagels baked, Bob showed everyone how to mix the dough and roll out and form bagels. Everyone got newly made bagels to rise and and boil/bake at home, as well as a copy of Bob's UPDATED Master Bagel Recipe. Then we all ate bagels with lox!


Bagel Bob is introduced

  
Left to right: one of the boiling stations in the main room; over 50 bagels baked (Photo by Laura Wagner); bagel schmear with lox!

 
Left to right: the extra boiling stations got a little messy (don't worry, we cleaned up!); Bagel Bob and I are throwing the bagel gang sign (Photo by Laura Wagner)

I boiled and baked my bagels at home later that night. Yum!

  
Left to right: boiling; boiled; baked

You can check out more photos of the event at the Santa Fe Jewish Center's Facebook page.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Thanksgiving Tips 2016

My People! Rula is here for you! I know, I know, for some of you, cooking for Thanksgiving can be very stressful. That's why you should go check out my surefire hints to improve the evening's meal:

Rula Gives Good Bird

Yes, fellow Pilgrims, these are the same tips I post every year, but — like me — they never go out of style!

So, since Stacy's all set up at her new digs on Long Island, and Mary-Charlotte has retired from radio, there will be no more day-before-Thanksgiving Radio Café appearances. What can I say? Time marches on. But don't despair! There are eight years of Radio Café podcast archives that feature Stacy's Thanksgiving tips. I guess the internet is good for something besides cat videos after all!

Well, my little Cranberries, it's back to Brooklyn for me — I have so many things to mash! Ciao!