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

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Best new pie on the table: Chocolate Walnut Bourbon Pie

Seasonal Recipe of the Week
Each Thanksgiving I like to make new stuff along with the classics. This year I tried and modified a recipe from The New York Times for a chocolate nutty pie and it was super yummy. Here are the details:

Ingredients for the crust
2 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for rolling out dough)
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
4 tablespoons chilled vegetable shortening
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon vinegar
4 tablespoons ice water, or as much as needed for dough to hold together

Ingredients for the filling
2 cups Walnut halves
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
4 large eggs
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons bourbon
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Start with the crust. In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, pulse together the flour and salt. Add butter and vegetable shortening and pulse until the mixture forms chickpea-size pieces. Combine egg yolk, vinegar, and ice water and add 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough just comes together. It should be moist but not wet. On a lightly floured surface, gather the dough into a ball. Flatten into a disk with the heel of your hand. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.

Remove plastic wrap and roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch circle. Transfer crust to a 9-inch pie plate. Fold over any excess dough, then crimp edges. Prick crust all over with a fork. Chill crust for 30 minutes.

While the dough chills, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line chilled crust with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake until very pale golden, 5 to 10 minutes longer. Remove from oven and reduce temperature to 350 degrees.

While the crust bakes, melt butter and chopped chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth; set aside to cool. In a large bowl, whisk together cooled chocolate-butter mixture, corn syrup, eggs, sugar, cocoa powder, bourbon, and salt. Spread the walnuts in the crust and pour chocolate mixture over top. Transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the filling is just set when the pan is jiggled, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove pie from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Thanksgiving Tips 2017

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!

Also! You can check out all the other Thanksgiving posts here at Mouth of Wonder by clicking on "Thanksgiving" in that big word jumble down there on the left. It says "Browse by Ingredient" but Thanksgiving isn't an ingredient! What is this world coming to?

Well, my little Brussels Sprouts, it's back to Brooklyn for me — my butter is melting! Ciao!

Orange Olive Oil Cake and Cranberry Sorbet, a match made in heaven!

Seasonal Recipe of the Week
During this pre-Thanksgiving, pre-Christmas, pre-I'm-going-crazy season, it's nice to stop the panic shopping or turkey stressing and take some time to have some great friends over for lunch — which is what I did today. Doing a little lunch thingy is so easy if you plan a simple menu and do as much as possible ahead of time. Today's dessert, after a lunch of smoked corn chowder, caesar salad, roast salmon, julienne carrot and zucchini sauté, and chimmichuri was an orange olive oil cake (a recipe from Mailino in NYC) topped with a not-too-sweet cranberry sorbet. Seasonal and delicious without being too obvious. Here are the recipes, which I have been told will work at any altitude.

Mailino’s orange olive oil cake

Makes one 9-inch round cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/3 cups extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/4 cups whole milk
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons grated orange zest
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup Grand Marnier

Heat the oven to 350°. Oil, butter, or spray a 9-inch cake pan that is at least 2 inches deep with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. (If your cake pan is less than 2 inches deep, divide between 2 pans and start checking for doneness at 30 minutes.)

In a bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. In another bowl, whisk the olive oil, milk, eggs, orange zest and juice and Grand Marnier. Add the dry ingredients — whisk until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, until the top is golden and a cake tester comes out clean.

Transfer the pan to a rack and let cool for 30 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, invert the cake onto the rack and let cool completely, 2 hours. Nice if you dust the top with powdered sugar!

Cranberry Sorbet

1 pound fresh or frozen cranberries (about 4 cups, thaw if frozen)
5 cups water
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice or Yuzu juice
1/3 cup fresh orange juice

Boil cranberries, 2 cups water, and 1/2 cup sugar in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot, stirring occasionally, until cranberries have burst, about 15 minutes. Purée cranberry mixture in batches in a blender until as smooth as possible (use caution when blending hot liquids). Force through a medium-mesh sieve into a bowl, discarding solids, and chill, covered with plastic wrap, until cold, about 2 hours.

In the meantime, bring remaining 3 cups water and remaining 2 cups sugar to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then remove from heat and cool syrup 30 minutes.

Stir together cranberry purée, sugar syrup, and citrus juices and freeze for 1 hour in a plastic container. Then take a whisk and break up the mixture. Then let freeze overnight. Next day it will be hard, but easy to cut apart. Break it into chunks and purée in food processor till smooth, then refreeze. Should be taken out of freezer 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 10 to 12 servings (about 1 1/2 qt)

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!