Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Bizzare foods with Me: Pig Tail at Momofuku Noodle Bar

A week or so ago I hit Momofuku Noodle Bar and while not an infrequent haunt of mine, they were running a special of pig tails which I wanted to share.  Also, it mostly gives me an excuse to link to an old post on Serious Eats about another meal at had there in back 2008 when I first got to try  pig tails.  And chitterlings.  And fried lambs brains.  There were several food firsts I ate that night, as it was the night Fergus Henderson of offal temple St. John restaurant in London (a place I've not yet had the pleasure to try) was the guest chef for his annual Fergusstock in NY.  It was before I started this blog, but luckily I met a real blogger, Nick Solares, there and we teamed up to order and share more dishes than I could have reasonably ordered alone and he documented our meal for me in his post.  Anyway, on to my recent visit.

I started with an amuse of a Johan Crab Claw.  In general I like these crab claws ok (are they the same as stone crab claws or something different? Look the same to me) but I also think they are a bit overrated.  I did like this guy significantly more than usual due to the topping of caviar and a bit of sauce (the name I forget) and the fact that it was slightly warm.  I think the temperature brought out more flavor than I usually perceive when they are ice cold.

Next was "sliced hamachi – beets, blood orange, olives."  These flavors worked very well together, and did not overwhelm the delicious fish but in fact worked to highlight its freshness and accent its flavors.  I liked this a lot.

Next were the roasted pig tails special.  They were much smaller than the one I had tried previously here at the Fergus Henderson dinner, and counter-intuitively seemed relatively meatier.  I much preferred these.  The earlier one had perhaps a bit too much breading, but more importantly seemed to consist entirely of gelatinous tissue with very little meat.  I understand that's the draw for many lovers of this stuff, and I like it too, I just prefer a bit more meat than it had that time.  These little guys fit the bill.  It took some work to get the tasty flesh away from the tiny group of bones, but it was worth it and it had a nice balance between the meat and the texture the connective tissues provided.  The pear-like pickles (not sure what it was) proved a nice foil to the rich meat with both acid, sweetness, and crunch.

For my main course I got the Kimchi Stew.  This was an item that had been on the standard menu forever, and I had heard great things but had never tried it in my many previous visits for one simple reason: it is huge, and I always opted for several smaller dishes and never had room to tackle this.  But since I recently read that it had been taken off the menu but was available off the menu if requested, I decided to go for it.  It was in fact on the menu the night I was there, but I note it's not one the current menu today.  So like I said, this thing is huge.  And quite rich and full flavored, and chock full of pork.  I felt like I could barely make a dent.  But it was indeed fantastic.  Not too spicy, but very warming flavors and rib sticking goodness; there seemed to be a good amount of gelatin in the bowl.  It's perhaps better suited to cold weather, but I wanted to finally give it a try even though it had begun to warm up a bit.

The soft serve flavors they offered were "wine" and "cheese", so I got the twist to try both.  They made an interesting combination.  The wine was reminiscent of a tangy grape sorbet, but less fruity as you might imagine.  The cheese was similar to a frozen yogurt, with notes of cheesecake; I suspect it was made with a fresh goat cheese or something similar.  When you dug to the bottom there were bits of cracker and some dried fruit, so it really drove home the wine and cheese experience.  Quite a fun finish.

Like the Kimchi Stew, the tamales the restaurant started offering a while back were something I had been wanting to try for a while, so I got one of each kind to go.  They made for a fine lunch the next day (just as fine was the leftover Kimchi Stew I reheated for dinner).
The tamale batter was quite authentic tasting, and even the fillings did not stray as far from traditional flavors as I might have expected. These guys are larger than the traditinal ones I come across and think of, but of comparable size to versions most often seen here.  The fillings offered were jalapeno queso (back), chicken mole (still wrapped), and pork kimchi.  The jalapeno queso was my favorite, and there's a good chance I will grab some to go again on future visits, even if they are not as good as the one my buddy's mom makes which I get once in a while.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

MxMo XLVII: Punch - Butcher House Punch

March's Mixology Monday is upon us, hosted by Mike at Hobson’s Choice, and he has chosen "Punch" as the theme.  The subject of punch was one that I didn't fully understand until MxMo gave me the impetus to figure it out.  This column from Dave Wondrich (linked from the announcement post) cleared it up for me with this passage:
Now, punch is one of those if-by-whiskey topics. If by punch you mean the anything-goes catchall favored at fraternity parties or the cloying mix of canned fruit juice and cheap beverage alcohol customarily ladled forth from cut glass at country club dances, it hardly bears considering. If, on the other hand, by punch you mean the social drink that, in its 18th-century heyday, fueled the European Enlightenment, a subtle and delightful blend of fine and often exotic liquors, softened with water, brightened with the freshly squeezed juices of citrus fruit, sweetened with pure cane sugar, and touched with rare spices—a drink assembled according to exacting formulae and shared by kings and gentlemen, poets and adventurers—well, that's rather a different story, isn't it?
When thinking about what to make for this topic, I kept also in mind the advice that our host Mike solicited form the same Mr. Wondrich regarding punch:
It is not, in other words, simply a large cocktail. Like wine, it should be balanced, not too pungent, not too strong, and preferably not decked out in all sorts of gaudy frippery.
Serendipitously, I also found lurking on my DVR an unwatched episode of Good Eats from quite a while ago on the subject, which did a good job of distilling the history of punch, even if much of the info suspiciously echoed Dave Wondrich's chapter on the topic in his tome Imbibe!.  It solidified my new understanding with Alton Brown's basic recipe:
Good Eats Company Punch
  • 1 part sour (lime juice + spent hulls)
  • 2 parts sweet (Demerara sugar)
  • 3 parts strong (Batavia Arrack)
  • 4 parts weak (black tea)
  • + spice (nutmeg)
Throw it all in a bowl and stir to dissolve sugar.  Grate nutmeg on top, add one large ice cube.
This being my first real foray into punch making, I wanted to hew reasonably closely to something basic and not get too crazy.  In fact, I don't think I had ever tried a proper proper punch before I tried the above recipe, and, I have to say, it is quite good.  And befitting Mr. Wondrich's wisdom, balanced and very quaffable.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the Pisco Punch (again from Imbibe!) had caught my eye with its combination of Pisco and pineapple with the addition of lemon and sweetener.  So I set out to combine ideas from the Pisco Punch and the Good Eats Company Punch and then tinker a bit.  I really liked the balance of the Good Eats punch, so I will stick roughly with those ratios.  I also want to keep firmly planted in the traditional punches of yore, so I'll also keep the black tea.  I'll also use both Pisco and Batavia Arrack, to which I'll add in my new favorite rum, Smith&Cross Traditional Jamaican Rum, in all its pure pot-stilled funk and glory.  Punches often contain 2 parts base spirit and 1 part each of two others, but I decided here equal parts work best.  (There is the additional plus that it makes the "3 parts strong" from Alton's recipe simple.)  Here's the recipe for 8 servings (single serving amounts in parentheses). 
Butcher House Punch
  • 2 oz (¼ oz) lime (hulls reserved)
  • 2 oz (¼ oz) lemon (peel before juicing and reserve)
  • 6 oz (¾ oz) pineapple infused raspberry syrup, preferably Demerara (1:1)
  • 6 oz (¾ oz) pineapple infused cinnamon syrup, preferably Demerara(1:1)
  • 4 oz (½ oz) Pisco Acholado
  • 4 oz (½ oz) Smith&Cross Traditional Jamaican Rum
  • 4 oz (½ oz) Batavia Arrack
  • 12 oz (1½ oz) Coriander and Star Anise Spiced Strong Black Tea 
  • raspberries for garnish (optional)
  • fresh ground nutmeg
First remove the lemon peel (no pith please) and add to the spirits so they can extract the flavor.  Also add the spent hulls from the limes.  For the tea, it should be strong since some plain water comes from the syrup, so brew it twice as long as usual (~6 min).  To add additinal spice, add a couple star anise pods and a tsp or so of coriander seeds when brewing tea.  As for the Picso Punch, for the syrups soak pineapple chunks overnight in the base syrup (I combined them into one batch). Chill everything then mix in punch bowl, add one large ice cube, and top with grated nutmeg.  When serving, add syrup soaked pineapple chunk to each glass and top with additional nutmeg.
Bowl of punch above (damn, just realized I forgot the raspberries for the pic, I knew I was going to do that.  Too late now.)  Here's a close up where I did remember them:
The proportions don't hold exactly to the Good Eats Company Punch ratios, but they are close.  for one thing, I used simple syrup instead of sugar crystals, so I cut back on the Tea to account for the water added by the syrup.  If you are curious, I experimented and 1 oz water plus 1 oz (by volume) sugar comes to about 1½ oz after mixing, so 12 oz of the syrup would contribute about 8 oz of water and 8 oz of sugar, so that's why that ratio might seem high and the tea seem low.  The amount of tea is cut back from its full 4 parts, but not by the full 8 oz from the syrup.  I just found this ratio worked better, with only 8 oz the punch was a bit sweet.  Perhaps the raspberries I used for the syrup contributed extra sweetness I didn't account for?
In any case, I think it meets the criteria set forth by Mr. Wondrich and our host, ie its balanced and quaffable, and, most importantly, tastes good.  There are a lot of strong flavors going on, but none dominate.  The raspberry syrup even gives it a nice red hue to make it appear more like one might expect a punch to look from previous encounters.  Enjoy, and cheers!

Here's the syrups and the spirits with citrus shortly before mixing:
As for the name, it is semi random but I'll walk you through my circuitous thoughts that led to it.  My  only previous experience with punch came in college where I lived in Alvar Aalto designed Baker House throughout my MIT career, where Baker House Punch was served at our parties.  It is a fine punch, if somewhat less refined than the one I present here, but in any case it was tailored to a somewhat different target audience.  More importantly, the secret recipe was passed only from Social Chair to Social Chair, so I am bound by oath not to share the secrets.  I still like how the name rolls off the tounge, so I'm calling this new punch the similar sounding Butcher House Punch, as in the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker...and butchers never get sufficient props in any case.
Now that I think about it, probably my first experience tweaking a cocktail recipe was when I had occasion to play with the Baker House Punch to make a variation better suited to match the tropical theme of a beach party we were throwing, complete with a ton of trucked in sand and a waterfall cascading down the stairway into a lagoon we constructed in our basement cafeteria/party space.  Good times.

UPDATE: Mike has put up the roundup post, check it out.

Friday, March 19, 2010


Yesterday's TDN theme was "Orange", calling for whatever orange liqueurs, bitters, or juice you wanted to use. (UPDATE: Check out all the recipes here.)  The drink I made I called the SunnySide:
SunnySide (of the Street)
  • 1 oz Smith&Cross Traditional Jamaican Rum
  • 1 oz Cruzan aged white rum
  • ¾ oz Grand Mariner
  • ¼ oz raspberry syrup
  • ¼ oz cinnamon syrup
  • ¼ oz orgeat
  • ¾ oz lemon
  • 2  dashes Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters
  • 1 dash Bitter Truth Orange Bitters
shake, strain over crushed ice, lemon twist garnish
The drink recipe ended up looking sorta like a bittered Mai Tai with lemon instead of lime and modified sweetener and orange liqueur, but in fact that's not where I started and the addition of orgeat was added to the mix last because I felt it needed something extra and I liked the tsp of orgeat in a recipe I've tried for a Strega Daiquiri.  The small amounts of the three sweeteners play well nicely, none dominating and each adding subtle flavor notes in the background.
I was having trouble coming up with a name, but I was in a good mood walking home from work yesterday because I was enjoying just about the first nice day we've had so far in NY, and crossed over to the sunny side of the street just to more enjoy my stroll home.  Also contributing to my good mood was Murray St's last second buzzer beater upset over Vandy in the NCAA tourney, not because I know anything about the school (it's in KY, btw, I looked it up), but because I had picked them in my friend's crazy pool and got massive bonus points for a 13 seed winning at least one game.  If you are curious, here's how the pool works:
Instead of filling out a complete bracket like you're used to doing in other pools, you just pick 8 teams out of the 64. Each team will get a score based on their seed and how well they do in the tournament.  Then add up the scores of each of your teams to get your overall score.
The general idea is still that if you pick an underdog that wins a couple of games, that's as impressive as picking a heavily favored team that goes to the Final Four.

You start by taking the number of wins the team gets, squaring it, and multiplying by (1 + the team's seed).  IN ADDITION, teams that are seeded 10 through 16 will get a bonus added if they win at least one game, according to the following table:

Seed    Bonus
10        9
11       16
12       25
13       36
14       49
15       64
16       81

The bonuses are designed to encourage picking worse-seeded teams.

Here are some examples so you can see how this works:
If Georgetown, a 3-seed, wins exactly 4 games in the tournament, they'll get (4*4)*(1+3) = 64 points.  No bonus applies to 3 seeds, so that's the final score.
But if 10-seed Georgia Tech wins exactly 2 games, they'll get (2*2)*(1+10) = 44 points, PLUS a bonus of 9 points for winning at least one game, for a grand total of 53 points.  If a 10 seed wins exactly 1 game, they'll still get 11 + 9 = 20 points.
Based on the last few years, it seems like it's important to pick better-seeded teams if they are going to win at least 3 games, or worse-seeded teams that win at least 2 games.  Because of the bonuses, picking teams seeded 11 & higher will very likely pay off even if they only win 1 game.
That's right, pick 8 teams and your score for each is number of wins squared times seed plus one, plus possible bonus. Told you it was crazy. But the scoring actually turns out to be remarkably robust and makes for a very fun and exciting tournament. Even if there's a game on without any of your teams, you will have someone to pull for (or against) because someone else picked them, or perhaps one of your teams will play the winner next round. It ends up being way more fun than a pool where you fill out the whole bracket.

Also, GO DUKE!

"Live Sushi" at Sushi Uo

UPDATE: Seems like they have gotten rid of the sushi chef I liked and introduced some gimmicks, so I can't recommend the current incarnation, not having tried it.  If you go you are on your own, but if it's still good dop me a comment.

UPDATE take 12/2010: It's closed.

I had read here a while back about Sushi Uo serving up live sushi on Tuesday nights, so naturally I put it on my list of things to try.  Months later I still had not gotten around to going when I read this other piece about the ASPCA investigating the "live sushi" and I was reminded of the place so I hit it Tuesday night.  I had intended to have a light meal, trying the live items and a few other favorites (ie uni), but once I hit the sushi bar I, as usual, succumbed to temptation had them serve up the fullest omakase they were equipped to handle on a Tuesday.  I was not disappointed.  The place serves top notch fish at quite reasonable prices.
First, I should point out that the live sushi is not as crazy as the still moving tentacles of octopus on the plate in the videos you may have seen on Youtube (which I obviously still intend to try sometime).  Instead, I believe it simply means that the creature involved arrived live at the restaurant and was dispatched shortly before being served, and they were mollusks such as the aforementioned octopus, scallops, clams, abalone and the like.  Analogous to cooked to order live lobster perhaps.  I was drawn by the allure of the new to me live sushi, but I'll go back for the excellent regular menu.
I definitely recommend sitting at the sushi bar, which is always the way to go, but at this place more so because the chef, despite having worked at more formal places such as 15 East and Masa, is quite casual, friendly, and chatty.

The first course was a trio of amuses, charred live octopus, a refreshing seaweed salad, and Maine uni dressed with salmon roe.  The octopus had a nice texture and mild flavor accented by the char and I believe a little acidic dressing.  (It was a very small space and all the charring and grilling was done using a handheld torch, while the eel dishes were heated in a toaster oven.)  The uni was fantastic.  I have not ever knowingly had uni from Maine, and it was perfectly mild, creamy, and briny.

The next course was something new to the menu, a toro tartare atop grilled rice topped with a tempura egg yolk.  I inquired how they made the tempura egg yolk with out breaking it, and my query was answered with "very carefully".  The yolk was still molten inside such that you could break open the tempura and the yolk would flow over the toro.  In my picture you can barely see the grilled rice but it was a very important component of the dish, lending some nice texture and equally pleasant char flavor to each bite when you got a bit of everything.

The next dish was a richly flavored but still light clam soup.  In the spoon there were bits of "clam custard" which I was instructed I could use to enrich the soup.  I took that advice with some of them, and the others I just ate because they were delicious:

And here was the sashimi course:

Forgive my lack of memory, but my best recollection is, going around the perimeter: at the top is pen scallop, 1 o'clock was live (something?) clam, 5 o'clock fluke, 6 o'clock live octopus, 7 o'clock toro, 9 o'clock Japanese uni, 11 o'clock live red clam (in the abalone shell).  In the interior at 12 o'clock is hamachi, 1 o'clock bass (with seared skin), 3 o'clock ebi, 6 o'clock salmon, and 9 o'clock aji.  All were great, but my favorites were definitely 6 o'clock to 11 o'clock.  The salmon and the toro were both silky, the uni just as good as its earlier counterpart from Maine but perhaps a bit richer, the octopus mild and pleasantly meaty but not too chewy, and perhaps my favorite of all was the red clam, perhaps because I've not had it before.  It was almost like a very al dente pasta that tasted slightly of the sea.

Next came some courses from the kitchen, the first was Wasabi Gnocci with crispy salmon skin, in light lemon dill butter sauce with grated almond:

The gnocci were nice and light with a pleasant mild wasabi flavor, and the crispy skin provided nice textural counterpoint and extra richness.  I was starting to get pretty full so I went easy on this one, it was the raw items I came for.

Still full, I was tripped up by the next dish.  The gnocci were followed by Braised Boneless Short Ribs with fennel salad and parsnip puree (I'd already attacked this before I took the pic):

Unlike the gnocci, these were not light, but they were delicious.  Tender and beefy, with a rich sauce and richer silky puree underneath.  I had to try hard not to eat too much of this, because I had sushi yet to come.

As the finale was the sushi course where each piece was set before me one at a time, I didn't photograph them, nor can I recall them all, but they were superb, a couple of them were highlights of the night. I do recall an excellent scallop, the final bite was a fantastic morsel of eel, an probably my favorite was a piece of hamachi belly. I believe this was a new piece to me, and the chef informed me that there are only four pieces of this cut on each fish, and I got one of the four he had that night. It was to hamachi as toro is to tuna. I love toro. And I prefer hamachi to tuna. so you can imagine how much I enjoyed this.

In conclusion, I came for the novelty of the live items, but I've just added Sushi Uo to my list of go to Sushi joints for the future.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

BBQ foods with me: Texas Hill Country

Last weekend I was down in Texas Hill Country outside Austin for my friends wedding. And Hill Country means one thing, BBQ. Beef BBQ to be precise. We also had excellent Tex-Mex, naturally, but it's the BBQ I'll focus on here. Before this trip, my favorite BBQ was at Salt Lick, where some friends took me on a visit years ago. It's outside Austin, but well outside Austin. I'm talking complete boonies. You leave Austin and drive for a while through absolutely nothing until you approach the Salt Lick compound. The town it's in is called Driftwood, if that gives you any idea.  And the compound is huge.  The trip is worth it though.  Note, it's BYOB.  Oh, and I think it's all you can eat, a very dangerous proposition indeed.  This is the kind of rib sticking food that you will taste the residue of on your lips the next morning (which is awesome, if perhaps a bit painful you get so full). 
As luck would have it, the rehearsal dinner for the wedding I attended was at Salt Lick, so I got to revisit my beloved BBQ mecca.  While perhaps not quite as awesome as I remembered from my first trip, it was still awesome.  The sausage is my favorite.  Oh, and some band called Reckless Kelly played for us that night too.  I had not heard of them, but the Texas crew seemed very excited.  I'm not a huge country fan, but they were pretty good.

Perhaps my favorite morsel of the weekend was the barbacoa, aka cow head, or "face meat" as my friend describes it, that I got Saturday morning (ok, afternoon). It was so luscious; everyone deduced how much I enjoyed it from the moans emanating after each bite.

It might not look like much, but it is as pure a distillation of beef as you can imagine.  And where would you guess I obtained this beautiful food? That's right, the gas station next to the hotel, it says so in lights right on the sign. I was unfortunately a bit late for the breakfast tacos.

Shortly after enjoying my barbacoa, being in Texas, we headed for the shooting range outside Lockhart.  I don't hit the range often, but the few times I have have always been quite fun.  After playing with a wide variety of heavy artillery, a few of us rushed into Lockhart to squeeze in some of its world famous BBQ before heading back to get ready for the wedding.  We decided to hit Kreuz Market:

There was quite a line even at 2pm, but we braved it and here you can see the fantastically aromatic smoke filled room where we picked up our grub:

Weighing out our bounty:

The motherload:

We tried the regular sausage and the jalapeno sausage, as well as the brisket (requested extra fatty, naturally).  The sausage was fine, but not as good as Salt Lick's.  Here, it was all about the brisket.  Damn it was good.  Salt Lick entered the weekend as my favorite BBQ place, but Kreuz left the weekend with the title.  Moist, succulent, salty, smokey, perfect.  We deliberately chose to sit int the alcove connected to the magical smoke filled room where we got our meat rather than the unconnected main dining room to further enjoy the fumes while we ate.  My shirt smelled so much of smoke and beef I enjoyed it on the ride back to the hotel where I sadly had to change for the wedding and lose the lovely scent.  Oh, did I mention that there is no sauce?  You won't miss it.  Oh, also, no forks.  You eat with your hands.

Here at Kreuz a friend introduced me to the bubble gum flavored Big Red soda, which sounds kinda disgusting, which it is, but it's also kinda awesome at the same time and definitely grew on me as I grew closer to reaching the bottom of the bottle. I won't be stocking my fridge at home in NY with it or anything, but I suspect I'll enjoy it again next time I fund myself enjoying brisket in Lockhart.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Amsterdam trip and KLM Delft Blue houses

Can you guess what these guys are?
They are little bottles that you get at the end of a KLM flight in Business class, filled with Bols young genever:
Since the fifties, KLM Business Class passengers receive a little Delft Blue house as a gift. These designs of old Dutch houses are based on famous buildings and monuments in the Netherlands. Each year Bols and KLM bring out at least 1 new house. There are now 88. First they were filled with Bols liqueur, since 1986 with Bols young genever. There are keen collectors of these houses all over the world.
They currently have 90 different ones, here's a nearly complete collection and more info.  I got these two last weekend on a quick trip to Amsterdam, where I managed to sustain myself almost entirey on döner, mmmmm.  I thought they made a neat little parting gift.
I wonder if I can see one of the houses the bottles were based on.
Here's a dude hanging out soaking up the ambiance:

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Siderac and Smartcar

Last Thursday's TDN theme was "Plus One", where participants were charged to: Take your favorite cocktail and add one (+1) ingredient to it, put it in a dress, and give it a new name.  After first playing with the Picso Sour, I next set my sights on another of my favorite classics, the Sidecar.  I had two ideas, both of which I liked, and both of which I eventually came up with, in my humble opinion, clever names for.  The first one I simply added a healthy amount of Peychaud's bitters to:
  • 1½ oz Cognac
  • ¾ oz Cointreau
  • ¾ oz lemon
  • 5 dashes Peychaud's
shake,strain to sugar rimmed coupe, flamed orange
This is again not a huge departure from the original, but it does add a bit of bite and some herbal notes to the classic and simple recipe, as well as imbuing the drink with a pleasant hue.  Get the anagram?  Part Sidercar and part Sazerac.  In fact the Sazerac used to be made with Cognac before the American spirit Rye eventually supplanted the Cognac as the base of the drink.  I can't decide the pronunciation, "Side-rack" or "Sid-er-ack," so I'll let the drinker decide according to his mood.

The Siderac did seem to be quite well received by those who tried it on Thursday, and I had tried it myself and submitted the drink before I even mixed up my next idea, in no small part because I thought the name of the above was cleverer by half.  However, I think I might like this next one even more.  It follows the same line of thought of adding some bite and herbal notes to the base, but uses Green Chartreuse instead of the bitters:
  • 1½ oz Cognac
  • ¾ oz Cointreau
  • ¾ oz lemon
  • ½ oz Green Chartreuse
shake,strain to sugar rimmed coupe, flamed orange
The name of course is because smartcars are somewhat eco-friendly, aka green.  I told you I liked the first name more.  But in any case, I liked this drink more.  But I am a sucker for my Chartreuse, as you can see from how often I make use of it in my creations.  After making this I remembered that Audrey Saunders of the Pegu Club also used Chartreuse to tweak the Sidecar in her Tantris Sidecar, so I can't claim any credit for doing it first, but she had included several other tweaks.  In any case, if memory of my last taste of the Tantris at Pegu serves, I somewhat prefer my Smartcar.  Ok, perhaps only because it uses twice as much Chartreuse, but what is one to do?

The classic recipe which I started playing with:
  • 1½ oz Cognac
  • ¾ oz Cointreau
  • ¾ oz lemon
shake,strain to sugar rimmed coupe, flamed orange

Salmon (or Tomato Confit) Coronets from French Laundry Cookbook

If you have The French Laundry Cookbook and have yet to make the salmon coronets, do so now.  If you don't have the book, but it and then make them.  They are nearly as good as at the restaurant, which means they are awesome.  There's also a recipe for tomato confit in the book you can use in the coronets as well, also great.  These are courtesy of my wife for a recent party we threw:

The test tube holder to serve them makes them extra fun.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Pine-sol Sour

Last Thursday's TDN theme was "Plus One", where participants were charged to: Take your favorite cocktail and add one (+1) ingredient to it, put it in a dress, and give it a new name.  For my first submission I decided to to take one of my favorite classics, the Picso Sour, and tinker.  I thought about the Pisco Punch in Dave Wondrich's excellent tome Imbibe!, which pairs Pisco and pineapple and I thought sounded intriguing.  (I plan to play with it for Mixology Monday: Punch in a couple weeks.)  So I took the base recipe, added some pineapple, cut back on the simple and the lemon since the pineapple has some sugar and acid of its own, and came up with:
Pine-sol Sour
Dry shake, shake with ice, strain and top with a couple dashes of bitters
It's not a huge leap from the original, but the pineapple is apparent while keeping all the flavors and qualities of its base drink.  The pineapple makes the flavor a bit richer, but it remains a light and quaffable potation.  The derivation of the name should be obvious, given the brand of Pisco I chose and the pineapple addition.  In reality other Pisco's should be fine, I only specified to make the play on words for the name clear.  I didn't snap a picture, but it looks pretty indistinguishable from a Pisco Sour, maybe a tad darker, so you'll excuse me if I reuse the pic from my earlier Iron Chef post:
The classic Pisco Sour recipe I use, for reference:
Pisco Sour
Dry shake, shake with ice, strain and top with a couple dashes of bitters

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Crème Yvette resurrected, now available in NYC.

Via The Dizzy Fizz, I just found out the until recently defunct Crème Yvette is now in NY at Astor Wines.  I've never tried it, but that didn't stop me from just ordering some so I should have a new toy to play with this weekend.  It is a missing ingredients in many classic cocktails after all.  Anyway, it's supposed to be good stuff, check out Selena's post for better details.