Monday, December 28, 2009

In Praise of Spiking your Eggnog

Can adding massive amounts of alcohol kill salmonella in eggs? This video from Science Friday (my favorite science audio podcast) is terrific. A little late for Christmas, but this is so interesting I thought I'd still post it for you. I recommend listening to the podcast for more fun science talk about the experiment.

I have never heard of eggnog being made at Thanksgiving and served at Christmas, but Nog expert and microbiologist Vince Fischetti agreed to run some tests in his lab at The Rockefeller University. The real problem with the recipe is finding room in the fridge for four weeks at that time of year. Too bad my kitchen doesn't a lab's walk-in cooler. Although maybe that's for the best, I would never be forced to clean out ancient leftovers.
Here's a link to the recipe.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Terroir and Beef
I wanted to tell you about a fantastic blind steak tasting event I attended recently. It was the first Food Bloggers Playdate in New York. Mark Tafoya and Jennifer Iannolo put out the call to fantastic and fanatical food bloggers to convene for a tasting party.
We were lucky enough to have the guidance of Carrie Oliver of Oliver Ranch, who provided the steaks along with a fascinating presentation about how, similar to wine, the terroir and variety of the cattle will alter the flavor and texture.

Where it is raised, what it is fed, the conditions it’s kept in are all important. Oliver Ranch hand-selects artisan ranchers who produce delicious, signature styles of beef. What an amazing and surprising night. One of the best parts was that so many of us chose different favorites. There was no consensus on the best steak, just the steak we liked best. Fantastic. The impetus for the event was having Jaden of Steamy Kitchen in town from Florida. Most of us knew each other from Twitter, but it was time to meet in person.

Anu Karwa from Swirl Event
s brought along some terrific wines to pair with the beef and I got to meet the lovely Betty Fussell, author of Raising Steaks: The Life and Times of American Beef. Betty also wrote The History of Corn. If you're interested in learning more about the types of beef you may be missing out on, try the following links.
The impact of Region
The impact of Breed
The impact of Ranchers
This video is a slow pan of the table as we listen to Carrie describe what we'll be tasting. Terroir for beef! FTW

This was just the first of many more Food Blogger Play dates. What should we taste next?

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Hand Pies, the Cupcake Culture Killer
I am so tired of the cupcake culture, sure they are cute and delicious, but enough! Let's make this a new trend: hand pies. Small, cute and tasty. Even better they are just as good with a savory filling as sweet. :) Spread the word. Here are two recipes to get you started. If you'd like a hand pie recipe, ask in the comments section.

Apple Hand Pie
Makes 4.
• 4 apples, peeled and chopped quite small, pick a baking apple
• 2 tablespoons sugar, I add this to taste since it really depends on how tart your apples are
• Sprinkling of cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon cornstarch
• All-purpose flour, for work surface
• Pie Dough, I tend to use Pillbury crust
• 1 egg, lightly beaten
• Sugar, for sprinkling
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with tinfoil or a Silpat (a nonstick baking mat).
2. In a medium bowl, add apples, cover and microwave about a minute to soften.
3. When slightly cooled add cinnamon, sugar and cornstarch; stir to combine, set aside.
4. On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough into a large rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick. With a sharp knife, cut out 4 rectangles. Transfer rectangles to baking sheet.
5. Pile as much apple as you can fit onto one-half of each rectangle. Lightly brush egg around the edge of the covered half of each rectangle. Fold remaining dough over to enclose. Gently press edges together to seal. Brush the tops of each pie with egg. Using a paring knife, slash the top of each pie. This allows steam to escape and keeps your pie crispy. Sprinkle generously with sugar.
6. Bake in the center of the oven until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. If parts of the crust get too brown cover with small strips of tinfoil. Transfer pies to a wire rack to cool slightly before serving. Be careful the filling can remain as hot as molten lava.

Savory alternate Spinach Pies
• 1 box frozen chopped spinach, cooked
• ¼ cup shredded Swiss
• ¼- 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese or feta cheese
• 1 jarred roasted red pepper, chopped

1. When spinach is cool enough to handle drain and squeeze out as much moisture as you can and add Parmesan, salt and pepper to taste.
2. Follow directions as above, but at the stage where you would use apple, sprinkle 1/2 the rectangle of dough with shredded Swiss cheese. The Swiss will form a moisture barrier between the spinach and dough, keeping the bottom of the pie crispy.
3. Pile on as much spinach mixture you can fit and top with chopped red pepper. Seal pie, slash top, egg wash, sprinkle with a bit more Parmesan and bake as directed above.