The Snickering Red Tux Zebra

Are you an avid coffee snob? Do you like to create coffee drinks to see how wired and amped you can get?

Here is one of my expensive pleasures when I find myself in a Starbucks. (Get a gold card)

You tell the cashier this…

“I would like a hot quad grande, 2 pump mocha, 4 pump Raspberry, 4 pump toffee nut, whole milk, caramel drizzle, 2 pump white chocolate mocha.”

I used to work at Starbucks as a supervisor up north, so that is how they should say it in “Starbucks speak”.

The recipe is as follows (the order in which they should prepare it),

2 pumps white chocolate mocha sauce
2 pumps mocha sauce
4 long neck pumps of Raspberry Syrup
4 long neck pumps of Toffee Nut Syrup
4 regular shots of espresso
Regular temped whole milk with no foam
The top of the cup capped with whipping cream
Caramel sauce drizzled over the whipping cream

Sugar and caffeine overload-a-go-go. Please drink ‘responsively’. Know what this will do to your body. Don’t chug. And yes, be responsible too.

The Obnoxious Snickering Red Tux Zebra has all the ingredients above in a Venti cup with 2 shots of single malt scotch added in over the whipped cream.

The Glass Potato Chip

Baked Potato Stock

8 Yukon gold potatoes
½ cup of olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 liter of hot water (203° F, not boiling)

Wash the potatoes under cold water and dry with paper towel. Cut into the skin of each potato 1 cm. Toss the potatoes with ½ cup of olive and season with the salt.

Bake for 25 minutes at 450° F.

Remove from oven and place the baked potatoes in a bowl with 1 litre of hot water (203° F, slightly cooler than boiling temperature), cover it and let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours.

Strain the mixture with a fine strainer, reserving the baked potato stock. Chill stock in preparation for next step.

Baked Potato Gel

4 tablespoons potato starch
2 cups of baked potato stock

Put chilled baked potato stock into a pot and whisk in the potato starch. Continue whisking the starch and stock together and bring it to boil, forming a gel. Remove from heat.

Drying: Spread the potato gel on a sheet of parchment paper. The gel should be about 3 mm thick.
Dry in the oven at 135° F for 2 hours until fully dry.

Frying: Break the dried sheet into irregular pieces about the size of playing card. Fry these potato chips at 350° F until clear and crisp. Remove and place on paper towel, then season with kosher salt.

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Simple Caesar Dressing

1 egg yoke
1/4 teaspoon
1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 anchovies
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan

Add salt and pepper to a salad bowl. Using the back of a soup spoon, grind the garlic against the wall of the bowl until it becomes a paste. Then add the anchovies and grind them into a paste. Follow the same procedure, add the Dijon, egg yolk, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce one at a time, then the rest. Chill before serving over a head of chopped romain if you are going to wait.

Toss together when you are ready to serve it.

You know, you don’t always have to put this dressing over salad. It can be used as a marinade or a sauce on/in a variety of different foods & snacks.

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Basic Perfect Risotto

2 pints of stock (chicken, fish, beef or vegetable)
1 pad of butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
½ a head of celery, finely chopped
14oz risotto rice
2 wine glasses of dry white vermouth or dry white wine
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2½oz butter
4oz freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the stock. In a separate pan, heat the olive oil and butter, add the onions, garlic and celery, and fry very slowly for about 15 minutes without coloring. When the vegetables have softened, add the rice and turn up the heat.

The rice will now begin to lightly fry, so keep stirring it. After a minute it will look slightly translucent. Add the vermouth or wine and keep stirring. Any harsh alcohol flavors will evaporate and leave the rice with a tasty essence.

Once the vermouth or wine has cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt. Turn down the heat to a simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring and almost massaging the creamy starch out of the rice, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15 minutes. Taste the rice to see if it is cooked. Carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. Don’t forget to check the seasoning carefully. If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked, add some boiling water.

Remove from the heat and add the butter and Parmesan. Stir well. Place a lid on the pan and allow to sit for 2 minutes. This is the most important part of making risotto, when it becomes creamy and oozy. Eat it as soon as possible, while the risotto retains its beautiful texture.

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My Perfect Gnocchi

2 pounds of starchy potatoes (2 large russets)

1/4 cup egg, lightly beaten

1 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour

fine grain sea salt

olive oil

First fill a large pot with cold water. Salt the water, then cut potatoes in half and place them in the pot. Bring the water to a boil and cook the potatoes until tender throughout, this takes roughly 40-50 minutes.

Remove the potatoes from the water one at a time with a slotted spoon. Place each potato piece on a large cutting board and peel it before moving on to the next potato. Also, peel each potato as soon as possible after removing from the water (without burning yourself) – I’ve found a paring knife comes in handy here. Be mindful that you want to work relatively quickly so you can mash the potatoes when they are hot. To do this you can either push the potatoes through a ricer (preferred), or, deconstruct them one at a time on the cutting board using the tines of a fork – mash isn’t quite the right term here. Run the fork down the sides of the peeled potato creating a nice, fluffy potato base to work with. Don’t over-mash – you are simply after an even consistency with no noticeable lumps.

Save the potato water.

Let the potatoes cool spread out across the cutting board – ten or fifteen minutes. Long enough that the egg won’t cook when it is incorporated into the potatoes. When you are ready, pull the potatoes into a soft mound – drizzle with the beaten egg and sprinkle 3/4 cup of the flour across the top. I’ve found that a metal spatula or large pastry scraper are both great utensils to use to incorporate the flour and eggs into the potatoes with the egg incorporated throughout – you can see the hint of yellow from the yolk. Scrape underneath and fold, scrape and fold until the mixture is a light crumble. Very gently, with a feathery touch knead the dough. This is also the point you can add more flour (a sprinkle at a time) if the dough is too tacky. I usually end up using most of the remaining 1/4 cup flour, but it all depends on the potatoes, the flour, the time of year, the weather, and your experience in the kitchen. The dough should be moist but not sticky. It should feel almost billowy. Cut it into 8 pieces. Now gently roll each 1/8th of dough into a snake-shaped log, roughly the thickness of your thumb. Use a knife to cut pieces every 3/4-inch (see photo). Dust with a bit more flour.

To shape the gnocchi hold a fork in one hand and place a gnocchi pillow against the tines of the fork, cut ends out. With confidence and an assertive (but light) touch, use your thumb and press in and down the length of the fork. The gnocchi should curl into a slight “C” shape, their backs will capture the impression of the tines as tiny ridges (good for catching sauce later). Set each gnocchi aside, dust with a bit more flour if needed, until you are ready to boil them. This step takes some practice, don’t get discouraged, once you get the hang of it it’s easy.

Now that you are on the final stretch, either reheat your potato water or start with a fresh pot (salted), and bring to a boil. Cook the gnocchi in batches by dropping them into the boiling water roughly twenty at a time. They will let you know when they are cooked because they will pop back up to the top. Fish them out of the water a few at a time with a slotted spoon ten seconds or so after they’ve surfaced.

Now put about 12 of them in an already hot pan with a little oil. This is important because if you put them in a cold pan they absorb the grease and become very greasy. These gnocchi we want crusty/crispy on the outside and nice and soft in the center. Let them cook on both sides evenly about 5 to 10 seconds at a time until you get a light golden brown on both sides (don’t burn them!). Remove them from the pan and serve with your favorite sauce. Repeat this process with a clean pan. Don’t reuse the old oil.

Viola!

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Poach an Egg Perfectly

1 egg

pot of water

vinegar

small 3/4″ high dish (to hold the egg)

slotted spoon

 

Now bring the water almost to a boil. If it starts boiling, turn it down a smidgen so it stops boiling. Break the egg into the dish. Pour a little vinegar into the water (this helps tighten up the egg) and make a whirlpool with the spoon by spinning it around the inside of the pot. While the water is still spinning, carefully drop the egg into the water and it will naturally envelope its yolk in the egg white. All this prevents the eggs from sticking together while they cook. It will take about 3 to 4 minutes to cook.

Now serve it the way you want it!

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Venison

4 pounds venison tenderloin
1 cup red wine
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
(before you start… if you are new to cooking your kills, check the meat for buckshot and bullets before you cook it. Even pieces of an arrow head!)

Combine the red wine, cider vinegar, onion, garlic, bay leaves, thyme and rosemary in a medium bowl, and mix well. Transfer to a large resealable bag, and put the venison tenderloin into the bag. Close tightly, pressing out as much air as you can. Place meat in the refrigerator to marinate, turning two or three times, for at least 12 hours.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F

Remove meat from marinade, and place on a roasting rack in a roasting pan.

Roast in the oven for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or to your desired degree of doneness. For medium rare, the internal temperature of the roast should be at least 150 degrees F when taken with a meat thermometer. Let the roast stand for 15 to 20 minutes before carving.

(Don’t forget to serve this with some veggies and or starch.)

While the tenderloin roasts, heat marinade in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by 1/3. Serve with venison and Elmer Fudd.

(special informative note: Venison is a “game meat”, not just one type of meat. Each meat will have a different texture and taste. So make sure you do some research first. Game meat includes anything you would hunt, since “VENISON” derives from the latin word to hunt or pursue (venor). Here are some of the animales… deer, hares, wild pigs, and certain species of goats and ibex, such as elk, red deer, fallow deer, roe deer, moose, reindeer/caribou, pronghorn, brown hare, arctic hare, blue hare, wild boar, but its usage is now almost entirely restricted to the flesh of various species of deer… oh yeah, and antelope.)

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Sauces

The sauce is the silver lining of any dish you prepare. Beginning from the base “five mother” sauces, there are hundreds of variations of sauce that are used to enhance, dress, compliment and bring out the flavor of the food it is served with.

Most attest to the French refining the art of sauce-making. Evolved an intricate methodology by which hundreds of sauces were classified under one of five “mother sauces.” Those are; the white sauce Béchamel, the light stock-based Velouté, the brown stock-based Espagnole; the two basic emulsified sauces, Hollandaise and Mayonnaise; and the oil and vinegar-based Vinaigrette.

Note: Tomato is considered to be among the 5 mother sauces, even though it came into the spot light later on.

The method for preparing the various types of sauces incorporates some of the same techniques. For example, a roux is basic to many of the white and brown sauces. This cooked mixture of flour and fat (usually butter) is an important contribution to the sauce-making art. In addition, these classic sauces have been joined by a plethora of modern-day sauces such as sweet dessert sauces, tomato, pesto and barbecue sauces, as well as a wide variety of gravies.

Béchamel: the classic white sauce, was named after its inventor, Louis XIV’s steward Louis de Béchamel. The king of all sauces, it is often referred to as a cream sauce because of its appearance and is probably used most frequently in all types of dishes. Made by stirring milk into a butter-flour roux, the thickness of the sauce depends on the proportion of flour and butter to milk. The proportions for a thin sauce would be 1 tablespoon each of butter and flour per 1 cup of milk; a medium sauce would use 2 tablespoons each of butter and flour; a thick sauce, 3 tablespoons each.

Velouté: a stock-based white sauce. It can be made from chicken, veal or fish stock. Enrichments such as egg yolks or cream are sometimes also added.

Espagnole: is traditionally made of a rich meat stock, a mirepoix of browned vegetables (most often a mixture of diced onion, carrots and celery), a nicely browned roux, herbs and sometimes tomato paste.

Hollandaise & Mayonnaise: are two sauces that are made with an emulsion of egg yolks and fat. Hollandaise is made with butter, egg yolks and lemon juice, usually in a double boiler to prevent overheating, and served warm. It is generally used to embellish vegetables, fish and egg dishes, such as the classic Eggs Benedict. Mayonnaise is a thick, creamy dressing that’s an emulsion of vegetable oil, egg yolks, lemon juice or vinegar and seasonings. It is widely used as a spread, a dressing and as a sauce. It’s also used as the base for such mixtures as Tartar Sauce, Thousand Island Dressing, Aïoli, and Remoulade.

Vinaigrette: is a sauce made of a simple blend of oil, vinegar, salt and pepper (usually 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar). More elaborate variations can include any combination of spices, herbs, shallots, onions, mustard, etc. It is generally used to dress salad greens and other cold vegetable, meat or fish dishes.

Constantly stir roux-thickened sauces while cooking to prevent lumps. If you must leave the sauce for a few seconds, set the pan off the heat during that time.

If a roux-thickened sauce develops a few lumps, beat them out with a rotary beater or wire whisk. As a last resort, strain sauce with sieve to remove lumps.

Cook egg-thickened sauces over low heat, or cook these sauces in the top of a double boiler over hot, not boiling, water. Always temper (warm) the egg yolks before adding them to the sauce by first stirring in a little of the hot sauce mixture into them. Then add to the remainder of the sauce mixture. Never let a sauce boil after the egg yolks are added as the sauce may curdle.

Don’t let water boil in the bottom of the double boiler if you use it to make egg-thickened sauces. Also, be sure that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the pan holding the sauce.

Puff Pastry Dough

The Butter Block

1 lb + 3 1/2 T cold unsalted Butter
2 t Lemon Juice
Dash of Salt
1 c Bread Flour

The Dough
3 c Bread Flour
3 1/2 T soft unsalted Butter
2 t Salt
1 c cold Water
Start the Butter Block

In a mixer w/ paddle attachment, work the butter lemon juice, salt, and flour into a smooth paste.

On a sheet of wax paper, roughly form a 6″ square with the butter block mixture. Lay another piece of wax paper on top and smooth out the square & straighten the sides. Keep a smooth, even surface of wax paper for it will wrinkle (peal and replace when necessary). After block’s thickness & sides are even, refrigerate until firm but not rock solid.

Start on the dough

Sift flour onto your work surface (ice on a countertop for 20 to 30 minutes can help) Pinch butter into chunks and place on top of flour. Continue pinching butter into flour until it resembles coarse crumbs.

Now shape it into a mound, then make a well in the center of the mound. Add the salt & cold water into the well, then with a fork, use a whisking motion to gradually incorporate the well’s sides into the water. When it starts to form a solid mass, finish incorporating the flour by kneading. Incorporate just until it is still sticky and has a rough texture. Adjust the water & flour as needed. Try to knead as little as possible.

Form dough into a ball, remember-knead as little as possible. Flatten the ball a bit, then cut a cross halfway through the dough. Wrap it up & let rest in fridge for 30 minutes.

Note: you don’t want the butter block to be rock hard. Also you don’t want it to be mushy. Firm and malleable is preferred

Now put it together

Pull the corners of the cuts out of the dough ball to make a square shape. Roll the dough out to a square slightly thicker in the center than on the sides, and slightly larger than the butter block.

Place the butter block diagonally on the dough square, so that the butter corners are pointed at the middle of the dough sides. Fold the uncovered dough corners over the butter block to completely envelop the butter. Pinch the seams tightly together to seal in the butter.

Dust your work surface with flour, and roll the dough into a rectangle about 1/2″ thick. Remember to keep dusting with flour whenever needed to keep the dough from sticking & tearing the layers.

Size up your rectangle visually into 3. Fold one-third over the middle, then fold the opposite third over. Just like a tri-fold brochure. Try to have everything as even as possible. All the edges should match fairly closely. Put on a plate, cover with a damp (not saturated!) clean rag, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Roll out to 1/2″ thick and repeat the fold. Don’t forget to flour as you roll. Plate, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Repeat this for a total five roll & folds.

FINALLY, after the last fold, roll the rectangle out to about 3/4″. If it is difficult, put dough in the fridge for a bit to relax the gluten. Cover, rest in fridge for about 30 minutes, then use as needed.

Now get to baking!

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Steak

Grab ur meat slab.

Rub it down with olive oil, sea salt and pepper.

Get a frying pan and make sure it is piping hot. Place those babies away from you on the pan and rotate them every 20 seconds until desired color is met. You increase your ‘even’ color by using a flat iron plate and a flat weight for the top.

Now take that hot meat and rub it down with some fresh rosemary and cut garlic. Drizzle a little olive oil over it and let those babies rest for about 3-5 minutes.

Now, the rest is up to you.