Thursday, March 26, 2009

Veal * Tasted * Unseasoned

Colman Andrews in Gourmet:

"Organic milk-fed veal saddle (borrowed from a six-course $95 tasting menu, since superseded by an eight-course $150 one), served with cèpe-like honshimeji mushrooms and parsley-root purée, was a wonderful piece of meat, rosy and tender, though it tasted curiously unseasoned."

You don't say?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I Pity the Pork Chop

I pity the pork chop that has been subjected to this sort of indignity in the name of "locavorism":

The brine:

1/4 cup maple syrup
5 tablespoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons peeled, sliced ginger
3 tablespoons crushed garlic
1 sprig fresh sage
3/4 cup onion slices, cut into 1/4 -inch rings
5 bay leaves
2 teaspoons peppercorns

The infused oil:

1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon peppercorns
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1/2 cup vegetable oil

The sauce:

2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup minced shallot
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 cups apple juice
1/2 cup chicken stock
3 star anise
2 tablespoons minced ginger
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1 tablespoon agar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper.

You would think that when you're working with organic Berkshire pork from a slaughterhouse that supplies some of the nation's fussiest chefs, you might want to calm down and prepare something where the people might be able to taste, I dunno...the pork? Well, the chef does admit he has a bit of an O.C.D. problem (NY Times Magazine, 1 March 2009).

Hey, why not throw some arugula-macadamia-pesto aïoli on ol' Porky? Let's 'ave a really good meal!

On y'r bike, Jim.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Et Tu, Saveur?

Saveur is our favorite food magazine, an exemplary publication of its kind. The beauty of Saveur's approach to food is that it almost always places food in its cultural, geographical, and historical contexts. But in a lively way, without being dry or academic. And it's not a dumb recipes-and-(fantasy)-lifestyle rag, like some we could name.

And, it always has a lot of really neat pictures.

Thus it pains us all the more to have found this lamentable example of aïoli abuse in the latest issue (March, 2009, No. 118):

Lemon Aïoli (suggested as an accompaniment to steamed artichokes)

1 egg yolk
1 tsp. dijon mustard
3/4 cup olive or grapeseed oil
1 tbsp. lemon juice
Kosher salt, to taste

This is not as bad as something like, say, maple-chili aïoli. But it is as absurd an "aïoli" as one can imagine, for it utterly lacks the essential ail, the garlic from which aïoli takes its name.

Aïoli, we repeat, is not a fancy French name for mayonnaise. Mayonnaise is the fancy French name for mayonnaise.

And aïoli is aïoli. Please.