Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Crème Brûlée part 1: Dish and Dishonesty

For the most brutal Crème Brûlée ever, we add ginger. A vanilla bean, five eggs, heavy cream, sugar, and some fresh ginger root is all we need.

First, it is vital to remove all laundry from the oven.

The preheat function on these things will melt lead, so your synthetics aren't gonna survive. Also, remember to launder whites and colors separately.

Crème Brûlée part 2: Funk and Functuality

We carefully measure out a half of a cup (that's 425 kg for you Europeans) of pure, uncut, Colombian sugar. We buy only the best stuff through our front company, Stepan Company, in Maywood, NJ.

We scrape the skin off the ginger, to preserve as much flavour as possible, and chop it into small pieces (All praise to Shennong that our hands didn't decay).

Ah, vanilla. Using the business end of our BIG KNIFE, we scrape all the seeds out of our bean. Due to the sacred nature of the vanilla bean, make sure to chant something in Latin while doing this. If you mistakenly empty your vanilla bean without speaking Latin, seek consecrated ground.

Place sugar, cream, vanilla, and ginger in a sauce pot. Bring to a simmer, cover, and reduce heat to low. Let flavours infuse for ten minutes or so.

Crème Brûlée part 3: Punk and Punctuality

Separating the whites from the yolks is every bit as fun as it looks. The pour-back-and-forth-between-halves-of-eggshells method is fraught with peril. All those sharp edges that threaten our delicate yolk make us uneasy.

Strain the cream mixture through 100 layers of cheesecloth (here we used three layers of Ultra-Hyper Cheesecloth).

Make sure to make reverence to Cthulhu in all your kitchen implements. Ia! Ia! Hastur!
Ia Hastur cf’ ayak ‘vulgtmm!

Here we temper our yolks by playing P.D.Q. Bach's The Ill-Tempered Klavier. Slowly adding the hot cream also helps.

Crème Brûlée part 4: Beast and Beastiality

Divide the custard equally among ramekins. Place ramekins in a pan and fill the pan with hot water. Cook for 25 minutes, cool for 30 minutes, and chill for 3 hours. During this time, read a copy of Rash and Rationality.

Spread a tablespoon of sugar on the tops and apply a liberal amount of THE FIRE. A kitchen torch (shown in picture, used for about 15 seconds before the big torch, Murderface, was brought out) will do the job eventually, but we'd been waiting for three hours for these things to set and weren't gonna wait another 45 seconds for some dinky, 100 Btu/h kitchen torch. Butane is for wusses, anyway.

This picture was taken approximately 0.023 seconds after THE FIRE was applied. Brutal.

A nice, caramelized topping for our Crème Brûlée. We could have heated sugar on the stovetop past hard crack (~300F), burned it a little, and poured a quarter-inch topping on these babies, but we just like to burn things with torches.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Candy Sushi part 1: Genesis

During a discussion concerning an upcoming "comfort food" dinner party, we recalled the cookie-dough sushi of our youth. We have not seen this delicacy since, nor been able to make it ourselves (court order). Scofflaws that we are, all the pertinent ingredients were assembled. Except for the anachronistic rum, this is how we remember it from our youth.

Mise en place trays being prepared (a technique we learned while reading "Larousse Gastronomique," J.H. Lang Crown Publishers, New York, 1988, by the light of home-made tallow candles).

Here we see Athos, Porthos, and Aramis separated at last.

Slim inquirer, while the old fathers sleep
you are reworking their soil, you have
a grocery store there down under the earth
and it is well stocked with broken wine bottles,
old cigars, old door knobs and earth,
that great brown flour that you kiss each day.
There are dark stars in the cool evening and
you fondle them like killer birds' beaks.
But what I want to know is why when small boys
dig you up for curiosity and cut you in half
why each half lives and crawls away as if whole.
Have you no beginning and end? Which heart is
the real one? Which eye the seer? Why
is it in the infinite plan that you would
be severed and rise from the dead like a gargoyle
with two heads?

-Anne Sexton

Miscellaneous offal.


The Elixir of Life: two shots rum, juice of half a lime,
water, blackstrap molasses, imported habanero peppers, salt, garlic, ginger, tomato puree, axle grease, real hickory smoke, snuff, butts of clove cigarettes, Guinness Stout fermentation dregs, uranium mill tailings, muffler cores, monosodium glutamate, nitrates, nitrites, nitrotes and nitrutes, nutrites, natrotes, powdered pork nose hairs, dynamite, activated charcoal, match-heads, used pipe cleaners, tar, nicotine, single-malt whiskey, smoked beef lymph nodes, autumn leaves, red fuming nitric acid, bituminous coal, fallout, printer's ink, laundry starch, drain cleaner, blue chrysotile asbestos, carrageenan, BHA, BHT, and natural flavorings.

Candy Sushi part 2: Exodus

You remember how to make Rice Krispy treats? Neither did we. Luckily, we were able to call someone who looked it up, took a picture with their phone, and sent it to us. It was, as you can see, illegible. We winged it.

We were concerned because the marshmallows we were using were all trippy-pastel-Easter. It reminded us of that valuable first quarter in college when we learned why our she-wolf mother always separated the white from the colored laundry. The marshmallows, like our laundry, went that funky grey-green, everyone-knows-exactly-what-you-did color. But, learning from our college experience (it wasn't all blood-letting and hairy-legged women), we just added a bunch of breakfast cereal and no one was the wiser.

We pressed most of the rice thin for our rolls, and made a few little balls for our nigiri.

Here we start our first roll. Turns out Fruit Roll-Ups are wicked sticky, so we gave everything in the kitchen a generous coating of Pam (later, we found out that this made the rolls taste vaguely of oven cleaner). Anyway, blundering on, a Roll-Up is our nori, the Rice Krispy treat is our rice, and our payload is a Gummi Worm, some kind of apple-ish Twizzler knock-off, and an unidentifiable chewy rope-thing that looked, if you squinted, were drunk, and not really paying attention, almost completely unlike imitation crab.

Viola! Our beautiful, completed roll. Unfortunately, our Fruit Roll-Ups were not all green. In fact, finding all green, non-cut, non-printed-on Roll-Ups is impossible. These were covered in Fujiwara Takanobu prints, so at least that was kinda authentic.

Candy Sushi part 3: Wherein we break Levitical Law by mixing peanut butter and food coloring

For our wasabi, we start with creamy peanut butter.

We add about twelve drops of green food coloring.

Behold the glory!

Mix well using a counter-clockwise motion (clockwise if you're in the southern hemisphere), else peanut butter/food coloring may catch fire.

Here we've used dark chocolate syrup for soy sauce. Notice how our faux-wasabi is completely indistinguishable from the real thing. Several wasabi experts flown in from Japan committed seppuku after mistaking our wasabi-simulant for the real thing and/or Jabba the Hutt.

Candy Sushi part 4: Mrs. Butterworth's

You know what's the best food-grade adhesive in the average kitchen? Neither do we. Mrs. Butterworth's blows. I did give a sublime little zing, though.

Swedish fish. It's like these were made to look like real sashimi. Which is fish, so I guess the Swedes were real champs when they hatched this let's-make-candy-fish-that-look-like-real-fish-plan, I mean, they really hit the... wait, what were we talking about again?

Ah, plating. The process of chemically, electrochemically, or physically depositing a thin layer of metal over a substrate for corrosion resistance or aesthetic purposes. This has, of course, nothing to do with what we're doing here. It's just an interesting aside.

Our first completed roll. Pink-grapefruit gummy is our ginger, Pop Rocks are our roe, and we whittled those chopsticks from the femur of a werewolf we found petrified in the basement of a desecrated church. They are the most brutal chopsticks in existence. None more brutal.

This is actually how sharks kill each other in the wild. Pretty neat, huh?

Here is our second roll, which used a red Roll-Up (obviously (at least, to those of you who aren't red/green color blind)); it didn't look nearly as scary as we thought it would, and added some nice color to our final plate:

Candy Sushi part 5: the Awakening

Here's the big test. We were as nervous as a new father and as giddy as a schoolboy (respectively). The rolls were a little difficult to hold, despite us being a 3rd dan black belt with chopsticks. Perhaps it was the liberal application of Pam.

Once we got going, though, it was clear sailing through blue gummy-shark infested waters.

A little soy sauce.

Seal of approval. This meal actually represents the last of the petty cash.

Here we steal the only inside-out roll made.

And it was heavenly.

Candy Sushi part 6: The lamentations of their women

Definitely a success. The only drawback was several hours later when we became obsessed with finding the source of a mysterious fizzing sound. Turns out our teeth were dissolving.