Thursday, February 26, 2009

Truffle Salt

Truffle Salt, where to begin. While at Dean and DeLuca buying the salt cod for the acras I ran across Truffle Salt. At first I thought it was outrageously expensive, but the other day I broke down and bought it. Immediately I took it home and air popped ½ cup of popcorn. After melting butter and drizzling it over the popcorn I delicately sprinkled the Truffle Salt over the popcorn. I’ve never had truffles so I had no idea what to expect. The second you open the truffle salt you smell this aroma that seems familiar but can’t put your finger on it. I savored the popcorn with every bite. I think the truffle salt will have many applications as I continue though my food experiments.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I began reading Larousse Gastronomique last week. A few pages in I found an interesting recipe, Acras de Morue. An acra is a savory fritter associated with salted cod. So, I went to Dean and DeLuca and picked up the 1 lb. of salted cod.

I prepared two recipes the original Acras de Morue and Thomas Keller’s Bouchon version with potatoes know as Beignets de Brandade de Morue.

Brandade de Morue began in Nîmes, but is commonly associated with Provence. Originally it was called branlade, which means “something that is pummeled.” The dish made it to Paris after the French Revolution and has never left. Once salt cod became more expensive, potatoes were incorporated to cheapen the dish, as with Thomas Keller’s recipe. The original Brandade though had no potatoes.

Larousse Gastronomique Recipe

Place about 500g (1 lb) salt cod in cold water for 24 hours to remove the salt, changing the water several times. Make a fritter batter with 200g (7 oz, 1 ½ cups) flour, a pinch of salt, and enough water to obtain a thick batter, and leave it to stand for 1 hour. Place the desalted cod with a little cold water and a bay leaf in a saucepan; cook gently for 10 minutes. Drain and flake the fish the mix it with 4 teaspoons olive oil, salt, and cayenne. Finely chop 2 shallots and 4 or 5 chives, add these to the cod, and mix evenly with the batter. Stiffly whisk 2 or 3 egg whites and fold gently into the mixture. Slowly drop spoonfuls of the mixture into hot oil and fry until crisp and golden, turning once. Drain and serve hot.

Larousse Gastronomique recipes are vague in some areas so inferring may have to be done. If you’d like to find the Bouchon recipe, you can buy the Bouchon cookbook which I highly recommend.

Salted Cod Fish

1 lb. salt cod

Acras de Morue

Tomato confit, roasted red pepper garlic oil, baby chives

Beignets de Brandade de Morue

Tomato confit, roasted red pepper garlic oil, baby chives

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Mélange À Biscuits Avec Morceaux De Chocolat

Today I was at Williams-Sonoma and saw the Bouchon Bakery Chocolate Chunk Cookie Mix. I instantly thought I needed this. I mean come on its Thomas Keller, everything he makes is good. Also last year I was in Yountville, California and stopped in the Bouchon Bakery. So I paid the $18.00 for the cookie mix and went home. After reading the box I saw it made six large cookies or twelve small cookies. I decided to make the large cookies because I love enormous cookies.

The cookies are made with premium Callebaut Chocolate and Nielsen-Massy Vanilla. The cookies were fairly easy to make, just stick to the recipe. Once the cookies came out of the oven I immediately fell in love. They were a perfect golden brown and were saying “eat me.” The outer portion of the cookie was crispy while the inner portion was soft and chewy. This was truly food porn as Anthony Bourdain would say. Once again Thomas Keller is amazing.


For best results, use a European-style butter with at least 83% butterfat.

10 ½ TBS. (5 ¼ OZ. / 165g) Unsalted butter
1 Sugar Packet (Included)
1 Molasses Packet (Included)
1 Egg
1 Cookie Mix Packet (Included)
1 Chocolate Chip and Chunk Packet (Included)

Have all the ingredients at room temperature

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 375˚F (190˚C). If using a convection oven, preheat to 350˚F (180˚C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and molasses and continue to beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low, add the egg and beat until incorporated, about 1 minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the cookie mix and beat until incorporated, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed. Using a rubber spatula, fold the chocolate chips/chunks into the batter.

Shape the dough into 6 large balls or 12 small balls. Place on the prepared baking sheet, spacing the cookies about 3 inches (7.5 cm) apart. Bake until the cookies are light golden brown and just done in the center, 15 to 17 minutes for large cookies or 12 to 14 minutes for small cookies, rotating the baking sheet 180 degrees halfway through the baking time. If using a convection oven, bake 13 to 15 minutes for large cookies or 10 to 12 minutes for small cookies. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies to the rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 6 large or 12 small cookies.

Cookie Mix


Rounded Dough

Fresh Cookies

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Larousse Gastronomique

Recently I began reading Larousse Gastronomique. It is a classic French cookbook with approximately 1200 pages. The whole cookbook is a list of food, recipes and French cooking terms. One might ask why read such a book? I think it’s a very important book to read so one has a further knowledge of food. Cooking is all about knowledge and creativity, so why not help yourself out. I’m only on page 10 and have already found two recipes I’m going to try in the coming weeks. The first is a vegetable achar with lemon and the second is a salt cod acras. I’m very excited to read this book in the coming months to further my food knowledge.