Posts Tagged ‘Alice Medrich’

An Unorthodox Usage For Lard


As you may recall, one of the things I wanted for Christmas was a bag of Chris Cosentino’s Boccalone lard caramels (amongst other things).

After the holidays I was able to cross a few things off that massive list (I Know How To Cook, the dough press, a scraping beater, a rolling pin and the spice storage solution, specifically), but I was still no closer to tasting those caramels.  As I probably mentioned at the time of writing, unless I get myself (or someone I know) to California (which is highly unlikely) I don’t have much chance of partaking of them any time soon, either.

You may also have noticed that this past weekend I rendered down the better part of 10 pounds of pork fat into lard, the majority of which has been earmarked for sealing the prosciutto.  Even after taking that into consideration, there was still a fair amount of fat left over.  Some I planned to freeze for another day, but it occurred to me that I had enough of a surplus to sacrifice a little to a lard caramel experiment.

When I first read about these fancy lard caramels, I assumed there must be some magical twist to them.  Further research revealed that wasn’t the case, and in fact the only thing unique about them (compared to other caramels) is the fact that the lard supposedly comes from Cosentino’s restaurant.  Beyond that, everything I read indicated they’ve employed a fairly standard caramel recipe.


Failure Is Not An Option (Or How I Invented Gar-amel-ic)

All Wrapped Up And Ready To Go

I don’t think it would come a surprise to anyone that I have a slightly morbid curiousity regarding combining garlic and sweet things.

Having fallen in love with Odile’s fleur de sel caramels, I’d intended to make a homemade batch for quite some time.   But, I also adore old school Mack Toffee, and had been considering how best to copycat that.  As a child it was one of my most favourite treats, and one that I could always count on my dad to buy for me because he loved it, too.

Then it dawned on me.

I shouldn’t make caramel or a toffee.  Gar-amel-ic was the answer; a roasted garlic infused caramel toffee.  The real conundrum was how to get the garlic into the toffee without having actual bits of garlic floating around in it.  Since my tea infusion worked out so well the other day, it seemed like a smart jumping off point for garlic infusions, too.

I again turned to Alice Medrich as my guide, since her take on brownies hadn’t steered me wrong. (more…)

Zen; Or The Art Of Ayurvedic Brownie Making


Like the enduring search for a suitable mate, a good brownie is similarly hard to find.

There are fluffy brownies, cakey brownies, nutty brownies and frosted brownies.  There are chunky brownies, sweet brownies, crispy brownies and chewy brownies.  There are more kinds of brownies than there are hours in the day, and for my money, most of them are not worth the bother.  I’ve had success with Alton Brown’s cocoa brownies in the past, but every once in a while I get a craving for something just a little bit different…

To my mind, brownies are the ideal candidate for simplicity.  I don’t want nuts, frosting, M&M’s or candy mix-ins.  And I most certainly don’t want them swirled with cheesecake or peanut butter or any other heavy viscous substance.  When I take that first bite, I want the top to shatter in a mixture of crunchy, caramelized chewy delight, while the interior should be rich without being dense or cakey.

In short, I’m looking for a brownie miracle.

Months ago, when I finally located some 100 Mysteries tea, I’d found it a fantastic ingredient to experiment with.  It made its way into a panna cotta, and I’d intended to try additional applications, but other projects got in the way.  This weekend, I finally managed to pick up where I left off by producing a batch of 100 Mysteries brownies.