The more things change . . .

The more things change the more they stay the same. It’s time for a new name, new digs and a new look. We’ve got a permanent new home. Point your RSS readers to www.luckjunky.com/blog to keep up on everything Klink.

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Deconstructing Pringles

preparing to pulverize the pringles

preparing to pulverize the pringles

Pringles is, hands down, one of my favorite junk foods. Loving and creating class cuisine doesn’t mean that I’m immune to the lures of macro snack giants, such as Pringles, Hershey’s Chocolate, and Gatorade. All of which happen to make up my three of my favorite indulgences. After hearing that a lower court in England say that Pringles were, in fact, not a potato chip, I wanted to determine if the deconstruction of a Pringle could be reconstituted back into something that could be recognized as a potato product.
I found myself at the grocery store, staring at a variety of pringle flavors. I chose “Cheddar Cheese” Pringles. Yes, the blacklight, hypo-technocolor orange chips that stain your fingers and your lips when you eat them. After parting with my $1.50, I headed off to my lab, the kitchen, to deconstruct and reconstruct. What follows, are my results.

pulverized pringles

First step was pulverizing the chips which reduced them to the standard potato flake consistency found in instant mashed potatoes. Concerned about the starchiness,  I had to make a few decisions. To add more fat? Or to add water. To mix until lumpless? Or to leave it lumpy. (These are technical terms). To get true results, I did both.
The one that was straight water, and mixed until smooth, ended up with a wallpaper paste consistency but had great flavor. It was like cheddar cheese glue. I immediately thought about starting my own line of pre-school paste.
The one that was lumpier, and added equal amounts of melted butter and water had a better consistency, but still didn’t give you the mouth feel, the palatability, of instant potatoes.

pasty pringles
Conclusion, the best result was folding the two together, making potato cakes, using the leftover pulverized chips as a breading, and frying in a little bit of olive oil. The cakes were dense, flavorful, and oddly texturally acceptable with a crisp outside and a soft center.
Am I going to put these on the menu at my next big event? The coup de gras of my career is not based on deconstruction, but it was a fun day in the kitchen experimenting with what commercial food has become.
Update: On May 20, 2009, a higher court in London ruled that Pringles were, in fact, real potato chips. So there you go!

Bison, Not Just for Cowboys

bison grazing

bison grazing

Unlike during the times of Buffalo Bill, bison are farm raised, and almost entirely used for meat processing and the food market. It’s important to consider that with its large, lean muscle structures, buffalo can be trickier to cook than your run-of-the-mill cow.  Fifteen years ago “beefalo” was a fad (breeding your standard heifer to a buffalo) and farmers later found out that the health conscious public really did want a lean, flavorful meat. Buffalo is a great option for this. Most of the buffalo you buy today are composed of young heifers (the female cow) and they are referred to as cow and bull like their cousin the standard cow. In today’s market you’ll find that most buffalo sub-prime cuts (NY strip, ribeye, tenderloin, etc.) are no larger than its cow counterparts because of how it’s raised.  As you can imagine, the larger and the older it becomes, the stringier the meat. Though Flintstone in appearance with big ribs and large steaks, the meat loses its appeal for becoming good table fair.

Buffalo meat has a different flavor and is very lean. Many advocates will claim that it is sweeter due to its grazing style (compared to a cow). For a cook it is trickier than regular beef. You must not overcook it because you cannot rely on the internal muscle fat that can be an advantage in other types of red meat.


Mustard Short Ribs

10 lbs. ribs
1 c. prepared mustard (I just use regular yellow mustard)
2oz. Sugar
2 oz. lemon juice
2 teaspoons Salt
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 cloves of crushed garlic
4 medium onions, sliced
Place buffalo ribs in shallow baking dish. Mix mustard, sugar, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and garlic; pour over the ribs. Top with onions. Cover and refrigerate, turning ribs occasionally, for 4 to 24 hours.

Place ribs with marinade and onions in Dutch oven or any other oven proof baking dish, and cook at 350 degrees for about 2 hours. Check for tenderness. Cook longer, if necessary, for 10-minute intervals until the ribs are fall off the bone tender.

Student serving Bison

Student serving Bison

Buffalo Rib Roast
with Orange-Molasses Glaze

from American Game Cooking
by John Ash and Sid Goldstein

This is a favorite recipe. The orange-molasses glaze is flecked with mustard seeds to give it texture and flavor. The resulting spicy, sweet crust that it imparts to the roast is quite captivating. This approach works equally well with other domestic cuts of meat such as a beef standing rib roast or a pork loin.
This is a great dish for a holiday dinner especially when coupled with the carrot-sweet potato purée.

1 buffalo rib or top sirloin roast (7 to 9 pounds)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/4 cups (1 medium) finely minced red onions
3 tablespoons finely minced garlic
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 1/4 cups fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1/3 cup molasses
1 Tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted and crushed
1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
1 cup dry red wine
2 cups beef, veal or basic Game Meat Stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Carrot–Sweet Potato Purée (recipe follows)

  • Heat oil in a separate saucepan and sauté onions and garlic until just beginning to color.
  • Add pepper, vinegar, orange juice, zest, molasses, coriander and mustard seeds and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes or until glaze is lightly thickened. Cool.
  • Generously paint roast with glaze and allow to sit at least 2 hours at room temperature, or overnight refrigerated, before roasting (bring back to room temperature before roasting).
  • Reserve any remaining glaze to baste roast during cooking.
  • Preheat oven to 450°F and roast for 15 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to 325° and continue to cook until a meat thermometer registers 130°F. Be careful not to overcook or meat will be dry and chewy.
  • Baste roast occasionally with any remaining glaze.
  • Remove roast from pan and keep warm.
  • Add wine and stock to roasting pan and bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits.
  • Reduce slightly and then strain juices.
  • Correct seasoning with salt and pepper.
  • Slice roast and serve with warm pan juices and a dollop of carrot-sweet potato purée.
  • Leftover roast can be used to make Buffalo Chili.

Kohlrabi (koal-RAH-bee)

kohlrabi

kohlrabi

Kohlrabi (koal-RAH-bee) A vegetable that was first publicized in 1554 by a German botanist made kohlrabi a part of the German table faire almost immediately. This hardy plant was not field farmed until 1734 in Ireland, but became popular throughout Central Europe and the Mediterranean shortly after.  Created by the cross-pollination of cabbages and turnips this awkward looking vegetable has a pale green and sometimes purple stem with dark green leaves that grows above ground similar to cabbage.  The bulbous stem is best peeled and cooked as you would any root vegetable.  With a mild, sweet turnip flavor this Kohlrabi is fun to cook with and lends itself to many applications in a commercial kitchen. As a crunch to a salad or another vegetable in a stir-fry this overlooked strange looking plant has flavor and style.

Kohlrabi in Sour Cream Dill Sauce

Ingredients

12 ounces kohlrabi, peeled and sliced
8 ounces sliced thin carrot
8 ounces of thin sliced sweet onions

1 ounce butter
1/2 ounce Chopped Garlic

8 ounces chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
2/3-cup sour cream
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 level tablespoon cornstarch

Salt and Pepper to taste

Method

Thickly peel the kohlrabi to remove the entire woody outer layer. Slice thinly and sauté with the carrots, garlic, and onions in butter, being careful not to brown butter. When onions start to become translucent; add stock and bring to a simmer.  Remove vegetables and place to the side.  Blend the cornstarch with very little cold water to create slurry and stir into simmering stock.  Bring heat back up to a simmer for about 5 minutes; add veggies back into mix with the dill and the sour cream, then adjust seasoning to taste. I like to use sea salt and white pepper for the final seasoning.

Lobster Whipped Potatoes?! So Good!

lobster

As I strolled through the grocery store my eye’s locked on a frozen food case that had a sign “Maine Lobster” frozen whole; raw. Wow! and how much??? $9.99 for a 1.5 pounder? Yes, it is true. With the weak economy this nation’s unsold live lobsters are frozen whole and discounted. One of my students said that they sell the same size alive for $40.00. Normally I’m not a big fan of frozen seafood, but I decided that I must do this for the sake of all that is culinary. I would risk life and limb and of course $10 for experimental purposes. I bought my favorite sea bug (I’ve seriously thought about getting a big lobster tattoo on my shoulder, but that is for another post) and carted it off home with my other groceries.

Cooked the lobster until perfect, cracked the meat out of the shell, I use lobster shears but you could use a clean pair of heavy scissors. Once I had removed the meat, I medium diced it (about the size of a sugar cube), and put it into the fridge for later. I admit the meat was not as firm as it would have been if it would have been alive, but for $10 who cares?

I made a classic lobster stock from the shells. Very rich and a perfect shade of rusty red. Reduced this lobster love juice by half. Thickened with a white roux. Until a perfect sauce consistency (it should coat the back of the spoon); called nape’. Let the roux simmer until starchiness was gone (this takes about fifteen minutes and you should be able to taste the difference as the starch is cooked out)  and added heavy cream to finish (about 4 oz/pint). This is also known as Sauce Americon. Turn to low and went to work on the spuds. Six Idaho Russet Potatoes peeled and small diced. Simmered until fork tender. Drained very very well of the simmering water, I placed the nuggets of starchy goodness in the Kitchen Aid and began to whip the hell out of them. Normally, this is when I would add a little bit of warmed cream and butter, but this time I add a steady stream of Lobster Stock (Sauce Americon) to the whipping spuds. A tear rolled down my cheek as the potatoes turned a fluffy mass of pure love. It was perfect, but before I could serve them there was one more element to add. The Lobster Meat. What! Waste that meat in potatoes? Yes, it was a little much, but it was just the way it was supposed to be.

I imagine if God made whipped potaoes he would make Lobster Whipped.

A Fun and Simple Dessert

Puff Pastry Cups with an Apricot Glaze

Puff Pastry Cups with an Apricot Glaze

Pastry Cream filled Puff Dough Cups

Pastry Cream filled Puff Dough Cups

Grande Marnier marinated strawberries

Grande Marnier marinated strawberries

School is in full swing and I have been slacking on the blog, but here is a dessert I did for a ladies lunchen. Well the truth is I did the dessert and with the extreme cold they canceled due to safty concerns. I had these little jewels  ready to go, so I shared with some of the school’s staff and faculty.
What I did was take a cookie cutter and cut two same size disks from a sheet of puff dough. Then cut a smaller shape out of the middle of one of the puff dough disks. Egg washed the top of the whole one and glued the two together. Docked (made many small holes ) in the center of the bottom disk and baked until golden brown. While baking I took thawed strawberries in juice and sprinkled with sugar and a good douche of Grand Marnier. Stir them a couple of times carfully to not break down the berries. Cover and put in the cooler.

Next I made a classic pastry cream. The same filling that is in a Bismark doughnut of an eclair. After the puff dough cups were almost room tempeture a melted some apricot glaze to brush over the cups. The apricot glaze gives 3 great benifits to the puff cups.

  1. Adds a protection to the baked dough from staling or absorbing humitity.
  2. Is a pretty laquer “look” to the dessert. A real pro look.
  3. It is a sweet and flavorful taste. WOW! With that much benefit why wouldn’t everyone use it? It is a commercial product. Sorry!

Anyway I filled each cup with the pastry cream and topped wth the marinated strawberries and a side of lightly sweetened whip cream. To finish the plate. The juice that was left in the bowl was the perfect consistancy to use on the plate. It was garnish, flavor and a great contrast of color. Plus I love the way that the rich strawberry juice laced with Grande Marnier can be soaked up with the crunchy puff dough.

Why I love Manhattan!

image684683007.jpg

Mobile Blogging from here.

I must say that a life of no joy would be a waste; let’s call tonight’s joy a Manhattan. A Manhattan can simply be defined as a whiskey martini, artistry in motion or as my mother would say “an elegant way to take a shot”.

The basic recipe is two shots of a fine whiskey or bourbon, shaken up or on the rocks a 1/2 shot of sweet vermouth and a cherry to garnish. I also like a heavy handed splash of cherry juice. Nectar of the gods. A sweet butt kicking drink that if is created with the right booze will be smooth as velvet. I prefer mine “up”. “On the rocks” is more common, but hell, why go common!

The best Manhattan I have ever had was a Crown Royal shaken hard with a fresh sweet vermouth. If I could have crawled into the glass and bathed in it, I would have, it was that good.