Beat me or eat me!

No, I’m not trying to make my blog post titles more feisty and suggestive, I’m just quoting the t-shirt that I donned yesterday in an attempt to promote The Brooklyn Cheese Experiment while also interviewing contestants and spectators.  Sadly, I neglected to take pictures or sample all of the contestants’ dishes.  Instead, I’m going to defer to the good people at the Village Voice who covered the event in detail.

The 30-second rundown is this: cooks prepped, they came, they served, some conquered, and all laughed themselves to pieces at the cheese & grapefruit+vodka cocktail party.  Quick note: grapefruit vodka doesn’t really pair well with a particularly garlicky camembert.  That’s an aftertaste that just won’t quick.  My favorite dish, even if she weren’t my favorite competitor, belonged to Bonnie Suarez.  Her three cheese spicy cracker with a chilled tomato-ricotta soup chaser put CHEESE in the forefront and didn’t relegate it to a side flavor.  If you adhere to Iron Chef judging guidelines, then you know that if you luck out and your secret ingredient is cheese instead of something like a gingko nut, you count your damn blessings and make your dish all about the cheese.

After the after party, a mass gathering headed to Lucky Eight restaurant in Borough Park Brooklyn – my first time dining in both this incredible Chinese restaurant and this neighborhood in general.  Well, I was immediately stopped and asked for directions in Chinese which is funny because a) I’d never been there before and b) I don’t speak Chinese.  I used my handy iPhone to help communicate directions and even drew my newfound Chinese friend a little map to where she was going.  After dinner, we had to call for car service to get home as there don’t seem to be any taxis roaming about in Brooklyn outside of Williamsburg.  Here’s a little tip – if you ask a Chinese restaurant for the number a good car service and they nod, write down a number, but never really acknowledge you in English, chances are that your car service is going to be a multilingual experience.  Once again, my iPhone bridged the great divide and Chris and I managed to get home safe and sound.

Today, however, I am trying to get over what seems to be the onset of a mild flu.  My weapons of choice in this immune battle are gummy bear vitamins by the handful.  Let’s hope it’s not the swine flu…

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Calling all cheese curds!

If you read this post before 10PM on Saturday, you probably noticed the plethora of typos… you can thank my lack of iPhone typing skills for that.

Just a quick reminder to buy your tickets for tomorrow’s Brooklyn Cheese Experiment! If you don’t like cheese, beer, or good food in general, feel free to stay home…

Instead of my usual napkin rolling, I’m going to be helping out in a different way this year. My friend’s father, the iconic food commercial director and Greenwich restaurant mogul, will be filming the event and making a documentary about food competitors and spectators, and what makes our generation gather together in the middle of Brooklyn to go cheese wild. I will be the mic girl, walking around and interviewing everyone. Well, at least it’s not live, so there’s time to edit me down into something coherent. On my blog, I usually just use the backspace button like it’s going out of style.

Come mock my interviewing skills and watch as the camera add a cinnamon roll to each side of my face. Brooklyn Cheese Experiment! 1pm tomorrow at The Bell House!

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Happiness is a cold cheese cave

First of all, let me just say that I wrote this whole post out on my WordPress app on my iPhone…  which then deleted it as it was trying to connect to the network.  Awesome.  Probably for the best as I still can’t type very well on the touch screen and am just Fanny Fat Thumbs, typing 8 letters at a time by accident.  That post would have made even less sense than the rest of my posts.

So, for the second time… Murray’s Affineur, Mike-aroni & Cheese, is in New Orleans this week to take a little time away.  Unfortunately, the caves seemed to have sensed that he was about to leave and threw every malfunction that it could muster at him, almost as if they were saying, “Where do you think you’re going, Mike Anderson?” with that creepy Sigourney Weaver evil computer voice.  Who moved my cheese?  Mike Anderson did.  The poor guy had to empty out an entire cave and transfer all its cheeses to a different cave, and then do the whole thing again.  By the time he actually did make it out of there, he had earned his vacation about a million times over.  It’s weird, the caves didn’t seem to have any problems until about 3 weeks ago, which ironically enough, is when I started working there…

Champlain Triple Crème covered in happy, fuzzy Penicilium mold.  SO cute!

Champlain Triple Crème covered in happy, fuzzy Penicilium mold. SO cute!

And what was I doing in the midst of the cave hauling?  I was patting down and flipping my cheese pets in Cave 3, aka “my happy place.”  The one time I offered my help in lifting a 50lb wheel of cheese to my fellow intern, Isak, gave me a look that said, “The day that I need a small Asian woman to help me, a giant Scandinavian, lift something is the day I kill myself.”  Actually, his look said that but he also said it out loud in case I missed it.

Adorable

Adorable

Isak thinks that my Asianess is also the reason behind why I love the fuzzy cheeses in Cave 3, because apparently, Asian love cuteness…  Yeah, alright, it’s true.  What’s wrong with that???  Isak and I have decided that fuzzy bloomy rind cheeses will be the next rage item in Japanimation – all they need are little googly eyes and some sort of super power, like the ability to be delicious.  Don’t be surprised if furry cheese toys are the next big thing coming out of Tokyo.

Both fuzzy and then patted down

Both fuzzy and then patted down

At least my iPhone helped me take these pictures… although it probably wasn’t a great idea to touch my phone with my mold-coated hands.  The answer to your question is No, I will never learn.

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What’s wrong with a gin sour with muddled rum-soaked cherries?

Answer: Nothing.  It’s called a Zelda and it’s going to single-handedly send me back to my gastroenterologist so he can disapprovingly shake his head while scribbling in my file that he thinks I’m an alcoholic.

Last night, I invited my friend, Angie, to join me for a drink at Pegu Club.  After she got through the 30 minutes of laughter at the name (which apparently sounds like the Chinese word for “butt”), she trekked down to W. Houston to be my bar buddy.  Right now, Pegu is working its way into my heart as my go-to bar.  If you treat imbibing with the same scrutiny that you treat eating, then save your drinking dollars for places where it’s worth it.  Pegu makes enjoying your cocktail the forefront of your evening instead of relegating it to just an accompaniment to dining.

What’s funny is that this is my second trip to Pegu in a week.  Stop shaking your heads and judging, I had to go for work!!!  Sure, maybe once that work was finished (quickly since it was just a delivery), I could have left without sampling a cocktail (or 4), but I’m weak.  What else is new.  So after my delivery yesterday, I sat down at the bar and said hello to Scott, inventor of the Zelda, which basically makes him the mastermind behind my downfall.  A Zelda is a muddled cherries take on a Fitzgerald, which is basically a gin sour with bitters.  It’s tart, not too sweet, has that aftertaste of bitters that lingers on the back of your tongue, and comes with the fun of watching the millisecond ignition of a round of lemon zest’s aromatic oils.  And topped with a skewer of more of those rum-soaked cherries…  trouble.

As I waited for Angie, I placed my Zelda order, leading her to be able to use the classic, “I’ll have what she’s having” when asked her drink order.  Like me, Angie fell in love with Zelda, which is where the trouble began.  As we caught up and discussed the meaning of life (as everyone should do when a good cocktail is inspiring you and loosening your reserve), our laughter decibel crept upwards.  Eventually, poor Scott had to call in the reserves and Del was forced to tag team in and cover our next drink order.  This time, I went with the Little Italy, one of the smoothest Manhattans that I’ve ever had that’s topped with, of course, those damn rum-soaked cherries.

Our Little Italy round encouraged us to start making friends with any unfortunate soul who happened to be sitting or trying to work within a 10 ft radius around us.  I tried to help the couple to my left make a love connection on what looked like a first date while Angie chatted about Dante and Italy with Del before finding out that her neighbor on the right went to school with her friend’s good friend…  My efforts to set up the couple succeeded in the sense that they seemed to bond over their common desire for me to leave them alone.  At least it was more successful than my sober attempts to set people up.  And then of course we missed Zelda so much that even though we shouldn’t have had a third round, two Zeldas found their way to our Pegu-crested napkins, which almost made us miss our reservation at Salumeria Rosi — more on that little piece of amazingness next week.

With Zelda-courage pumping through my veins, I was able to procure a few pictures, which are a Pegu Club no-no.  And I was about to post them until I wrote that last line…  Now, out of respect for Pegu and its rules (and a desire to return and see my good friend Zelda again), I’ve decided not to post them.  Sorry to disappoint, but if you’re curious, you should just go checkout the real thing.  Don’t worry, you don’t have to call in, wait in a phone booth, or find a hidden door.  Head over early and stay the evening: Pegu Club, 77 W. Houston St.

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Well, well, well… Guess who added a poached egg to their ramen…

So Ippudo FINALLY added an egg that doesn’t have a green ring around its yolk.  I was surprised today when I ordered my usual Akamaru Modern (after a 45 minute wait at 6:15 PM) with an egg and was asked which egg I wanted: hard-boiled or poached.  Holy pork fat, Batman, I want the poached egg!

Um, big mistake.  Huge.  While it seemed like a great idea in theory, it just wasn’t executed well.  There were three of us and we basically had the Goldilocks scenario of poached eggs.  My friend Annette had one where the white was too runny and my friend Angela’s egg was nicely poached but cold in the center.  My egg was an interesting mix of a semi-firm half-custard yolk and that was all.  I literally had no whites, just a floating yellow orb of yolk hanging out in my bowl.  Most likely, Ippudo is now circulating eggs (aka “slow poached) and someone in the back is not re-therming them to a warm temperature for service and hasn’t gotten the hang of cracking the egg without damaging the fragile whites.

just a yolk.

just a yolk.

The other surprise is that the rich custardy yolk makes the broth TOO RICH.  It becomes almost uncomfortably slippery.  Who knew that the already rich and decadent tonkotsu broth could be made TOO rich and decadent.  I wouldn’t have believe it possible unless I had tasted it myself.  It overwhelmed the normally amazing, rigid noodles.

So in the end, jokes on me… I actually prefer a marinated, hard-boiled sulfer egg to the slow-poached option.

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Disaster waiting to happen

So for the past 2 weeks, my blackberry has been little more than a paperweight.  Sometimes it works while plugged in… sometimes not.  And the best is that it would shut off randomly and then not turn back on until you plugged it in… sometimes.  When it did turn back on, it would pull up the messages that you missed while it was on hiatus… sometimes.  Occasionally, it would pull up a message that it seemed to have forgotten to bring up during its last reboot, making me a good week late on a text message – that’s if I got the text message at all.

I would have switched it out sooner, but unfortunately, my blackberry had suffered some water damage – twice – voiding it from the warranty.  Oh, and on a blackberry, there’s a little square sticker that turns BRIGHT RED in the presence of water, which is the first thing that those clever AT&T Wireless reps check for when you bring in your fritzy blackberry.  What’s interesting is that my blackberry survived both its suicide-by-drowning attempts and only crapped out when I plugged in an earpiece into the phone and then laid it on a washing machine to talk.  Somehow, someway, I must have shorted something.  All I heard was static and then ever since, my phone’s been on life support. Today, I pulled the plug.

Right now, I am sitting here typing while staring warily at my new iPhone.  Did you know that you can’t insure an iPhone?  My husband and the cell phone rep exchanged dubious glances at each other while I explained that I wasn’t sure the iPhone was right for me because of the lack of insurance and then recounted all of my poor Blackberry’s past traumas.  When I pulled out my blackberry, the wireless sales person’s eyes grew wide and I could tell that he was fighting back a “holy son of a…”

But, after comparing the latest blackberry to the latest iPhone, I just couldn’t help myself.  The iPhone was so shiny and held the promise of hours of wasted brain power and time playing with Apps that I will never, ever use again.  Procrastination?  Yeah, there’s an App for that.  It’s called an iPhone.  So instead of opting for the right, super-insured choice, I went with the lightly insured and fragile iPhone.  The sales rep pulled out what he said was the most protective case for the iPhone and recommended that I buy it.   I would have if it hadn’t been so ridiculously large – I’m sure it’s protective since it’s basically a cover 3x the size of the phone.  It was the George Costanza wallet of iPhone covers.  Absurd.  I went with the next best cover, which isn’t nearly as pretty as the sleek but useless red one that I wanted.

Of course, the size of the cover makes putting the iPhone in my pocket somewhat impossible.  And since I hate carrying purses and just carry a small wallet/clutch that has a broken zipper that I haven’t replaced, I’m at a loss as to how/where I’m going to put my phone.  Couple that with the no insurance and relatively delicate structure of the iPhone in general, and everything SCREAMS disaster.  “Danger, Mindy Lvoff, DANGER!”

As the warning signs scream around me, I know what I should do…  Download the Magic 8 Ball App and see what it says.  Oh Magic iPhone 8 Ball, will my iPhone last me until my next upgrade? “Concentrate and ask again.”  Great, now my iPhone is insulting me.  Can’t concentrate now, too busy playing with my new iPhone.  Ladies & Gentlemen, go ahead and place your disaster bets…

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Clam “strip” is like only getting half an egg in your ramen.

I truly don’t understand why you would order tough, rubbery, mostly-batter, fried clam strips.  I concede, there’s a really good, oceany pungency to them that tastes they way a found clamshell on the beach smells.  But that texture…  It’s just unpleasant.  I might as well make nuoc mam-flavored chewing gum.

Growing up, I couldn’t understand why you would fry clams at all.  Why take something so succulent and juicy and turn it into what tasted like bland-battered and deep-fried bouncy ball?  Clam strips don’t usually hold up in flavor well to how heavily they’re battered, either… and I do mean battered in every meaning of the word.

The clam belly platter at Flanders Fish Market

The clam belly platter at Flanders Fish Market

So long ago, when my mother-in-law told me that we were going to be stopping for fried clams on our way up to Maine, I had my doubts.  When she placed her order at Flanders Fish Market in Connecticut, she was very specific to order fried clam “bellies.”  I had no idea what this meant, but knew there must be a distinction.  The entire family sat out on the sunny deck and waited for our orders while “enjoying” the soft rock that was being pumped outside.  Hey, it’s Connecticut.  When the basket came out, it didn’t look like any fried clam basket that I’d ever had.

IMG_4950.JPG

Fried clam bellies, it turns out, just means that they’ve gone ahead and fried the entire small clam varietal, not just a shredded strip of a giant clam tongue (read: rubber central).  When done well, i.e. lightly battered so it fries quickly, the little clam doesn’t get overcooked and tough.  Instead, you break through crisp bready shell into a juicy and decadent clam center.  Hollaaaaaa.  Sprinkled with lemon juiced and lovingly dipped in horseradishy cocktail sauce, these little clam bonbons (vs. the clam mentos that I had tried and hated in the past, although regular mentos are great) engraved themselves into my food memory.  I nodded at my mother-in-law in acknowledgement of this food accomplishment and she nodded back.  A silent exchange of a common clam-belly ground.  Clam bellies – my solution to bonding with your in-laws.  Vodka doesn’t hurt either.

It looks like a little truffle that when bitten, pops with tender clam goodness

It looks like a little truffle that when bitten, pops with tender clam goodness

On our way back from Fisher’s Island, CT a few weeks ago, I made Chris call his mom from the drive for SPECIFIC instructions on how to get back to Flanders – the site of my clam belly inauguration.  Soft rock and sunny deck in place, we once again enjoyed an entire basket of delicious fried clam bellies with a side of fries, and then only slightly regretfully stared at our empty plate while contemplating the long drive back home.

Make sure to order extra cocktail sauce...

Make sure to order extra cocktail sauce...

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Speaking of cheese…

Good news, peoples!  Back by popular demand, the dynamic duo of Suarez & Peck (of Beer Experiment fame) are giving us another opportunity to food fight for glory: The Brooklyn Cheese Experiment.  And whoa – that segue was so opportune that you KNOW I didn’t plan it.  I am just not that slick.

Mark your calendars and buy your tickets now for September 13th at the Bell House in Brooklyn.  I can’t say it enough times: BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW!  At the Beer Experiment, I literally had to count how many people were in line with tickets and without and then had to advise those without to maybe stroll around the block a few times until a portion of the 300 ticket holders tired out and left, thereby making room.  Of course, waiting for people to tire out in the middle of a lazy Sunday afternoon when there’s mass quantities of food and homebrew to be sampled is like waiting for Godot.  So one more time: BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW! Oh, and while you’re buying your tickets, definitely include the after party in your purchase!  That’s usually where all the really good debauchery takes place.  Not that I’ll be involved (insert wide-eyed Asian girl ‘blink blink’ here) – I’m usually just an amused spectator.

I’m sure your next thought is whether or not I’ll be competing.  The answer is hells no.  If I wanted to be openly and vocally judged on how well I cook, I would either: 1) show up for work or 2) cook for my parents.  Neither of those things sound fun on a Sunday afternoon.  Besides, somebody has to roll plastic utensils in paper napkins and I already have the napkin rolling calluses needed for the job after my last production assistant gig at the Beer Experiment.  Those napkins don’t roll themselves, people!  You’re welcome!

For those of you brave cheese addicts who want to seize the chance to strut your culinary stuff, why not enter and compete???  Please let me know if you do so I can stop by, sample, and photo-blitz the hell out of your entry!  The cheese gauntlet has been thrown!  Which of you is woman/man enough to accept the challenge?!  (Er, like I said, not me, but best of luck to all of you!)  So go ahead, click on the link, enter your idea, and cue “Eye of the Tiger” and start cheese recipe creating!

Oh, quick disclaimer for those of you think that I have some sort of stake in this.  Let me assure you that like everything else in my cooking career thus far, I will be working at this event for free.  I wouldn’t want to tarnish my reputation as cheap labor!  Nope, I’m in it for the free admission and love of the game.  If you weren’t lucky enough to be at The Beer Experiment, let me just assure you that this event will INCREDIBLE.  It’s hard to get me out of my apartment on a Sunday short of leaving a cheeseburger trail out my front door.  So for me to eagerly hike it on down to Brooklyn from the boonies of the upper east side, you know this event must be special.

Ok, ok, enough with selling.  The Cheese Experiment.  September 13th.  Bell House, Brooklyn.  Be there.

BK_Cheese_Final_Lo_Res

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My hands smell like cave funk.

Bring on quasi-job/internship #24: Murray’s Cheese Cave Intern.  That’s right – yours truly has been spending her free time flipping cheese and patting down penicillium mold in Murray’s chilly subterranean caves.  If you don’t know Murray’s, then you don’t know cheese.  Murray’s is THE cheese dealer for cheese addicts everywhere.  Stepping into Murray’s is like visiting your cheese dealer’s cheese den, complete with other cheese addicts twitching in front of the counter asking for another cheese hit.

I am a cheese addict.  I enjoy cheese and I would eat it at every, single meal if I could.  Introducing me to the caves of Murray’s has now broadened my cheese-eating horizons, causing me to up my already perverse cheese intake and once again, sabotaging any hopes of a diet.  It doesn’t help that my fellow intern loves cheese AND food, so we’re either talking cheese while working or spending our break walking around the West Village searching for yummy ways to fuel our cheese-flipping tanks.  So far, Indian kati rolls and falafels have done the trick.  I suggested to him having a cheese lunch everyday where we just split a baguette and 1/2 lb of cheese, but even he thought that may be pushing the cheese limit.

So far, my favorite cave task is patting down the bloomy rind cheeses.  What does that mean?  Well all of those delicious white, tender rinds on the outside of your Constant Bliss or Brillat Savarin start off as this beautiful, cotton-candy tufted white mold called penicillium candidum.  That soft, white fuzz has to be gently patted down to form the supple rind.  Murray’s Affineur, Mike Anderson (who I like to call Mike-aroni & Cheese, although I don’t think he enjoys it as much as I do), told me that if the mold gets out of control, the rind becomes tough and rubbery.  I don’t know why, but there’s an amazingly rewarding feeling that comes with helping the rind develop… who knew that watching mold grow would actually be fun?

The only downside to patting down and flipping an entire cave of soft-ripened, bloomy rind cheeses is that after you’ve zoned out and taken care of the entire cave, you can no longer feel your fingers or toes.  Not only that, but for some reason, the digits on my left hand just stop functioning and I basically have to use it as a board to place the cheese on while my right hand continues to work.  After I leave the cave and walk out into the warm sunlight to defrost, my entire body immediately starts to ache and itch as the blood starts pumping again and the numbness starts to tingle away.

Oh, there is one last little side-effect that *might* be considered negative.  My hands haven’t stopped smelling like mushrooms for a week.  I wash and wash my hands and have even rubbed lemon on them to no avail.  Mushroom central.  The other day, post-lemoning, I was chopping onions and garlic and started smelling the delicious aroma of sauteed mushrooms!  I couldn’t understand where it was coming from until I smelled my hands and realized that I had perfectly seasoned my mushroom fingers.

On the bright side, I get to shove my fingers into my friends’ faces and say, “My fingers smell like mushrooms and cheese” about 30 times a day.  What’s even better is that not one of my food-loving friends has jerked away and yelled, “that’s gross!”  Instead, they usually take a meaningful sniff, contemplate the aroma, and say, “Yup. So they do.”  Awesome.

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Produce Shopaholic

Yes, it’s a term.  If it wasn’t a term before, it is now.  Produce Shopaholics know who they are.  It’s a sunny/rainy weekday/weekend and you just happen to be passing by the farmer’s market or a Citarella when all of a sudden, you pull a produce rubberneck.  Through the sweating window on a humid day, you see cool, crisp produce calling to you.  Or if you’re outside and rushing by the farmer’s market, perhaps the scent of a tristar strawberry or a Jersey white peach gently tickles your nose.  Whatever it is, a scent, a sight, a 6th-produce-sense, you have to stop.  You need to go where the produce is – its siren call won’t let you venture any further or continue on your way.  You’re a Produce Shopaholic.

The problem with produce addiction (a subset of just a food addiction) is that you tend to shop with your eyes and food imagination.  You start to see every piece of produce as a potential dish: “maybe tonight I’ll finally make collard greens” or “these peaches would make amazing peach preserves!”  You start to buy berries by pint and plums by the pound without really stopping to think how much fruit and how many veggies you’ll actually have time to consume raw let alone cooked.  Weeks later, if you’re like me, you’ll open your fridge searching for something other than anchovies and olives to eat (or ice-cold liqueur to drink) and discover one or more items of week-old produce start a mini-compost pile in your fridge.  Gross.  Thank God for Lysol wipes (or Clorox wipes — I’m not really brand-specific on these as long as they do their job and kill off bacteria!  Germaphobes unite!).

It’s not like you didn’t know your little mold colony wasn’t coming either.  You saw that peach getting ripe.  Heck, you SMELLED that peach getting ripe, its heavy sweetness permeated every kitchen breath you’ve taken over the past 2 weeks.  Yet still, you convinced yourself that it could hold on one more day while you thought about turning it into jam or making that peach ice cream with the ice cream maker that you’re still planning to by…  Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into rot.  There goes your peach and now your arm-deep in Clorox wipes taking care of its remnants.  What’s worse is that you LOVE peaches, it’s just that after that 8th peach, you couldn’t eat anymore for fear that you might develop a fruit allergy like that horrible mango incident of 2009…

cobbler1

Here’s one way to save that almost-gone fruit: Cobbler.  When that peach or plum is just a little too squishy, its skin a little too wrinkled, to eat, but still not starting to grow its own antibiotics, Cobbler is the solution.  Forget that it’s delicious and easy and just let it evoke TV-induced memories of growing up in the south.  Which you probably didn’t, but sometimes dream you had while downing ham & pickle biscuits.  Thinking of cobbler makes me remember Dwayne Wayne from A Different World and his favorite dessert of Prune Cobbler.  Relax, relate, & release!  A warm, just-cooked in the center and crisp on the outside cakey dough surrounds sweet baked fruit that you’d never know was a day away from the trash bin.  Serve it warm with a little fresh-whipped cream mixed with a tablespoon of tangy crème fraîche or an ice-cold quenelle of vanilla ice cream and you’ll feel like you’ve prepared a special treat and not a quick-fix for almost-gone fruit.  Even better, you’ll save yourself some of that Produce Shopaholic guilt that always comes with tossing old fruit that you once adored.

cobbler2

Cobbler Solver (An easy cobbler recipe for those of us not lucky enough to be born with a drawl)

Batter
1 stick Butter, melted
1 c milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ c granulated sugar
1 package Dried Yeast (¼ oz)
1 c AP (or Whole Wheat) Flour
2 t baking powder
Tiny pinch salt
Demerara sugar (garnish)

Fruit
4 c Stone Fruit (peeled & sliced peaches, plums, rehydrated prunes or apricots in rum are also AWESOME, etc.)
1 t Ginger (peeled & grated)
¼ -½ c Granulated sugar (to taste – if fruit is sweet, less sugar is best)
Lemon juice
Pinch Salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix yeast into milk and let sit while preparing the rest of the recipe.
  3. Peel, core and slice peaches, plums, and other stone fruit and place in a bowl – try and cut the fruit over that bowl so that you don’t lose any delicious juices.  I used peaches and also added some blueberries that I had lying around.  Plums and cherries would be insane, also.
  4. If using dried fruit like Dwayne Wayne’s prunes, cut dried fruit in half and let sit in dark rum for an hour or more (or combine, bring to a boil, and let sit if in a rush).  Drain when ready and consider using leftover liqueur for a badass cocktail or reducing it into delicious syrup.  It’s your call.
  5. Toss fruit with grated ginger and ¼ cup of sugar.  Taste a small cut of fruit – if it’s not sweet or tangy enough, add additional sugar and lemon juice until fruit tastes like Mother Nature intended before we hopped her up on more hormones than a baseball player: delicious.  Add just a pinch (pointer finger and thumb) of salt to bring out all of the flavors.
  6. Melt butter.
  7. Mix yeasty milk with vanilla.  Mix in Sugar and stir until as dissolved as possible.
  8. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add to milk all at once and mix just until combined.  Don’t overwork the flour – if there are small lumps, just leave them be.
  9. Pour melted butter into a square baking dish/casserole/pie dish, then pour batter over the butter in a haphazard or zigzag patter – you want little pockets of melted butter to peak through the batter.
  10. Scatter the fruit on top of the batter and butter and then drizzle the macerated juices (rum) from the batter on top.  Again, make it as organic as possible.  Cobbler is rustic and earthy, not prim and proper.  It’s the Tom Boy of desserts.
  11. Sprinkle some Demerara sugar on top as a garnish (OK, so it’s a little girly) and then throw in the oven to bake for 20-45 minutes (yup, it’s that much of a spread depending on how nifty or cruddy your oven is – mine is on the cruddy side) until the top is golden brown (that’s the magic color for tans and baked goods) and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean… or rather, it comes out not covered in batter goop.  It’s OK if it comes out covered in juicy fruit.
  12. Let cool slightly, but serve a slice/piece warm in a dish with a little fresh-whipped cream with crème fraîche folded in or an ice cold scoop/quenelle of vanilla ice cream.  The cobbler will be sweet, so it’s nice if the whipped cream or vanilla ice cream is a little more subtle to balance it all out.  Enjoy!

cobbler3

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