I’ve been on a stationary culinary quest this week: too busy to do much in the kitchen, but now that other projects are winding down, I’ve been doing a lot of planning and research for gastronomical experimentation and I will hopefully have a little more time to play in the kitchen.
It just hit me that I missed yuzu season, but kumquats are back and I reckon I should make a little marmalade this weekend, inspired by the cocktails at Midi, where they use house-made blood orange marmalade in the margaritas. They also make their own syrups and bitters, which got me thinking that I need to step it up in the cocktail component category as well. Look for more mixology makings in the near future.
I haven’t forgotten about my plan to make classic and unconventional condiments either. Last week’s mayo fell a little flat, tasting of mediocre canola oil until I added the bacon fat, but Alton Brown suggests corn oil, which I have in spades, so I will give that a try, as well as another topping or two, depending on my mood and produce selection.
Here’s what’s been on my screen:
- Chicago Tribune’s Annual Peep Diorama Contest is on. I’m brainstorming scenes that I will build and looking for collaborators, but damn, the timeline is short. I may buy peeps at a discount after Easter and build something in the hope that they host the contest again next year.
- Frank Bruni questions the dollar per drink tipping standard in the New York Times, which irritates me, because I don’t now any decent bartenders who aren’t making good money at a dollar a drink, and his justifying tipping by percentage because some drinks cost more is silly. Pouring a $10 beer takes as much time and effort as pouring a $2 beer. Crafting a superior cocktail may well warrant a bigger tip, but that has nothing to do with the cost of the drink.
- The Vessel One makes me wish I were a tea drinker. This ceramic and silicone teapot goes right on the burner, from which it can be picked up by (bare) hand, and then set on it’s magnetic trivet, which becomes part of the pot. The best part: it’s stark white until filled with hot liquid, at which point, a blue design appears, ranging from pretty flowers to Space Invaders baddies.
- Chefs: SF’s Nate Appleman, was honored as one of Food and Wine Magazine’s Best New Chef’s of 2009. The linked interview/profile offers some insightful stuff, including his thoughts on butchery, with which I’ve always been fascinated. Grant Achatz, one of my favorite foodies to follow on Twitter, wrote a piece for the Atlantic Monthly on experiential dining in which he contemplates tossing out Alinea’s set 27-course dining experience for a choose-your-own-adjective-adventure menu.
- Photos: Saveur offers a photo-essay of 20 Amuse-Bouches from Great American Chefs, which I am preserving via link for future inspiration when I need to throw together some small plates, and Eat Me Daily displays a great series of photographs by artist Stephanie Diani with all of her models dressed in offal.