Sunday, April 25, 2010
George Foreman made it all the way to Berlin
Well the gas got cut off at my house, which has timed up pretty well with my 7-day work week and a dip in temperatures. Luckily there's a shower at Maria Bonita's office, which only adds to the mildly depressing feeling that I live at work. Also recently DFS and I got stoned and started looking at pictures of these hills that we would be running over when we go to Edinburgh in June to do the Seven Hills Race, and that was terrifying; it sort of inspired us to get our act together and cut out booze for at least a little while. So basically we just kick it at home in the kitchen talking about running and our coworkers...and eat. But like, we have not hot water or gas for the stove, so I at least have a renewed love of electrical cooking appliances - the electric kettle, the toaster, the microwave, and of course, the George Foreman Grill.
Mostly it's just been bread and spread(s), we did make hot chocolate in the microwave, but last night was a true treat: gorgonzola and bacon toasties with jam. A "toasty" is the British word for "grilled sandwich." That shit was bangin, if only we had some pears or something we could have gotten real high-class. We were just high, though, so the food tasted good enough! I will keep you all updated on what kind of ill shit we are making with limited wares.
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Wednesday, April 14, 2010
DFS, the Quiche, some dish soap
For some reason, even at the height of my illustrious baking career at Cafe CK, pie crust always scared me. I had wanted to make quiches and even maybe a rhubarb peach pie or two with the lattice crust on top, but my ambitions were stunted by my own lack of confidence. I may have been just lazy - all this talk of making it in a cold room, needing a rolling pin (we didn't have one), and the needlessly perpetuated myth that you must have a $300 dollar Kitchen-aid standing mixer to make anything other than an omelet - or just too easily daunted, but last night I got over it quick and managed to make a pretty banging quiche from scratch with my boy Duncan from Scotland.
It was Duncan's one year anniversary of moving to Berlin, so we smoked a blunt. Then we got hungry, and he decided we should make a quiche. After laying out all the stuff on the counter and then standing there and staring at it for way too long, we realized we didn't need to go to the grocery store at all. Except we did anyway to turn in some bottles for money and buy chocolate-covered raisins and a German gossip magazine. But that was after making the pie dough, which was pretty easy - just rubbing butter into flour, dissolving a pinch of salt in some cold water and just barely mixing that with the flour/butter mix. We had to kill some time while the dough rested in the refrigerator - which involved the aforementioned grocery shop shenanigans and a beer on the stoop, and the "I'm too hungry to wait" ten-pieces of fried chicken. But eventually the dough felt like it was ready (???), so I managed to use my old pizza making techniques to press out the dough rather than roll it out (again, no rolling pin). Then I got to do what I had anticipated would be my favorite part, that is putting the dough in the pan, pressing it with baking paper and putting beans in the well to hold the form. It was all I could have asked for, although Duncan seemed to tense up a bit when I put the beans in the pie. So that went in the oven for about ten minutes, and after some urging Duncan made the filling. Obviously there were eggs, but he didn't make it so the quiche would be really eggy, more like half eggs half everything else, everything else being grilled onions, spinach, ricotta cheese, and a nice coat of grated Parmesan on top. The whole bitch went in the oven at about 350, and about twenty minutes later it came out lookin right, and, after some cooling, tastin right. Another success story from Chopped n Stewed. Jouyeux anniversaire D.
PIE DOUGH RATIO YO
100% Flour (preferably pastry flour, but you can use regular flour but add a little more fat if you do)
70% Butter (cold!)
30% Cold Water
First rub the butter into the flour, into pea-size bits for flaky pie crust
Thursday, April 8, 2010
I gotta say, Fondue is pretty fucking easy to make. What was more difficult last night, although equally rewarding, was moving my roommate Nadja's big-ass television into the kitchen so we could watch a "football match" (soccer game), namely Manchester United vs. Bayern Muenchen. It was a fondue and fuessball night at 195 torstrasse, and the game was exciting enough to keep everyone from slipping into the classic cheese induced comatose where you can really only say things like "fuck," "fuck me," or even "fuuuuuuuuck." With the World Cup approaching, all my (three or four) readers back in the States should take heed and make the effort to enjoy at least one good game with a fondue pot going.
So Nadja bought this fondue set at a flea market here in Berlin and brought it home and then just left it out on the kitchen table, probably wishing that one day she would come home and it would be filled with melted cheese. That's actually kind of what happened (you should have seen the smile on her face) as a series of fortuitous events brought about a pretty special fondue. There's this dude temporarily living in our apt. now named Duncan from Scotland. Duncan from Scotland saw the fondue pot in disarray on the kitchen table, and I guess this image stuck with him when he went to the Austrian alps with a friend from London, because they returned bearing cheese, and lots of it. I think they must have brought back almost three pounds of Austrian mountain cheese (Bergkaese) and that shit stunk to high heaven.
Anyway first we had some soup and watched the first half, Manchester scored two goals in the first ten minutes, which as you should know is shitty because Man U sucks balls. Things looked desperate. But at the half the fondue was made (it really takes like 2 minutes aside from grating all that cheese) and relieved at least a portion of the woe. It was rich, but this helped a lot with pacing yourself and being patient, part of what enjoying the act of playing and really watching soccer is all about. I think it actually took us almost the full 45 minutes of the second half to eat it all. There were plenty of thrills then too: an ejection, Man U playing with only 10 dudes, and three more goals. It was a pretty perfect chill just-gonna-watch-the-game and eat Wednesday night. My kitchen reeked of cheese the next morning though and now there's just a big unplugged tv sitting in the middle of the floor.
RECIPE N SHIET (for like 6-8 people)
A bottle of white wine, cheap and dry
About two pounds of various cheeses that are stanky. I guess we got a variety of
Bergkaeses along with a little Raclette, though Gruyere should be easy to get anywhere
of course, obviously Swiss Cheeses are classic. You could use white cheddar too.
Like two tablespoons of cornstarch dude
Some Schnapps of some sort (we used Brennivin) but this is like, optional doe
Salt and Pepper
A lil garlic
OK SO easy money, for real. First grate all the cheese, and mix it in a bowl with the cornstarch. Just get a nice pot with a thick bottom and rub a cut garlic clove on the inside of it like some sort of weird voodoo ritual. Then mince the garlic and drop it into the pot which can be at about high heat right now. Then I would say pour in about two cups of the wine, and when it starts to simmer, lower the heat to about medium and start adding cheese by the fistful while constantly stirring, letting the cheese melt completely before adding more, then just keep this up, if you need to you can slowly add more wine but you mustn't forget keep stirring. Once everythang is silky smooth you can add a couple tablespoons of schnapps if you got it, then season it with salt and pepper and pour it in that cute little pot with the tiny sterno flame underneath. If you know you are making this a couple days in advance, buy some baguette bread and leave it out to get dry and crunchy, ideally breaking it up already into bit size-ish bits. Also grab some salami to go with the bread and blanch some broccoli and cauliflower florets for dipping as well. Just chill and watch the game!