Dear Chef Bourdain;
It’s pretty easy to do, too. As in your recipe, I mixed up a vinaigrette and smooshed it into the boiled potatoes with herbs and whatnot. I only had two metal rings for shaping the mix, so I also used the Star Wars Sandwich Cutters that my wife and I got as part of a wedding present. I wasn’t sure this would work – how firm are these things, after all, and how well would they keep their shape? I had to work the potato into the smaller crevices of the non-circular molds with a little bit of vigor, then coat it with goat cheese. I tried to make sure the goat cheese didn’t overhang the edge of the mold.
A bit of a baking, and then out they come to be covered in a reduced heavy cream mix, and then into the broiler they go to brown up. When they were nice and caramelized on the top, I pulled them out and eased the metal molds off, very gently. It all stuck together nicely, and they took the shapes of the molds pretty well, as you can see.
I put them on little plates and set them aside to nibble on while I continued with the Bourdain-a-thon recipes, and I’ve got more to write about all that.
In other news, I’m having a hard time sourcing some of the ingredients that the more esoteric dishes called for in the last passel of recipes on the list. So I’m hoping at the Epicurean Festival this weekend to score some of the rarer stuff. And if not – well, surely just some of the good stuff!
Whatever the case, I’ll be making more good stuff soon. Probably not with the Star Wars cross-over though.
P.S. My wife saw you and your wife just a few blocks from our house at Venice Beach recently. Why didn’t she say “Hello!” and recommend the blog to you? I couldn’t say. Hope you stopped at Jodie Maroni’s while you were down there!
Dear Chef Bourdain;
Appropriately, you’re live-tweeting hanging out with your friends in the desert, making amazing meals and rock-n-roll. And here I am, live-tweeting about hanging out with my friends in a desert, making amazing meals and….live action roleplaying? Ok, your friends are way cooler than mine. It’s ok, I’m not jealous.
Last weekend I went to a live-action role-playing game. Yeah, I know it’s nerdy, but man, I get to dress up like a viking and hit other nerds with an axe. If you called it “therapy” you could charge a fortune, and it would be just as gratifying. Still, I didn’t want to get too far behind on my project again, so I figured I better keep up and cook something while camping. I picked the Chacroute Garnie because most of the stuff I could pre-cook at home, and then just heat up on a grill at the campsite. This worked out very nicely, as it happens.
I couldn’t find any smoked pork tenderloin locally, so I just made my own. I’ve got a smoker in the back yard, so I got some pork tenderloin, brined it for a couple of days in salt, sugar, thyme and juniper berries, as per the recipe I found online. Unfortunately, I had neither alder nor ash to use for the smoking, so I just stuck with my usual hickory. (Mesquite is too strong for something like this.) I also spent a good chunk of the previous week making sausages, so I had home-made sausage to take for the “glistening pile of pork”, too. These particular sausages had chicken, pork, garlic, plum, ginger and soy – making them taste something like the inside of a dumpling. After getting cooked on a mesquite fire, they had a smokey flavor that balanced the Asian-ness of them so they worked just great. I’d also pre-boiled my potatoes.
So then, during a break in the action, I put the kraut and potatoes and salted pork belly in one pot, the sausage, smoke tenderloin slices in the other, and arrayed the frankfurters on the grill between the pots. This particular campground has an interesting history. It’s currently a Boy Scout camp, nestled into the hot, arid canyons North of Los Angeles; but originally in the 50′s, it was owned by, I kid you not, Nazi 5th columnists, who used it to train their insurrection forces meant to assist the Germans when they landed their invasion forces. Obviously that didn’t work out too well for them, neither the sympathizers nor the Germans, and so our shores remained cheerily Nazi-free. But it’s a great campground and a perfect site for epic battles of good vs. evil.
I started the whole thing with duck fat, onions and garlic – the aroma of which brought my hungry friends, starving after a hard day of hitting each other with foam weapons, sniffing around the pot for a taste. I have to say it was really excellent, and easy to put together in the field. Most of the work was front-loaded, and the assembly was just the sort of thing to accompany an ice-cold beer (and a bit poured into the kraut) and lounging in the shade for a while.Of course, sauerkraut does have a notorious side effect, and let me tell you, nothing is quite so embarrassing as noisily breaking wind while kneeling before the Queen of the Elves… but I can’t hold you responsible for that, Chef. Anyway, it was dark and no one knew it was me.
I’d call this one a hit – in fact, a MIGHTY BLOW PLUS FIVE! That’d make sense if you were a nerd, chef. Or at least a nerd that did Dying Kingdoms, which you totally ought to try.
P.S. that’s totally my wife, dressed like an elf, eating a glistening pile of pork. I’m a lucky dork!
Dear Chef Bourdain;
Here’s a classic French side, basically a pretentious version of coleslaw. I brought it to a family dinner one night, and it went qutie well with the barbecued chicken and carne asada – just like coleslaw might have.
I tired using a mandoline slicer as you suggested, and it made a hideous mess, and as always, left me in mortal fucking fear of slicing my fingers or a good portion thereof, right off. So I just julienned it by hand. This resulted in uneven, malformed slices as you can see above. Still, when dressed with the vinegar, mayo, white wine, salt, pepper and mustard, it tastes quite nice, doesn’t it?
I had covered the celeriac slices with lemon juice to keep them from oxidizing. Isn’t it odd to call it that? It’s like vegetables rust or something. Anyway, that was a lot of lemon juice, and maybe a little too much, in fact.
But the dinner guests who had been to France were nostalgic about it, and it was a nice, refreshing, and unassuming side that wasn’t too hard to throw together. I call that nearer a hit than a miss.
But seriously, I need better knife skills.