Anger Burger

Wales Wants Me and Knows How to Get Me

Posted by on Sep 29, 2011 at 9:48 pm

I’m going to cut straight to the chase here and tell you that I won a basket of food as a part of a promotional campaign for Wales.  I have since come to two conclusions:

  • As a matter of fact, yes I do want to visit Wales
  • Wales’ basket-assembling people need some educating on how to pack gift baskets

First I’d like to thank Su-Lin at Tamarind and Thyme for hosting the contest.  I’m not entirely proud that this was my winning entry:

As an American, Wales means one thing: Sean Connery. Except that I just looked it up on Wikipedia and Connery isn’t from Wales at all, and I’ve been telling people that he is for some years now — it is genuinely one of my favorite pointless facts to bandy about at parties. It just won’t be the same when I inform them that smugly that Ioan Gruffudd is from Wales.

Additionally, it appears that what my boyfriend’s Norwegian/Swedish grandmother called “pikelets” are actually Welsh cakes, and that the word “pikelet” is not Norwegian, Swedish or Welsh at all. It is with a deepening sense of dread that I realize I know nothing at all about Wales other than that they seem to enjoy the letter ‘y’ to an exceptional degree.

It isn’t often that I find myself at a total loss regarding an entire country’s cuisine, and yet here I am. The internet tells me of laverbread, which sounds like something I’d be eating alone and cockles, which I’m pretty sure are made up.

There is little in this world that titillates my ocelot more than boxes full of pantry goods, I tell you what.  DHL on the other hand needs to invest in some sign-reading skills, because this looks levitra volume pills all the world like a box that was dropped on it’s damn end, am I right?

I opened it up and was greeted with an ominously sour odor.  But more on that in a minute.  First, look at this!  It’s like a wicker Christmas morning.

Need the tiniest spoon in the world?  Just ask, I’ll loan you mine.

So, let’s talk about that odor.  I’ve tried to think of how to word this, and I even temporarily decided I wasn’t going to talk about it because you know, this is a gift, but also I think that Wales is in all likelihood an awesome place.  But I think we’re all adult enough to understand that this basket does not represent the country of Wales.  That being said: this is exactly how it came “packed”.  It was a mix of paper boxed goods and glass jars loose inside a basket with a thin layer of shredded paper on the bottom.  More than one thing was quite effectively smashed to pieces.

Most sadly – and I’m dead serious here, I was actually depressed for the better part of an hour – the three jars of peculiar pickled things – PICKLED THINGS!  – were ruined.  All three jars’ seals were popped, and two of the jars had leaked juice all over the basket.  It was with a deeply heavy heart that I dropped them into the trash, untasted.

It is possible that this was all cleverly set up to lure me to Wales with promises of condiments, and if so, it’s working.  Or as the Welsh call them, cyndymynts.  Meanwhile a lot of tasty bites survived the journey, but more on that later.  I need a moment of silence for the plum conserve, ginger chutney and farmhouse piccalilli.

Drive By

Posted by on Sep 27, 2011 at 2:04 pm

My friends Leesa and Aaron just came through L.A. on their way to live in a new city, and after having not seen them for years it was too little crammed into too short a space of time.  But at least they are on the west coast, so now there’s a chance we can be in the same tribe after the apocalypse.

First night of dinner we had salad, garlic bread and a chowder I cobbled together from potatoes, fresh corn, salmon and shrimp.  It was tasty, though I left the shrimp whole and regretted it when no one could actually maneuver a shrimp onto their spoons without either cramming the too-large hunk into their mouth or by biting at it, getting chowder all over their usa online blackjack faces and then dropping the rest back into the bowl and splattering themselves with blow-back.  And by “no one” I mean me.

Waffles for breakfast, dur.  What else?

It totally incapacitated me.  I normally make waffles for dinner so it’s not such a big deal when I pass out afterward, but having them for breakfast means I struggled to remain conscious for the entire rest of the day.

I’m genuinely getting sleepy just thinking about it.  I don’t know what it is about carbohydrates in the morning, but they’re basically a date rape drug for me.

The Thing That Lurks helped me make up the spare bed:

I’m not sure how else I would have gotten eye boogers and mystery dirt inside the fresh sheets otherwise.

5 Posted in Food Rant

Dineria!

Posted by on Sep 23, 2011 at 6:02 pm

When we first moved to Los Angeles we fell prey to what I briefly and angrily called “Mexican Fake-Outs.”  They would appear to be Mexican restaurants, and with names like “Los Burritos” you’d be a fool not to expect burritos, right?  But of course not.  Inside you’d find a sort of peculiar, vaguely Mexican breakfast and burger joint.  A diner, sort of.  With some Mexican foods on the menu of course, and staffed by Mexican people, and frequented by Mexican patrons.  But if you actually wanted to eat Mexican food, you would not pick these places.

It wasn’t until Mike the Viking christened them “dinerias” that my brain re-oriented itself.

They are not Mexican restaurants.  They are diners run by Mexicans.  And they are everywhere.  They are more prevalent than 7-11s.  They are the bodegas of Los Angeles, except you can’t buy cigarettes or beer or anything.  But you can get pastrami burritos.  I swear it!  I’ve never ordered one, but almost every dineria has them.  Also what many of them refer to as “California Burritos” which are burritos with french fries inside.  Mike swears by these, but I still have dignity so I haven’t eaten one.

Anyway, the menus are expansive and confusing and it’s often best to order without even looking at them.  Our favorite of the dinerias is Tom’s #7, also referred to by us as “Crash Test Tom’s.

Their menu says that you can only have breakfast until noon, but we know better.  Last time Mike was there in Viagra 100mg the afternoon he ordered a burger, turned around to leave and saw a man eating a delicious-looking chicken-fried steak.  Aghast, Mike asked the man “You can order breakfast after noon?!” and the man shrugged and said, “I did, yeah.  I drove all the way¹ from Studio City for their chicken-fried steak!”  Mike says he didn’t even remember how his burger tasted because he was so sad he didn’t know he could get chicken-fried steak.

It may look a little pedestrian, but it’s a solid specimen.  The gravy is not gluey-tasting, but sausagey, peppery and milky.  The eggs were perfectly cooked, the hashbrowns good enough, and the steak itself was very tender.  It had a cornmeal crust on it that I found disappointing because I dislike cornmeal crust, but Mike enjoyed it and that’s really what matters.

His hot sauce application cracks me up.

My avocado burger was excellent.  It’s nothing special, but it was precisely how I like it.  The bun was perfectly toasted, there was just the right amount of sauce and there was at least a half an avocado on the thing.  I have simple wants when it comes to avocado burgers, and that’s it.

It’s a great relief knowing that Tom’s #7 exists.  Anyone who has ever had a hangover knows that nothing cures like having both huevos rancheros and a chocolate milkshake in the same place at the same time.
¹ “All the way” makes us laugh because Studio City is maybe 4 miles away, but Angelinos are funny about distances.

I’m Starting to Think He’s Messing With Me

Posted by on Sep 14, 2011 at 6:40 pm

For the second time in a week Mike the Viking has totally blown my little reptilian baking-mind, this time by idly mentioning that he’s never had pineapple upside-down cake. Who the hell has never had a pineapple upside-down cake? And then: has it really been over 10 years since I made a pineapple upside-down cake?

I read through probably 10 or 15 recipes before finding the one that I wanted at Coleen’s Recipes.  I didn’t want to make a separate caramel sauce, and I didn’t want anything extra in the batter; this latter part was a trick to wrangle, as every version I could find used buttermilk, or ground almonds, or sour cream, or cat milk, or sea urchin, or wood pulp or something else I didn’t feel like using.  I just wanted yellow cake.  Coleen really pulled through on this one.

Okay, I mean, minus the part where I didn’t even feel like buying and chopping up a fresh pineapple.  I just wanted an old-fashioned upside-down cake, no shenanigans.  I figure if he was going to eat his first one, it should be a classic 1950′s one.

The recipe was 100% ideal.  Moist and buttery, a little over-sweet, the bottom and particularly the sides pills called volumes candied into rich buttered brown sugar outrageousness.  Mike – the Viking here, folks, a man who was disappointed when I bought a variety bag of single-serve potato chips because he just wanted the BBQ ones – even started suggesting alternative flavors, like banana or pear upside-down cake.

I used extra cherries because I primarily eat pineapple upside-down cake as a vector for eating wretchedly artificial maraschino cherries.  I drank whiskey sours the whole first two years I was of legal drinking age primarily just for the cherries, and before realizing that the sour mix was what was making me throw up every time I went drinking and not the whiskey.  LIVE AND LEARN.

I’m not going to list the recipe here because it was unchanged from Coleen’s at her website, so you can go over there and get it – just know that I used canned pineapple and left out the pecans, but do know that I even used butter flavor extract (actually, my grocery store sells a flavor called “Vanilla Butternut” that I used instead of both vanilla and butter extracts), and that’s where the evil-cackle-worthy greatness of a somewhat fake-tasting 1950′s cake comes from.  Serve with mugs of instant Folger’s and call it a day.

17 Posted in Make It So

Turns Out Mike the Viking Loves Lemon Meringue Pie and Never Told Me

Posted by on Sep 10, 2011 at 12:15 pm

I mean, it’s not like we talk a lot.  We spend a lot of energy physically avoiding one another, and primarily to avoid having to talk about feelings or personal preferences or anything like that.

I don’t even remember the circumstances around his mentioning, as though I should always have known – as if I know anything at all about him after these last 10 years other than that he won’t eat beans, soup, risotto, stew, most pasta dishes, shrimp too large, “dirty” bread, frosting or grains other than rice – that he loves lemon meringue pie.  In his words: “Apple is the best pie, but lemon meringue is second.”

Well.  My answer was to repeat to him “Meringue?  Meringue meringue?”  like some half-wit monkey.  Because I find this incredibly hard to believe.  There’s no way he likes the texture of meringue.

So I made it, as much to prove to myself in smug self-flagellation that the Viking does not in fact know what he is talking about.  I’ve never seen him eat a slice of meringue pie, let alone pine for it as this “second best” beloved pie as he so claims.

I dirtied every single cookpot in the kitchen, too, I might add.  And most of the bowls.  And the food processor.  And the stand mixer.  It was a fucking massacre in there.

And this thing that came out the other end?

Turns out he does like meringue.  Meringue meringue.

Cook’s Illustrated “Ultimate Lemon Meringue Pie”
i barely changed the recipe because i’m intimidated by the esoteric nature of meringue.  most meringues are total bitches: they “weep” or sweat beads of sugary moisture, or they sink into the lemon filling, or they pee liquid all over the lemon filling and turn it back into soup or any other number of ruinous fuckery.  but it held solid, didn’t weep and the next day remained perfectly intact – in fact, the whole pie was unchanged 24 hours later, a major feat for a lemon meringue.

pie crust:
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
6 Tbsp (3 oz) butter, chilled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
4 Tbsp vegetable shortening, chilled
2 – 4 Tbsp cold water
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

lemon filling:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups cold water
6 egg yolks
1 heaping Tbsp lemon zest (about 2 lemons)
1/2 cup lemon juice (about 3 – 5 lemons)
2 Tbsp butter

meringue:
1 Tbsp cornstarch + 1/3 cup water
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup  sugar
4 egg whites
1/2 tsp vanilla

  • To make the pie shell, mix flour, salt and sugar in food processor.  Cut butter into flour with a few short pulses. Add the shortening and continue pulsing in until flour resembles coarse cornmeal with butter bits no larger than a small pea, a few more short pulses. Dump into a bowl.  Sprinkle 2 tablespoons cold water over the mixture and using a spatula press down on dough with until dough sticks together. If dough will not come together, add 1 tablespoon more cold water and again if it still won’t come together, but I’d be pretty surprised if that were the case.  Transfer dough to a piece of plastic wrap, tightly seal and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Heavily coat work area with graham cracker crumbs; I like to roll dough between two pieces of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Place dough on work area. Flip the dough a few times in the graham crumbs to thoroughly coat it. Roll dough out quickly and efficiently (don’t roll back and forth over the same area a lot or it will get tough – instead, roll from the center out) continuously coating with graham crumbs. Flip the entire thing over at least once to make sure the underside is getting equally coated.  This is where using plastic wrap or parchment comes in handy.   Form a disc about 13 inches in free electronic cigarettes diameter.
  • Place pie dough in a 9-inch glass pie pan. Take care to fit dough to pan without stretching it; the best way to do this is to gently lift the edges of the dough and settle the dough down into the inside corner of the pie pan, moving around the circumference of the pan until the dough is nicely settled.  Trim all around to your taste (1 inch for thick crust edges, 1/2 inch for thinner) and fold the extra dough under and crimp the dough either with your fingers or with a fork.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then use fork to prick shell at  1/2 inch intervals.  Press a doubled 12-inch square of aluminum foil into pie shell, taking care to press it gently up along the sides of the shell; prick again just on the bottom and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
  • Heat oven to 400 degrees. Bake the shell, checking occasionally for ballooning, until crust is firmly set, about 10 to 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees, remove foil, and continue to bake until crust is crisp and golden brown in color, about 10 minutes longer.  Remove from oven and turn the heat down to 325 degrees.
  • For the filling, mix sugar, cornstarch, salt, and water in a large, nonreactive saucepan. Bring mixture to simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally at beginning of the process and more frequently as mixture begins to thicken. When mixture starts to simmer and turn translucent, whisk in egg yolks, two at a time. Whisk in zest, then lemon juice, and finally butter. Bring mixture to a brisk simmer, whisking constantly. Remove from heat, place plastic wrap directly on surface of filling to keep hot and prevent skin from forming.
  • For the meringue, mix cornstarch with 1/3 cup water in small saucepan and bring to simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally at beginning and more frequently as mixture thickens. When mixture starts to simmer and turn translucent, remove from heat. Let cool while continuing with next step.
  • Double check that you turned the oven down to 325 degrees. Mix cream of tartar and sugar together in a small bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat egg whites and vanilla until frothy. Beat in sugar mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time until sugar is incorporated and mixture forms soft peaks. Add the gloopy cornstarch mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time; continue to beat meringue to stiff peaks.  You’ll probably have to stop and scrape the bowl down since the action of the beater will have flung some of the cornstarch mixture against the bowl wall.  Continue mixing a few seconds longer just to incorporate.
  • Remove plastic from lemon filling and return to low heat for just a minute – it is very important that the filling is hot when you proceed with the next step.
  • Pour lemon filling into pie shell. Using a rubber spatula, immediately distribute meringue evenly around edge then center of pie to keep it from sinking into filling – you don’t have to use all the meringue if you like a little less, but make sure the meringue attaches to pie crust to prevent shrinking. You can smooth the meringue down or use a spoon to make little decorative peaks all over.   Bake pie until meringue is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature.
  • No really, LET IT COOL TO ROOM TEMPERATURE.  This will take as many as 5 to 6 hours.  Do not place in fridge, and do not cut until the bottom of the pan has no detectable warmth at all.  Ignoring this advice risks having a runny pie.  To store uneaten pie, again: do not refrigerate.  Keep at room temperature and press a folded piece of plastic wrap into the cut edges of the pie, but not across the top of the meringue.  It will keep just fine for about a day.
13 Posted in Make It So

My Mind on Swedish Cream and Swedish Cream on My Mind

Posted by on Sep 6, 2011 at 5:57 pm

As usual, I blame my mom.

It started innocently enough.  Her favorite bakery in Cannon Beach, Oregon serves cups of Swedish Cream in little plastic take-out containers, and since she’s a rabid predator whenever a vanilla cream of any kind is present, she bought some and wouldn’t shut up about it being the bestest dessert ever.  Thus began my trials.

Swedish Cream, it turns out, is essentially just panna cotta made with sour cream.  And panna cotta, as you know, is a creamy dessert somewhat like custard, but using gelatin to thicken instead of egg yolks.  Your mind is not yet blown, I understand.  But let’s go for a walk together while I explain this to you.

See, most custards and puddings are pretty soft, and custards in particular are quite rich, owing largely to the egg yolks.  They’re pale yellow and lush; think crème brûlée.  Which is why, upon tasting the Swedish Cream for myself, I was so shocked.

Swedish Cream, to begin with, is snow-white.  Not veering into blue or yellow, but perfectly, ethereally white.  It should really be served in clear glass dishes, but I don’t currently stock those at the Anger Burger kitchen, so you know.  Discount store white ramekins it is.  But the flavor, the flavor is something else: almost refreshing, it is tangy and sweet and mild all at once, with a distant, back-of-tongue fattiness from the dairy.  There’s nothing cloying about Swedish Cream, and you can and will want to eat much more of it than is probably healthy.

The flavor is so mild, in fact, that it’s nigh required to serve it with some sort of fruit coulis.  Just a little, and anything from mixed berries to apricots will work just fine.  You’re starting with a base of faintly vanilla-perfumed milk, after all, so it’s time to go crazy go nuts.

Of course, this is where things went awry with me.   Not the coulis – that’s amateur hour – but  the Swedish Cream itself.  I found several recipes, each with varying levels of, well, everything.  Some had yogurt.  One even used buttermilk instead of sour cream.  And there was nothing to do but just start making it, which of course I set about doing from the most complicated end of the spectrum thinking that something so delicious certainly couldn’t be simple.  I tried the yogurt and sour cream mixed together, I tried three different kinds of milk, I tried half gelatin and double gelatin.

Don’t be surprised, but I still refuse to believe that this best version – the simplest one – is still the best possible version.  There are some variations I haven’t tried yet, but we can only eat so many gallons of this stuff a day.  I realize I’m contradicting my earlier implication that you will eat all of it at once, but I admit that I’m getting older and dairy isn’t digesting like it used to.  Okay, it doesn’t have anything to do with age.  Let’s keep walking.

I’m still convinced some small quantity of buttermilk will end up blowing my mind the Pokies rest of the way, but in the meantime I’m sorry to introduce to you the reason you’re going to eat a 16-ounce tub of sour cream this week.

Swedish Cream
here is where you (and definitely my mom) may disagree with me: i prefer it made with whole milk so that it is just a little lighter, and just a little easier to eat a big cup of it in one sitting.  that being said, making it with half-and-half or even full cream will make, as you have rightfully guessed, a creamier, smoother and richer dessert.  my advice is: try it both ways.  you know, for science.

1 16oz container (2 cups) full-fat sour cream
2 1/2 cups whole milk, or half-and-half, or full-fat cream or any variation therein
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 packet of unflavored gelatin (see note)

*note: in the US, the primary brand for unflavored gelatin is Knox and it comes in little boxes containing four packets.  In grocery stores, Knox is always in the same general vicinity as the boxes of Jello.

  • In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and gelatin.  Stir these dry ingredients together.  Gently whisk in the 2 1/2 cups of milk (or whatever you are using) and then place on a medium burner.  Do not walk away.  Stirring often, heat the milk, sugar and gelatin mixture together until scalding, which is when it is not yet bubbling but too hot to put your finger into for longer than a quick dip.  Remove from heat, set aside and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  • Dump the sour cream and vanilla into a medium bowl and using a whisk, slowly pour the milk mixture into the sour cream.  We are doing this only to ensure the milk and sour cream mix smoothly together, we aren’t tempering it or anything tricky.
  • Ladle the cream into individual serving dishes.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.  Serve with a generous puddle of fruit coulis, fresh fruit, mint sprigs and whatever else you find in the yard.

Fruit Coulis, the General Idea
this works with just about any fruit, though some might be grosser than others – i’d avoid banana, for instance.  don’t limit yourself to fresh fruit either, frozen fruit works just as well if not better, since we’re just blending it up anyway. you can also add a dash of liquor (Grand Marnier is lovely), or herbs (rosemary goes well with almost everything) or spices (the usual suspects).

1 cup fruit (thawed if from frozen)
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
fruit juice or water (optional)

  • In a blender or food processor, blend until smooth.  Taste for levels – if it is too sweet, add more lemon juice, and too sour, add more sugar.  If it appears too thick, add fruit juice or water one spoonful at a time until the sauce is as thin as you desire.
  • If you’ve used berries and you’re really not into seeds, strain the mixture through a tea-strainer or something similar.
  • That’s it, you’re done.
5 Posted in Make It So

Eating a Tiny Quantity of Vegetarian Crow

Posted by on Sep 2, 2011 at 11:53 am

I have a great conflict inside of me.  Not the one where I wonder if I should shower today.  It’s the one where I enjoy eating healthy, whole foods but I am too infuriated by the contemporary vista of the smug hipster foodie to discuss it much.

I’m a little exhausted by it all, to be honest.  At first it was thrilling – decent coffee in almost every town!  Regular grocery stores carry artisan breads!  Different salt for different uses!  But then it started to weigh everything down; recipes became complex for complexity’s sake.  Homemade goldfish crackers, really?!  People don’t blink twice at $40 and 48 hours of active prep time just to make two servings of David Chang’s Momofuku ramen at home.  There’s an iPhone app for ordering 50 pounds of tomatoes from your local farm so you can put up your own tomato sauce.  I may have made that last part up, but there’s also a good chance it’s a real thing.

Being local didn’t stop a third of these potatoes from being rotten inside.

Anyway, I get it:  food should come from somewhere reasonably nearby.  It should be free of poisons.  If grandma didn’t recognize it, don’t eat it¹ — believe me, I’ve sipped of the HFCS-free, naturally-colored açaí berry Kool-Aid and it is good.  But I’m just not going to pay $10 a pound for heirloom beans and as much as I would dearly love to “source” some hand-rendered organic leaf lard for my pie crusts, I can’t, so I guess some fucking Crisco will have to do.

I admit that my irritation extends to people that don’t deserve it.  Or mostly don’t.  Heidi Swanson of the website 101 Cookbooks is one of those people, and I felt vindication when I checked her book Super Natural Cooking out from the library.  In the comments section of this page I tried to summarize my dislike of the cookbook, which largely boiled down to that the recipes were vaguely repetitive and required the acquisition of unusual grains and legumes that I’d never again use.  Anger Burger reader Jodi of Feral Cook advised that I try the sequel book, Super Natural Every Day, and that I’ve done.  And?  Jodi’s right, it’s a good book.

I’m going to stop griping and tell you about this recipe.

Heidi calls it “Broccoli Gribiche” but I think the gribiche part might throw some folks.  Also, by the time I was through with it it wasn’t really gribiche any more, so you can see where this particular devolution is going.

Normally sauce gribiche is a French sauce for meat made with cornichons, vinegar, capers, boiled egg and herbs.  It is delicious, but Mike the Viking thinks that capers are poison, so I can’t use them.  It had also never occurred to me to serve gribiche with vegetables, and this is where Swanson gets her bitch-slap on.  This shit is dope on vegetables.

It’s milder than you might think it would be, and richer at the same time.  The egg yolks in the sauce are soothing and creamy, the herbs are intentionally mild, and if you’re so inclined, the capers and cornichons are merely starry points of brightness in an otherwise perfectly autumnal dish.

Any vegetables at all would work, and certainly the aforementioned more common meat.  I can absolutely imagine this as a heavily-dressed mix of vegetables spooned over roasted chicken.  Lord, I can imagine it.

I tried it with chopped oil-cured olives on top, and it was good, but not as good as cornichons — which are, if I’m not too late to tell you, very sour and otherwise largely unseasoned little pickles.  I can and do eat them by the jars full.

Vegetable Gribiche
deeply inspired by Heidi Swanson
i tried making this sauce as Heidi advises with a single yolk and a hand whisk, but found that more yolks and a food processor made the version that i preferred.  you can of course make it with a whisk, but it will never fully emulsify.  it tastes good, but that thick, perfectly silky perfection will never happen.

2 1/2 – 3  pounds roast vegetables, cut into bite-size pieces
4 eggs, hard cooked
1/2 C. mild olive oil
2 Tbsp. vinegar (red wine is traditional, apple cider and balsamic are tasty too)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp. maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
2 shallots, chopped fine
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped fine
2 or 3 cornichons, chopped fine (optional)
1 Tbsp capers (optional)
1 Tbsp. chopped tarragon (optional – see note below)

*A note on tarragon: tarragon is a supposedly mild herb that to me tastes of licorice and quite neatly overpowers almost everything else.  I like the flavor, but I feel that tarragon should be used with serious moderation, particularly for American palates that aren’t as keen on the taste of licorice or anise.  Taste if first before you buy a fresh $2 bundle of it that you almost certainly will not use, then consider buying dried tarragon. This is the only time I’ll advise buying a dried herb, but there it is: at least it won’t rot before you someday use it again.

  • Have hard boiled eggs ready before you start anything else – they don’t have to be cooled, just cooked.
  • Roast the vegetables by coating them in a light drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt, and putting them in a 425° oven for about 15 minutes, or until they are browned in places and cooked through.
  • While the vegetables are roasting, peel the hard boiled eggs, cut them in half and remove the egg yolks to the bowl of a food processor or blender.  Set the whites aside for now.  To the yolks add the oil, vinegar, mustard, maple syrup and salt.  Blend until very smooth, about 30 – 60 seconds.  Add the chopped shallot, parsley, cornichons, capers and tarragon if using.  Pulse to blend briefly, maybe 5 seconds worth, just to incorporate the chopped bits.  Taste for seasonings.
  • Finely julianne the egg whites and put them in a bowl large enough to hold the roasted vegetables.  Add the yolk sauce from the blender.  This is now sauce gribiche.
  • When the vegetables are done roasting and screaming hot, add them to the gribiche and stir quickly to coat.  Serve hot or warm either with some crusty bread or as a side dish.
  • Leftovers are totally excellent cold the next day, dur.

¹ For the record, though, my grandma used Sweet’N Low, ate Spam, loved Cool Whip and would walk a mile for a Twinkie. I realize that Pollan actually advises to not eat anything your great-great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food, which means we’re getting back further than I am familiar, though I suspect she would have eaten just as poorly or worse than myself if faced with a box of donuts and a tall, glistening glass of Sunny Delight.

16 Posted in Make It So