No Recipes vol. 4

Tuna with Mekabu and Shiso

It’s been a weird week. Now that I don’t have a job to go to I thought I’d have a lot more time to work on the blog, but job hunting is a lot more time consuming than you’d think. I did manage to get a new template up for the blog after the last one died a horrible death upon upgrading WordPress. If you haven’t already, tell me what you think. Lisa from A Blog About Food was kind enough to Twitter me to point out that the font was unreadably small, so I’ve fixed that, but any other comments/suggestions are welcome.

I’ve also put up a store with reviews of some of my favourite kitchen items in case you were curious. Click the banner to the right or the Kitchen Shop link up at the top of the page.

Oh, and in case you’ve ever wondered about the face behind this blog, Peter of the fantastic Greek food blog Kalofagas has outted me in this post. We had a great time eating, drinking, and hanging out while he was in NY. Which reminds me, if any NYC food blogger’s (or visiting bloggers) want to meet up sometime, drop me a note.

Here’s a roundup of all the quickies I put together this week (along with some experiments).

Gruyere Biscuits
MMmmm Melted Gruyere and Parmesan in a biscuitGruyere Yogurt Biscuits – I woke up Saturday morning famished. Wanting something quick and savory I found a simple cheddar cheese buttermilk biscuit recipe in Cooks Illustrated. Not having any cheddar or buttermilk, I swapped the grated cheddar out for gruyere peels (using a vegetable peeler), and the buttermilk out for 1 C yogurt and 1/2 C milk. The result was fantastic, I like using peels instead of grated cheese in baked goods because you actually get melted pockets of cheese. The yogurt made the biscuits a bit denser but that wasn’t a bad thing, the extra body worked with the cheese and unlike most biscuits the leftovers (all 2 of them) tasted even better the next day.

Pumpkin Brulee
Pumpkin Brulee – As a follow-up to my post on a Crustless Pumpkin Pie, I’ve discovered that it makes a fantastic pumpkin brulee. Just slice and cover (both the custard and pumpkin) with an ample coating of sugar then torch or stick it under a broiler. The caramelized sugar not only adds some depth to the flavour, but it also gives the bland pumpkin some more flavor. This actually gave me an idea. Next time I’m going to try making a creme caramel inside a pumpkin. Coating the inside of the pumpkin with a layer of caramelized sugar should fix the problem of the bland pumpkin and create a sauce that goes with the two at the same time.

Turkey CasseroleLeftover Turkey & Stuffing Casserole – I’ve never actually made a turkey casserole with leftovers before. Given our non-traditional Thanksgiving this year I thought I’d try my hand at a more traditional leftover dish. I dug through the fridge and found some pepper cured bacon, shimeji mushrooms, carrots, peas and of course turkey. In the cupboard there was a wee bit of orecchiette pasta left at the bottom of a box in the very back so I boiled that very al dente (half the suggested cooking time) and threw that in as well. For the sauce I used a basic roux, turkey stock (from the leftover bones), and milk. And to top things off, I made use of the leftover stuffing which got layered on to form a crust. Despite it’s humble roots and simple prep, it actually tasted fantastic with a rich velvety center and a crisp fragrant top.

Crispy Shitake RavioliCrispy Shitake Ravioli with Truffled Yogurt Foam – This is another one of those dishes that came to me in a day dream. I’ll be blogging about it someday, but for now, let’s just say it’s not quite there. What I’d envisioned was little dumplings encased in a soft clear shell (think har gow) which burst open to reveal a gush of savory stock, creamy bits of ricotta and crisp bits of water chestnuts all swimming in a rich stock with a tart and pungent froth on top. So how did it go wrong? First of all, I couldn’t make the dip and boil technique work with kuzu (arrowroot starch), so I’m thinking I need to figure out how to make a “dough” out of a non-Newtonian fluid (i.e. starch). I ended up just going with a standard hot water and flour dough, so while it tasted fine, it wasn’t quite the texture I was going for (I wanted something less noodle like and more mochi like). Then there was the matter of the foam, I know it sounds a bit gimicky, but it’s a great way to impart flavor without adding anymore substance. I used a milk frother, but being a bit of a newbie, I didn’t realize I needed a stabilizer to make it froth properly. Oops. Anyway I like all the flavors and some of the textures, so I’m going to keep working on this one till I figure it out.

  • http://www.kalofagas.blogspot.com/ Peter

    Marc, that fish carpaccio in the banner, I WANT to EAT!

    Thanks for the shoutout and your hospitality…I wish I could do New York each month…alas.

  • http://www.kalofagas.blogspot.com Peter

    Marc, that fish carpaccio in the banner, I WANT to EAT!

    Thanks for the shoutout and your hospitality…I wish I could do New York each month…alas.

  • marc

    Hi Peter, if you do a search for “hamachi” you’ll see a couple recipes, but the one in the header is the one with sunchokes:-)

  • marc

    Hi Peter, if you do a search for “hamachi” you’ll see a couple recipes, but the one in the header is the one with sunchokes:-)

  • http://www.practicallydone.com/ helen

    marc, I really like the new design/layout. I’m looking at it in Safari on a Mac and everything looks good. About your shitake ravioli: Perhaps steaming will work? I also recall my aunt using hot water when she works with rice flour. Keep the experiments coming!

  • http://www.practicallydone.com helen

    marc, I really like the new design/layout. I’m looking at it in Safari on a Mac and everything looks good. About your shitake ravioli: Perhaps steaming will work? I also recall my aunt using hot water when she works with rice flour. Keep the experiments coming!

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com/ Manggy

    Lookin good Marc! Liz is gorgeous, too :)
    I’m especially intrigued by the ravioli. Your description of your vision sounds so delicious! Can’t wait for its final incarnation.

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com Manggy

    Lookin good Marc! Liz is gorgeous, too :)
    I’m especially intrigued by the ravioli. Your description of your vision sounds so delicious! Can’t wait for its final incarnation.

  • http://www.souvlakiforthesoul.com/ Peter G

    As I said the other day I quite like the new look. The gruyere/yogurt biscuits are my favourites here.

  • http://www.souvlakiforthesoul.com Peter G

    As I said the other day I quite like the new look. The gruyere/yogurt biscuits are my favourites here.

  • http://chefsgonewild.blogspot.com/ Zenchef

    You got me thinking with your ravioli experiment. hehe.

    You might want to check out some Ferran Adria techniques for that. He has made ravioli ‘dough’ from clear consomme in the past. He adds some kind of stabilizer that keeps it from melting when heated. I know, it’s pretty high tech. Otherwise there’s is the sodium alginate and calcium chloride solution that creates a skin around a liquid. I don’t know if it would be suited for that though.

    I saw you met Peter, too! Great guy, isn’t he?
    We should have dinner sometimes. As New Yorkers, we have no excuses. :-)

  • http://chefsgonewild.blogspot.com Zenchef

    You got me thinking with your ravioli experiment. hehe.

    You might want to check out some Ferran Adria techniques for that. He has made ravioli ‘dough’ from clear consomme in the past. He adds some kind of stabilizer that keeps it from melting when heated. I know, it’s pretty high tech. Otherwise there’s is the sodium alginate and calcium chloride solution that creates a skin around a liquid. I don’t know if it would be suited for that though.

    I saw you met Peter, too! Great guy, isn’t he?
    We should have dinner sometimes. As New Yorkers, we have no excuses. :-)

  • http://newlywedcooking.blogspot.com/ sharon

    Marc, it’s great to see your face! :) Looks like you had a great dinner.

    Everything looks amazing but I’m particularly drooling over the biscuits. That’s the carb lover in me!
    When I was looking for a job, I thought I’d blog all the time but job seeking is almost a full time job.

  • http://newlywedcooking.blogspot.com sharon

    Marc, it’s great to see your face! :) Looks like you had a great dinner.

    Everything looks amazing but I’m particularly drooling over the biscuits. That’s the carb lover in me!
    When I was looking for a job, I thought I’d blog all the time but job seeking is almost a full time job.

  • http://noobcook.com/ noobcook

    Luv the new look and the new features. best wishes for your job hunting … hope you find your dream job soon =) All the food in this post look great ^^

  • http://noobcook.com noobcook

    Luv the new look and the new features. best wishes for your job hunting … hope you find your dream job soon =) All the food in this post look great ^^

  • http://www.kyotofoodie.com/ Peko Peko

    I see that you inspired ChrisEatsKyoto with your Pumpkin Brulee. Did you see his artico? He linked here but no TB???.

  • http://www.kyotofoodie.com Peko Peko

    I see that you inspired ChrisEatsKyoto with your Pumpkin Brulee. Did you see his artico? He linked here but no TB???.

  • http://www.everydaycookin.blogspot.com Darius T. Williams

    OMG – can I just say I’m in love with how you’re getting rid of leftovers in the fridge…and a dense biscuit is all good in my book!

    -DTW
    http://www.everydaycookin.blogspot.com

  • http://www.everydaycookin.blogspot.com/ Darius T. Williams

    OMG – can I just say I’m in love with how you’re getting rid of leftovers in the fridge…and a dense biscuit is all good in my book!

    -DTW
    http://www.everydaycookin.blogspot.com

  • marc

    Thanks for the Safari checkup Helen! Since the boiling method didn’t work I was thinking about steaming, but the way I was boiling them was to dip them in a mixture of kuzu starch and water. If I put it in a steamer like that the coating of starch would drip off before it cooked. I’m thinking I either need to learn a bit more food chemistry to figure out how to give it a thin skin without actually wrapping it in anything.

    Manggy, thanks, you made L blush:-)

    Thanks Peter G.

    Zenchef, I’ve been looking into various hydrocolloid solutions, so that might be the route to take, but it would be nice if I could figure out a more home-cook friendly method:-) As for dinner, we should definitely meet up sometime!

    Sharon, thanks! Biscuits are a great fix when you’re craving carbs and don’t have the time to make a yeast leavened bread:-)

    Noobcook, thanks for the encouraging words:-)

    Peko Peko, I did see CEK’s post, he actually linked to another post on the topic, but I’m not sure why the TB didn’t work, I’ll have to look into that.

    Thanks DTW!

  • marc

    Thanks for the Safari checkup Helen! Since the boiling method didn’t work I was thinking about steaming, but the way I was boiling them was to dip them in a mixture of kuzu starch and water. If I put it in a steamer like that the coating of starch would drip off before it cooked. I’m thinking I either need to learn a bit more food chemistry to figure out how to give it a thin skin without actually wrapping it in anything.

    Manggy, thanks, you made L blush:-)

    Thanks Peter G.

    Zenchef, I’ve been looking into various hydrocolloid solutions, so that might be the route to take, but it would be nice if I could figure out a more home-cook friendly method:-) As for dinner, we should definitely meet up sometime!

    Sharon, thanks! Biscuits are a great fix when you’re craving carbs and don’t have the time to make a yeast leavened bread:-)

    Noobcook, thanks for the encouraging words:-)

    Peko Peko, I did see CEK’s post, he actually linked to another post on the topic, but I’m not sure why the TB didn’t work, I’ll have to look into that.

    Thanks DTW!

  • http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/ Kevin

    I like the sound of those gruyere yogurt biscuits. Baking with cheese is always good and they look nice and light a fluffy.

  • http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/ Kevin

    I like the sound of those gruyere yogurt biscuits. Baking with cheese is always good and they look nice and light a fluffy.

  • http://www.rasamalaysia.com/ Rasa Malaysia

    Love the new template, it’s clean and crisp. :)

  • http://www.rasamalaysia.com Rasa Malaysia

    Love the new template, it’s clean and crisp. :)

  • http://www.weareneverfull.com/ We Are Never Full

    a few things:

    1. so sorry about the job situation… keep on keeping on.

    2. your blog looks better than ever and your pictures/recipes (even if they are “no recipes”) just seem kicked up a notch. they were always delicious and inspired, but maybe it’s the new layout?

    3. the food in this post… well, now wonder you can get exhausted. looks great!

  • http://www.weareneverfull.com We Are Never Full

    a few things:

    1. so sorry about the job situation… keep on keeping on.

    2. your blog looks better than ever and your pictures/recipes (even if they are “no recipes”) just seem kicked up a notch. they were always delicious and inspired, but maybe it’s the new layout?

    3. the food in this post… well, now wonder you can get exhausted. looks great!

  • http://www.cookeatfret.com/ claudia (cook et FRET)

    damn boy – your food is spectacular
    i’m just catching up and well, damn…

    hope you find work soon
    it’s crazy out there

  • http://www.cookeatfret.com claudia (cook et FRET)

    damn boy – your food is spectacular
    i’m just catching up and well, damn…

    hope you find work soon
    it’s crazy out there

Welcome!

I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!