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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Fermenting Kumquat Hot Sauce

I was out in San Diego and couldn't help but indulge in all the citrus at the farmers' markets. At Imperial Beach, I came across the most delicious kumquats I have ever eaten. The popping sensation of the tart juice contrasting against the more sweet than bitter peel as you chew is unforgettable.

Kumquat Pasilla Hot Sauce

I brought some home with the intent of preserving them to remember that moment. I wanted to harness the essence of the kumquat without going sweet. Inspired by the salty air of the beach and vicinity to Mexico, I decided that fermenting with sea salt and dried pasilla chiles would be a great combination.

Pasilla Chile Ribbons on Kumquat Puree

I weighed one dry pint of kumquats and measured out 2% sea salt. I cut four large pasilla chiles into ribbons. Next I pureed the kumquats then added the pasilla and salt for a final spin until the chiles were well incorporated. Now I'll need to wait at least a few months to see if the preservation brings me back.

As always, feel free to share your flavor discoveries to keep the ideas bouncing.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Coffee Butter

After a recent success with using finely ground coffee in a streusel topping for crumb cake, it only made sense to make a compound butter.

Coffee Compound Butter

Everyone knows cinnamon butter and how delicious it can be. If you think of coffee as a spice, there isn't much of a stretch to make the swap. Straight up it tastes and smells like buttery coffee toast. The espresso dust gets immediately infused as you mix so there's no wait. Of course, beurres composes get better with time. We'll see if this one follows suit.

Coffee Butter on Teff Rye Sourdough Toast

It's simple to make. All you need is unsalted butter, finely ground coffee and salt. Cut up 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) of butter up into small chunks, add to a medium bowl and lightly dust the butter with coffee. Sprinkle over a bit of salt. Mash the ingredients until the coffee is combined. Taste as you go and add more coffee and/or salt to your liking.

Chai compound butter anyone?

As always, keep the ideas bouncing...

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Coffee Spiced Crumb Cake

Inspired by a tweet from @akikamozawa about sipping coffee while smelling crumb cake bake, I decided to give coffee streusel a go.

Coffee Enhanced Ideas in Food Crumb Cake

Of course, the easiest option is adding espresso powder, a form of instant coffee. However, I figured fresh espresso ground coffee would be much better. We've all seen it before in spice rubs so why not in a pastry application?

Coffee Streusel Mix

I used the Ideas in Food crumb cake recipe as my starting point. For the streusel, I replaced half a teaspoon of the cinnamon with finely ground coffee. I also swapped out the brown sugar for smoked dulce de leche wetted granulated sugar for fun.

Coffee Crumb Cake Crust

The results were ridiculously delicious. The aroma alone was enough to make me want to eat it right out of the oven. The microbursts of coffee within the streusel were amazing. The kicker was the richness of the butter pleasantly pushing the bitterness into the background. Another fun bit was the dulce de leche that gave the streusel bits of brittle like qualities.

Espresso ground coffee is a spice well worth investigating further. 

As always, keep the ideas bouncing...

Spreading the Dulce de Leche Around

The complexity of dulce de leche is a versatile ingredient for enhancing sweet treats. It can be as simple as replacing honey, molasses, maple or etc. in baked goods. As you can see, I've only begun to scratch the surface of the potential...

Smoked Dulce de Leche "Cracker Jacks"

Pre-Bake Smoked Dulce de Leche "Key Lime" Pie

Smoked Dulce de Leche Corn Muffins

Smoked Dulce de Leche "Brown Sugar"

As always, please share your inspirations to keep the ideas bouncing...

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Hasselback Celeriac

Hasselback potatoes are a wonderful spin on oven fries and baked potato all rolled into one. The method is driven by thinly slicing an unpeeled potato most of the way through so it's barely connected. This is followed by basting with butter and seasoning. As it bakes through, the flavorful fat coated slices accordion and become crispy delicious medallions.

Pepperoni Hasselback Celeriac Post Bake

I figured this application would work for root vegetables. I decided give celeriac a try. I cut wedges of the root then hasselback sliced them. I wanted to optimize flavor infusion without having to fan the slices with the risk of breaking the segment apart.

Pepperoni Hasselback Celeriac Pre-Bake

I inserted pieces of pepperoni into each cut. As the celeriac baked through, the salami oil squeezed out and basted each layer. This created crispy and chewy textures from both the celeriac and pepperoni that worked in concert. The earthy celery flavor stood up to the salty umami of the cured sausage. They were delicious and fun to eat.

Hasselback needs to be applied to all sorts of root vegetables. Consider a carrot and pea pesto. Maybe sunchokes layered with chicken skin. Let's not forget the possibility of dense and unripe fruits. There's all sorts of goodness to be had. I look forward to hearing about what worked for you.

As always, keep the ideas bouncing...