Noma: The World’s Best Restaurant

On one hand I am always intrigued by this over-the-top, trendy kind of food (and would definitely eagerly jump at the chance to experience such cuisine first-hand) but at the same time part of me wonders if I would throw up while I’m eating it…?? Seriously. I mean, I would hope not, but some of this is a little too bizarre.

http://www.businessinsider.com/noma-tokyo-pop-up-meal-2015-1

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Breakfast for Dinner

Eggs Benedict for me. Chipped beef and fried eggs over toast points and a sausage roll for the hub.

And just to note, typically I’m the queen of homemade everything, but the hollandaise sauce I make comes from a Knorr packet. Know why? Because it’s $0.89 cents at the store and the effort to homemake hollandaise ain’t worth it.

However, my lazy admission on the hollandaise having been made, I don’t skip out on the sausage roll. The end result is too damn good.

Sausage Roll:
Go get a little packet of yeast at the store, follow the instructions on the packet to make a loaf of bread dough. Once you’ve got the dough made up, fry up some of your favorite sausage. (I use regular Jimmy Dean sausage because I live in Virginia and I grew up on it.) Crumble it as you fry it. Then, roll out your dough length wise and using plain-old Kraft American sliced cheese, line the dough from end to end and then dump your fried sausage onto the center of the cheese, spreading from end to end evenly over the cheese.

Now, there are 2 ways to do the next part. 1: You can roll the dough onto itself, so it ends up looking like one long, giant cinnamon roll. (So when you go to slice and serve it, it actually looks like little sausage cinnamon rolls.) OR… 2: You can do like I did in the picture and make it into one long giant hot pocket-looking thing. (I do it this way, because the stuffing stays intact better and I prefer the resulting ‘chew texture’. And if you choose this method be sure to bake it seam-side down. We don’t want any leaky cheese.) Bake at 350 until just slightly brown. A few minutes before you pull it out, brush it generously with egg and pop it back in for those last few minutes. Keep a close eye on it though, it’ll get brown too quickly if you don’t! Then, once it’s done, pull it out to rest/cool completely before slicing.

This sausage roll, even though it’s kind of breakfast-y, also doubles as a badass game day appetizer that everyone is sure to crush! And if you’re planning to serve it as an appetizer feel free to pair it with some salsa or ranch dressing.

Oh and one last thing: I cheat on poached eggs (for my eggs Benedict). I am too impatient to wait for the water to boil for one little egg. My solution? I begin to fry an egg like I normally would, BUT before it begins to crisp, I add a 1/2 C of water to the skillet and then cover the skillet until the yolk reaches my desired consistency. It comes out just as soft as a poached egg but retains that flat bottom of a fried egg, which I ultimately find to be more helpful on the plate presentation anyway. 🙂

Happy cooking folks!

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WTF is a Roux?

I was raised by very country women, but not necessarily ‘southern’ women and as I advanced further into my cooking years I learned that there is a huge difference between a country cook and a southern cook. Notably, when I moved to Virginia, one thing I had never heard of was ‘roux’. And as such, I caught myself thinking “WTF is a roux?” (Hence the title.) And what’s all the hype about making a good roux?

Growing up/in my neck of the woods we called it ‘simple gravy’ and essentially it’s a fattening-ass mixture of butter or grease and flour and you brown it up on the stove top. But, many southern cooks use this simple gravy mixture as a base for many other dishes. And there is truly an art form to making different varieties of roux and making a good, proper roux is a source of pride to a good southern cook. Seriously.

Traditionally, a roux is made by slowly browning together a fat (most commonly butter) and flour in a thick bottomed pan at a low to medium temperature. The temperature of your pan, the type of fat used, the type of flour used, and the length of cook time are all important factors depending on the type of roux you need to make. Accordingly, depending on the type of dish, the recipe for the roux changes.

For better understanding, here are some very helpful links/examples of the need for different types of roux.

General info on the 4 basic types of roux and the history behind roux:
http://allrecipes.com/howto/all-about-roux/

Here are some links to more specific recipes:

For gumbos:
The very basic gumbo roux…
http://www.food.com/recipe/gumbo-base-aka-roux-47651

(And BTW , I do not necessarily agree with #5 on this list in the above link. In my opinion you can usually always fix something that’s only a ‘little bit’ burned. In the instance of a simple gumbo roux, you would fix it by adding additional butter/grease, and flour, or perhaps a cornstarch mixture, along with whatever basic seasonings were originally used to make up the base flavor (if any). Or, you could add a little stock or bouillon, plus equal parts of flour and voila – fixed!! And no one knows the damn difference!)

For understanding more complex gumbo roux…
http://www.southernfoodways.org/interview/how-to-make-a-roux/

For beef steaks:
http://www.food.com/recipe/beef-gravy-187128

(Side note: You will notice in some of these links that the first step of a dish is to make the roux, but I feel it important to note that roux is not always necessarily the first thing you make. Often times, a roux is made after the main part of your dish is prepared and set aside. For instance, when I am making hamburger steaks, as similar to the above article, I use the fat that has been rendered in the pan while it is still in it’s liquid form to begin my simple gravy/roux instead of butter as suggested in #1.)

For macaroni and pasta dishes:
http://m.allrecipes.com/recipe/11679/homemade-mac-and-cheese/?internalSource=staff%20pick&referringId=509&referringContentType=recipe%20hub&referringPosition=4

For chowders:
http://m.allrecipes.com/recipe/25683/new-england-clam-chowder-iii/

(This first step in this link applies to all chowders, not just NECC, but chicken corn chowder and so on.)

And so, in summary, and to respond to the question at topic, ‘WTF is a roux?’ Well folks, my answer is that a roux is a fattening-ass southern cook’s simple gravy and apparently you can make it a bunch of different ways. Lol. And if you do it right, you should give yourself a pat on the back. So there ya have it people. 🙂

Happy cooking!