Monday, March 28, 2011

Veal Broth, Unexpected Day off, Marissa's Sweet Desk, New Plants, New Home for Kombucha, Black Truffles

  • I bought 12lbs of veal bones (cut to 3in chunks) to make 1gal broth, from double-d meats up the way. Veal broth supposedly is one of the reasons that restaurant cooking always tastes better. It's a point of view I've heard expressed by Anthony Bourdain and, more recently, in Charcuterie. Now, I looked into the methods used and some seemed fabulous, but too much for one day's work. I used the one in Charcuterie. In essence, cover bones with water. Bring to simmer slowly, discard water rinse bones. Cover bones with water again, simmer for 8 hours. Now, when I say simmer, I mean "kept at 160degF," ha ha. Since I followed it up with pressure canning of the broth for a year's worth of enjoyment (20min @ 10psi), I wasn't worried about killing myself or the wife with bacteria. In any case, I'm cooking Marissa dinner, which brings me to my next point:
  • Unexpected day off. I got up early this morning, drove all the way to work to be turned away at the gate and had to drive home. Apparently someone done teedly-durped and the power is out. I guess I should watch local news, nuh? In any case, it was a nice drive without traffic and I've been enjoying the extra day.
  • Mémère, you may recognize this desk. Marissa painted it with a nice glossy lemon yellow color, first of many of her furniture renovations.
  • We also acquired four little herbs: parsley, cilantro, rosemary, and thyme; and set them up in little pots on the porch, on a plant stand that Mémère will also recognize. They will be joined out there with some Madrid-style hanging terracotta flowers once we're sure we aren't natural-born plant-murderers. The little tray beneath the thyme is a cardboard lid filled with soil and Piquín pepper seeds. When I see some promising shoots, I'm upgrading them step-wise to "giant bush of peppers" status for summer (I hope).
  • We went to a disgustingly awesome rummage sale, picked up a great number of items for under 20 bucks total. One of them was a 1gal glass gar with a plastic tap on the side, which my kombucha culture now lives in. Didn't figure a picture was necessary.
  • I've always been curious about what truffles taste like. It's another thing that Bourdain and others say distinguishes home cooking from restaurant cooking. It's actually widely regarded as a cliché at this point. Another interesting (ha ha) fact is that virtually all commercially available truffle oil contains additives instead of the real deal. Had to go for it. Picked up 2oz of truffles at a farmers market for $20 bucks. Doesn't sound bad? That's $160/lb, and they don't wash them, so some of what you're paying for is dirt. Little squishy black pebbles with a really strange scent and flavor. They smell like tasty cakes, something sweet. I say a bit nutty. In any case, after eating one shredded raw onto a fried egg, I shredded the rest and put them into safflower oil, then put the whole bottle into a boiling water bath for about 15 minutes to extract flavor and kill off baddies. Marissa does not like the flavor, I am indifferent. Oh well, at least I know what truffles taste like now, right?

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