Monday, January 26, 2015

peppermint patties with cold candied lemon?!


January was bad for a while, but now everything is really good again. The bag of freekeh I ordered finally came so I made the Jerusalem spicy lamb and freekeh soup which was tasty and wholesome. I also baked the Ottolenghi macadamia-caramel cheesecake, not wholesome, which we demolished. Few cakes get eaten down to the last crumb around here (and loaf cakes don’t get touched), but this sticky-crunchy-creamy beauty was gone in two days. 

You'll get cavities just looking at it.
The Ottolenghi chapter is closed for now. I came around on him, thanks to all your strong recipe suggestions, though I still don’t feel quite the same passion for his books that others do.

Gabrielle Hamilton’s Prune? I feel loads of passion for this one, but it’s passion of the thin-line-between-love-and-hate variety. Im over my initial fiery loathing, though every time I flip through the book’s 570 pages looking for something I know is in there somewhere, I curse Hamilton for omitting an index. It was super-rude and I think that’s exactly why she did it. 

I have to confess, over time I’ve become deeply attached to some of her recipes. I made her braised lamb shoulder with lemons, tomatoes, and cinnamon twice in the space of a month, an intense, dark braise of soft, fatty meat and soft, stewed lemons. Does that sound amazing to you? Or disgusting? I love it, but would hesitate to serve it to anyone outside my family because I can so easily imagine someone hating it.

There are lots of slightly odd, not-for-everyone recipes like this in Prune. For about a week I ate Hamilton’s weird, delicious bacon and marmalade sandwiches on buttered pumpernickel for lunch every day. And her dessert of Grape Nuts with vanilla ice cream cone and cold maple syrup has become a deadly habit. I’ve eaten my lazy adaptation (ice cream in bowl, sprinkle with Grape Nuts, drizzle syrup, don’t bother with cone) so often over the last few months that I don’t even think of it as a recipe anymore. Like pouring milk on cereal, this is just how I eat ice cream now. 

Some other peculiar, enticing desserts in Prune:

cold candied oranges 
mastic fondant in ice water
broiled ruby red grapefruit with Wheat Chex streusel
fried mascarpone with fennel sugar
peppermint patties with cold candied lemon
sliced peaches on buttered toast
strawberry milk
frozen milk punch with sesame biscuits
battered and fried brandied cherries

You’re either going to hate those cold candied oranges or they’re going to be precisely the dessert you’ve been waiting for all your life.

Prune is up against Sean Brock’s Heritage in the Piglet next month and since I own both books, I thought it would be interesting to make some pork chops and roasted cauliflower from Prune tonight, then some pork chops and roasted cauliflower from Heritage tomorrow, and draw comparisons. I wouldn’t have chosen pork chops and roasted cauliflower for the test menu, but this was the only do-able overlap between the two books. So it’s a plan. 

27 comments:

  1. I like that plan. Can't wait to read the results. I'm going to Brock's Husk restaurant (Nashville location) in March and looking forward to it.

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    Replies
    1. Jealous. Have you looked at the book? It's ridiculous for a home cook, but makes me want to eat at one of his restaurants in the worst way.

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  2. That list sounds more like mean jokes than desserts to me. Maybe they are wonderful, but I will never know it.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, there are some recipes in the book that do seem like mean jokes. You should see the picture of that ball of mastic in a glass of ice water -- doesn't make your mouth water, but I am so curious.

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  3. Oh! That orange recipe reminded me that I have always wanted to try this:
    http://www.nytimes.com/video/dining/1194817092576/the-minimalist-orange-confit.html

    Her recipe looks easier but the Bittman version looks like it would be much more pleasant to eat.

    I'm so glad you're feeling better. It's been a rough time, I know. Thanks for posting.

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    Replies
    1. Ok, I watched that video. I have to candy oranges now. And eat with whipped cream.

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    2. Me too. I have made orange confit by slicing and baking in sugar syrup, but that was never super yummy. This looks easy and delicious.

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  4. The braised lamb shoulder sounds wonderful, but every time I make a meat+lemons dish John ends up at the doctor. I think it's psychosomatic.

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    Replies
    1. Are meat + lemon dishes common? Maybe I've missed them all these years. This was one of my first. Other than chicken, of course.

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    2. It was chicken that first did it. A tagine-type thing with preserved lemons.

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  5. Yes, thanks for posting! I am happy you're back in the kitchen. I look forward to the mini-Piglet you'll be doing with the pork chops and cauliflower!

    I am getting ready to cut back on my work so that I can spend more time in the kitchen. I have a huge list of things I want to try, including chocolate babka, homemade tofu (with help from your post on this), real strudel, croquetas, homemade shwarma -- the list goes on. I've been so depressed that many of these things have been on my list to get to for YEARS. I should add that I cook for a living so spending creative time on my own pursuits (rather than on cooking as my job) is very hard to come by after working in kitchens already for 45 hrs/week. We usually eat a lot of roast chickens, scrambled eggs, and takeout burritos. I am looking forward to eating my own cooking instead of giving it to someone else to eat! All of this is to say that I immensely enjoy reading your blog and vicariously experimenting in the kitchen through it. Thanks for cooking and then writing and sharing it. It's nice to have a friend in the kitchen, which is really how I've come to regard you.

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    Replies
    1. Oh Maggie, I have a list like that. And some of the things on my list have been on there for years, too. Like cassoulet and these fried peaches I read about, a proper baked alaska, Peruvian queso helado, feijoada. It goes on. Good luck with your new schedule and many cooking projects in 2015!

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    2. I've always wanted to try Floating Island, because of that one scene from Desk Set (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0050307). In my head, Floating Island is categorized beside Baked Alaska--I guess because both mention places and are old-fashioned?

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    3. Also, the only Chilly Willy cartoon you will ever need to watch: Half Baked Alaska. The "more butter?" routine is a perennial in my household. http://bit.ly/1EOfCJX

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  6. There's one recipe from prune that intrigued me... That didn't explain the outcome at all... Or I missed it somehow
    What is too become of all the rubbery limpless celery from the bottom of the celery bins. That cooked down mush doesn't amount to anything that I can workout. But I've been trying to get enough nubs from zucchini to make that zucchini in the garbage cooking section. But my ever so helpfull spouse keeps throwing them away. Last time they dissapeared I threatened him with damnation if he threw them away again. I could just snip the knobs off ten to twelve zucchini and leave the whole remaining ones in the fridge. But that seems like cheating. The anticipation will prob be a vital ingredient.

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  7. If I went to someone's house and was served that lamb with lemons, I would lick my plate.

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  8. Is grape nut ice-cream not 'a thing' in your neck of the woods? My grandmother always has a tub in her freezer. It could make your snack that much easier! :)

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