food network

On Tuesday, July 19th, Food Network will air a new show titled Monster Kitchen, and I’m on it.  The show centers around a grudge match between two Los Angeles chefs: Eric Greenspan of The Foundry on Melrose and Michael Fiorelli of mar’sel.  They put their ego’s on the line in a battle for doughnut supremacy, and in this case, size does matter.  Both chefs call on a food geek (me and Jeff Potter, the author of the fabulous book Cooking for Geeks) and a pastry chef (Michelle Cozens and Amy Brown) to help them pull off the challenge.  I haven’t yet seen the show, but I can tell you that the competition is fierce.  Making a gigantic doughnut requires some clever engineering, a ton of work, and a whole lotta frosting. 

Tune in to Food Network Tuesday, July 19th at 9PM to see what happens!

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Reading time: 1 min

cookie

For some reason I can’t remember, Jessie Oleson (of the fantastic blog Cakespy.com) and I decided to get together and absolutely destroy a few sweets using some of my favorite kitchen tools: the sous vide machine, the centrifuge, the rotor-stator homogenizer, the blowtorch, the vacuum chamber, and the blender.  I took photos of our mayhem and Jessie illustrated them and crafted a story in her signature style.  The result is… disturbing.  Without further ado, here is the Photo Story of the Misfit Pastries.

In a land not so far away, in the dark endcap displays of the grocery store, exists the land of misfit pastries.

These are the sad, stale, and typically on-sale sweets that have not been purchased, the unloved in a generally lovable section of the food pyramid.

Like shooting stars, their futures initially looked bright. But as someone (don’t ask me who, probably a lighting salesman) once said, "the brighter the light, the bigger the shadow". And here, we are going to delve into some of the bad things that can happen to fallen pastries.

Take here the hapless cookies, so festive and fresh a few days ago, which are now inspiring the ire of a rather dapper Watermelon. What will happen next in this scene? We cannot be sure, but one thing is certain: that Mr. Watermelonsworth is displeased, and his monocle and mustache should tell you that he means business.

mr watermelonsworth

…or see how cupcakes have fallen into an unfortunate series of events. sometimes we do senseless things when we are bored or just hungry. were these purposeful lures or simply a cupcake playdates gone bad? Nobody can be sure, but one thing’s certain, these poor Hostess cupcakes are never gonna be the same, and their friends are looking hungry.

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lamb with carrot demi and leek marrow

It’s been a while since I cooked a meal for the blog, so when a leg of lamb arrived at my doorstep (care of the lovely folks at the American Lamb board), I took that as a sign that I should get my ass in the kitchen.  I’ve been on a carrot kick all spring, and I’ve made several variations of the caramelized carrot soup from Modernist Cuisine.  It occurred to me that the deep, sweet flavor of pressure-cooked carrots is not too dissimilar from that of a beef demi-glace (the thick, rich sauce that restaurants often serve over red meat).  This is undoubtedly the quickest demi-glace you’ll ever make, and I’ve gotta say, it’s fucking amazing. Vegetarians will throw a parade in my honor.

Thinking about demi-glace also got me in the mood for bone marrow.  I’ve seen a few faux marrow preparations in the past and I always find them amusing.  However, a big part of the appeal of roasted bone marrow is its decadent, gelatinous texture.  For my version, I decided to use a section of leek as a fake bone and achieve a convincing marrow texture by pressure cooking leek and onion, then setting it in a fluid gel.  The result was quite a bit darker than roasted bone marrow, but the richness and texture were spot-on.

For the recipe, keep reading…

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Reading time: 3 min
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