Orange Zest and Currant Scones
The reason I love making pastries, be they savory or sweet, is their precision. When I was ready to exit culinary school I worked for a few months at a test kitchen producing updated classic French pastries, which involved writing down minor changes to recipes, revisions of revisions, and tons chocolate, cream, and sugar - and there were only two of us to eat them. This is where I fell in love with Financiers and Canele de Bordeaux (when I get my copper molds I will put a recipe up, but ONLY with copper molds and bees wax).
The recipe below is in grams, so a scale is needed, and though the currants and orange zest are left up to the baker’s discretion, it’s best to stick to the recipe for all else. Often enough I make changes to recipes, so I’ve learned to carry a little Moleskin and pen around, I have a couple of books at home with scratched up recipes and drawing and food doodling.
Like Roger Waters would say, “I gotta a little black book with my poems in it…”
150g Flour, All Purpose
12g Sugar, Granulated
7g Baking Powder
60g Butter, cold, cubed
120g Heavy Cream
5g Kosher Salt
1 Egg, slightly beaten
Currants, Zest of One Orange
Pre-heat oven to 325F. In a stand mixer, add flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and butter, mix on low using paddle attachment for one minute.
Add half of the egg, cream, currants, orange zest and mix until dough comes together. Remove dough from bowl, roll out to 0.5 inch thick, and cut using a round cutter. Place rounds in refrigerator for 20 mns. Remove from refrigerator, brush with reserved half egg, bake 20mns. Cool.
While some recipes call for soaking the cut potatoes for 20mns, some even an hour, the method below calls for 3 days, which allows for the excess starch of the potatoes to be removed. This can seem like a long time, but when you bite into these fries you will find a golden crunchy exterior and soft pillowy center, that when paired with the garlic aioli, will beg for a super sized CO2 carbonated beverage.
Use Russet potatoes, cut about the width of a finger, the length of the potato, unpeeled, but peeled works great as well. Submerge completely in cold water, cover and place in the refrigerator overnight, changing water every morning. On the third morning, bring a pot of veg or grapeseed oil, or deep fryer to 275F, and cook the potatoes in batches for 3mns, no browning. Place, covered, back in the fridge for at least 6 hours and no more than 24hrs. To cook, bring the oil to 365F, and in batches, cook the potatoes for 3mns, rest for one minute, then back in the oil for 3mns. Sprinkle immediately with salt.
2 Cups Veal or Chicken Stock or Water
1 ½ cups cooked cauliflower
2 tablespoons butter
1 small slice onion
½ stalk celery, cut in inch pieces
Bit of bay leaf
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
Salt and pepper
Reserve 1/2 cup flowerets. Rub remaining cauliflower through sieve. Cook onion, celery, and bay leaf in butter 5 minutes. Remove bay leaf, add flour, and stir into hot stock; add cauliflower and milk. Season, strain, add flowerets, and reheat.
Golden Winter Granola
As the East Coast faces another snow storm today, Los Angeles is having another 80 degree day, keeping in form for what has been a dry and hot winter season. Last winter was all about steel cut oats, and I miss it. And though we’ve had a couple of chilly nights, it has not warranted making a big batch of it, but granola in all its forms and guises, is just as delicious, and the ingredients are just about the same.
2 Cups Rolled Oats
1/4 Cup Raw Almonds, crushed
Pinch, Sea Salt
1/4 Cup Orange Juice
1Tbsp Grapeseed Oil
1/4 Cup Orange Blossom Honey or Agave Nectar
Add these to your taste:
thyme, sage, rosemary, currants, golden raisins, dried mangos, nutmeg, orange zest, etc.
Combine rolled oats, almonds, and sea salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine orange juice, honey, and grapeseed oil, then add to dry ingredients and toss. Spread evenly over a half pan sheet, place in a pre-heated 300F oven for 40mns or until golden, tossing every 10mns.
Remove from oven, add dry herbs, spices, raisins, and currants, toss, and cool.
Yields 1 quart.
The son of an innkeeper I once knew, a big, foolish young man who ruined his health in the pursuit of vices, went to a doctor, who told him to drink two fresh eggs every morning. He was both lucky and unfortunate that the inn had a large henhouse where he could go drink freshly laid eggs, for after a few days he got to thinking. “If two eggs are good, four are better.” Then the simpleton decided, “If four are better, six are better still.” Following this line of reasoning, he got to twelve to fourteen eggs per day, which brought about a gastritis that kept him in bed for I don’t know how long, hatching the eggs he’d drunk.
-The Art of Eating Well
Pellegrino Artusi, Florence, 1891
I’ll stick with one of these, a freshly brewed cup of coffee, and the Sunday paper.
1 Brioche, toasted, preferably from a real bakery or homemade
1 Egg, fried in a cast iron
1 Thick slice of tomato
Guacamole, here is my recipe
Ginger Garlic Sauce
Using a mortar and pestle, crush fresh ginger, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Add a splash of soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and chili flakes to taste.
Add to everything.
In a restaurant setting, most diners will experience food first visually, then through smell, and finally taste and touch. This is why plating is usually left to the chef or sous chef, the contrast of colors and textures is an extremely important composition to the experience. I find that eating at home should come with the same perks. This dish is nothing more than carrots and cauliflower on top of lentils, the presentation is both simple and striking.
Lentils are so versatile, and they pair extremely well with both meats and other vegetables. In this case, the lentils have been prepared the usual way, with the addition of ground garam masala (as a meat option, this can also be cooked with speck or prosciutto trimmings instead of bacon, giving the dish an interesting depth). The purple and golden cauliflower has been rubbed with smoked paprika and olive oil, then roasted in the oven for about 45mns, while the green cauliflower has been steamed. The carrots are roasted with garam masala.
This dish is very forgiving regarding precise measurements, so experiment with what you like, the results will be wonderful.
Dry Herb Butter
It’s a good idea to leave fresh herbs out to dry instead of the refrigerator… this will increase their usage and concentrate the flavors along the way.
1. Bring high fat, unsalted butter to room temp.
2. Crush dry herbs by hand and mix into butter, add a squeeze of lemon or zest dried lemon peels.
3. Shape, wrap, and store in fridge.