Random Food Porn, or, What I Accomplished in Sophomore Fall

As the spring semester starts up, I find my mind wandering back to all the things I did in the fall. Remember the fall semester? Walking up the slope without getting my face windburned off? Four months of classes and pouring money into this lovely Ivy League institution? Learning about things like neuroscience, psychology and the legal system, human development, and so on? Brutalizing your savings account and learning how to bake flourless chocolate torte, braise pork belly, poach eggs, make hollandaise sauce, butcher a deer, french ribs, and so on? Becoming a shameless fan of the blood-spatter-style plating of sauce (pictured below)? Do I remember all that? Not really. Good thing I took pictures, and we’ve got recipes coming in future posts.

The whole flourless chocolate torte thing started for us with Daniel Barbolobew’s birthday. We had espresso in the first incarnation of this absurd dessert, but eventually cut it out, adding instead raspberry coulis underneath and chocolate ganache on top. Here’s another peek:

Another project we took on last semester was the celebrated and scrumptious pork belly. Lots of people think of stomach – tripe, really – when they hear us talk about pork belly. No, no, no, no. Don’t get crazy. All we’re talking about is the cut of meat – the tummy, not the stomach – from which the holy grail of meat and fat and tasty (BACON) comes.

Uncured, dry-cured, beer-braised, cider-braised, torched, roasted, we did it all. The only really important part is that we braised it for three hours. (The reason we know that’s important is that we failed to do it twice, and with terrible, chewy, tough, no-fun results). Here’s a look at the belly before curing: shiny, fatty, and, if you have good spatial reasoning, obviously identical to bacon.

And here’s a shot of the pork belly, after curing, browning, and a little bit of braising.

Next, as we all know, we love Julia Child (but not that whiny Julie!) and so when we came home from the farmer’s market with a dozen fresh eggs, it was obvious to us that we needed to learn to poach them. This is one recipe I’m definitely posting. There seems to be a few different groups of people when it comes to poached eggs – those who’ve loved them forever and ate them all the time as kids, those who have never had them, those who hate them because they don’t understand the beauty of runny yolk, and those, who, like me, have recently become completely obsessed. It doesn’t hurt that Daniel is an egg-poaching pro.

Look at those wispy sheets of delicious egg white. Daniel and JC (you know which one) have so much in common. I think that’s why I like him so much. Anyway, poached eggs are also great because you can eat them in any number of ways: with traditional breakfast food, smooshed into a mini pita, next to your standard meat and potatoes, or on a salad with a plop of caramelized onions and some hollandaise sauce. Who invented this shit: take an egg, and then cover it with more egg – but not the whole egg, just the best, fattiest, most disgustingly tasty part – and mix that egg with butter. Crazy.

Finally, I won’t rehash all the gory details of our deer killing/butchering/eating experience (but you can: here!), but let me tell you: venison is awesome. We made bourguignon, curry, stirfry, but more often than not, just panfried little bits of steak (or, alternatively, heaven) and ate them with our fingers. To save you all that nonsense, here’s a rather unattractive pictures of the most attractive thing we’ve done with that animal so far: balsamic glazed frenched rack of ribs. Check it:

That concludes our review of the fall semester. Already, the spring has been extremely fruitful (or, to be more accurate, meatful), so look out for a recap of our Deadpan Entree Smackdown, and our first Deadpan event!

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4 thoughts on “Random Food Porn, or, What I Accomplished in Sophomore Fall

  1. admin says:

    i want to encounter a gory blood-spattered murder scene of raspberry coulis. YUM.

    great photos too! i want some frenched rack of bambi ribs. and some eggy egginess. come cook for meeeeeeeeeeeeee.

  2. Kellin says:

    Holy shit, man.
    #1. Why do I always read your blog near lunch time.
    and
    #2. How can I read a sentence like “raspberry coulis underneath and chocolate ganache on top” and not get sexual!?
    Keep it clean people.
    Oh and Bean…MAKE ME THAT CAKE PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!

  3. michelle says:

    BLOOD SPATTERED PLATE LOOK! dear god mei, why have we not done this before? I LOVE IT! pollock/b-movie inspired plating design, lets DO IT! (with crystallised violets)

  4. Barbara says:

    In case you care, I love Hollandaise sauce and thanks for not putting espresso in the torte. Once I foolishly made chocolate/coffee birthday cake for an 8-year birthday sleepover. The partygoers failed to sleep in the room over my bedroom. How do you crystallize violets? Speaking of birthdays past, we decorated spring birthday cakes with fresh violets.

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