August 22, 2012
Have you ever made a laminated dough? Laminated doughs are the ones that have alternating thin layers of fat and thin layers of dough, resulting in a very flaky, delicate end product. Pâte feuilletée, or puff pastry, is one such dough.
I made puff pastry once, just to see if I could do it. It was in the heat of a Santa Monica summer, and I had trouble with the butter melting and not having enough counter space for all that rolling, but I did it. Every cookbook, blog, and cooking show I’d ever seen suggested that I just buy puff pastry, and now I knew why. It was fun to tackle the challenge, but honestly, it’s not worth the time and effort when there are quality all-butter puff pastry doughs that you can just buy.
But I’ve never really given up the fascination with laminated doughs. It’s a brilliant technique that creates a texture that isn’t reproducible any other way. That’s why I was so excited to find this recipe, which creates a beautiful layered dough without the painstaking folding and prolonged chilling needed for pâte feuilletée. The fact that it uses not butter, but another of my favorite fats, sesame oil, adds to the appeal.
August 17, 2012
When we go to a carte-blanche meal and the server asks me if there’s anything I don’t eat, my answer’s simple: “raw onions.”
I was an extremely picky eater as a kid — being a spoiled only child will do that to you — but I have gotten over most of my food prejudices. After seeing the light about tomatoes, I have been systematically trying the foods I held a prejudice against, trying to present them in a way that would turn my disposition (read: covered in cheese and/or bacon and/or deep fried). Mushrooms are now my friends. Brussels sprouts are addictive when deep-roasted and covered in a sweet-spicy fish sauce dressing. Snails? Slather those bitches in butter and garlic and bring ‘em on. But no matter how many variations I try of raw onions with not a wisp of heat put to them, I always wince and move them to the side of my plate.
It’s better than eating no onions at all, right? I can certainly get down with an onion ring now. I accept that sweated onions are essential for… well… almost everything, but soups certainly. But my favorite way of preparing onions is, unsurprisingly, the least oniony of all: it’s onions taken past mere cooking into candy-land.