Saturday, June 27, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Here is some Harebrained Fusion at its best. I was pulling out ingredients for a batch of molasses-ginger cookies a few nights ago, and I had to shuffle aside some currying supplies on my way to grab the molasses. I saw the tamarind concentrate and thought "Hey, this is dark-colored and viscous like molasses is. Why not try it in cookies?"
My proof-of-concept batch was promising but unbalanced. LaBrehm sampled them, prescribed a spicing that worked, and made batch two. The results were delightful: chewy and satisfying, with a lot of flavor but a light citrus character that keeps them from landing too heavily, although I don't promise this will hold if you eat the whole plate at once. For your summer baking pleasure, we give you...
- Cream together:
- 1 C sugar
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter
- 1 egg
- 2 generous tablespoons tamarind concentrate
- Juice and zest from 1 key lime (or half a regular lime)
- 1 tsp finely-grated fresh ginger
- Mix in a separate bowl:
- 1 C flour
- 3 pinches ground black pepper
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
Stir the dry and wet ingredients together to make a wet, sticky dough. Drop tablespoonfuls about 2" apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake until they're set but not crispy (8-10 minutes at 375° F). Cool them on a rack or towel and put them in an airtight container as soon as they get to room temperature; if they're left out too long on a humid June evening, they will absorb moisture and turn from chewy to floppy.
Makes about 3 dozen very thin 3" cookies.
A note about the tamarind: I used Tamicon brand concentrate, which is an extremely thick, dark, smooth-textured, very sour goop that looks a lot like molasses (hence my inspiration for this whole project). It comes in an 8-oz plastic jar with a red lid and it costs less than $2 at every Asian or Indian grocery I've checked, so don't rush to order it off the Internet unless that's how you roll anyway. I've also purchased tamarind by the whole pod and by the brick of pressed, unprocessed pulp. It's possible you'd get a slightly fresher tamarind flavor from these, but you're on your own for concentrate ⇌ pulp conversion factors.
1/2 pint (1 cup) strawberries, de-stemmed
3/4 c sugar
1 tsp lemon or lime juice
Sunday, June 21, 2009
I'm Chris, the other author. Expect to see quite a bit less of me than of the Brehm here, but I will sometimes contribute recipes, photos, and various other kinds of food porn. In keeping with L's mission statement, I hope you will enjoy most of my flavors, but I'll make a couple of disclaimers up front.
First, I want to pay some attention to the other side of eating for all: I want to use flavors from everyone, including some ingredients or combinations that aren't usually found in the All-American Kitchen. Consider the number of people who have stared into their refrigerators (or iceboxes, or goat-skin knapsacks) wondering what to eat; Every one of them did eventually find their meal, and the more of those meals I know about, the more often (barring choice paralysis) I like the results of my own fridge-staring moments. I will try to make these recipes as accessible as I can, but I do enjoy novelty and I hope you'll push your comfort zone to try something strange sometimes.
Second, I'll often be playing the iconoclast. My native cooking style is what you might call Harebrained Fusion, e.g. "What if I made a marinara... WITH LEMONGRASS!?" This wild-eyed approach is where my most memorable dishes, both successful and disastrous, come from. Although I'll limit myself to the successes and do my best to guarantee edibility in the posted version of every recipe, you should always feel free to refine and develop my recipes in the same spirit. Consider ignoring my categories and trying a recipe out of context, or turning a summery fresh-tomato dish into a wintery canned-tomato dish, or otherwise thumbing your nose back at my suggestions. Hey, that's how I do it.