Sunday, December 14, 2008

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage

During the holiday season, there is no shortage of pumpkin puree, whether a can or freshly pureed. With extra pumpkin, I decided to make gnocchi. I always eat gnocchi when I go out, like the ricotta gnocchi at Zuni’s or chard gnocchi at CafĂ© Eloise, but I have never attempted to make it myself. There are different methods to making it. I made a pate-a-choux type dough, cooking in a pot, until it forms a smooth orange ball. This is the recipe I used as a basis for my pumpkin gnocchi. In this recipe, they use shaved white truffles in their brown butter. I was not so fortunate to acquire these. Rolling out all the gnocchi took some work, but it was well worth it. The gnocchi turned out excellent, delicate soft pillow with a wonderful pumpkin flavor. The sage gets nice and crispy and imparts an earthy herbal tone to the nutty butter. Brown butter is simply with the milk fats becoming caramelized, this doesn’t mean burnt, but brown, smelling nutty and fragrant not acrid. The only challenge in the dish is trying to serve a crowd at the same time, due to the fact you need to cook the gnocchi in batches. If you have a solution, other than making people wait, let me know. And enjoy some gnocchi!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Buttery Biscuits, just like EGG

Inspired by the delicious biscuits from EGG, I was on the mission to recreate it. I wanted that buttery, mile high, flaky and tender biscuit that I munched on just a few weeks ago. After scouring the Internet (ohh.. Internet, you supply me with endless recipes), I stumbled upon a true perfect biscuit. Click here for the recipe. I use lots of sweet butter. Make sure that the butter is as cold as possible and don’t overwork it. The butter should remain in pea size chunks in order to give it its flakiness. And remember, do not over-roll, the biscuits should be nice and thick.

I served these delicious biscuits with orange butter (which was made from a simple syrup with orange zest and a little juice) and maple butter (maple syrup). But endless variations can be made, or simply top with fried chicken, or incorporate some chopped chives into the batter. This biscuit is one I can stand behind or at least eat about ten. Does it match up to Egg, it was pretty close, and you know until I get their secret recipe this is good enough for me.

What would you add to the dough? And what would you serve them with? And if you have a recipe to beat, please send it along.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

EGG - Where the South meets Brooklyn

Egg, a small restaurant in Williamsburg, is as simple as its name. A hipster, farm house setting with the chefs sitting outside talking amongst each other on less than crowded evenings (they just opened for dinner). Communal tables, all white walls, and simple florals adorning each table. It is my ideal setting, now all I need is a little farm to supply all the food. Oh wait, they do that to. They bought a farm in upstate New York to supply them with an ultra local supply of fresh produce.
Egg explores not only the egg, but also the chicken who laid it. Fried chicken reigns at this egg shack. The chicken is crispy, succulent and reminiscent of my favorite little nook in Brooklyn, Pies and Thighs. Pies and Thighs, with homemade donuts, honey butter, perfect biscuits and mouthwatering chicken…I miss it so much. That is why I am so glad Egg snatched up the fried chicken master (the chef) from Pies and Thighs, so I can taste some of that goodness yet again.
The fried chicken is perfectly crisp, golden brown and ultra moist. It is served with fluffy, ultra buttery biscuits and smoky delicious collar greens.
Yet, egg is known not only for what hatches from it, but the egg itself. The sampler plate highlights how this restaurant got its name, with two egg preparations, pickled eggs and deviled eggs served with ham, pickled beets and green beans. The pickled eggs were delicious, just enough brine to give the egg a nice acidity. The deviled eggs are extremely flavorful with fresh herbs. And of course, the country ham was thickly sliced served along side farm fresh cheddar and tomato jam. Plus who doesn’t love picked veggies.
I also tried the duck and dirty rice with figs, which was a nice modern southern dish.
Served with two preparations of duck, a dug leg “confit” which was falling off the bone, the seared duck breast was good but not as good as the confit. Delicious succulent slices of fig (slightly gooey and a whole lot of sweet) were the complement to the duck. The dirty rice was slightly sweet with little crispy bacon pieces.
Overall, Egg is simple rustic southern flare, but with a Brooklyn attitude. Egg is the kind of down home cooking you crave even if you don’t have food memories associated with it. And be sure to try the fried chicken….