homemade gravlax aka heaven

gravlax, lox, nova lox: we’ve come a long way from preserving salmon out of necessity. thankfully, the advent of refrigeration hasn’t killed the tradition altogether. the differences are subtle: do you add sugar to the cure or just salt? do you use aromatics like dill or juniper? do you smoke the fish after the cure? if you smoke, is the smoke hot enough to cook the fish, or do you cold smoke it?

in our case, we used salt and sugar with dill as our aromatic. initially, we decided not to smoke it (although the decision to eat without waiting to smoke may have been related to the fact that the girl was hungry for breakfast… and what the girl wants, the girl gets). later, with bellies full of gravlax, we decided to experiment with adding some smoke. stay tuned for a video.  in the meantime, follow the jump for our so-easy-anyone-can-do-it curing recipe.

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pain au chocolat

a cook’s croissant is a test of his technique. the ingredients are simple and the recipe leaves little room for spontaneity. an excellent croissant is largely the result of patience: don’t overwork the dough, don’t rush resting periods, have soft hands. the girl and i last had croissants in January at a small bakery in The Mission District, called Tartine.  that was almost 6 months ago. it’s been too long. so here is a recipe to help sate the fix. the ingredients are simple; the instructions are, too. don’t rush.Image

 

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homemade donuts: raised & glazed

donuts make my knees weak. apple fritters, devil’s food cake, french crullers, custard-filled, maple-glazed long johns. the simplest of pastries, cloyingly sweet; a subtle crunch and a soft sigh giving way to a moist and delicate crumb. endless possibilities. one of my favorite pastimes while on vacation is tracking down the best donut shop in the area. it’s usually a hole-in-the-wall mom and pop bakery that’s been open since the 1950s with a veritable army of grandmothers bustling around behind the counter filling orders for customers that have been regulars for decades.

the girl and I found our favorite donut shop of 2013 after a day of swimming to beat the heat in austin, texas. we happened upon this little bar while looking for a late night bite — what we found was donuts. and i promise that you’ve never had donuts quite like these: the mother clucker (fried chicken and honey butter), the flying pig (bacon and maple syrup), and the funky monkey (grilled bananas and cream cheese).

an afternoon spent wistfully pining for donuts two thousand miles away inspired this post. we opted for more traditional toppings in more reasonable portions, but these donuts will get your parasympathetics flowing nonetheless.

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hollandaise for days

dating a chef has changed my life — and i’m not always happy about it. a while back, he handed me a book, “kitchen confidential” by anthony bourdain. “read this,” he said. “you’ll love it.” it is a great book, but there are some pretty upsetting parts. especially the truth about hollandaise. it has to be kept at a pretty precise temperature or it’ll go bad and chances are, your restaurant of choice isn’t putting in the effort. bourdain won’t order hollandaise at a restaurant, and that guy eats blood sausage and bugs and who knows what else.

so it was decided. if i want hollandaise, it has to be made at home. we use it to garnish re-purposed breakfast. this morning: last night’s brisket with avocado and a poached egg. enjoy.

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