Saturday, March 22, 2008

IS this a BUTTER BLOG? More obsessions revealed.

It could very well be. After recent gourmandine trysts with Monsieur le Beurre... in the form of extremely tasty butter croissants at Tartine (see pic) and Acme bread. AND, some 85% + fatty butter from Straus Family Creamery where they (from Saveur, Mar 08) "celebrate the variations." In spring and summer, their butter has a "yellower color" with a "slightly sweeter, herbaceous flavor" made from milk given by grass-fed cows. (Delicious, of course!)

Straus Family Creamery sublime salted butter. Sold-by-the-$2-stick (at BiRite and other stores).

(spread that on your sconehenge english muffin!)

On matters other than butter, I've succumbed to Williams-Sonoma's April catalog of delights. This is my latest obsession:

The three-quart saucier that I'm convinced will dispel my risotto woes (yes, dammit, I parboil my arborio! I learned this trick from the line cooks at a "trattoria" in Evanston. Mounds of half-cooked rice were drained and packed into square tubs, then scooped into 10-inch saute pans to finish with broth... Portabello. Pea, white onion and ham. Or, just pure, creamy parmiggiano risotto--perfect everytime. But, completely inauthentic, I gather).

I've tried a handful of times to make risotto the traditional way: toasting the rice with the aromatics; a hefty pot of stock
simmering at the ready; 1/2 cupfuls of patience and a wooden spoon. All for naught. I can still taste that first time in my little kitchen on Oak Avenue, ca. 1993. Steam from a too-shallow pan flying up in my face; the fruitless search for extra canned broth that would never save my risotto da inferno. The crunchy mass Stephen tried to eat before reverting to a pint of Ben and Jerry's (Chocolate Fudge Brownie, if I remember correctly) for dinner.

Anyway, in cooking, the right pan/utensil can solve lots of things. If only life were so sure.

Check out the cool video on how Le Creuset is made at the WS site.
(Making videos for WS is my dreamjob. Unfortunately, I did not shoot this video.)

Do you share my obsessions?

Limited-production Butter? Pricey French cookware? Let me know in a comment!

E -

More to come soon... Cabinet Curry, Freezer Dumplings. These are my chilly weather recipes. Hope to share them before we're all sporting tanktops in SF! If not, we'll surely think of something.


juls said...

you would've done so much better making that video :)

i love my le creuset pot. i tried to convince bobby to buy me a new le creuset piece for our anniversary every year. but he said i didn't cook enough, so i'm working on that.

jacquieblackman said...

I love making risotto! And I love my All-Clad saucier to do it in. I do it the traditional way and am still working on the perfect al dente-ness of the rice. My standby recipe is with butternut squash, mild italian sausage, mushrooms and rosemary -- with plenty of parmigiano-reggiano. Mmmmmmm.

I was just in SF for a last minute trip to help a friend in crisis and I basically ate my way through town. Although I didn't do any bready/baked goods. What was wrong with me??! I guess I'll have to come back sooner rather than later. ;-)

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