"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
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--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Cranberry Fool, Hamburger Buns, and Sauteed Potato Balls

Here's yet another way to date yourself. When you see a recipe titled "Cranberry Fool", do you think of: Mr. T?

Fool on the Hill?

or Fools falling in Love?

I'm firmly in the "I pity the fool" generation, but that didn't stop me from humming 'Fool on the Hill' the whole time I was making this dessert.

I was un-wowed by Cranberry Fool, although I like cranberries. It was pretty--beautiful actually--with striations of darker cranberry puree in the lighter pink whipped cream--but the texture was too light and the flavor too one-dimensional. I would make this only if I were looking for variations for a Thanksgiving Buffet and wanted to offer something seasonal but lighter than pie.


The Hamburger Buns were actually Hot Dog Buns, thanks to a mini-loaf pan I used to cut out some rectangles. This recipe was fun--the dough is very reminiscent of Parker House Rolls. I wanted hot dog buns that you could saute in butter, New England Style, so I laid my dough out close together so they'd connect in the baking. I found the texture to be a little coarse, but they worked well enough with the hot dogs and Dr. and Mrs. S. loved them.


God help the perfectionist who tries to make Sauteed Potato Balls. The recipe says to use a melon baller to get little potato spheres, which is fine except that unless you've got a very large potato (or a very small one) you're not going to get a perfect sphere, which will have you trimming your so-called potato balls to get the ridges off and to round the flat planes. THEN, since you don't have real roundness, when you go to saute these things, they don't really roll around in the pan--you have to flip them by hand individually or just trust to luck that you don't burn the ones that you're too lazy to turn when you just shake the pan instead.

The butter gives them a nice brown color, but whose ideas was it to use Russets for this recipe? Utterly stupid--they are a baking potato and the texture is all wrong. Take my advice and use a boiling potato instead, and since you're going to be applying a knife anyway, skip the melon baller and just cut the darn things into hexagons or whatever shape they use at the Four Seasons. Here, I'll give you a picture of what I'm talking about:

It's a pain, especially if you're making a lot, but at least you have control with the knife from start to finish.

Of course, you can skip the fancy shapes and just par-boil, cut into cubes, season and fry in butter, and then you'll have (that's right) home fries!

1 comment:

Carolyn said...

The shape of potato in the picture is called a tourneau, and it is a 7 sided football shaped potato. It's made with a special knife often referred to as a birds beak or a tourneau knife. It's a classic test of a chef's knife skill and very difficult to replicate without a curved knife. The easiest way to do it is to square the potato, then mark an X on each end. With the curved knife, in a low arc shape, go from X to X, seven times, and you've got your tourneau'd potato. It often helps to have water to dip the knife in. Hope that helps!