Sunday, May 19, 2013

Impending yumminess

Yesterday, I got to try an offering from the much-lauded Banh Mi Boys: their five-spice pork belly bánh mì. Bruce graciously allowed me to sample the duck confit bánh mì and the braised beef cheek bao that he got. All items were predictably delicious and left me with an appetite for more of their menu choices. In lieu of regularly scheduling trips downtown for the sole purpose of eating from this establishment, I decided now would be a good time to expand on my own personal repertoire of bánh mì selections.

Previously, I have made both do chua and chả lụa successfully. Those who are interested in following in my footsteps should note that the chả lụa recipe I consult has moved.

I have enjoyed Fontaine Sante's Traditional Végé-Pâté in place of the traditional (dairy-laden) bánh mì spread, but found that I missed something that animal liver added to the sandwich. Under normal circumstances, I abhor eating liver because I find the taste overpowering, but on a bánh mì, it complements the flavours nicely. Don't ask me how that happens, it's sandwich wizardry, or something.

I set out to find a good, dairy-free liver paté and found a recipe which uses chicken livers and coconut milk. The determining factor in why I chose this recipe was that my absolute favourite beef marinade uses a similar flavour profile, with balsamic vinegar, rosemary and garlic.

I made up a batch today, using duck fat for the seal, cracked black peppercorns instead of green ones, and whole garlic cloves rather than chopped cloves (since everything was going to be puréed any way). I've already had some of the spread on an impromptu bánh mì-inspired toast and am happy to say that it's the only liver spread I've actually enjoyed.

I also managed to make do chua and prepare a chả lụa mixture for steaming tomorrow (hooray for long weekends!). I might even be crazy enough to attempt to make homemade baguettes for this.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Well, I'm looking forward to this...

I decided I'd treat myself on Mother's Day to a batch of my favourite chocolate chip cookies. I also realized that I haven't had triple chocolate cookies since I was a teenager, due to the fact that dairy started being an issue for me around that time. Fortunately for me, I also realized that there are now passable (if not better than their dairy counterparts) dairy-free/vegan substitutes for milk and white chocolate.

So, today, I made up a batch of vegan white chocolate for use in what I'm hoping will be a fantastically delicious batch of triple-chocolate cookies on Sunday.

On a technical note, adding room-temperature ingredients to relatively hot cocoa butter causes the mixture to seize. To remedy the problem — as with seizing Hollandaise sauce — add a bit of cold water to the mix and whisk until it becomes smooth again.

Next day update: sadly, the white chocolate didn't set due to the addition of water. Mental note: wait for the cocoa butter to cool down before adding the remaining ingredients. Looks like these will be double chocolate cookies.