Friday, September 24, 2010

Shaping up to be a great weekend!

I'm taking a minute to post a non-Geeky Gourmet related entry. After all, this blog is still a more personal means of expressing myself and it ain't all about the show (don't tell Howie I said that).

Today was a great start to my weekend and I promise it's sorta food related. My darling, sweet boyfriend asked me out on a date. I sometimes think I made it too easy for him, in the beginning of our now 3 year relationship. I told him a few nights ago, "You should ask me out sometime." Sure enough, he asked me out on a picnic lunch! But then the question was, what to eat? I thought it only fair, that since he asked me out, he should figure the lunch part out. We have both come to really enjoy sushi (cooked or raw) and that's what he was craving. But I was unsure if our local sushi joint allowed take-out orders. Sushi isn't typically something I would think of on a take-out menu. To my surprise and our luck, they do! So Charlie got a small variety of sushi to share, some veggie fried rice for me, and 2 tempura chicken strips for him. He told the nice woman who took the order that it was for a picnic and she included two house salads for us for no extra charge. How nice! So he picked up lunch and I made "Mexican Hot Chocolate" brownies. They had cinnamon and vanilla in them for a nice little twist to a typical chocolate brownie. All in all, it turned out to be an eclectic little lunch, but it was very nice. We found a shady spot in the SC Botanical Gardens and enjoyed the food and each others' company. It was an awesome way to start my weekend.

And tomorrow...tomorrow is Euphoria. It's a big, fancy culinary festival in Greenville, SC (about an hour from my house). I am beyond excited! Bryan Voltaggio (from Top Chef: Las Vegas), Kevin Rathbun (of the Rathbun Brothers and Rathbun's Steak House in Atlanta), Justin Bogle (of GILT, New York), and a few other awesome chefs will be there doing demonstrations and will be guest chefs at various wine dinners in Greenville's premiere restaurants. Did I mention that Edwin McCain is originally from Greenville and he'll be there as well? I was so looking forward to Greenville getting publicity like this, but sad I wouldn't be able to go. Tickets aren't cheap and I'm a broke culinary student.

However, I'm incredibly spoiled by my aunts and lucky to have them. They paid for me to go to the Tasting Showcase on Saturday. This is the day where demonstrations are being held (hosted by all the star chefs), wine tastings, wine lectures from world class sommliers and food. Lots of food. I...oh man I can't wait! I'm going to take lots of pictures, hopefully get an autograph or 5 and I'll have lots of stories to share when I get back. Yay! I guess all of that homework I was planning on doing Saturday will just have to wait. What a shame.

I hope everyone else has a great weekend, too!
<3 Elle

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Glorious Butter!

Show #3 is here and we're talking about butter! We have some fun facts to share and some recipes, too. I hope you'll give us a listen and enjoy :)

In the first segment, I mention that I was at my Aunt's wedding a few weekends ago and that the theme was cows; Jerseys and Holsteins. It was all very adorable. And here's the cake!

(And also a cowbell...)

A few fun facts I forgot to mention on the show:
~It takes roughly 10 quarts (or 21 pounds) of whole milk to make 1 pound of butter.
~Food scientists have discovered over 120 unique flavor compounds in butter which contribute to it's flavor.
~The United States produces 1.2 billion pounds of butter each year.
~Butter (like *many* other things) was once used as currency. People would barter for merchandise at a town store or general store with butter.

Now to the really good stuff- the recipes!

Mason Jar Butter
1 pint of heavy cream*
1 large mason jar with lid and ring
cheese cloth

Let the cream come to room temperature. Pour it into the mason jar, put the lid on VERY tightly and shake it to your heart's content! It'll take 20-30 minutes to actually form the butter. I made this little project a family affair (because my arms was getting tired). My family took turns with me. I did manage to take a few pictures so you know what to expect.

Starting out with cream and a jar with a good, tight fitting lid.

After about 5-6 minutes, it should be a beautiful whipped cream consistency.

When you hit the 15-20 minute mark, you should start seeing something like this. The butter is starting to form, meaning the butter fat is separating from the buttermilk.

You can stop shaking when you see this- a big clump of butter in the middle of all that liquid.

Now comes the dirty work. You need to get a medium bowl and place a few layers of cheese cloth in the bottom. Pour all the contents (solid and liquid) on top of the cheese cloth. Strain the butter, then rinse it under cold water (while wrapped in the cheese cloth) until the water starts to run clear. Then dab the little bundle of joy with a paper towel to get rid of any excess water. Finally, put your butter into an air tight container and voila! Homemade butter. And let me tell you, it's worth the sore muscles. If you'd like to have salted butter, add about a half teaspoon of salt after the butter is made and rinsed. Mix it very well before storing. This makes just under a cup of butter.

Yay! Almost done. Just have to rinse and add salt. Then you have...

...glorious, fresh butter!

*It's best to use regular ole heavy cream. Avoid "whipping cream" as sometimes it contains a bit of a sweetner. It's also a good idea to avoid "Ultra-Pasteurized" cream. It's hard to come by around these parts, but the fresher and the less it's been processed, the better.

And now, death by cookies! Brought to you by the American Heart Association's list of things that will clog your arteries! Okay, not really. But these are definitely meant to be a treat and made every once in a while.

Buttery, buttery shortbread cookies
2 cups (1 pound) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees (F). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Beat the butter with a hand mixer or a in a stand mixer for about 5 minutes. Then add the sugar and cream together for 2-3 minutes at medium speed. Add the cornstarch and flour. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated. Roll into 1 inch balls and flatten them on the cookie sheet slightly with your fingers or palm. Bake at 350 degrees (F) for about 15 to 18 minutes. The tops should be VERY light, golden brown. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. They are totally yummy while slightly warm, but they taste even better the next day. The recipe makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Compounds Butters
Apricot-chipotle butter:
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 Tbsp chipotle in adobo sauce (1 chipotle seeded and minced, plus sauce)
2-3 Tbsp of apricot preseves (depending on how sweet you'd like it)

Garden Butter:
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp of the following (fresh or dried):
Basil, oregano, thyme, parsley, lemon zest
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 clove of garlic finely minced
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cinnamon-honey butter:
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp honey

To make any of these, simply blend all ingredients well with a spatula, hand mixer, or in a stand mixer. You can serve these as just a spread or you can roll the butter into logs and freeze them. Then cut slices of the logs to top meat, potatoes, or soups for a last minute addition of flavor.

Here is the best reference and set of recipes I could find for Hollandaise. I took a second look at Alton Brown's and realized that I only used his measurements, but everything else was different. So, here ya go. Happy sauce making!

Questions, comments, etc.? We want to hear them! Leave a comment here on the blog, on our Facebook page or at and we'll get back to you asap :)

<3 Elle

Monday, September 6, 2010

Fat Show Follow-Up

Just a few things to mention in regards to the Fat Show on The Geeky Gourmet:

  • Lemon confit using beef tallow? TERRIBLE idea. I'm going to give myself a little bit of credit for experimentation, but that's it. It's vile. Just don't do it.
  • Hot Doug's in Chicago- If you have the opportunity to go, DO IT! If I ever get the chance to visit Chicago, I know I'm going. And if you do go, report back. Please let us know how you liked it. (P.S. It has it's own theme song!)
  • The Chip Shop has 2 different locations and can be found online here. *site makes noise
  • To find out more about the Texas State Fair and all of it's fried food glory, check this out.
There are a few more recipes to come; I believe I still owe y'all a few fig recipes. So, keep watching and listening!


Friday, September 3, 2010

Respect the Fat!

Show #2 is here and ready to go! It's all about fat. More specifically, animal fats like lard, griebenscmalz, beef tallow...things like that. I had a lot of fun getting prepared for this show. I always learn something new from our research. I also tend to learn things from Howie. I mean, I might be the expert, but he's old. And with age comes knowledge of things from long ago. I'm totally going to get in trouble that statement.

As always, there is at least one recipe to go along with the show. And here it is!

Cracklin' Cornbread

1/4 cup butter or bacon grease

2 cups self-rising cornmeal

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 1/2 cups buttermilk*

2 large eggs, beaten

2 tsp. sugar or honey

1 cup cracklin's (the fresher, the better)

Heat a large cast-iron skillet** in a 425 degree oven for about 4 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, stir together the cornmeal, flour, buttermilk, and eggs just until combined. Try not to over mix. Lumps are ok. Gently fold in the cracklin's last. Carfeully take the pan out of the oven (please remember your oven mit!) and melt your butter or bacon grease in the hot pan- slightly tip and swirl the pan to coat the bottom. Pour the cornbread batter into the hot pan and place it back in the oven for about 25 minutes.

*You can use whole milk, however buttermilk is recommended; not only for it's flavor, but for moisture.

**If you don't have a cast-iron skillet, you can do the same steps with a glass or metal baking dish.

Now, I do have a little secret to share. If you're worried about your cornbread being dry you should try adding one small can of creamed corn. Trust me, the above recipe is fool proof. It's moist and the flavors are well balanced every time (as long as you don't over cook it). But if you like a creamier, more pudding-like consistancy, try this little trick.

Try the recipe ,if you are so inclined, and tell me what you think about it! Take a picture and send it in, send a comment or a suggestion for other recipes, send a recipe of yours...we'd love to hear from you! Send to

I hope y'all are enjoying the show and the blog and the recipes and...well, everything! thanks for the support and thanks for listening!