Monday, April 28, 2008

NYC Events this week

Clotilde Dusoulier, of Chocolate & Zucchini fame, is reading from her second book, Clotilde’s Edible Adventures in Paris, at McNally Robinson in Soho tomorrow at 7pm. Apparently, treats are to be served. Yum! For more info, click here.

Gordon Ramsay will be signing copies of his new cookbook, Gordon Ramsay's Fast Food, at the Sur La Table in Soho on Thursday, May 1st at 6pm.

Price of Gordon Ramsay's Fast Food: $35

Meeting Gordon Ramsay: priceless

Call 212.966.3375 for more info. You may have to RSVP to the event and don't forget to order a copy of the book!

Here's a little description:
Throw away the takeout menus, ready meals, and convenience foods! These days everyone wants fast food but at the same time, they want to eat well. With his unique style, high voltage energy, and passion for good food Chef Gordon Ramsay shows how to get a great meal on the table in less time than it would take to have takeout delivered. This new bestseller is packed with ideas for 5-minute snacks, 10-minute main courses, and 30-minute menus for all occasions. A cookbook for the way we live today, Gordon Ramsay’s Fast Food is the stunning follow-up to his fabulously successful library of titles.

McNally Robinson
52 Prince St. (between Lafayette and Mulberry)
New York, NY 10012
(212) 274-1160

Sur La Table
75 Spring Street
New York, NY 10012

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Homemade Mantou

So I finally got around to making homemade mantou (I said I would in my previous post about Province). I think mine need a little bit of work - they seemed a little denser than I would have liked, but I'm sure my grandma would be proud. I sauteed some scallions in a little bit of teryaki sauce and mixed it in with the dough before forming them into buns. I was hoping that the scallions would add a little bit of flavor since I wasn't going to make them into meat sandwiches. I also toasted some sesame seeds, in which I dipped the buns before steaming.

The recipe that I got off the internet says that it makes 32 buns (I think it really makes 16). I halved this recipe and made 8 buns.

Here's the recipe in full for 16 buns:

1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
4 cups all-purpose flour

In a small bowl, sprinkle yeast and sugar over 4 tablespoons of the warm water and leave it for 15 minutes. Place the flour in a bowl and make a well in the center. Pour in the yeast mixture and the remaining water. Mix everything to a dough. Turn it onto a floured board and knead until smooth.

Return dough to the bowl, cover and let it stand in a warm place for about an hour or until doubled in size. Punch down, cover again and let it stand for 20 minutes longer.

Knead the dough again and shape into rolls (I found that using a bit of flour helps the shaping). Bring the water in the bottom of a steamer to a boil. Place the rolls in the steamer, leaving a 1- inch gap between them. Cook for 10 minutes, or until firm and cooked through. Serve
them hot.

scallions sauteed

sesame seeds toasted and on plate ready for dipping

the dough mixed with scallions

Since I didn't have a proper steamer, I used this stainless steam vegetable steamer instead.

I turned it upside down and place it in the pot. the three metal prongs acted as a trivet.

the buns formed and dipped in sesame seeds and....

placed in the pot on top of the steamer. Covered and steamed for 10 minutes.

Voila! Homemade mantou buns. Check out the steam rising off those puppies! (I couldn't fit all the buns on one plate so had to make the remaining two on the second round.)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

What do you think of the 'atmosphere' of the restaurant?

Just read on Mark Bittman's Bitten blog about Dinner in the Sky, where you can have dinner 164 feet up in the air. The table seats-or should I say straps in 22 people and there's space in the middle for the chef and waiters. Dinner lasts 8 hours (not sure why this is?) for the low total sum of $11,444 (this doesn't include extras such as catering and gratuity!).

The obvious question is (and a lot of comments on the Bitten blog have asked the very same), how do they go to the bathroom (and especially with dinner lasting 8 hours)?

The website doesn't offer any answers, but it does have some interesting videos. One showed a separate platform with a pianist and violinist. I suppose music is more important than anyone's bladder.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Kitchen Nightmares

I just finished watching Volume 1 (includes Series 1 & 2) of Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. Aside from the menacing DVD cover and cheesy opening graphics animation, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the show and now have a little crush on Gordon Ramsay. [Interesting side note: while I was doing research about his background today I found out Ramsay was a professional football player at age 15!]

Kitchen Nightmares has also convinced me that US versions of existing UK shows aren't as good (some would argue that the American office is just as good as the British office, but I'm still not convinced).

Based on what I have seen on Fox of Hell's Kitchen, everyone would probably think Gordon Ramsay is an asshole. Sure, he swears and can be mean in Kitchen Nightmares, but he's giving constructive criticism and I feel that he honestly cares about and wishes success upon each restaurant he's visiting. This kind of sincerity rare for scripted television shows let alone for reality ones - I wasn't surprised to find out that it has won both a BAFTA and an Emmy.

Kitchen Nightmares is still being shown on Channel 4 in the UK and also on BBC America (too bad I don't have cable!). I supposed I could watch the US Kitchen Nightmares, but maybe I'll just wait for the next DVD to be released.