Wednesday, January 27, 2010

adios, el bullí

Two more dining seasons before El Bullí closes its doors.
Not forever, mind you, but for two years at the least. And there is no guarantee that anything will ever be the same when Ferran Adriá reopens his restaurant. His cryptic remark? “In 2014, we will serve food somehow. I don’t know if it will be for one guest or 1,000.”
For those who don't know, El Bullí has been the world's number one restaurant for four years. The molecular gastronomy there would be unrecognizable as edible substance to the majority of the world's population. Adriá spends half of each year innovating, and opens his restaurant for the second half to display his new creations.
This is a big deal, people, with one Spanish journalist going as far as to say, "Yesterday's announcement could be considered as the day gastronomy entered the 21st century."
I don't know about you, but I just got on the waiting list for reservations.

Read the interview translated from the Spanish here.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

calas classiques

Once a common street food in New Orleans, calas have fallen off the radar, overshadowed by their omnipresent cousin, the beignet. After my trip to the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, and subsequent pumpkin calas spotting on the Cochon menu, I was fascinated by this long-forgotten fritter. An 1903 cookbook reads (according to my rudimentary French) '"Bel Calas, good-n-hot!" So goes the cry of the Negresse who sells them on the street in a wooden bowl that she carries on her head, covered with a clean napkin. Calas are eaten with coffee from the market in the morning...they're delicious!'
And I'm here to report that they are, indeed, delicious. They're a brilliant way to use old cooked rice, and the dough keeps in the fridge for several days. They are basically like the child a beignet and a bowl of rice pudding would produce if biology made such things possible. I can't wait to make them again....maybe next time with some cheese and andouille!

calas classiques

2 c cooked rice
1 egg
1.5 tsp yeast
1/2 c water, warm
1/8 c sugar
2/3 c flour

Mix all ingredients, allow to rest for a couple hours or overnight. Fry balls of dough (it's very wet) in hot oil. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar if desired.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Prune, cherry, and apricot frangipane tart

This incredible dessert is not only the most delicious, showstopping dessert I've ever had--it also answers a couple of burning questions:
1)why grappa should always be kept on hand
2)why Gourmet should still be a magazine
3)why holidays and special occasions even exist
4)why I should never be left alone in the same room with dessert