Sesshed Out

Yesterday was the guys’ last day in the studio working on the second of their three Radiolarian records, so I brought some snacks by around dinner time to help get them across the finish line. I had an idea the other day for a Thai curry custard- kind of a cross between a chawan-mushi and a pôt-de-crème. So I took some coconut milk and chicken broth, simmered them with green curry paste, Thai and lime basil, ginger, and garlic, then strained the mixture and whisked into some egg yolks. I steamed the custard in little bowls until firm.

Prompted by an impatient Milo, we had cut open an unripe honeydew the other day. Not wanting to waste it, I cut it up and put it all in jars of kimchi juice (one had some olive brine in it too) to make quick pickles. We had some duck breasts in the freezer, so I plopped one in the water bath at 52˚ C for an hour, then seared it up to crisp the skin. Wanting to make a good sauce from our immediate surroundings, I mashed the last of the blackberries with some shiso, brown rice syrup, and a little reduced riesling and then strained it.

Here’s a hungry Chris eyeing the duck with impure intent. We served the duck on the pickled melon, with the sauce on top, after we ate the custards. I also made more spicy green beans, this time with just-cured Asian-flavored guanciale; I made four jowls, but gave one a different cure with five-spice, ginger, cardamom, bay, and togarashi. It doesn’t suck, in fact so much that it’s an open question whether it even gets to dry before we use it all.

John “only” had Thackrey‘s wine at the studio, so we were forced to drink a 2000 and 2002 Aquila, followed by a 2005 Orion and another 2005 Orion. It was tough, but we choked it all down. I’m insanely jealous that they are going to be barrel-tasting all his new wines next week at his place. After we finished this simple repast, they went back to work and I shot some video of it for Billy. Then Sirkka showed up with some serious after-snacks from Elephant. Another rough day at the office.

3 comments to Sesshed Out

  • Jen of A2eatwrite

    Yeah. Um. Sounds like a hard life.

    Thanks so much for the curry response! I’ll see if I can produce some less sucky curry using your suggestions.

  • Hunter Angler Gardener Cook

    Pretty custard. Was it perfectly smooth? Overly spicy? Sounds great as a kind of ‘tweener course in a multi-course meal…

  • peter

    Jen: I hope it works out.

    Hank: They were super-smooth and just spicy enough. It was a rehearsal for something I’m planning later on this fall.

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I'm a painter who happens to also spend a lot of time growing, making, and writing about food. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of frugal peasant cooking techniques and haute improvisation. And I have a really great personality.

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