Talking of Japan, we went for our Teppenyaki meal on Wednesday night. No I didn’t take any pictures, I read something recently where customers of restaurants had been complaining about how long it took to get service in restaurants these days. There was a detailed list from waiters which included customers wanting the waiters to take their photos on their iPods and then customers holding up eating to take pictures thus causing the food to cool and returning it to be heated. Sounds to me as though a lot of us are a damned nuisance.
Now to Dake, I was impressed by the decor of the whole place, turns out they have now been there 2 years, I was surprised. We had a very non Asiatic waiter, lively guy, who served us our salad, delicious, and then onion soup, drunk, no spoon. He also served our dipping sauces and drinks and kept replenishing the waters. It was very good service. Then the chef came, turned out he was Korean and had been here just over a year. He looked as though his face had been burned badly at some time, we then found out why. He was playing with flames. He put oil all round the bar and lit it, impressive and pretty, then he caused a great big whoosh of flame on the hotplate, that was very warm for a few seconds; i reckon he didn’t get out of the way in time once. Never seen this done before but it was impressive. He did all the tricks with the tools he was using and then proceeded to cook vegetables which were shared among the four of us. Very good. Then he started cooking the main items, I had steak and shrimp, Matt had scallops, friends had shrimp and scallops and calamari and shrimp. Think I got that right. Finally he cooked the rice which had eggs so he spun the eggs and tossed one into his chef’s hat all good to watch and pretty clever. He actually dropped one egg!!! It was all delicious. We two women had warm Sake and Matt had water the other guy had beer. Then we two women had dessert. We had Tempura Bananas with ice cream. Mine was Green Tea Ice Cream, delicious. Wasn’t so impressed with the bananas though. With the tip that came to a little short of $100, so, not cheap but very good.
I had to share this photo with you. National Geographic and I was very impressed with it.
Underneath it said “Have you ever wondered what makes an award-winning photograph?” This was one if I had ever seen one. Don’t know if this is a lenticular cloud like the one on JoJo’s blog Tahoma Beadworks and Photography.
How’s this for something different? I have been receiving an email from Tastebook and this one appeared today.
Blueberry Cheesecake in Glass Jars
This is an example of a tried-and-true recipe updated with a clever presentation. I borrowed the idea from Frederic Kieffer, one of our chefs at SoNo Baking Company, and simplified the recipe for home cooks. With a layer of cooked blueberries on the bottom of a glass jar,these individual cheesecakes sell very well at the bakery. They don’t last long at home either. Eight-ounce Ball jars come in two different shapes—tall and slender or more rounded—and you can use either one. Wrap a pretty ribbon around the necks of the jars and place them on decorative plates, and your table will look as if it had been catered by a professional.
- 1 1/2 pints fresh blueberries
- 1/4 cup plus 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste, or pure vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1 In a medium saucepan, combine 1 pint of the blueberries, 1/4 cup of the sugar, and the lemon zest and juice and cook over medium heat until the blueberries pop, 5 to 7 minutes. In a 1-cup Pyrex measure, stir together the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons cold water until smooth. Add to the saucepan with the blueberry mixture and simmer until thick and bubbly, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate while you make the filling.
- 2 In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, the remaining 2/3 cup of sugar, the salt, and vanilla on medium-high speed, scraping down the bowl and paddle several times, until the mixture is completely smooth, about 5 minutes.
- 3 Preheat the oven to 300°F. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil for a water bath.
- 4 Turn the mixer to low and beat in the eggs one at a time, until blended, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Beat in the sour cream until blended.
- 5 Divide the chilled blueberry mixture among six 8-ounce Ball jars (about 3 tablespoons per jar). Divide the cream cheese filling among the jars (a little more than 1/2 cup per jar) and smooth the tops. Place the filled jars in a roasting pan and put the pan in the oven. Pour in the boiling water to come about 1/2 inch up the sides of the jars. Bake until the cheesecakes are set but still jiggle slightly in the center, 35 to 40 minutes for the taller jars, 40 to 45 minutes for the rounder jars. (The filling will not brown and the centers will dimple.)
- 6 Remove the jars from the water bath with tongs and let cool to room temperature. Chill overnight.
- 7 To serve, top each cheesecake with some of the remaining blueberries if you like.
Egg TipsIdeally, for all recipes in this book that use eggs, the eggs should be at room temperature. This means removing the eggs from the refrigerator two to four hours before you plan to bake, depending on how hot your kitchen is. Why? The addition of cold eggs to a creamed butter-sugar mixture will cause the mixture to “break” and look curdled, like a broken mayonnaise.
This happens because the cold makes the butter congeal into small, cold lumps. Because the congealed butter will not emulsify properly into the batter, once baked, the texture of the pastry will not be perfectly uniform.
I want busy bakers to be able to make these recipes on the fly, however. And since proper emulsification is somewhat less noticeable in cookies, muffins, quick breads, pancakes and waffles, I don’t call for room temperature eggs in those recipes. (Where it’s important, however, as in this chapter, recipes do call for “eggs, at room temperature.”) If your batter does curdle, add a pinch of flour and keep beating until it smooths out again.
Have a great day – in Canada we have a holiday weekend so I hope everyone has a good Civic Holiday.