Tag Archives: Brent Herrig

I Chat With: Dave Arnold of Booker and Dax

Dave Arnold, perfectly chilling a coupe with liquid nitrogen, photo Brent Herrig

When I was a sophomore in high school, I foolishly decided to skip biology and go straight into chemistry: why they let me do so is a mystery. All I knew was that, if I worked my ass off and passed, I wouldn’t have to take any more science classes in high school. I’m good with words, not numbers. And so for that long year I scraped my way by and ended up with a C+, an uncommon grade in my book. But I passed.

Fast forward about 14 years and I’m watching Dave Arnold spin molasses in a centrifuge and hold up some sorta refractometer thing to his eye to check the separation level of blah blah blah. I am so curious about the science behind food, but it’s gotta be slowed way down for me to be able to understand it at such a level. Yes Dave insists what he’s doing is not science, “really, it’s just cooking”.

Right, Dave.

What follows the spinning centrifuge is the most fun interview I’ve done to date. And when I sip on one of Booker and Dax’s most simple cocktails – a classic Manhattan served in a perfectly-chilled bottle alongside the coupe – I don’t care about all that science stuff, anyway. Which is partially what Dave intended.

Head to Serious Eats NY for the interview. And then get to Booker and Dax for something scrumptious.

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Gluten-Free Pastry Puff Party!

photo Brent Herrig

I’ve been obsessed with a gluten-free cream puff recipe.

Having gone without gluten for almost twenty years (minus the occasional succumbing to a bowl of homemade pasta passed to me or the gloriousness of a chewy piece of bread on my family’s island in Portugal just last week), delicate, precious things like filled pastry puffs had long been far from my food thoughts.

But when I sourced a bakery for gluten-free Easy Eats magazine’s Sweet Surprise column in our most recent issue, those thoughts shifted.  As I assisted the food stylist on the shoot I fell enamored of the smooth, thick dough that puffed into crackly rounds.  I was amazed by how such seemingly simple ingredients and a rather quick process could make something so delightful.

So my proposal for FoodBuzz’s 24×24 dinner party – where 24 bloggers from around the world host and post on the same day – quickly centered around the thought: how much can I play with this in one meal?  The owner of the bakery and creator of the recipe, Geri Peacock, had mentioned that, growing up as a child, her mother and grandmother filled the shells with things both savory and sweet.  It was a bit of her heritage that she had adapted for the gluten-free community years later.

So I rounded up some friends, checked in about their dietary issues and cultural backgrounds, and set them in the living room with some cocktails and a really random mix of music, and got to stuffing.

The pastry recipe is below, with my thoughts about how to make each batch spot on.  Click on the images for links to the other recipes.

And please check out Easy Eats magazine for the original recipe and other beautiful gluten-free recipes, lifestyle tips and stunning photos – and my most recent feature of five gluten free pasta recipes! Oh, and coming out in May, my feature of six top-notch chefs give us their own food thoughts and easy-to-execute classic recipes made gluten free (two of the chefs even put gluten-free options on their menus after!).

Oh, and mucho thanks to my photographer, Brent Herrig, for plating and snapping away.  All images are his.

Brent Herrig © 2012

Gluten-Free Pastry Puffs

Makes about 36 puffs, depending on size

The original pastry recipe took a teeny tiny bit of playing with – things like the position of the oven rack and sheets used made a huge difference in how one sheet would either rise and become too thin or remain deliciously eggy but too dense.  Luckily they are rather quick to whip up, and once you get the hang of it you can start swapping flours and fats with relative ease.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, Earth Balance or lard
  • 2 cups Cherbourg Bakery flour blend
  • 8 large eggs, at room temperature
  • dash of salt

Method:

Heat oven to 400° with rack in the center / one notch down from center.  Line 3 baking sheets with Silpat (the original recipe says ungreased cookie sheets but mine continually stuck that way – could be my ancient oven).

In a small pot on high heat, bring the water and butter (once it’s melted) to a full boil.  Lower the heat, add the flour all at once, and mix thoroughly, using a combination of smearing together and folding to completely incorporate the flour into the liquid.  Cook until a smooth ball forms.  Immediately transfer to a standing mixer with the paddle attachment.  Beat in eggs one at a time, starting on a low setting then raising to incorporate.  About halfway through, beat until smooth, and then continue with the rest of the eggs.  Once all are in, beat for about one minute on medium-high speed.

Drop on sheets in smooth lumps, about one tablespoon for smaller puffs (what I used for dessert) and twice the size for larger ones.  Bake one at a time for 30 minutes (I was lucky to use a neighbor’s oven as well).  Once you put the puffs in, don’t open the oven for a good 25 minutes to check – they need the heat to rise properly.  Cool for a few minutes before removing to cooling rack.

Depending on the sturdiness of the puffs, I cut out small tops and filled them or sliced them in half and used them in a slider-type of way.  As they’re light, eggy and rather flavor-neutral, they worked well with strong savory and sweet flavors equally.

Puff Pastry Party Menu

Piri Shrimp

This is the one dish for which I’m not posting a recipe, because I totally cheated and just threw 1 pound of ethically caught shrimp (as in not from Thailand and labeled with certain standards) with 1 bottle of Very Peri Mild (I was sent some to test out and it’s quite delightful).  I marinated it overnight and then threw them in a hot pan with the juice of one fresh lemon.  YUM!

Lamb Stew

Garden Chicken Salad

Jerusalem Artichoke and Kohlrabi

Mini Banana Split with Dairy-Free Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Mini Strawberry Shortcakes with Dairy-Free Liquid Cheesecake


Mini Gluten-Free Pastry Puff Strawberry Shortcakes

Brent Herrig, 2012

Fruit and cream are two of my favorite things to smash together, but since I’ve been dairy-free for almost 20 years (save for butter, which as such little protein in it I can indulge), it’s not a combo I get too often.

In dreaming about what sweets I could fill into gluten-free puff pastries other than the traditional cream for my FoodBuzz 24×24 party, the combo naturally came to mind.  Why not do a mini take on a strawberry shortcake to compliment my cool and minty Mini Banana Splits?

This combo is quite adorable – full of flavor and texture, nostalgic and simple.  And look how cute and romantic.

I’m all smiles.  Love.

Mini Gluten-Free Puff Pastry Strawberry Shortcakes

Serves 12

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 recipe gluten-free puff pastry, baked with about 1 Tbsp each for a small size
  • 1 quart of strawberries, chopped small
  • 1 recipe Liquid Cheesecake, baked an additional five minutes to set almost firm
  • 2 Tbsp organic sugar
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint, plus 12 small leaves for garnishing
  • Powdered sugar

Method:

Combine the strawberries, chopped mint and sugar in a small bowl, and stir to combine.  Refrigerate a few hours or overnight to let the flavors meld.

To serve, cut a small hole in each of the pastries.  Fill with strawberries.  Use a mini cookie scoop to scoop out a round of liquid cheesecake.  Tuck mint leave in between layer.  Top with pastry top.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

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