Guest Post: Cocktails by Walczak & Heiss

Friday, April 4th, 2014
diagrams,drinks — by Johanna


I first met Marek Walczak in Sweden, late 2002. He was showing one of his interactive art works “Apartment” and at the opening he mistook me for my twin sister (who was the curator of the show). Ever since then we have lived and worked together. Besides other things we have designed and renovated 2 houses from scratch and we have also built a tiny little studio house together.

About five years ago Marek started to work with Wes Heiss who he has known for a long long time. Like me, both of them have a background in architecture. Besides many other things, Wes knows how to build cars and violins. Over the last few years he has also become an expert in operating 3D printers of various kinds. Together, Marek and Wes has become a perfect team that can design and build really cool media-based public art installations.

One of their latest works (which I made some illustrations for) is an art installations in Denver, called 14th Street Overlay. This installation consist of 23 individual small cast bronze sculptures of optical instruments like binoculars, iPhones and movie cameras that are embedded along 14th street. Each object gives you a view of the existing street merged with narratives and projections of the past.

I really enjoy working with Marek & Wess. I also enjoy their skills in making cocktails and drinks. With them, there is always a new drink that needs to be mixed and tested. It could be a classic but also something totally new. With their help I have picked out three drinks from their cocktail collection, The Saint, Tatanka (a Polish classic) and Gingerish.

Cheers!

UPDATE: Just heard that Walczak & Heiss won  won the commission for Public Art for the gardens of the Berry Center, Wyoming. Congratulations to both of you!

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* St. Germain is an Elderflower liquor which you probably can substitute with something similar. You can also switch out this part with equal amount of Elder Flower cordial.

** Zubrówka is a Polish vodka flavored with bison grass.

*** For best flavor, infuse the ginger with the whiskey for at least 4 hours.

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More drink links…

Pomegranate Molasses & Gin recipe diagram on kokblog

Akvavit recipe diagram on kokblog

Engineers guide to drinks post by Flowing Data

Making of a Kitchen Towel

Sunday, March 30th, 2014
news,potatoes,sweet — by Johanna

I have an announcement to make… I have set up a shop at SpoonFlower where I’m selling patterns for fabrics and gift wraps etc.

Some of the patterns are specially designed to make one single tea towel (see above) by selecting the Fat Quarter size (27″x18″) and their Linen-Cotton Canvas fabric. This fabric is also a perfect match for tablecloths, napkins, aprons, bags* etc. There are of course plenty of other options.

Soon there will be more patterns in the shop. For example I have been working on some flower patterns and as soon I have proofed the samples I will put them up for sale.

I hope you enjoy them.

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* for tote bags I would choose  their Heavy Cotton Twill fabric. Its a slightly thicker cotton canvas. See more fabric types here.

Your Spring Goat Cheese Primer (part 1)

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014
cheese — by Johanna

A couple of posts back I had Tenaya Darlington, aka Madame Fromage, as a guest here on the blog. She wrote a beautiful and fun post about How to Turn Your Desk Into a Cheese Board. We enjoyed working together and decided to continue with a series that will highlight great dairy and pairings for each season. For our first seasonal post: what can be better in life than Spring, flowers and goat cheese?

Your Spring Goat Cheese Primer
By Madame Fromage

Along with daffodils and Easter bonnets, spring is the season of great goat cheeses. They appear like ice-white confections at cheese counters across the U.S. and in Europe, where they are often spectacularly cloaked in petals, pink peppercorns, or green herbs.

Some of the most sought-after specimen look like pug puppies, with ashy coloring and heavy wrinkles. Don’t be afraid. Most of these come from the Loire Valley, the seat of sweet, tender goat cheese that the whole world admires. In Paris, pairing one of these gems with a glass of Sancerre or rosé is a rite of passage.

The taste of Paris in spring can be yours, too, if you know how to identify superb fresh goat cheese (it should taste balanced, never sour) and what to serve with it. If you want to be clever, you can tell your friends why fresh goat cheese enjoys it’s fashion season in spring: it has to do with wee shoots and wildflowers.

The first meadow greenery is essentially extra-virgin grass, and when those lady goats enjoy their first romps’n nibbles, they produce milk that is sweetly delicate, even herbaceous. This makes the finest cheese.
Oh, bliss! Here are a few of my spring favorites…

Five Must-Try Goat Cheeses

The best place to shop is a reputable cheese counter. Remember, darlings, buying nice cheese is like buying diamonds — if you go bargain hunting, you won’t get the Tiffany-blue box. Avoid shrink-wrapped logs that are mass-manufactured. They’re fine for crumbling onto salads but, trust me, they will not induce reverie.

kindvall-Selles-sur-Cher

Selles-sur-Cher
This ash-coated round the size of your palm should resemble a very large Girl Scout Thin Mint. Selles-sur-Cher (pronounced sell-sur-SHARE)  is Loire Valley goat cheese at its best. Mild and very fresh, it has the consistency of damp earth. After several weeks of proper ripening, it becomes oozy around the edges and a little more pungent. Serve with rosé and anything raspberry. I love to eat it for breakfast with raspberry jam.

Caprino Fiorito
If you spy a little muffin topper from Piedmont rolled in petals – often chamomile blossoms – nab it before anyone else does. Great goat cheese starts with great milk, and the pastures of Piedmont produce lovely chèvre that tastes as pretty as it looks. Pour a glass of Prosecco, and enjoy Caprino Fiorito without any trappings, preferably after a long bath. It’s basically a cheese bath bomb; it will fill you with warmth, ease, and delight.

Saint Maure
You simply can’t miss this silvery log because it has a shaft of wheat running through its center. It’s really the Prada bag of goat cheeses, gorgeous and functional. The reed stabilizes the cheese and creates a little air tunnel so that the center won’t be mushy. Expect a light, dry texture, and a slightly flinty taste. This is a pretty cheese to drizzle with honey as you sip Sancerre over a plate of sliced Asian pear. Watch a French weepy, and call it your spring cleanse.

Clochette
Beautiful Clochette is bell-shaped (no surprise: the name means “little bell”), making it a perfect selection for Sunday brunch or an engagement party. Some refer to the rind as “wrinkly,” while others prefer to call it “textured.” Either way, don’t be afraid of the fleecy surface. It’s delicate and supple, a lovely contrast to the dense, damp center which is as rich as night cream. Pair this with lemon marmalade and French 75s after a vampish night on the town.

kindvall-cannonball

Wabash Cannonball
This little snowdrop speckled with peppercorns represents one of the best goat cheeses coming out the United States. Any cheese made by Judy Schad of Capriole Farm in Indiana is a must-nibble. It’s so compact and perfect, you should share it with a lover over glasses of sparkling lambic or eat it alone on a park bench without any disruptions, other than butterflies. Wabash C. is hard to find and very spendy, but worth every penny. Psst…don’t try to slather this on a baguette. It should be devoured like the best bon-bon in the world.

How To Dress Your Goat Cheese
Great fresh goat cheese needs no accompaniment, but if you’re searching for good matches, then reach for other spring fare. Every fresh thing from the farmers’ market pairs well, especially…

Wild strawberries
Raspberries
Homemade berry jam
Meyer lemon marmalade
Rhubarb compote
Honey, light and dark
Sautéed ramps
Sautéed fiddleheads
Steamed baby vegetables
Baby greens or micro greens
Radishes, thinly sliced with salt
Rosemary crackers

Describing Goat Cheese to Your Lover

Good goat cheese tastes bright. Like sunlight, like citrus. That’s because it’s acidic (think: lemons), more so than cheeses made from other milks. Fatty, it’s not. Goat cheese is very light and easy on the stomach. If you want to eat a cheese in bed, this is the one. If you have eaten goat cheese that tastes sour, tangy, or gamy (called “bucky,” after a male buck), you’ve probably eaten a goat cheese of poor quality.

Here’s what good fresh goat cheese often tastes like (saying these words makes for lovely pillow talk): herbaceous, floral, delicate, grassy, clean, bright, citrusy, mellow, woodsy, flinty.

Here are some common textures:
damp, dense, light, fluffy, smooth, creamy, clay-ey, icy, cool, downy (rind), rumpled (rind)

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Note: Thank you for reading Part I of our 4-part series. We are excited to share these seasonal cheese posts with you and hope that they inspire you to dream, to eat, to explore. In June, look for our post on great summer cheeses. Once we’ve completed all four seasons, we hope to present a calendar!

Late Summer Cheese Picnic (part 2)

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This post was also published at Madame Fromage

 

 

Plain Sourdough Bread

Thursday, March 13th, 2014
bread,diagrams — by Johanna

About two years ago I started my two sourdough starters, wheat and rye. Both of them are still active and have been with me back and forward to Sweden, London and Brooklyn. This summer I will bring them to Sicily and Amsterdam.

The breads I bake are often simple, with or without extra flavor (for e.g. Caraway, fennel or anise seeds, rosemary etc). The flours I mostly use are regular unbleached flour, whole wheat, dinkel or rye flour (mixed with regular flour or 100%). I have also baked with the addition of sunflower seeds, linseeds, prunes and with beer or my home made kefir instead of water. I also bake sourdough knäckebröd.
(I will share more of this eventually). The variations are endless, but I am always amazed how good just flour, water and a little salt can taste.

Plain Sourdough Bread
adapted from Peter Reinhart’s recipe of San Francisco Sourdough Bread, “artisan  bread every day”, Ten Speed Press, 2009.

gives 1 large, 2 medium or 3 smaller loaves

starter dough

60 grams (about ¼ cup, 60 ml) lively starter (rye or wheat), at room temperature
142 grams (2/3 cup,  a little less then 150 ml) water, at room temperature
230 grams (1 2/3 cups, 400 ml) all-purpose flour (unbleached)

the dough
(8-10 hours later)
all of the first starter dough
400 grams (1 ¾ cup, 400 ml) water, at room temperature
570 grams (4 cups, 945 ml) all-purpose flour (unbleached)
2½ teaspoon salt

starter dough (I suggest in the morning)
Mix together starter with water and flour until well blended and you can form a ball (this starter dough should feel like a dough and be sticky). Transfer to a slightly floured flat surface and knead for about a minute. Place the dough in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 8-10 hours (or overnight).

the dough (for e.g in the evening)
Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces. Place them in a bowl and pour over the water. With your fingers or a spoon loosen the pieces up in the water.
Add the flour and salt and mix together until well blended.
Let the dough rest uncovered for about 5 minutes.

The dough should feel slightly sticky and be flexible (add more flour or water if necessary). Transfer the dough to a slightly floured flat surface and knead for about 1-2 minutes.
Let the dough rest uncovered for 10 minutes.

Stretch and fold the dough. Form the dough to a ball and place in a bowl (slightly oiled), cover with some plastic wrap. Repeat the stretch and fold 1 – 2 times with 10 – 30 min rest in between.

Let the dough rise at room temperature for 1½ hour to 2 hours and place it in the fridge overnight.

The dough should have grown a little larger and it will increase in size some more in the fridge. (if you want to skip a slow rise in the fridge just let the dough rise outside for 3 – 5 hours before shaping).

Take the dough out of the fridge at least 4 hours before you plan to bake the bread in the oven.

After about 2 hours, shape the bread into 1, 2 och 3 loaves.

Flour all around and place on a floured (all purpose or semolina flour) tea towel (or use a bakers couche), see illustration above.
see illustration above. Cover with a tea towel and let proof for about two hours.

About ½ hour before baking, preheat the oven to 250ºC (480ºF). Place a baking sheet in the oven plus a smaller baking tin (for water to create steam while baking) on a rack underneath. If using a baking stone (which I don’t) you will need to preheat the oven earlier.

When it’s time, take out the warm baking sheet from the oven. Carefully transfer the shaped dough and drop each one onto the hot surface. Score the dough in a pattern you like with a sharp knife or a bread slashing tool (I use my sharp serrated bread knife).

Place the baking sheet in the oven. Pour some water, hot or cold into the baking tin below. Close the door.

After 15 minutes., open the oven door to let out some steam. The bread should have risen up nicely and started to get some nice golden color. Depending on size, bake for another 15 to 30 minutes.
Repeat opening the oven door every 5 to 10 minutes (I have been told that this should give the bread a nice crust). You can also turn the breads upside down to get a nice brown color all around.
The bread is done when it sounds hollow when knocking on the bottom. If you are not sure just bake it a little longer.

Let the breads cool on a cooling rack before slicing, at least 1 hour.

This bread is a quite simple bread that works by itself, dipped in olive oil or spread with butter. Its also great with cheese (goat cheese with honey and thyme is my favorite), thinly sliced dried sausage or toasted with jam for breakfast.

* You can of course shape this bread into rounds as well. Place them in bread baskets (banetons) or like me in small serving bowls lined with a floured tea towels.

some more links

How to make a sourdough starter – movie by Iban Yarza (this is how I learned it)
3-2-1 Contact! -intressting notes by Andrew Janjigian on how he feeds his levain (starter).
Pain de Martin’s bread movies
More shaping by Mark @ the Back Home Bakery
scoring bread post by the Fresh Loaf
Dan Lephard’s sourdough starter with raisins and yogurt post by Azelia’s Kitchen

Pasta Shaping Workshop

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014
egg,pasta — by Johanna

kokblog-busiati

A couple of weeks ago I decided to arrange a pasta shaping workshop with a couple of friends. The workshop was a good excuse to get loads of pasta done and at the same time have some wine with friends. When it comes to pasta shaping, I’m a total beginner.

kokblog-cavatelli-2

We made three different types, casarecce, cavatelli and busiati. The cavatelli was our favorite. It was fun and easy to do. And we made them on top of a sushi mat to created a striped pretty patterns (not shown in the illustration but you can watch this video). I also enjoyed making the casarecce, especially when they came out really small and thin. The busiati shape was the hardest and honestly we only made a few.
It was trickier than I thought especially when you want the pasta to be thin and not too thick. However I think in the end we did really well, but to master it, I will need loads of practice!

kokblog-casarecce

My friends brought an excellent Sicilian pesto with roasted eggplants. It worked really well with the cavatelli and busiati. For the cararecce I had prepared a spinach cheese sauce. To the meal we also made a tomato salad with roasted peppers. For dessert we had local (Brooklyn) Italian style ice cream topped with my homemade chocolate sauce. It was an excellent dinner.

To arrange your own pasta shaping workshop you will need…

• a pasta dough (that you can prepare in advance)*
• extra flour (all-purpose or semolina)
• a few bbq sticks (or something similar, they can even be a little thicker)
• a sushi mat (if you want the cavatelli or other shapes to have a pattern)
• rolling pin (we didn’t need to use it but can be handy for other shapes)
• something to drink while shaping (i suggest Prosecco)
• some antipasti to nibble while working: e.g salami, prosciutto, olives, pecorino, bread
• 1 – 2 different pasta sauces that can be prepared before hand
• suitable wine to serve to the final meal (or what you would like to drink)
• a salad
• something sweet to end the meal

*The pasta dough recipe I use is by Clotilde Dusoulier. Its very clever and easy to make. You just measure the eggs, take the same weight in flour and add 1/2 the weight in semolina (plus a little salt). I love it an it tastes exactly how I want it.  Clotilde’s recipe is based on Michael Ruhlman’s 2 parts egg to 3 parts flour pasta dough ratio.

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links
The Geometry of Pasta, the site & the book
Pasta Shapes Dictionary

recipes
Four-Cheese Ravioli with Tomato Sauce by Stephane Lemagnen
Spinach Lasagna by kokblog
Chicken Gnocchi by Emiko Davis
Spaghetti Carbonara recipe (with white wine) by Amateur Gourmet
Pasta - story by Jamie Schler and recipe & photographs by Ilva Beretta

movies
How to shape casarecce by Michela De Filio
Shaping busiati
Hand-Pulled Chinese Noodles by New York Times
Rolling out pasta with a rolling pin video by Michael Ruhlman