consumed 3/3/12

I’m in love with my new Modernist Cuisine at Home cookbook (thanks Mom!) and learning many things about equipment and specialty foods.  It also prompted me to buy my new favorite kitchen item: a Fagor Duo Pressure Cooker. This thing is magical and is going to transform the way I cook. Tamales? Done. 20 minutes. Pork so tender it shreds upon stirring? 30 minutes. Why did I not buy one of these sooner?!

After hours of poring over the cookbook I chose a Mexican theme. I was drawn to the corn tamales recipe made with masa and lard. At my local Mexican market I discovered they only sell lard in 10 pound buckets, but I had a tub of duck fat in my fridge (duck fat popcorn!) and used that instead. The trick is to really whip the fat so it’s light and airy and blend fresh corn into the masa, which gives it a deep, layered flavor. Decadent and delicious.

Because I managed to find store bought achiote paste and skipped the process of making the stock, the carnitas were very easy to prepare. I simply pressure cooked the meat in the broth and then stirred in the annato-based seasoning.

The recipe for the “Refried” Bean Foam looked a little iffy as it only called for 1 2/3 cups liquid and a cooking time of one hour. Sure enough, the first batch of beans were burnt to a crisp. Luckily I had time to try again–this time with copious amounts of water. Also, after the beans were cooked and blended there were still large chunks of tough bean skin that I knew wouldn’t make it through the whipping siphon. So I added a step of pressing the puree through a fine sieve before it went into the canister. So basically, this recipe was crap, but with a few modifications it turned out great.

I rounded out the meal with my favorite Caesar salad with buttery croutons.

The dinner was a huge success and I can’t wait to cook more from this book… next up might be a chicken wing party.