Archive: September, 2009
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
Face it, summer is gone. The college students are back reveling in each others' company after a long sexless summer and Sundays are owned by football games and their associated mass consumption.ï¿½ That makes it time for a totally trashy, yet super-seasonal treat: Jell-O shots.
You had them in college out of tiny Dixie cups and loved it, admit it. Since nowadays it's declassï¿½ to show up at any intimate gathering of friends empty-handed, mix up a batch of these wiggly, boozy gems to make a guaranteed unforgettable impression.ï¿½ Someone else will pick up the cheese and pinto grigio, trust me.
I wanted to forgo the traditional sleeve of non-recyclable plastic cups that typically contain the Jell-O shots, so I made mine in mini muffin tins.ï¿½ You can also easily use ordinary ice-cube trays; unmold the Jell-O shots right before you intend to consume them by dipping the underside of the trays in warm water for just five seconds.ï¿½ The warm water will melt the outer layer of Jell-O and the shots will slip right out.
With more than 20 Jell-O flavors available, the pairing possibilities are endless. I had a few inches of Old Overholt rye sloshing around in the bottom of the bottle, so that got matched with peach gelatin.ï¿½ A cup out of a bottle of Stoli Oranj met with cranberry Jell-O.ï¿½ Others I'd like to try: Malibu coconut rum with pineapple Jell-O, bourbon with apricot, tequila with Eagles green lime gelatin or vanilla vodka with lemon.
After the jump, a so-easy-a-college-sophomore-can-do-it method for Jell-O shots, made sans wasteful plastic cups.ï¿½ Click here for a 50-cents-off coupon.
Basic Jell-O Shot Method
adapted from the back of the Jell-O box
recipe yields approximately 48 shots
Go Get This:
2 boxes your favorite Jell-O flavors
2 liquid cups of your favorite booze
Mini muffin tins, ice-cube trays or shot glasses
Now Do This:
Since variety is the spice of life, use two different flavors of Jell-O.ï¿½ This recipe is for making one packet at a time.ï¿½ Repeat all steps with second packet and clean tools so as not to contaminate your flavors.
Assemble all your tools before beginning:ï¿½ a liquid measuring cup, your bottles of booze, packets of Jell-O, mini muffin tins or ice cube trays, a fork or whisk and bowl.ï¿½ Clear a space in your refrigerator for the filled trays.
Fill a small pot with water and place on the stove to boil.
Dump the packet of Jell-O powder into a bowl.
When the water is boiling, measure out one cup of boiling water.ï¿½ Pour this into the bowl with the Jell-O powder and stir with a fork or whisk at least one minute, until Jell-O is totally dissolved and mixture has thickened somewhat.
Measure out one cup of booze and pour that into Jell-O mixture. Stir with fork until mixture is blended thoroughly.
Transfer Jell-O mixture to a container with a spout (I used my large glass measuring cup).ï¿½ Pour the mixture into the mini muffin tin or ice cube trays.ï¿½ Do not overfill.
Refrigerate at least four hours until firm.
Unmold Jell-O shots just before serving by dipping the underside of the trays in warm water for just five seconds.ï¿½ Jell-O shots will slip out easily.
Q102 DJ Rocco Cima's Fuel (1917 E. Passyunk Ave., 215-568-FUEL), has opened for business down Passyunk way. The chef-turned-radio-personality didn't have too much time to talk when we popped into the space ï¿½ lots of deep red and purple, with seating along either side of the narrow space leading back to the counter/kitchen ï¿½ as he was booking through lunch orders like a cook possessed (it's basically a one-man show behind his counter).
The deal on the food is this ï¿½ Cima offers an array of salads, paninis, wraps and snack-type items (canapes, shrimp skewers, wontons, etc.) all of which fall under 500 calories or less. Cima came about the caloric rundown based on estimates from The Daily Plate. (Note that the cal estimates for the sandwiches/wraps do not factor in your choice of bread.) Here's a little more on the concept back in August; full menu here or on their Web site.
Hours: Sun.-Thu., 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-midnight.
Food writer/friend of Meal Ticket Holly Moore of Holly Eats just got out of hospital rehabilitation for a fractured hip, so he'll be off his feet for the next few weeks, meaning it'll be some time before he resumes his cheap-eats marauding. He's asked Meal Ticket for help rounding up some personal chef suggestions for his recovery period for the next few weeks. We're here to help ï¿½ do you have a suggestion for a great locally based personal/home chef who could help Holly out? If so, please leave us a note in the comments.
Java geeks, take note: Late next week, Aaron Ultimo of Brew (1900 S. 15th St., 215-339-5177) gets in a shipment of beans from Hacienda La Esmeralda, the Panamanian coffee growers that many consider to be among the premier producers in the world. (The stuff's discussed at length in Michaele Weissman's 2008 book God in a Cup.)
Ultimo, whose first batch flew last week, characterizes HLE's beans as "dynamic" and "complex," and this dude knows his coffee, so it's right we take notice. The catch is that this stuff is expensive ï¿½ $30 per 8-ounce bag if you pre-order (contact Brew for that) or $5 per cup ï¿½ but Ultimo notes that the price tag does well in adding to the mystique.
PREVIOUSLY: First look at Brew/Ultimo Coffee
Don't forget that Chinatown Restaurant Week the six-day promo we told you about earlier this month, jumped off last night. Participating eateries (listed below; click to enlarge) are offering $10, $20 and $30 prix-fixe meals ï¿½ a bit more price variety than Center City's RW, for sure.
Meal Ticketers: Where are you planning on going? And if you hit it up a deal last night, what'd you try and what was good?
Brendan Hartranft and Leigh Maida's Resurrection Ale House (2425 Grays Ferry Ave.), which opens to the public this coming Wednesday, just posted their opening draft beer list online. Check it out on their site or after the jump. We're amped for the keg of Resurrection Ale from Bmore's Brewer's Art, as well as the offerings from Russian River, Ommegang, Cantillon, etc. More on the spot here on Meal Ticket soon.
Opening Draft List
Brewerï¿½s Art Resurrection Ale
Slyfox Oï¿½Reillyï¿½s Stout
Cantillon Cuvee des Champions
Dogfish Head Punkinï¿½
PBC Rowhouse Red
Brooklyn Sorachi Ace
Ommegang Rare Vos
Lagunitas Lucky 13
Russian River Pliny The Elder
On Cask: Yards Cape of Good Hope
Coming Soon On Draft
Port Brewing OldER Viscosity ï¿½06
Schneider Weisse (wooden firkin)
Port Brewing Hop 15
Lost Abbey Red Barn
Stone Vertical Epic ï¿½09
Port Brewing Wipeout IPA
Lost Abbey 10 Commandments
Port Brewing Panzer Pils
Sierra Nevada Harvest Ale
Weissenohe Monks Fest
People got a little prickly on this week's episode.
Quickfire: For this "high stakes" challenge ($15k prize), Texas chef Tim Love (a Top Chef Masters contestant) has the remaining cheftestants create a dish based around a tough ingredient selected by the Top Chef viewing populace. Fifty-seven percent of voters went with cactus over rattlesnake and kangaroo. "In the Basque country, there is no cactus," Mattin points out. Thx brah! I was disappointed with the viewers' pick, as it would've been awesome to hear King Kerchief sing a jaunty French song about how 'roos and rattlers are also not native to France while doing a vaudeville soft-shoe performance that involved him using a freshly baked baguette in lieu of a cane.
At the bottom: Ash, whose too-thick tortilla buried the cactus flavor; the usually strong Mike V., whose dish Love described as "two trains coming together"; and Ron, who offered up crab that "tasted rancid." At the top: the usually quiet Laurine, with a cactus salsa-topped pork chop; Mike I., who celebrated his successful cactus-curing by flashing DOUBLE METAL SIGNS; and our French friend, who did a nice job of showcasing the ingredient. Mikey ends up with the chip. No additional metal signs though.
Elimination: There's well-composed restaurant-quality dishes in them thar hills! The chefs are shipped out to the searing-hot dessert to cook grub over an open flame for a bunch of Love's rancher buddies. "I love camping! I grew up on a farm with chickens, pigs and all that," Mattin squeals with glee. Why does this dude, who's the second-Frenchest Frenchman that I'm aware of (the chien supï¿½rieur, of course, being Georges Perrier), insist on reaffirming his Frenchitude with such All Bran-like regularity? I feel a little less American every time I see his little face.
While Eli confirms my suspicions that he was raised as a hardcore indoor kid ("We got electricity for a reason"), Laurine, a caterer by trade, is cool with the into-the-wild curveball. "I've learned to be kind of a MacGyver when it comes to cooking," she says. (Any MacGyver reference automatically puts you in good standing with me, so strong work, ma'am.) Plenty of hijinks ensue during prep/cooking, including Ron foreal requesting a sword to bust open his coconuts.
The judges are BRUTAL on nearly everyone's dishes, especially Robin's shrimp ("Tastes like I just sucked on a piece of chlorine," says Love) and Mattin's ceviche, which apparently sucks so bad that Tom C. actually has to huffily walk about 4 feet away from his picnic table and throw it into the desert. Why couldn't he have just tossed that shit from his seat? Or just said "I don't like this" and left it at that? Because we need good goddamn TV, that's why! Still, nothing can top the transcendently beautiful Padma spitting out her bite last season. What a transcendently beautiful regurge that was ...
Dishes at the top: Laurine's arctic char and grilled potato; Ashley's seared halibut (Padma calls her "the dark horse" ... MIND MELD, LAKSHMI); Bryan's perfect-for-outdoors roasted pork loin with polenta and glazed rutabaga; and his brother Mike's miso-cured black cod. Bryan ends up winning his second Elimination in a row, and even cracks a little smile, which is rare for the almost-always-deadpan Voltaggio sibling. His quietly judgmental camera-leering makes me think he'd fit in perfectly on
At the bottom: Chlorine shrimp lady Robin, food-chucked-by-Tom Mattin, and Ron, whose coconut cocktail accompanying his ceviche dish was called "horrible" by the judges. (If only he had that sword ... ) I guess it's a death knell if your food gets airborne on this show, as Mattin is sent packing. We've already expounded on his ridiculous Frenchness so I'll leave the official goodbye to my girl Jackie.
Next week: Everyone, including Penn and Teller, hates Robin.
The Good Word is a new weekly Meal Ticket feature where we ask Philadelphia food people questions. Weï¿½re going to start by highlighting the cityï¿½s many excellent food writers and bloggers, with eventual plans to extend beyond the scribeosphere. The questions will be different every week unless we come across a really sweet one we want to reuse. Want to nominate a future Good Word candidate (yes, you can nominate yourself), or submit ideas for questions? E-mail email@example.com.
In this installment of The Good Word, weï¿½re chatting with Hawk Krall and Kris Chau of Drawing For Food.ï¿½ These two professional illustrators take a pen in one hand and a fork in the other, cataloging eats both fast (Moe's Hot Dogs) and fancy (lunch at Del Posto).
No matter how hungry you are, what is one restaurant dish you always have trouble finishing?
Hawk Krall: I can eat two cheesesteaks in one sitting.ï¿½ I've eaten 10 hot dogs in a day in 3 different states. Butï¿½ can never finish a bowl of Pho.
What's the most beautiful thing you've ever eaten?
Hawk Krall: Really hard question. I've had painstakingly laid out restaurant dishes that look like miniature modern sculpture. Mind-numbingly authentic, beautiful meals at a 100-year -ld bouchon in Lyon, or a boarding house in Savannah. And some incredible-looking hoagies.
In the end I went with something that I actually made (not my recipe) and ate while working as a line cook.ï¿½ï¿½ Nothing wild, just a perfect combination of comfort food and fine dining ... not too gimmicky, and most importantly it was freakin' delicious. One of a few dishes, that every time I made it, reminded me why I wanted to cook. And damn it looked good going out of the kitchen. Who knows if it ever made it to the table without falling over.
What's your favorite Philly breakfast/brunch item? (it can be a specific restaurant dish, or just a regional specialty!)
Hawk Krall: Creamed chipped beef on toast all the way. Getting harder and harder to find here, especially made well. I like the gravy on the thick side ... a lot of times it's sort of runny, gluey and gray. Best I've had is outside of the city in Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Someone needs to get on a mildly fancied-up brunch version ... with good white gravy and some 2-inch-thick country bread.
What do you look like after you've eaten way, way too much?
If you've ever wondered how moonshine is actually made, check out this clip from The Documentary Channel's Emmy-winning film The Last One, a profile of Marvin "Popcorn" Sutton, a famous Tennessee moonshiner who lived his entire life in the Appalachian Mountains.
|Summer in a jar|
I have posted my dear, genius friend Janina Larenas' recipes and techniques on Meal Ticket before.ï¿½ Her slow-cooked seitan and veggie stew and resourceful method for vegetable stock are the products of her lifelong vegetarian status and insatiable culinary curiosity.ï¿½ Sadly for us in Philly, Janina has returned to her native Santa Cruz, California -- but she is still sharing her experiments with us through her blog, Bramblings.
The week's feature is an exhaustively detailed foray into canning tomatoes.ï¿½ Janina is in her third year of canning 40 lbs. of the rosy beauties to have on hand all winter long, and has finally worked out the bugs in the canning process.ï¿½ If you have ever been interested in canning, but were afraid of explosions, botulism or scalding water, check out Janina's photo essay and video, along with step-by-step instructions for canning summer's bounty.
You can do it.
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