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Saturday, December 10, 2011

My Arm Should Probably Not Tingle Like This....Clementines Pt. 1

Sour Cream Cornbread w/ paprika, thyme, and cheddar.
So, after about four shoots of working my butt off chopping, stirring, kneading, etc. my body is finally catching up with me. At first my right hand was just a bit tingly more often than normal. But then I started waking up and realized I could slam my hand in a car door and not feel it, it was that numb. Typical me I just ignored it for a while, thinking "eh, my body'll figure itself out". But then I told my mom (a physician), who said "Um, yeah. You're getting carpal tunnel." Well ain't that a hoot.

Homemade Granola w/ pumpkin and sunflower seeds and dried cranberries. Along with mixed fruit, yogurt, and coconut custard (that bowl of bright yellow stuff at the top).
So now I'm wearing this nifty brace, which makes me look all kinds of cool. Of course I was worried about what would happen when I headed to Vietnam this coming Wednesday, but the director and producer were nice enough to not give me just one assistant, but two! So I'm the supervisor, organizing my cooks and focusing on creating dishes rather than grunt work. Sweet. I seriously can't wait for this trip. My love of travel is on hyperdrive this year. First two months in Spain/France, now three weeks in Vietnam. Life is super, crazy good at the moment.
I call this "The Hot Mess". Dessert in 5 minutes. Caramel and vanilla ice cream topped with crushed mint oreos, and chocolate ganache poured all over. A six-year-old's wet dream.
But I have to admit, that awesomeness is paired with back-breaking crazyness. This catering gig has taken up a huge portion of my time. Along with writing and some rudimentary semblance of social life, I'm lucky to get four hours of sleep in a night. But for some reason everyone says I look well rested. Go figure. However, I think this is how I like my life. A mess of things to do and accomplish. Probably a big reason of why I'm a filmmaker. Speaking of which, my writing group was pretty impressed with my latest draft of the script! Success! Of course I still have loads to change and make better, but hey it's a step forward.

Oh wait, but I need to talk about the food! Alright, really quick: clementines are so in right now. I mean seasonally. I think. At least, Trader Joe's is selling them by the bushel, so I picked up a sack and then I had no idea what to do with them. I realize "eat them" is an option, but why do that when there's so many other fun things to do? So Clementine Cinnamon Bread Pudding it is. And guys, let me tell you. Oh MAN is this good bread pudding. I made this for the last shoot I worked and I almost didn't give it away. I was seriously contemplating just tossing them a pack of Oreos and keeping this Pudding o' the Gods all to myself. But I was generous, and I was right. The crew went ape over it. So go! Make this right now! Before clementines are "so last season"!

The base for dal makhani. Onions with garlic, ginger, my mom's gharam masala, all floating in an absurd amount of butter. This is why I think God might exist. 

Clementine Cinnamon Bread Pudding (based on America’s Test Kitchen)
Apologies for not having a picture of this glorious dessert! My next clementine-inspired dessert has a great beauty shot, I swear. 

Note: I used the Texas Toast loaf from Trader Joe’s for this dish and it was perfect. Challah would also be great, of course.

 ‘Nother Note: I actually am not sure how much sugar I used to make this. I’d say when making the custard start with a generous half cup and see if you need more after making the custard.

tablespoons light brown sugar
½-3/4cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar (5 1/4 ounces)
1 loaf thick white breadbread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
7large egg yolks
3teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4teaspoon table salt
3 clementines (zested and juiced)
3/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4cups heavy cream
2 1/4cups milk
tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Adjust oven racks to middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 325 degrees. Combine brown sugar and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar in small bowl; set aside.
Spread bread cubes in single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, tossing occasionally, until just dry, about 15 minutes. Cool bread cubes about 15 minutes; set aside about a cup and a half.
Whisk yolks, remaining sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, clementine zest and juice, and salt together in large bowl. Add melted butter and mix. Whisk in cream and milk until combined. Add remaining 8 cups cooled bread cubes and toss to coat. Transfer mixture to a 13 by 9-inch baking dish and let stand, occasionally pressing bread cubes into custard, until cubes are thoroughly saturated, about 30 minutes.
Spread reserved bread cubes evenly over top of soaked bread mixture and gently press into custard. Sprinkle brown-sugar mixture evenly over top. Place bread pudding on rimmed baking sheet and bake on middle rack until custard has just set, and pressing center of pudding with finger reveals no runny liquid, 45 to 50 minutes. (Instant-read thermometer inserted into center of pudding should read 170 degrees.) Transfer to wire rack and cool until pudding is set and just warm, about 45 minutes. Serve.

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