Monday, December 12, 2011

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Bourbon Ganache

Cookie Sandwiches with Bourbon Ganache
Well, I said I was going to post the recipe for these, and today is the day I'm allowed to do it! Participating in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap was great for two reasons - I enjoyed the cooking (my first attempt at baking) and I got cookies in the mail. COOKIES IN THE MAIL. I know. How great is that? Who doesn't love cookies, right? It was a ton of work and I stayed up pretty late one night, not realizing how long I had just committed myself to the kitchen. I've never baked anything before, so I was treading new ground.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Bourbon Makes It Better

Pastry Shells
If you've eaten with me at any holiday gathering over the last few weeks, chances are you ate something with bourbon in it. Jennifer made a fantastic bourbon pecan pie for a couple of Thanksgiving get-togethers. Last week, I made some cookies (cookie sandwiches, rather) for a giant cookie swap. They were chocolate chip cookies made with brown butter, with a bourbon ganache in the middle. There will be a post on those next week. Friday night, I made some pecan pie tarts with bourbon in the filling. They were just a basic pastry (flour, butter) with a filling made with melted butter, egg, brown sugar, pecans, and some bourbon. It really adds an incredible scent and flavor to this common dessert.

Bourbon can have a wide variety of tastes depending on aging and specific ingredients, but there are some typical tastes in the flavor profile which you will consistently find. There is usually a hint of caramel and vanilla in a decent bourbon, which makes it a good ingredient to complement existing flavors in sweet dishes. However, it also has a distinct flavor of charcoal (the burnt wood variety) and a hint of a wood flavor. This is because bourbon, legally, must be aged in charred, oak barrels. These barrels have to be new, which helps keep that consistent flavor. Old barrels may impart flavors from previous blends or might even have been used to age rum which would dramatically change the flavor. This makes it a great ingredient for both savory and sweet dishes.

Baked - Not Pretty, But Delicious
One thing to think about is how strong of a flavor you want. Lower proof bourbons will tend to be sweeter because of the lower alcohol content. Another thing to consider - alcohol has a much lower freezing point than water and other liquids. So if you use this in a frozen dessert, make sure you use an amount on the smaller side of the measurement, and a low-proof whiskey. Otherwise, your dish is likely to have a nasty bite (and it likely won't be a pleasant one). And if you don't keep bourbon around the house, you shouldn't use more than a couple of ounces in any recipes. One or two small single-serving bottles should suffice.

Do you cook with bourbon? What are some of your favorite ways to use bourbons or liqueurs? Comment below and let me know!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Slow and Honest

I mentioned in my last post that I was becoming obsessed with another kind of food. Lots of talking, eating, and cooking has brought me back around to the food that my mother always made - good Southern food. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Back, Out & About

It's been a bit since my last post, but I have good reason! I recently had a lot of responsibility changes at work (for the better) and I've been swamped with that at work with less time to think about other things while on the ol' clock. Which is fine - I actually enjoy work again now. And Jenn and I just bought a house! It's just over the mountain in Birmingham to the south end of town. Quiet little neighborhood called Homewood. We're loving it, but it took ALL of our time and we were also without internet for a bit, so I have some catching up to do!
Some Like It Hot

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Hot Chick

What could you love more than a really hot chick? I took a shot with one this past weekend - so hot that my eyes even watered a bit. This happened at Dave's Pizza in SoHo (that's South Homewood for those of you not from Birmingham - and yes, we realize SoHo is a stolen name)...

Friday, September 23, 2011

Food and DISCO

So I've mentioned before that I'm a writer (beyond the new blog). And if you've read any of the blog, you know I love food. I swore when I started the blog that I wouldn't do any advertisement or paid write-ups for people. That's lame. But I found a reason to make an exception. A great food convention that benefits young writers. It's like the perfect combination!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Some Like It Hot

So I really love eating spicy foods. A lot of people can't fathom why someone would want to cause themselves pain by eating something hot. I've heard so many times, "I don't understand eating something so hot. All you get is burn and pain and you can't taste anything."

I think if you have thought or said this, you have either been eating the wrong kind of spicy food (no flavor, just heat), or you're just drinking bottle after bottle of lame sauce. My guess is that it's been both. So I'm going to chat a bit about spicy foods, how they work, and why we like them (and why some don't).

Monday, August 29, 2011

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry!

Birmingham at Night
What's better than good food and drink? Nothing.  Of all the great things in the world, some of the ones that have the best memories are related to taste and smell. Vacations, great nights out, Thanksgiving at mom's house... So many memories are related to taste and smell. That's why you can smell something cooking and immediately think about grandma's house. Or the smell of popcorn makes you think of the movies. Our brain encodes smells and tastes more easily than the vast amount of visual info coming in. So those meals stick around...

A Bit About Tripp

Hi everyone. My name is James Warren - I go by 'Tripp'. That's because I'm a third - James Ray Warren III - and Tripp is a nickname for thirds, much like - albeit less common than - Trey. Buckle up; this is a long one! Just an intro to me, and they'll be shorter in the future. And about things far more interesting than me.