Scott and I dropped into Chris’ place to just get together and cook. To try things out and see what came up. The agenda was loose, the wine was open, and the kitchen was ready. So we went for it.
A Bit O’ Evaporation
We hadn’t done any rotary evaporation since the last time we tried it out. Scott had some apples from his apple tree, and wanted to make a homemade apple brandy. He brought over a couple of bottles full of apple juice he had fermented with a yeast designed to ferment quickly. We threw it into the evaporator, lowered the pressure so the liquid began to boil, and collected the distillate.
It seemed a little watery to us. Using a hydrometer, we determined it was about 10% alcohol. The yeast didn’t ferment as much as had been thought. Getting the right temperature and pressure to extract just the alcohol is a delicate process, and takes practice. We had a short window of time for the evening, however, so we moved on to other things.
We grabbed various items from Chris’ cabinets and began brain storming. A can of milk peanut soup got us thinking about reducing it as a glaze to cover shrimp. There was no shrimp but there was scallops. So hey, let’s give it a shot.
The reduced soup syrup just didn’t have the flavor to really stand out, even with adding some isomalt to sweeten it up a little bit (no sugar – we didn’t want it to taste like candy). But the overall concept is still solid. More experimentation will yield better results.
Chris took his hand at making Banh Mi sandwiches – made with chicken liver. An improvised sauce made of gochujang and japanese mayo was added – it was awesome!
Scott, having gone pizza dough crazy this summer, brought his microencapsulated leavener and make some flatbread pizzas in Chris’ Big Green Egg. What to do for toppings? Chris had some mangalitsa lard and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese in the fridge. Yes, that will do.
Chris also had some amazing pork chops from Tails and Trotters that he threw on the grill with mesquite lump charcoal. They were from pigs raised in Washington State that are finished on a diet of hazelnuts for the last 60 to 90 days. Delicious.
We ended the night with our bellies full of food and our minds full of ideas. This cooking stuff is endless fun. Especially when you’re surrounded by people who are as psyched as you are.