shoot&eat > Culinary

What’s In a Name, Clafoutis?

Clafoutis. It appears to be one of those love it or hate desserts. Or so it seems, because a simple statement by Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Kitchen (aka Cathy Barrow) on Facebook, “I don’t get clafoutis. There. I’ve said it.”  kicked off a lively round of discussion on the merits, or the lack thereof, of Clafoutis.

I am not very well acquainted with the custard-like fruity dessert that bears such an odd name.  The dessert originated in the Limousin region of south-central France, a rural area that is known for it farming and oak forests. The principal city there is Limoges, which is nestled along the Venne River. The origin of the word is from a dialect clafir ‘to stuff’ or ‘to fill’.  So it would seem that we are stuffing a flan-like batter with fruit.

Clafoutis

Clafoutis is traditionally baked using black cherries, but it has been adapted over the years to include all sorts of fruit other than cherries. Technically, when using any fruit other than black cherries, it is called a flaugnarde. One thing you must be careful of when making clafoutis is using fruit that will seep too most liquid into the batter causing it to be runny instead of setting like it should. This did not come up in the discussion on Facebook.

But what did come up on Facebook is the challenge to bake a certain clafoutis recipe that one of Cathy’s friends posted and promised that everyone will love. So I made it. To me, this recipe is a dutch baby with fruit. It was much too thin to be a clafoutis recipe.

Clafoutis

The result was good, but I still am not a huge fan of clafoutis. I prefer my custard (and my ice cream) with nothing mixed in with it. I love the creamy smoothness of custard and ice cream and anything adulterating it only masks my enjoyment of the beautifully creamy texture.

The recipe is below if you are inclined to make it. I added vanilla beans. It’s super simple and quick to make and would be perfect for a weekend breakfast.

Clafoutis

Clafoutis (or Dutch Baby with Fruit)

2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup whole milk

1 vanilla bean, scraped into mixture
pinch salt
Whisk together above ingredients until smooth.
1 cup fruit

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Butter a small pan (I used an 8″ cast-iron skillet). Combine all of the ingredients and whisk until smooth. Pour into the skillet and drop in the fruit. Bake until the sides are golden brown, about 40 minutes.

 

 

Cheesy, Creamy, Hasselback Potato Gratin

This potato recipe is adapted from J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s recipe. As usual, for me, a recipe for me is a mere suggestion and this one was no exception. I changed it to make it my own. In fact, it was so good that I made it twice within a one-week period. Both times I used different cheeses. Any cheese that melts well would work great in this recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Hasselback Potatoes

 

Cheesy, Creamy Hasselback Potato Gratin

Serving Size: 4

This is a great recipe to play around with, substituting different ingredients such as different types of cheese and different herbs. It will also work if you'd rather use all Half & Half rather than cream or any combination of all cream or cream and Half & Half. Have fun with it.

Ingredients

  • 2.5 ounces Fontina Cheese – Finely Grated
  • 2 ounces Sharp Cheddar Cheese – Finely Grated
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/3 cup Half & Half
  • 1 Medium Garlic Clove – minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme Leaves – Roughly Chopped
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Nutmeg – Grated
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 ½ pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes – Sliced 1/8-inch thick using a mandolin slicer
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Combine the grated cheeses into a large bowl.
  3. Remove and reserve 1/3 of the grated cheese in a small bowl (to be used later)
  4. Butter a 1-quart casserole dish.
  5. Add the heavy cream, half & half, garlic, thyme, nutmeg, cayenne, salt, and pepper to the large bowl with the cheese and mix together.
  6. Place the potato slices into the cheese and cream mixture and toss around with your hands to get all of the potato slices coated with the mixture.
  7. Stack the potato slices like a deck of cards and begin placing them into the casserole dish, standing them on their end. Here you can get creative and create your own design with the rows of potatoes.
  8. Pour the remaining cream mixture over the potatoes.
  9. Cover the casserole dish tightly with aluminum foil and place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  10. Remove the aluminum foil from the dish and continue to bake for 30 more minutes, or until the potatoes are pale golden brown.
  11. Carefully remove the dish from the oven. Sprinkle the reserved grated cheese over the top of the potatoes. Place them back into the oven and bake for 30 more minutes or until the potatoes are golden brown.
  12. Remove from the oven and allow the dish to rest for about 15 minutes before serving.
http://blog.rodneybedsole.com/2016/01/cheesy-creamy-hasselback-potato-gratin/

A Coffee Festival Comes to New York

Never underestimate the power of Instagram. Even though I don’t have many Instagram followers, somehow The New York Coffee Festival found me and started following me. So, as a coffee lover, it was a no brainer that I’d follow them back. That turned into a gig shooting the 1st Annual New York Coffee Festival at the 69th Regiment Armory.

New York Coffee Festival

The event was the brainchild of Allegra Events  Jeffrey Young.  The New York version of the festival was preceded by events in London and Amsterdam. I’m so glad the festival found its way to New York City. There were throngs of people getting caffeinated all weekend, from the 25th – 27th of September. People will be buzzing about this event for weeks to come.

One of the events, which took place over all three days of the event was a barista Coffee Masters contest in which baristas from all over the world competed in several categories including coffee making, brewing, grinding, blending, tasting, and even a signature coffee cocktail. All in all, the last two contestants standing were on the Coffee Master stage for a total of four hours over the three days of the festival. Aussie Rob Morrow took home the prize of $5,000 in the competition. Morrow has been working, off and on, for the past four years at St. Ali in Melbourne. If you’re in Portland toward the end of October, you may find Rob competing again at the Coffee Fest in Portland, Oregon.

New York Coffee Festival Coffee Masters Competition

Besides the Coffee Masters competition, there was enough coffee, food, and entertainment to keep all of the caffeinated people happy for hours. Irving Farm and Bluestone Lane Coffee held another barista competition at the Bluestone Lane Coffee booth. It was a latte art throw down and Rob Morrow came out the victor in that competition also. Rob had a great weekend. 

New York Coffee Festival

Coffee wasn’t the only type of treat at the New York Coffee Festival. There was great food and cocktails as well. The most popular booth by far was Devoción Coffee, which served some really great cold-brew coffee in cute little brown bottles. I think the prize for having the most fun of any of the food vendors had to go to Joe & the Juice. Those guys must have been drinking lots of energy shakes and plenty of coffee. They were having lots of fun serving the crowd of coffee enthusiasts. Speaking of eating and drinking, there was a space in the middle of the armory with seating for people to sit, check their social media, drink, eat, and–for one person–take a nap on the floor. Hands-on participation made the festival even more fun. People were able to get their barista on and try their hand at making espresso and cupping their own latte art, with the help of an experienced barista.

Another highlight of the event was an award for best coffee art. The award went to Carlyn Beaver for her portait in acrylic titled A Lifetime. Her dad, pictured with her below, was so excited when her name was announced that he let out a big, loud squeal and shouted, “Woo-hoo! That’s my baby”. A proud papa, indeed.

New York Coffee Festival

The first New York Coffee Festival is now a memory, but the Chrysler building stands tall and waits for the baristas to hit the city again. The organizers plan on making this an annual event. It’s sure to be even a bigger success than the first one was.