March 19, 2012

BULL'S EYE EGGS

What do you call that breakfast dish where you cut a hole in a slice of bread and cook an egg in it? I have always called it egg in a basket, but it’s intriguing that this simple dish has so many names. It is also known as frog in a hole, one-eyed jacks, bird’s nest, cowboy eggs, one-eyed monsters, eggs in a blanket, and bull’s eye eggs (the list goes on).
If you haven’t noticed, I have a thing for circles and so I decided to take “bull’s eye eggs” to the next level. For a true breakfast eater, you need something more substantial than just eggs and bread:



It’s best eaten in slivers like this so you get a bite of everything. This is definitely sharable like a pizza, or you can eat it all yourself, like I did.

March 7, 2012

S'MORES FONDUE

Lately, I’ve been thinking about family style meals, specifically ones you prepare/assemble/cook as you eat. A lot of Asian foods came to mind, like hot pot and Korean BBQ, and then there’s fondue.

The fondue tool is simple, yet specific to that dish. Perhaps because we don’t use it on a daily basis (like forks, knives, and chopsticks), it feels special when I use one. Also, the act of sharing, specifically eating out of the same pot, is an intimate eating experience. With these thoughts in mind, I came up with the following: 
 



S’mores + fondue. Replace the traditional fondue stick with an edible graham cracker stick. One thing that bothers me about s’mores is that the chocolate NEVER melts from the heat of the toasted marshmallow. There is no such problem with this dessert, where the chocolate is not only melted, but it is mixed with cream, vanilla, and a dash of chocolate liquor. Yum! 
The graham cracker stick works well for toasting the marshmallow too!



There’s messy fun, and messy annoying. This dessert is just the right amount of messy. Toast, dip, eat...double dip! You know you're amongst close friends / family when you get to double dip. :)

I made some spoons too, which worked well on it’s own (a spoonful of chocolate). A nice alternative is to dip fruits and use them as vessels like this one.
 


March 2, 2012

THE SCENTED MENU

Have you ever been to a restaurant and had trouble reading the menu because you’re too hungry, lazy, or indecisive? Not only do you have to process these words, but you then need to determine if that’s what you feel like eating. Because we are so visual, I think it’s often easier to choose by seeing the actual dish than reading a description, like the Japanese do with their plastic presentations.

   
But what if...instead of reading a menu, you smelled it, like a scratch n’ sniff sticker? Aroma is such a strong element in food but it’s often overshadowed, where the majority of the attention goes to visual presentation and taste. I love the smell of food, especially when it’s least expected, like smelling the neighbor’s BBQ when I open my window, or walking down the street and getting a whiff of Indian spices from a nearby restaurant. When it’s the right aroma, my mouth waters and I develop a strong craving for the food. Perhaps this experience can be applied to a menu, where you can instinctively react and decide what you feel like eating.

This study is still just a concept, but I hope that some day, we can have a dinner event where guests really do choose dishes based on smell. In today’s experiment, I decided to use food scented oils, which are typically used in candles. Why would anyone want ham & cheese sandwich scented soap? Who knows. I ordered a total of 10 samples that could fit into a brunch menu. 
 




Out of the ten scents, I chose the six best to go on my brunch menu. This is a little goofy, but the name comes from this equation: Look. Listen. Smell. Eat. = LLSE = Elelessi. When I was talking with my friend Yvonne about LLSE, she thought it sounded French, ha! So for now, it will be my imaginary restaurant. :)

The smell test: he obviously got bacon right.


It was kind of expected, but I learned that scented oils are a bit too artificial. While coffee, bacon, and french toast smelled like the real thing, some of the others smelled almost like a perfume. I think I will try some other variations of this concept, and figure out ways to incorporate real ingredients next time.