Downeast Maine is the ultimate cruising ground for many East Coast sailors. The scenery is spectacular, wildlife in abundance, and with thousands of miles of shoreline on a meandering coast full of bays and uninhabited islands, you'll have all the quiet you could ever want. And in all of Downeast Maine, Roque Island is the most spectacular - gorgeous white sand on a mile-long crescent beach where eagles fly overhead and osprey dive for fish all around. Fortunate indeed are the sailors with time and boat enough to sail there!...
Monday, May 9, 2011
Yep, I went there.
Ever since I started telling people that I was going to write a cookbook on doughnuts, I’ve gotten questions about whether it was going to include any savory recipes. Like me, many of you out there love your doughnuts, but also tend to crave salty over sweet. I’ve been promising some savory doughnut recipes ever since, and I must say, I wish I had gotten around to it much, much sooner.
Since I basically started my whole doughnut obsession around Cinco de Mayo with margarita doughnuts, what better way to jump into savory doughnuts than this: green chile and chicken doughnuts! Oh, sure, it’s more of a New Mexican flavor combination than a true Mexican one, but then again, it seems that it is the US that has turned the 5th of May into a new reason to party. And really, can you ever go wrong with green chile?
You can do these doughnuts a couple of ways. If you want easy, just make raised doughnuts as usual (either with one of the recipes in Doughnuts or one of the ones on the site), but use 1/2 of the sugar and twice the salt. I subbed in 25% whole wheat flour in these, and loved it. Cut them out as doughnuts (they’ll just fry easier that way!) And then, load up a couple with warmed up green chile with shredded chicken, a little diced onion, maybe some cilantro, definitely a fried egg, a sprinkle of cojita, and a good dollop of sour cream. Oh my. Breakfast fit for a Donut King.
Or, you can get fancy. And by fancy I mean stuffed. Roll out your dough a bit thinner than normal and cut out rounds (without holes), and then place a bit of the shredded chicken, green chile, cojita, onion and whatever else you like in the center. Be careful not to overfill though… you want it to be less than 2 tablespoons all in. Then, top with another round, and crimp closed (I use the same cutter, which trims off any extra and pinches the edges together well). Proof, fry and you have what I will call with no shame an Empanut. Sort of like a doughnut, sort of like an empanada, all kinds of delicious. You could, of course, then proceed as above and smother in more green chile and cojita. Or, you can simply take a bite.
Or, if you really want to get crazy… cut out a ton of holes, fry them up, and use them in place of the chips in your favorite chilaqueles recipe.
Oh savory doughnuts… what in the world took me so long!
Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone!"
Filed under the very large category of Things Pretty Much Every New Yorker Already Knew About But Was News To Me (don’t bother trying to hail a cab after noon on a Friday, filthy stoops are irresistible for the chill-minded set, etc.), the City Bakery on 18th Street has some astoundingly good French toast on Sunday mornings. It’s also astoundingly expensive, as things will go at a bakery with sweets like you can’t find anywhere else and an iron grip on its original recipes. Their version is a ridiculously thick wedge of battered bread with a caramelized lid that requires no syrup or other accompaniment — well, except maybe some crispy salty strips of bacon — to make it sing.
Of course, I’m not trying to make their French toast, I would leave that to their expertise. I instead set out to make the French toast I began fantasizing about the second I had my first bite, a crème brûlée set within a thick slice of bread, one that would keep the burnt sugar lid but gild the caramel lilly even further and set it on a base that was more bread pudding-like than, well, honestly, imperfectly soaked/dry-centered French toast. (The sole City Bakery French toast flaw, in my opinion. Blasphemy, I know!) And I knew exactly how I’d do it. One thing I’ve learned when making French toast over the years is that as tempting as really, crazy thick French toast is, no matter how low you keep the pan temperature and how long you keep it on the stove, it’s very hard to cook it until it is set in the middle before burning the tops and bottoms. The solution is baking, which is brilliant in that the center is guaranteed to set and you’re guaranteed to enjoy cooking it more because it doesn’t require you to stand over a griddle dipping and flipping slice after slice for surely long than an entire tray of the same needs to bake. I could add “no butter” as a benefit but, come on, we’re making crème brûlée French toast here; this is no time to feign an interest in our arteries.