Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Iron Chef-ing in Cleveland

I was in Cleveland over the weekend, so jumped on the chance to dine at Iron Chef Michael Symon's bistro Lola, and now I might try to stalk that man. Or at least his pastry chef.

Let me elaborate.

First of all, I tagged along with DH to Cleveland, because he had an exam to give, and needed my moral support. Not sure if I really provided that, because the night before his exam, all I remember is him pacing around the room, not being able to sleep, while Baby B and I were blissfully in la-la land as soon as we snuggled into those soft hotel beds.

Anyhow, I digress. To distract DH from the feeling of impending doom, we treated ourselves to a night out on East 4th Street in Cleveland, with Baby B in tow. We had dinner at Lola, and every course was a star. My mom may never forgive me, but that beef tongue appetizer was the best I've ever had! I already suggested to the restaurant that they need to make it an entree. The beef hanger steak was perfect, but it was the rosemary-salt-flecked fries that I was swooning over! And nothing makes me happier than a wonderful dessert to complete a great meal - and Lola delivered. Their pastry chef did something magical to a roasted peach half, I tell ya, and I need to know what! It had a delicate layer of bruleed sugar on top, which shattered like crystal when I gently nudged it with my fork, then the whole thing melted in my mouth, the juices slithering all over my tongue. I nearly speared DH's hand with my fork when he tried to go in for seconds and thirds. Nothing else mattered in that moment, not even my whiny baby; it was just me and that peach.

I apologize, dear readers, but I don't have pics because the lighting is never good enough in places like these, especially at night. Plus, I had enough to do, trying to keep Baby B calm in the hated high-chair (yet utterly failing).

In conclusion, I now see why Michael Symon is an Iron Chef. And just as he kicks ass on his show and in the kitchen, so did DH kick some serious ass in his exam. It takes a solid iron temperament to face any kind of exam and come out victorious. So this dessert goes out to DH and all those on the precipice of some exam/test/quiz.

White Chocolate & Raspberry Clafoutis (thank you, Gourmet Worrier)

Serves 8

1 cup fresh/frozen raspberries
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1 cup self-raising flour
2/3 cup blanched ground almonds
3 eggs
1 cup cream
100g white chocolate chunks or chips
2/3 cup sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400 F, and grease and sugar-dust a baking dish (or 8 ramekins in my case)
Can somebody please make me an outfit in these exact colors?!

2. Place flour, almonds, sugar and butter in food processor and whir it 10-15 secs until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add eggs and cream and process till well combined.
White chocolate nubbins. Give 'em some love, and they'll love you back.

3. Pour this into your baking vessel(s), then stud it with raspberries and white chocolate. Pop in the oven for 30 mins. Serve warm with more heavy cream or ice-cream.

Verdict: I have no rhythm. Yet I was dancing with glee after taking just one bite. I already had a slight idea that this would be a good combination, but Lord Almighty, it was incredible! And you know my affinity for warm desserts that I can enjoy with cold cream. I now have a special place in my nearly-clogged arteries just for this clafoutis. I'm going to suggest that you either use berries that are in season, or go for the frozen ones. Out-of-season raspberries can be worse than sour lemons. Sorry, I'm turning into a food snob, aren't I? Go on then, use any kind of of raspberries you can get your hands on, just make this dessert!

You waaaaaaaaaaaaaaant this. So. So. Bad.