Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Dining Alternative & Chef Peter Ungár: Part 4

For the last part of this series, Chef Peter Ungár was kind enough to provide a few of his recipes, including two of the items I had at the Chef's Table. Please note that Peter does not usually use specific measurements when cooking so not all of the recipes have your usual measures.

First up, the delicious Gruyère Cheese Gougères that are pictured above. Gougères are made from a basic pâte à choux with gruyère cheese, which is savory instead of sweet (such as profiteroles and eclairs).

1 cup water
3 1/2 oz. butter (unsalted)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon finely cracked white pepper
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 1/4 cup AP flour
5 eggs
1 cup Gruyère cheese (grated)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
1 egg (for egg wash)

1. Oven at 450 - line baking sheet with Silpat (or parchment paper).
2. Combine water, butter, salt, pepper, mustard, and sugar - bring to boil - add flour.
3. Stir for at least 2 minutes on medium heat - mixture forms a ball and moisture evaporates.
4. Cool mixture slightly - add eggs, one at a time - mixing vigorously.
5. Mixture should form medium peaks - then add gruyère.
6. Pipe batter into 1 oz. size balls, with 2-3" between each - sprinkled with Parmesan.
7. Bake for 7-8 minutes, or until they puff and hold their shape.
8. Mix 1 egg with splash of water - quickly brush each with fine coating.
9. Reduce oven to 350 - bake for another 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
10. Serve immediately - hot out of the oven.

Next is the Sujeonggwa, a Korean punch, and Peter got the recipe from his mother-in-law.

dark brown sugar
fresh ginger root
cinnamon sticks
pine nuts
water (as much as you want to make)
dried persimmons (optional)*
*Originally, this drink was sweetened with dried persimmons, instead of sugar. But quality of dried persimmons are unreliable.

1. Peel ginger, slice, slightly beat with spine of knife to release juices.
2. Put cold water in pot with sugar (or dried persimmons) and ginger and bring just to a boil.
3. Put in cinnamon sticks and refrigerate until completely chilled.
4. Finely strain within a couple hours after chilling.
5. Garnish with a few cleaned and lightly toasted pine nuts per cup.
6. Serve cold - even in winter.

Lastly, Peter provided me a recipe for a holiday side dish, Sweet Potato Gratin.

sweet potatoes
dried apricots
chicken stock
clarified butter
kosher salt
finely ground white pepper

1. Finely dice shallots - sweat off in clarified butter - no color.
2. Once shallots are opaque, add minced garlic - cook until raw smell has dissipated - no color.
3. Add chicken stock and finely chopped apricots - reduce to sludgy consistency.
4. Slice sweet potatoes finely (about 1/8") - rinse in cold water - pat dry on towels.
5. Barely coat the bottom of an oven-proof skillet with clarified butter.
6. Stagger potato slices, starting at the center and working outward in spiral pattern.
7. Once one layer is formed, season with salt and pepper - spread a thin layer of the apricot mixture.
8. Form another layer of potatoes - continue in this fashion until there are 4-5 layers (with potato the final, top layer).
9. Heat the pan on moderate heat - when it begins to sizzle, pour a small amount of clarified butter around the entire edge of the potatoes.
10. Continue gently shaking the pan and forming the round shape of the gratin with spoon or spatula.
11. Once it slides around the pan as a whole, place in 350 oven for about 20-25 minutes (until a cake tester or paring knife can pierce without resistance).
12. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes and then place a like-sized plate on top the skillet and flip over.
13. Cut in pie shapes and serve.

Simpler methods:
--Made hours (or a day) in advance - reheated at 400 until sizzling.
--Made in a baking dish and cooked all the way in a 400 oven (covered with foil during first half of cooking - then uncovered).

Cook with passion!

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