Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Seasonal Cooking

I've been thinking lately about how different food is from season to season. Not only are different types of produce available, but cooking techniques also change. Baking and braising in the winter are replaced by sauteeing and grilling in the summer. I assume the rationale for this would be that one wishes to generate as little heat as possible in the kitchen during the hot days of summer, but do these seasonal cooking patterns apply to areas of the world where it is hot or cold year round?

My oven really does miss me though, and my stomach misses the plethora of baked goods that I would normally churn up in the winter. Cookies, brownies, bread... something about the cold winter months makes me want to fire up the oven and pull out my KitchenAid. Perhaps this weekend I'll make some bread. The NY Times no knead bread recipe is always satisfying, perhaps even more so because of the limited amount of work that goes into making it! I've also been craving popovers since tasting the hot, cheesy deliciousness that preceded our meal at BLT Steak a few weeks ago. I wonder if they would be as good in a muffin tin instead of a popover pan? Here's the recipe BLT Steak provided for their gruyere popovers:

BLT Steak Popovers (makes 12)

4 cups milk, warmed
8 eggs
4 cups flour
1 1/2 heaping tbsp salt
2 1/4 cups grated gruyere cheese
Popover pan

Place the popover pan in the oven. Heat the oven and the pan to 350 degrees.
Gently warm the milk over low heat and set aside.
Whisk the eggs until frothy and slowly whisk in the milk (so as not to cook the eggs). Set the mixture aside.
Sift the flour with the salt. Slowly add this dry mixture to the wet mixture and gently combine until mostly smooth.
Once combined, remove the popover pan from the oven and spray with nonstick vegetable spray. While the batter is still slightly warm or room temperature (definitely not cool), fill each popover cup 3/4 full.
Top each popover with approximately 2 1/2 tbsp of the grated gruyere.
Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes, rotating pan half a turn after 15 minutes of baking.
Remove from the oven, remove from the pan and serve immediately.

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