Saturday, July 9, 2016

Fun With Jackfruit

 A few weeks ago I read an article on jackfruit, how it is being touted as the new superfood to end world hunger. The fruit is massive, growing up to a hundred pounds, and is chock full of vitamins and other good things. When I saw them for sale in our local HEB grocery store, I couldn't resist giving it a try.

I brought the 23 pound behemoth home and spent the rest of the day scouring the Internet for jackfruit recipes. Not being able to decide on one, I instead watched videos of how to break down and process it. 

 The initial cut. Some people said to cut it crossways, others longways. I went for long.

 The rind is hard and thick, and there is a tough fiberous core I had to cut through. Note the rags ringing the cutting board. There is a reason for my madness. Jackfruit is full of latex. For those of us who were in theater, it was pretty much a bit thinner version of the liquid latex we used for makeup. After my hands started sticking to everything and leaving slimy snail trails of rapidly hardening rubber, I grabbed gloves.

The inside is bright yellow and white, with the pods of fruit surrounded by white stringy fibers. The fruit pods have large seeds, and all of it is edible except the hedgehog-looking rind. 

 It took me about 3 hours to completely break this thing down. There was a lot of it that went in the compost, as the white 'rags' turned out to be a pain to separate, and like potatoes started to oxidize nearly immediately even though I had it in a bowl of acidified water. It is supposed to make an acceptable vegan 'pulled pork', but I decided it just wasn't worth the hassle. 

 I ended up with five quart freezer bags of fruit, a fair amount seeds, and a little bit of rags to experiment with. This is a full size commercial baking sheet 26 by 18 inches. The fruit is about two by three inches, and fleshy. It reminds me of thick yucca flower pods. The seeds are covered in a white membrane, I boiled them for 20 minutes to get it off and make them ready to use.

 Time for the taste test. The fruit smelled like a mix of different things, mostly a generic tropical fruit smell. Several people have likened it to Juicyfruit Gum, although I didn't get that. I mostly smelled a pineapple/guava scent, very sweet. The taste was not like anything I have had before, again, a general 'tropical' taste, exactly like you would expect a fruit whacked off of a palm-type tree would taste like. A bit blandish, and very sweet. I look forward to trying it in recipes. The seeds have a taste and texture of mealy boiled potatoes, I'll be using those later in a curry. 

  It was in interesting experience, but I can safely say I most likely will not buy one of these again. I'll post when I actually use it in something. First up: jackfruit margarita! 

BBQ in Taylor

 We took a little half day trip up to Taylor for some local sightseeing, and to try this local place, Louie Mueller BBQ. (Sorry about the fuzz picture, I wasn't the photographer.)

 A typical Texas BBQ joint, you go to the counter in the back which is perched just in front of the pits. They give you a paper covered cafeteria tray, and you tell the guys behind the counter what you would like. They pull out the massive slabs of smoked meats, and carve your portion while you watch. 
 I opted for a beef rib and a pork spare rib, with the usual sides of potato salad and cole slaw and a cup of sauce for dipping. The traditional accompaniments of raw onion, dill pickle and some cheap white bread to wipe the sauce off your hands rounded out my selection. 

  Everything smelled great, the meat so tender it was sliding off the bones as I tried to maneuver the massive pound and a half slab of moo on my paper. (Most of it came home for supper, no way I can eat that much any more!) I tried the sides first. Major disappointment. I never have understood why BBQ places put so much work into the meat, and so little into the sides. The slaw was weirdly flavored, sour and vinegary and a bit bitter, not the sweeter version I prefer. The potato salad was bland, I've had better from the grocery store. 
 I then tried the ribs. The spare rib was all that the appearance and aroma said it would be, tender, juicy, not too fatty, with a good smoked flavor. The dry rub was tasty, a little salty as is can be. 

 I dipped a bit into the sauce, and had yet another disappointment. The only way I can describe this 'sauce' was a cup of colored water with some red stuff floating on top.Might have been grease, might have been hot sauce, I'm not really sure. 

 The beef rib was next. Beef ribs are my go-to in a BBQ restaurant, I am the Empress of Beef Ribs. Sadness, while tender, it was lacking in any flavor except salt and way too much black pepper. I would have billed it as a 'black pepper crusted beef rib'. Lots of greasy fat as well. As $25/pound, I do not feel it was worth what I spent, more quantity over quality. I will most likely be using the remainder in a pasta dish with some more diverse seasonings and lots of veggies to cut the grease. I probably should have opted for the turkey, I love my turkey breast crusted in cracked black pepper.

 Last thing was banana pudding, that staple dessert of BBQ joints everywhere. After the mediocre rest of the meal, I wasn't expecting much as I opened the lid to the Styrofoam container. A heavy smell of cinnamon hit my nose, and I was afraid the pudding would be totally overwhelmed by it. The pudding was lighter colored than the usual variety. I dipped a spoon in, and went for a taste. 

  All I can say is......WOWOWOW! The pudding was actually a banana mousse, not the heavier pudding I expected. We wiped out most of it before I even thought to take a picture. While where were no banana slices, they really weren't missed. The mousse had the usual Nilla Wafers, and a hefty dose of cinnamon, but it totally did not overpower as I expected. The texture was smooth and the flavors delicate, but defined, I could taste everything I expect to taste in a banana pudding, and more. It was outstanding, and the best thing I had today.  

 As I was looking around, I spotted these on the wall by our table. We seem to be inadvertently following Guy Fieri's trail through local restaurants.

 So far, I have been fairly underwhemed with any place that was on his show. If I had known this was one of them, I would have probably gone to the little diner around the corner. 

 On the restaurant overall, they use entirely too much black pepper, and I love pepper, and the quality of the sides severely lacking. I would drive back out there for the banana pudding, however, so it wasn't a total bust. I'm going to have to give Louie Mueller a B-, the banana pudding being the only thing that kept it from being lower. So the Salt Lick is still in my number One spot for local BBQ. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Salt Lick and Bison Ribs

  Headed out for a day of badly needed R&R, spent the morning touring a local Hindu temple, which is right down the road from famed BBQ joint The Salt Lick. We haven't been to the Driftwood location since the Round Rock location opened, so some years.
 I saw a picture of bison ribs on the Salt Lick Facebook page, and knew I had to try them.  Bison is one of my favorite meats. It is juicy and not much in the way of fat, although that does tend to make it a bit tougher than beef. It does not taste like beef, not really, it has a distinct taste all its own.
 The Salt Lick bison ribs come on a choice of three plate options, bison rib and brisket, bison and beef ribs, and just a bison rib. The usual sides accompanied the meats, the Salt Lick's versions of potato salad, beans and cole slaw. White pull apart bread, pickles and white onion wedges on the side. I went for the bison beef rib plate.

 The bison rib was a bit small, but I expected that, since I figured they would be using cuts from younger animals. First bite was salty, because of the dry rub they use. A bit tougher than beef, but the taste was marvelous, rich and just a hint of gaminess. There was little fat, just enough to flavor the meat, and deliciously smoked. As always, a fabulous turnout from the Salt Lick pitmasters. I highly recommend the trip out to give them a try.    

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Farmer's Market Haul!

 Went to pick up our CSA box at Funkytonk Farmer's Market this morning, and pimp out some sourdough bread. With the sale/barter of bread, all this was picked up for about $40. All organic, the meat is free range as well.

Friday, October 11, 2013

 Having joined a CSA, I have been way too busy creating food porn to post about it, but I will try to be better about that, as I have some pretty spectacular things coming out of the kitchen right now.

More to follow soon!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Nanner time!

 What to do with a giant $2.00 banana bag? Nanner chips! Nothing but bananas, sliced and dehydrated.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

There's always time for cake

 A break from bakery remodeling to make a birthday cake for a friend. I'll be doing another for someone different later this week. Busy days!

 Devil's Food with Capt. Morgan's Black chocolate buttercream. Outstanding!