Sorry, all. More “talking about food” rather than recipes. I haven’t made anything new lately. I’ve got one recipe almost ready to go, and I’ve gotten some recipes from readers that I may make this next weekend. Or whenever my fridge runs out of leftovers.
So, I went to see Alton’s show on Saturday. The event ran from 11am to 4:30pm. I think I stayed until about three or so. Alton’s segments didn’t start until after noon- I think he got there a little late. I was watching from near the back so I wouldn’t be crushed by people. I could still see over their heads pretty well. Unfortunately, AB was not wearing his Utilikilt, as he did when he performed at the Orange County Fair (read Cynthia’s account here). I think he said it was getting cleaned. Drat, I say.
Alton’s first segment was on beef jerky. He used the same idea as when he dried herbs, with a box fan, air conditioner filters, and bungee cords. Unfortunately, the Simon Super Chef Tour did not get caterers’ insurance, so none of us could actually taste anything he made. (It’s not required everywhere, but it is necessary in California.) You have the jerky dry out for… twelve hours? Seven days? Somewhere in between there. Anyway, apparently every dog in your neighborhood will be drooling at your doors by the end of it. (You have to make sure you point the box fan away from your house or else it’ll end up smelling like a smokehouse or a butcher shop or something.)
His second segment was about pâte à choux. I was really quite amazed by how quickly the dough/batter came together. I mean, I’d seen the episode (“Choux Shine“), but still, it was very impressive in person. Ryan said (when I told her about it later) that she’d be interested in trying it. Using the dough/batter (I forget which one it is, or if there’s a word that means “kind of both”), he made cream puffs (well, empty ones), a funnel cake, and a doughnut. The doughnut was interesting because he’d just done a show on the more cake-like doughnuts, and these were, I guess, more like the puffy glazed ones you’d get elsewhere. He piped a circle on a little square of parchment paper and then turned the whole thing into the frying oil. When the doughnut fell away, he fished the paper out with the tongs. Messy, but easier than trying to pipe a circle into the oil itself.
I have to say, the Simon Super Chef Tour stage wasn’t great. I wish they had installed a mirror over the cooking surface so you could see what was going on. They did have a couple of monitors set up that had video of what was happening, but it was very hard to see. Sun and glare and whatnot. It also would have helped if they had more chairs.
I was so glad that I’d gotten my cookbook signed by him last year (he did a signing at the Draeger’s in San Mateo). Wow, was that line long. Lydia met me after the second segment and we hung around for about fifteen minutes, taking pictures of AB. We could actually get pretty close to the signing area.
I didn’t stay for the third segment because I had a lot of shopping to do for Sunday. I think I heard it was going to be on turkey.
Oh, yeah, and I got a free loaf of bread at Boudin. The Simon people were giving out some rather excellent coupons at the event.
Finally, a yay to AB and Good Eats for getting recognized as darn good television by Heather Havrilesky in her column, “I Like to Watch,” over at Salon.com.