Thursday, November 17, 2016

Netflix + Chocolate = Chill

My recent documentary binge has lead me to Netflix foodie heaven. If you haven't you need  to check out Chef's Table, Cooked, Somm, and Crafting a Nation. 

 "Chef's Table" hooked me within the first 20 seconds, needless to say, I powered through the six episodes in a way that only Dexter Morgan has been able to compel me to do before.

Each episode profiles a single chef [ Season 1: Massimo Bottura, Dan Barber, Francis Mallmann, Niki Nakayama, Ben Shewry, and Magnus Nilsson]. The show does a masterful job at making the viewer feel that they understand the chef, and their philosophy in a very personal way. Each of the chefs that were featured were so incredibly different from the others, each of them made a unique impression and at the conclusion of each episode I was forced to consider a different issue. Bottura challenged the norms that have been so often associated with Italian cuisine.  Barber posed the question of our own agency when it comes to our consumption of food and the responsibilities that poses. Mallmann in particular made an indelible impression on me. I've never seen a person so free, and so committed to the romanticism of their life. Mallmann says, and I'm paraphrasing here; "you don't grow on a secure path... growth requires work and risk.. in order to grow you need to be at the edge of uncertainty." Mallman emphasized the concomitant need for change and uncertainty in order to create growth. Nakayama presented with an incredible strength and showcased how important relationships are. Shrewry's narrative created a juxtaposition between the idea of success and what it actually takes and both he and Nilsson shared a sense of coming home at last. when they stopped trying to cook or force cuisine to be something other than it was supposed to be.  

I highly recommend it.

The final episode focuses on Magnus Nilsson and his restaurant Fäviken. Nilsson has created a restaurant with Fäviken that thrives on an intense Nordic authenticity using primarily local ingredients. 

The idea of seasonal cooking and the utilization of better produce was echoed by each of the chefs and has made me more conscientious about trying to source my produce as locally as possible.  
As Nilsson says, "a dish will never be better than your produce."

 I was excited to see Nilsson's name pop up in Saveur's Instagram feed along with the chocolate cake recipe listed here:

10 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for greasing
14 cup plain bread crumbs
1 cup sugar
7 tbsp. natural cocoa powder
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
2 large eggs
1 cup cake flour, sifted

Heat the oven to 400°.
Grease a 9-inch springform pan with butter and coat the bottom and sides with the bread crumbs, discarding any excess.

In a medium bowl, whisk the 10 tablespoons melted butter with the sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt until well combined.
Add the eggs one at a time and whisk until smooth.
Fold the flour into the batter until just combined, and then scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top.

Bake until the cake forms a thin skin on top but the batter is still loose in the center, about 10 minutes.
Transfer the pan to a rack, let cool completely, and then chill for 1 hour. Unmold the cake and serve.

I decided to make this cake to celebrate my brother's birthday, needless to say, the cake got rave reviews. The only additional feedback the boys had was that this cake should always be served with a glass of cold milk. 

 I also didn't have unseasoned breadcrumbs available so I used Panko bread crumbs which gave a pretty nice crunch. 

If I were to make this recipe again, with the same pan, I would double the recipe. 

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