… Part 2
After a brief break, everything was arranged in the kitchen and I had a full itinerary in front of me, so I began prepping. My first task would be to organize breakfast for Sunday morning. I know that sounds odd; prepping a breakfast that follows three other courses and is on the next day – but this breakfast is well worth the effort! “Rage’s Brioche French Toast” This recipe calls for a dense brioche bread or sourdough to be soaked overnight in a nectar of whipping cream, butter, rum, demarara brown sugar, vanilla, grated orange peel and eggs. By the time the bread comes out of the fridge the next morning it will be closer to a dense juicy cake than bread. It will be baked then topped with granny smith apple caramel sauce and orange almond whipped cream also. MMMMmmm…
Now that Sunday’s breakfast is in the fridge and resting, I am off to my friend Alana’s house where the dinner will actually take place. Rather than prepping everything here and transporting it, I have opted to just transport the raw ingredients and prep everything in the kitchen in which the food will be served. I thought it made sense – although it created another heavy lifting session.
Regardless, I arrived with food and beer in-tact and was ready to get to work! Step one now: Prepare the cheesecake and get it in the oven. At the hosts request, or should I say demand, I am making a banana cheesecake with peanut butter cheesecake swirled into it. I also bought some excellent dark chocolate from a chocolatier in the St. Lawrence market, so I will create a luscious ganache to blanket the cake. So away I went – hand beating cream cheese with bananas and peanut butter in separate bowls (hand beating because I forgot to bring my electric mixer – big mistake). As involved as it may sound, this cheesecake is very easy to make, and after about 15 minutes and a good forearm workout, she went into the oven for 35 minutes. Most cheesecakes prepared in a spring form pan and water bath spend between 60 and 100 minutes in the oven, but this is a smaller cake prepared in a pre-made crust for ease, so it requires much less time.
Now I went to work on carmelizing some onions, because I need lots of them! The brisket needs a good two cups, and the potatoes need a good two cups as well. Because onions shrink so much in heat, I chopped and carmelized 4 Vidalia and 2 large red onions slowly over low heat. This was easy on the arms, but rough on the eyes. So I got my annual sobbing out of the way at least. The brisket had now been sitting in the garlic, onion, and Samichlaus concoction for over a day; as I poured it out onto a deep dish pan the whole kitchen erupted with rich malt, garlic, mustard, and pepper. This is going to be good!
Right as the onions were finishing their sweat, the cake was ready to come out of the oven and into the fridge to set up. I opened two packages of French Onion Soup mix and coated the six pound beef brisket – this is an easy brisket remedy, it works every time. Now about half of the onions are poured over the brisket, and the rest is set aside for later. The beef is now swimming in French onion soup, carmelized onions, and my marinade – it’s time to seal this with foil and set ‘er to marry in the oven for 4 hours at 325 degrees. Low and slow does the trick here.
So to recap, the cheesecake is in the fridge cooling, the beef is in the oven cooking, and I have about two cups of onions ready for their potato brothers. I still have to make 3 different pizzas, and make the potatoes themselves. It’s about 4:30pm now, and I’ve been going nonstop since 10am, so I think I deserve a beer.
I brought a specific beer along for this exact purpose; the Southern Tier 2009 Old Man Winter. Southern Tier Brewing opened in 2004 in Lakewood NY. Since then they have been producing some of my favorite beers; they have a wide range of regularly available beers, as well as many seasonal and special release beers. You can find the IPA at LCBO’s now, and I consider it to be among the best examples of an American IPA out there. Away from tradition, they also brew a Crème Brule Stout! This is one of the many things I love about this brewery; not only are they producing delicious beers, but they are constantly creating exciting and unique products! But back to Old Man Winter (7.2%, 255ml bottle). The beer pours smooth with a rich rust brown color and smooth, creamy, but short head. The nose surprised me with juicy earthy hops which are familiar in the IPA I love so much. There is definitely some malt sweetness here, and a hint of spice – this should be nice. The beer starts off warm and malty with deep caramel and roasted grain as you would expect in a winter beer. You can almost taste the rusty color (in a good way!). The mild spice and buttery malt rushes over your tongue devouring every taste bud in your mouth – this is the exact sensation I was hoping for! And better than that, it brings a wave of hop bitter with it that finishes crisp producing a sensation that is absurdly refreshing for a winter beer. I’m not used to so much dry hopping in a winter beer, but this was excellent. I highly recommend it. Unfortunately it is not available in Ontario, but it’s worth the mission to Buffalo.
… Part 4