Monday, October 11, 2004

From Martha's Mess Hall: IMBB 9?

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Today's theme for "Is My Blog Burning?" is terrines. It took me a while before coming up with the perfect way to honor Martha Stewart as she sallies off to what is distinctly not a "pound-you-in-the-ass" prison. Then while on the toilet, the idea struck me like a lead brick, which incidentally, well, nevermind, this is a food blog entry.
I started by putting four eggs on to hard boil. As they cooked, I pan fried about two dozen strips of good fatty locally produced bacon, moving the bacon drippings to the side after each batch to mix in with the paté. I fried the bacon just until it was done, but not so much that it got crispy, as I needed it flexible enough to mold along the inside of the terrine. Once the bacon was finished, I placed the strips on layers of paper towel to soak up excess grease and moved on to prepare the paté.
Normally, I would have made the paté myself, but seeing as the focus of this IMBB? is the terrine, I decided to leave that excersize for another day. In place of homemade paté, I went with the best I could find at the local market. This next step would have been much easier had I had a food processor, but with my rudimentary tools (a knife and fork), I was able to cream the paté with three tablespoons of mayonnaise that I had made last week and the bacon drippings to help bind it and keep it smooth.
Having timed the cooking of the eggs perfectly, they were just coming to a float when I was finished with the paté. I cooled and then peeled the eggs and removed the yolks (I needed an all-white layer, and while the yolks would have added a wonderful flavor and necessary fat content, the mayonnaise would make up for them). I then chopped the egg whites and mixed in one tablespoon of that delicious mayonnaise. A pinch of salt (kosher, of course) and a couple dashed of white pepper finised the egg salad.
Finally, I was ready to prepare the terrine layers. First, I layed out the bacon so that it covered the bottom and sides of the dish. Next came a thin layer of paté, and then two strips of anchovies. Another thin layer of paté separated the anchovies from the cornishon. More paté, the sausage imported from Vienna (precooked), more paté and then the final layers: roasted red peppers and the egg salad. I topped it off with more paté and wrapped it up in the plastic wrap that lined the terrine dish.
The terrine sat overnight in my refrigerator with a cast iron skillet on top for compression. The unveiling of the terrine brought mixed reviews and emotions. I was ready to reap the rewards of a few hours of work and many many hours of waiting. The terrine turned out of the pan easily, despite my having forgotten to grease the inside of the pan. I did not have my knives with me at work where I unveiled the terrine, so the slicing was a bit difficult. I also could not decide whether a serrated edge would work better or not. Using a non-serrated knife, I cut a few slices off, and in the act compressed the layer more than I would have liked. The roasted red peppers and egg salad were more compressed than I had had in mind, and the sausages did not hold in nearly well enough, but you can see in the photos that the effect was still made.
Ed, the trustworthy journeyman, took the first tasting. His tasing notes reveal hints of pickle, with a strong salty aftertaste. The pickle was acidic enough to cut through the fat of the paté and mayonnaise, and the roasted red peppers added just the right touch of smoke to balance the blandness of the egg salad. His final judgement was, "Actually, it's not that bad."
That is certainly a good thing.