Sunday, February 10, 2008

Malts, Frappes, Shakes - and now a scary one

We've been making a lot of malted shakes around here lately. Secondo - approaching 7 requests them after dinner most nights. And why not - they're so good. I remember malts from my childhood and - as Noshstalgia demands - we've been working to recapture the magic here. Secondo has, perhaps, appreciated this particular aspect of our culinary archeology more than some others. Forays into pickling tongues, for example don't so immediately elicit such enthusiasm as our walk down malt-shop lane.

So much for the preliminaries - If you're going to make a malted, you've got to have malt. Many people use the supermarket distributed malted milk products out there such as those from Carnation, but we begin with a visit to the brewing supply store. There you can find actual malted barley, concentrated malt syrup or powdered dry malt extract - all in various shades of toast. Some sources I've seen on-line suggest that only the lightest of malts are appropriate to use in shakes - but we've tried various types with fine results.

Tonight, Secondo requested that we create a shake that "tastes scary" - when you're 6, almost 7, scary is cool. But how to make a scary shake - and one that actually ends up being enjoyed rather than thrown away? Working with available ingredients, here's where we ended up:

3 parts vanilla ice-cream
3 parts whole milk
1 part espresso ice-cream (Double Rainbow Coffee Blast)
2 tablespoons Munton's Extra-Light Dried Malt Extract
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Be patient with the blender - Blend to thick-smooth consistency

So, was it scary? Did anyone drink it?
It was, slightly. And absolutely - It was delicious.

The white pepper contributes a slightly dank and mysterious note in addition to the obvious slightly winy heat. The espresso (in low proportion as used here) created a sort of edge and shadow. The malt a viscosity, depth and dwell. All together a slightly creepy complexity and intrigue.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Super Bowl Disappointment - but not all is lost

As some of my readers may know, I'm a transplanted New Yorker - but after 25 years in Boston my allegiance (at least where sports teams are concerned) is clear. And like everyone else in New England I was very disappointed with that game. But for those of you who made it to John Dewar's, Newton on Saturday to try (and as so many did - buy) our pastrami - and especially for all those who served it during the game, not all was lost.

Those of our customers senior enough to know said they hadn't tasted anything like our stuff in 50 years. And that's a lot longer than we've had to wait between shots at a Super Bowl Championship so...

At Chez Noshstalgia we enjoyed our Super Bowl pastrami (even if not the game) as one of four smoked meats in a multi-meat jambalaya extravaganza. Smokehouse of Boston provided their excellent barbecued ribs, smoked wieners and smoked duck sausages. The pastrami was julienned and incorporated into the rice, bean, onion and pepper base. The peppers included colorful sweet peppers as well as fire-roasted and skinned poblanos. Please pass the hot sauce!

Warms (or is that burns) the heart just thinking about it.

Please stop by our next Deli Arts(TM) pastrami tasting at Savenor's, Charles Street, Boston on Saturday, February 16 from 2 to 5PM. See you there.