A tale of confusion in the kitchen
Have you ever read a recipe and wondered just what the hell they were asking you to get? I have. A lot. Especially since I started doing Cookbook of the Month. Two examples of this phenomenon really stood out to me, and if you’re following along with me each month, I thought you might like to know what I’ve learned.
Maybe I’m an idiot, but when I first started this whole journey, I had no idea what creme fraiche was. I expected to be able to get it in the store. I walked up to my dairy section, and I scanned every bottle of milk, every vaguely white container of cheese or cream substance, nothing. I thought, hey, maybe I was missing something. I was.
You can make it yourself. Joshua McFadden didn’t teach me that in Six Seasons. Maybe there are places in the country where you can get creme fraiche already made, but I live in a slightly rural community. What is available, however, are the ingredients to make it: heavy cream and buttermilk.
That’s all you need. According to Epicurious, it’s not unreasonable to do in your own kitchen. This is their recipe.
Labne is evidently a trending ingredient according to the 6/20/18 Bon Appetit foodcast, and Alison Roman both acknowledged its overuse and claimed to only use it like once in her cookbook, but is it true? Kinda. She has a few uses of Labne. What the hell is it anyway? Her cookbook didn’t tell me, and neither did the foodcast. There seems to be an assumption out there that due to its popularity, most foodies and chefs would know what it is. My suspicion is that this ingredient in particular hasn’t exited the inner circle of big food cities.
If you’re uncultured like me, Labne is a yogurt cheese for lack of a better term. I looked up a few recipes to find that you can also make this one at home. Just about everyone makes it the same way with a few tweaks to the flavorings at the end. The good news about Dining In is that you can generally substitute the Labne for full fat yogurt and just not go through the trouble. I decided it might be worth it for a fun experiment.
I’ll update you on my progress making these elusive ingredients by hand in early July. They both take at least half a day to do, and I want to give my labne a special Eating Normal spin. We need the weekend for that.
Are there any other ingredients some of your favorite recipes call for that you have to make yourself? Do you just substitute them?
An idea born in Normal, Illinois, Eating Normal hopes to chronicle the eating Experiences of a Red bird.
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