Sunday, May 11, 2008

Popovers, Michael Ruhlman and Thomas Keller

For Crazy Curry's event "This Book Makes Me Cook", I was all set to go with Enid Blyton and her lovely "imaginary" goodies like Pop biscuits, Google Buns and Toffee shock in her best book series "The Magic Faraway Tree", complete with pies and treacle! I loved those books as a kid and I'll never grow out of them. But does it really want to make me cook? I realized that wasn't the case.

What or who really REALLY inspires me to get off the couch and into the kitchen is Michael Ruhlman, and his writing. If you haven't read any of his books, buy them - Now. They are superb and worth every penny - if you are a foodie and in any way interested in Cooking, Chefs and the Restaurant business.

I've always had a mild obsession with Thomas Keller. I read his "French Laundry Cookbook" (co-authored with Ruhlman), and couldn't put it down - it was pure food porn. He was and is the epitome of what chefs are all about - to me. I then managed to wrangle a reservation at the French Laundry! It was a 8 month wait but every single moment was worth it. Chef Keller is a miracle worker. Here's my post on my visit there.

During that wait of 8 months, I read Michael Ruhlman's The Soul of a Chef, The Reach of a Chef and The Making of a Chef! I loved every word he wrote. He writes about the industry, what inspires chefs and what makes a chef. And what stood with me when I went to the French Laundry for my exquisite lunch, was the little portion about the restaurant and Chef Keller in his book. If I had had a little more confidence in my cooking ability, I was so inspired by Ruhlman's books, I would've become a chef.

I cannot even attempt to make anything made my Chef Keller in my kitchen at home in India. And then I chanced upon Michael Ruhlman's Popovers in his latest blog post. And they were delicious, absolutely delicious. And its so so easy!


Popovers (adapted from Michael Ruhlman's blog)

1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 pinch of salt

First whisk the egg pretty well. Add the flour, milk and salt and mix to combine. Its okay if there are a few lumps. Pour the batter into buttered (and be generous with the butter) ramekins, or popover moulds. I didn't have the moulds or the ramekins, so I used earthenware coffee mugs. Fill them halfway and pop into a preheated oven. Bake at 450 deg F for about 1/2 hour (depending on the oven).


I had enough batter for four mugs. I added shredded mozzarella to two of them (that was my only variance from Ruhlman's recipe). The other two I left as is.

They will rise and become slightly browned on top.


The cheese popovers were eaten before I could even photograph them! On the other two, I added a dollop of store-bought blackberry jam, and home made grape jam (I'll post the recipe soon).


You have got to try this. They were irresistible. Its a great substitute if you find you don't have bread or croissants at home. Or just because you want to make some!

This is my humble tribute to Chef Keller and Michael Ruhlman, who have inspired me through their food and their books. Thank you!

35 comments:

Lisa said...

I do love popovers. Yours turned out perfectly. Your post reminds me that it's been quite some time since I have made these little delights.

Sagari said...

pop overs looks soooo beautiful

Bhags said...

The pop overs look so tempting and yummy....u said it right, I got to try them.

Thanks for the entry

Cham said...

They look yummy ur pop overs

Ranjani said...

Those look so good, and so terribly sinful, I think I gained 10 lbs just from staring at the pic!

Ranjani said...

I meant to tell you, I tried my hand at the neer dosa from your blog, and it was a disaster, my consistency was awful:( I'm going to try it again since I have all the flour sitting in my pantry, hopefully it should work the second time around!

Arundathi said...

@ Lisa - I've never had them before - and now I love them. And they were so simple. Since I'd never had them, wasn't even sure if they were supposed to look or taste like that, but it was so good, I just didn't care! lol!

@ Sagari, Bhags, Cham - Thanks!

@ Ranjani - they are not sinful at all!! You could spray the ramekins and use 2% milk, which reduces the fat. It just looks sinful bec of the jam!

About the neer dosa - its really really difficult. I tried many times before getting it halfway right. And mine weren't half as nice as the authentic ones. Also remember, the batter has to be very thin!

Srivalli said...

yep I was so inspired by Michael Ruhlman and his blog..nice to know you have read all his books...and that looks lovely!...

bee said...

i've always wanted to buy ruhlman's books, but never got down to it. thanks for the links.

ranji said...

oh wow!!this si soooooo good....so tempting and delcious..thanks for sharing

Pixie said...

Hi Arundathi,

I never heard of popovers before, thanks for sharing.

Your jam would be greatly appreciated for the event. Just to let you know I may hold the event again over the Summer time- in case, you want to save it for then. ;)

Pixie

Arundathi said...

@ Valli - yeah his blog is very cool. Thanks!

@ bee - Sure. No problem. I hope you like them as much as I do.

@ Ranji - Sure! :) Thanks!

@ Pixie - Hey!! Nice to hear from you! :) I don't know if I can save it - just gonna send it across!! Try the popovers - they're very easy!

Jayashree said...

Just four ingredients??? Wow!!! Sure does look good...

Jamie said...

Arundathi - this looks lovely. By the way, I have tagged you for a Picture MeMe just in case you wanted to play along!

Arundathi said...

aw c'mon you cant count the salt - its only 3 ingredients! :)

jamie - thanks! and um..thanks for the tag!

sra said...

Laughed at how you used the mugs - that is something I'd do too, if not run out and buy some moulds right away! I have a kilo of maida unused in my pantry, I will use it this way! Never seen such an uncomplicated recipe earlier.

Pearlsofeast said...

Oh Arundhati, these are delicious and I can hardly resist to try out soon.
I loved ur beautiful blog,Very neat and clear.

Homecooked said...

Your popovers look terrific! Yummy!

Arundathi said...

sra - uncomplicated is right. good use for that kilo of maida! lol!

Pearl - thanks for stopping by! yup - they are definitely delicious!

Homecooked - thanks! :)

Priya said...

I am going to order Rulman's books at the local library ASAP :D And I absolutely love 'The Magic Faraway Tree' series Arundathi. Thats my all time favorite book, I can still vividly recollect the whole book since it feels more like a movie I watched because of the beautiful writing style. I was looking for the books in the online stores, but could hardly find any good sites that sold them :( The local libraries here do not have a single Enid blyton book you know...

Arundathi said...

Priya - thanks for your comment. Actually, Enid Blyton was banned for a while in the US - not sure if the ban is still in place.

She was/is seen as racist and non-PC. Lots of her books had to be edited to fit in with the times. For example, the 3 golliwogs (who were naughty) were thought to imply African Americans.

The names Dick and Fanny have been changed to Rick and Frannie! And particular exception was taken to Noddy and Big Ears. Oh well. Am glad that you can still buy the original versions in India. You can read more about it here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enid_Blyton

Do get the Ruhlman books - they're great!

Aparna said...

Don't popovers taste abit eggy?
Made them once and I had the house reeking of eggs.
Maybe I should try this recipe.

Sunshinemom said...

They look very very tempting. Will try it during the weekend. Enid Blyton happens to inspire me too. Have you read kite runner by Khaled HOsseini? He made me try my first naan.

Arundathi said...

Aparna - I did read some reviews that said it was too eggy, but I didn't find it so. Infact, it wasn't! Maybe if you triple this recipe, it might happen - but I doubt it.

Sunshine - I loved the Kite Runner! Hope you're writing about the naan story for the event! Have you seen the movie? Thought it was pretty good, as far as books turned into movies go!

Sunshinemom said...

I didn't know it was made into a movie - thanks for that tit-bit! I wonder whether I have the guts to digest some of the scenes if it captures the story right! Is it too cruel to watch?

Arundathi said...

Nope its not too cruel - but its definitely a tear jerker. I thought the actor did a brilliant job.

Passionate baker...& beyond said...

Fab post & I love the kegs. Am off to explore the links you've mentioned in your post....they are all ever so interesting. I've been ruing making pop-overs too, you have inspired me to try!

Arundathi said...

thanks pb&b! i hope you did try them and hope they turned out great!

Kalai said...

Beautiful!! These look wonderful. :)

Arundathi said...

thanks kalai!

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Generic Viagra said...

this recipe looks great, i would like to cook it someday at home

Cheap Viagra said...

I do love popovers. Yours turned out perfectly. Your post reminds me that it's been quite some time since I have made these little delights.