Monday, January 11, 2010

Epic Failure, but then Brie

Since the arrival of our son, dinner has taken on a whole new meaning. At a time that now seems like distant, ancient history, the Mrs. and I would sit at the table over my painstakingly-crafted meal, say grace, and enjoy a fine meal and polite conversation. That was then; this is now. Now we scramble to make sure that both of us actually got to eat dinner. Usually I stuff my half-assed edible concoction into my mouth quick enough to give my baby-mama enough time to eat her food while it is actually hot. We have tried just having dinner while the little one is sleeping, but in a horrible twist of fate, he has taken after his old man and decided that sleep is optional and, to some extent, to be avoided.

That's not to say that I haven't cooked anything. I've made some stuff here and there when I can. But the stakes are higher now. I have to do more with less. Sometimes, it works. As a present to the Mrs., my mom bought her a small wheel of baby brie. It is a guilty pleasure of ours and something that she couldn't have while pregnant. Something about raw milk, I guess. Well, when we decided to have the brie, I couldn't just bake it and leave it at that. I wanted to make it special. And I did. The recipe below is the story of a long awaited wheel of brie, and a sauce made out whiskey and pecans. Hell yes.

But before we get the recipe, I have to confess of my colossal failure in the kitchen the other night. I had a great idea for a food experiment that I thought my wife would like, and that would have made a great post on the blog: Sweet Potato Pierogies. I'd made the dough, run it through my new pasta maker, and shaped some nice sized dumplings of sweet potato, seasoned with nutmeg and cinnamon. Well, I came, I saw, I sucked. What a disaster. Something was wrong with the dough. The memory of chewing and chewing and chewing and chewing on the same piece of pierogi dough is something that will haunt me for at least another hour and a half.

With the pierogies, I baked a Pollok fillet in red wine,some shallots, and garlic. It seemed that the fish cooked, but the wine didn't reduce, the garlic and shallots were almost raw, and none of the flavors melded together at all. What crap. I ended up just fixing up some mac and cheese out of the box to tide us over.

There are fresh new victories in my future. Of this, I am sure. But that night's meal was no such victory. Makes me want to stick my face in some Brie... Mmmmmm..... Brieeeee.

Baked Brie with Whiskey Pecan Sauce

1 shot of bourbon
2 Tsbp butter
1/3 cup of chopped pecans (mortar and pestle will do the trick)
2 Tsbp brown sugar
1 small wheel of brie

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. While the oven is heating up, now is a good time to chop or crush your pecans if they didn't already come that way. I used a mortar and pestle and it worked fine. A big sharp knife would be fine too. Once the oven is pre-heated, put the brie in an oven safe dish or plate and bake for 20 minutes or so. You'll probably notice the top of brie rise up as the cheese on inside melts. I like it super melty, but if you just want it soft, bake for less time.

While the brie is baking, in a small sauce pot melt the butter over low heat. Add bourbon to the melted butter. Once the whiskey starts to boil, whisk the sugar into the mixture. Next add the pecans. Be sure not to over cook, but boil until it is the desired consistency, say 5-10 minutes.

When your brie is baked, pour your sauce over the brie. Serve with crackers or french bread.


  1. Cough..... ahhem....

  2. On the Pollack, or almost anything that goes in the oven with wine for anything less than, say, five hours: Cook your shallots and garlic first. The wine actually retards proper cooking since it's acidic. Don't really ask me to explain this, but it's just the case. Fish won't take to long to cook, so the wine won't reduce and the garlic and shallots won't soften. The best thing to do here would be to cook the shallots and garlic in some--say--butter over low heat for half an hour or so (preheat the oven in the meantime. When they're soft, add the wine and reduce it over higher heat. Then, season it to taste. You may find that you need a tiny bit of sugar if the wine is too acidic. Then, take a skillet and get it quite hot. But a couple of tablespoons of neutral oil in and then add the fish (dried on paper towels first). Move the pan around so the fish doesn't stick (or don't worry if it does). After a minute or two, turn over the fish and cook another minute. If the fish is thick enough that you'd have roasted it anyway, you won't overcook it. Remove the pan from the heat and pour off the oil. Add the wine and garlic and shallots. It will reduce quickly in the hot pan. Put the pan in the oven for about five more minutes. Then, add a bit more butter to the pan, give it a swirl, re-season and tell me if it came out better this time.


  3. John,

    Thanks! I will! Glad to see you're reading this thing.

  4. LAWL at the "another half an hour" comment with the dough!