To quote the Governor in Mel Brooks’ classic Blazing Saddles, it has been nothing but work, work, work. (But it’s all good stuff.)
Our company move to 251 West Market is done. With a project like this, however, there are always a lot of details to look after. The showroom area is being painted, and we will have nice, new ovens on display very soon. Work on the test kitchen begins after that.
Besides the move, another big project under way is the Forno Bravo website. A website is never truly “done” – and lately we’ve been working hard to make the site’s many resources a little easier to find and navigate. Read more about the website improvements below.
In this month’s newsletter, we also share the results of our oven photo contest, winter edition, at right. What fun this contest was – and I thank all who took the time to send in entries and vote for the winner. We ended up with a gallery chock-full of fabulous pictures, featuring many ovens in snowy environs and elsewhere.
On the food front, Peter Reinhart, our Pizza Quest host, includes a webisode from the Basta series, showing off some spectacular sous vide short ribs. From the Community Cookbook, we have a recipe for ash-roasted sweet potatoes, something new to try in your wood-fired ovens.
Website Improvements in the Works
You might have noticed that there have been some big changes to the Forno Bravo website, www.fornobravo.com. We have completely changed how our users (you) navigate the site. Using modern web technologies, we have made it a lot easier for you to find what you are looking for. In fact, I’ll bet you might find resources and content you didn’t even know existed before.
Plus, the website now uses gradients, drop-downs, big buttons and fun rollover effects, to improve the look and design of the site. (We really like the rotating photos, or slider, on the homepage.)
We are still rolling out the new layout across all of our web applications, such as the Forno Bravo Forum, Dealer Locator, Community Cookbook and Wood-Fired Blog, so there is more good stuff to look forward to.
Here are a couple of screenshots to show just how much information the new www.fornobravo.com displays with just a mouse rollover. Now you can find just about anything you need on our website with a single click.
Peter’s Corner: Spectacular Sous Vide Short Ribs at Basta
Peter Reinhart, our Pizza Quest host, baking instructor and baker extraordinaire, shares another installment from the webisode series featuring Basta, a wood-fired restaurant in Boulder.
In this installment of the Basta series, as we inch closer to the big pizza/beer throwdown, Kelly Whitaker takes us through his process for making one of the most amazing meat dishes I’ve ever had. A few years ago, very few people knew of the cooking method called sous vide, which means “under vacuum.”
Now, because of high-profile chefs like Thomas Keller, as well as exposure on television and recent books like Modernist Cuisine, most foodies have at least heard of sous vide, and some are even buying home models of the immersion circulator you will see in this webisode.
What I love is how Kelly adapts this vacuum pressure method and marries it with his traditional wood-fired oven technique to get the best of both worlds, a super tender (like budder) yet still medium rare 48 hour cooked piece of short rib, which is then charred in the oven to create a crisp, caramelized, smoky crust. Notice also the accompanying side dishes: local greens sautéed in pork belly fat, and a super creamy parsnip puree. Lush, memorable, yet simple food!
For more on this webisode, see Peter’s original post on Pizza Quest.
Recipe: Ash-Roasted Sweet Potatoes With Sage and Honey Butter
We hope you enjoy this month's featured recipe from the Forno Bravo Community Cookbook, written by our chef moderator Dan Compton.
- 4 like-sized sweet potatoes (I used the garnet variety)
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, minced
- 1/2 C chopped fresh sage
- 8 oz room temperature butter
- 1 T honey
- salt and black pepper, to taste
This simple recipe was inspired by the Argentine chef Francis Mallmann, whose cookbook, Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way, is a fascinating look at cooking with fire – over it, around it, and even in it, as I do here. The end result might look a little scary at first, but the flavor you will achieve is undeniable.
Throw your sweet potatoes in the fire in your oven. No, seriously. OK, fine, set them in the ashes at the edge of your fire. Turn them periodically. They are going to blacken and char and feel crispy and crunchy when you touch them. That is OK. Let them cook that way for 45 minutes to an hour. Transfer the sweet potatoes to a large piece of foil, wrap them tightly, and place them back on the edge of the fire to finish cooking. Allow them to steam in the foil until completely tender, 15 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make your compound butter. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium-sized skillet. When it begins to shimmer, add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and sweat until just translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add the sage and cook for another 3-4 minutes, until the pan is very aromatic and everything is soft. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Transfer the onion mixture to the bowl of a food processor, along with the butter and honey. Season with salt and pepper. Pulse until well combined. Scoop the butter out into a bowl and place in the fridge to firm up. (See the Community Cookbook post for a fancier method.)
When the potatoes are soft, remove from the foil. Cut a lengthwise slit in the top of each potato and squeeze them open to expose the brilliant orange flesh. Season with salt and pepper. Remove your butter from the fridge, place dollops on top of the sweet potatoes, and serve. The rich, slightly smoky sweetness will complement anything savory you’ve roasted in your oven, particularly game meats or turkey.