Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Comfort Food

Huckleberry Creme Brulee: scented with fresh bay leaf and served with brown butter tuiles

You know what hurts, like really bad?
A fractured rib.

Those of you who follow my twitter updates already know, I was in a car accident on Monday evening. Yes, folks- it's one woe-is-me post after another here. And by the way, thank you for all of your kind words about my kitty. Percy is doing much better-he's just as sprightly and obnoxious as ever, just the way we love him. He has, however passed his cold on to his sister- but she's always been a rockstar and seems to be kicking it's ass.

So, back to my whining: I was hit on the drivers side in the middle of an intersection. My car is kind of totaled (I can't close the driver's side door). The guy was in his mid 50's, driving a Lexus. Needless to say- he's got tons of insurance- so ya know, there's that.
Luckily, he was only going about 35 miles an hour. But that was enough to give me a nasty bruise on the side of my head, a healthy case of whip lash, and a fractured rib. Which hurts like a bitch. The other driver is totally fine, and I could be in much worse shape. For the most part, I am thankful that we are both okay.

But this rib....good god. Please don't make me laugh, cough, or sneeze. For that matter, I'd prefer not to breathe if thats possible. Anyone who has ever had one of these knows that there is nothing the doctors can do. I was given a weeks worth of codeine and told to "take it easy".

The last couple of nights, as I've been nursing my aches and pains- I've been craving comfort food (wine and the doting husband can only do so much). The combination of hurting, the cold weather, and this post, which I read just hours after the accident, brought it all on.
I need a hug

It seems like the general dining public is craving it as well. Some of my fancy pants desserts at the restaurant are being snubbed for the simple, snuggly ones. Huckleberry creme brulee in particular seems to be all the rage right now. Which is fine by me- as it couldn't be easier to make.
I use frozen huckleberries procured by the very same hippies that forage the wild mushrooms for the restaurant. They come all cleaned and ready to go (huckleberries are a fucking nightmare to clean). Those of you not living in the pacific northwest might be shit-out-of-luck. There is no commercial licence for huckleberries (which are native to the mountainous regions of Northwest forests), so they can be hard to find if you live in Skokie, Illinois. Blueberries would work (but they're nowhere near as good. sorry).
I infuse my brulee base with a vanilla bean and some fresh bay leaves. If you've never tried a dessert made with fresh bay leaves, for the love of god try it. It's really good infused into creamy substances such as flans, ice creams, and of course brulees. If you live in an area where huckleberries are nigh impossible to get your hands on, I highly recommend you just try the bay-scented brulee. Trust me on this. Have I ever let you down?
Huckleberry-Bay Creme Brulee
makes 4-6 individual servings, depending on the size of your ramekins

9 fresh bay leaves
1/2 of a vanilla bean, split and scraped
3 cups whipping cream
6 egg yolks
1/4 tsp salt
4 oz. granulated sugar
1/3 cup huckleberries, fresh or frozen

Tear the bay leaves and combine them with the cream and vanilla bean. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 2 hours.
Whisk the eggs, salt, and sugar together in a large bowl. Bring the infused cream back to a boil and temper it into the eggs. Strain through a fine sieve.
Line a roasting pan with a tea towel to keep the ramekins from sliding around. Pour hot tap water into the pan until the cups are halfway submerged. Divide the huckleberries amongst the ramekins. Pour the brulee base into each cup. Cover pan with foil and bake at 350 for 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hour (start checking after 45 minutes). Brulee is done when custard is set, but slightly wobbly. Remove cups from water and chill for at least 4 hours, overnight if possible. Just before serving, sprinkle with granulated sugar and (if you have a propane turbo torch) torch until the sugar melts. Otherwise, place under the broiler until the top is golden brown. Don't walk away, this happens fast!
Serve with cookies.


Zoe Francois said...

My absolutely favorite comfort food! This looks fantastic! Love the bay leaves.

Peabody said...

Yuck on the rib! Heal quickly!
I used the last of my huckleberries on a yogurt cake. Sigh. They are so hard to come by, but so very good. Your creme brulee looks like an excellent way to use them.

Emiline said...

Hope you feel better soon. That's terrible.
I can only imagine how painful the rib is. I'm so glad that you're okay though!

I've never had a huckleberry before!
This creme brulee sounds delicious. I'll have to try using bay.

matt wright said...

I think potted food always comes into its own in the autumn. there is always something soo comforting about eating food from a nice little pot, be it hot or cold.

Really sorry to hear about the rib, that has to hurt like hell.

An awesome looking brulee - and a really great, unusual combination of ingredients. LOVE IT.

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Mmmmm. That looks so good. I really, really wants some of that!!!

cook eat FRET said...

i've got the torch and the ramekins and i have yet to ever make the damn stuff. can i just put some chocolate on the bottom? cause that is really really good...

Brittany said...

Zoe- Thanks!

Peabody- oohh...huckleberry yogurt cake...yum. Did you blog it? I wanna make that!

Em- Thanks sweetie, we've got to get you and huckleberries together. I think it would be a beautiful relationship.

Matt- totally. Cassoulet, creme brulee, etc...Very fall-ish. Plus having my own little dish of something makes me feel like a princess.

Judy- Thanks!

Claudia- I highly encourage you to put chocolate on the bottom of anything.
You're fully equipped, but you've never made Creme brulee?? You need to get on that. Make some room on your stove by setting some of that veal stock aside and get to work.

Brooke said...

Wonk, Brittany, wonk. Now are you glad you saw a doctor? Sheesh.

You may not want to get me started on this subject, because for some reason I am a little nazi-ish about proper berry identification (remember the salmon berry debacle?). But those looked like mountain blueberries. The huckleberries I grew up eating are bright red and super sour (and delicious).

You need beef stew and crusty bread. That'll fix you up real good.

The Spiteful Chef said...

I would punch a baby to get just one bite of that brulee. But then again, I am currently feeling crappy, so I want comfort dessert. I don't have a broken rib, just various other myalgias. So poor you!

Hope you feel better soon, and tell the doc to give you something better than fucking codeine. I asked Chris and he said a broken rib is a solid argument to get percocet.

Peter M said...

Glad you're coming along with the injury and hey, I learned something new...bay leaves for desserts...must try!

Norm Schoen said...

Huckleberries AND Creme Brulee?....YUM!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Besides the painful rib, I'm glad you're ok. This creme brulée must be so conforting, just what you might need now. I used to do a bay leaf ice cream that was to die for, so I believe this bruléé should be as good. Hope you get better soon!

Foodycat said...

Ouch! I can't believe they only gave you codeine! Surely broken ribs are a good enough reason to get morphine?

That is a gorgeous-looking creme brulee - my favourite dessert (well, it is when my mum makes it!). I won't be able to do it with huckleberries so I guess it'll have to be straight up.

peter said...

You should demand fentanyl. That's the SHIT. You'll feel like a giant crème brulée, floating in a sea of huckleberries.

Then you'll start stealing things to sell them so you can get more of it.

Grace said...

at the risk of sounding like my grandma, you poor dear! i'm so sorry that happened to you, but if anything can help improve your spirit, it's this dessert. how decadent.
i hope you're right as rain soon! :)

Brittany said...

Brooke- god you're obnoxious. There are 2 varieties of huckleberry. The red tart ones, and the sweeter purple one (also called billberries).sheesh.

Spitefully jogging chef- can Chris get me some? This codeine is a waste of time.

Peter M- A little bay infused into some awesome greek dessert? Like those phyllo bars you make with the custard inside?

Norm- I know right? It's a party over here!

Clumsy cookie- I love bay ice cream! Particularly with pumpkiny flavors

Foodycat- Yikes! Morphine? No, I don't think I'm in quite that much pain....My DR is all about me "playing through the pain", which is really annoying.

Peter- God. That sounds fucking delightful. Seriously.

Grace- Aw, thanks.

Ann said...

You poor darling! I've heard broken ribs are just the worst. Take good care of yourself.

This dessert is gorgeous! You deserve 10 of them. :)

Heather said...

Oh. My. Gah. This is killing me. I love creme brulee! I love custards with savory essence (doy, I made Doug fir ice cream)! And tuilles!

You should be my besty. I would come bring you some soup to heal your ribs. I make a mean tom yum.

Anonymous said...

Trust Brittany when she tells you about using Bay leaves in the Creme Brulee...And with Huckleberries? Oh good God.
I do hope you feel better and I wish I had some leftover Percocet for you, Dear. Love, Mom

Mallow said...

Where do you get fresh bay leaves?! I've never seen them before.

We Are Never Full said...

ohhh. that picture of the spoon piercing into the sugar top is painful to look at! painful b/c i can't have a bite.

Thanks Norm!