Monday, January 29, 2007

Cowboy & The Rose Catering Grand Jct CO Wedding 2007

Cowboy & The Rose Catering Grand Jct CO Wedding

The Cowboy and The Rose Catering finished up the Grand Junction Colorado
Wedding Show on Sunday evening January 28, 2007. The event is one of our
biggest booking shows of the year, in that it fills in the few remaining
weekend slots we have available for the 2007 calendar. And also helps
with the 2008 slots that are starting to book since last December.

No big story here year but I wanted to show a few plates that we put
together prior to the show. These are just little kitchen shots, but
they are what we do for a show like this.

The tastings lined out like this:

Chef Mike and I cut live sushi for the event

Zane carved Prime rib and brisket.

Ray served up hot wings and mini Chile relleno

The ladies served up meatballs three ways, Mediterranean sauce, Chile
sauce and bourbon cocktail sauce.

We put together some of our normal real food test plates. And after two
years of research we brought to the public the Churrasco four ways
complete with chimichurri!

A few pictures to start and I will get to other blogs as I sort through
the 300 pictures my son took.

This is the chicken and my fabricated lamb skewer:

The chimichurri sauce so popular in Argentina

Plated up a real ribeye steak plate with saffron twice baked and chef

Also plated up a Chile Rellano plate with Mexican Rice and beans

Put together a puff shrimp platter with a take off of Jon's blueberry
shrimp, pulling together a blueberry horseradish sauce with vanilla

Family style pork tenderloin with apple red quinoa slaw and asparagus.

Featured a whole grilled pork tenderloin sliced covered by a rose wine
cranberry sauce served with red quinoa and grilled asparagus and roasted

Last is the most work we have ever done, this is a picture of the
preparation for the sushi as well as the first of the tuna pieces.

This was just to give you an idea of the plates we did at the show, I
will get into the presentation pictures over the next few weeks to give
you a better feel for the entire booth, which featured a unique event
this year, Mary Lou insisted that there be something for the future
husbands this year, so for the first time we advertised and set an
entire area up for the bachelor party. Poker chips, beer, pizza, and a
lady's legs coming out of a giant "chef Al" cake!

'Til we talk again, pop the top on a brew and have a real nice steak, as
many times as I make steak I still love to look at it, smell it and eat
it! What a damn perfect dish!

Chef Bob Ballantyne

The Cowboy and The Rose Catering

Grand Junction, Colorado, USA

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Homeless Need Food Everyday Not Just The Holidays

Homeless Need Food Everyday Not Just The Holidays!

Years ago after speaking with Zane and Mary Lou they were supportive of
us volunteering at the local soup kitchen, and I am very proud to say we
all do at different times!

Well the third Saturday of the month finds me at the

Catholic Outreach Soup Kitchen
in Grand Junction, Colorado,
preparing to feed 188 people who have through some way fallen on hard
luck. Mine is not to discuss the reason for their situation, I am here
strictly to prepare a meal from whatever was donated in the way of food,
so they might have one day without hunger!

Today I have about 20 hamburger patties, and another 40 pounds of
hamburger tubes that will go out of date Monday. Starvin' Arvin's resto
donated about 4 dozen buttermilk biscuits. (Arvin turned down 50K for
the recipe a few decades back, nice biscuits. Pineapples, grapefruit,
oranges, and grapes came in and plenty of greens today with tomatoes and
cucumbers! Not really enough, I really hate it right after Christmas,
everyone thinks they helped!


OK folks lets just understand that a homeless person or poor person
requires food every damn day of their lives! They can not survive
thinking how good the turkey was the week of Thanksgiving and Christmas!
They need food everyday. And any of you who are out there reading this
who think you helped at Christmas and so you are good for the year are
kidding only yourself. If you are a religious type, please realize that
you are not fooling your god by dropping something off once or twice a
year during the holidays! I am assuming that anyone's god would expect a
commitment to helping gods poor people be a life skill, not a holiday
"nice to do" thing. So please, find your local shelter or soup kitchen
and either volunteer or make a commitment to drop off some stuff once
per month for an entire year. If you can afford it, drop off big cans,
it goes to say you feed more with larger quantities for the same money.
Buy bulk if you can and do it every month on the same day like clock
work. Make a group that takes a different week every month. And then,
when there are groups for everyday of the month, you will have solved a
small part of someone less fortunate's problem. Your god will like it, I
will like it, and you will feel better about your humanity and the human
experience you offer to the world!


To the storeroom, onions yes, special request from the director "Bob
please use green beans, we have over 500 cans donated!" A couple pounds
of bacon came in, and a couple cases of yams and sweet potatoes. Then
the curveball, someone dropped off two cases of pumpkin in the can and a
thing of dried onions. Carrots, celery, and peppers. Spices and sugars,
I got plenty, flour yep. 3 number 10 cans of something called spaghetti
sauce. (I'll bet it is served right out of the can in Boston's northend!)
Three 18 packs of eggs, milk and a strange donation, three cans of

Quick check of the calendar shows 205 fed the day prior, it is the
weekend so this will fall off a little. I am planning for 196 clients.
OK brain work! To feed this many on 45 pounds of burger is less than
0.22 pounds per person before cooking shrink! I like to see it up around
0.5 per person after cooking. So we will go with the only logical choice

Meatloaf is versatile, and when made correctly the fillers are just as
enjoyable as the plain hamburger. So the menu is set, meatloaf with 63
pounds of fillers! A spaghetti sauce reduction for the top of the
meatloaf, finished with a nice brown gravy featuring dried onions, and
some reconstituted dried corn! Now that is a decent meal. Plus green
beans, and candied yams. Add a Fruit salad, and a tossed green salad
heavy on the cukes and the tomatoes and they have a fairly well balanced

No cakes went out of date Friday so we did not get a single cake, not
one from a single store! Looks like we also make dessert. Pumpkin, ok how
about a pumpkin cake with pumpkin pie inside. And what to finish it? Ok
a Crisco, vanilla (real imitation) and powdered sugar frosting.

This is what it looks like at 7 AM for the start!

I am in early so I will chop the onions, celery and carrots to make up
the bulk of the filling. But at 35 pounds the veggies are coming up
light on the filler side. So we will add 18 eggs to each of the three
batches as well as 2 dozen heavy biscuits. This will bring us up to

First in is a new volunteer, since I am making a cake type thing might
as well get that going since we have to cool it prior to using a crisco
frosting. Robert tells me he likes to run the can opener, so it is his
for pumpkin, green beans, and yams. Plus the three, ah, spaghetti

He is flying through the cans and so I start to get the mixer fired up
for the pumkin cake with pumkin pie center. And away we go.

And so it begins, the work to feed 188 souls who have lost their way a
little, some will recover to stand up and give back, others, who face
untreated mental illnesses and other addictions that have gripped them
into a spiral, will depend on the decency of people for the rest of the

I direct the mixing of the meatloaf while attending to the cakes and
green beans. The yams can wait a little as they are canned so heat,
season, and serve. And the kitchen begins to fill with volunteers.
Having the menu in my head prior to the arrival allows for efficient use
of volunteers I keep a check list in my head of what needs to be done
and in what order. As they walk through the door they are assigned a
task and then I only need check up on the progress. This allows a lot to
be accomplished in a short amount of time. Since most volunteers show up
around 10 AM and we feed at noon.

Happy to help, been with me a year now.

A married couple and their son, she comes to see how we do stuff in a
commercial kitchen. He comes to help out every month. They also bring
their daughter who helps with the milk serving line and cleans up.

Two high school seniors who have also been with me a year now.

And eventually the place is packed and the kitchen is humming. And it
starts to smell pretty damn good. I take pride in the fact the Sister in
charge of the place now makes it a point to come see what I am making,
tasting and talking, actually a quite delightful lady!

Cakes have cooled down outside and for this one I decide to layer it
three high and make two three high layered pumpkin with pumpkin pie
center cakes. They are iced, then cooled, then cut.

Of course young adults still act like kids sometimes. I run a light
hearted kitchen so with Meynard's Jazz blaring in the background they
get a little rowdy sometimes.

I think most have fun working with me in the kitchen. They keep coming
back save for the few I asked not to come back.

Of course I create a lot of dirty pots and pans while cooking like a
fiend and monitoring my prep staff to ensure at high noon the line is
ready to feed its clients! And feed them well! So I occasionally forget
something and scorch a pan. (My name is Bob Ballantyne and I have burned
quite a few dishes over the years!) Anyway the early dish pit is good,
cause you are done and only need do the pots and pans, but that does not
stop the reaction when you drop in with a carbon 12 experiment that
needs removed from the bottom.

One of the other things I have to remember is we have take out lunches
for some of the more disturbed clients. They are antisocial or can not
stay sober long enough to get into the building. But we still feed them.
Just have to ask them to stay out of the facility while we prepare and
hand out the take out dinners. And so I always assign one or two of the
students to plate up the take out.

They all have so much fun doing this! Meanwhile I pan the green beans,
and the yams. Yams were easy, yams, onions, molasses and some powdered

This is a picture of a device called the tilt skillet, which I did not
get one for Christmas as I asked Zane for! This is such a cool piece of
equipment. I mean it does it all!

The last thing to deal with is the portioning, I do not let the
portioning up to the volunteers, so I cut it all and then send it to the
line for service.

And then we serve. This is the last two coming through the line!

And so we find ourselves having fed 188 souls today, with luck they will
return Monday for another meal! I go out front to speak with as many as
possible, they are people just like you and me after all!

If you are looking for something to do, if you find yourself like me,
children about to go on their own, empty nest they call it, realize you
need to have things to do to keep busy, I would suggest their are a lot
worse hobbies that volunteering for a day every month to feed those who
will never have what you have and probably can not even dream that large

'Til we talk again, while going down that grocery isle, put a couple big
cans of beans or taters or fruit in the carriage and drop it off at your
local mission! Two for one chicken works well too! You will feel better
about yourself breaking the hypocrisy of Holiday helping, the homeless
and destitute will eat better, and some volunteer like me will turn it
into a meal they talk about and, if only for a few moments, forget the
struggle they face making it through another day!!!!!

Chef Bob Ballantyne

The Cowboy and The Rose Catering, LLC

Grand Junction, Colorado, USA

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Veneration the Soda Siphon, the forgotten kitchen tool

Perhaps the one tool that can give you an edge when presenting certain
dishes and drinks. But this tool is almost never found anymore. The most
common place used to be the bar, but since the new generation of
Franchise Eatery barkeeps has come along, they all reach for the soda
gun! While I understand the grind out the drinks mentality, I am
surprised to see a lack of younger bar keeps picking up the traits
involved in serving a proper drink. Order a scotch with a splash of
soda, the gun, the gun, the gun! What happen to pride in the craft? But
enough on Barkeeps that is an entirely different blog, we are here to
speak to the use of the soda siphon in the kitchen.

I have spoke to the need to set yourself apart when cooking in the past,
It is no real great display of skill to serve great tasting foie gras,
foie gras is a very excellent product to start with, it should not be
consider a great culinary achievement to make a great tasting Truffle
sauce, truffles are by nature a very good product. I will grant you that
serving the truffle properly has its method, we eat them for the
texture, to ruin the texture is to step on your crank! But for the most
part all expensive ingredients are excellent in there own right! IMACO
the real chef, the drive that makes a chef real to me, is the ability to
take an ordinary item or course and make it special. By special I don't
mean adding in a long list of ingredients, I mean making the dish so the
persons eating it sit up and say "wow that is neat!" This was the
thinking behind my creation of the special mushroom soup almost five
years ago. I was asked to create a

Mushroom Soup,
that has been

voted up to number 5 by many many people,
that the wineries owner
would eat, even though she hated mushroom soup, period! This is where
you get to making it different. When she saw cream mushroom soup on the
menu, she did not want it, when she saw it presented to the guests at
the table she tried it because it was so different, and ordered it for
five or six events over the next few years on $75 (her cost) per plate

You have the idea of what I mean by cheffing to make it special. The
soda siphon has a lot of cool twists it can perform to help you really
make it special. Both from a culinary taste aspect and (since I am in
catering) from a wow presentation stand point! Flair, it is called in
bartending, flair is also necessary in catering, if you want to be
successful and remembered you flair, so you get recommended!

First the equipment, I use the ISI units for my toolbox.

And of course you need the CO2 chargers.

This thing does wonderful things to water, adds in the fizz, and when you
make it and splash it into certain alcohols it makes for a great drink.
But our concern today is how to use this tool to make people go "wow
what is this?"

So lets take an easy one from a few years back. Serving tomato soup. Now
we make a great tomato soup. But if we take our soda siphons and load
them with a decent Pinot Grigio and charge them to sparkling, then serve
the soup closer to luke warm and finish it table side by diluting it
with the newly sparkling Pinot Grigio we have taken a soup that everyone
had as a kid and thinks it well soup and we have made it into SOUP WOW!
People just are not used to soup that effervesces! (Now a word on prep,
heat the wine and drive some of the alcohol off, then cool it, then into
the siphon and charge it. I found you need to be below 8 percent alcohol
to take that throat stab out of the dish)

Same with a nice breakfast treat like the mimosa, sure anyone can do it
with a sparkling wine, but if you are serving guest of a winery, take
the winery's riesling or sweet white and pour it into the siphon, charge
her up and you now have a product the guests will remember! A two for
one, they remember you and they remember the winery! And that is your
job if the winery hired you! Top of mind.

Finishing sauces for meats can sparkle nicely. Doing my normal Cabernet
Sauvignon reduction for my lamb finishing sauce. I thinned it out just a
little and did the siphon trick, lamb with a table side finish of
sparkling lamb stock, cabernet reduction won't be forgotten any time

And you can go on and on with the ideas. If it is a fairly thin liquid,
you can infuse it. Abate you must mind the temperature, the warmer the
liquid the less CO2 it will retain, so prepare dishes to be served using
a sparkling method that can take warm serve temperatures, not require

I took one of the Cantaloupe cold soups Jean sent to me and finished it
with a honey sauce I sparkled up in the siphon, basically taking a mead
and reducing it then adding the effervescent. Hopefully you get the
idea and will start to play around with the soda siphon in your cooking.
It is a great tool and can do many many things to add that "wow" change
to a dish. And from what I can tell it will be up to the chefs to save
this device as I don't see this next generation of bartenders interested
in the flair of the "old" tools gaining ground anytime soon! I will blog
soon on the table side tiramisu, piping live tableside, with an Isi
whipped cream whipper!

Til we talk again, stop in the kitchen store and pick up a siphon, if
nothing else the flavored syrup Italian sodas you can make justify the
investment in the siphon! And for professional use with water it can
shoot a stream across the kitchen into the back of the head of a prep
that desperately needs it!

Chef Bob Ballantyne

The Cowboy and The Rose Catering, LLC

Grand Junction, Colorado, USA

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Secrets To A Great Burger & The Best Fries/Chips

Secrets To A Great Burger & The Best Fries/Chips


The day was kind of laid back, daughter leaving for school, son's
girlfriend off the same school. But a nice day, sunny and clear. But
cold, like in the 20 F range cold. Well what better Sunday meal on a
clear sunny day the the Great American Hamburger? And while we are at it
lets do some fries, or chips as most of the world calls them!

On the beef, if you don't or have not started purchasing your beef by
the 1/4 animal or smaller quantity from a custom meat shop, now is the
time to start. You will not believe the difference it makes in the taste
and quality of the product. Look it up in the phonebook under custom
meat or custom butchering, they will get you pointed in the correct
direction. (No the Schwan's man's products do not count as custom meat!)
Although I will say they have some products that are good.

We are completely backward integrated on the

whole beef
thing. So prepare to look your food in the eye and
realize that is its job on earth!

And when they are done eating the "ground corn" they produce a beautiful
product. From burger to steaks they are fantastic. I also have taken to
having the chuck ground into the rest of the burger. Moving my ground
burger to about 15 percent fat or 85 percent lean. Anything less in fat
content and you need more binders to hold the stuff together.

This is what it looks like out of the butcher paper!

Enough on the beef for now, we have to make Fries / chips for the meal.
And that takes a little time to do it correctly. Homemakers or home
cooks make a few mistakes that cause them grief when trying to make a
French fry that does not: A. turn pasty or B. go limp, or C. get hard on
the outside and gooey in the inside. We are here today to lead you to
the promise land of decent homemade chips!

First, lets talk about the potato. I like russets. They are a great
balance of sugar and starch. Please get used to keep the potatoes in an
area that is cool, but not in the reefer. The starch turns to sugar
below 45 degrees and that is not good to make a tasty tater!

Second, lets talk about tater treatment prior to frying! We need to soak
our fries in water (70 F) with three water changes in 15 minutes. This
gets rid of the surface starch that creates the pasty problem on the

Third, lets talk about the temp of the tater prior to frying. I like
them somewhere about 50 degrees and below 70 degrees. Yes, this does
mean you have to watch you time as you are working with a product in the
danger zone.

Fourth, the oil, you will see all manner of oils in the super market. In
the commercial kitchen we receive oil designed to fry, high smoke point
temp, stable as all get out! You have your choice of two, Canola oil or
Crisco vegetable oil. There are a lot of others out there, I walk past
them all when using oil for my home, I use the Crisco solid vegetable
oil. You know the white stuff in the blue can!

Fifth, and most important is the equipment you are using. I have seen
the home "fry daddy", the home "circular fryer" thing, IMACO they are
all junk. They don't have enough power behind them to get the job done.
Lucky you have an appliance already in your house that will have the
power. It is your range top. You see one of the things that cause crappy
results when frying taters is the oil getting to cool and soaking into
the potato pores instead of the oil heating the water in the tater to
boiling and forcing the oil out of the pores.

Sixth, to produce pro results on fries at the home, we need a damn good
pan. Most people have some nice pans, but when it comes to frying they
grab some old pot with a thin thin bottom. Bad idea, you need a pot that
is heavy and can store up energy. Cause when the fries hit the grease
they start to dissipate energy, the more energy you can have stored up,
the better the chances of not getting your oil into the low temp that
results in crap results. We like nothing less that 375 F and I
personally like 400 F.

A pot recommendation? Get yourself a Lodge cast iron Dutch oven, with a
lid. Referred to as black iron, there is no more useful tool to the home
cook that a Dutch oven. They can roast, broast, braise, fry, sear, you
name it this pot can do it and do it well. They are cheap and they are
very very forgiving. So get a nice flat bottom 11 incher and you will
never go back! Once you go iron black you will never go back!

And last, fries need to be cooked twice. For pro results you must fry
them, then fry them again to finish.

Now onto our dinner:

These are my fries, I did them in my Cuisinart Food Processor with the 6
X 6 fry slicer disk. Actually a julienne disk but it makes nice string
fries. These have been soaked and rinsed three times. Then set to stand
at room temp and dry in a strainer.

Now I don't like the mess frying makes in the kitchen so I do things
outdoors. You can too. This is the turkey fryer sold at Sam's Club. On
it I have a lodge 14 inch fry pan with a lid. The lid is used to bring
the oil to temperature. When frying it is left off so the water vapor
can escape from the oil and the product that is frying.

You will also notice a charcoal kettle. Nothing does a hamburger like
these little kettles. I like my

both gas and the big char-broil smoker cooker. But when it
comes to the Great American Hamburger, you kettle or you kid yourself!
To the fries again:

The thing I like about outdoor stuff is I can hammer the heat to stuff
without worry the smoke alarms and such are going to go off. Or worse
the spouse go off on the mess I am making.

This is my fries starting there first cook. I will cook them about 11
minutes, just until when I taste them I can tell they are cooked, but
not all the way.

Now while the 11 minutes is passing, I need to get the kettle fired up.
It takes an hour for a charcoal fire to come to the cooking point. Yes
you can cook on it earlier, but for even cooking, searing, and finishing
power, give this thing an hour after you start it. Have a beer and start
finishing the fries.

Now when the fries have cooked the first time, you drain them, then
paper towel them on a cookie sheet, let them rest 30 minutes, then bring
the oil back up to temp and go in for the finish. DO NOT salt these
taters yet. Salt ruins fry oil. And they will take salt nicely after the
second fry.

During the second fry above, you can see we are now going for that
golden brown that makes fries well fries! And in the end after a little
stirring, a little beer (for the cook) and a little more stirring this
is what we end up with for a product.

I will remove these with the spider, the second fry I take them straight
to the cookie sheet with the paper towel. They won't have a ton of oil
on them this time. A word about finish, a fry is not finished when it is
brown. It is finished when it is browned, seasoned and taste great.
Taste great is the key here. Taste these chips and season accordingly.
Don't worry about how much, season until it taste good. That is when
there is enough. So many people think "oh god look how much I am putting
on" as long as you are tossing them and tasting them keep seasoning
until they taste correct.

Now we have the burgers to talk about. Basically you want to do fries
and burgers so they come off at the same time. The burgers need a 25
minute head start on the second cooking of the fires to time out so
everything comes off together and goes to the table. First the patties:

I like my patties to be 1/3 of a pound. Hey this is the Great American
Burger! Let make it great! Notice the seasoning here! I am using fresh
ground sea salt, and fresh ground black pepper. That is it, nothing
else, if the beef is worth a damn this is all you will need. When Zane
and I started cooking together, some 10 years ago, we knew we would get
along as both of us were ready to kill the other if they tried to put
anything but salt and pepper on the burger. Yes, you have to use good
beef, but man is it worth it when you taste, well, beef for what it
really is when custom ground! So buy good beef and salt and pepper only.

Now putting them on the kettle, you want to hear sizzle, if it doesn't
sizzle you did not let it heat up enough prior to starting the burgers.
It should sizzle a lot.

You will know you did it correctly when you do the flip. Now here is
another secret. 99 percent of all home cooks flip a burger to early.
They do it to steaks and everything else as well. A good rule is if you
think it is time to flip, wait 6 more minutes.

See those grill marks? That tells you the grill heated up enough prior
to meat landing on it. Notice the nice color of that burger, that my
friend is the searing taking place on a kettle grill, that should excite
the he11 out of you. When you get this type of finish on your burger's
first side, the juice is not going to leak out and spill off into the
fire. Dry burgers, well they suck, so lets make sure we see searing
prior to flipping. You may have to peek the first few times to make sure
it is correct, but you will get the hang of it. This means a juicier

Last we take a look at the final plate. This is America's meal and the
rest of the world likes them too!

A word on the Malt Vinegar, this is probably the finest thing the UK
ever did for the culinary world. This stuff is fantastic on Fries /
chips. For you yanks it mixes with ketchup well, and for you rebs it
does well with hot sauce too. So pick this up and next time you do fries
and burgers get this out for those chips, you won't go back to dull
fries again. This adds that zip!

Anyway, hoped you liked our little lesson today, may you find yourself
with excellent beef and moreover, may you have cooked it so you can
taste the beef! Not covered up with 90000 roasted vegetables and 1200
mustards and 14 ketchups and 3 types of pickles and a burger on a
toasted bun!

Til we talk again, find some custom burger or get the guy at the market
to grind a chuck steak for you, you will be amazed at the difference.
And your spouse will ask you what you did when the beef comes shining

Salt...... Pepper........... Ground Beef...... Ain't that nice!

Chef Bob Ballantyne

The Cowboy and The Rose Catering, LLC

Grand Junction, Colorado, USA

High Altitude Popovers, Goin’ Savory in Rocky Mtns

High Altitude Popovers, Goin’ Savory in Rocky Mtns


When I last did the popovers I was suppose to post the changes in the
recipes. Since we like the idea of popovers in catering, because they
are so inexpensive to produce, I figured it was time to get them down on
paper. I spent yesterday working on the various recipes to get a few
that are useable and offer some options.

First a word about the popovers, made in New England and heavily used up
and down the east coast this little roll was very popular through the
great depression. The government gave out a lot of flour, jellies and
peanut butter. Eggs and milk were also available and relatively
inexpensive. Hence the almost cult like status among household
homemakers that found these easy to do and cheap to make for the family
and cheap enough to offer to the hobos.

This roll was designed to take a topping, so butter, butter and honey,
jams, and savory spreads were all made to slather into this roll and the
roll is bland enough that the topping comes through. Bland yes! But this
is a texture roll, you will find nothing else in the bread world like
it. Crunchy, crispy and mostly cooked dark.

The make up of this roll and how it pops over is really due to a steam
explosion inside the roll. Hence adding stuff to it really affects the
way the roll looks. So adjustments are required to keep the same surface
tension on the roll to create the super heated water that forces the
roll to pop over.

The recipes are after the talk about it section to make it easy to,
highlight, copy and paste to a word document for printing. The
directions are the same as the first recipe, so I trimmed them off to
save bandwidth, and in hope that Chez Tom might get this blog downloaded with the dial up prior to

First I made my

High Altitude Popover Recipe
and ran a batch to insure

the home range
was working correctly. Please remember that bread
flour not AP is really needed for this recipe.

A look at the pans I am using. I like the mini pans because they make 12
at a time. I have two of them because the start temperature of the pan
is important as well. I like them to start at room temperature, so when
making multiple batches I switch pans between batches. You will see
preheat the pan recipes, stay away from them IMACO they screw up the
rolls outside texture.

So first thing up was to do a savory, and when a chef finds themselves
with a whole wheel of Humbolt Fog in the reefer, well what is a chef to
do? Send it to Dave Nelson or put it into a Humbolt Fog savory popover?
The popover of course! (Don't worry Dave, plenty left for you!)

So I got to work on three tries to get the Humbolt fog into a solution
that would suspend itself in the flour dough mixture. In the end a few
tricks were needed. Drop down to two eggs as the cheese adds the protein
for the third egg. Take the one tablespoon of oil and heat it in a sauce
pan, then add the Fog to it and stir, the whey will separate from the
Fog, whisk it hard and the curd will separate into tiny pieces, cool
this down (don't let it boil) and then suspend it in your popover
batter. Everything else stay they same. And they do still make the
really cool steam hole in the center! A little pesto in the center, yum

High Altitude Popovers Humbolt Fog

2 large eggs, 4.0 ounces or 120g

1 1/4 cups milk, 10 3/4 ounces or 307g

1 tbsp oil or butter, 1/4 ounce or 10g

1 1/2 inch wide wedge of Humbolt Fog off the wheel

1 cup flour, 6.5 ounces or 183g

1/2 tsp salt, two pinches

400F degree oven

This is what they look like baking prior to the steam release.

A little word about viscosity and surface tension. Viscosity is how
thick something is, in this case the batter, make enough of the
originals that you understand how thin this batter is, use water to
adjust the batter to the same viscosity to ensure good popover results.
Surface tension it the binding of the proteins together to form the
lattice work of the batter. This needs to stay at the same levels, so
add or remove protein depending on what your infusion is to the batter.

Next up, I thought hey the Mother is in the garage reefer. What about a
sourdough popover? This one was cool because it worked on the first try.
Simply drop the flour to 1/2 cup and add in 3/4 cup of the Mother! You
will have to use a high wire count whisk to break up the gluten so it
will suspend evenly. And with that simple change I present the Sourdough

Altitude Sourdough Popovers

3 large eggs, 6.5 ounces or 183g

1 1/4 cups milk, 10 3/4 ounces or 307g

1 tbsp oil or butter, 1/4 ounce or 10g

1/2 cup flour, 6.5 ounces or 183g

3/4 cup Mother, the more sour the better!

1/2 tsp salt, two pinches

And the last of the dinner rolls was forced on me by my wife and
daughters selection of Chili for dinner. You see the daughter is in
college, and like yesterdays large pot of spaghetti sauce, chili freezes
in the little glad containers real well. And for college kids that is an
instant meal! And so prior to her leaving we have what I call Large Pot
meals. And all the extra is taken by her in the glad freezer container
to college. So since chili was for dinner I thought why not do the

Edna Lewis Popover Roll
which is of course a cornbread popover. And
so I present the recipe, after two tries, of the Edna Lewis Corn Bread

High Altitude Edna Lewis Popover

3 large eggs, 6.5 ounces or 183g

1 1/3 cups milk, 10 3/4 ounces or 307g

1 tbsp oil or butter, 1/4 ounce or 10g

1/2 cup flour, 6.5 ounces or 183g

1/2 cup cornmeal

1 tsp white pepper

1 tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt, two pinches

400F degree oven

You will notice the milk increased (remember viscosity) and I added a
little sugar, while a lot of cornbread does not have sugar, the popover
did not taste like cornbread until I added this little bit of sugar, it
seems to bind to the cornmeal and bring it to the front when tasting the
roll. Without it is just tasted like a popover made with flour that had
whole wheat added to it.

Last I thought we should go sweet. I did a dessert shortly after the

High Altitude Popover Blog
and never got any pictures, so I made it
yesterday so it would also be included. Because the popover has an
almost custard like consistency I thought it would be a neat dessert
cross over. We are going to go a little out of order on this one. First
the recipe:

High Altitude Dessert Popovers

3 large eggs, 6.5 ounces or 183g

1 1/3 cups milk, 10 3/4 ounces or 307g

1 tbsp oil or butter, 1/4 ounce or 10g

1 cup flour, 6.5 ounces or 183g

1/3 cup fine chopped walnuts

2 Tablespoon light brown sugar

1 Tablespoon Molasses

1 tsp salt, four pinches

400F degree oven

Dessert topping

Whip cream for starters. I have started heating and infusing my cream
prior to cooling it and putting it into my ISI whipper.

One banana

2 ounces Myers dark rum

2 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp chopped dates

1/4 cup butter

1 mission fig

So first layout your Mise en place and get it ready to mix fast and put
in the cups. This one has some chemistry going on that does things to
the batter the longer it sits. So make sure you are set to mix, pour
into cups and bake!

You will see I substituted goats milk to add a different flavor to the
base batter in the background.

After they are in the oven you have 40 minutes to prepare the Bananas
Foster topping. So get to it, butter, and brown sugar in a small sauté,
then add in the chopped dates, finally slice in the banana, once it is
all up to temperature add in the booze and flame it off.

When the rolls are done you will notice they don't popover as hard as
the normal roll, with the sugars and the nut meat added to this recipe
it have a different surface tension. I think with a little tinkering it
would pop a little higher, but by this time my family was getting tired
of tasting rolls, so I just cut one open to make sure I am getting the
steam burst that hollows it out in the center.

For the dessert I will take advantage of the hole created from the steam
burst by adding my Grand Marnier and Mexican Vanilla infused cream and
filling it into the center of one Walnut popover by making a slit in the
bottom and pumping it into the roll.

So to finish it I decide one whole popover filled with the cream and one
cut in half and then the whole thing covered with the bananas Foster
sauté'. Unfortunately I did not take a picture of the final plating. I
did but it was blurry as heck. I just pour the banana sauté' over the
top of the two rolls, then cut the mission fig in half and lay it on
top, dress with a little of the infused whip cream and serve!

In the end we have created five rolls here and got a few twists into to
the popover world!

And of course you can always go with the

original high altitude popover
and make different spreads for them,
that would seem to also have endless possibilities.

For you at sea level, just add in one more egg to all this and cut the
milk down by 1/4 cup.

Til we talk again, bake up some rolls to go with dinner, it is a real

Chef Bob Ballantyne

The Cowboy and The Rose Catering, LLC

Grand Junction, Colorado, USA