Radical Cooking - Timbale Magic

Cooking outside the take out box
Easier, faster, better, healthier and cheaper

Bistro's Best/The Magic of Timbales
From the Kitchens of Cheesecake Farms

Gorgeous timbales -
so easy, so fast, so chic

Timbales (pronounced tim-bah-leez) are portions of cooked grains that are molded into cups. You can use any cooked grain or combination of grains. Rice, buckwheat, cous-cous, quinoa - even orzo (a pasta shaped like a grain) can be molded into a timbale.

This is NOT like a gelatin mold. This is grains packed into a cup and inverted just before serving. You see this presentation all the time at bistros and on cooking shows.

Timbales look so marvelous on the plate and will make everyone think you're a pro.  But, better than that, a timbale makes a control-able portion.

You can't use a disher (culinary trade talk for an ice cream scoop) to portion grains (like you can mashed potatoes) because cooked grains don't stick together as well as potatoes. Ok, maybe very sticky rice will hold together in a disher but sticky rice is not served in this manner.
Pack the grains into the cup

So, for grains, it's timbales to the rescue.

Perfect portions with plenty of panache and so little work you'll wonder why you never served them before.

Kitchen Magic/Tricks of the Trade

For easy, perfect timbales, here's what you need to know:

Tip 1. Use a half cup measuring cup as the mold
Press with your palm 

Skip the custard cups and even the timbale molds (unless you want to leave a few out to impress your gourmet pals).

The portion size of a half cup measuring cup is just right.  (And looks like more food than a spoon full of loose grains on a plate.)

The handle on the cup makes it easy to remove once inverted on the serving plate.

And, you already have one around - or at least you should.

Tip 2. Spritz the measuring cup mold with cooking spray before spooning in the cooked grains
Remove the cup/mold

Sure, you can unmold a timbale without spritzing - buy why would you want to?   BTW, you don't need to spritz every time.  Every other time works OK.

Don't bother to oil or butter the mold. It's more work than you need.

Tip 3.  Pack them in tight
After you've spooned the grains into the cup, use the palm of your hand to press them down uniformly.

Tip 4.  Don't be chicken
Invert the grain packed cup/mold onto the individual serving plate.  Put it exactly where you want it because you can't move the pile of grains once the cup/mold is removed. 

Quickly and without hesitation, remove the cup/mold.  Voila!  The grains magically fall out in a gorgeously neat pile right onto the plate.

(Not having any luck?  Try this....
Invert the plate over the cup/mold then invert both together so the plate is right side up - like when you turn a cake out of a pan onto a cooling rack. Remove the cup/mold.)

With the cup/mold still covering the grains, you can squiggle them a bit to move them a little for a perfect position on the plate but the grains themselves are loose and can't (neatly) be moved once the cup/mold is removed. 

Each timbale needs to be unmolded right onto the individual dinner/serving plate and not onto a large serving platter because they can't be moved once they are unmolded.  They fall apart.

Smashed the timbale did you? 
Just pack it back into the cup and unmold it again.  There's no waste. 

BTW, timbale grains are usually served at warmish, room temperature so don't worry about the grains getting cold.  As a matter of fact, they're easier to work with when they're not burn your hand/burn your tongue hot.

A perfect timbale!!


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