Thursday, April 30, 2009

Beer, Thy Name is SHAMU

I don't drink but if I did I think this would be my beer. I have no idea what it tastes like. Or what it should taste like.
I think I might have to hack the coozie a bit.Alaskan Summer Ale. Coming to a Sea World near you.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Everybody is Doing It

Any Top Chef fans remember back during Season 4 Chicago when they had a $10 meal for a family of four challenge? Shopping only at Whole Foods (and the secret shopping in the well stocked Top Chef pantry but why quibble)? Remember how all our jaws dropped thinking how they did it? NPR seems to remember because they have their own How Low Can You Go Challenge on All Things Considered. Sadly the deadline for entries is May 1 so if you're quick you still have a chance. Ming Tsai and Jose Andres have already contributed along with Culinary Specialist 1st Class Michael Edwards, Armed Forces Chef of the Year (GO NAVY!!) and his recipe of Sauteed Skate Meuniere. I might even try Chef Edwards recipe if I can find some skate.
To see more of Chef Edward's work check out Military and get your entries in!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

DimSum Sunday ~ Build a Better Burger

Java Junkie's Sunday Supper
My favorite burger is grilled to a perfect medium, and topped with muenster cheese, tomato, avocado, bacon and red onion...a little mayo on the bun and I'm good to go! The sides are potatoes roasted in olive oil, smoked paprika and red chile flakes, and a pepper and olive salad served in a grilled Portobello mushroom.

Mr. Junkie's Sunday Supper
Mr. Junkie builds his burger on a mid-rare foundation, with Texas sweet onion, tomato, lettuce and bread and butter pickles, and of course, bacon. Good old yellow mustard is his condiment of choice.

Shamu's Sunday Supper
I'm not much of a burger eater so this week's challenge was a real stumper for me. I decided the best way to make a better burger was to add bacon. I took my inspiration from the folks who brought us the Bacon Explosion but on a much smaller scale. I flattened out my hamburger and then sprinkled it with some Monterey Jack cheese and cooked bacon pieces. Then I rolled it into a tube. I then wrapped that baby in bacon. I passed on interweaving my bacon into the sort of bacon potholder the Bacon Explosion people like to use, it's just too much bacon for this purpose.
I carefully grilled my meat bomb on a well oiled grill and mostly indirect heat. The smell alone had the neighborhood dogs howling.I served it with some apple coleslaw. The bacon flavor envelopes the hamburger nicely. Next time I might go a little less hamburger and more cheese in the middle, maybe even some sweet gherkin pickles. Still a fun experiment in my quest to add bacon to just about anything.

Next weeks theme: Comfort food

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What Will They Think of Next?

Tired of taking the stickers off all those plastic wonton spoons or washing and storing them once your party is done? Serve your hors d'oeurves or dessert in the new edible spoons and leave all those worries behind. Get a case just in time for your spring garden party and your guests will think you are the hostess with the mostess.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Bit of Hope

As a native Marylander, my love for the blue crab is home grown. It has been with great sadness that I've watched the decline of one of the greatest fisheries in the world and with it the fate of the blue crab. Limits on harvest were weak at best and no one could convince the crabmen that unless they changed their ways, there would be no crab to harvest.
It was with a glimmer of hope that the Washington Post reported that blue crab populations have rebounded (article links here). Are the crabs back for good? It's much too soon to tell but if there are three consistent years of population growth then there might be reason to celebrate. Let's hope Virginia and Maryland keep the limits on harvesting of females and ending the dredge fishing. In the meantime I'll keep my fingers crossed for the days full of fat, plentiful crabs.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Dim Sum Sunday - Spring Vegetables

For my spring vegetable dishes I chose to use Asparagus and Artichokes, both of which are in plentiful supply. I turned to Alice Water's Chez Panisse Vegetables for my Artichoke recipe.

Artichokes Baked with Anchovy Stuffing
4 large artichokes
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 onions
6 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 sprigs thyme
1/4 to 1/2 cup white wine
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup pitted niçoise olives
Zest of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 salt-packed anchovies
1-1/3 cups toasted bread crumbs
Salt and pepper
Splash of white wine
Extra-virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
A few sprigs thyme
Pare the artichokes down to their hearts and scoop out the chokes with a spoon. Drop the hearts into water acidulated with lemon juice (or rub them with a little olive oil) to prevent them from discoloring. Set aside.
Peel the onions and garlic and slice very thin. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan, add the onions, garlic, and sprigs of thyme, and cook slowly for 10 minutes, until the onions have softened. Add about 1/4 cup of the white wine and cook 2 minutes more. Season to taste. Reserve about 1/4 cup of this onion mixture and set aside. Spread the rest of the onion mixture in a small, nonreactive baking dish large enough to hold the artichokes. Scatter the olives over the onions. Preheat the oven to 375° F.
To make the stuffing, grate the zest from the lemon; chop the parsley; and rinse, fillet, and chop the anchovies. Mix together with the reserved onion mixture and the bread crumbs.
Stuff each artichoke with one quarter of this mixture and place the artichokes stuffed side down on the bed of onions and olives in the baking dish. Season generously with salt and pepper. Splash a little white wine over them and drizzle with olive oil and a few drops of balsamic vinegar. Strew with a few sprigs of thyme, cover the artichokes with parchment paper, and cover the baking dish tightly with foil. Bake for 60 to 90 minutes, until the artichokes can be easily pierced with a knife.
Serves 4. I added a little pancetta to the top but frankly this recipe did not make me want to repeat this effort. The stuffing seemed uninspiring and the artichoke itself was bland.The Asparagus, on the other hand, was much more successful. This month's Cook's Country, sister magazine to Cook's Illustrated, has a recipe for Broiled Asparagus with Mustard Vinaigrette that I highly recommend. Nothing could be easier than broiling asparagus.The last component to my Sunday dinner was Ina Garten's Roasted Shrimp Salad. Ina is one of the few chefs on the Food Network I enjoy and it's recipes like this make me want to tune into her show. The freshness of the orange zest really pops with the roasted shrimp. Pairing the zesty asparagus with the creaminess of the shrimp salad was a nice contrast. Two winners out of three's not bad.

DimSum Sunday ~ Spring Vegetables

Java's Sunday Supper
This is a simple pasta dish made with fresh asparagus, heirloom tomatoes, olives, basil, pignoli and shaved Pecorino Romano cheese. It's dressed with a fruity extra virgin olive oil to allow all of the fresh flavors of Spring to shine.

Next week's theme: Build A Better Burger (don't forget the sides)!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Next Sunday's theme...

...Spring Vegetables!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Food motion!

We have been noticing an...interesting trend in food advertising, i.e. "The Racy Food Commercial", and would like to explore some of our favorites with you...let's begin, shall we?

We start with a celebrity well known to the Karmic Kitchen - Padma Lakshmi. We admire her for ability to jam large quantities of food into her mouth over and over again. There is no one on (or off) Top Chef that eats more food than Padma, as she demonstrates this Hardee's commercial. If only Padma would get married again. We might have "Real Housewives of New Delhi".

Paris Hilton. Washing a car. In a bathing suit. Doesn't do anything for me, but then again I'm not a pre-pubescent boy. At least she's not speaking.

I'm not sure what's funnier about this, a talking grill or a talking male grill saying to a male cook "Put it in me Scott". The best part? Trying to figure out exactly what poor Scott burned!

For all of you who find the Burger King King freaky as all get out, check out his singing and dancing the "Square Butt Rap". Why rap? Why Sponge Bob Square Pants? Why Burger King? I have no answers. Actually I'm afraid of the answers.

Last but not least, our absolute favorite. It defies commentary.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

DimSum Sunday - Easter

Java's Roast Leg of Lamb
With Garlic, Rosemary & Anchovies

You can find the recipe here

Shamu's Lamb Shanks with Guinness

You can find the recipe here.

Happy Easter to all of our wonderful readers!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The next DimSum Sunday theme...

We look forward to sharing
"Easter Dinner"
with all who wish to participate!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Dim Sum Sunday - Tofu

Shamu's Sunday Supper
I knew it was going to be a challenging Dim Sum Sunday when Java threw down the Tofu gauntlet. Tofu is not exactly popular here in the meaty Midwest. However a challenge is a challenge. I decided to let someone else cook this week and that someone would be the very able chefs at my favorite Chinese restaurant, Bo Lings.
Weekends at Bo Lings are very popular since it's one of the few places in town to serve Dim Sum. There were a couple of tofu dim sum dishes I was planning to get but would they also have my personal favorite dish, Fried Tofu with Shrimp Sauce?

I was in luck. Deep fried tofu in a light sauce studded with shrimp and peas. Paired with the nuttier organic brown rice you have a light, delicious dish.
Accompanying my fried tofu is the stuffed tofu dim sum dish. A piece of tofu is stuffed with shrimp paste and then steamed. Since tofu has so little flavor of it's own it makes a perfect canvas for other ingredients such as shrimp.Rounding out this simple meal was tofu in coconut milk. Again light and very simple yet wonderfully delicious.
While tofu might not be as popular as bbq or Sweet and Sour Pork here in Kansas City, it's slowly working it's way into Kansas City's culinary consciousness as an excellent alternative for protein and calcium. Tofu, it's what's for dinner.

Java's Sunday Supper
The Java Junkie does loves her tofu. Despite a rough week her inner chef pulled through to give us a very simple white miso soup with tofu, wakame, scallions and white beech mushrooms. I love this kind of soup especially when I've got a cold. It makes me feel good just looking at it.
She kicks up the flavor of her next dish, Tofu Stir Fry with Spicy Schezuan Sauce with emphasis on spicy. The tofu and bok choi are quickly braised in a sauce made of Sirachi, soy, and oyster sauce and liberally laced with chilis. More vegetables are added and quickly fried. Served on a bed of white rice, it looks delicious with it's snow peas and peppers and spicy enough to clear out the sinuses. A wonderfully spicy Sunday dinner.

Next Week: Easter Dinner