Sunday, January 31, 2010
While your fish cooks in it's banana leaf snuggie, dice one mango, half an onion, and the flesh of one blood orange. Mix in the juice of a lime and a blood orange and add a handful of cilantro. Drizzle the mixture with a bit of olive oil and season with sea salt. Chill until the fish has finished cooking.Flake the moist fish from the bones and top with salsa. To accompany my fish I quickly steamed some kale until it was just tender then shocked it in cold water to stop the cooking process and keep that beautiful green color. I set it aside while I melted some butter in a saucepan. I added some finely minced shallots to the butter and cooked until they were softened. To that I added a scope full of the water the kale was steamed in and a healthy pour of white wine. You want to reduce that down to at least half. Once that was done I then added the juice of one Meyer lemon and a bit more butter and let that reduce again until it slighty thickens. I drained the kale, squeezing as much water from the greens as I could. Next I roughly chopped the greens and added them to the pan, mixing the sauce and the kale together thoroughly. Serve those luscious greens immediately.
Hello Sunshine. Where have you been? The mango/Blood orange salsa sinks it's juicy roots deep into the mild moist red snapper flesh. The salsa seesaws between the sweetness of the mango, the grapefruit like sourness of the orange, and the bite of the onion. And the kale? The kale's strong bitterness is calmed by the almost sweet-like Meyer lemon sauce. That sauce goes into the data bank to try on other vegetables. A healthy and flavorful meal popping with citrus goodness. Thank you Florida and California for making my gray world just a little brighter.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
With some sharpies and his awesome talent his kids have to be the envy of whatever school they attend. They get to see their favorite movie, cartoon or book character come to life everyday at lunch.
Ralphie would have loved this one.
We've got Devious Sneakers.
We've even got some snarky commentary on the Star Wars Trilogy movies (with a little Pulp Fiction thrown in for good measure).
You too can follow the daily lunch bag parade at Lunch Bag Art.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Sunday, January 24, 2010
You start by peeling a largish Yukon gold potato. Then you make your thin slices on your mandolin. Choose 5 or 6 similarly shaped slices and cut two slits in the middle. This is so you can thread your white anchovy through like a belt through a belt loop. As it just so happened, I had marinated white anchovies in my fridge. I found them at Whole Food's deli counter. (Unfortunately I'm not sure if this is the same as they used in the cookbook version. It just calls for white anchovies.) Once you've placed all the anchovies in their potato slots, brush all with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and white pepper. It's here that the recipe gets a little funky. It calls for putting the slices on parchment or silpat (on a cookie sheet) and then sandwiching with another layer of silpat or parchment and on top of that another cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. At first I liked the idea of baking them but once the first 15 minutes had passed and I checked on their progress the chips looked like they had barely cooked. Gave them another 10 minutes. A little better but still very limp. I decided to jettison the top layer and let the chips cook unimpeded. Finally after another 10 minutes in the oven, the edges had browned up and they had finally achieved some firmness. They tasted OK, a little chewy but the anchovy totally overpowered the potato chip. Plus if you don't eat these immediately you really shouldn't eat them at all. Some things are fantastic hot and only hot. Now I'm not saying these aren't fantastic in Tramonto's restaurant, I bet they are although I also bet they deep fat fry them. There is that option in the cookbook I just wasn't in the mood to try it. I just wasn't really impressed with the results of this particular recipe. However you know I couldn't let this particular recipe pass without trying a little Baconization.Oh yeah, that helped.
While Tramonto's book is very pretty and a detailed look into how they developed these amuse bouches at their restaurant, I'd definitely check it out from your library first. If it connects more with you than it did with me I'm sure you could find space in your kitchen library to add it to your collection. It would also make a great gift for the restaurant chefs in your life.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Make time for your lemons, your limes, your oranges, heck even your pomelos, just blind our fog weary eyes with sun shiny citrus creations. Come back here on January 31st and share. And remember...
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
TV Chopper helping to evacuate pregnant woman to the hospital during Blizzard of '66.
Recipe for Snow Cream
Snow - fresh clean snow (no, yellow snow is not lemon flavored)
Milk or cream
some flavoring ingredient (depends on your spice shelf and whether your mom made pancakes every Sunday morning to have maple syrup in the house)
Fold gently together.
Serve to ravenous children.
A. Snow runs out.
B. Milk runs out.
C. Sugar runs out.
D. Patience runs out.
That, my friends, is Snow Cream.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Surprisingly a can would still be involved. I turned, as I often do, to the good folks at Cook's Illustrated. In their massive cookbook, The New Best Recipe, they too described the memories of the Campbell's Soup version of their youth. With that in mind, they came up with the following recipe.
Cream of Tomato Soup
2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes packed in juice, drained, 3 cups juice reserved
1 1/2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large shallots, minced (about 1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Pinch ground allspice
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups chicken stock, homemade or canned low-sodium
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons brandy or dry sherry
Salt and cayenne pepper
1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 450°F. Lined rimmed baking sheet with foil. With fingers, carefully open whole tomatoes over strainer set in bowl and push out seeds, allowing juices to fall through strainer into bowl. Spread seeded tomatoes in single layer on foil. Sprinkle evenly with brown sugar. Bake until all liquid has evaporated and tomatoes begin to color, about 30 minutes. Let tomatoes cool slightly, then peel them off foil; transfer to small bowl and set aside.
2. Heat butter over medium heat in large saucepan until foaming. Add shallots, tomato paste and allspice. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are softened, 7 to 10 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds. Gradually add chicken stock, whisking constantly to combine; stir in reserved tomato juice and roasted tomatoes. Cover, increase heat to medium, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, to blend flavors, about 10 minutes.
3. Pour mixture through strainer and into medium bowl; rinse out saucepan. Transfer tomatoes and solids in strainer to blender; add 1 cup strained liquid and puree until smooth. Place pureed mixture and remaining strained liquid in saucepan. Add cream and warm over low heat until hot, about 3 minutes. Off heat, stir in brandy and season with salt and cayenne. Serve immediately.
Roasting your tomatoes is a crucial step. It definitely adds a depth of flavor that you're not going to get even when using winter fresh grocery store tomatoes. Don't skip this step. Once you get past the tomato prep, this soup goes together quickly and simply. As I finished off the soup I wondered if I really needed the brandy. The soup to that point tasted wonderful, rich with tomato flavor. How would the brandy help? I added the brandy just a little at a time and tasted after each addition. It was with this simple dish that I finally got to taste what Unami means. Unami is often talked about as the fifth taste. My soup was fine before the brandy but after the addition there was a savory depth, a complexity that lingered on the tongue and expanded into my sinuses. I never imagined a can of tomatoes could taste so good. It made a simple grilled cheese into a work of art. It even made my sweet gherkin pickles taste a little sharper and tangier.
As long as you have a decent can of whole tomatoes in your pantry, you will be ready for anything a snow day can throw at you.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
That's right, a White House Episode complete with the First Lady. I'm not sure which is worse, Batalli's Orange Crocks or Shelly O's Orange Frock but frankly that's a discussion better suited for the Boyz over at TLo. No, we're here to eviscerate Gardengate. You see the whole premise of this particular episode (...ratings...) of Iron Chef America was to promote the worthy cause of fighting obesity (...fighting a ratings war...) and eating fresh and healthy vegetables (...smacking Bravo upside it's foodie noggin...). Part of the two hour show was following chefs Batali, Flay, Emeril Lagasse and Cristeta Comerford as they posed purposefully in the White House garden, digging up radishes and choosing what they wanted to cook with. Now I didn't see this part of the show, I happened to catch them in Kitchen Stadium just before they started cooking during which they said they would be using vegetables from the White House garden. Because I'm one of those annoying behind the scenes, wondering how they did that sort of gal, my mind immediately wondered if they had moved Kitchen Stadium to DC from their normal shooting grounds of NY? Or did they rush the precious veggies to NY on the Food Network Private Jet (talk about possible carbon footprint implications)? No, according to Marian Burros's New York Times piece they used Stunt Double veggies. Thus making all the silliness of Chefs in the White House Garden a big fat stinking lie.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Palmaria palmata or red algae. A great source of protein that you can use in soups, salads or on top of fish cakes. But a word of caution, dulse will burn quicker than pine nuts if you don't watch it carefully when you toast it.
The fish-potato cakes were wonderful especially when served with the Macaroni and Blue Cheese I made with the Dragon's Breath Blue Cheese that Susan also sent. Spiced with Canadian Summer Savory and healthy sprinkle Old Bay the tin of chicken haddie produced a hearty, crispy patty that was more than welcome on a cold winter's afternoon.
Even had time to whip up a little dessert.
A pineapple, banana, cream cheese and nut filled dessert spring roll. Still a work in progress but tasty none the less.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Not sure if you've seen this little gem of Burger Rage that happened here in Kansas City. Two days after Christmas a patron of the Midtown McDonald's decided that the food was not to her liking and found some interesting ways to show her displeasure. Now the video has gone national and she's on the run with the police following her greasy trail...which in the unplowed city streets should be fairly easy. People, if you're going to lose your mind over the quality of your food can you at least make it worth your while to get arrested? Perhaps something a little further up the food chain, like a Red Lobster or an Outback?
Thursday, January 7, 2010
This is exactly what I needed. Warm and comforting yet fun with the wonderful depth that the Dragon's Breath brings to the pasta. Serving it up with a big pile of Kale and Cranberries made my hibernation process just a little more pleasant.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
...please send this guy to my house to help me dig out.