Monday, March 15, 2010

On the Veg Side of Things

I look forward to posting about my first season with a CSA. I am sharing a share with my neighbors from Landisdale Farms. They have a Saturday pick-up around the corner from my place, and also offer some dairy products and their own grass fed beef.

Also check out my good friend's blog with great vegetarian recipes. Eat more Veggies Please!

Surf & Turf My Way with Lobster Succotash

Craving Lobster, sweet corn, and steak at the same time? Check it.

I steamed a 1.5 lb lobster.

By the way, throw the corn cobs into with the lobster that is steaming! I then removed the lobster meat and chopped up some zucchini, shallot, and green pepper. Cut the corn off the cob, too.

I cut a NY strip in half to make two servings. If it is thick cut, this makes for a plenty big serving.

I sauted the veggies together in the same cast iron skillet the steak was seared in with a bit of butter, and tossed in the lobster at the end.
Meet upscale succotash. This is how we do it in Mt Airy.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

iMake: Simple Salmon

Sometimes the best fish preparations are the simplest.

WCL: Wines of South America

On February 13 2010 World Cafe Live hosted a five course meal featuring the wines of South America. Each course was paired with a wine, and each was artfully described by Joseph Brandolo from Winebow. And, the menu was prepared by chef Michael Breslin, who recently came to WCL and will soon be releasing a new menu there. If this dinner is any guide, the food just got kicked up a notch at World Cafe. Below were the offerings.

Burnt tomato, goat cheese and anchovy bruschetta paired with Nieto Senetiner Reserva Torrontes 2009 from Argentina. This dished proves that burning things - in moderation - can can taste exceptionally good.

Sea bass, grapefruit and jicama ceviche served with Cousino Macul Sauvignon Gris 2008 from Chile. Simply the best. The grapefruit gave great acidity and was not at all overpowering.

By far the highlight of the evening, here are grilled pears wrapped in iberico ham drizzled with parsley, olive oil, and garlic sauce on crusty bread paired with Terranoble Reserva Carmenere 2007 from Chile. The grilled pears were astounding, and Carmenere is my new go-to red.

Here is a boneless rib eye with chimichurri, peruvian (purple) mashed potatoes and fire roasted tomatoes, paired with Argentinean Bodegas Renacer Punto final Malbec Classico 2008. I could eat a whole bowl of just those tomatoes.

Lastly, dessert was a wild berry creme brulee with a mildly jalapeno mousse (much more nuanced than a jalapeno-infused margarita I had, or tried to have, at National Mechanics recently) served with Argentinean Tilia Bonoardo 2008.

If this is the new standard for food at World Cafe, I will be going there often. I look forward to more meals from Chef Breslin. Note he has two more special dinners upcoming: a Saint Patrick's Day Craft Beer dinner Wednesday March 17, and a Wines of Spain dinner Tuesday March 23.

Meet Chef Michael Breslin. Definitely worth the R7 ride from Mt Airy.

iMake: Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

What more could you ask for on a cold wintry day?

Every time I make soup I am again surprised by how easy it is. Almost as easy - and certainly much better - than any can Andy Warhol ever painted. Here I roasted about two pounds of various tomatoes with some oil, salt, pepper, and a touch of garlic and some leftover onion and carrot. Any veg will do. After roasting, I simply whir together with a bit of basil and (optionally) a touch of cream. Adjust consistency with veg or chicken stock.

And for the grilled cheese? On honey sesame semolina from Baker's Street in Chestnut Hill. (And yes, that is Leah in the background.)

Meet my wintry comfort food. Meat Mt Airy.

iMake: Smoked Insalata Caprese Burger with Grilled Veg

Last week showed the warm, sunny promise of spring through the still wintry-white ground. Time to fire up the grill for the first time this season! I like making burgers. And I'm good at it. These tips can be found anywhere on the internet for making good, juicy burgers:

1. When forming patties, leave a slight depression in the middle. This will leave you with a more consistent shape when finished cooking.
2. Flip only once.
3. Don't press down on them while cooking.

I'd add:

4. Put patties in freezer for 15 minutes before grilling. This helps keep their form and allows the middle to stay nicely pink while getting a good outside sear.
5. Consider putting some cheese inside the patty: it will get nicely melted, keep the insides moist, and be a pleasant surprise for your guests.

These burgers had applewood smoked mozz inside, and were finished off with basil, tomato, and sour cream on a grilled Le Bus roll. Served with grilled red onion and zucchini tossed with a homemade dijon vinaigrette.

Meet my burger.

iMake: French Onion Soup and Roasted Beef with Parsley Salad

Try making a salad with parsley as the only green. Add some extra bite with raw shallot, and temper that bite with a good quality balsamic.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

L&I Drama: Support Local Business

It is not news that Good Food Market in Chestnut Hill has been having L&I difficulties. Still, their new blog highlights their latest drama over *gasp* a deli counter in a grocery store. 

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sockeye Teriyaki

Mark Bittman, among others, have discussed how frozen fish can be as good quality, and even better for the environment, than fresh. I am still a bit wary. Yet, I had a hankering for (out of season) wild salmon this week. Fish that has been flash-frozen onboard the ship it was caught is still available. And so here is my Sockeye Teriyaki. Definitely not traditional, the glaze is a reduction of soy sauce, dry vermouth, Frank's red hot, worcestershire sauce, fish sauce, with red pepper flake, garlic, and ginger. Great use for leftover chinese takeout rice: add butter, onions, and baby bok choy.


Here is my camera's macro setting . . . and my Sockeye Teriyaki. Meat Mt Airy.