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Archive for November, 2006

American Beers Belgium Style

Allagash White – witbier   – not exactly suitable for sipping on its own, too subtle for this, but with its hints of lemon and wheat was quite good with scallops, chorizo and bitter greens. Not to be served straight from the fridge though.

After dinner my favorite Ommegang Ommegang, so called Belgium strong ale: a beautiful brownish red color, almost oily, rich malty and fruity flavor; the taste I never thought I would like but this beer is quite haunting, sometimes I dream of it next day…

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Excellent dim sum at Ping Pang Pong and luckily we came quite early: around 11am the restaurant was almost full and carts started to reach us half empty. Memorable dishes were cheung fun, shrimp pearl balls and steamed thin skinned dumplings filled with vegetables and something like lotus seeds (or maybe those were just peanuts?)

Brunch at Lindo Michoacan was mighty good – guacamole made tableside, chiles toreados con queso  – deep fried jalapenos with melted cheese (it was a mild mexican cheese and not quite usual but overwhelming jack so the dish was perfectly balanced),  and taquitos dorados – corn tortillas filled with minced beef, rolled and though deep fried not greasy at all

Dinner at Burger Bar, Hubert Keller’s built your own burger place, with a very impressive draft beer list. I had an american kobe burger; SO got black jack burger (black angus). Very good sweet potato skinny fries.

Dinner at Michael Mina’s Stripsteak. Wow that was a real fun: stunning modern décor and excellent food.

Amuse of trio of spiced fries with matching sauces – romesco, truffle aioli and homemade ketchup.

For appetizers we shared roasted butternut squash soup with lobster, crab cakes with tabasco vinaigrette, and roasted beets with burrata and arugula.

Mains were slow poached colorado lamb with tapenade for me, and american kobe burger with fennel slaw and watercress for SO – we shared a side of shallot potato cakes with scallion crème fraiche.

A bottle of nice rioja – Sierra Cantabria Privada;

We even got a dessert – jasmine pearl tea although i’m completely blanking on what we had it with … 

I’m getting Mina’s book asap.

Dinner at rm was yet another successful dinner at Mandalay Bay. SO declared his lobster bisque to be just perfect, and i liked my turbot very much.

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The recipe for an Indian-style chicken comes from Jaffrey’s pink book and is quite unusual, delicious and easy-to-make. The whole chicken (i always use a nice 3 pounder ogranic Eberly) is skinned, marinated a bit inside and out in a paste of ginger, green chiles (serrano is good), garlic, lemon juice and evoo, sprinkled with coarse chile powder (tonight was ancho but i’m thinking marash or even urfa flakes for extra color and texture)  and steamed/roasted wrapped in foil. The result is a tender, moist and evenly cooked bird with a bonus of plenty of sauce.

For sides: steamed sticky rice and unripe mango sticks dusted with chipotle powder and maldon salt – can’t remember where i lifted this idea but those are irresistible.

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On Grains

In my quest for a healthy eating i revisited one of local natural food stores, strategically (i presume) located in the Atlantic Club’s (the gym, mine and supposedly of Bruce Springsteen’s) vicinity: when Deans’ natural food market opened couple of years ago i was sceptical and predicted a quick death, same gloom as for with Woods furniture store (on the same plaza) – both stores looked like coming from pages of now probably forgotten Bobo in Paradise but none the less reflecting a certain bohemian new agy mentality of Red Bank, the town of their location. Deans’ survived and prospered, Woods’ seems getting out of business (or relocating to better pastures of Colts Neck).

I left the Deans market fully loaded with organics: black kale, quinoa, polenta, mirin, udon and agar agar but…

what about kamut or amaranth? i need to do more research( Cook’s Guide to Grains is a favorite guide).

oh and now to a personal discovery, or better call it an embarassment of the day? A converted rice – i thought of it as Sandra Lee’s food – and apparenlty it’s not at all – more investigation coming…

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Extra Hops and Extra Malts

Couple of winter seasonals:

from our all time favorite Great Divide brewery comes Hibernation – a great winter warmer with a longish roasted malt finish;

Double IPA from Victory – Hop Wallop – nicely hopped – resiny and bitter but we’re spoilt on Three Floyds – it’s hard to beat Dreadnaught.

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Eating Healthy

It was brewing (simmering?) for quite some time and triggered couple of days ago when i made lengua en salsa verdeBeef Tongue in Tomatillo Sauce. We enjoyed Tacos de Lengua at Centrico and this was an attempt to recreate the taste. The dinner was delicious but the next day i fest bloated, bloated, bloated – way too much meat and starch on our table: all the heat from chiles and all the cool from greens don’t make any difference and hell come to think if it we drink too much!

So here came the weekend resolution – portion control, and eating healthy in general. Oh and drink less!

Lean meats, seafood, vegetables and grains – name of the game.

Yesterday for a good start:
seaweed salad (Wegmans bought and too sweet but presumably still healthy);
edamame in pods with sea salt;
skate wing sprinkled with a mix of sesame seeds, wasabi powder, nori flakes and sancho pepper, pan fried;
seriously thinking of switching to japanese style cooking entirely, pulling out the Washoku book…

Japanese is all good but what to do about our current obsession with latin american food?.. Luckily there is a quinoa, considered by Incas the mother of all grains (i bet the taste was their main criterion).
With a nice monkfish and pretty trumpet royale mushrooms spotted at the grocery store the dinner was all set:
fish and mushrooms cut/torn into bite size chunks and marinated in cumin/mexican oregano/black peppercorns along with a paste of mortar pounded garlic and serrano,  pan browned;
rinsed quinoa and vegetable stock added, simmered until liduid absorbed;
Served on assorted salad leaves (Finger Lakes Salad Bouquet is really good).
For an appetizer – batons of unripe mango (not green just abot sweet) dusted with chipotle powder and sea salt.

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