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Archive for February, 2007

While shopping at Wegmans for a breakfast last morning in parallel i started to improvise the dinner: picked some mushrooms in the idea of recreating a great mushroom appetizer we had at Lala Rokh this week, then a couple of monkfish filet. These i would stuff with roasted anaheim chiles: i made stuffed monkfish in the past using the recipe from Tamasin Day-Lewis, with piquillo and capers so why not to try green chiles instead? Especially since it gives me the opportunity to use my current spice of choice – hatch chile powder. Now the only thing that was needed to finalize the dinner menu was a great salad and for this i turned to my desert island cookbook – Amaranth to Zucchini. Endive with strawberry and watercress sounded delicious.

Strawberries_monkfish

The bottom line? The family and the cook were very pleased with the dinner.

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The recipe for ragu with pork ribs, sausage and pancetta looked so good. Especially the first 4 steps – i liked the idea of mincing garlic, onions and pancetta together: it reminded me now forgotten old favorite from The Splendid Table book, a potato gratin layered with minced pancetta, onion, garlic and parsley. And the step of slowly sweating pork pieces in pancetta mixture was intriguing too. And watching  for two hours red wine slowly evaporating – fascinating… I wish i stopped at this point. But no – a can of Muir’s tomato paste, two hours and couple of italian sausages later we had a whole claypot of beautiful satiny ragu that cried out for some great pasta to match – fortunately there was half a bag of Rustichella D’Abruzzo spaghettini in the pantry… I also made a smashed salad (thinly sliced fennel, cucumber and watercress left to wilt in red vinegar and olive oil for an hour). The family loved the ragu but i couldn’t share their enthusiasm – for me tomato paste is a turn off – maybe way back i read too much Olney.

This collection seems nice though.

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Barleywine: That’s the Season

Thomas Hooker Old Marley – pours thick murky brown with no head or lace whatsoever. Strong malty aroma, with notes of toasted rye bread in the flavor, and long bitterish finish. I think it should be served at almost room temperature and in a small amount like whiskey.

Blithering Idiot from Weyerbacher  – in the glass clear and viscous cornac colored. Strong aroma of caramel, a lot of caramel in the flavor too. Similar to Old Marley in style but way more drinkable: very nice. 

Two Brothers Bare Tree Weiss Wine – had no chance to take any notes but this is a very good wheat although i remember a comparable Smuttynose Wheat Wine as more structured.

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According to Batali orange and olives are essential ingredients of his primordial stew, and since the recipe in the book also included lamb shanks i decided to make it. Against my best judgment.

Batali_lamb_orange_olives

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Couple of Winter Warmers

Yet another resolution: will try to post some notes on beers we tried, using ASTMD (Appearance, Smell, Taste, Mouthfeel, Drinkability – the one they’re using at Beer Advocate) system for structure.

Never Summer from Boulder Beer – very nice brown red color with not much a head. The smell became more pronounced (from almost non existent to a slightly hoppy) when the beer warmed up. Good taste of a toasted bread, feels like a rye almost, and quite a long finish. Very good beer, full flavored especially considering a relatively low alcohol content. 

Below Decks from Clipper City: i posted about this beer a while back but after reading a very positive review  in Celebrator (beer magazine for West Coast) where it was rated as exceptional (higher than Old Ruffian) decided to give it a try – nice clear brown with a small yellowish head. A weak malty nose with a bitter caramel flavor, with some strange vegetal aftertaste. Quite thin especially for a barleywine, but the alcohol quite pronounced, but this is probably the only positive thing about this beer – nice warm finish like a decent whiskey…

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot – another barleywine-very hoppy both on the nose and the palate, with nice bittersweet notes, and a very long warm and bitter finish. Love this beer, somewhat similar to a good double IPA.

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Chile Verde

Pork chile verde is a right main dish for a hominy side – tons of recipes around but the one from Clifford Wright’s Some Like it Hot looked especially good, with inordinate amount of anaheim chiles in the ingredient list; a lager as a cooking liquid, and masa harina for dredging meat cubes before frying so you get a double dose of the divine hominy aroma.

Chili_verde

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I was perusing the OpenTable site trying to find a restaurant close to our hotel, and the name Saha attracted attention – we love middle eastern food, Saha is a title of a cookbook by my favorite Greg Malouf, an australian master of arabic fusion, and incidentally that’s the style of Saha’s chef Mohamed Aboghanem. The result of quick googling and a search at CH was reassuring and we decided to give Saha a try.

Saha

And i’m so glad we did. Not a single miss on the Saha platter of assorted dips; hummus was particularly good with some interesting smoky hint so we ordered a second helping. Fattoush salad was nice and elegant in presentation. Merguez sausages were the best in recent memory and beef kofta very tasty with an excellent sauce called zahaweg. Oh and of course not to forget a baby okra.

Note to myself – need to learn more about the yemeni cuisine…

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