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Archive for July, 2009

The Inspiration… It comes from all the strange places. And limitations… Like you want to bake the Diana Kennedy’s mushroom pudding but you won’t dare to start the oven – it’s damn hot and AC is still broken… Or your friend comments on somebody’s pic on FB, you click out of curiosity, and start looking at other pix and then this somebody mentions a russian resto in Mexico, only because he happens to live on the opposite side of the street… And to add to your curiosity the place is called Kolobok. And conveniently there is even a link to their site. The Kolobok web page takes a special care to explain all those exotic russian dishes to an uninitiated mexican public but you’re of course painfully familiar with every each of the items on the menu. Now Blancanieve – Snow White? What the hell is this? Oh that’s my favorite – cheese garlic salad, though i never knew it under the name of Snegurochka!..
So what’s for dinner?
I’ll cook mushrooms stove top, and serve them with tortilla chips, and russian cheese salad. And for the salad i won’t use loads of raw garlic and mayonnaise but olive oil and steamed garlic instead. And a splash of good vinegar! But with manchego cheese like they use in Kolobok 🙂

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It was a busy day – work, then driving to JFK and back to drop the daughter off so i got to Wegmans when the wine section was already closed (not that it’s relevant to the post but it’s totally relevant to my state at the time) and they were cleaning pretty much all other sections with real food (i.e. not canned or otherwise processed). Needed to think quick – thankfully i watch a lot of Top Chef kind tv shows these days… Fetched fingerlings potatoes, poblanoes and for a hint of umami – pancetta.
30mins after i got home the dinner was served, and it was tasty, and even nice looking 🙂

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Perfect Summer Drink

Called Muscrat, i found it in the book Wine Cocktails. Mint, pineapple juice, apricot brandy and white wine – excellent! I will serve it at the next summer party! I might experiment with different liqueur, like rum or cognac.

ok, i repeated it with pineapple Bacardi rum infusion (homemade). The drink was almost savory and needed some sweet. But was not worse than the original version.

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Fantastic dish i just learned from my friend, Rancho Gordo. He made it already twice in the last three days and i’m planning to do the same.

RG made it with watercress as the original idea suggested – i went with chard. There was not watercress in the store and in hindsight chard was no less appropriate anyway.

Slice the corn off the cob and cook it with a bit of water. Char sliced onion (or fat scallions – this is what i used), chiles (like jalapeno) and unpeeled garlic cloves. Peel the char off and whizz vegetables with half corn and some cream. Large bunch of chard, leaves only finely chopped, salt rubbed itm left for a min, rinsed and squeezed dry. Cook corn sauce for 10mins until reduced. Cook chard for about 9mins, add corn kernels and the sauce. I’m yet to get the ratio right but in this first version there was too much corn (4cobs)

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After a hearty lunch that included tacos de lengua and carnitas, meat was out of the question for dinner. I got mushrooms and potatoes. And dill. Scallions were already in the fridge.

Should i mention that our AC has been broken for several days already and i started to master the art of stovetop cooking?
Luckily i have this 14″ skillet, a plancha practically, and my workhorse.
1lb of small oyster mushrooms, stems cut off. 1.5lb large fingerlings sliced 1/4″ thick crosswise, tossed with 3tbs olive oil, mushroom caps added and everything mixed gently but thoroughly.
On heated skillet the mixture goes. Med heat, covered. Stir every 10mins to brown evenly. In the meantime slice a bunch of scallions, and whatever herbs you fancy – i used dill but cilantro would be cool or, now i see it – tarragon! When potatoes are ready add a splash of posh white wine vinegar, and herbs. A vegetarian heaven.

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So good – the recipe adapted from Michael Psilakis.
Boil 1cup of green peas with a small onion and bay leave until soft. Drain. In a food processor pulse 1 roasted poblano, couple garlic cloves, 1 fat scallion, some cilantro and couple tbs of good white whine vinegar. Add peas. With motor running, slowly pour 1/2 cup of olive oil. Check the seasoning – you might need more vinegar.

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Pickled Carrots

A nice quick relish.
1.5lb of carrots shredded in food processor. 3 jalapenos seeded and cut into rounds (next time i won’t seed them or use more – the relish was not spicy at all). 2 cups of cider vinegar, 1 cup of water, spices (peppercorns, cloves, allspice and couple of cinnamon sticks), 1/2 cup of agave syrup), 1-2 tbs salt – boiled and poured over the carrots to cook them. When cooled down, move carrots in to mason jars, boil the liquid again and pour it into jars to cover carrots. Ready to eat pretty much right away.

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