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Archive for August, 2009

Finally a perfect day for a motorcycle, after too long of a break: blame it on a rainy summer.
And we ride through the beautiful jersey countryside – our destination is Grounds for Sculpture.
Where we can always find a quiet spot for an uninterrupted conversation:

Or a secluded trail for a magical walk:

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“When you present dumplings with this sauce, the combination may recall an italian pasta dish, but the sauce zesty qualities resemble the latin flavors of Mexico…” – Andrea Nguyen, Asian Dumplings book…
Guess what dumplings she’s serving? Mongolian lamb with caraway: “The creative use of a few ingredients is a hallmark of Mongolian cooking…Caraway leaves its warm yet sharp imprint on the filling…”
Well caraway is also very popular in Russia, and the tomato sauce is quite close to Adjika (georgian).
Wait a minute, so with this one dish we just zigzagged Europe, America and Asia! Isn’t this amazing?..
Okra is not in Andrea’s book but i consider it a natural dumpling. And it’s a truly international ingredient too – asian, southern european, southern american, african…incredibly tasty and healthy! (at this point i think i pretty much reached the per post limit on the exclamation marks šŸ™‚ )

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Kamikaze Sunrise

i can’t bring myself using vodka in cocktails; there are so many interesting base spirits out there that vodka seems like a waste… I know – empty canvas and stuff, but my palette (pun not intended) is limited…
So i worked from the classical kamikaze formula but made it with tequila. And some lemon thyme.

nice but i should stop serving everything on the rocks, this one is a definite Up – it’s a burst… like kamikaze.

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Poquito Picante

A great list of ingredients and a clever name. Add to this a
recommendation from a friend and the drink of the night is pretty much sealed.

The original recipe calls for Tanqueray but Hendricks works well considering its obvious cucumber background. The drink is a bit sweet but so pleasantly so…

Ingredients in my version:
6 to 8 cilantro leaves with some stems
2 slices of cucumber, skin on
3 slices of jalapeƱo, seeds in
Ā¾ oz fresh lemon juice
Ā½ oz agave syrup
Ā½ oz Cointreau
2 oz gin

Directions:
1. Muddle cilantro, cucumber, and jalapeƱo with lemon juice and agave syrup.
2. Add remaining ingredients.
3. Shake well and strain into an ice-filled glass.
4. Garnish with de Arbol chile.

Oh and i just found a rosemary version (sort of) of this drink – a possible candidate for tomorrow: stay tuned šŸ™‚

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Arroz a la tumbada is presumably one of the favorite dishes of Veracruz. And Rick Bayless chose to answer the question of Where you’ll be heading in the future by cooking this dish at the Top Chef Masters final episode…
Well, after making this dish tonight i’m fully with Bayless and the people of Veracruz. But it was Kennedy again who succeeded to nail down the essence of the flavor in the arroz a la tumbada – the careful choice of herbs.

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Sweet Heat

Robert Hess’s Essential Bartender’s Guide is, well, essential. Tonight i tried another drink from the book: the recipe had a great list of ingredients – jalapeno, tequila and Licor 43.

Maybe a bit on a sweeter/Licor43er side but still worth for encore… I actually found another Sweet Heat formula on the web – next time i might as well try it:
1 1/2 oz tequila
3/4 oz Licor 43
1/2 jalapeno (maybe i should leave it with seeds)
1 1/2 oz lime juice
1/2 oz Agave Syrup

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Gringo Dinner

Fajitas – super delicious, super easy, super fast! Be prepared for a lot of smoke though – the meat should be really seared.

My standard recipe – tri-tip steak quickly rubbed and marinated in whatever spice/rub/marinade you have at hand. Seared for 6mins in grapeseed oil. Remove the meat to rest while you pan roast vegetables: i like yellow peppers and white onion. The onion should be sliced vertically into wedges – this is presumably a traditional cut for fajitas. After the vegetables are done, slice meat thinly across the grain and stir everything together including the meat juices.
Now you just need some salad and wraps (tortillas, or salad leaves for those counting calories).

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