Archive for the ‘What's for Dinner’ Category

Excellent hot-smoked salmon – 1.5 lb of skin-on filet brined for 2 hours in 2cups of water/1/2 cup sugar/1/2 cup kosher salt.
2/3 chimney of charcoal briquettes, 5 chunks of hickory/cherry wood. Smoke on non-direct for 20-25 mins skin-down. I used a cedar paper but corn husk or banana leaf should work too, and very convenient – no need to worry about sticking, just oil a bit.


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A great dish, featured in Nobu books in several variations.

My version was a simplified one from his first book.
mix a good mayo with some garlic/chile sauce.
Butterfly shrimp but don’t peel (1.5lb – 20cnt/lb)
Saute sliced portobello (3 large) until just limp.
Brush the shrimps just a bit of the sauce, layer a parsley leaf and top with a slice of mushroom.
Broil for 5mins or until shrimp is ready.

I served the dish with grilled asian eggplant topped with bonito flakes; romaine leaves and shredded jicama and green mango.

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Where do good dishes come from?… You drag yourself to a grocery store to buy something for a dinner, something that doesn’t involve much cooking but still not a junk food… Absentmindedly you pick up some oyster mushrooms, some corn cobs (the season has started) and couple bags of salad. You feel like this meal is definitely doomed to failure but don’t have any energy to think the dinner plans through…
Back home you think some mexican would probably work, you check the fridge, pull out a container of creme fraiche, and… the sage (well it worked more well yesterday in that tequila drink). Now you sort of have an idea and start working energetically feeling invigorated and inspired: stripping kernels off the corn cobs, tearing oyster mushrooms in strips, chopping garlic and sage, and crushing white corn tortilla chips… – everything dumped in a large bowl and doused with an olive oil. Not forgetting an ancho powder (a lot)…. and on a heated huge pan it goes… In parallel mixing some creme fraiche with an egg. Two minutes later adding the creme fraiche sauce. Two mins more – you have a dinner

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and it’s better than ever before! Cause it’s always the case when you cook with local ingredients (i know, lame joke) but indeed i used a young fresh lovage in my traditional tumbada paste of poblanos etc.

Also i cut on the amount of rice to only 1/2 cup; and cooked it in 1 cup of chicken stock separately. In the meantime boiled 3/4 lb of pink gulf shrimp in some cooking liquid remaining from my steamed (lovage and dry vermouth) mussels lunch added the lovage paste, remaining mussels and rice.

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Lovage Walnut Pesto

Lovage is the only useful plant that survives the neglect of my patio. I’m truly grateful for this and always looking for different ways to incorporate its abundance into my cooking. Tonight i came up with a truly great combination – a lovage walnut pesto. They have such complimentary profiles it’s crazy.

Here’s the recipe:
2 charred poblanos peeles
2 garlic cloves
handful of walnuts
two nice bushy sprigs of tender lovage
zest of one lime
a splash of lime juice
whizzed in a food processor; with 1/3 cup of your precious olive oil added at the end.

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Though now available pretty much all year round artichokes are supposedly all about spring. Same with lamb. Same with scallions. So i decided to make an ultimate spring roast with all the three. Served with tomato machego sauce.

Came so good that i decided to write down the recipe.

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Came out with a neat idea for meatballs pretty much using bits and pieces for a fridge (well of course the main ingredient – the beef was bought for the occasion). 8 oz pf bacon chopped in the food processor, greens of a bunch of scallions is added, and then 3 small corn tortillas (subbing the former for a regular onion, and the latter for bread crumbs or similar filler – like tortilla chips. No eggs! I don’t like how the seep into a sauce dulling its color.
Speaking of sauce: brown some sliced white onion with cumin seeds and mexican oregano, add 28oz can of fire roasted tomatoes and a cup of chicken stock, three chopped chipotle in adobo. Simmer to thicken. Drop meatballs (size of a walnut) in the sauce and bake in 350F convection for about 20mins.

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