Leftover braised lamb with shell beans from Nell Thorn, warmed up with leftover roasted beets and sweet potatoes from our dinner on Thursday, with quick couscous and a glass of Spanish garnatxa. A great lunch after a morning working in the garden.
We have gone sort of gaga for blue cheese dressing ever since I learned how simple it was to make (I blame Hopworks in Portland for first really converting me to the idea, with their big delicious chunks of Rogue Blue). Last night’s dinner was our third meal using the steak from our anniversary (the second and fourth were sandwiches) – we just sliced the steak super thin and piled it on top of butter lettuce tossed with a buttermilk-white wine vinegar-stinky gorgonzola dressing. This time I got the quantity exactly right, and we heaped the salad into really big bowls and ate in front of the television. Perfect.
Yesterday was our 20th anniversary. Jon has class in the mornings during the week, so we didn’t go anywhere for the official day, but we had a good time. First we got some lunch at Slough Food, sitting out in the garden with our dog and a glass of wine.
After that we stopped by the Taylor Shellfish farmstand for some oysters, then came home and sat on our own patio with potato chips and cocktails before starting to shuck. The weather’s been weirdly hot and dry, but it was perfect in the shade under the deck.
Jon had picked up a couple of gorgeous ribeye steaks at Silvana Meats. He grilled them, using indirect heat and applewood smoke to give them some extra flavor. I picked our first tomatoes and zucchini and made a sort of caponata salad-y thing, mixing grilled zucchini chunks with fresh tomato, parsley, basil, capers and red wine vinegar.
We had a little blue cheese on hand, so I sprinkled some on the steaks.
While we were in Santa Cruz my brothers-in-law bought us a few bottles of Odonata wine as an anniversary present, so we opened the petite sirah for this. Amazing wine, and it was beautiful with the smoky steaks and vinegary salad. It was a good celebration.
This was one of those thrown-together-out-of-what’s-on-hand dishes that worked so well I need to write it down. We had perfect little clams from Taylor Shellfish and a very spicy Mexican chorizo from Silvana Meats, both left over from a paella I had made a couple nights before, and I wanted to use them both up. I started by sauteeing an onion until very soft and sweet, added the chorizo and browned it, then added a tub of (also leftover) tapenade from the grocery store and a bit of water from the boiling pasta I had going on the side. I added the clams and nestled them into the sauce to steam open, then added a big handful of fresh parsley from the garden. That all got mixed up with thin spaghetti noodles, drizzled with a bit of extra Sicilian olive oil and eaten with a cheap Gascon wine. Fabulous. Would make again, if at all possible.
I recently acquired the Pok Pok cookbook by Andy Ricker, and have been incredibly excited about cooking from it, since Pok Pok is one of my favorite places to eat anywhere. Some friends of our felt the same way, so we got together a week or two ago and made a few things. I warmed up the weekend before by cooking dinner for some other friends, making the mushroom salad, a cucumber som tam, and an incredibly rich and spicy green curry with little eggplants and shrimp. Everything turned out remarkably well, so we had high hopes for our follow-up dinner.
There was a fair amount of prep involved, including several shopping trips to Asian markets. Linda made a bunch of sauces and condiments in advance, ready for cooking. I only made one sauce, but showed up with a big tub of fragrant duck stock I’d made that morning. We mixed up our first batch of cocktails and got to work. Continue reading
A simple dinner, just grilled steak and salad, but both parts were experiments. Jon tried a new method for the steaks, first cooking them with indirect heat until they reached 115°, then setting them over a very hot flame for a final sear, and I made an attempt at a blue cheese dressing that would go with both meat and greens.
We had moderate success – the steak was a tad overdone, although far from inedible. It had a nice crust on it. The technique’s definitely worth revisiting, but with a little less actual flame during the final sear.
My dressing came out pretty great, in spite of not having buttermilk on hand – I mashed a nice soft and stinky gorgonzola with a splash of milk, some mayonnaise, a clove of garlic and some white wine vinegar. The only problem was that I went totally overboard with the quantity, so after eating nearly a whole head’s worth of fresh green lettuce (and the steak) we were rather gorgonzola’d out. I’ll do this again, but make maybe half as much. Or save some for leftovers.
Recovering from the Easter brunch carb overload, I went looking for something interesting yet digestible to make for dinner. I ended up with an impromptu combination based on a couple of recipes in a Penelope Casas book. Two pork tenderloins cut into medallions, then marinated in a pesto of fresh parsley, garlic, salt and olive oil, and pan seared in a skillet, were easy and bright tasting. To go with I sauteed a bunch of Swiss chard in olive oil then added a little slurry of ground cumin in red wine vinegar. It was great – next time I might try the full recipe of sauteed bread mushed up with the cumin and vinegar.
For once in my life, I opened a new food magazine and actually made something out of it right away. I don’t know what came over me – the Ottolenghi cauliflower fritters on the last page of Food & Wine just sounded too good to pass up.
I made them more or less as written – I did leave out the shallots, because I really didn’t feel like chopping shallots, and I substituted ground coriander for the cinnamon, because I know from personal experience that there are very few things I like cinnamon in and cauliflower is not one of them. The recipe was easy to throw together, and really delicious. Leftovers were good, too, although no longer crispy.
I also made the yogurt sauce with lime juice and zest that the recipe called for. It was pleasant, although it gave the dish an overall Caribbean effect that I thought was a little strange. We preferred dipping the fritters (and accompanying lamb kebabs) into the curry mayonnaise that was left over from our starter of steamed artichokes.
Last year (by which I mean 2012, I guess), we had tourtiere for Christmas Eve dinner. I didn’t make it, it was a frozen pie left over from a cooking class we helped with, but it was wonderful and we decided that, although none of us is French Canadian, we would have tourtiere at Christmas from then on. So this year when the holidays came around, I realized that to do a really proper meat pie I needed lard for the pie crust. Fortunately I had some pork fat on hand.