Friday, March 30, 2012

FFWD: Crab and Grapefruit Salad

I could talk all day about crab and which one is better...Dungeness...but I won't.  I will tell you that I am a crab purist.  I don't think crab should be in a cake, cocktail, dipped in butter or with a guy named Louie.  Crab should be enjoyed steamed and right out of the shell...YUM!

Today I am hoping Dorie Greenspan can prove me wrong with her recipe for Crab and Grapefruit Salad from her cookbook, Around My French Table.
 My favorite, Dungeness on the left and Snow Crab on the right.  I only have 2 different types of crab, because my fish guy ran out of Dungeness. I'll be honest, the Snow crab looked nicer, but I wouldn't buy it again unless there was going to be a lot of BUTTER involved.
The recipe called for Ruby Red grapefruit, but thy looked so pitiful in the store so I picked up this juicy one.
Gather together half of a red bell pepper, one English cucumber, one fat scallion, and chili pepper, very finely minced.  Gently toss together with grapefruit pieces and one and a half tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.  Add salt, freshly ground pepper, Tabasco, fresh lemon juice, to taste. 
Garnish with minced fresh mint.
Bravo Dorie!  This recipe did not destroy the delicate flavor of crab that I love.  I served an Australian Sauvignon Blanc with my Crab and Grapefruit Salad.  Delicious.
A bonne idee...add a little avocado.
If you want to check out other versions of this lovely salad, go to French Fridays with Dorie and see what everyone else did!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Thank you France for the Cocoa Sables

The day you decide to make sables, wake up early, get out all the best ingredients in your kitchen, COCOA, chocolate, vanilla, butter, sugar, MIX, roll AND WAIT.
I usually make the beautiful sable during the holidays, but the crazy group, at French Fridays with Dorie, picked Cocoa Sables for the recipe last Friday.  I wasn't going to make these sables until Easter, but why not have sables year round?  My husband said, "Those would be good with coffee".  Good point!  I made two rolls of sables, one smaller than the other.  This way I can cut the smaller ones any time, bake 15 minutes, and Viola...the beautiful cocoa sables and French press coffee: Priceless!
I did a little experimenting with different sugars, but cocoa sables really don't need anything,
they're perfect plain.
For the recipe, check out Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table, I love this cookbook!!!

Monday, March 26, 2012

the food matters project: Vegetable Coq au Vin

When I read the recipe for Vegetables au Vin with Coq in Mark Bittman's The Food Matters Cookbook, cook time was listed at 40 minutes, perfect for a work night, if it was true.  OK, I didn't believe it anyway.  I made this over the weekend.  Now that I've made it, the recipe is doable in 40 minutes, IF, big if, you opt not to use little onions and cut up a big one instead AND the eggplant is pre-cut and salted, earlier in the day.  With that said, this is a great recipe with fantastic flavor combinations!!!
I fried the bacon first, then put in the chicken. I decided to cut up a whole organic chicken, so I had 1 thigh, 1 leg, 1 breast (cut in half) and the wing.  The rest I will use another day.
The eggplant was cut up earlier in the day, salted, then sat on a strainer for a couple hours.
 OK the little onions.  The best way to peel these little suckers is to dunk them in boiling water for a few seconds, then cut the ends off and peel away!
 I weighed out exactly 8 ounces of green beans.
 OK, everybody in the pot.  I have to admit, I only put in half the wine and substituted more chicken broth, add herbs...simmer, simmer, simmer.
It's not pretty, but DELICIOUS!!!!!  My husband didn't seem to miss the MEAT.
I've made Coq au Vin a few times before and I have to say, I really like this version.  Actually, I will probably make this over and over again.  I might even make it when my son comes home from college (he is not a fan of vegetables).  I'm sure he'll love it!
Click here for the recipe and check out the FifthFloorKitchen's Blog.  Also, you can check out some other versions at the food matters project.  Enjoy!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Bravo!!! Brave Horse Tavern

"Twenty-Four Taps, Housemade Pretzels, Shuffleboard"  What more do you need?  I didn't have big expectations for Brave Horse Tavern.  I mean really, taverns to me should be old, neighborhood places, where it sorta smells musty, but the beer is cold and the atmosphere is casual and lively.  A "new" tavern...whatever.  I have to say, although the Brave Horse Tavern is NEW, it has a very old feel AND I like it!!!
Beer on tap...only way to go!!!  You can order a Schooner, $4.00, Pint, $6.00, or Pitcher, $16.00.  Make sure you tell them what you want or  you're automatically getting a pint.  I wish they had a flight, I had such a hard time choosing from all the different beers.  They also have wine on tap, if you must, and a full bar.

There are handmade hearth roasted pretzels piled up as soon as you enter.  OK, had to have those for sure and glad we did.  YUMMY.  One of the best pretzels I've had in a long time.  Crusty, chewy, salty and soft all at the same time.  We ordered the two pretzels with pimento-cheddar dip, sour cream and crispy onion, and smoked peanut butter and bacon.  Interesting flavors.

 My new favorite ber snack, Crispy Pig Ears!!!  I am not kidding.  With so many places going crazy for pork rinds, it was cool to see pig ears on the menu.  Crispy, salty, delicious.  This might not be for everyone.  My husband tasted one and passed on seconds.  I didn't care, more for me.

I'll be back for you!!!

I wish I hadn't had such a big lunch, because after the pretzel, beer and pig ears, I was kinda full.  My husband ordered the Brave Horse Bratwurst, subbed the scallion mashed potatoes for fries.  The brat was served with a beer braised cabbage and pickled mustard seeds...I had a bit and loved it.  Not the usual sour cabbage, but a nice tasting condiment...mmmm!!!
Brave Horse Tavern on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

and he cooks: COD

So my husband "use-to-be" a follow the recipe exactly kind of guy, now a days, he reads a bunch of different recipes, picks what sounds good, then "carefully" goes for it!  This time he prepared cod.  He started off by buttering an ovenproof glass dish then lining with lemon slices and sprinkled with capers.
Sammi the sous chef is always near by.
Brown some bread crumbs in butter over medium heat, then add some herbs like
fresh Italian parsley and  thyme, and a little salt and pepper. 

Roll the bread crumb mix in the cod fillets, then set top of the lemons.  Top with more bread crumbs, then bake in a 350 degree oven.
 This time I picked the wine.  Lucky for me I work at a restaurant and I asked the beverage manager for a suggestion. 
The Migration Chardonnay was a perfect match!
Serve with pasta.  Our current favorite is Benedetto Cavalieri "single" Orecchitte. 
I can only find this pasta at Sur La Table...It's so goooood!!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

the food matters project: Curried Tomato Soup with Hard-Boiled Eggs

Wow, I was not prepared to make anything today after a busy St. Patrick's Day Weekend.  Also, my son was home from college, so we celebrated his birthday, which was on March 11th, but he was in Cabo San Lucas for Spring Break...give me a break!!!  Fortunately, I had a few things on hand so I could get started.

Onion, garlic, ginger, and jalapeno all chopped, now toss in a med-high heat pan with canola's 5:30 am.  Stop to Drink Vitamin water in my best crystal, I deserve it in right?

 OK, so I followed all the instructions, added spices, and did not switch out any ingredients. 
So far so good.
 I did not make my own vegetable stock, to be honest I never use vegetable stock. 
I opted for the organic and low sodium.

 OK, a little change in the instructions...I put the veggie broth, chopped tomatoes and coconut milk in my slow cooker.  Why?  Because I can't sit around all day and make soup.  As soon as the liquids came to a boil, I dumped the sauteed vegetables, carrots and potatoes in the slow cooker and took off...gotta walk my dog before going to work.  Isn't she the cutest!!!
My slow cooker is also a rice cooker, so it does not have "HI" or "LOW" options, so it cooks somewhere in between.  I put everything in except the cauliflower.  I wanted to have a little texture and I feel slow cookers tend to turn stews and chili's in to mush.  Many of you might disagreed, but I am still very new to slow cookers and don't think they should be used for everything. Different story...
I left the soup in the slow cooker and went to work.  When we got home, my husband said, "It smells like Brick Lane in here!"  Brick Lane is a neighborhood in London, famous for their Indian food. 

Not bad!  One thing I love about cooking from Mark Bittman's The Food Matters Cookbook is I am using flavor combinations that I don't usually use.  This soup and a warm piece of naan is perfect if you are looking for a light meal.  My husband said, "It's good, but where's the rest of the Indian buffet?"  Ha, ha.

Click here for the recipe, thanks to Joanne of Eats Well With Others and check out the other versions of this recipe at The Food Matters Project.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Cha-Cha-Cha Cheese Souffle

The thought of making a cheese souffle does NOT make me do the Cha-Cha, it actually makes me a little nervous.  I've never made a savory souffle and I wasn't sure if I even liked them.  I order souffles for dessert when I see them, but they aren't my "go-to" dessert.  A little fear of the unknown.

OK, anyone out there who thinks a souffle is hard to make...RELAX.  Get your ingredients together, pour yourself a glass of wine and get started.  That's what I did.

 I let my husband pick the wine, so he thinks he's helping.
Butter your souffle mold, dust with bread crumb, tap out the excess, then set on a lined baking sheet.

I chose Emmenthal Cheese, which I had my husband grate the cheese, while I made the roux and blended in the milk, egg yolk, salt, pepper and nutmeg...mix, mix, mix and it's...Bechamel.

 Now whisk the egg whites until they hold a peak, then CAREFULLY fold into the bechamel.
 CAREFULLY pour the batter into the mold, then slide into the oven.  You can relax for at last 40 minutes...DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN for at least 20 minutes.

You can find the recipe I used in Dorie Greenspan's AROUND MY FRENCH TABLE, you should get the cookbook, or download it to your I-pad, like I did!  Also, if you want to check out some other versions of cheese souffle, click here to see what the other cooks are doing at French Fridays with Dorie.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

"Risking our lives for a doughnut?#$@*&%$!!!"

Well that's what we said when we were safe in our downtown Portland hotel room.  So let me back up... on a recent "Girl's Weekend" in Portland where my lovely niece, Chelsea, was competing in a cheerleading competition, we made sure to allow plenty of time to check out Portland.  My sister, Cindi, kept reminding us of a sale at Macy's, but all I had on my mind was the Maple Bar with Bacon at Voodoo Doughnut.  OK, it seems every douhgnut shop has their own version of the maple bar with the beloved BACON, however, after the 2008 Obama win, when I was in Portland with my husband, it was so rainy I wasn't in the mood to go to Voodoo for a damn doughnut.  So 4 years later, here we are again!

Voodoo Doughnuts is open 24 hours, but for many of those hours, day and night, there is a line.  So we went to the Saturday Market and bought Rouge Brewery Bacon Maple Beer instead.  Seriously!  FYI - the guy who sold it to us said, "Make sure you don't drink that if you are vegan, there's real bacon in the beer" 
Ha, ha!!!  Did I mention the line was long at Voodoo Doughnut...  Some people weren't too happy.

OK, after a full day of Portland followed by a lovely Dinner at Ruth's Chris Steak House in downtown Portland, we got on the train and head to Voodoo Doughnut NIGHT!!!  By day, the Skidmore STOP near Chinatown is full of people, totally safe.  By night, totally desserted and sketchy.  Thus my sister's statement, "Risking our lives for a doughnut!"
Well, after standing in line twice in one day, I didn't take too much time picking out my, we all ordered ones that looked good and the baker's dozen. 
"V" for Voodoo!
Voodoo Doughnut on Urbanspoon


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