Monday, August 23, 2010

Chocolate Soufflé

Thanks Julia, and Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I made this wonderful chocolate soufflé last night. It was pretty darned easy, I know that goes against everything you've heard about soufflés. But really. Next time I might try to undercook it so that I can have a molten lava center. Molten lava, say it with me.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Horiatiki Lentil Salad

herb garden


It's mid-August and I'm afraid that it's just too darn late to plant the big ol' garden of my dreams with lots of variety and pretty colors and smells and sunflowers and... I think maybe the best thing to do is to plant herbs and see how that goes. Fresh herbs make such a huge difference in cooking. Last night's class (braised poultry) was another reminder of how important fresh ingredients are. Specifically, what a difference fresh herbs make. Thus, I am paring down my big dreams (at least for this year) to having merely an herb garden. See image of cool-ass wooly pockets that are my inspiration.




Braised Chicken

Chicken can be so boring sometimes. That is, if you don't vary your cooking method every now and then, add fresh ingredients, and treat it like the versatile protein that it is. Last night in class, we made several braised chicken dishes. Coq au Vin, Fricasse, Morrocan-style, etc. Not boring at all. Though the cooking method was the same on all dishes, the variety in flavors was vast. And what a huge difference herbs make! And butter. And bacon.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mozza!

Pizzeria Mozza. WOW. Yummmmmmm. Did not disappoint. We shared several appetizers, salad and a pizza. Simple ingredients, treated respectfully, fresh and delicious. The simple greens salad was a variety of fresh, crisp lettuces tossed with a bright and delicious vinaigrette dressing, then piled into a tower on a plate. It was everything a salad should be, and bonus: cool presentation. We also shared a fantastic wax bean salad, my husband couldn't stop talking about it. The panini was excellent. The pizza, perfectly crispy and flavorful. The very best part of the meal was dessert. I have a sweet tooth and definitely love dessert. But at many places, it often disappoints. Mozza's Budino on the other hand was sensational. Butterscotch, salt, rosemary cookies and cream... Might have been the best dessert I've ever had, outside of my mom's (and grandma's) kitchen.
If the Pizzeria is the less fancy/expensive alternative to Osteria Mozza, now I REALLY must go to Osteria.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Cocktails at the Tar Pit


ar•ti•san, noun: a worker in a skilled trade, esp. one that involves making things by hand
The Artisinal Cocktails at the Tar Pit are pretty incredible and made by just such a person. A couple weeks ago, I went there with several girlfriends for dinner/drinks. We tried just about every cocktail on the menu, plus a few more off the menu. I didn't realize it at the time, but because we ordered from the waiter and never stepped up to the bar, we were missing a big part of the experience: watching the artisan at work.
THIS time, my husband and I went for a pre-dinner cocktail, and got there shortly after they opened. We had front row seats at the bar for this unique show. Witnessing all of the ingredients that went into crafting one drink, plus the unusual shaking maneuver made me appreciate these cocktails even more. While making one bourbon-based beverage for us, the bartender carved a slice of orange rind from the fruit, smeared it around the glass it would eventually be served in, then lit a wood match, hovered the rind above the flame for a few seconds, poured the cocktail from shaker to glass, then balanced the warmed rind on the outer edge. I may have even seen it flambé for a split second. Quite a beverage, quite a show!


One more magnificent detail: the ice cubes. These blocks of ice were enormous and never seemed to melt. We were intrigued. What kind of mold did they use? What kind of water? For being one of the most basic elements used in making a drink, these cubes were noteworthy and added yet another dimension to the entire experience. Thumbs up to the artisan bartender, who takes his job very seriously.

Crispy Fried Catfish with Remoulade

I'm getting to be pretty good at remoulade! Made this dish in class with a partner. Was a delicious, authentic tasting dish.
The following week, I made Shrimp Po' Boys with sauce (very similar to Remoulade). The trickiest part was dealing with the fluctuating temperature of the peanut oil while frying the shrimp. I never knew how difficult it was until I tried it. Apparently, a fryer is what you need, as opposed to the archaic oil in a cast iron pot with thermometer method we used. I guess for now, I'll leave the heavy frying to restaurants and bistros. I can't imagine how much fried food I might eat if I brought a fryer home (and my husband found out).

Food Truck Fest


Food Truck Fest was alright.. I only tried a few. At a Fest like this, they should have made smaller portions, so that people could sample several trucks easily. The price could have been less for smaller portions, then running out of dishes would not have happened so quickly, lines wouldn't have been so lengthy, and the wait to get your food after ordering wouldn't have been so long. I'm glad to know at least the price of admission went to charity. I did get to try the CoolHaus Truck, which was awesome! Their line moved swiftly, they had three flavors left by the time we got there, and we tried them all. I would go back to that truck for sure, and even to a Fest. I just hope they improve it so it runs more smoothly next time.