Sunday, June 27, 2010

Black Bean Sauce take one

Hey Gang,
I misplaced my camera, but ended up taking some pic of my dinner last night with my iphone. I used some of that black bean sauce with some cumin coriander and garlic sauteed spinach along with some mushroom and onion quesadillas made with some reconstituted masa dough.
Some nuclear salsa from red hill farms adds some more heat to the dish, and served alongside I have a raspberry tequila shrub. Maybe I'll drop some recipes on you sometime soon, but its all pretty straightforward (besides the masa dough which you gotta look up a recipe for) and is a prelude to my combining these elements together with some shortribs......
As you can see the quesadillas are really more like cornmeal turnovers than what I think of as quesadillas.

Oh and how wonderful, the local wildlife came by to help clean the plate...

Everything turned out great, I really only a bit of spices to the garlic and butter sauteed spinach, so I'll probably add a little more next time as the cumin and coriander barely came through, but otherewise all the other elements were spot on. The quesadillas were soft and pillowy and the sauce had a great spicy smokiness too it that added a great punch to every bite. Can't ait to bring on the meat, I'll probably just reduce the number of quesadillas and add in a short rib... delicious.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Artisan blah in 5 minutes

Oh... thats why it takes artisans longer than 5 minutes to make bread...
I made some of the olive oil dough from the book and made prosciutto flatbread... not so great.

1) the bread isn't really flat it is more of a foccacia (the directions said to leave it an inch thick),
2) The bread itself is much lacking in flavor,
3) the crust is burnt on the bottom but pale on top, perhaps partially do to my cooking technique, but I did follow the directions in the recipe it was not crisp last night and now after having it sealed away overnight it ahs absorbed some moisture and is just an impediment to getting to the prosciutto inside
4) The extremely wet dough advocated in the book is very difficult to work with.

If I had to say something nice I would say that the crumb of the bread is actually not bad which lends me hope that some other types of bread could turn out ok. My plan is to try the olive oil dough again in some manner of pizza to see if it is any good in that regard. I will also suspend judgement on the technique until I make the classic dough and make a boule, a baguette, and perhaps some sandwich bread. Likewise I guess I should try one of their enriched breads as well to see if the technique can work for dessert breads and pastries.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Long time no blog.

Hey gang,
Haven't posted in a while, sometime I get anxious when posting stuff for real and so I avoid doing it. Its not that I'm afraid what people will think its just the act of putting something together for blog publication. Anyhow my new plan is to make this entirely into my own forum for my food and drink musings... so here I go.

I've been thinking about and working with beans a lot lately. I am not sure whether the motivation is that amazing cassoulet I had this winter, the delicious beans I discovered at (which were one of the few foodstuffs of mine to survive the recent move), or just plain frugality, but I've had beans on the brains lately.

I recently made some chipotle black beans and some curried carrots and black eyed peas and thinking of bean soups and pureed soups and how sauces can be concentrated soups I've constructed some imaginary menus to go with them. Both sets of beans are somewhat spicy and are well spiced with dried chiles, cumin, and coriander dominating the black beans and garam masala with cayenne, coriander, and cardamom finding a home in the black eyed peas.

SO. my menus are:

Black eyed peas menu

Appetizer- spiced flatbread (I'll figure out something from my new 5 minute artisan bread book)

Drink- (I'm determined to make up a specific cocktail for dinner parties to avoid the 'what would you like' confusion )- Honi Honi (rum, lemon, apricot brandy, orgeat) or maybe go crazy with a singapore sling, I just have to replenish my cointreau and I'll have all the ingredients.

Meal- Grilled sambal, garlic, and soy marinated chicken thighs on a bed of curried carrot and blackeyed pea puree served with roasted cauliflower and cilantro (adapted from a Madhur Jaffrey cookbook)

Dessert- Mango pudding (probably based off this recipe but I may look around some more and/ or go off on my own using coconut milk and less gelatin) garnished with a fruit salad with chopped mango, mint, and lime juice (what other fruit might be good in that salad?)

Black Bean menu

Appetizer- smoked paprika flatbread w/ lardons (on a flatbread kick and trying to use up my homemade guanciale... yeah just figured I'd drop that one on ya).

Drink- all this food is so darn spicy I'm never sure what to make (nothing too alcoholic), but I think some caipirinha's maybe with some pineapple muddled in might be nice. Although come to think of it this copa verde from chow might be just the thing.

Meal- Braised Chipotle Short Ribs with a cilantro, lime zest and garlic gremolata on a bed of pured chili spiced frijoles (which I'll probably mix some of the braising liquid into) served with some sort of mexican flavored green vegetable (I'll check my Rick Bayless cookbooks... mmm tastes like mexican)

Dessert- After all that heavy stuff I'm down for something fresh so I'll save my goat caramel for later... I think my summer berry pudding is always a hit, its basically layers of bread (brioche or challah works well) with fruit in syrup layered in between. Basically a fresh uncooked bread pudding served with whipped cream.

Anyhow, thats all I have in me for now. Perhaps I'd best make some friends in this new city before I start planning dinner parties, but for me half the fun is in the planning. I'll repost if any of these recipes or menus become a reality.


Monday, June 15, 2009

MxMo: Dark n' Stormy Daiquiri

I'm new to the whole blogging thing so I was a little unsure about participating in this Mixology Monday business, but I've really enjoyed reading the roundups from past (and have been a lurker on many websites until recently), so I figured I'd contribute. So, new blog, new drink. This drink, the Dark n' Stormy Daiquiri, is a riff on the classic Dark n' Stormy which is made with Goslings Rum, Ginger Beer, and Lime Juice. I've replace the ginger beer with Canton Ginger Liqueur and served it in a cocktail glass (though I'm sure it would be great on the rocks as well). I think it captures the essence of a D n' S quite well. I first made this drink for a friend of mine who loves to sail and whose favorite drink is a DnS (regardless of the season). So in his presence I refer to the drink as the DevinStormy, but otherwise it really is just a Goslings Daiquiri with the simple syrup replaced by ginger liqueur. Simple but effective... two words which I think describe most of my favorite drinks.

Dark n' Stormy Daiquiri

2 oz Goslings dark rum
1 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Canton ginger liqueur

Shake vigorously with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Thanks to rumdood for hosting!!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Flying High

After first having an aviation cocktail at Gracie's Restaurant in Providence I went on a relentless hunt for the ingredients. Although many people said that you don't really need the creme de violette and can make it with just gin, lemon juice, and maraschino liquor, being initially enticed by the pale violet hue of the original drink, I was not about to half-a** it. So after many trials and tribulations I assembled the ingredients and have been taste testing ever since. I have tried all the different proportions of the drink that I could think of and ended up preferring this recipe that results in a tart drink with a distinct maraschino flavor. I have discovered that the flavor that I originally attributed to the creme de violette was actually mostly the maraschino (which is completely different from that of the ubiquitous artificial red orbs), and that adding a ton of creme de violette does not result in a superior drink. While I still love the faint blue tinge of the original drink, it turns out that yes you can make a perfectly serviceable aviation without the creme de violette.

Aviation Cocktail
2 oz Gin (I like more subtle gins in aviations and save the heavy hitters for G&T's)
.5 oz lemon juice
.33 oz (2tsp) Maraschino Liqueur (I have Luxardo and it is great!)
.167oz (1tsp) Creme de Viollete

Shake or stir as is your want (I usually stir heavily or shake lightly), strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cucumber Gin Fizz

3 cucumber slices ~1/3 inch
2 oz gin
1 oz lemon juice
.5 oz Simple syrup

Muddle cucumber in bottom of shaker, add other ingredients and ice, shake and strain over ice and top with club soda.

-Refreshing! The flavors of cucumber and gin go together so well (thanks Hendricks) this may become a go-to summer cocktail for me. I'm going to try some variations with Pimm's cup or maybe a dash of Chartreuse.

BBQ'd Chicken

This is a great chicken recipe that can work in a couple different ways. The delicious smoke flavor and bold spices make it delicious right off the grill or mixed in some other dish like a smoked chicken macaroni salad. Slicing the chicken skin and the low and slow cooking allow the fat to render so its not flabby and is good cold for lunch or a picnic. And if you use just thighs you can chop it up and mix it with a simple bbq sauce to make a delicious bbq chicken sandwich.

Easy All Purpose BBQ'ed chicken
4-5 pounds drumsticks or thighs, skin on
1 tablespoons kosher salt or 1.5 tsp table salt
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (nice n' spicy)

Mix the dry ingredients to make a rub. Slice 4-5 slits in the skin of each chicken piece, avoiding going into the meat. Apply the rub liberally. Refrigerate in a dish covered in plastic or a plastic bag for 2-24 hrs (the longer the better in my opinion). Soak 2-3 small wood chunks or equivalent amount of chips in water 1 hr before cooking. When ready to cook, light a full chimney of charcoal. When coals are lit bank the coals against one side of the grill. Sear chicken on both sides over hot coals until well browned. Add wood chunks to hot coals and move chicken to other side of grill. Cover grill and smoke for about an hour until chicken is somewhat blackened. If you have overstuffed the grill and the chicken is too close to the coals then you may have to rotate the chicken pieces during that time to prevent overcooking. Serve.