Thursday, February 26, 2015

It snowed 6 inches today and my lips are still burning...

I got a phone call yesterday afternoon telling me if I needed to go to the grocery store, be prepared for bedlam. I think the exact phrase was, "people are acting crazy". So I thought I'd go to The Fresh Market. High end grocery store = less shoppers. I was right. I knew I'd be cooking if it snowed, but I wanted to keep eating healthy. Since becoming grossed out by factory farms' practices, I've made sure that any meat I eat is organic and comes from animals who were raised in fresh air and sunshine. So I picked up an organic chicken and a lb. of grassfed ground beef. After exasperating the meat counter guy with my barrage of questions, I was hormones, no antibiotics, organic, pasture raised... Today I decided to see what I could create with the leftover beef (10 oz left because in a moment of weakness, i rustled up a cheeseburger while I waited for the pending storm). I started thinking about Asian flavors. Then I remembered the '5 pepper shrimp' dish I made up years ago. After searching for 30 minutes, I reconciled myself to the fact that my recipe book is not in this house. I just moved so some things are not here yet. I looked online for something similar. Nope. So I decided to make up something similar, knowing that it wouldn't be the same. I will find that recipe book and 5 pepper shrimp is the first thing I'll make. Here's what I came up with:
Asian style meatballs & ramen Preheat oven to 400 degrees F 10 oz net wt. grassfed ground beef 1/4 t. black pepper, medium grind 1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes 1/2 t. freshly grated ginger 1 1/2 t finely minced garlic 2 t. de-seeded minced jalapeno 1/4 t chipotle powder 4 t. finely minced cilantro, leaves only, (equals approx 3/4 cup loosely measured, before mincing) 3 pencil size stalks scallions, minced, white & green parts
Put all on chopping board except dry ingredients & mince together, dragging the side of the knife blade thru to crush.
Mix with beef, adding dry spices. I used gloved hands. Add a 1 1/2 t. sesame oil. I used Annie's Sesame Shitake dressing because I didn't have any oil & I was snowed in. Roll into 16 equal sized balls. Place on baking tray or in dish & bake until brown. For each serving: While meatballs are browning, boil 2 c. water or low sodium beef broth. Add 2 Tbl low sodium soy sauce & 1 Tbl sriracha & 1 carrot, zested. Stir. Add 1 pkg ramen. Throw away the seasoning packet. It is full of msg, hydrolyzed corn products and just general bad for you junk. Cover pot with lid. After one minute, or when noodles are done, place a generous handful of mixed salad greens in your bowl.
Add the noodles. Ladle in the broth. Gently lay 4 meatballs in. Garnish with thinly sliced jalapeno, bias-sliced white parts of scallions, cilanto sprigs...whatever else you like...maybe some mung bean sprouts. I was tempted to lay a pan-steamed egg on top, but I had already eaten an egg for breakfast. But I bet it would be tasty...reminiscent of bibimbap. glamour shot & perfect bite
sidenote: I've not been real thrilled with the flavor (not there) or texture (mealy/powdery) of grassfed beef. I'm going to try out some different techniques. Maybe I'm cooking it too long. Shrimp meatballs would be good in this, with egg as a binder & steamed instead of baked. This meat mixture would also be a good potsticker filling.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I enjoyed my lunch and wrote a review of sorts...more of a blow-by-blow detail...or perhaps maybe a love letter. The quality of the ingredients was notable as was the obvious love showered on them so that they possessed such a depth of everything that is good in Indian food--flavors that transported me to a place where my palate had not been before---as if I was eating India itself. Yes, this was definitely a 'food moment'. I entered a place that I rarely visit, and when I do, I never forget it. Anyway, here it is:

I am sitting at a table in what has become my new favorite Indian restaurant. The white tablecloth is crisp, the flatware is shining, and the water goblet is filled with crushed ice and filtered water. Adorning each table is a fresh white Fuji mum. Perfect.

The fish (Koliwada tilapia) was lightly breaded in what I think was chickpea flour, and tossed with an even lighter tomato sauce, punctuated by an occasional hot pepper, and echoed savory undertones of cardamom, and was nearly floral in flavor, and quite addictive.

The firm tofu (Kadai tofu) was pan-sauteed and mixed perfectly with julienned bell peppers and onions, all of which were married with a wonderful sauce that was so buoyant in mouthfeel that it seemed to float on my tongue.

The mataar and mushrooms atop a bed of al dente perfumed rice (rice pulao) was a suiting third dish. The mushrooms were meaty while the peas were little explosions of earthiness as they burst and mingled with the light curried tomato cream sauce.

I saved my regular favorite for last...chicken tikka masala (which has now been replaced by nav ratan...get to that later). It was everything I love about Indian food and more. Smoky with beats of tamarind cream and curry. I carefully draped each bite with toasty chewy bits of buttery naan, sometimes making tiny masterpieces by topping the bites with spicy onion chutney and cooling raita. Perfect flavors intoxicated and fulfilled me. As I finished the last jewels of masala cream infused-basmati, I wondered what fantastic thing I had done to deserve such a dreamy feast. I felt truly peaceful and thankful.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

another sketch

this beach composition ('oak island') is on very short-term loan to a friend, because i still need to correct the shadows at the fence, ha!

the rough draft (watercolor on paper, not shown, still looking for it) was given to a friend, and the painting itself ('dancing sisters'aka 'laura & suze') was given to her mom (acrylic on canvas, shown here)


yeah, i'm slow about getting stuff posted here. i'll do better, for my own sake. christmas gift to my sis 2009 ('cathy')

christmas gift to sis 2008 ('miracle'):

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

my next venture

cathy and i are going into business together...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

to g

tonite it's made everything incredibly quiet. i have all the doors and windows open. it's long sleeve tshirt cool. perfect. for dinner i made vegetable massaman curry & thought of you. i used all fresh ingredients: green beans, sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, cilantro, lime, thai basil. i put it over brown rice. it was the absolute best i've ever made it. it was the perfect culmination of flavors & textures: earthy, crunchy, rich, silky, spicy, pungent, herby, creamy, sweet, salty...and the rice seemed so wholesome & nutty. i made a great glass of limeade (with date sugar, filtered water, fresh limes, & crushed ice ) to wash it all down. it was just perfect. i wish you could've joined me. i just finished watching the movie "shrink" and now am going to bed.

i miss you, my little potato pancake. get in touch when u can.
love ya

Saturday, October 17, 2009

last friday's lunch

damn damn dammmitttt!!!
it’s too hot—mouthful of lava. god, i’ve done this a million times.
after i finally swallow the molten mix & calm down, i begin to savor what’s passing across my lips….the velvety silken broth: creamy & salty. so buttery it’s almost sweet. punctuated by treasured chunks here & there…a cubed potato or onion…a sliver of celery…dissolving between my tongue & the roof of my mouth. a tender morsel of clam that is bursting with the essence of the sea itself. closing my eyes & leaning back onto the headrest. overspray from the rain as it hits the partially rolled down driver’s side window & mists my face. the continual splashing of a fountain 100 feet away. happy. warm. satiated. dreamy. high. how quickly comfort wraps me up in this brief indulgence. intense soothing found in a simple hot cup of chowder during a cold & rainy lunch break.
so here’s my recipe. it’s a little more herby than other chowders i’ve come across, simply because i consistently lean toward “big” flavors. give it a twirl, adjusting spices/ herbs as desired along the way…and keep in mind that it’ll be even more flavorful the next day (as if you’re actually gonna have leftovers, ha!), as all the elements have had a chance to meld with the broth and permeate the veggies. let me know how it goes….

New England Clam Chowder
· 3 c. diced potatoes (1/2”)
· 1 stick butter (4 oz.)
· 2 c. diced onions (1/2”)
· 2 cloves garlic, minced
· 1 ½ c. diced celery (1/4”)
· 1 10oz bottle clam broth/juice (PLEASE add 1-2 T. clam base if you can find it)
· 1 t. dried thyme leaves
· 2 dried bay leaves, whole
· 1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
· 1 1/2 c whole baby clams, large can with juice they’re packed in
· 2 c half-n-half
· 1 T. dried parsley
1. Cover potatoes w/ water & cook until al dente. Drain and set aside.
2. Melt butter & sauté onions, celery, & garlic until onions are clear.
3. Add clam broth/juice, thyme, black pepper & bay leaves being careful not to break the leaves.
4. Cook for 15 minutes until hot and bubbly. Turn heat to low.
5. Add clams & potatoes, simmering for 15 minutes more.
6. Add the half-n-half & parsley. turn off the burner.
7. Refrigerate leftovers (ha!).
8. Serves 7-10.

9. I had it with crusty chunks of olive & rosemary filone and pinot grigio (Barefoot cellars)

p.s. of course the big omission here is the pork. (im a pescetarian now). i love bacon, but i’m currently trying to circumvent what i’ve heard is impending cardio doom for anyone with my family genetics who continues to travel a path of gastronomic hedonism. proceed at your own risk.

p.s.s. and certainly using fresh clams, herbs, etc. makes everything better. i concocted this on a “school night” so it had to be a quickie. if you have a recipe that uses fresh ingredients and you want to share, by all means send it to me! i’d love to try it out next time i spend all day saturday cooking.