7.25.2009

Be Back Soon...

I don't really like to announce these things to large groups of people, but..no post this week.

I'll be out of town attending the funeral of my grandfather. 95 years is a long time to live. We should all be so lucky.

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7.18.2009

Tomato and Rosewater Sorbet

tomato rosewater sorbet

Summer is in full swing, which means one thing: tomatoes. Although tomatoes have been popping up at the local farmer's markets for weeks now, the really good ones are just starting to show up. This morning, one bunch of orange colored tomatoes caught my eye. Determined not to just eat them like an apple, I thought I would turn them into an even more refreshing treat: sorbet. I did not want to make it too sweet (which you could if you wanted), as the tomatoes already have a very distinct sweetness in their own right. Just a touch of added sweetness, and a healthy does of rosewater, and a few other ingredients and I was ready for the icebox.


4 very ripe tomatoes, seeded
1/2 cup rosewater
1/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp vodka
pinch of salt


In a food processor or blender, puree tomatoes until smooth. Pour into a large, but shallow baking dish. Mix in rosewater, lime juice, vodka, and sugar until well combined. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and place in the freezer for three hours. Every half hour, stir the mixture with a fork to break up large ice crystals. If stirred properly, the end result should be very smooth. Serve cold (and preferably outside).

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7.11.2009

Gravlax = Heaven

gravlax

It is pretty much a simple equation: salt + sugar + salmon + time = heaven.

How I love salmon. Such a delicious fish that's diversity continues to astound me. I love it pan seared. I love it grilled. I love it poached. I love it smoked. But the most simplest method I find is to salt cure the salmon. Salt curing involves no application of heat (which is great for the summertime), a handful of staple ingredients, and a small amount of refrigerator space. The only other ingredient is the most pesky one: time. Unlike curing duck breast, making salt cured salmon, known as gravlax, takes only a day or two. Still, just knowing the silky texture that awaits you can make those 48 hours almost unbearable!


gravlax


2 fillets of salmon, totaling 1 lbs.
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 small bunch fresh dill
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup peaty Scotch ( if desired)



Check your salmon for any pin bones and remove as necessary with clean tweezers or needle nose pliers. If desired, gently marinate salmon, flesh side down, in some peaty Scotch (I recommend Caol Ila) for about half and hour. Pat dry. On a large piece of cling film, spread some of the salt and sugar mixture in an area slightly larger than the first fillet. Top mixture with first fillet. Sprinkle some freshly ground black pepper on top and cover with more salt/sugar. At this point, place the fresh dill on top. (Confession time: I didn't have fresh dill for this batch and will openly confess to using dried dill. The results will still be great. Used 3 - 4 tbsp dried dill if you must.) Repeat the process for the other fillet. and invert on top of the first fillet.

Wrap tightly with cling film. Wrap with another layer of cling film to ensure nothing drips out of the parcel. Place in a dish with a high rim, like a pie plate. On top the whole parcel, place an inverted dinner plate. Add some weight on top the dinner plate. You can used can goods or anything else, just make sure the weight is distributed as evenly as possible. Place the entire set up in your refrigerator for 48 hours, turning the fish every 12 hours or so. When done, briefly rinse under running water to remove any excess salt. Dry thoroughly with paper towels and slice on the bias as thinly as possible. Use your sharpest knife and try to slice with one long stroke instead of sawing away.

Great for breakfast with cream cheese on a bagel, or better still: some baguette.


gravlax


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7.06.2009

Wanderous Food



This weekend I celebrated our nation's independence by playing wiffle ball, eating all sorts of grilled food, waving sparklers through the evening air, and becoming famous.

That's because I recently had the wonderful opportunity to be featured on The Wanderous. The Wanderous is a great blog devoted to all things awesome (ergo, my status as awesome has now been secured). When you are done reading this, head over to The Wanderous and learn about all sorts of really cool things you'll never knew you were able to live without.

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7.04.2009

Gorgonzola Aleppo Pepper Compound Butter

gorgonzola allepo compound butter

Compound butters are a great way to infuse more flavor into a meal. The basic principle is this: let butter soften and then add any ingredient (herbs, spices, etc.) that would help compliment what you are going to serve. Compound butters are not used for cooking. They are used more as a garnish, to be spread onto grilled vegetables, roasted meats, and other tasty items. Think of it as a ready made sauce just waiting to be used. You can freeze them, like you would any butter, and slice off a piece as needed.


gorgonzola allepo compound butter


8 0z. unsalted butter, room temperature
3 oz. gorgonzola dulce, room temperature
1/2 tbsp aleppo pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
fresh parley, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste


In a bowl, combine all ingredients. With your hands, mix thoroughly until well combined. Take a sheet of parchment paper, and scoop out butter mixture close to one end. Try to form into a log shape. Gently roll the paper up, giving even pressure to compress butter into a tight log. Twist the ends of the parchment and tie with kitchen string. Place in fridge or freezer until cold enough to slice. Try it spread over some freshly grilled corn on the cob!


gorgonzola allepo compound butter