Friday, May 29, 2009

Bar Method Dinners

I am getting to a point of now going to the Bar Method 4-5 times a week. As such, when I get home, dinner needs to be a fast and easy endeavor. Else I would be tempted to order in takeout and intake too many calories.
Here are two recent examples...
Salmon fillet baked with a splash of white wine, salt, pepper, and basil on a bed of argula dressed with olvie oil and champagne vinegrette
A French hamburger variation which is essentially ground beef patty with chopped carmelized onion, an egg, salt, pepper, and thyme. I like mine with a dollop of ketchup and Japnese mayo as condiment. I cook the patty to medium so that the juices run and saturate the greens when eating. Any rarer feels scary with Safeway ground meat.

Nana's "Alicc" and Stephen's Scallops

A while ago I had made spaghetti "alicc" (alice is anchovy in Italian) from Maggie's Nana's recipe for David. He loved it and thus when it came to menu planning for our dinner the other weekend, he requested pasta. I was flipping through the Zuni cookbook and found a recipe that is very similar to Nana's "alicc." We used orecchiette mostly as I have a personal fondness for the pasta.

1 small head of cauliflower sliced thin
Chopped garlic
1 can of anchovy fillet
2 tbs freshly grounded fennel seed
2 Tbs chopped Italian parsley
A pinch of chili flakes
Grated romano

I sauteed the cauliflower until golden brown in olive oil and set aside. Then using the same pan, the anchovy was sauteed with the olive oil it came in with garlic, fennel seed, and chili flakes added. Meanwhile a pot of salted water boiled up the pasta to al dente. I added the cauliflower back in along with a scoop of the pasta water and cooked for another 5 minutes for the flavours to meld. The drained pasta goes into the pan with the saucing and cauliflower. The parsley and cheese went in and all was tossed until even.
A little extra romano for garnish and wow... the cauliflower made Nana's "alicc" even better!
At the market we spotted good looking scallops so we decided to make it the entree. I pretty much winged this recipe from my memories of Stephen's awesome seared day boat scallop with fava bean dish years ago at Mecca. We had a minor technical issue in that David forgot to shell the individual beans after removing from the pods. I was wondering why they looked so pale green. But no matter. Blanched beans were given quick saute with a tiny bit of garlic and salt and pepper. Deglazed the pan with white wine and reduced for sauce.
The scallops were pre-treated with some white wine to take away any fishiness and dried thoroughly. I used my hot pot/camping butane stove to sear the scallops as my regular range doesn't get hot enough. This butane baby did the trick - very nice searing and brown color achieved on the outside while the insides remained rare.
And the end result... not exactly it but tasted pretty good nonetheless.

Kimchee Fried Rice

I had some left over ground beef so we made kimchee fried rice the other night. You can use any leftover meat - left over bulgogi is particularly yummy. It's so easy to make! Simply cook the meat to halfway doneness.
Add in left over rice, kimchee, and a beaten egg. Then stir fry for a bit.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Subliminal Programming by Jimmy Buffet

My food cravings have always been impressionable to sensory cues. Last night during the stretching/cool-down portion of my work-out, my instructor played Jimmy Buffet's "Mexico" which led to an immediate need for a margarita. This margarita jonesing, of course, led to a craving for Mexican. Luckily, Playa Azul satisfied these cravings on all fronts.

We ordered a side of guacamole which was nicely grounded.
An order of Parillo de Mariscos was more than enough for two people as main course. Grilled fish, oysters, scallops, and shrimp with your chocie of two sides and endless tortillas. Unfortunately, I accidently deleted the photo of. Trust me, it's wonderful. And there was even a a mariachi bad there to play requests. Oh, did we transport to Mexico all right!


They say a picture is worth a thousand words. So I will let the pictures here do the talking for the pig butchering and pork dinner event I went to by Ryan Farr of 4505 Meats (he of chicharrones fame) at Coffee Bar.

Drug Soup Post Cellar "Cleaning"

We spent a ridiculous afternoon tasting flights of wine at Melanie's cellar "cleaning" party. The flights, like the syrah one pictured left, were usually several bottle and last count, I think there were at least 5 such flights (inlcuding an flight of 1982 Bordeaux's - wow).
When we got back to SF, we were hungry (again) but needed food to reset the palate. Something maybe spicey. Cumin lamb pot, AKA drug soup, at Spices!1 came to the rescue. The meal hit the spot.

Cumin lamb pot
Stinky tofu
TW style fried rice noodle
Cumber salad dressed in chili oil