Another Lorca menu - our tasting menu from this evening. Billed as 7 courses.
Olive crackers & Fino Sherry
Chicken & Potato Ragout
Tomato Quenelles with Green Herbed Broth
Brandade and Tomatoes on Puff Pastry with salad
Paella (served on rice noodles in martini glasses!)
Halibut and Spinach with roasted potatoes and pimiento sauce
Pork in grape sauce with tomato cookie
Orange cake with reduced red wine sauce
Chocolate cake with lovely decorations, flambe'd with cointreau
(much like burning man art, really.)
I've been reading about cooking a lot more often than I've actually been cooking lately, and today I had the best intentions of making a few fun, but more complicated dishes... and of course, that didn't happen. What did happen is that Tim called on his way home, and I realized we really didn't have any of the ingredients for the menus I wanted to make. Ooops.
But we had defrosted salmon, leftover citrus-soy sauce from an ahi tuna dish I made earlier this week... *scrape barrel* ... one lone sweet potato... ahhhhh ... oh yes! Some edamame in the freezer.. and uh, some rice noodles that never got made into spring rolls.
I think it turned out quite well for a quick supper!
Last night we had Beca, Tad, Forrest, and Todd over for supper. Forrest had requested "high carb" food, and "something with fruit" for dessert. He's been pretty darned vegan these days, but promised to tolerate a little dairy if i'd spare the beast and make dinner especially yummy. I think i struck a reasonable compromise. (Todd doesn't eat mammals, but other than that he doesn't have any real dietary no-nos.) The final menu:
Strawberries macerated in Grand Marnier & Vanilla Ice Cream
We drank the rest of the Navarro Pinot Noir i opened on Friday, a 1998 Sierra Vista Syrah, and a 1989 Cabernet Sauvignon from Navarro. We finished the evening off with some cherry honey wine in the wee cordial glasses.
The green garlic soup was done with vegetable stock, but no added cream or milk - so the only dairy in it was the butter the green garlic stewed in. (Thank you again, Naomi!)
The lasagne used zucchini and roasted red peppers - i didn't have the time to deal with the eggplant. Rather than a béchamel sauce for the white sauce, i made a velouté - again with the vegetable stock. A cup of butter, a cup of flour, and around a quart of liquid. Add the liquid until you get the consistency you liked. I flavored the velouté with nutmeg and salt, just like a béchamel. I used my microplane to dust a bit of parmesan over each layer, so the lasagne was also very light on cheese. Beca had a place of pasta with butter, olive oil, lemon, sage, and pepper.
The caesar used a ground-up green olive to replace the anchovy; those who like to avoid the dairy had Soy Dream ice cream rather than the Haagen Daas that i ate. 8)
I'm a little sad that i wasn't able to meet up with Naomi at the Farmers' Market today - it's the last time they'll be in the parking lot at Embarcadero and Green. The new digs are MUCH nicer - we snooped around them a bit a few weeks ago, but still - it would have been nice to say farewell to the old site. But Naomi is a peach; not just because she met us for lunch at Ti Couz after we bailed on the Farmers' Market, but she brought me green garlic - so all my dinner guests owe her worship, as well. 8)
The new site is in the Ferry Plaza building proper; the ribbon cutting is on April 26, next Saturday.
A Friday night supper, not clean for Passover - but since it was just R & i, that was A-OK.
Judy Roger's Zuni Cafe signature roasted chicken & bread salad
Mimi's Tomato Bisque
1998 Navarro Pinot Noir, method a'la ancienne
Strawberries macerated in sugar and Grand Marnier over vanilla ice cream
Ok, so this is the second time i've roasted a birdie using Judy Roger's method, and now i swear by it. No basting, no brining, nothing really fancy. Salt & pepper the bird a few days in advance, stuff some herbs under the breast skin, and let it sit in the fridge, loosely covered. Roast in VERY high heat, turning twice during cooking, in a dry, preheated, oven-safe skillet. You wind up with perfectly juicy, falling apart at the joints meat combined with the crispiest loveliest chicken skin you have ever tasted.
The bread salad is very nice - hand-torn chunks of bread, vinaigrette, toasted crispy with scallions and garlic and currants (we used dried cherries) and pine nuts. Tossed with some mesclun, served under the chicken.
For the full experience of the recipe, i highly recommend picking up a copy of the cookbook: The Zuni Cafe Cookbook. It's several pages of excellent prose and advice, as well as a great method and recipe. The entire book is fantastic - i'm about halfway done reading it, cover-to-cover.
And there's really no excuse for me to not go eat there more often.
I haven't cooked for my house in MONTHS, so I was suffering a bit of performance anxiety going into dinner tonight. Silly Heidi, it was mahvelous. I chose the following menu from the April 2003 Cooking Light:
Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Artichokes, Lemon, and Goat Cheese
Bulgur pilaf with pine nuts
The only thing I would have done differently given a chance is I would have stuffed the chicken breasts ahead of time instead of struggling with them while the bulgur was cooking. While the chicken was in the oven I finished up the pilaf and wilted the spinach.
For the chicken, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Combine 2 1/2 tablespoons Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs, 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 1 (6-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped, 1 (3-ounce) package herbed goat cheese, softened; stir well.
Place each of 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Top each breast half with 2 tablespoons cheese mixture; roll up jelly-roll fashion. Tuck in sides; secure each roll with wooden picks.
Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan, and cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Wrap the handle of pan with foil, and back at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until chicken is done. Yield: 4 servings.
For the pilaf, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 cup coarse bulgur, 1/3 cup sliced green onions, 1/3 cup chopped shiitake mushrooms, and 1/8 teaspoon salt; saute 5 minutes. Stir in 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can less-sodium, fat-free chicken broth, bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat, let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons pine nuts and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley.
Michael Bauer published his Top 100 Bay Area Restaurants list for 2002 this Sunday. I find most of what he has to say right on - and he lavishes the love on Limon again.
My first Limon review.
Bauer's Limon review, Dec 2001.
It has been over two years since I stopped drinking coffee on a regular basis. I miss my coffee but I know it is better for me to not be drinking it. So I have been drinking tea instead. I need suggestions of quality brands of tea. I normally drink English Breakfast in the morning, or Darjeeling (though I think it is a little light.)
Moroccan mine is another of my favorites, and for awhile I was on a Tetley's kick.
Now I can't stand Tetleys and I want something different. The only Tea's I know I don't like are Eral Grey and Jassmine... I would say I don't like Chai, but I am drinking a good earth brand now at the suggestion of a friend.
Anyone have a favorite tea they want to share, or a tea house that also sells tea that I could go and sample at?
Suggestions are appreciated.
This year's Dining Out for Life is coming up in a few weeks - on the 23rd of April. The list of restaurants is fairly extensive; i'm happy to see some of my favorites participating. If my parents are in town that night, i'll make sure we eat at one of these restaurants. If they aren't, drop me a note the day before - you're welcome to join the Borogoves!