Month: October 2008

Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: Hunter, Gatherer, Vintner

October is the month of the Eat Local Challenge, and while I don’t subscribe fully to the notion that we should necessarily restrict ourselves to procure all of our food from a 100-mile radius (I like cooking with salt and pepper, thankyouverymuch), I sometimes forget […]

The 2008 Tillamook Mac & Chee Cook-off

…or, wherein I find out that Ilan Hall is actually super nice, and pretty funny in real life. He totally forgave me for making fun of him and everything (for the record, he is NOT afraid of starfucking fangirls, and isn’t into the dick. He […]

Kare udon

Okay, this is a total phone-in. I will give the concession that I used homemade chicken stock, and sure, I poached the chicken breast with lots of fresh ginger and garlic, some sake, mirin and sesame oil, then added sliced shiitakes, Sweet Nantes carrots and delicate pearl potatoes. I even threw in some heirloom Italian pepper such deep carmine that it resembles raw beef. But this is hardly cooking.

Okay, I added cubed silken tofu, slivered scallions and sliced snow peas, and at the end I folded in some thick, chewy udon noodles (boiled separately so the broth wouldn’t go all soapy-starchy).

Come to think of it, what I did was truly cooking, but the act of breaking a couple cubes of Golden Curry into soup made it feel like I was faking it. Sure, I could’ve just added some curry powder, MSG (yes, I keep a fatty sack of it in my cupboard) and a little sugar and corn starch, and I would’ve achieved the same result. But I used the cubes. And I feel like a dirty cheater admitting it.

I keep cheapie Gekkeikan around for cooking, but a nice bottle of Momokawa Diamond Junmai Ginjo (I love the cloudy Pearl Junmai Genshu in the summer) for drinking. I know it’s probably sacrilege, but I heat osake in the microwave. In exactly one minute it reaches perfect blood-temperature.

Oh, p.s. I’ll be in and out a bit until Sunday. My good friend Catherine Wilkinson from The Dish is in town competing at the Tillamook Macaroni and Cheese Cook-off. In case you’re wondering, yes, she really is that hot in real life. Today I brought her chanterelles for her recipe, then we sat in the bar of her hotel making fun of Ilan Hall from Top Chef Season 2, who is emceeing the event. Catherine had been mistakenly calling him “Ian” all day, and couldn’t figure out why he was so standoffish. For laughs, I went to the concierge and asked her to page Ilan’s room to tell him he had two ladies waiting for him in the bar. He never showed up; probably because he is gay, or afraid of starfucking fangirls.

Oh, p.p.s. I’m planning a very special dinner for twelve of my closest friends this weekend. Elk roast with alder-smoked chanterelles, coho loukaniko with Fraga Farm saganaki and Hood River pear galettes with Douglas-fir needle ice cream will feature prominently. Stay tuned, and happy autumn!

Doro wat with ye’abesha gomen

I’ve really been craving Ethiopian food lately. Maybe I’m deficient in pulses, or just have a jones for hallucinogenically spicy food. The first time I tried Ethiopian food, I didn’t really know much about it other than its reputation for being hot, that it leans […]

Shepherd’s pie

Okay, to be honest, Friday was pretty fucking glorious. A seriously perfect autumn day: sunny, a balmy 65 degrees, just gorgeous. But when I got to the store after work I still ended up leaning toward comfort food, and picked up a half pound of […]

Vegetable fried rice

This is all I have to show for my blogless week. I’ve been trying to, once again, wittle down the produce drawer in the fridge, and have been cooking a bunch of uninteresting pasta and stir-fry with the various vegetables. Do you know how “meh” penne with kale pesto and vegetables looks in a photograph? Feh.

The stir-fry from Thursday wasn’t bad, if a little heavy on the hoisin and oyster sauce, but it was Project Runway (and debate) night. So I skipped the photos altogether. Last night saw the conversion of leftover rice and the remaining broccoli, peppers, shiitakes, scarlet runners (I’ve been picking them slightly underripe and slicing them, pod and all) and kale, as well as half a block of silken tofu and an egg, into fried rice. I also added some surimi, but it isn’t crab at all, and didn’t elevate it the way I hoped.

It was good, just not like the salty Chinese-American fried rice I was craving. It was, however, flavorful and healthy. Now I just have to eat the last gallon-sized bags of pattypans and yellow pear tomatoes (the last ones before I compost the vines!). Maybe I’ll just bake the whole lot in cheesy bechamel.

Smoky maple-glazed salmon with potato-maitake hash and curry cream

The other day New Seasons had some divine Alaskan sockeye – supple, cadmium flesh – man, their seafood is so good lately. They have it all open to the air now, too, and you honestly can’t detect a single molecule of fishy amine. I totally […]

Albacore tuna melt with dill havarti

Today was the first weekend day that Scott and I didn’t go out to eat in I don’t know how long. Yesterday we failed at our mushroom foray – that’s what I get for trying a new spot. Next weekend we’ll go to Old Faithful, […]

Curry okra and green tomato pickle

A couple months ago, before the tomatoes were really getting good, I accidentally knocked a few off the vine trying to get to my beans or something. These were my first tomatoes, so I valued each one like my firstborn and I brought them in, even though they were just green. I could try to let them ripen on the counter, I guessed.

I also had a dozen or so baby okra with which I was smitten. They were 2 inches long, all covered with velvety lanugo, and I couldn’t bear to cook them, such was their effect on the maternal parts of my limbic system. I’d seen Marc at No Recipes do a smoked paprika okra pickle (inspired by the artisanal pickles of one Rick), and remembered crunchy pickled okra is such a wonderful thing. Since okra is a vegetable enjoyed in Indian cuisine, I figured some curry and chili wouldn’t hurt it.

I tucked the cherubic okra into the jar with some sliced onion, garlic and red chili, and tipped in some peppercorns, mustard and coriander seeds, and a bay leaf or two. There was still so much room in the jar – I looked around and saw the green tomatoes on the counter and the lightbulb went off. I sliced them into thick wedges and slid them into the jar.

I heated up some regular white vinegar with salt, a bit of sugar (just enough to take the edge off the heat, not enough to taste), and a nice spoonful of curry powder. I added a splash of water to balance the acidity, and poured it over the vegetables. Lid and back of the fridge, cut to last week.

I pulled them out of the fridge last week and gave a taste. Oh, man, these are a thing. Just straight from the jar, or dipped in hot sauce, if you really want a spanking. Fortunately, I prefer the green tomato over the okra as a pickle, because I have shitloads of them, and they’re free. Oh, the okra is good, don’t get me wrong – I just like the crunchy green tomato more.

I can’t wait to see how these go with a Bloody Mary – maybe one of my jars of homemade tomato sauce will get turned to Bloody Mary mix?

Wild mushroom and cheese tart

I was totally going to do this with more of the last of the pâtisson, but then I saw matsutake mushrooms at New Seasons, alongside gorgeous vermilion lobster mushrooms. The matsutake were $25/lb, but one mushroom was only 75 cents (sliced wafer-thin, it was enough). […]