Archive for November 12th, 2010

November 12, 2010

Dine Originals Week | Basil

BasilPersephone’s Kitchen was closed tonight.  Basil presented a really extensive Dine Originals Week menu, with four courses no less, for $20.  Having not had the chance to dine there before, but hearing good things, this week seemed the time to give it a go.  I’m glad we did.

A snug little restaurant right between Surly Girl Saloon and The Attic on High Street, Basil was already filling up early.  Seating groups from two to ten while I was there, the waitstaff was quick to take orders and even quicker with delivery of our dishes. 

I tried both the Tom Yum Ground Chicken and the Tom Ka Ground Chicken soups.  Both were very different and both were served very hot.  The Tom Yum was spicy and flavorful with lime and lemongrass.  The Tom Ka was a light coconut soup with a lovely fresh, almost piney balance from the galangal root. 

Our appetizers were the cucumber salad and the vegetable tempura.  The cucumber salad had a very light mirin dressing with grated carrots, red onion and cilantro. It was a cool interlude between hot soup and our main courses.  The vegetable tempura batter itself was a bit heavy but very, very delicious.  The vegetables were tender but not mushy, the tempura crispy and the clear Thai vinaigrette a perfect dipping partner for the vegetables.

Hades chose the Thai curry with salmon and I had the basil over rice.  His salmon was flaky and the coconut curry was a flavor I would bathe in if I could: creamy, sweet and savory all at once.  The basil over rice was ground chicken with lots of Thai basil, green bell peppers, sautéed in a spicy brown sauce.  I have a thing with spicy: if it’s going to be done, it needs to not be over done.  You want to be able to taste the other flavors in your dinner.  You don’t just want straight hot, you want a balance.  You want to be able to pick out the basil or the bell pepper, not just be sweating bullets, sniffing a lot and saying, “Whew, this is hot.”  And you know what?  This was balanced.  I had them make it with a medium amount of spice and it was just right.  Spicy without being overpowering. 

For our fourth course we were each given sweet little pink coupons to be taken next door to The Attic vintage shop to be redeemed for a Bakery Gingham cupcake.  The perfect sweet ending.  And kind of a cool little store with a mix of vintage and new, a few gifts; one I’ll need to stop in again to truly get a feel for what they’ve got.

Basil has some finesse.  I enjoyed dinner and wouldn’t mind stopping in again soon.  You got another day to get your dine on.  Get going!

November 12, 2010

The Thanksgiving Salad Course | Pomegranate Arils, Goat Feta, Mesclun

With all the work that will go into a lavish Thanksgiving meal, the last thing you want to think about is the salad course.  I have a simple recipe for you.

I scored a couple of Pom Wonderful Pomegranates from my friend Rachel at Hounds in the Kitchen in exchange for a ride home from our book lunch with David Tanis.  Pomegranates hold special meaning for Persephone.  I’ve been waiting until they’re in season to get a good photo.  Now’s the time.  I digress.

For the salad, sprinkle the ruby jewel arils from the pomegranate and some goat feta (like from Integration Acres, it’s fabulous) over local greens and top with a honey and fenugreek vinaigrette.   I know.  Fenugreek.  I encourage you to fill your spice cabinets a little at a time, preferably through bulk spice buying at places like North Market Spices, because my guess is you don’t have ground fenugreek in there.  Not too commonly called for in many Food Network recipes.  But if you hang around the Kitchen, I promise to show you lots of other ways to use it.  In fact, there are already a few up, do a quick site search to look them up.

Simple Greens, Pomegranate Arils and Goat Feta with Honey Fenugreek Vinagrette | serves four as a first course, or two for a lunch

3 T olive oil

1 T balsamic vinegar

1 t honey

1 t Dijon mustard

1 t ground fenugreek

Salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients.

3 large handfuls of greens (I love Honeyrun Farm), big pinch of fresh mint leaves

Arils from 1/2 a pomegranate (How to remove?  Ask Martha.  She knows everything.)

3 to 4 ounces of crumbled goat feta (I love Integration Acres)

Dress salad greens with the vinaigrette.  Divide between four plates, sprinkle the arils and goat feta.

Playlist included Holiday, by Vampire Weekend.

%d bloggers like this: