Posts tagged ‘fall’

September 26, 2010

Japanese Crepes from Foodie Cart

Columbus, as the locals all know, has a fast growing number of food carts and food trucks.  PK loves Foodie Cart.  

Sweet people.  Tasty, creative crepes.  And a devoted following

Within two minutes of setting up, a healthy line had already formed, thanks to lots of followers on Twitter and FaceBook.


We sampled the two sweet crepes, not having room for the Tigertree BLT with E&C.   Sigh.  Next time, hopefully. 

We sampled the Azuki Stick and the Kabocha Pumpkin


The Azuki Stick was filled with azuki beans, strawberries and shredded mozzarella.   Nice, nice.  Very nice. 

Azuki Stick with strawberries and mozzarella.


And then the heavenly Kabocha Pumpkin Mont Blanc.  It was like Japanese pumpkin pie in a crepe.  Silky pumpkin, baked meringue and whipped cream.  

September 23, 2010

Thursday Night Turkey, via Slovenia

Poseidon is somewhat of a world traveler.  After spending some time in Slovenia, he brought back with him a delightful way to incorporate turkey into a weekly menu.  He first came across this dish at the restaurant Julija on Ljublijana’s Main Square.  It’s a very typical and traditional Slovene dish, but with Italian notes (after all, Venice is just a stone’s throw).  Turkey and game are more popular there than chicken.  Why not consider a turkey breast for your weeknight meal?  It’s not a lot of work (season the ingredients and toss them in the oven, make a quick sauce), but it’s a lot of flavor.

Julija’s Fennel Turkey with Gorgonzola Bechamel, Roasted Brussels and Potatoes

For the Turkey:

1.5 lb. boneless (skin on!) turkey breast

1 T fennel seeds

2 cloves garlic, minced

8 to 10 fresh sage leaves, chopped

Olive oil, salt, pepper

Combine the fennel, garlic and sage then stuff under the loosened skin on the turkey breast.  Drizzle breast with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Place in a roasting pan and put in a 400˚ oven for approximately 50 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer reads 165˚.

For the vegetables:

8 to 10 brussel sprouts, trimmed

2 medium red skinned potatoes, cubed

Salt and pepper

In a bowl, combine the Brussels and potatoes and season with salt and pepper.  Arrange on an oiled baking sheet, place in a 400˚ oven (along with the turkey) for approximately 30 minutes, or until vegetables are browned.  Shake the pan once or twice during roasting to evenly brown.

For the Gorgonzola sauce:

2 T butter

2 T flour

¼ c heavy cream

¾ c milk

 2 oz gorgonzola or blue cheese

In a small sauce pan, melt the butter over low heat, then add in the flour, stirring to eliminate any lumps.  Cook for one or two minutes.  Whisk in the cream and milk.  Add the cheese and stir to melt.  If the sauce is too thick, add in a bit more milk.  This should only take 3-4 minutes.  Set aside, keeping warm until you are ready to serve.  (Or should you just pour the whole thing over some macaroni?  Perhaps another time…)

To finish the veg:

2 slices bacon, chopped

Apple cider vinegar

To finish the vegetables, cook the bacon in a large pan over low heat until crisp.  Add in the roasted brussels and potatoes, along with a splash of apple cider vinegar.  Stir to incorporate, cook over low heat for a minute or two.

Serve with Hedges C.M.S. White, from Washington State.  It is a shockingly good pairing.

PK tip: be careful, if you have leftover bread in your pantry, you may be tempted to eat the rest of the Gorgonzola sauce out of the pan as you’re cleaning up.  Well, that’s not really a tip.  It’s something to do.  And come to think of it, I recommend it.

Tonight we listened to Hang with Me, by Robyn, amongst other things.

September 22, 2010

At the Noodle Bar with Mr. Bob Harris

When I first saw Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation, it took me somewhere I’d never been.  Those beautiful shots, that dreamy music, the insomnia, discovery and wistful alienation not only transported me to Tokyo, but somehow soothed me as well.

I think Bob and Charlotte might’ve shared a dish like this one night between pachinko and karaoke.  It’s simple, but the Japanese flavors, as always, are sneaky in their complexity.  Take your time making it, and take your time eating it.

Sofia’s masterpiece shows us that the unfamiliar can be scary, but that’s always outweighed by new experiences, new acquaintances, and maybe some lessons learned.  Best of all, it gives us some time to think, daydream, or escape.  Again, this may seem complicated, but it’s really only 4 relatively easy steps.  So just organize your mise en place and relax.  These are calming flavors.  You’ll make a beautiful dish.  Most importantly, if only in your mind, you’ll take a wonderful trip.

Charlotte’s Maguro with Somen, Leek Broth, and Crispy Squid

Serves 2

2/3 – ¾ lbs. of Sashimi-grade Tuna steaks

2 “bands” of somen noodles

For the marinade:

2 generous tablespoons of sake

2 generous tablespoons of soy sauce

1 clove of garlic, finely diced

1 teaspoon of mirin

1 squeeze of lime juice, but yuzu is ideal

Combine the marinade ingredients in a shallow bowl, give it a stir, and set it aside for now.

For the broth:

1 heaped tablespoon of miso

3 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of mirin

1 tablespoon of rice vinegar

a small drizzle of sesame oil

1 leek, white and light green part only, thinly sliced

3-4 shitake mushrooms, stems removed, thinly sliced

1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated finely

In a saucepan over low heat, add the liquid ingredients.  Then whisk in the miso.  Make sure to whisk until thoroughly incorporated, so as not to leave any clumps.  Then add three cups of water, and bring it to just below a simmer.  Finally, add the ginger, mushrooms, and leeks, and set it on the back burner on low heat until you’re ready to serve.

For the Squid:

2-3 small squid, (cleaned, bodies only)

¼ cup of Panko

1 cup of vegetable oil

Pinch of salt

Cut the squid crossways to make rings.  Place the rings in paper lunch bag or small Ziploc bag with the panko and a pinch of salt and shake.  Heat the vegetable oil to 350˚ in a very small sauce pan and carefully drop in the rings.  They will turn golden brown in about a minute or ninety seconds.  Remove the rings onto a paper towel to drain and sprinkle with a little salt immediately.  Be careful not to eat them all before dinner.

Then get the noodles started.  Somen noodles only take about three minutes in vigorously boiling, unsalted water to cook. 

Sear the tuna.  You can make the tuna on your grill, but since its only cooking for about a minute on each side, this is probably overkill.  Instead, just get your grill pan super hot, lay the tuna in (unseasoned), and sear, for about a minute on each side.  Please do not overcook this fish or it will become mealy and horrible.  A note to the novice:  the fish will be a beautiful red/pink on the inside – and that’s how we want it.  (Red if you’re using yellowfin, pink if you’re using albacore.)

Let it rest for a few minutes and slice into ¼ inch pieces.  Then place these pieces in the waiting marinade for about a minute or two on each side.  This has the advantage of giving you time to plate.

To serve:  Place two ladlefuls of broth in the bottom of a shallow bowl.  Heap the noodles atop the broth.  Then arrange the tuna slices atop the noodles.  Finally, sprinkle the bowl nonchalantly with the crispy squid rings.

Serve with at least one Asahi Super Dry.  Please, seriously, do this.

Playlist included Shugo Tokumaru’s whimsical Parachute, and of course the LiT Soundtrack (nerds, I mean serious fans like me, have the bound, deluxe edition).

September 12, 2010

Gameday in the Underworld | Lamb Tagine

I knew it was game day, I just didn’t make the traditional food for it.  This is a novel spread for fall football entertaining because (well, it features lamb, but also!) each of these can be served either hot or room temperature.  If it’s not your thing, give these dishes a try on a fall weekend when your favorite team has a bye.

First, tagine of lamb (we used lovely little lamb chops).  This is a simplified version of a Claudia Roden recipe from Arabesque.  I prefer to have my lamb a bit more on the well-done side, so braises suit me well.  To braise, I first seared the chops with a garlic clove and a couple of shallots in a tagine, then added some of the lamb stock we made last weekend and then a handful of almonds (roughly chopped) and a handful of dates.  Let it cook for about an hour and a half to two hours over really low heat.  This method gave it a really lovely sauce and the chops were surprisingly tender for such a short braise.

Side dishes included roasted eggplant, tomato and bell peppers (just used a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper and a 400˚ oven for about 25 to 30 minutes).  Afterwards, give it a mix with a few dashes of cumin and some ground sumac if you’ve got it.

Make a quick sauce by caramelizing a whole onion, sliced in thin rings, in a bit of vegetable oil.  Once the onions are caramelized, add a drop or two of honey, some salt and pepper and use either an immersion blender or a food processor.  Puree until smooth.  This thick sauce is great with the lamb, but it could be nice with any number of other meats, some sage-y roasted pork perhaps.

Then I made couscous.  I think it’s kind of funny how much I enjoy making this.  It’s like how your mom has a potato salad recipe memorized and the only way you can learn is by watching her. “Oh honey, I don’t know, keep adding the mayonaise until it looks right.”  Great, thanks, Mom.  (Don’t take that personally, Demeter.)  Here’s an attempt to get a recipe down for this fast side that can be served warm, room temperature or cold.

Warm or Cold Couscous

3 cups couscous (not the Israeli, we used Rice Select tricolor)

3 cups liquid (water is fine, chicken stock is nicer)

½ c olive oil

1 orange (zest and juice)

3 T cumin

1/8 t of rose water, if you have it

¾ c currants or raisins (golden or plain jane)

4 green onions, thinly sliced

1 c. grape or cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered or larger tomato cubed

½ c. pine nuts( toasted is nice, but not 100% necessary)

Handful of fresh parsley and mint, finely chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Bring the three cups of liquid to a boil, then whisk in the couscous.  Remove from heat and cover.

In a deep bowl, whisk together olive oil through rose water, a generous couple of pinches of salt and 20 twists of fresh ground pepper.  Add in the raisins through mint and parsley and whisk again.  After ten minutes or so, remove the lid from the couscous and using a fork, fluff the couscous and then add into the deep bowl with the dressing.  Mix well.

At this point you may need to add a bit more olive oil or cumin or salt or pepper.  PK tip:  This is where taste, remember, season, taste again comes into practice (I think I originally read this in Ruhlman’s Soul of a Chef).  You’ll do this a lot as you begin to cook more without a net, so to speak.

Serve with a 2004 Grenache from Orvene Winery.  It’s a stunning, affordable pairing available from our friends at Vino 100 down in the Short North.

An unusual menu for a game calls for an unusual playlist.  Today’s included old Cocteau Twins and Bjork’s Hyperballad.

PK thanks Cronus for today’s photography.

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