Man, it wasn't the heat, but the humidity that was pretty bad for a while there, eh? I'm from Hawaii and it still drove me crazy. And I just saw that we're in for a bit more the next couple of days.
One of my favorite dishes during our recent trip to Spain was Salmorejo, a thick puree/soup made up of tomatoes and thickened by bread. It's the bread that makes this look almost like a thick carrot soup.
It is served cold, like gazpacho, but is much richer and thicker. It was one of my favorite items in Spain. It's usually topped with finely chopped Serrano ham and coarsely chopped boiled egg. I really didn't feel staying the kitchen and boiling some eggs so I went with some finely chopped prosciutto ends; which you can buy at Bristol Farms. They sell it cheap. It's hard and waxy, but does well as salad topping when chopped finely. I added some cucumber and red onion and a few small, thin slices of Serrano peppers from the yard.
Here's a photo of my favorite version from Madrid (I'll get to the post one of these days):
It was much more refined than what I made. I based this on a recipe from the late Penelope Casas' fine cookbook; 1,000 Spanish Recipes. It's an easy recipe. And a refreshing dish....of course, the more ripe the tomatoes, the better the flavor.
1 1/2 (approx) Cups Country Bread (I used a leftover baguette) crust removed, cubed
1 1/2 pounds very ripe Roma tomatoes, peeled and seeded
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup Arbequina extra virgin olive oil or something that you enjoy
1 tsp white wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Finely chopped Serrano Ham Hard Boiled Eggs Coarsely Chopped
1 - Soak the bread in water for about 3-4 minutes, then squeeze dry
2 - Place tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, and half the bread in a blender/food processor.
3 - Start the blender and add in the olive oil until smooth
4 - Slowly add in the rest of the bread until the desired texture is reached
5 - Season with salt and pepper to taste
6 - Refrigerate at least an hour - I've found that this does taste better the next day.
To serve, ladle into a shallow bowl, top with ham and eggs, add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
It took us 21 hours to get back to San Diego. The next morning it was time to restock. Among the stops was Nijiya. I was shocked to see truffles in the produce case. I probably shouldn't be surprised as over the years Nijiya has had seasonal items like fresh chanterelles.
So no, that's not a turd. It's not super fragrant, not like what we came across in France. It was 8 bucks for something that works grated on the microplane over eggs.
Which gave me the idea of doing a locomoco....but it couldn't be just any loco....
Sooooo.....long story short, ground wagyu from Bristol Farms, I have frozen veal stock in the freezer, dried porcini in the cabinet, shallots on the counter.
And all those basic skills everyone who cooks should have; how to cook an egg, how to make a burger, and how to make a simple pan sauce. Shave truffle on egg and...say no more.....
So it was time to "go loco, or go home"! Or maybe....go take a nap?
So here's the deal.....there are times when I think Tommy at Catalina Offshore will actually recommend something as a bit of a challenge. Something I haven't heard of....with some hint....in this case it was "the texture is like pork....but the flavor is mild".
I'd really never heard of Cobia....this version was wild caught.
What Tommy told me was "the texture is like pork....the flavor is mild...so go for it smart guy....."
So what I did was a nice seasoning with Kosher Salt, Spanish Paprika, granulated garlic, fresh ground pepper, and Turkish oregano.
The glaze was Balsamic Vinegar and Agave Syrup.
After seasoning, the fish was coated with potato starch(katakuriko) then pan fried.
At the end, you remove from heat and add the glaze.
I haven't done one of these in a while. So perhaps it's time for another recently consumed post. We've been eating fairly simple and grilling and smoking quite a bit. The Missus loves roasted vegetables. But man, it's been so hot....I really don't feel like having that oven on. So what we've started doing is roasting vegetables on our Weber after a grill session. It's get's nice and hot. I'll get some of the small wood chips and soak it in water and throw it on the charcoal.
Using the carry over heat form the grill session, this works out real well. You just need to stage the vegetables.
I'm finally finding the time to cook a bit on weekends. So the Missus get's Her fish again. In recent weeks, the Monchong at Catalina Offshore has been excellent.
But it was the sculpin that Tommy told me that I "had to get" that was the real winnah! I seasoned it with cumin, harissa, ghost pepper salt, etc..... Dusted it with potato starch.
Good lord this was good.
The Missus likes organizing potlucks at work....easy to do when I have to do the cooking, right? So they recently had a Mexican food themed potluck and the Missus had me make my Carne Guisada (with chicken).
Now folks are asking for the recipe......they must have enjoyed it. The Missus came home empty handed.
And, like I said, we've been using the smoker a bit.
It'll take longer to read this post than to actually make this. But first, a word from our legal department:
Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness.
Now that we got that out of the way....yes, I use raw eggs...well, egg actually, for this.
I also use an immersion blender and a Ball Jar.
The eggs are either pasteurized or the best we can find - pasture raised and all that. I also use whole eggs, which makes this much lighter than just egg yolks. As for the science; if you love that kind of stuff, get Harold McGee's classic - On Food and Cooking.
I've read where having all ingredients at room temperature, but I've done this with cold eggs and mustard and the results has been fine.
If you've been reading my posts on Portland, you should know that it would only be a matter of time before I made this. The Missus loved the Radicchio Salad at Tasty N Alder so much, we went twice. The Missus wanted to go on our last morning as well, but they opened a bit too late so we ended up somewhere else. I knew that Chef John Gorham, has a cookbook out named after his Spanish inspired restaurant; Toro Bravo. Taking a quick look at the Amazon page for the book; I quickly saw "Radicchio Salad" in the index....so guess what? I bought the book. The recipe for the salad at Toro Bravo is different from what is served at Tasty N Alder. The book version is dressed with a vinaigrette....though I like the idea of macerating onion in the vinegar for added punch. I'll surely use that idea later on. It also uses a tapenade and is served with baguette. The version at TNA is dressed with mayo with slices of bacon; they call it lardons, but it's a pretty wide slice of bacon. All was not lost however, as there were two take-aways from the recipe in the book; using a microplane to grate the manchego cheese, which makes it light as air and which allows the cheese to incorporate itself into the dressing adding another layer of flavor. The second, soaking the radicchio in ice water to remove some of the bitterness. This was key. The Missus had never taken to radicchio because of its bitterness. In addition, I decided to make my own mayonnaise, a light, whole egg version.....which I call my "three minute mayo".....like it says, it takes about three minutes to make and is very light and creamy. I also mixed in 3 tablespoons of rendered bacon fat for that extra kick. I'm thinking you can add some anchovy, or some extra acid component if desired. The Missus enjoys this version.
So here's what I made......four times in ten days!
This is what we had twice at Tasty N Alder.
Radicchio Salad (Inspired by Tasy N Alder):
3 slices thick cut bacon
1/4 Cup Mayonnaise (I make my own very light version with whole eggs)
3-4 Tb Rendered Bacon Fat
1 tsp Agave Syrup Salt and Pepper to Taste
1 Radicchio (about 3/4 pound)
1 cup Manchego Cheese grated with a microplane
2 boiled eggs crumbled (optional)
- Cut radicchio into four and remove core portion. Cut into 1 inch pieces. Separate leaves and soak in ice water for 30 minutes
- Slice bacon into 1/2" wide slices. Cook slowly to render off bacon fat and let bacon crisp. Let bacon fat cool but not harden
- Combine mayonnaise, bacon fat, agave syrup. Taste and add salt a pepper as necessary. Chill.
- Drain radicchio and spin dry in a salad spinner. It's important to get the radicchio faily dry. This will let the dressing coat it evenly.
I recently mentioned being able to take time for a proper lunch on weekends again. Some of this means doing "component cooking", which is creating parts of dishes that can be put together in different combinations.......stuff that I used to do in a previous life a zillion years ago. Anyway, this is based on another recipe, used to create a sauce that keeps for a week or so and can be used in different ways. The one thing I've learned is to start this in a cold pan, versus dumping all the stuff with butter into a hotel pan over a couple of burners, which is what used to take place way back then. Maitake....or Hen of the woods mushrooms and shimeji mushrooms keep their shape and earthy flavor throughout the process, so this is a good sauce for composing dishes....like say....a Pan seared monchong, smoked potato-brussel sprout saute, maitake - porcini sauce, kinda thing....
Like I learned in my "hannabudda days" of cooking....it's all about prep, though I didn't realize it at the time.
Maitake - Porcini Sauce:
1 head of Maitake (Hen of the Woods) Mushroom, cleaned, trimmed, and separated 1 head of Shimeji Mushroom, cleaned, trimmed, and separated 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushroom 2 cups warm water 2-3 tb Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2 tb minced shallot 1 tb grated garlic 1 tsp dried oregano 1/2 tsp dried thyme salt(truffle salt?) and pepper to taste 3 tb Creme Fraiche
- Steep porcini in the warm water for 20 minutes - Place maitake and shimeji mushrooms into a cold pan - Turn heat to medium high - Allow the mushrooms to carmelize for 3-4 minutes mixing occasionally - Remove porcini mushrooms from soaking liquid - Strain porcini liquid - Add Olive Oil and shallots to pan - As mushrooms soften, add porcini, garlic, oregano, thyme - Once fragrant, add 1 1/2 cup of the porcini soaking liquid - Lower the heat and reduce by at least one-third - Taste and add salt and pepper - Remove from heat and thicken with creme fraiche
No, I'm not calling it "dat kine" Barbecue, because a certain company has trademarked that name. But, much like my Teri Beef recipe, most folks back home have their own version of this.
Over the years, I've come up with a certain formula for this; one-third cup sugar, one-third cup sweet alcohol, one-third cup of a syrup type liquid to one cup of Aloha Shoyu. Oh yes, there's one-third cup of water....grated garlic and ginger juice. The water prevents the product from getting too salty....I've left chicken to marinate in this for up to 36 hours.
Each of the "sweetening" component will add its own little imprint on the dish. Currently, I'm enjoying things a bit sweeter, going with Dark Brown Sugar, Mirin, and Agave Syrup. There's even more you can do with this "base" - like adding guava jelly (perhaps a future post), fish sauce (delici-yoso).....
You get the picture, right?
Local Kine Teriyaki (Barbecue) Chicken:
1 1/2 - 2 1/2 pounds chicken. I prefer boneless legs/thighs. Note that you can double-triple, the amount of sauce. I've done as much as 12 pounds of boneless skinless thighs with four times the marinade. Think in terms of volume rather than weight. You want to make everything is covered by the marinade.
1 Cup Aloha Shoyu
1/3 Cup Sugar - Dark Brown/Light Brown/Turbinado/Palm/White
1/3 Cup Mirin/Vermouth/Dry Sherry/Bourbon
1/3 Cup Agave Syrup/Honey/Mulyeot (Korean Malt/Corn Syrup)/Maple Syrup
1/3 Cup Water
1-2 Tb Grated Garlic 1Tb Ginger Juice
Other Stuffs: 1 Tb Good Quality Sesame Oil, 1-2 Tb Sake ,1/4 Cup Fish Sauce, Scallions
- Combine All ingredients except the water and chicken
- Remove 1/3 cup of the combined sauce
- Add water - Add chicken
- Marinate 6-12 hours
- Grill or saute
- Use the 1/3 cup removed earlier to baste/drizzle on/or to put on rice.
I think I've mentioned that things have been pretty busy recently. After our trip to Seattle, I took only Christmas Day, New Year's, and one Sunday off. This means, either eat out (I even worked almost a full day when we did the 30th Street stumble), or make simple things at home....because, well, I'm kinda fried on certain days. Which means that if I do cook, I just want it to be a simple prep and go......
On the Sunday I took off, I was a smoking/grilling fool. I actually bought a six-and-a-half pound turkey breast, brined it and smoked it.
It took a good long time and I thought it was going to be dry as heck, but man, it turned out really well with just doing an overnight brine in water, kosher salt, brown sugar, and some of my rib rub. I used my standard poultry rub on it, mopped it with apple juice, finished with a combo apple juice and agave syrup.
We actually finished the whole darn thing in a week!
I also smoked some sausages I bought, tomatoes (yummy), potatoes, chicken liver for Da' Boyz.....you name it, I just made sure to use every single bit of those coals up.
Strangely, the Missus's favorite thing was to mix cubed smoked turkey with avocado, extra virgin olive oil, Maldon smoked and sea salt, black pepper, some cayenne and smoked paprika. She could just eat the stuff by itself or on a salad. I tried it one night.....you can tell it's mine since the Missus doesn't eat bread at home.....or even out these days.
I used the turkey in dishes that actually looked like breakfast........like this pseudo hash using the smoked potatoes, Kale and Chard form our yard...and eggs of course.
Sometimes it seems that doing these hash-scramble type dishes for dinner really works out well.
Having everything on hand makes things easy and I'm pretty fast at prep. To the right is a smoked merguez, smoked tomato, smoked potatoes, and onion scramble.
One thing I have missed, is not being to stop by Catalina Offshore. But finally, this Saturday, the Missus requested some fish....so I went to Catalina before heading off to work.
Oh, do you notice the Missus's current favorite veg? Right now, She's wanting Romanesco at least once a week. Coated with sea salt and olive oil and grilled with a drizzle of lemon juice. Stir fried....whatever. It's all about this broccoli that costs a mint. Well, at least we're eating our vegetables, right?