Tuesday, January 31, 2012
The Family Meal: Meal 20 - Cauliflower with Bechamel, Pork Ribs with Barbecue Sauce, Banana with Lime
Okay, I'm going to say it. I was scared that Chef Adria was reaching down into the American South for some inspiration. The South is quite a long ways from Spain. And I have a feeling that most of Chef Adria's interaction with our country has involved the coastlines, specifically New York and LA. So I was scared. So scared I used bottled barbecue sauce instead of braving the book's recipe. I might come back and try the barbecue sauce later, but I like that Chef Adria is fine with us using whatever makes us happy. So understanding.
This may be the least shopping-intensive meal I've made in a while. Maybe. Cauliflower was even on sale. A little half rack of baby backs was waiting in the butcher's case like it had my name on it. Banana? Banana? Yeah, that's not ubiquitous or anything. Shopping done.
Monday, January 30, 2012
Another first for me, the open-minded eater, tonight. How is it that I have gotten through life eating ostrich and camel and octopus, but not osso buco? Oh, right, the price. This dish was always in that scary part of the menu that my parents told me not to even look at. Because every dish was over $20. I think I just got out of the habit of looking at that part of the menu. Meh. But you know what? I'm an osso buco convert. A super-tender, almost sweet, rich-marrow convert. I think I need a better paying job.
Once again the fish mentioned does not swim in US waters. Or any waters that the US apparently trades with. So I used stripped sea bass again. Hey, it was a recommended substitute. And having fish shipped is basically impossible. This is where I draw the ridiculous-ingredient line, in case you were wondering. The veal was also a bit of a trip, as the butcher at Central Market didn't want to cut me the pieces I needed because I was asking too late and he had "already cleaned the machines", whatever that means. So, a separate trip the next day was required. I happily used up the remaining pineapple from the other night's dinner (remember the pineapple with molasses and lime?), so I was happy that wouldn't be something I would find a month from now growing a science experiment in the back of my fridge.
Friday, January 27, 2012
The Family Meal: Meal 22 - Peas & Ham, Roasted Chicken with Potato Straws, Pineapple with Molasses & Lime
I hate peas. My mom tries to convince me that when I was a baby, my favorite baby food was pureed peas, but I'm not sure I believe her. Those squishy little globes are the bane of my existence. I even pick them out of fried rice. Yes, I'm that bad. So why, I'm sure you're wondering, did I even bother to make this menu? That's a good question. Probably because I figure if anyone can make peas palatable, it would be Chef Adria. This is your last chance, Peas!
I got serrano ham from the deli case at Central Market. I couldn't believe I actually found ham fat, but there it was, near the serrano. It was labeled lardo, and it looked like it came from Spain. It was pure white and fatty looking. Good enough for me. I never thought I'd find ham stock, since I'm not going to make my own for 1/3 cup, but I got the last jar of Better Than Bouillon ham stock concentrate at Central Market. I bought the smallest chicken I could find, about 3 pounds, since I figured that in Spain, their chickens aren't the same steroid-enhanced super chickens you see in our meat sections. Everything else was pretty normal and easy to find.
Medium Raw, I will admit that I didn't until this past year. I either got a rotisserie chicken, or I didn't have roasted chicken. They never seemed to turn out right. The thigh was pink when the breast was done, or the breast was dried out when the thigh was done. Too much trouble. I even tried Mindy Fox's A Bird in the Oven and Then Some. It was pretty good, but not quite there. But this chicken was amazing. Tender and juicy, with a crisp and flavorful skin. And the gravy... I've never made gravy either. If it only gets better from here, I'll be set. The little potato straws were salt and vinegar flavored, which I originally had some concerns about, but the vinegar just blended into the lemon flavoring of the chicken juices, and all was right with the world.
Monday, January 23, 2012
The Family Meal: Meal 24 - Garbanzo Beans with Spinach & Egg, Glazed Teriyaki Pork Belly, Sweet Potato with Honey & Cream
Ah, bacon. Bacon makes everything taste better. I think you could even put it on dirt, and it would make the dirt taste awesome. So what could be better than a big piece of bacon, smothered in teriyaki sauce? Answer: nothing. I'm going to have to disagree with the whole lamb neck in, pork belly out. Pork belly is most definitely in. My stomach, that is.
Pork belly, despite its multiple years of chef-inspired fame, is still pretty much nowhere to be seen. I got my slab from the Chinese grocery, where it was much cheaper than the independent butcher who had some. Unfortunately, I had to buy a whole slab, but that's okay. That just means I have more pork belly goodness hiding in my freezer for later. The sweet potato, as you might notice when you scroll down, is not a regular sweet potato. I got a Japanese sweet potato in the vegetable co-op crate, so I just went with it. Everything else was easy to find.
Friday, January 20, 2012
When I first looked at this meal, my thought was....what? German potato salad, Thai curry beef, and Italian vinegar and strawberries. Very weird. How does one come up with this kind of combination? I'm wasn’t seeing the flavor complements. And I was frankly a little scared. I mean, there's a friggin' frankfurter in the potato salad. And yes, I used frankly on purpose. See what I did there? Groan.
Apparently Thai Kitchen does not make yellow curry paste. Just red and green. How do I know? I searched every grocery store in town. I finally realized I should probably try the Chinese market, and of course there was a tub of yellow curry paste sitting on the shelf. This cookbook is starting to feel like a scavenger hunt. Since I didn't want to use a regular ol' ballpark frank for my potato salad, I went to Kuby's and got a wiener out of their deli case. The little gherkins came out of the bulk deli pans (near the 30 different types of olives) at Central Market. Everything else was pretty normal.