Sunday, February 19, 2012

Yes, those are Joe's Stone Crab claws.  Thanks to Rob for sending them for our dinner last night.  Also thanks to Jeff for bringing the rest of the Seafood, but more on that later...

This afternoon, I was wondering what, from the leftovers would be interesting for tonight's dinner.  I had been thinking about a cold Mussel salad all day since there were about a pound and a half of those amazing PEI Mussels left from dinner.  These are so clean tasting and briny and didn't require any prep at all before cooking them as my good friend Chef Victor Albisu demonstrated at his cooking class last summer.

Cast Iron Skillet Mussels

5 LBS PEI Mussels
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
8 minced Garlic Cloves
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
1/2 bottle unoaked white wine

Heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat until very hot.  Add the mussels, drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle the parsley and garlic over the top.  Scoop and stir the mussels using a spatula or two.  Pour the wine over the top and cover for a few min until they are done.  Discard any unopened bivalves.

Back to today...

SO I've got these crazy good cooked Mussels in the 'fridge and I run across this recipe for Cold Mussel Escabeche with Vinegar and Pimenton from José Andrés  and I KNOW they are going to be good, just on his name alone. 

And what do you know, I already have everything I need to make them, WOW, go figure!  So I start pulling them out of the shells and popping them into a bowl.  They kinda look a little like Lamb Fries in this picture.

And here they are in the finished 'marinade'

I couldn't resist tasting one, Oh My.  In the name of everything that is good and holy, these should be illegal they are so good.  Rich and oh so flavorful.  Truly decadent.  Truly...  I'm at a loss for words. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Superbowl Weekend

It's the day after the Superbowl.  Not that it matters much, but still, an excess of food and drinks over the weekend, culminating in a late Sunday night well, it just leaves one feeling, ummm. maybe a little guilty from the overindulgence?

Or maybe not...

I'd like to give a quick nod to Rosa Mexicano in Chevy Chase for having really the best fresh guac I can remember eating, as well as the pork belly and scallop tacos (nice happy hour, eh?).  I don't know how they will make it in their new location, $8.00 for valet parking, and just a mediocre margarita, those might be the deal killers...

Also to Chef Dennis Friedman at Newton's Table in Bethesda for his truly interesting and delicious 'Snappertizer' ( hey don't blame me, that is what Dennis called it!).  You need to try this crispy, crunchy red Snapper fillet. Yumm.  While you are there, say hello to Gunnar behind the bar, order a "Greg-Tini", which is my take on the elderflower martini, but with the flavor profile tweaked to perfection by expert mixologist Gunnar.  I have also recently been introduced to the Westlake cocktail here, a perfectly smoky and intense Bourbon based drink.  Trust me.  Thank me later...

Last shout out goes to Victor Albisu of BLT Steak, not only for fitting 6 us in during the height of the Saturday night dinner rush for a last minute change of plans, after we had a failed reservation at Fiola, but for all of the glorious food.  Here is an example of what we ate before the appetizer course:

On to today's interesting recipe.  I made some roast pork on the grill the other day and was trying to come up with something to do with the leftovers.  What to make, what to make???  Oh, a Cuban sandwich has roast pork but is that too daunting?  The authentic bread is totally unobtainable here in the DC burbs, AND I have no sandwich press.  Hmmm, on to plan B, maybe a rillette terrine?  Nope, not the right consistency or cooking method, etc.  Ham salad?  Nope....  

I mentioned my delimma to Cyn, who immediately piped up with "I have a sandwich press (of course you did, Cyn), and did you know that I have eaten many a Medianoche sandwich when I lived in Florida? It's my favorite!"  I should have known...  

Ahhhh, but the bread.....

Potato roll?  Nope.  Challah?  Nope?  King's Hawaiian Round bread?  OH YEAH!!!  Sweet and eggy, pretty perfect.

So here we go I warmed up the meats just because they were chilled and right out of the fridge.  Yes, I know, the pickles...

And on to the press we go.  No butter on the bread, don't kill it with pressure...

Sorry I don't have a more glamorous picture of the finished product, my head was spinning from the heady aromas from this grilled bread, melted cheese and warm pork thing on my counter, I just had to eat it, and that I did.  Every last morsel of it.  Is it a truly authentic Medianoche?  I can't really attest to that, but it was certainly close enough.  Warm crunchy toasty bread, melty cheese that blends with the yellow mustard.  Succulent earthy roast pork, salty cured ham, cool crunchy garlicky pickles...

A glorified grilled cheese you say?  Well, yes it is.  May I have another please...

2 - 3/4 inch thick slices of King's Hawaiian Round bread
Frenchies Mustard
4 slices Swiss cheese
3 Slices ham (I like the 'Danish style')
4 oz. sliced roast pork

Mustard, then cheese, then meats, then pickles in the middle.  Grill on your sandwich press until done.

I'm going to suggest that it goes pretty well with a cold beverage, Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick make several excellent ones, as does Dogfish Head.  Local is usually better, and in both cases here, it surely is....

Enjoy my friends.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Coconut Nutella Chip Ice Cream

Yep, just like the title says.  No, really.  Home made Nutella 'chips' and home made coconut ice cream.  OK, well, so here is the thing, I had been talking to Cynthia about this amazing Cinnamon Ice Cream that I once had, and have never even seen since.  She took it upon herself to buy me the ice cream maker that I had always wanted, but honestly, I think it was for her own personal gain at the end of the day.  HA.. I also have been yearning for this coconut soft serve with a chocolate hard shell dip that I once had as a kid in Rehobeth Beach.  I made the coconut ice cream for the first time, and added chopped up Hershey's milk chocolate.  It was so good, but not exactly what I was craving.  So, this week, I wanted to add that chocolate element but it needed to be something 'more' than just frozen chocolate 'chips'. I ran across these cookies and thought "OK, why not?", so I did.

Making the 'chips' was pretty straightforward
1/2 cup Nutella
1/2 cup Milk Chocolate Chips
2 Tbsp Salted Butter

Melt all together in a double boiler.  Spread on some parchment about 1/3 of an inch thick.  Freeze for 2 hours.  Chop into 'chunks'.  Mine ended up a little on the fudgy side, but still very workable and with plenty of Nutella flavor.

Then make and freeze your ice cream base in your appliance of choice. Add the chips for the last 2 min of the churn.  Wow is all we can say, this is crazy good.  It's just all that....

2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 Tbsp Coconut flavoring. I used the one Cooks Illustrated recommends.

Whisk the eggs heavily for 2 min.
Then whisk in the sugar in 3 additions.
Add the remaining ingredients, whisk then add to your ice cream machine.  Churn for the allotted amount of time.

Thank me now...