Friday, February 29, 2008
I read about this dish a couple of weeks ago on the New York Times website in an article by Elaine Louie in her "One Pot" series that appears in the Wednesday dining section. She adapted it from Manhattan caterer Irene Khin Wong whose mother in Myanmar would make it for breakfast or lunch. Khin describes it as a fusion of Indian and Chinese cuisines: "The Chinese brought the noodles, fish sauce and bok choy, and the Indians brought the curry". Very easy and rewarding, I thought it was absolutely delicious with its complex, savory flavors. With the bok choy, chicken, and noodles, it's like having all three dinner staples...vegetable, meat, starch...in one dish. Last night I doubled the recipe because I was, as seems to be my alarmingly regular state, quite hungry, and we finished it off with no problem. I see it as a great main course for a light dinner, or a really attention getting first course for an Asian dinner party.
*** *** ***
adapted from Irene Khin Wong
time: 30 minutes
6 tablespoons canola or other vegetable oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
7 ounces fresh Asian noodles or dried egg noodles
5 ounces skinless, boneless chicken thigh meat, cut into slices 1 1/2 inches long by 1 inch wide by 1/2-inch thick
1 medium onion, diced
1 1/2 teaspoons (about 2 cloves) minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons fish sauce
8 ounces baby bok choy, cut lengthwise into pieces 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide
1/4 cup peeled, finely slivered carrot
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
2 to 4 lemon wedges, for serving.
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon oil and a sprinkle of salt. Boil noodles until barely tender, 2 to 4 minutes. Drain, rinse thoroughly under cold water and drain again. Set aside.
2. Season chicken pieces with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; set aside. Place a medium skillet over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons oil. Add onion, garlic and ginger, and sauté until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add chicken, curry powder, paprika, fish sauce and 2 tablespoons water. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until chicken is cooked, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat and keep warm.
3. Place a large skillet over medium heat and add remaining 3 tablespoons oil. Add bok choy and sauté until wilted, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add carrots and noodles and sauté until well heated, 2 to 3 minutes. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
4. To serve, divide noodle mixture between two warm plates. Top each portion with half the chicken mixture. Garnish with cilantro and lemon wedges.
Yield: 2 servings.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
First off, at 1pm, I had to make my way to downtown PDX and drive around the block twice to find a parking spot a 1/2 block away from Bluehour, where I was expected to sit through a four course wine tasting lunch featuring four Italian winemakers who were in town with their importer to flog their wares. Did I mention this was my day off? So I trudge in, find a seat among others who sacrificed pieces of their own lives, and listen to these winemakers talk about their, well, admittedly stellar wines while being forced to consume a first course of Kumamoto oysters followed by a plate of strozzapretti pasta with a gorgonzola dolce sauce. Then, as if I hadn’t given enough of myself already, they actually had the temerity to bring out a plate of grilled lamb loin chops over slow cooked polenta (that lovely plate of meaty goodness above), while the wine server just would not stop filling my glasses with Valpolicella Ripasso and Amarone. So instead of being home relaxing, I find myself having to rush through a final course of artisan cheese with a single-vineyard Amarone Reserva because I had to hustle off to yet another appointment.
Luckily my next “work” appointment was only about four blocks away, so I was able to steel myself to walk upstairs at Masu Sushi to be confronted by this....
And yet more of this....
For god’s sake, how much am I expected to put up with?! A sake tasting with endless sushi? Didn’t they hear I was just at a four-course lunch?? Can’t these wine suppliers at least ask me about my schedule? How much do they think I can eat and drink??? Give, give, give...it's all I seem to do, all so that others may drink better at the wine shack. I can only hope my hard work and dedication pays off................
Sunday, February 24, 2008
As I read it it was staggering to think these young men, all under 26, were facing situations that are so far beyond our imaginations. An awesome reporting job.
** as a reminder again, you can sign up at the New York Times website, http://www.nytimes.com , and read the paper for free us by registering your name and email. It's free...and spam free. Do it!
Friday, February 22, 2008
w and I went last night and neither of us had been for a long time. In my case a couple of years at least. We arrived at 7:30 and were seated in their very comfortable, yet on this night sparsely populated, dining room. A couple of cocktails were ordered to get the party started...w ordered their Persephone, a fairly acceptable riff on a pomegranate cosmo, maybe a little heavy on the pomegranate juice. I had the Anna's Ginger Drop, which was stellar. A not shy dose of gin, ginger purée, and lemon juice that was both attention getting with that ginger snap and refreshingly balanced. Checking out the menu, how the 3-course deal works is you pick one item from three columns of offerings: a beginning, middle (a pasta selection), and entrée. There's something for everyone here, and w started with their radicchio salad (bottom at left) which was really well presented with a lightly creamy poppy seed dressing, comice pear, and a slice of Humboldt Fog cheese. I opted for their sweetbreads (top at left), which consisted nuggets of this glandular delight on top of a crostini, which was slightly over-toasted, surrounded by a pool of savory mushroom sauce. We were both smiling after these, especially knowing we still had two courses to go.
In anticipation of goodness to come, we had our very nice server pop the cork on a bottle of 1998 Sportoletti "Villa Fidalia" Reserva that I brought from home ($16 corkage fee). This was an Italian cab blend that was drinking absolutely perfectly, silky smooth, complex...very yummy! Tabla's wine list itself had some pretty good value going for it too, and seemed to have choices that would fit any budget, plus some nice by-the-glass choices.
Our "middle" dishes arrived shortly after. All their pastas are house made, and I had the rabbit ragu on tagliatelle that was delicious. w opted for their tajarin with truffle butter and grana padano. Now we were spoiled by the ethereal tajarins we had in the Piedmont of Italy last year and also the version made out at PDX's own Alba Osteria. The Tabla style was a bit disappointing. We would've liked to see the pasta cut a bit more thinly, and the truffle butter sauce tasted much too strongly of truffle oil, becoming almost bitter on the palate. The quality and cooking of both pastas was perfect though, not too done with a nice bit of al dente texture.
Then it was entrée time, and again we really were impressed. Again, very generous portions. Mine being their shredded boar shoulder (left) topped by a crusty slice of sautéed polenta with a just right sprinkle of blue cheese. Really succulent, with a slightly spicy sauce to counter the richness of the boar and polenta. w's plate of duck confit (below) was equally impressive, crispy on the outside, perfectly moist inside, served with chive mashed potatoes and a port poached orange. Duck confit is one of the great all-time food inventions, and the Tabla offering, again in the context of this 3-course meal, where sometimes expectations are lowered, was excellent.
After all that savory deliciousness, we had to have something sweet. And since we couldn't decide between the Panna Cotta with amarena cherries and the Carrot Cake made from local grower Gen Thiel's carrots, with walnut bits and a maple cream cheese frosting, we said the hell with it and had both. And both, I'm happy to say, were sweetly satisfying. The carrot cake was the standout and something we both would look forward to having again.
Bottom line, the only real miss was the tajarin. Overall this was an excellent night out, and for just $24 each for the first three courses, it has to be one of the most incredible restaurant dining values in town.
E.D.T. Rating (out of 4): Food-3.0; Value-4
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Last night I really wasn't motivated to make much of anything, but knew that on the way home from the wine shack I had to stop at the store to get something, as during an email exchange about 4:30 I had promised w there would be some sort of sustenance on the table that night. I had been having thoughts of risotto for the last couple of days, so that was my starting point. I went online at epicurious, popped in a risotto search, and came across a couple of butternut squash risottos that looked intriguing. They both had gotten good reviews, and I frankly picked the one I did because it was simplest. So with a quick stop at New Seasons, some chopping, roasting, and pureeing, a little tweaking of the original recipe, and a modicum of stirring produced one of the most satisfying risottos I've EVER tasted. I mean this dish rocked hard. The kick from the ginger melded perfectly with the sweet/savory roasted squash, and mixed with creamy risotto this was absolutely stellar. Plus the color was stunning. I can't wait for my next dinner party as I feel a showstopping first course coming on. Give this one a spin, because the unexpected pleasure to be derived will exceed all your expectations!
note on the picture: the topping in the pic are parmesan curls that the recipe called for. Well, my parma didn't exactly do the curl thing, and we both thought that a light sprinkling of cheese was a better way to go anyway.
*** *** ***
Butternut Squash Risotto
adapted from epicurious
can be prepared in 60 minutes or less.
serves 4 or 6 as a first course
1 butternut squash (about 3 pounds)
32 oz. chicken broth
1 small onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
4 large garlic cloves, sliced thin
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh gingerroot
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
Salt and fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Finely grated Parmesan
Garnish: chopped fresh chives and Parmesan
Preheat oven to 450°F.
1-Halve squash lengthwise and discard seeds. Peel one half and cut into 1/4-inch dice and toss with a light coating of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Put remaining half, cut side down, in an oiled shallow baking pan with diced squash and season with salt and pepper. Bake squash in middle of oven, stirring diced squash occasionally, until tender and browned lightly, 15 to 20 minutes. (the chopped squash should be dome at this point. Remove from pan and set aside in bowl. Pull out and check 1/2 squash. If not done, leave in oven another 5-10 minutes). Holding halved squash in a kitchen towel, scoop out flesh and puree in blender. Add a few splashes of chicken stock to help blending if necessary.
2-In a saucepan bring broth and water to a simmer and keep at a bare simmer.
3-In another saucepan cook onion, garlic, and gingerroot in butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in rice and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Add wine and cook, stirring, until absorbed. Stir in 1/2 cup broth and cook, stirring constantly, and keeping at a simmer throughout, until absorbed. Continue simmering and adding broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and letting each addition be absorbed before adding next. When rice is al dente (not too soft, with a nice chew) stir in diced and pureed squash. Add more stock as necessary for a creamy texture and remove from heat. Add salt to taste.
4-Spoon risotto into shallow serving bowls and garnish with chives and a light sprinkling of Parmesan.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Settling into our seats at the bar, we knew coming in we had to order some fresh shucked oysters, especially at a mere dollar each. Plus an order of their salty, satisfying truffle oil fries (below). While we waited for our appetizing appetizers, we ordered some refreshing adult beverages. w had their Henry II, a mix of bubbly, Clear Creek pear brandy, and a salted almond floating on top. I had the intriguingly named Alaska (above), which I would estimate was about 2.5 ounces gin, maybe 1/2 oz. yellow chartreuse, and a dash or two of Regan's orange bitters (see pic below) served up. w was so-so on hers (after tasting it, I had to agree. Seemed a little heavy on the brandy.). I really liked my libation though, especially that eye-pleasing green tinged color and pleasantly biting bitterness. Our fries and brine-a-licious oysters followed soon after, and both hit it just right. Looking over the happy hour menu, I was also intrigued by the Daily Charcuterie Plate at $6. I know they cure all their own meats, having seen several different chubs curing in their wine room on a previous visit, and our waitress told us it was a great deal, considering that on their dinner menu it is about $15 (with an added slice of pâté). Loving all things porky and, I was all in on that one, so we ordered it up, and what a freaking great deal! Five different samplings of their wares, all really delicious. Definitely put this on your list of future indulgences!
The Daily Charcuterie Plate of all things porky and good!
ADD Ten-01: While we were enjoying our afternoon treats, we noticed a flyer for a new lunch deal they instituted a couple of weeks ago. Monday through Saturday they serve a three course $15 dollar lunch that looks like an amazing bargain. An appetizer, entrée, and dessert for fifteen bones is a steal, especially considering the food quality these guys seem to be pumping out of the kitchen! I'd love to hear from anyone who's experienced it.
The Ten-01 bitters lined up on the bar. Can you say "we take our mixology seriously!"
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Friday, February 15, 2008
Okay, are we clear? Then I guess it's okay to tell you about what have become known around our parts as "crack olives" due to our complete inability to stop eating them once we open a can. "Them" refers to these wonderfully flavorful ovoids commonly called Novia del Sol Anchovy Stuffed Olives. I discovered them while ordering from our local specialty food wholesalers Provvista Foods, and it seems that our crowd can't get enough. Spanish green olives that I'm sure are lovingly stuffed by hand (it must be by hand, right? A machine couldn't possibly give this much food love.) with a ground anchovy concoction, not too strong, that are the perfect pre-dinner nibble with some manchego cheese and a cocktail or three. A speaking of cocktails, these are PERFECT martini olive. Three of these gems lanced by a pick and soaked in gin for a few minutes....ahhhh....just thinking about it makes me want to start shaking up a batch.
Locally here in Portland you can get these all too addictive tidbits at Pastaworks. For the rest of you, all I can say is your next martini deserves these. If you truly can't find them, let me know and I'll ship some off to you!
UPDATE 2/15/2009: Should you need to get them, and you DO need to get them, I now carry these delights at VINO. just give me a call or email (email@example.com)
Thursday, February 14, 2008
A little background....I've been selling John Thomas' legendary pinots for over ten years. This cat makes pinots that have all the other winemakers in Oregon shaking their heads in awe. He has a tiny four acre vineyard that he tends himself. He makes a measly 350-400 cases of the most Burgundian-styled American pinot noir you can find. John himself is one of the nicest, most self-effacing people you could ever hope to meet. And oh yeah, mags are pretty much impossible to find. I always hook my sis and I up with a big bottle or two, just for the feelings of security and goodwill the engender, and that is why we were able to share this staggeringly great pinot noir at dinner. Six people plus one magnum is my kind of equation. This '99 Thomas was phenomenal. It kept changing again and again the longer it was open. Easily among the best Oregon pinots I've ever had, it took on about six different personalities throughout the meal. The kind of earthy complexity you virtually never see in American wine of any kind. Really incredible, and if any of you find yourselves fortunate to ever share some Thomas Pinot, you'll know what I'm saying. Thanks for the sharing moment KAB....Happy birthday to us, I guess!!
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
The pernil after (top left) and before cooking (left), all rubbed up and ready to go.
The occasion for this big bit of hog heaven (and tiresome cinematic references) was my sis's birthday dinner, which she kindly consented to let me cook for her. I already had my main course agenda planted in my mind ever since reading Bittman's story about a dish called Pernil, which is Puerto Rican spice rubbed, slow roasted pork shoulder. As soon as I read about it (and watched this video), I knew I had to make it....and soon! I really do love large hunks of animal, and luckily I have a large number of enablers who are always more than willing to help me explore this passion. With side dishes consisting of Puerto Rican rice and a bacalao and onion salad (which were both perfectly stunning accompaniments) provided by our friends J&K, this was can't miss. Although I had never cooked this particular meatiness before, I had to believe Bittman's comment that "the process is beyond easy and incredibly impressive, it feeds as many people as a medium-size ham, and the flavor is unbelievable." And it was. Crazy tender, succulent, beautifully flavored from the spice schmear and the fat that had been rendering into the meat for the six hours it spent in the oven. I don't care if I ever see another lean, bland pork loin, because it doesn't even come close to the flavor of the shoulder. Plus, our 8.5 pound piece of piggy cost a mere $17.00!! The bang for the food buck is off the charts. For those of you who have a hard time accepting compliments, this might not be your dish. But for those who love the lotion like me, try this at home next time you have a table of six or eight waiting to be wowed, and let the food love wash all over your deserving ego.
J's fab Puerto Rican rice with sneaky bits of pork loin!
Oh, and did I mention the wine we had with dinner? No? Well, wait until tomorrow.......
*** *** ***
from Mark Bittman/NYT
Time: At least 4 hours
1 pork shoulder, 4 to 8+ pounds (or use fresh ham)
4 or more cloves garlic, peeled
1 large onion, quartered
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves or 1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ancho or other mild chili powder
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil as needed
1 tablespoon wine or cider vinegar
Lime wedges for serving.
1. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Score meat’s skin with a sharp knife, making a cross-hatch pattern. Pulse garlic, onion, oregano, cumin, chili, salt and pepper together in a food processor, adding oil in a drizzle and scraping down sides as necessary, until mixture is pasty. (Alternatively, mash ingredients in a mortar and pestle.) Blend in the vinegar.
2. Rub this mixture well into pork, getting it into every nook and cranny. Put pork in a roasting pan and film bottom with water. Roast pork for several hours (a 4-pound shoulder may be done in 3 hours), turning every hour or so and adding more water as necessary, until meat is very tender. Finish roasting with the skin side up until crisp, raising heat at end of cooking if necessary.
3. Let meat rest for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting it up; meat should be so tender that cutting it into uniform slices is almost impossible; rather, whack it up into chunks. Serve with lime.
Yield: At least 6 servings.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Bravo to you, David, not only for today's moment, but for telling a far larger truth!
Saturday, February 09, 2008
On the other hand, there are some sneak previews that are SO worth attending. Case in point was last week, when my pal Kevin Sandri, he of all things cart-ish and delicious at his Garden State food shack here in PDX (on SE 13th and Lexington across from the wine shack) teamed up with his wife, the lovely Shannon, and his produce/chicken purveyors Mike and Jill Paine of the über-cool Gaining Ground Farm, home of all things fresh and organic (here's a link to a great video about the farm). The purpose of the night's epicurean endeavors was a trial run of their soon-to-be rolling family style suppers that will take place at various locations around our fair city (don't worry, I'll keep you informed). w and I were most fortunate to be on the guest list, and along with twelve other eager eaters we settled in for what turned out to be an example of community building at its best. Which is the point of what Kevin, Shannon, Mike, & Jill are trying to accomplish. Just good, organic, super fresh ingredients, prepared and presented, along with copious quantities of wine and conversation. What better way to get to know new people, exchange ideas, laugh, and most importantly eat great food prepared and served by people who just get it. Here was the menu for this night's launch party:
* Homemade crackers with goat cheese and homemade jams
* Leek puree with beet chips
* Potato and kale galette
* Winter greens with bacon thyme vinaigrette and poached egg
* Braised Gaining Ground Chicken with Satsuma & rutabaga
* Cheesecake with lavender sea salt shortbread and Jill’s late summer honey
* Lemon and rosemary tea
Virtually everything came from Jill and Mike's farm, and I don't know if I've ever experienced food that presented itself in such a fresh, immediate fashion. It was really an awesome experience. Very cool to be able to hang in the kitchen with our cooks, talk about the food, their ideas, feeling the passion for what was happening at that moment. And of course the food was absolutely nails. Everyone was swooning, and sitting around one long table in Shannon and Kevin's cozy living room (with one of the only indoor rock walls you'll ever see!) with food and bottles of wine being passed around....crazy fun! It was the perfect setting, and if this coming attraction preview was any indication, I'll be salivating until the premier!
Here's a few pics of the night.....
Mike and Kevin, looking cool & collected before the onslaught.
Winter greens salad and the braised Gaining Grounds chicken entrée....huge yums!
Shannon and Kevin working it.
Jill looking for relief from the tragedy that is an empty glass, and the rest of the table expressing our gratitude with glasses full!
Thursday, February 07, 2008
TEN-01: There has never been a restaurant in Portland to rise Phoenix-like from the ashes like Ten-01. I wouldn't have bet a plug nickel on their chances after the scorched earth reviews it received upon opening. I mean, it was brutal. And deserved. Well, my how times change. About a year ago they hired the very talented Jack Yoss to take the helm in the kitchen, and ever since this ship has been moving in the right direction. Very seasonal, farm-to-table food. We went there for a boy's night out recently. Eight guys, all of whom know their way around the kitchen and have eaten more than their share of meals out. The bottom line was we were all uniformly impressed with everything we had, and we ate our way through most of the menu. where there was hardly a weak spot in evidence. It was a few weeks ago, so I'm sure the menu has changed some, but from that meal and the buzz on the street, this has to be on your hit list. It has an elegant, yet comfortable feel. Kelly at the bar is absolutely nails, too, making several satisfying libations from various in-house infusions, and more importantly a rock solid martini! I also respect the kitchen's appreciation of foie gras in several dishes, especially in these food intolerant times when far too many chefs have caved to the demands of food Nazis who don't have a life of their own, so they feel the need to tell us how to live ours. And major props to my man Anthony for hooking us up with an off the menu treat that night in the form of some crazy good raviolis. Fucking awesome.....you rocked it, dude!
BASTA'S: Time was I used to go to Basta's all the time when they first opened. Then I moved out of the neighborhood, other eating opportunities caught the attention of my roving palate, and Basta's kind of slid to the back burner. w and I made a much overdue trip their before the symphony about three weeks ago, and now I'm kicking myself for staying away. The space in the former Tastee Freeze is cozy as ever. Owner/chef Marco Frataroli is really hitting it right now in the kitchen. Everything we had was delicious. The calamari was spot on, my all-time favorite pasta from back in the day, the fettucine al' anatra (duck pasta) was on the menu as a special, and it was exactly as delicious as I remember. w had the cioppino (pictured...via the camera phone!) and it was beautifully presented, really stunning to look at, and very well prepared....fresh, with a bright, flavorful broth. And Basta's all-Italian wine list is also a treat, with loads of choices at way more than reasonable prices, easily one of the best value lists in town!
CASTAGNA CAFE: I've mentioned my love for virtually all things Castagna several times. On a recent trip they had yet another thing to put on my "Foods I Crave" list, a freakishly good appetizer (left) of roasted shrimp, garbanzos, and garlic in olive oil. Another "Oh my f-cking god" moment, and I grabbed some bread and sopped up every last savory drop of sauce. So good. If it's not on their appetizer list when you go, let's badger them to get it back. Crazy stuff!!
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
The good thing about hummus, besides how freaking easy it is, is you can throw almost anything into the mix and it works. Roasted red peppers, sundried tomatoes, olives, some feta, whatever works for you. Quick, cheap, and delicious...three adjectives I can get with anytime!
*** *** ***
2 cans chickpeas
1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste)
1/4 cup sesame oil from top of tahini container
2 cloves garlic
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste1 tablespoon ground cumin
Juice of one lemon, or more as needed
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
In a food processor, blend first six ingredients together. Add water as needed to make a smooth puree. Taste and add more garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper as needed. Turn into serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil and paprika. Serve with sliced baguette/rustic bread, pita, crackers, or vegetables.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
*** *** ***
Broiled Chicken Legs w/ Gremolata
from The Dean and Deluca Cookbook
8 chicken legs, boned, skin left on (you can do this yourself by cutting through the skin lengthwise to the bone and scraping down the leg until the meat comes free, then removing any attached bone or cartilage. Easier still is having your meat counter person do it, which they will happily do- BB)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley
1 medium to large garlic clove, finely minced
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1- Preheat broiler. Brush both sides of chicken legs with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange on broiler pan, and turning once, cook for approximately four minutes per side
2- While chicken is cooking, prepare gremolata, mixing ingredients together in a small bowl.
3- When chicken is done, arrange on platter, sprinkle gremolata lightly on top of legs, saving some gremolata for the table. Serve immediately.
Monday, February 04, 2008
*** *** ***
adapted from "Dean and Deluca Cookbook" and "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking"
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup diced celery
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 pound ground beef (pref. ground chuck)
1/2 pound ground veal
1/2 pound ground pork
1/4 pound chicken livers, chopped
1/2 cup whole milk
2 cups canned San Marzano tomatoes, chopped with juice
1 1/2 cups beef stock
1 cup dry white wine
freshly grated nutmeg
1- Heat olive oil and butter over moderate heat, Add onions and sauté u7ntil opaque, about 8 minutes. Add chopped carrot, celery, kosher salt, and pepper and cook for 5 minutes.
2- Add ground beef, veal, and pork and crumble with a wooden spoon. Cook until meat is no longer pink, ad add chicken livers and milk (the milk is Marcella's idea, she says: "cook the meat in milk before adding tomatoes and wine to protect it from the acidic bite of the latter". Makes sense to me. -BB). Simmer for five to ten minutes until milk is mostly evaporated away.
3-Add tomato sauce, 1 cup beef stock, and white wine. Stir well and simmer, uncovered, over very low heat (an occasional bubble should break the surface) for 1-1/2 hours. Add remaining beef stock and simmer for another 1-1/2 or more hours. Add nutmeg and adjust seasonings.
Cooks note: some chefs, myself included, like to add a little cream at the end to finish the sauce. Thickens it up slightly and seems to ad just the right richness. Marcella recommends fresh tagliatelle, which we had. Also good are DeCecco penne and fusilli.
Saturday, February 02, 2008
As we were sitting at the bar at Castagna Café here in Portland last night, enjoying a slurpy good bottle of Rabasse-Charavin Cotes du Rhone "Les Cailloux" (a great French red made by the marvelously named and über-talented Corinne Couturier), we were reminded of this charmingly done French animated short, aptly titled "Les Cailloux" (trans: "the rocks"), my friend Bizbob posted on his since-deceased blog about a year and a half ago. So good, the only problem being you'll be wandering around the house for days with the tune stuck in your head!
Friday, February 01, 2008
*** *** ***
adapted from Jason Wilson/The Washington Post:
Though cocktail snobs will turn up their noses, the classic Cosmo actually is a very good cocktail. The problem is that it's become obscured by dozens of variations, most of them ranging from bad to ridiculous. Spirits columnist Jason Wilson recommends a good-value citrus vodka.-JW
2 ounces citrus vodka
1 ounce orange-flavored liqueur, such as triple sec, Cointreau or Grand Marnier
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1 ounce unsweetened cranberry (or pomegranate) juice
1 lime wedge, for garnish
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the vodka, orange liqueur and juices; shake well and strain into a cocktail (martini) glass. Garnish with the lime wedge.