Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Schnitzel Whisperer

Chicken breast cut into even, horizontal thirds with my sushi knife, and pounded yet thinner still. Egg, breaded, fried.  Before I got the hang of it, I kept the oil too hot, and I had to bread all the cutlets in advance so I could keep rotating fresh chicken in to keep the temperature down.  Now I use a lower temperature, and can bread the cutlets as I go along and feed the kids at the same time (they sit on stools at a butcher block to my back as a cook).  Multitasking through a a couple pounds of cutlets and feeding the kids, I said 'just LOOK at this!  I am the f*ing Schnitzel Whisperer.'

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Friday NIght Chicken

In 'Kim', Rudyard Kipling describes chicken 'stewed to rags with prunes and olives'.  I keep it in mind for Friday night chicken -- though I didn't have prunes and olives last night.  Two (or three) kinds of soy sauce, and strawberry jam are the staple ingredients.  And Kosher chicken, 'cause it's shabbat.  Simmer long and slow, and broil to crisp.

Roasted Mixed Root Vegetables

I made these last night, for a guest.  Coarsely chopped jacket potato, sweet potato, parsnip, and peeled clove garlic roasted at 500 degrees.  Olive and canola oil, salt and pepper.  Chopped sage, oregano, and thyme from the garden just after they come out of the oven.  Personally, I like just potatoes better because they get all crispy.   

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Perfect Sicilian

OK, no one's ever going to agree on the single platonic perfect for food.  But if you accept versions of perfection, I offer:  Sicilian style fish soup, which originated as an eight pound whole cod I picked up from the wholesaler down the street.  It was baked much like the haddock below, with root vegetables and heads of garlic for the soup.  I set the meat aside, and used the cod frame to make a fish stock that gelled like, well, jelly.  Rich mouthfeel from the collagen.  Let it sit 24 hours with oregano and thyme from the garden.  Fed to people chilly from a walk on the beach.  

Note the loaf of Virgilio's semolina bread ('bread of the fishermen'... I like the end piece best).  Food stylist credit to Eileen Fielding.  The chopsticks, meanwhile, are for eating the salad.  It feels more like using my fingers.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Baked Haddock

Bought a fresh haddock, about 5 pounds, from Connelly's Seafood in Gloucester.  Basted it with wine and olive oil during roasting, and served with root vegetables in herbs from the garden.  Haddock salad rolls the next day.

Hand Cut Smoked Salmon

You can't beat it.  Less than $11.00 a pound at Connelly's seafood in Gloucester, cut into paper thin strips cut with my sushi knife.  Since capers are too damned expensive, I use finely chopped sharp dill pickle and it answers just fine.  In fact, I've come to like the pickle better.  This salmon was served with fresh, toasted 'everything' bagels from Kupel's in Brookline, MA.  Food of the gods.

Exploded Codfish

My locavore version of yam pla dook foo (Thai exploded catfish salad).  I used big cortland apples from Marshall's farm stand instead of green papaya, and cod trimmings from Connelly's seafood instead of catfish.  

Deep fry and tease apart the cod until it's reduced to crackling.  Julienne the apple and dress with fish sauce, lime juice, hot pepper, and palm sugar.  Serve the fish cracklings and apple salad separately, and mix just as you eat them.   This dish has met to rave reviews from my most discriminating friends, and I have been requested to make it for guests this weekend.  Shout out to Bret Thorn, who introduced me to exploded catfish (and plenty of other tasty stuff) in Bangkok.

Sushi and Steel

 A shout out to Shinichi Watanabe (watanabeblade.com) for the intro set that taught me about japanese knives.  And the boys from CLAW.

Anyway, here's my hand at sushi.