Monday, December 29, 2008

Cheap and Easy

Money seems to be on everyone's minds these days and things are no different in our house. Less hours for me as catering enters the slow season means that I am trying to be a little more budget aware. Yesterday's dinner fit the bill. All I had to do was raid the freezer for my homemade yam gnocchi, some pork chops and sweet peas. I pounded the pork chops out, seasoned with salt and nutmeg, dredged in egg and then breadcrumbs, and fried in olive oil.
The yam gnocchi were blanched in a pot of boiling salted water. Once the pork was cooked, I tossed the gnocchi into the skillet, sauteed til crispy, then added half a bag of peas, a splash of Zinfandel and a grating of nutmeg. Easy. Cheap. And you know what? It also tasted good.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Menu For Hope

I was disappointed when I discovered that the deadline fro Menu for Hope was looming and I hadn't posted anything. But the deadline has been extended to Dec 31st! Please, check out the wonderful prizes up for grabs and make a donation. I know this is a harder year than previous ones, financially, but I like to remind myself that I am lucky to have a roof over my head and enough to eat when there are so many other without those necessities. Just don't pick the ones I bid on. I particularily want that culinary tour of London ; I will be there in April and would love to take advantage of a prize like that.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Cool Find

From Online Edits

I have been snowed under with work (and actual snow), but I had some free time tonight and while editing some photos, stumbled across this one, taken by my dad.

This photo barely survived my parents' fire and my mom scanned it along with over 500 others. I think the fire damage actually enhanced the beauty of this picture....

Friday, November 14, 2008


What is it? One of the best pork products yet! I picked it up from Oyama on Granville Island ~ I just cannot resist fatty hunks of pork and since my recent cholesterol test was mindblowingly good (the doctor laughed in surprise at the results), I figure I can give in to the occasional pork whim.
I googled guanciale before I went to write this post. I stumbled across a website called FXcuisine which discussed the magic of the pig jowl along with how difficult it is to find outside of Italy Now I feel really lucky!
Basically, Guanciale is a cure pigs cheek. It isn't smoked and the flavour is pretty incredible and porky. I have already explored several different uses. One was slicing it like bacon and serving with eggs sunnyside up for a lazy Sunday breakfast.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Delicious Duck

Remember that foie gras with cherries and Apricot Nectar? Well, I saved some of the sauce and the fat from the pan of foie gras. A week later, seared duck breast with the sauce spooned over it, wild rice and yellow beets with honey and cardamom.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Much debated Foie

Rob loves his foie gras. I enjoy it as well, but I can only eat so much of it, but Rob could probably gorge himself on it until his own liver resembled it! It is one of those hotly contested foods; considered cruel and disgusting by some, pure joy by others. I recently watched an episode of The Wild Chef where he travelled (yes, Em, if you are reading, that is how we spell it here)to a duck farm to check out production of foie gras. I am not going to rationalise or demonise the eating of foie gras, nor will I be swayed from my own personal take on it. Just this.

Brandy. Dried Cherries. Apricot nectar. Crisp brioche. A treat for Rob (I passed this time).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lest We Forget...

A day to remember those who have fought and are still fighting in service of their country.

Monday, November 10, 2008

For Mindy

Here, as requested, photos of a Westcoast fall. And Aggie, of course.


Sunday, November 09, 2008

Congee Success

I admit it. I am obsessed with congee. Whenever I am at Hon's, I order it for lunch ~ there is something so comforting about the warm rice "porridge" loaded with fresh ginger and green onion. At the Hon's in Chinatown, they add tangerine peel as well. And I always get it with chicken added ~ I should really try branching out...
Anyway, I always suspected I was capable of making my own version of congee, but never sure where to start. I have been battling a cold and Nov 4th found me at home with a box of kleenex, the US election coverage and a vat of chicken congee ~ homemade.

I started the day before by removing the breast and thighs from my chicken and throwing the rest in a pot with dried mushroom, onion, garlic and ginger and water. I made a stock which I then used as the base for my congee; 8 cups of liquid to 1 cup of shortgrain rice. I also threw in julienned fresh ginger, dried chinese mushrooms and some dried orange rind.
After simmering for about an hour (it may have been more) my desired texture was reached. I added strips of raw chicken and simmered till they were cooked through.
The first bowl was pretty good that night but the best was saving for the next day and reheating it. The flavours had mellowed and developed and I ate nothing but congee that day. Well until the results poured in and I broke down and had a celebratory glass of wine.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

West Coast Fall


Wild Salmon, Pine Mushrooms, Celery Root and Parsnip Puree and Sauteed Red Kale

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cooking for Priests


I was called back to do a couple of shifts for the priests and I was hunting for the perfect dessert. Some over ripe bananas on the counter were the jumping off point. They prefer food that is homey and simple, so I actually pulled this recipe from a book that I have had for a few years now: Kitchen Sense. A good basic cookbook that would be favourably compared to the Joy of Cooking. Recommended for those classic family pleasing recipes. I loved how the caramel Cream Cheese frosting was not too sweet. And the priests loved it as well. One asked me were I bought it.....
I have paraphrased the recipes as Davis' writing style is extremely detailed.
Here is the amazon link just in case.

Kitchen Sense

Banana Cake
Kitchen Sense, Mitchell Davis

1/2 cup unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the pan, at room temp
3/4 cup buttermilk ( I used the vinegar/milk sub)
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups ap flour
1tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract ( I also added 1/2 teaspoon maple extract)
3 very large ripe bananas (about 1 1/4 cups

Preheat your oven to 350F Butter and flour one 9x13 0r 2 9 inch cake pans.
In a small bowl, combine baking soda and buttermilk. In another bowl, mix the remaining dry ingredients.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar to form a smooth paste. Add eggs, one at a time, beating as you go. Stir in vanilla or whatever other extract you chose.
Stir in half of the bananas, half of the milk and half the dry ingredients. Mix until incorporated. Repeat. Pour into prepared pans.
Bake for about 30 mins (mine took longer, but I think it was because of the sucky ovens at the priests) until the cake has risen, browned, pulled away from the edges and springs back from the touch. Let cool for 20 minutes, run a knife around the edge of the pan and invert onto rack, allowing to cool completely.

Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes 2.5 cups

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups cream cheese at room temp
6 taplespoons unsalted butter at room temp

In a saucepan, combine sugar with 1/4 cup cold water. Set over medium high heat and stir to dissolve sugar. Bring to a boil and cook until the bubbles get slower, the syrup thickens, and the sugars start to darken. Swirl the pan to ensure that the caramelization is even. Keep swirling until the sugar has reached a dark mahogany colour. Remove from heat and immediately (CAREFULLY) add the heavy cream to stop the cooking. The caramel will bubble and froth, but keep swirling and stirring and it will settle to a rich thick sauce.Stir in salt and allow to cool to room temp (this will take about and hour).
In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, beat together the cream cheese and butter, scraping down the sides, until smooth and light. Beat in cooled caramel. Icing can be used as is or chilled to stiffen somewhat before putting on the cake.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Wild Rice and Celery Root Chowder


Believe it or not, I do still cook these days. Just not as often or elaborately as I would like to. This soup was a warm and comforting meal in a bowl and I had plenty of leftovers for the freezer.
Thank you to Lisa for sharing the recipe

Celery Root and Wild Rice Chowder


1/2 cup wild rice
1 pound celery root
2 large leeks, white parts only
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 celery rib, diced
1 cup thinly sliced russet potato
1/4 cup chopped parsley, plus extra for garnish
1 bay leaf
1 large Thyme sprigs
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups vegetable stock, chicken stock, or water,
2 cups half-and-half or milk
truffle oil, optional


1. Cover the wild rice with 5 cups water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower heat. Cover and simmer about 45 minutes until tender.
2. Thickly cut away the celery root skins, then quarter and chop the root into bite-sized pieces. You should have about 3 cups. Chop and wash leeks.
3. Melt butter in soup pot. Add the veggies, parsley, bay leaf, thyme, and 1 1/2 tsp salt. Cook over medium-high for about 5 minutes, then add stock. Bring to boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the milk and simmer until the vegetables are tender. Taste for salt and season with pepper. To give soup a creamy background, puree a cup of the veggies and return to the pot. (I actually added the wild rice at this point, then pureed a bit. That gave the soup a lot of body and really brought out the nuttiness of the wild rice.)
4. Divide the soup among 4 or 6 bowls and then add a mound of wild rice to each (See above, totally did not garnish w/ rice.) Garnish with parsley and a drop of truffle oil. (I did not have truffle oil on hand and it was just fine without.)

The Sandwich was made on Terra Bread Fig and Anise Loaf with 8 year old cheddar and Grand Fir Prosciutto from Oyama Sausage on Granville Island and was the perfect match to the meal.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Day 7 ~ The longest day

Morning of my second to last day in NY. I got up early, fighting my desire to loll about in my nice hotel room, and went for a walk looking for breakfast. I actually made it as far as the museum of Natural History, before turning back and eating at the Moon Rock diner a mere two blocks from my hotel (nothing like a 40 block trek to whet the appetite.)

I headed back to the Hilton, packed my bag and checked out, checking my bag at the luggage room. It was a little overcast and to be honest, I was getting tired. For days now, I had been walking the length of Manhattan and it was starting to get to me. So I cheated and grabbed a cab to the Museum of Natural History. Less than a minute after pulling away from the hotel, the sky darkened ominously. Another minute and thunder rumbled. By the time we passed Columbus Circle, the sky had opened up and thousands of gallons of water poured out. You think I am exaggerating?? I live in Vancouver, one of the wettest places around and I have never seen rain like this. It was 10 in the morning and it looked like 8 at night. Thunder shook the cab and lightening would brighten everything for a few brief seconds.

As we made our way to the Museum, I could see pools filling on the side of the road. It took less than 10 minutes to get there (maybe 15). The street in front of the museum was two way, so the cab driver had to pull over across from the main entrance. I paid him and jumped out. It was like leaping into a cold pool. I gasped for breath, my feet sunk up to my ankles in a puddle, water streamed over me. I tried to get my bearings and dashed across the road and into the safety of the museum. Less than 30 seconds and I was soaked to the skin. I stood in the lobby dripping, trying to decide what to do. I ended up buying a sweatshirt from the museum shop and changing into that. I wrung my hair out in the bathroom, emptied my shoes and wrung my socks out. I coat checked the shirt I had been wearing, hoping that a few hours of hanging would dry it out. Then I went to check out the museum.
I opted for a guided tour and I was glad I did. I think I got more out of it for that reason. But the Met is still my favourite and I wish I had spent more time there than the Natural History museum. Lunch was had in the bowels of the building at the museum cafeteria.

Some sort of mexican type meal....

I grabbed my shirt from coat check and stumbled out of the building. The sun was shining!! I walked back to the Hilton, grabbed my suitcase and took a cab to my final hotel on Washington Square Park. Beautiful building and I felt a little frisson of excitement as I noticed Babbo across the street.

I checked in. The room was small, but clean, comfortable and attractive, but I didn't have any time to enjoy it as I realized how fast my time in the city was coming to an end. I walked down to the Hilton at Ground Zero to pick up my cell phone charger (left it there when I stayed), then headed off for another ramble through downtown, sticking more to the east side of downtown. Then I wandered through Chinatown, Soho, Noho, Greenwich Village and West Village. I wish I had stayed in this neighbourhood the whole time; so alive and interesting. I found myself at a wine bar, sipping a glass of white, planning my first move for the evening. I remembered the recommendation for Kittechai, so I went back to my room, changed and made my way there. It was SO trendy it hurt.
trendy people at Kittechai
But the cocktails were fabulous and the food delicious. I ordered a drink with vodka, muddled pink grapefruit and red thai chilis, the food was an order of Kampachi sashimi. The service sucked, but I suspect that had more to do with my singularly not cool presence. From there. I wandered till I found an Italian restaurant. Another glass of wine, two more appetizer, obsequious service.

My appetizers were a tomato salad with burrata and some sort of octopus dish. Both well executed and tasty. I was starting to feel all warm and fuzzy at this point. I remembered another reccomendation, from my friends at Blue Hill. I had seen the oyster bar they suggested in the neighbourhood, so I made my way there. Lenny & Joe's, I believe it is called. The maitre'd was hilarious, some over the top flamboyant performer. He seated me at the bar and I ordered half a dozen oysters and a virgin mojito (what can I say, I was getting a little tipsy at this point.) I got to chatting about oysters and the west coast with the couple next to me. I told them about my indulgent eating and drinking ramble through the area. He asked me why I hadn't been to Babbo yet. I mentioned my distinct lack of a reservation. He told me I should be able to get in at the bar. I paid my bill and slowly ambled over to Babbo, psyched myself up and opened the door. From the outside, it looks so peaceful. Inside, it was warm, packed, loud. I asked about a possible seat at the bar. Half an hour wait. So I ordered a glass of prosecco, made my way to a corner and tried to make myself as small as possible (we are talking CRAMPED here.) I just watched people come and go for closer to 40 minutes. At one point, a group showed up 1/2 an hour late for their seating. The Maitr'd berated them and made them stand in a corner for ten minutes while he tried to find them a table. Then, a space at the bar and I was in. I ordered a half litre of red wine and a plate of beef cheek ravioli. The bartender was surprised that was all I wanted, but to be honest, I was pretty full and it was now roughly 10:45pm. The pasta was perfect. I cannot put it in words. Lets just say I reached ravioli nirvana. After that, I ordered dessert ( no idea why, or how I managed to eat it.) strawberry crostada with balsamic zabaglione amd balsamic syrup. As I had been enjoying my meal, the couple from the oyster bar appeared, obviously regulars as the bartender hailed them by name. A table was found for them, near the bar and jokes were bandied around. I loved sitting at the bar, what a FUN place to be.
I staggered out, drunk, full and delirious. I had to walk around the block a few times before pouring myself into bed. it was 12:30am

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Pork Tenderloin with Maple Glaze, Yam Gnocchi, Brussels Sprouts

New York Day 6

Remember me?? Yes, I know it has been a month since I updated. Life can get very busy here...

Where were we..... Ahh yes, day 6, New York City. I had spent the night in CT with Kathryn and her family. We got up early Sunday morning and took the scenic route to the train station (beautiful countryside). A few short hours and we were back in the city, heading for brunch at Sarabeths in Central park. Kathryn and I were joined by Greta and Stephanie and were seated promptly (thanks to Greta getting in line for us!). The portions were huge ~ I ordered an omelet with potatoes and bacon (or was it ham).

After a wonderful breakfast, chatting, watching the crowds go by, etc, we wandered through Central Park for several hours. It was a beautiful day and much more crowded than the last time I was there. The time flew by and before we knew it, Stephanie and Greta had to return to their families. (It was so nice to finally meet you both!). Kathryn and I made a token effort to do some shopping, but we were both suffering from some feet fatigue, so headed back to my hotel so I could check in. Imagine our surprise when we tried to cross Broadway only to discover a huge parade blocking the way. Apparently, it was a Dominican Days parade (loud and colourful). After managing to fight our way across, I checked into the Hilton in Midtown. My room was on the 20th floor and not bad considering the price. But the longer we were in the room, the more I noticed things. Like the black tape holding the shower head on OR the empty coffee station. Beggars can't be chosers though, so I was resigned to my fate. As we set out again for Penzeys and an early dinner, I noticed it was raining. Thinking that there might be a complimentary umbrella in the closet (there was at my last Hilton) I opened the door and looked around. No umbrella, but some stripey fabric on the top shelf.... I pulled it down to discover a pair of mens boxer shorts. On the way out, I stopped at the front desk;
"I was wondering if I could get the coffee station in my room refilled. And umm also could someone come pick up the mens underwear from the floor of my closet."
The desk clerk was mortified;
"Ewwww. Would you like us to move you to another room?"
"No, I don't want to be too much of a bother. If someone comes and gets it, that would be good."
"no, I insist, we will move you."
And just like that, I was on the 30th floor with a swanky suite that was obviously much newer and much nicer. I love the Hilton.
After a brief moving around of luggage, Kathryn and I set off again. On the way to the Grand Central Penzeys, we discovered this adorable Japanese pastry shop where I picked up a few snacks for later.

We ended up having dinner at a little Thai place near Grand Central, then I said goodbye to Kathryn as she headed home to CT and I went for a wander up Madison Avenue, looking in all the pretty stores along the way.

LAter that night, I left my hotel after dark and made the trek to Times Square. It was probably 10 or 10:30 and the streets were packed. The sky was lit up by all the signs and I could only take a few minutes of it before I had to duck away down another street. I ended up finding a little Japanese place and enjoying a late night glass of wine with a gorgeous looking (and tasting) hotpot.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Day 5 ~ New Haven

Oatmeal for breakfast; all that pork belly was starting to catch up with me! A crazy early morning taxi ride uptown to Grand Central Station and I was on the train to New Haven. The ride was an agonizing two hours trapped next to couple alternating between irrational fights and makeout sessions, compounded by the fact that I had coffee, juice and a grande latte before I boarded the train. And had no idea that there were bathrooms onboard. I was so happy to arrive at New Haven and see Kathryn and her gorgeous son Henry. We dropped Henry at home and then headed to a local farmers market. I scored a necklace from a local artisan and we picked up some veggies from one of the stalls for dinner.

From there, we went in search of lunch ~ a lobster roll

This was my first time eating one of these and I take back what I have said about not liking lobster in the past. So decadent and sweet. THis particular roll was just lobster meat drizzled with hot butter...
After lunch, we lounged for awhile before heading out for a little tour of Yale. I am a sucker for old buildings, so I really enjoyed wandering around the campus. Especially when Kathryn pointed out all the filming locations for Indiana Jones....

I took so many pictures of Yale ~ they are all up on flickr.

After Yale, we headed back to Kathryn's and made a wonderful dinner of grilled salmon and farmers market veggies, enjoyed al fresco. It was such a wonderful, relaxing day and such a nice contrast to the craziness of the city....

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New Blog

Just a quick post to flog a new blog that I enjoy very much (disclaimer; the blog is from my favourite local cookbook store)

Cooks with Books

I heard a rumour that there may be some deals to be had as well.....

Day 4 !

I slept in for the first time. After my trip to Blue Hill and all the walking in the 3 previous days, there was no way I was dragging myself out of bed at 6 am... It was also my last night in Chelsea, so once I had showered dressed I slipped out for a breakfast at a local cafe called Dish. The breakfast was just what it should be and the service was good. The best part was the price ~ cheapest breakfast since arriving in New York. I checked out of my room and started the walk to my next hotel, the Millennium Hilton ~ found on Priceline for 120$ a few weeks ago because my plans had suddenly changed.
I have no idea what possessed me to walk there ~ I should have been conserving my energy for later! My suitcase did a wonderful job, bouncing off of a curbs and out of potholes. I was particularly cranky as I reached the neighbourhood of Canal Street ~ hot and bothered and people keep shoving pictures in my face trying to sell me handbags, watches and sunglasses!
I finally reached the Hilton at 11 am and decided to check on the off chance that my room was ready early. It was and I was so happy to be in a full size room on the 17th floor. After my last place, it was luxurious. It had a bath! A huge flat screen tv! And earplugs to block out the 24 hour construction noise. My view was quite chilling.

I admit, I had a bath, then crawled into bed for an hour. I just needed to refuel. Slightly refreshed, I headed out to explore Downtown Manhattan. My first stop was the beautiful church next to my hotel. THe gravestones were for the most part completely worn away over the years, but one jumped out at me, probably because of our close proximity to ground zero.

I stepped into the church itself, a shrine to the workers and others of Ground Zero. After a minute or two, it just became too much and I fled, with a painful lump in my throat. I headed out into the maze of Downtown streets, the beautiful mix of old buildings and gleaming new ones. I was halfheartedly looking for lunch, but nothing was grabbing me. Without knowing how I got there, I arrived at the Staten Island Ferry. What the heck, its free, so I boarded and enjoyed the views of the statue of Liberty on my way over.

At the Staten Island end, we had to disembark and missed the return trip, so I grabbed a hotdog while I waited for the next ferry.
The return trip was all about the views of the Brooklyn Bridge and The Waterfalls, which I understood to be an art installation.
Back in Manhattan, I wandered some more, checking out Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange and grabbing a photo of Les Halles for my friend Mel.
Back at my hotel, I had a shower and a nap, before putting my party shoes on and heading down to catch a cab. My dinner reservation for tonight was at Tailor, recommended by one of my coworkers. I decided to cab it and had a thrilling ride, stuck in traffic for 10 minutes at one point. I turned out I was mere 2 blocks from my destination, but not knowing exactly where I was going, I just waited it out in the cab.
Tailor was wonderful! The decor was a very country asthetic ~ rough wood beams, stuffed chickens, rawhide on the tables, bare bulbs wrapped in wire ~ the food was anything but. I ordered a Kaffir Collins while I perused the menu. Settling on Marinated Fluke and Pork Belly with Miso Butterscotch and a glass of rose. I sat back and watched the room. I couldn't take pictures because the light was way too low and they would never have turned out. I also refuse to use flash in restaurants.
An amuse was presented to me, but as soon as the word "apple" came out of the servers mouth I was disappointed. "was the apple raw?" "yes". Damn, I had to gently turn it down. Seconds later, the server returned to inform me that my pork belly dish contained copious amounts of raw apple. I said I would just push it to the side (I had been looking forward to this dish since I first read the menu 3 weeks earlier).
THe fluke was delicious ~ a creamy salty sweet combination with shards of pineapple paper. The portions were generous and I wished I could share this meal with friends ~ I knew we would enjoy ordering almost everything on the menu and sharing little tastes.
The couple next to me were debating their choices and somehow, I found myself chatting with them. The next thing I knew, The woman was giving me her phone number "for next time" if I ever needed restaurant reccs. "Do not hesitate to call me" she said. People have been so incredibly friendly and helpful on this trip!
Finally, My pork belly arrived. The apple had been removed for me, so it was simply the pork belly and the miso butterscotch. My notes are funny at this point;

Oh. My. God. This pork belly kicks all other pork belly ass. For the record, this is the 3rd time in 3 days that I have eaten pork belly. I may turn into a pig...

I really had no idea until that moment that I had been loading up on the pig ~ probably a good thing I was walking so much every day! Anyway, the pork really was the most tender piece of meat I have ever eaten ~ so many people don't quite hit pork belly, but this had it all, including the crisp of the skin and the creaminess of the meat. And the miso butterscotch? I could eat that on everything! A perfect balance of salty and sweet. I could also see where the raw apple would be a perfect foil to the richness of this dish.

Brave (foolhardy) woman that I am, also ordered dessert and a dessert wine. I selected a Banyuls Dessert wine and the "French Toast". A single stick of perfectly crispy brioche with a creamy interior. Raisin puree very thin on the plate with raisin paper draped over. Brown butter ice cream. Warm maple gelee. Caramelised bacon bits. I could feel my heart seizing at the richness, but it was so damn good!

A wee bit tipsy on food and drink, I set out to explore the neighbourhood a little (Tribeca/Soho). The woman next to me had recommended a place for an after dinner cocktail called Kittechai. I couldn't find it (probably a good thing) it turned out later that I had walked right past it within a minute of leaving the restaurant. After about half an hour of walking in my sexy shoes, I had enough and sat down to switch to the flip flops in my purse.


Then back to the hotel to call Kathryn and set up my trip for the next day.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Omnivores 100

a post to break up the over the top New York action.... I got it from Wandering Coyote

Here’s what to do:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros

4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans

25. Brawn or Head Cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam Chowder in Soudough Bowl
33. Salted Lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac
37. Clotted Cream Tea
38. Vodka Jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat

42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth $120 or more (
46. Fugu (AKA pufferfish)
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut

50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores

62. Sweetbreads
63. kaolin just wanted to clarify. I don't think I have tried this, but I suspect we all have "A more recent, and more limited, use is as a specially formulated spray applied to fruits, vegetables, and other vegetation to repel or deter insect damage. A traditional use is to soothe an upset stomach, similar to the way parrots (and later, humans) in South America originally used it.[6] Until the early 1990s it was the active substance of anti-diarrhea medicine Kaopectate."
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain

70. Chitterlings
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost or brunost
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang Souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom Yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. 3 Michelin Star Tasting Menu
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose Harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole Poblano
96. Bagel and Lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Blue Hill at the Stone Barns Farm

If you ever have the opportunity to eat here, seize it. I am so glad that I decided to take the chance and book something that was a bit of a trek from the city.
I think I left you all at the table as I decided to have the Farmer's Feast. I also threw myself at the mercy of my wonderful server and asked him to bring me whatever wine he deemed appropriate. I polished off the Elderflower Royale and swapped it out for a glass of Riesling from the Finger Lakes area of New York State. (I just want to add as an aside that I carried a Moleskin City Diary with me on this trip and I used it at every opportunity. The notes from my Blue hill dinner are a little hard to read, but i can feel the xcitement just reading the little half phrases I scribbled on the page...)
The first item at the table was the signature Vegetables on the Fence. I swear they were dressed with a light vinaigrette. The baby carrot was smaller than my baby finger, just to give you an idea of size. They tasted like the earth, the way vegetables should., And it made me laugh...
I didn't get a photo of the face bacon, the next offering, but Ed Levine of Serious Eats has a great shot of it...

The corn that I saw the chef smoking earlier? It arrived at my table in the form of a beautiful chilled smoked corn soup. I will admit to a geeky thrill as I realised that I had actually seen this prepared earlier...

The next offering didn't wow me quite as much, probably due to the fact that I ate it all wrong and ended up with smoked kale shrapnel all over myself and the table....

The mini tomato burger was out of this world and a harbinger of what was to come... Pure tomato flavour, what I suspect was chevre and an almond flour based burger bun. I could have made a meal out of these alone.

The final amuse was a miniature summer squash wrapped in pancetta, coated with sesame seeds and fried. Like a little piece of meaty salty candy....

As I finished up my amuse, a couple was seated at the table next to me. The guy had obviously been here before and I started eavesdropping a little to see what he had to say about the restaurant. He told his wife they had to order the charcuterie and I silently kicked myself for not having thought of that..

My disappointment was quickly forgotten as the first dish arrived; marinated bluefish with pigs ear and caviar. The bluefish was at once creamy and salty and the pigs ear and caviar added a wonderful crunchy texture. I tried to savour each bite, but it was gone way too fast, along with my lovely riesling. Mindful of the fact that I had to navigate the train back to NY that night, I told my server that I would have a different wine, but I wanted to just have one more glass. He presented me with a wonderful Gewurztraminer.

THe next course was a warm tomato tart. The base was watermelon, topped with goast cheese, bacon and chunks of beautiful heirloom tomatoes (another server had brought a platter of tomatoes around moments earlier and given me a mini lesson on varieties... very cool). My first bite was delicious, but the second... welll, I hit the hidden nugget of tomato water sorbet. The tomato flavours exploded with the shock of the temperature change. I think I may have giggled to myself....

During this time, i had also struck up a conversation with the table next to me. Turns out they also loved food and he was a produce supplier for a lot of manhatten restaurants...

Another tomato dish arrived from the kitchen ~ a salad with water cress, tomato gelee, fresh tomatoes and creamy fresh burrata cheese. It was somewhere around here that I realised that the Gewurtz that I had switched to was made for tomatoes..

A soft boiled egg, panko'ed and deep fried, floating in a flavourful broth with the last of the season's peas.

Eggplant Parmiggiana with a rich tomato caper sauce ( I actually broke out the bread at this point to soak up the wonderful sauce).

The delicious looking Berkshire pigs from the field finally made an appearance on my plate., The quartet of pig (loin, sirloin, boudin and belly) were accompanied by tiny little nugget potatoes and fresh ratatouille. (scribbled in my book? WOW. Underlined three times...)
Dessert came in two parts. I had finished the Gewurtz, so asked my charmingly perfect server fro a dessert reccomendation. He presented me with a Tesauro Recioto Di Valpolocella 2004 (it was so good, made him write it down for me).

First dessert was a plum soup with apricot sorbet.

Second dessert was Roasted apricot with basil sorbet, yoghurt and blueberries....
I was so happy, so content and SO FULL. I happily signed my life away on my credit card and stumbled out to my waiting taxi. I can only hope that I will be able to eat their again one day....

As a bonus, my cab driver for the return trip was wonderfully gregarious and took me on the scenic route back to town and the train station. I got to see the beautiful Pocantico hills countryside and it cost me a dollar less than the trip out to the farm.Somehow, I made it back to my little room in Chelsea to collapse, on sensory overload and completely exhausted....