Friday, June 26, 2009

Grouper with Heirloom Tomatoes and Potatoes

No food porn here, but I did make a delicious dish last evening: Grouper fillet roasted over sliced heirloom tomatoes and small white potatoes. Since I am in Florida, the grouper fillet was local caught and looked delicious at Whole Foods. It is tough buying food and vegetables here because it is off-season and there aren't that many people around buying groceries. I am amazed at how stores like Whole Foods and Fresh Market survive these off-seasons since they have to put enough fresh food (meat, fish, vegetables, etc.) on the shelves to avoid looking like an Eastern European food market during the Cold War, but balance trying not to overstock.

The fillet was large enough to probably feed three people and was simply seasoned with salt and pepper. I set the oven to 400 degrees on the roast convection setting. I cut up the small white potatoes into 1/3 inch slices, coated in olive oil, and seasoned with salt and pepper. The potatoes were roasted first on their own and after about 15 minutes, I added the sliced heirloom tomatoes on top of the potatoes and the fillet on top of the tomatoes. After about 20 minutes, the juices from the tomatoes have started to run and the grouper will be cooked. To serve portion out the fillet, put sliced tomatoes on top of the portions, and pour the juices on top.

Tender, juicy, fresh - a delicious and easy way to serve a meaty, flaky, white fish.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Summer Clouds in Florida

Summer in Florida? Hot, steamy, lots of storms. Using my iPhone, I caught the following picture of a late evening lightening storm.

Flying into Fort Meyers:

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Saturday Night Dinner

After a lazy day on the couch, I decided to get some fresh air and head over to Chelsea Market to pick up some provisions. What started out with an idea for a simple pasta turned into a three course meal: tuna belly tartare, bruschetta, fresh parpadelle pasta with sardines.

My original thoughts for dinner were simple Italian, but the tuna belly at the Lobster Place in Chelsea Market looked so glistening and fantastic, I had to buy some. The tuna belly tartare was simply prepared with:
- diced tuna belly (sushi grade)
- diced one half of a jalapeno
- diced one half of an avocado
- 1 teaspoon mayonnaise
- dash sriracha
- drizzle of white truffle oil
- Hawaiian red alae sea salt (to taste)
It was served with asian black sesame and soy sauce crackers. A fantastic combination of creamy, slightly spicy, cool, refreshing, clean flavors.

After the tune belly tartare, it was back to my original plan of Italian. Simply toasted Amy's whole wheat bread, rubbed with a garlic clove, drizzled with a peppery olive oil, dressed with chopped tomatoes and julienned basil, sprinkled with Cypruss black sea salt flakes, and drizzled with olive oil again. I had envisioned biting into hot toast with a perfect taste of good olive oil bursting from the toast and this did not miss the mark.

I had some leftover ingredients, so made a quick bruschetta on a spoon - a flavorful bite of tomato, basil, salt, and olive oil.

The pasta was my original plan even before heading out to the market, but I really wanted fresh parsley to finish the dish.
- fresh parpadelle pasta
- chopped yellow onion
- garlic
- red pepper flakes
- can of Matiz sardines
- lemon juice
- lemon zest
- dry white wine
- fresh breadcrumbs
- dash of anchovy fish sauce (Colatura di alici di Cetara)
- fresh parsley chopped
- salt and pepper

A perfect pasta dish paired with the Firriato 2007 Altavilla della Corte Grillo. The pasta was a lovely combination of the brinyness from the sardines and fish sauce, heat from the pepper flakes, brightness from the lemon juice and zest. The wine was the right weight and freshness to match perfectly.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Dinner: Mushroom Risotto with Pheasant Stock

After making pheasant stock earlier in the week, I had a hankering for making a nice rich risotto with it. It is not exactly the season for a hearty risotto paired with Nebbiolo, but some times you just want. After a quick trip to Chelsea market, it was time for boquerones, bread, and Clos Roche Blanche 2008 Sauvignon No. 2 followed by Porcini and Cremini mushroom risotto and Fantino 2006 IGT Rosso dei Dardi Nebbiolo.

The boquerones were sweet and subtle and a perfect pairing with the Clos Roche Blanche 2008 Sauvignon No. 2 which was full of minerals, grapefruits and lemons.

I made the risotto using dried Porcini mushroom (also using the strained water from the soaking liquid), fresh Cremini mushrooms, Arborio rice, onion, garlic, frozen peas, homemade pheasant stock. I finished the risotto with Presidente butter, 24 month aged Parmigniano Reggiano, and white truffle oil. What a rich, creamy, pungent warming dish and paired with the nebbiolo, it would be a fantastic rainy November dish. What can I say, I turned the air conditioning on and enjoyed the meal.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The High Line

It's new; it's been talked about for ages and part of it is finally open. I decided to take a stroll in the rain and see what all the fuss is about. It is really worth it; they have done a wonderful job. The City Bakery will have up to five carts on there with exclusive rights for the next thirty days serving organic snacks such as cookies, brownies, pizza, iced tea.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Pheasant: The Nasty Bits on Toast

I bought pheasant from the Union Square farmer's market on Saturday and was very happy to find the bag of "nasty bits" in the cavity of the bird. It turns out the heart, gizzard, and liver on toast were the tastiest bits of the whole bird. The pheasant turned out crispy and flavorful, but very chewy and tough.

I simply sauteed the heart, gizzard, liver in butter and olive oil and seasoned them with salt and pepper. Then I served them simply on toast and paired the delicious appetizer with a burgundy (Gilles et Jean Lafouge 2007 Auxey-Duresses 1er Cru Les Duresses). The whole thing was magic: a little gamey, rich, pheasanty and a perfect balance to the light to medium bodied Lafouge.