Archive for the 'Homespun' Category

Because I’m a pig…

Jusssstttt got back from dinner at Mercat. The reason was this. We ordered every savory dish on the special menu by the two guest chefs (12ish) + razor clams with bacon vinaigrette and brussel sprouts. A lot of food and wine as usual. Nothing to write home about really and especially since my favorite was the razor clam dish which came from the regular menu. By the end of it I was just really hungry for real tapas…pan con tomate, sizzling shrimp in garlicky olive oil, boquerones, bacalao fritters, you name it…argh!!!

For desserts we went with the churros with hot chocolate on the regular menu. It was disappointing to see the least. I needed real, satisfying desserts!!! Our group parted ways and on my way home I couldn’t stop thinking about my last Michel Cluizel bar and how good it would taste on a piece of toast with a sprinkle of sea salt! (infinitely better than the tragic churros)

My favorite!

For your reference, I was in Spain about a month ago (hence all this Spanish craze). We had a layover at Charles de Gaulle and that’s where I picked up all these Michel Cluizel bars for cheap! This one pictured above is my favorite so far (Noir – Sao Tome) – smoky and spicy with loads of character or as the back panel described it, “[the beans] make this highly aromatic chocolate, whose exceptionally long taste combines toasted, spicy and herbaceous notes with flavours of ripe tropical fruits and liquorice sticks.” And that long taste bullcrap, YOU’LL KNOW EXACTLY WHAT THEY MEAN AFTER YOU TASTE IT!

So I got home, took a pee (because my bladder was exploding!) then got right to business. Here’s the deal: Amy’s sourdough bread toasted and slathered with olive oil, cut it up and top each with a square of the aforementioned chocolate, then broil and finish with a sprinkle of sea salt.

YUM YUM YUM! I had four pieces of those. With a glass of sherry. After a 4-hour dinner. I’m a pig, and damn proud of it.

Mercat
45 Bond St.
New York, NY 10012
(212) 529-8600

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Teaser

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Zucchini mini cupcakes with lime curd, cream cheese icing and pistachios
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They’re green!
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Perfect for adding a little pzazz in the depth of winter

From fish taco to pancakes

Yes, fish taco to pancakes, that is a natural progression. What better way to use up leftover buttermilk than making thick fluffy pancakes?!?

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Vanilla bean pancake with caramelized peach and apple and strawberry butter

Vanilla bean pancakes with caramelized peach and apple

1 peach
apple
2-3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 stick butter

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 eggs
1/2 pod vanilla bean butter

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Caramelized peach and apple

To caramelize the fruit, heat 1/4 stick of butter on medium high heat. Add the fruit. Let them soften a little bit then sprinkle the sugar over. Let the pan sit for 5-7 minutes until the sauce thickens.

To make pancakes, mix dry ingredients together. Beat eggs with buttermilk and scrap vanilla seeds into the mix. Fold the dry mixture into the wet mixture. Brush the pan thoroughly with butter and ladle the batter into it. Turn when the surface gets bubbly (about 2 minutes on each side).

Strawberry butter

6-8 strawberries
1 stick butter (softened)
sugar

Mash/puree the strawberries. Mix everything together and keep folding until well-blended.

Fish taco

We started this thing called communal dinner in my new house. I like to cook. They like to eat. It’s a happy story.

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Pepperjack and bicolor corn quesadillas

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Taco fixings: fish, heirloom salsa, guacamole, pickled red onions

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Fish taco

Recipes for the quesadillas here and fish taco here. I opted for the cheaper tilapia instead of halibut/bass and it was just fine. Also added a couple tbs. of mirin to the pickling liquid. The onions were lovely.

Filling the void

I bought two jars from Ikea a couple days ago. You know one of those this-is-so-unnecessary-but-I-absolutely-have-to-have-it moments — oh yeah, I do have lots of those moments. The small one was quickly filled with free candies (temporary of course since such a glorious jar is destined to hold bigger and better things), but the big one — oh poor big one — it was sort of just sitting there on the kitchen counter empty, desperately waiting for someone to come fill the void.

Well…

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Empty no longer! 🙂

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Pear-almond biscotti

I used this recipe from Epicurious but substituted 1 1/2 tbs. of almond extract for vanilla extract, omitted the aniseed, and added 1 cup of chopped dried pears.

Now I need help getting rid of these biscotti so I can start filling the void again!

Odds and ends III

(Continued from last post)

Miscellaneous things I made in the past five months…

When I needed a MAJOR arm exercise

My first time making semifreddo and what a success (and a workout!) Whipping is definitely my favorite step in the whole baking/dessert-making process. With just one whisk and your bare hands, you can turn viscous egg whites or thick heavy cream into glossy white clouds that are light as air. Pouf! Like magic. Of course, if you have an electric mixer then by all means, use it and save yourself from the sweat session and forearm cramps. But if you’re not pressed for time, I highly recommend whipping by hand. It’s therapeutic and it makes me feel like superwoman.

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Whipping egg whites

Originally I was going to quadruple the recipe since the dinner was for 15-20 people (shoutout to my drum troupe!!). And then I started whipping the egg whites, then I whipped the heavy cream, and then I went back to whipping the second batch of egg whites…yeah you get the idea, semifreddo is a hella lotta whipping! If you feel like your right forearm (or left if you’re a leftie like me) is getting a little too flabby, this is the ultimate dessert to make. I ended up only doubling the recipe.

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Folding in ground pistachio with whipped egg whites and cream

I pretty much just followed this recipe from Gourmet–the Jan ’07 issue has so many good recipes–and then chopped up more pistachio to go on top for more crunch. The texture turned out amazing–super-light yet deliciously creamy. Who needs an ice-cream maker when you have forearm muscles? So simple and the result was definitely worth all that whipping.

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Voila! Pistachio semifreddo

When the fridge and I needed to detox

Seriously in need of a major detoxification, both the fridge and I. And what’s a better way to cleanse ourselves than a salad? An “everything goes” salad no less!

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Dainty asparagus spears glossed up with olive oil ready for roasting

First I started with a layer of roasted asparagus, then a generous shaving of pecorino, followed by slices of fresh plums (or I guess not that fresh considering they’d been hibernating in the refrigerator for quite some time…). Next I made the apricot vinaigrette: extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, shallots, apricot preserve, salt and pepper.
Then I tossed some mesclun greens and diced apples in the vinaigrette, topping it with crispy fried pancetta. And then, to finish it off in true gaudy style, an apple swan. 😀

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Salad of mesclun greens with apples, plums, and crispy pancetta in apricot vinaigrette on a mat of roasted asparagus with pecorino

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The apples and arugula were slightly bruised. Oops.

When I channeled Gilbert

Although his expertise is probably more sushi than Filipino food, Gilbey inspired me to make chicken adobo. Unfortunately, something went wrong and it didn’t turn out exactly as I’d hoped.

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Chicken adobo, supposedly

G: hmmm, it’s good but it doesn’t really taste like adobo I’m used to.
A: mmm yeaaa…

When Gilbert channeled Giada de Laurentis

And then he watched Giada on the Food Network, and she inspired him to make the spinach puffs. They were yummy!

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Cheese and spinach puffs

When I had my cheese-y breakdown

Remember how I had that amazing caprese at Mozza and suddenly became obsessed with burrata? I found it at Murray’s Cheese Shop one day and couldn’t help giving it a shot.

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Burrata on chilled roasted beets with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (trial 1)

The Italian import came wrapped in white plastic and “river bamboo leaves,” all covered in “river water.” The minute I got home, I untied the package and tried a little portion on roasted beets. I took my first bite and it was unsettling; the burrata didn’t taste like what I had at Mozza at all. It was not creamy or runny or any of those things I was expecting. Extremely disoriented from my first trial of the cheese, I emailed my cheese authority and asked. I was so confused and desperate. It’s my first cheese breakdown and I hope it’s also my last.

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Burrata on chilled roasted beets (trial 2)

But by the time I received his informative reply, I’d gone for a second trial. This time I cut through the center and lo and behold, there was runny liquidy thing in the middle! Just imagine the excitement. The difference in texture was vast. Again, I put a little dollop on each slice of roasted beet, followed by a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. It made for a very satisfying afternoon snack!

Odds and ends II

(Continued from last post)

Miscellaneous things I made in the past five months…

When we turned 1412 into House of Flying Pajun

Here’s when BFF and I tried to be Korean and sent pancakes flying all over my kitchen. We only missed once! But then B Oppa came home…

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BFF is a master at flipping the pajun/buchimgae

B Oppa: (stepped into the kitchen, sniffed the air) You made buchimgae?
A: It’s haemul pajun. They’re too thick I think.
B Oppa: It’s buchimgae.
A: I’m pretty sure it’s haemul pajun? The seafood pancakes?
B Oppa: It’s buchimgae! And they should be thicker than this. Smells good though.

Sometimes you think you know…but you really have no idea. The haemul pajun recipe here gave me pretty good results. I haven’t played around with it that much yet, but the pancakes were yummy alright.

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Haemul pajun/buchimgae?

When I finally tried that Ruth Reichl’s Swiss Pumpkin recipe (and failed)

You remember those cute little squashes featured in this post? So one day G asked me, “So Anisa, are you ever gonna cook something with those small squashes? Or are they just for photo op?”

HAHAHA

I decided it’s about time to put them squashes in the oven rather than in front of the camera. After all, I’ll admit they’d been sitting there for quite some time ( but hey, they made an excellent rustic accent to our eating area). A recipe for Swiss pumpkin from Ruth Reichl’s Comfort Me with Apples immediately came to mind. I’d been wanting to try that recipe forever, and sugar dumpling squash is just like a miniature pumpkin right?

I cut off the top of my petite squashes, scooped out their innards, and stuffed them with layers of bread and a mixture of eggs, cream, gruyere cheese, and spices. Since the cavities were so small, I wasn’t able to fit that much custard in each of the squashes. Instead of gooey cheesy goodness, I ended up with a wet glob of bread and virtually no custard in each squash bowl. It would’ve been perfectly fine if I had used a pumpkin or a bigger squash, but oh well, I guess another time!

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Swiss sugar dumpling squash

Despite the taste failure, I still think it turned out ridiculously cute, and seriously, isn’t that all that matters? =p

When we couldn’t resist Valentine’s Day romanticalness

To celebrate Valentine’s Day and our collective fabulousness this year, M, S, BFF and I got together for a romantic soiree at a certain clandestine location overlooking the Manhattan skyline. (guess where? =p)

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The tablespread

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Chilled Prince Edward Island Oysters with Date Emulsion
oysters, dates, apple, shallots, thyme, cider vinegar, grapeseed oil, salt, pepper

Salmon and Hamachi Ceviche
salmon, hamachi, bell peppers, pomegranate, fuyu persimmons, cucumber,
blood orange juice, lemon juice, dashi, soy sauce, mirin, rice wine vinegar

Bacon-Wrapped Enoki on Skewers
bacon, enoki, soy sauce, dashi, sesame oil, mirin, black pepper

Cold Soba with Wakame Seaweed and Cucumber
soba, wakame seaweed, cucumber, furikake, dashi, mirin

Lavender crème brûlée
yolks, cream, sugar, vanilla beans, lavender

Berries with Moscato d’Asti Sabayon
Moscato d’Asti, yolks, sugar, mixed berries

Riesling, Champagne, Moscato d’Asti

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Raw Oysters

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Salmon and hamachi ceviche

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Bacon-wrapped enoki on skewers

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Cold soba with wakame seaweed and cucumber
There was supposed to be uni in this but Citarella ran out!

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Lavender crème brûlée

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Torching!

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Moscato d’Asti Sabayon

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S getting amused by the strawberry