Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Culinary Cavalcade

Hopefully I can remember what all these things were.

Thursday Dinner: Fancy Department Store Salad for a Dowager
I once ate lunch at Fred's at Barney's, the restaurant on the top floor of Barney's New York. All I really remember about it was that everyone, including me, was eating an enormous salad. That was sort of my inspiration for this salad that would easily satisfy one of the Ladies Who Lunch, as they are called.
Boston Lettuce, French Breakfast Radishes, shell peas, foccacia croutons, jowl bacon, tarragon, and blue cheese dressing(but I can't remember which blue)and of course a poached egg.

Saturday Dinner: Very Quick Ratatouille-Like Thing with Teenage Arugula, Sheepsmilk Yogurt and Spicy Semolina Chicken Cutlets
I love chicken cutlets. Friday I met some friends at Prospect Park to see Ralph Stanley and The Clinch Mountain Boys play a free show. We had a potluck picnic. My offerings were a jar of garlic dill cucumber pickles and a dozen small sandwiches on currant pistachio rolls. The rolls did not rise enough, but they tasted good. Most of the sandwiches were tiny chicken cutlets with boston lettuce and a blue cheese sauce. I also made a couple of vegetarian sammies with griddled zucchini, arugula and cured olives. The picnic was very nice. Two delicious salads(potato and fennel), a fruit salad(mostly berries) and some very strong lemonade. And the show was great. Ralph's voice has become really amazing in old age, and the difference between good and great bluegrass bands was very evident, and is huge(the opener was good, but no where near the headliner).
But anyway, I had some chicken cutlets left at home, so Saturday I threw together cocozelle zucchini, green bell pepper and green garlic in a very hot dry cast-iron pan. Once the vegetables started to brown I added a tablespoon of olive oil, and then a minute later added a little less than one quarter cup of white wine. I threw in a Prudence Purple tomato cut in wedges(plus the two grape tomatoes that were left), a half-handful of blue basil chiffonade, salt and pepper and covered the pan. Then topped it with the cutlets and a handful of raw arugula. I am a big fan of Ratatouille(and similar mixed-vegetable dishes) and ths was a nice, lighter, springier version.

Sunday Breakfast: Malted Semolina Bread French Toast with Almonds, Raisins, Strawberry Puree, and Sheepsmilk Yogurt
On Friday I also made another loaf of semolina bread, trying to reproduce last week's success. I failed to match or beat it, but the bread was still good, just not as springy and a little chewier. But it made good french toast. I put some barley malt syrup(which I purchased for an upcoming bagel-making experiment)and nutmeg into the egg-milk solution.
Man-o-man, it was good.

Monday Breakfast: Thumbelina Carrot Taginette with Currants and Olives, Spinach, Dill and a Crispy Egg.
In a dry pan, toast fennel seeds, ground cumin, ground mustard, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon. When fragrant, add a tablespoon in olive oil, a tablespoon of currants, and thumbelina(or another variety) carrots cut in long skinny sticks. Toss carrots to coat with spices, add around 1/2 cup of water, cover the pan and turn the burner down low. Keep covered until carrots start to soften. Uncover pan and add a few pitted black olives(cured olives are good, but you can use something milder) and let the liquid cook away.
Meanwhile wilt some spinach(I used red-stemmed spinach) with a little salt and sprinkle of water in a covered pan.
I've started making sunny-side up eggs in a cast-iron pan. It gets the bottoms really crispy, which I like. But you can do whatever you want.
When the liquid was completely cooked away from the carrots add a few dribbles of olive oil, a few sprigs of dill, and a squeeze of lemon juice(or a similar amount of rice vinegar). Put these things together in whatever order you want(after putting the carots on the bottom I realized that having the spinach on the bottom would have allowed the spinach to catch all of the spicy, carroty sauce that ended up in the bottom of the bowl. Oh well. I used my fingers to wipe it up. Pita would be nice too.

Monday Dinner: Sweet Pea Ravioli, Zucchini and Green Garlic Sauté, Crispy Garlic
What you are looking at is a puree of blanched sweet peas, heavy cream and pecorino romano. The camera did not do a very good job with the color, which was radioactive.
I put this puree between some eggless pasta dough(which I found in the freezer).The ravioli were probably 3 inches across.
Here's one.

When cutting the green garlic, I realized that I could cut long narrow spiralling strips of the outer layers around the stem. So I fried them in a little olive oil and made them crispy.
Then I charred a very small dice of cocozelle zucchini(the denser, lighter green variety) and green garlic in a cast-iron pan. Then I added some olive oil, white wine, salt, pepper and cayenne.
So it went like this:
1)zucchini-garlic saute on the bottom, 2)sweet pea ravioli, 3)crispy garlic things, 4)olive oil drizzle, 5)Pecorino Romano, 6) Hawaiian pink salt.
And it looked like this:

It was very good. Definitely a keeper.

And I baked this cherry-almond pie. The top looks like the logo of a hardcore band.

And this morning I had whole wheat-wheat germ-peanut-butter-barley malt silver dollar pancakes with raisins. I feel so healthy now. If only it weren't so hot.


cathy said...

Good gastronomia! Christ, you're putting the rest of those who thought they were foodies to shame here... amazing work. I am particularly interested in making ravioli sometime, which I've never attempted, but sometimes wonder if Chinese dumpling sheets wouldn't do the trick much easier. What do you think?

9:48 PM  

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