Sunday, April 26, 2009

Home Cookin'...a la Bobby Flay

Fish Tacos!
Ok, so it took me a while to embrace Bobby Flay's cook book, Boy Gets Grill. A buddy of mine gave it to me a few years ago.

The first recipe I tried resulted in me having to paint my kitchen cabinets a new shade that I'll call Tumeric Sunrise.

The kitchen in my last house had white cabinets and a white ceiling. I stupidly did not apply enough pressure to the lid of the blender when I was pureeing one of the sauces. I know better. Really. Anyhow, that little oversight resulted in me (and my wife) repainting all of the cabinets to match what spewed from the blender onto them.
Tumeric stains.

Moving forward, I was watching Bobby Flay cook with a guest and I was inspired. It looked like he was having a good time, and the food looked great. So I figured I'd crack the book again.
I have a friend coming in from out of town who is a pesce-lacto-ovo-vegetarian. No meat other than fish. She offered to go out to a restaurant, but I wanted to impress her with my fish handling. Luckily, my neighbors were willing to be test subjects for me this weekend. I had to try the recipe before I served it to my out of towners and make sure I could manage to cook it, have it taste good, and not have to focus 100% on the meal. I'd rather focus on my guests.

So it starts out with marinating a firm but flaky fish like Mahi-Mahi (which I used) or Red Snapper in one of Bobby's recipes.
Grill it for 4-6 minutes per don't want it overdone. Just done enough to flake.
Cook it on high...get some good quality tortillas and warm them up on the grill as well.
I only marinated for about 15 minutes, but it seemed to permeate the fish fairly well. Very tasty ancho chile/lime juice/orange juice combo.

I had previously whipped up his Smoky Red Pepper and White Bean Dip so we had something to nibble.
2 cans small white beans
2 cloves garlic
2 large red bell peppers, roasted
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chipotle puree (pure a can of chipotles in adobe...sauce and all)
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
Combine the peppers, chipotle puree, and vinegar in a food processer. Process until smooth. Add the beans and garlic, process until smooth. Add the honey, season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with the cilantro and serve at room temperature.
Easy peasy. Tasty as all get-out. Healthy too! No fat. It tastes like it does have some though. It's slightly sweet with a flavorful burn that isn't overwhelming.
Throw some various taco fixins on the table and dig in.
Thanks for reading......

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Table 21 at Volt

Once in a while we get to experience greatness. Dinner at Volt was one of those nights...

The outside of the building is Victorian Gothic. The inside is pure contemporary.The bar is comfy with plenty of seats at the bar and on some sofas in the lounge.

Here are the players...from left to right: Bryan Voltaggio, chef/owner, Graham, sous, and me.The gang I enjoyed the evening with.Bryan and me. BTW ladies, he's married w/child and another on the way. Sorry.

Mr. Neil MF Dundee. Director of Wine and Spirits. We had a great time with him.  We drank entirely too much champagne.These pictures are backwards because the blogsite uploads them that way....This was the last thing I had before my wife poured me into the car...A martini with vodka, gin, and a touch of absinth...

This was dessert. The horse shoe shaped thingy was chocolate./mint something...very tasty.

This was also dessert...all white. Nitrogen frozen coconut/lychee and tasty.
I don't remember exactly what this was, but it was pretty.

I'm not sure what these were either, but they were on the expo station and I figured a take a picture since I was there.
Mmmmm. Short rib.

Art meets food.
Pork belly. Holy moly that was good.

Noodles made of carmelized onions, the grated item here is frozen fois gras. That was tasty.

Food on the way out to the dining room.

Careful. Artist at work.

As I was saying...

Pretty dishes.

 Graeme at work.  He's a monster in the kitchen.

This was inventive, to say the least. Kind of a de and re-constructed Caesar salad.

Cotton candy with a curried chicken center.
Here was the veggie course: A pea meringue filled with carrot puree. At least that's what I think it was.

Date filled with some very tasty cheese.

Think he was tired of me taking pictures?

Avocado filled with tuna tartare and some wasabi foam. Tasty.

Exploding mushroom surprise!
Smoked trout caviar on a gelee of cucumber I believe.

Champagne goes with everything...

Table 21 in the kitchen. 21 courses.

Waiter, there's a pig on my table.

Minimalism is the order of the day with the decor.

Obviously, working with liquid nitrogen has inherent risks.

All in all, a great time. I'd never been to Frederick and I have to say I'm impressed. It seems to be a vibrant town that still has independant shops and restaraurants.

As far as ranking goes, the meal definitely lands in the top ten. The food was inventive, attractive, and prepared perfectly. We wanted for nothing. The service was absolutely top notch, but never overbearing. The staff is young, friendly, and attentive.

Should you find yourself in the area, stop in. Tell Bryan I said hello.
Volt on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Home Cookin' in Atlanta

Every year my family and I make the trek to Atlanta to enjoy some southern hospitality with family friends. We try to make it an indulgence as we only get together once a year.

For dinner this year we had an herb-roasted tenderloin and herbed goat-cheese potatoes.

Me and Sous...

Get a couple of big reds and decant them for this meal...

I had e-mailed the recipes to my co-chef a few days before so he got all of the hard work out of the way. The recipe is shown below for the tenderloin.
Herb- and Spice-Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Red Wine-Shallot Sauce
Bon Appétit December 1996

Here's a special-occasion roast enhanced with classic Provençal seasonings. Serve this elegant dish with Scalloped Potatoes with Goat Cheese and Herbes de Provence and a sauté of green beans, zucchini and red bell pepper. Uncork a sophisticated Rhône red such as Hermitage or Crozes-Hermitage.

Yield: Serves 8

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 cups sliced shallots (about 12 ounces)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
3 1/4 cups canned beef broth
1 1/2 cups dry red wine
1/4 cup brandy
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
4 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 bay leaves
1 large shallot, peeled, quartered
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 2-pound (large end) beef tenderloin pieces, trimmed
1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

For sauce:

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add shallots and garlic; sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in sugar; sauté until shallots are golden, about 15 minutes longer. Add flour, herbs, orange peel, nutmeg and cloves; stir 1 minute. Pour in broth, wine and brandy. Boil until sauce is reduced to 1 3/4 cups, about 20 minutes. Discard bay leaf. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Chill.)
If you remember the veal demi I made a few posts ago I substituted that for the canned broth. It was worth the extra pound of luggage.

For tenderloin:

Grind first 10 ingredients in processor. With machine running, add oil and blend well. Spread mixture evenly over all sides of tenderloins. Place beef in large glass baking dish. Cover with foil; chill at least 6 hours. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place beef on rack in large roasting pan. Roast until meat thermometer inserted into center of beef registers 125°F for rare, about 35 minutes. Remove from oven and cover with foil; let stand 10 minutes.

Transfer beef to cutting board. Pour any accumulated juices from roasts into sauce. Bring sauce to boil. Remove from heat; whisk in butter. Season with salt and pepper. Slice beef. Serve with sauce.

This is the payoff for all that hard work...

Friday, April 3, 2009

Get some GoodStuff.

GoodStuffEatery Brainchild of Spike Mendelsohn and family.
You know the burgers here are good if Mayor Fenty is willing to ruin his diet by scarfing one down. BTW, this place was still crowded at 2:00pm on a rainy Monday. The bearded guy to the left is Spike. The bald guy to the right, under the sign, is the Mayor.

There are several different mayo's available for topping your burger or dipping your fries.

The Colletti's Smokehouse with a side of Village Fries.

The Toasted Marshmallow!

Have you been here? A lot of the folks who eat burgers in town have, judging by the line out the door when the weather is warm.

I was there with some prospects to show them how this particular restaurant is using my product and what was a product-focused meeting ended up being a debate about the best burgers in town, who made them, how they're made, what the service and ambiance is like and what the price point should be.

Spike at GoodStuff takes the traditional route in that his burgers are all made of the same beef. What he then does with them is offer different combinations of sauces, toppings and such.

I'm partial to his "Colletti's Smokehouse Burger" with a side of Village Fries.

Part of the charm here is the variety of sauces they have available for the fries. There are a couple of kinds of chili mayonnaise as well as an Old Bay Mayo. All very good.

Then there is the matter of the shake. Don't ignore it. You should, but you can't. It's the vaunted Toasted Marshmallow Shake. Literally one of the best tasting beverages ever concocted. I don't know what the calorie or fat count is, and I'm sure you don't want to know. However, you have to try it. Once.

Thanks for reading!
Gratuitious celebrity chef suck-up shot.