Tuesday, May 24, 2011

He calls it "dinner duty"

Phil has been cooking a few nights a week. And as much as I love to cook and have what some might call "control issues" in the kitchen, it has been so nice to have a few days a week where I don't wake up thinking about how I am going to turn nothing into something called dinner.

Monday Phil decided to try a few recipes from the Burlington Free Press, our local daily. The menu looked like this...

First, a "tex-mex" spice rub for chicken thighs.  Next, coleslaw. And finally, potato chips. 

The Rub:
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder

rub meat (in our case chicken) with rub.  Phil fired up the charcoal grill.  cooked thighs over direct heat for 3 minutes on each side and then moved the chicken to indirect heat for another 15 minutes.  keep the top on grill for better cooking, says grill master Phil.

The Slaw:
1 green onion (all of it, diced)
1 shredded carrot
1 small head broccoli, broken into small pieces
1/2 small head of purple cabbage, shredded
4 tbsp red vinegar
2 tbsp course ground mustard
2 tbsp tamari

chop, dice, shred veggies. mix wet ingredients in a small jar with tight lid.  combine. letting it sit out of the frig for a bit will allow for veggies to tenderize a bit.

The Chips:
4 potatoes (we used Idaho)
2 tbsp salt
4 cups peanut or canola oil

using a mandolin, slice potatoes thin. rinse with running water, then soak in cold water and 2 tbsp salt for 30 minutes. use towel to dry slices before frying.  Add oil to pan, heat to 325.  add slices in batches. cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until golden brown.  remove slices with slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.  We added salt and pepper at this point, but you could add any spice. 

And put it all together and what a treat!  A great summer meal to enjoy while watching the Bruins win game 5! Thanks Phil!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

lemon makes my world swirl

lemons are these amazing little bursts of sunshine and when i have them in the house, I feel like summer all over. sometimes I dream about living in a place where I can grow my own. maybe in my next life.

a few weeks ago, i attempted my first ever lemon curd recipe.  it was for these little lemon meringue tarts i was making. something so delicious should be really difficult to make, right? WRONG.  Lemon curd is super easy and the little lemon meringue tarts were even easier.
start with 8 egg yokes. 

squeeze enough lemons to garner a cup of juice.  my lemons were pretty juicy so i only needed four.  before you juice them, remove the zest.  you will need two tablespoons for this recipe.  
Add 2/3 cups sugar and 2 tablespoon cornstarch to the yokes. Cook medium low heat, until combined, about 1 minute--whisking constantly. Add lemon juice and zest and cook till as thick as sour cream--about 4 minutes, again whisking constantly. Strain and add butter, stir...

and that's it!

lemon curd is like cheese, bacon and avacados--it makes everything better. use it soon and often!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Vermont Restaurant Week

This year was the second annual Seven Days Vermont Restaurant Week, to benefit the Vermont Foodbank.

Last year, I dropped the ball and didn't make it out to a single restaurant during the promotion, so this year I was determined to get to at least one.  In fact, I made it out to two--Farmhouse Tap and Grill and Michael's on the Hill.  I had been to both of these restaurants before last week, but I will say that the special Restaurant Week tasting menus made for a better gastro-experience this time around.

And now, in pictures, the Maple and Ramp Tasting Menu at Michael's...
 Phil with the Rabbit and Ramp Terrine with maple mustard.

Maple-Smoked Vermont Trout with heirloom-bean salad and pickled-ramp crème fraîche...YUMMY!

Maple Glazed Pork Loin with potato-ramp roesti and creamed mushrooms.

And Maple Pudding with rhubarb compote, Chantilly cream and maple sugar.

Special thanks to Seven Days for again including the Foodbank in Vermont Restaurant Week

Sunday, May 1, 2011

an occasion to celebrate

I spend the weekend with friends, both old and new, to celebrate my soon -to-be married friend, Sarah.  Nine of us gathered at her family's beach house for a weekend retreat, complete with swimming in the ocean, beach yoga, home grown karaoke and a few delicious meals to remember.

On Saturday night, the group headed out to Chive Blossom.  Great atmosphere, friendly service, and an open kitchen, which I love. 
The menu is packed with salads, seafood, and pasta. It took us all some time to decided. I finally settled for the chive blossom chop salad made with romaine hearts, candied pecans, dried cranberries, red onion, egg, applewood smoked bacon, hearts of palm and citrus vinaigrette.
And one of the evening's specials, jumbo lump crabcake with lobster and corn smashed potatoes, sugar snap peas, and a dill cream sauce (shown here almost completely eaten because I took one bite and forgot myself).

I am a firm believer that food is only as good as the company it is shared with, and perhaps that is why this meal was so good. Sarah is an amazing woman I met while working in DC and the friends that gathered this weekend are people from every walk of her special life.  Friends from grade school, from college, from work, from places she has lived, from grad school, family, etc.  And while the reasons they are drawn to her are many, so too are the reasons she is drawn to them.

Keep an eye out for these women. They are all certain to change the world. And i was lucky enough to share a meal with them!

Congratulations, Sarah and Gabriel.  Cheers to you both!