Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Grilling weather is coming, take a look at this!

One of the blogs I like to follow is Benito's Wine Review. Although the emphasis is on wine, he also ventures into the culinary world.  This week he talked about making a compound butter with reduced red wine that looked so good I had to take the last of a bottle of good red and do it myself.  Above you see a steak with the end result of the wine butter making.  Benito gives step by step instructions (with amusing but very useful warnings). And when he talks about the way it melts onto and into the steak.... Oh, and he said the dog in the background is his faithful 12-year old mutt Wolfgang.  He's getting a
little senile, Ben says, but the smell of steak still brings him to the table!  Give it a try if you have the last of a bottle of almost any red wine and your friends will flock to your table too!

Or maybe not...

Over the weekend I made osso buco for a group of friends.  That translates "hollow bone" and is made from veal shanks cut crosswise.  Browned and simmered with herbs, wine and seasonings, it is a delicious Italian dish.  One of the best parts of it is the marrow in the bone.  Marrow in larger bones might be accessible with a demi-tasse spoon but with the smaller ones you just have to go after it with your dinner knife and then some will fall onto the plate, or in the sauce, or worse, in your lap. 

So I went looking for marrow spoons, also called marrow scoops.  You can see that this is the perfect solution to the problem of how to most efficiently get at the marrow.  I found a few antique ones on ebay, but of course I would need one for everyone at the table.  I finally found a set on a site called Savoir Vivre.  But at $43.00 each, or $475.00 for a set of twelve, I guess I'll just have to hope that somebody will give them to me for Christmas next year.  Or my birthday, yeah, that comes first!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Lunch at the Yellow Porch in Nashville

Occasionally my sister, Cindy Corum, and I feel the need for sisterly bonding. She lives in Knoxville, so Nashville is a logical site. Lots of good restaurants (which we both like), lots of antique shops and malls (which she likes) and great clothing/shoe/accessory shopping (we both like that too).

I regret I failed to carry my camera to our first meal. We went to Sunset Café. We've been there many times before, and love it. We ate at the bar and Nathan took extremely good care of us. We shared several small plates, but sorry, no pictures.

However the next day was I was better prepared to document our meals. For lunch we went to The Yellow Porch, which had been recommended by a server at The Cheesecake Factory at Green Hills, where we'd ducked into our first afternoon for a little sustenance after a few hours of intense shopping.

We'd kind of slept in and missed the complementary breakfast at our hotel, so we landed on their doorstep promptly at the 11:00 opening time. We were not the first in line. We had a lovely lunch with a very charming server.

I got a roasted eggplant sandwich with roasted red bell peppers, feta cheese, roasted onion and a nice garlicky spread. There was the option of adding bacon, so of course I did!  It was very good.  The eggplant could have been roasted a bit longer, but still it was a tasty combination. 

The options of a side dish was either house made potato salad or Terra chips.  I took the potato salad. It was sort of a mashed potato salad with quite a lot of green onion. Still, pretty tasty and certainly better than bagged chips. Even Terra chips, which I quite like.

Cindy got a pasta dish, billed as "Linguine tossed with Bacon, Tomatoes, Capers and Parmesan Cheese." She (well, me too) was expecting sort of recognizable chunks of bacon and diced tomato. It was more of a cooked tomato sauce with some bacon in it. She doesn't like capers (this is MY sister? What's that all about?) so asked that they be left out. There was plenty of shrimp, and it was good, but somehow not quite what she'd expected.
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Friday, March 11, 2011

Sweet Chile Shrimp

It was one of those days a few weeks ago when the snow was beautiful but I sure didn’t want to get out into it. And I hadn’t made the apparently compulsory bread and milk run that happens just before one of these weather events in Memphis. I never could figure that one out anyway. Are those folks going to just survive on milk and bread alone for two days?

So anyway, when looking for dinner makings, I dug around in fridge, freezer and pantry. I had shrimp and intended to make some sort of pasta with tomato sauce. But when I saw the almost empty bottle of Thai sweet chile sauce, I thought I’d just use it up.

I used Penzey’s Singapore seasoning. It is a little sweeter than Indian style curry and made the perfect addition to this dish, but there’s no reason you can’t use regular curry powder and still have great taste.

This is one of most quickly made dishes I’ve come with in a while and it was really delicious. I had put a rice pilaf on before starting it and the shrimp was finished about the same time as the rice. With a salad we had a great meal, not just for chilly weather but any time of the year!

1 jar (7 oz.) roasted red bell peppers, drained
½ cup chicken stock
¼ cup Thai sweet chile sauce
2 tsp. Penzey’s Singapore seasoning (or curry powder)
3 tbsp. olive oil
4 fat cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined (I leave the tails on because I think they’re cute that way)
¼ cup minced onion
Chopped cilantro for garnish

In a blender or food processor puree the roasted peppers, chicken stock, chile sauce, and Singapore seasoning or curry powder. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and let simmer a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve. Add the shrimp and sauté two minutes on each side until just barely pink. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the onions to the pan. lower the heat and cook, stirring occasionally until tender but not browned. Return the garlic to the pan. Pour the pepper puree into the pan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about five minutes. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Return the shrimp to the pan and simmer a few minutes just to heat through. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve over rice pilaf or pasta. Serves four.
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