Thursday, May 31, 2007
But last night I did, and so I bought us each a nice rainbow trout filet. Here is how you must cook it (Trout a la Miss Cake):
1. Rinse and pat dry the fish filets.
2. Mix together some cornmeal with salt, pepper, and, if desired, some cayenne. Dredge the filets in the cornmeal mixture on both sides.
3. Heat up some olive oil in a skillet. A non-stick is nice. Put the fish in the hot oil on the fleshy side and cook until golden brown. Flip and cook until the skin side is brown too.
4. Put on plate (optional) and eat.
This whole thing takes about 10 minutes from start to finish.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
I spent the weekend in western Massachusetts visiting with my parents and my sister and her family. Mr. Gateau joined us briefly, but mostly I had to cook in between handling the little Gateaux, who are not all that relaxing to deal with, frankly. Still, we managed to eat.
Saturday dinner -- my friend Sarah gave me a recipe for tarragon grilled chicken, which came out very well. You smush together some tarragon, garlic, and olive oil, and let the chicken (which you have salted and peppered) sit in that for a while, then grill it, and serve it with a fresh tomato sauce you make by sticking tomatoes, garlic, tarragon, olive oil, S&P, and balsamic vinegar in a food processor. You don't even cook it. I like this in a recipe. We had that with corn, salad, and string beans, plus some nice chilled Greek white wine. For dessert we had the best effing cherry pie I have ever had. Even by the excellent standards of Taft Farms where we buy our pies, this was spectacular. The cherries were sweet-tart and really juicy, the filling was not at all gummy, and the tartness was balanced by sugar sprinkled on top of the incredibly light and flaky crust. And then I was an ass and turned down taking the leftovers home because of some misguided notion that I am actually on a diet.
Sunday started off with excellent bagels and lox from the Great Barrington Bagel Co. which has not only the best bagels and lox in the Berkshires, but among the best bagels and lox you can get anywhere. These are old fashioned bagels, about half the size of what you get in NYC these days, and custom-smoked fish that is just incredible. The whitefish salad is basically mashed smoked whitefish without much more.
Sunday night we did flank steak, and I was in a fajita kind of mood, so I organized all the accoutrements, including some red beans I cooked up with a bunch of spices and half a bottle of dark beer for good measure. This was a good idea. Also grilled a number of veg, including rings of Vidalia onion. My father made sangria under my exacting supervision, which involved saying things like "Now dump in the bottle of wine. Good, now toss in a glug of brandy. Oh come on, don't be stingy."
By Monday we were all exhausted, and so went out for brunch. Dinner was hamburgers and hot dogs with the leftover grilled vegetables and some organic brand of baked beans. Not as good as the regular supermarket kind, but they were adequate. The meats were good, the location was spectacular, and the company didn't suck either.
Monday, May 28, 2007
Because we are not that normal, Mr. Cake and I had them for dinner, but for those of you who are more normal, they'd make a nice side dish.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Take red globe radishes. Wash and slice into thin slices. Take a nice crusty baguette of some kind. Slice as though you're going to use it to make a sandwich. Spread a bit of butter on it. Sprinkle with nice salt -- I like Maldon sea salt. Place a bunch of the radish slices on the salted and buttered bread. Eat.
Ok, it sounds weird, but I swear it's totally yummy.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
So far this year, the tarragon I planted last year is coming back in force, way better than it was at any time last summer, and it's only spring. I love tarragon, but I'm having trouble thinking of ways to use this bounty. So far my ideas are:
- Stuff it into a whole fish and grill
- Put it in chicken salad
- Put it in salad dressings
- Add it to Mark Bittman's vinegar chicken recipe
- Mash it up with shallots and olive oil and make a sort of pesto to spread on chicken and fish
I once had a cocktail (at this fancy cocktail bar in Vancouver that made a big fuss about using fresh fruits and herbs in all their drinks) that used fresh basil. I wonder if there is a way to incorporate fresh tarragon into a drink.
So if anyone has any brilliant ideas for what to do with a lot of tarragon, post them!
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Pretzel dough is great because, although yeasted, you don't let it rise until you've shaped them, so there is a lot of instant gratification, if you want it, along with getting to squish it with your hands and/or punch its lights out, which is a nice perq, if, for example, you spent your entire week at work saving your clients from themselves. If you don't want to shape them right away, you can stick the dough in the fridge overnight. Shaping them is like working with springy clay, and the more you squash it and squeeze it, the more integrated and workable it becomes, which is excellent with a five year old. Also, you get to use a pastry brush to paint them with egg wash, and sprinkling happens. We just used coarse salt, but you can get all fancy with parmesan or sesame seeds or cinnamon sugar if you want to.
I had only a cup of white flour left in the house, so it was 1/3 white and 2/3 whole wheat, which turned out fine, and I feel less diet-guilty for cramming them into my mouth at regular intervals since they came out of the oven last night. Which means we'll have to make more soon. Real soon.
Monday, May 14, 2007
Ok, folks, it's time to close down the blog, because I have found the most disgusting candy ever in the history of mankind. It's called Mallow Fries, and that's right, it's marshmallows (or, rather, "marshmallows") in the shape of french fries in a McDonald's-looking sort of container. See in that photo where it says "Great Tasting Marshamallow"? It's a venomous lie from start to finish. The "marshmallow" is like nothing you've encountered on earth, unless perhaps you're a chemist working for the UPS Store trying to develop new types of packing peanuts -- it's sort of sub-Circus Peanuts-grade stuff that reminded me of that chemical foam you use to fill in spaces when you're installing pipes. Ew.
Plus! It comes with candy ketchup! Yes, that's right -- candy ketchup. Sour candy ketchup. I mean, WTF? Who puts sour anything on french fries? Anyway, it's basically sour Karo syrup with red flavoring. I really don't even like to think about it.
I ate this stuff. For you people. It was even embarrassing to buy -- I'm pretty sure the Walgreen's girl was sort of averting her eyes and biting the inside of her cheek to keep from laughing her ass off at me as she rang it up. I hope you feel duly guilty.
Friday, May 11, 2007
- Sunny Blue Sky Cocktail (vodka, Hpnotiq, pineapple juice)
- Blood Orange Cosmopolitan (vodka, Cointreau, Rose's Lime Juice, blood orange nectar)
- Mojito (with fresh garden mint)
- Pretty Dirty Martini (vodka martini with Kalamata olive juice and olives, touch of vermouth)
- Tropical White Wine Sangria (fruity dry white wine, assorted frozen fruit, such as pineapple, mango, peaches, berries, touch of fruit juice, touch of soda, good glug of brandy)
- Pink Grapefruit Margarita
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
Contrary to Bittman's view, a bread machine is nearly indispensable in my house, because Mr. Gateau has perfected his whole wheat bread recipe and hasn't missed a week in at least five years. I know Bittman insists you can just as easily learn to make your own bread by hand, but with our non-freelance-writer schedules, there is a big difference between dumping some ingredients in and letting a machine do the rest, and going through kneadings, punching-downs, and baking.
And once in a while I do pick up nifty equipment recommendations from watching TV chefs. After watching Nigella Lawson quickly mince herbs with a mezzaluna, I got one, and find it incredibly useful for herbs, garlic, and other items I may want in a fine mince (such as shallots for Mark Bittman's awesome vinegar chicken recipe).
Top tips from today's column: get a good pair of tongs (I love tongs!) and don't bother buying more than one pot lid, as it's a hassle to hunt down the correct size one and you can just use the same one or a plate or whatever anyway.
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
However, there is one yogurt that I seriously crave, and apparently so does my entire town, because almost every time I go to the one store in town that sells it, they are fully stocked in all flavors except for the one I want. I speak, of course, of Emmi Swiss Premium Lowfat Yogurt in the amazing Pink Grapefruit variety.
It's lowfat but really creamy, has a great grapefruit flavor with little flecks of fruit in it, and comes in a pretty pink container. I'm sure the other flavors are good, but I don't even care to try them. Seriously, if you can find this stuff, you should buy as much of it as you can find on the shelf. And then send it to me.
Monday, May 7, 2007
Yesterday we just did up some beef hot dogs with toasted buns, but I also threw some hot Italian sausage on, and it was great. I wasn't sure what to dress it with, so I had it plain, but I think some sauteed onions would have been nice, or even maybe an aioli.
I also concocted a ridiculous girlie cocktail out of vodka, a bit of Hpnotiq blue liqueur, and a tiny splash of pineapple juice, which came out a beautiful sky blue color and was tasty.