Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Pickled eggs and using the beets

Restarted an old family tradition of making pickled eggs this time of year. Our recipe doesn't include pickling spices -- just canned beets, vinegar, and salt. Boy, I sure do like them. My husband seems to think they are okay, too. What was kind of cool though was what I did with the beets after they were pickled. I used whole small beets, and shredded them in the food processor, tossed them with sour cream. Sort of a riff on borscht. Even better though was turning that into a slaw by mixing them with shredded cabbage that I salted and drained for about an hour. It was surprisingly good, and a great side dish for some smoked pork chops I did in the stovetop smoker.

Eating in the Midwest

Lots of travel the past couple of weeks, one weekend in Chicago, the next in Ft. Wayne. It's trips like these that I realize how regional our eating is. I have fallen madly in love with Italian beef sandwiches, and am at a loss to recreate the "gravy" they dip them in. So I'll be experimenting with that for quite some time until I get it right. Then of course there is getting the right bread. Not sure where to get that in Seattle. In Ft. Wayne, I tried to find out what "traditional" food everyone eats. Seems the closest I got was sausage rolls, which is sort of a rolled up calzone. Wish we'd been there when the corn was coming in, now that's the kind of food I can get into!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Restaurant observations

Since as I said the baseball season is getting in the way of dinner this week, we went to McCormack & Schmicks' on 1st Ave tonite after the late afternoon game. I don't normally order salmon in a restaurant, assuming that I can do it as well at home. But the line chef (Eric was out tonite) told me he'd do their crab/shrimp/brie stuffing in a piece of king salmon for me, and I was sold. (By the way, I highly recommend sitting at the kitchen counter, it's fun and you get to watch, and you can ask questions of the cooking staff.) They cook it for about 12 minutes in their 500 degree convection oven (yeah! I'll have one soon!) and it is just wonderful. I don't recommend the beet and goat cheese salad. It used to be great, but now they are coating goat cheese rounds in dried herbs and not only do they have no flavor but the texture is lousy too. The french onion soup is better, but be prepared for chicken stock, not the usual beef stock.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Cooking for family

This is kind of a "catch-up" post since I wasn't really blogging when this happened. But in January I had my mom and her husband (C and J) over for the weekend. They live about an hour away, and other than cooking at their home for family dinners, I really haven't cooked dinner for them. J has a really good palate, and besides is a cool guy. It was important to share my cooking passion with them. That's sort of an annoying feeling in some ways, because I don't want to feel pressure (self-imposed or otherwise) when I'm cooking. But, I settled on rack of lamb, roasted asparagus, and roasted new potatoes for dinner, with a molten chocolate cake for dessert (the guys both really like chocolate). It's a very reliable menu, one I can almost do in my sleep. Went with a logical Pinot Noir for wine, partly because I'm slowly but surely getting my husband to enjoy a good Pinot. He's not wild about the ones with a barnyardy aroma and flavor (usually due to Brettanomyces, for those of you who know or care about that). But he's open to trying them and expanding his palate -- just one of the many things I adore about him. Anyway, turns out C and J had never had rack of lamb before! And they loved it. We had a lovely dinner. It was great to introduce them to something new, and my husband enjoyed that experience as much as I did. Saturday morning we made waffles and bacon for them. That's mostly noteworthy because they were yeast-raised Belgian waffles. We got this waffle iron that rotates to ensure more even cooking -- it's the kind you see in some motels that have "serve yourself" breakfasts. Works great, and the waffle recipe is just yummy. It's from Joy of Cooking. The waffle iron isn't easy to store, but it seems to be earning its keep.

Slow week for cooking

It's going to be a slow week for any original cooking. Baseball season started this week (in case you're hibernating someplace) and, since we have season tickets, we're living in the diamond world right now. Yesterday's opening day game started mid-afternoon, which meant lunch at the ballpark and nibbing all the way home. Did have something interesting at a new place down on 1st Ave. by Safeco Field. It was a kimchee pancake, with a red pepper sauce drizzled over the top. Quite spicy, went well with a Sapporo. Also some potstickers that had apple in the in addition to the pork, nice contrast. Might have to try recreating those at home sometime.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

A different corned beef and cabbage

My husband has sworn that he doesn't like corned beef and cabbage.  Though he loves corned beef sandwiches.  But the corned beef I cooked this week (simmered, rather than baked) was really dry and kind of tasteless.  So I diced it and stir-fried it with shredded green cabbage and julienned carrots, a little bacon fat and some allspice. Perked it right up, and my husband loved it.  Quite good with some horseradish, too.  From now on, I'll go back to slow-baking my corned beef in a covered casserole; it just turns out juicier and more flavorful.