Monday, February 27, 2006

Braised short ribs

Mr. Anchovy made these during the weekend:

You need:
1 Dutch oven
Lots of thick cut short ribs.
summer savory
salt & pepper
several cloves of chopped fresh garlic
worcestershire sauce
indonesian soy sauce

Brown the short ribs thoroughly, a few at a time, in the dutch oven, on the stove top, in oil - then take them out and put them into a bowl.
Deglaze the pot with beer.
Add the short ribs back in.
Add enough beer to almost cover the short ribs
Add lots of thyme and summer savory
Add the garlic
Add several healthy shakes of worcestershire sauce
Add about a tablespoon of Indonesian Soy sauce (optional)
Put the lid on the dutch oven and place in a 350 oven
Cook for about 3 hours
Halfway through, take it out, and mix everything around
When cooking is complete, take the short ribs out of their liquid
Mix together soft butter and flour to form a smooth paste
Add the paste to the sauce and mix together until the paste is well desolved
Cook the sauce on a medium-low heat on the stove top for about 3 minutes to cook the flour.
Meanwhile, make a batch of smashed potatoes, and perhaps some steamed broccoli
Serve, drizzling sauce over the short ribs and potatoes
Feel the love.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Fowl garlic breath

In honour of Garlicster, A Food Year has this beautiful post about garlic:

"Garlic is one of the most inexpensive, healthiest and tastiest things you could put into your mouth. There are many tools dedicated solely for garlic (the garlic press, garlic roaster etc.) and many more ways to use it beyond cooking (ointments, medicine etc.) It can be found in cuisines throughout the world; from Italy to Thailand, and is used in many different ways. The more garlic you eat, the more it becomes a part of your life. It even permeates your body so that you breathe and sweat it! Yes, garlic helps you repel unwanted company while simultaneously encouraging you to brush your teeth and bathe. Garlic doesn't pretty much whatever your heart desires (and it's good for your heart, too!)
I tried to use garlic in as many ways that I could think of without needing a steep cup of ginger tea to soothe my stomach after dinner. Not surprisingly, ginger also pairs with garlic quite nicely. We had it raw, roasted, fried and steeped; which covers a wide variety of garlic's culinary uses. If you wish to continue the garlic adventure, check out Garlicster, the blog dedicated entirely to garlic related content.
It wasn't hard to determine what dishes I was going to make once I decided I was going to do a garlic themed dinner. My first dish was Chicken with Roasted Garlic. The skin is quickly crisped and then the heat is reduced to allow for beautiful caramelization. The natural sugars from the onion and garlic are brought out from the process taking away from the bitterness and leaving behind a delicious flavor.
I placed the chicken on Garlic Risotto with Peas and allowed the drippings to seep into the rice. This was the only dish that was below perfect in tonight's dinner. I had rushed the making of the garlic broth and the flavor was not as pronounced as I had expected. My risotto was also not very creamy, which is the first time I've ever had a bad experience making risotto before. I'm not entirely sure what happened.
On the side were a Whole Roasted Potatoes with Garlic and some Braised Garlic Broccoli. The potatoes are first boiled to soften and then allowed to bake until crisp, giving them a great texture. They are then rolled in raw garlic to give them a nice bite. If you minced your garlic and leave it on the counter while the potatoes are baking the flavor is enhanced. If you wish to diminish the bite of the raw garlic, chop instead of mince it or simply cook it. I think that broccoli and garlic are wonderful together, like garlic and pretty much anything is. The braising allowed the broccoli to soften and absorb the flavor of the garlic.
To help with cleaning up after this meal, a little lemon juice can help to take the smell away. Just rub a cut lemon on your cutting board and on your hands and you're good to go. Of course, garlic is wonderful with lemon as a sauce or dressing instead of a cleanser, so feel free to squeeze some of that juice on your plate before you take it to the counters."

Go visit A Food Year for more delicious recipes, one different recipe each day.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Guest blogging by Wendy: Slow Food Guide to San Francisco

A few weeks ago, Chelsea Green Publishing sent me two books. One of them is about the new trend of "slow food":
Slow food is a growing international movement committed to sustainable agriculture, local food traditions, and the honest pleasures of the table. More than 80,000 members worldwide have fought successfully to protect raw milk cheeses, heritage breeds of American turkeys, and many other outstanding foods that are either threatened or simply deserve to be more widely known and enjoyed.

I thought it was a bit weird that they sent a book about San Francisco all the way to Toronto, but surprise, surprise, Wendy just went to San Francisco last week, so she took the book with her. I am honoured to have her as a guest blogger today:

"The Slow Food Guide to San Francisco and the Bay Area" by Sylvan Brackett, Sue Moore, and Wendy Downing with Slow Food USA

I'd never really explored San Francisco before, and it was definitely fun to have a restaurant book in hand when I had the chance to do so. The only problem with the book is that it is highly selective - it would have to be, of course, sponsored as it is by Slow Food, but it's not all that useful for someone who's a stranger to the city and wants to eat lunch near her hotel.

The reviews were beautifully written - not a single complaint there. Unfortunately, they say more about the atmosphere and mode of the restaurants, and less about the actual dishes available to eat. I went to Limon for dinner, and Tartine for lunch, both in the Mission district.

Limon: Here, I actually ate a dish described in the review - the Ceviche Limon. The book reads, "The signature dish, ceviche limon, is a generous sampling of raw fish marinated in lime juice, served with yams and Peruvian corn." Well, sure it is. But I would describe it differently, perhaps this way: "The signature dish, ceviche limon, includes a variety of shellfish as well as halibut, marinated in lime juice. Completing the plate is a sweet slice of yam to offset the acidity, and two types of Peruvian corn - some is soft and joins the fish in the marinade, and some is toasted, to add a welcome crunchy texture." Do it justice, people! It was very good - I preferred it to my main dish, Lomo Saltado, a very traditional dish of beef, tomatoes, onions and potatoes, which was tasty but not extraordinary. And even though it is a ubiquitous Peruvian dish - our waiter said we wouldn't find a Peruvian restaurant without it - it is not mentioned in the review.

Tartine: This is actually in the section of the book devoted to markets, as it is a bakery/cafe. At Tartine, I ate one of the most delicious sandwiches of my life - technically a "pressed sandwich," it was a sampler of three different small grilled cheeses, accompanied by weird but yummy little pickled carrots. My lunch companion had the quiche, which was glowingly mentioned in the Slow Food review - it actually looked a bit overbaked, but she said it was very good. This place proved the point that the experience, even though that was the focus of the review, described in a book is not always accurate. We had no problem getting a table at around 1pm, and the line moved smoothly, both contrary to what was written in the book.

For those devoted to or curious about Slow Food, this is obviously the right book. For Josephine Traveller, like me - you might want to pick up a Zagat's.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Garlic baked cauliflower

As published in A Food Year:

4 cups cauliflower flowerets
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400°.
Place cauliflower in a casserole dish and sprinkle with minced garlic and lemon juice.
Drizzle olive oil over cauliflower and bake until the top is lightly browned. Continue baking until desired tenderness, if necessary.
Remove from the oven and cover with parmesan cheese.
Makes 4 servings

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Grilled tomato and garlic soup

Nina published the recipe for grilled tomato and garlic soup. It really looks delicious.

You'll need: tomatoes, garlic, spices and milk.

The above, I think, came to me through the form of Jamie Oliver again. I'm not exactly sure if it had anything directly to do with a specific recipe or not. I have a hard time sticking to recipes, unless they are for baking. I don't want to take any chances with baking, usually. But everything else is fair game.

The above is very very simple, but it will take a little bit of time to prepare. You chop your nice ripe, big and juicy tomatoes and arrange them on a baking tray, adding a lot of garlic cloves. How many really depends on you. I love the rich flavour of grilled garlic! The trick here is to separate the cloves, but not peel them, just give them a bash with something heavy, so they will split, but still retain the peel. Season with salt, pepper and some spices of your choice. It can easily be basil, fresh or dry. It's the best choice for this soup. Alternatively, you can use thyme or oregano. Or be creative.

Grill the tomatoes and garlic on high temperature until the edges are a little sooty. Then scoop everything into your blender, blend well and pour everything in a pot. Slowly bring to a simmer and add milk progressively, not too much at a time, so you can stop at your preferred form and density of soup. Keep tasting the soup, making sure it's well seasoned. It is truly so full of taste, the way soups usually aren't. I accompanied it with a simple wrap (tortilla) with mayonnaise, ham and cucumber, just to have a bit of something to chew on on the side.

Monday, February 6, 2006

Garlic mousse

This weekend I made a delicious salmon mousse, and thought I could do something similar with garlic.
The secret to a good mousse is to fold the whipped cream so that it doesn't flatten. It adds the much needed texture to the mousse.
Here is the recipe:

4 whole heads of garlic
Olive oil
1 cup white wine, boiling hot
1 envelope (15 ml) gelatin
4 green onions, chopped
250 ml (1 cup) heavy cream (whipping cream 35%)
Salt and white pepper to taste

Rub heads of garlic and wrap in aluminium foil, roast them in oven for about 45 minutes.
When the garlic is nice and soft, peel the garlic heads, set aside.
Disolve gelatin in boiling white wine and put in food processor with the green onions, chop the green onions in the food processor. Add the peeled garlic, mix the ingredients in the food processor.
Whip the cream separately and fold it into garlic mixture. Keep mixing with the food processor careful not to flatten the whipped cream.
Season with salt and white pepper to taste.
Pour into mold and refrigerate for about 12 hours.
Serve with crackers!