Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Opulent Open-Face: Seared Bison Skirt Steak Bites, Potatoes Dauphinoise & Bordelaise Sauce - The Classic Diner Open-Faced Roast Beef Sandwich Reimagined for the 5 Star Cooking with Wine Makeover

For this month's Five Star Makeover challenge - hosted as ever by the lovely and talented Natasha of 5 Star Foodie and Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks! - we were tasked with creating a gourmet dish incorporating wine.  I don't know about you, but wine is an essential component of all of my cooking ... if you catch my drift. But the difference here is that the vino had to actually go into the dish, and not just down the hatch.

My initial stumbling block was this: Dishes and recipes that have wine as an ingredient tend to already be on the fancy side, so how was I to do a gourmet makeover on something that's already gourmet? But then, as Poppa Trix and I were tucking into a humble dinner of roast beef and discussing my dilemma, I (or rather we) had the "a ha!" moment.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Cobbler Cocktail: Vodka with Grapes Macerated in Monastery Herbal Liqueur & Pandan Simple Syrup for the International Incident Cobbler Party

International Incident Cobbler Party
You may be wondering what the heck I'm doing posting a cocktail for the September International Incident Party - hosted as always by our lovely foundress, Penny aka Jeroxie - when the theme is cobbler. Have I lost my mind? Is this an alcoholic's coded cry for help? Is there nothing I won't do to get out of making dessert?

Well, yes, no, and yes, but that's beside the point. You see, I did a little cobbler research and discovered that while it can certainly be a fruity dessert wth a crumbly topping ("pie for the unmotivated,"  stated one definition) there is an older and more arcane definition: An iced drink made with wine, sherry, sugar, and lemon. Bingo!

So I decided to combine the fruit element with the wine element and incorporate macerated grapes into my cocktail, which I have dubbed "The Cobbler." Drink enough of it and its name changes to "The Bobbler."

Monday, September 19, 2011

Subtly Spicy Crab Salad with Avocado and Finger Limes, Served Three Ways

As an elegant appetizer ...
An adorable amuse ...
Or homestyle, the way it's likely to be served Chez Trix
Don't you just love it when you're stuck in a dreary coking rut and then an inspiring food item appears in your greedy little hands, unbidden?  I can't think of a better surprise, and that's exactly what happened to me not once, but twice last week. I am not superstitious as a rule, but I think I had no choice but to take this as a sign from the culinary gods (or devils, as the case may be) to get cooking already. And so I did.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Stary Kleparz Market: A Total Polish Shopping Experience in Krakow's Old Town for Wordless Wednesday

That's a pretty long title for Wordless Wednesday, isn't it? Perhaps I should have called it "Mostly Wordless Wednesday." Or "Fewer Words Wednesday." Oh well, I have been called many things, but silent isn't usually one of them.

Let me just say I wouldn't want to offend the fabulous Trevor's discriminating sensibilities and call the Stary Kleparz Market in Krakow the best market ever, or claim that there's nothing like it in the States.  (Actually, Trevor,  I think Vienna's Naschmarkt is the best market ever, anywhere, hands down. And there really isn't one like it in the States! But I digress.)  I will say, however,  that Stary Kleparz is pretty awesome (as well as fun to say) and if you think the only produce you can get in Poland is cabbage, well,  your eyes will certainly be opened.

Oh, and there's meat. Lots and lots of meat. And people watching. And other things too!

Drat, I am going to be quiet now. ... though I can't promise you there won't be any captions. Shhhhh ... it's Wordless Wednesday.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fresh Corn Velouté with Pancetta & Thyme for French Fridays (or Thursdays) with Dorie, and the Mushroom Giveaway Winner

I haven't done anything remotely resembling a French Fridays with Dorie recipe since I fiddled with her cola and jam spareribs recipe back in June and came up with my spicy tequila and peach habanero chutney ribs, and here I am posting this corn soup - which bears little resemblance to hers - nearly a week late. Some prodigal daughter I am!

Ah well, I am not going to make excuses or apologize. Today is my birthday, and I can do whatever I want. In fact, the older I get, the more I tend to do exactly what I please on any given day, don't you?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

From the Modern to the Medieval: In Which I Look Back at Two Years of Posts and Choose My Seven Superlative Links

I was first tagged in the 7 Links Meme by Claudia of What's Cooking, followed shortly thereafter by Maya of Foodiva's Kitchen. I kept meaning to set aside time to play along, but to no avail. Then,  when I was recently tagged by Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks! the third time turned out to be the charm, and here we are. The challenge? Participants are tasked with choosing one post each of the most beautiful, overlooked, helpful, successful, popular, controversial, and the one of which they are most proud. It's not as easy as it sounds, but it is every bit as fun.

I had the hardest time choosing my most beautiful post, as I found myself rejecting each potential contender for some fatal aesthetic flaw, real or imagined. Prompted by Poppa Trix, I settled on my savory salmon mousse eclair "hot dogs." I also chose these because of Leaf the Indolent Cook's comment that there were the most serene hot dogs she had ever seen: