Monday, March 28, 2011

"Fish & Chips" Makeover: Framboise Lambic Poached Sockeye Salmon, Buttermilk Celeriac, & Minted Mushy Pea Croquettes with Garlic Yogurt Dipping Sauce

Thanks to the miracle of modern technology, you're reading this post while I'm off traipsing around Eastern Europe. This is the first of three posts that I've set to go up while I'm gone ... I guess blogging really is a sickness. 

For the March 5 Star Makeover challenge - hosted as always by the talented team of Natasha of 5 Star Foodie and Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks! -  we were tasked with transforming a classical preparation of fish into something new and fresh, using sustainable seafood.  Easy peasy, and extra fun.  I knew right away I wanted to play with fish and chips - a dish that doesn't always go the sustainable route when it comes to the fish. Plus, I wanted to keep the basic flavor components of the dish that I love, but put it all back together in a surprising - and much less greasy, carby, and fattening - way. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Polish Prażonka: A Bon Voyage Post

It's that time of year again - Poppa Trix and I are about to embark on an adventure! Last year, you may recall, we ate our way through Vienna, with a brief detour in Budapest. This year we'll be traveling to  Prague and Krakow, with a short stop in Vienna to see Mother-in-Law-Trix (and to satisfy our craving for heuriger food  and tiny sandwiches ).

For my bon voyage post, I've made a version of a traditional Polish dish, prażonka, which I read about in the course of my trip research, in Old Polish Traditions in the Kitchen and at the Table. In many instances, the book doesn't really give amounts, but rather gives a bit of the dish's history and general guidance as far as ingredients and methodology.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Crab Imperial on the Half Shell with a Blue Cheese & Bacon Wedge Salad for the International Incident Nostalgia Party

I am sure that many of my fellow International Incident Nostalgia Party attendees - hosted as ever by the lovely and talented Penny aka Jeroxie - will share with us their fond memories of family recipes and dishes their their mothers, grandmothers, aunts, uncles, or fathers made and lovingly shared with them,  forever imprinting their little kid brains with Important Culinary Associations and Warm Family Feelings. Alas, as I have documented here before, I have no such memories. I did not stand at my mother's knee and watch in awe while she made a special cake or pastry or pasta dish - other than beans and cornbread, no family recipes were passed down to me, if indeed any ever existed in the first place.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Truffled Tuna Noodle Casserole with Crispy Shallots & a Mushroom White Wine Sauce

Look at me, getting all pretentious with a casserole! But I have a very good reason: You see, I had originally planned to make this dish for the upcoming International Incident Nostalgia Party hosted by Penny aka Jeroxie of the super cool blog Addictive and Consuming, but I ended up going in a rather different direction for that. (You can check it out this Saturday.) But once the notion of a kicked up tuna noodle casserole started rattling around in my head I just couldn't rest until I had a taste.

My version is modeled on the Stouffer's frozen variety that my mom used to "make" for me when I was a kid. It was one hot mess of a trashy dish, but I loved it. Oh, it had it all: scant bites of tuna, long, slippery overcooked noodles, and a strange half-crunchy half-soggy bread topping, all bound together by a thick, gloppy, vaguely mushroom-y mystery sauce. What's not to love?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Linguine with Sweet Melted Onions for (Sort of But Not Really) French Fridays with Dorie

I'm pretty adventurous and open-minded when it comes to food (if I do say so myself). I rarely wrinkle my nose at anything, and I'm game to try just about any dish you'll put in front of me. That said, I also know that there are certain flavor combinations I'm just not wild about. 

Case in point: dessert for dinner. Just ... no.  Not for me.

So when I read the ingredients list for Beggar's Linguine in Around My French Table, this week's French Fridays with Dorie dish, I knew I was going to have to make some serious changes. All those figs and dates in my pasta just added up to an unpleasant cloying sweetness in my mental palate. I realize that there are some traditional pasta dishes that call for raisins - I've even made one - but for me, in a savory dish the sweetness should be the accent, not the focal point.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ravioli-O-Rama: Making and Eating Cheesy Pillows of Goodness in Baltimore's Little Italy

Ravioli, before ...
And ravioli, after - all sauced up and ready to get in my belly
As a general rule, the very last place you will ever find me milling about is a church, particularly on a Sunday. I mean, the only things I can be said to do religiously are cook and eat. Notable exceptions to this rule include the lure of stunning architecture, a ridiculously tall spire to climb, a shriveled hand or other bizarre allegedly "saintly" relic, or, most important of all - food. And so it was food that caused me to venture into the church basement of St. Leo's in Baltimore's Little Italy not once, but twice, within the space of a month.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Cheese & Chive Bread for French Fridays with Dorie

I love a good savory quick bread. It's the perfect solution for those times when you must have bread, only you forgot or didn't have time to get started early enough to make a yeasted loaf.  So I was happy to see this cheese and chive bread on the list for this week's French Fridays with Dorie.

Breadhead that I am, however, when I read the recipe I had a feeling that the ingredients were going to need a bit of a boost. In my experience, savory breads like this tend to suck up flavor like a sponge, and so they need a little extra help. Now, I can't say for sure that the bread would have been on the bland side as written, but I can tell you that mine came out quite nicely.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Spicy Hungarian Goulash with Egg Dumplings

This post is about my new discovery. Her name is June Meyer. Have you heard of her? Neither had I, until I started hunting around online for an authentic recipe for Hungarian goulash. I've made a yummy vegetarian version in the past, loosely inspired by my too-brief time in Budapest, but my soul had a deep down hankering for the real beefy deal. And that meant I needed to find a  recipe with no tomatoes and no flour: just paprika, paprika, and more paprika.