Too many cooks…

July 29, 2010

… in this case, concocted a fabulous dinner at Deedee’s.

A & O made Lychee Caipirinias. Nice touch. The lychees added a sweetness to the lime skin’s bitterness. Deedeelicious! Naturally, that put everyone in the right mood for the ‘culinary jam session’ that was about to begin.

Tamatim rolled up these magical Summer Rolls. Simple and refreshing, they were the perfect starter for what we were about to consume (carrots, cucumbers, spring onions, coriander and bean sprouts all rolled up in a rice paper rolls). Served with Garlic Chili sauce and Sweet Mango Chili sauce… or any other sauce you feel like dippin’ in!

O made his famous Thai Beef Salad. Now I have to say, I’m not much of a beef salad person, but what really did it for me was O’s secret sauce which consisted of fish sauce, a touch of sesame oil, soy sauce, lime and maybe even oyster sauce, to name a few. The salad combo is straight forward: tomatoes, cucumbers, coriander, spring onions, red & green chilis, beef tenderloin cooked medium.

Deedee made her famous Fragrant Green Chicken Curry (recipe by Jamie Oliver –  see blog entry July 25th). She also made J’s Stir Fried Romaine Lettuce recipe but added shrimp – olive & sesame oil, spring onions, ginger, garlic, toss in the lettuce and turn off the heat. In a separate pan, sautée the shrimp with garlic and ginger , then throw into the lettuce mix. Add soy sauce, oyster sauce and sesame seeds… et voilá!).

Last minute we decided to add another dish, as the party kept getting bigger, so A made Beef with Soy Sauce & Ginger (another Jamie Oliver recipe). We didn’t have Bok Choy or Spinach (as the recipe says), so we substituted flat Asian peas instead – which are crisp and sweet – and were just purrfect!

Wine with dinner came from Vintage in Saifi, again. The newcomer to the party was Métis 2008, Sauvignon Blanc from Trinity Hill Winery in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand… with a French twist. Now, if you ignore the fact that it’s a screw top… I mean, to unscrew a bottle of wine is such a turn off for me… but, yeah, yeah, I know, you never get a corky bottle… still, somewhat anti-climactic!

Anyhooooo, it was just the right palate with our grub. A floral nose with hints of passionfruit, as are most sauvignons from the down under region, this SB (not Son-of-a-Bitch, I mean: Sauvignon Blanc) is yellow-green in color. The palate: fresh and crisp with citrus and passionfruit. Well rounded with a long finish… you just wana keep drinking it… which is exactly what we did!!

We also had a bottle of one of my faves: Marchesi di Barollo’s Gavi (which was the last bottle in the store!), then a PJ  Sauvignon by Paul Jaboulet, which unfortunately for PJ, was horribly expressionless after the Métis.

That ‘jam session’ was worth the dishes I had to do the next day! Always fun to cook with peeps who appreciate oral pleasures.


Makin’ out…

July 25, 2010

… I mean ‘up’ for lost time. It had been a while, after all!

MC got me some delicious lychees and black figs from Eden. I decided to experiment with the Figs ‘Agrodolce’ recipe – 1/4 cups sugar and water boil until golden and thick, add 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and complete to a full cup with red wine. Then add garlic, fresh rosemary, salt pepper and lime zest (Deedee’s touch). Boil and in the end add lime juice and olive oil – you could even drizzle in some honey, then drop the figs in and let those babies soak for a while – overnight if you like.

Have them with Prosciutto di Parma, drizzle olive oil and garnish with parmesan shavings….

Yislamou idék ‘ala hal li’mé ‘l taybé!

That was for starters… we were hungry after that workout.

Our main course was Fragrant Green Chicken Curry – a recipe from Jamie Oliver. The curry is made of all fresh ingredients (coriander, basil, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, chili, spring onions, lime, olive oil, salt & pepper… add the chicken and then coconut milk, et voilá!)

I’ll leave dessert up to your imagination…

I’m comin’, I’m comin’….

July 25, 2010

… and I’m back from my food orgy in NY city. Wow… wow… did I say ‘wow’ already? Whether its the exquisit food, wine, and beer, or the immaculate service, NYC knows its gastronomy and boy do they put on a great show.

My first meal was at Otto!! Everything Italian, this Enotica Pizzeria in New York city is one of my favorite places. I like to sit at the wine bar and have their ‘mezza-like’ dishes.

JA and I thought we’d start of with a pink bubbly, so we had two glasses of Flor Prosecco Rosé  from Veneto. A blush redish-pink color and so refreshing in the summer heat, Flor tastes of citrus, peach and pears.

We moved on to food…

Sformato di Parmigiano – a parmesan flan/pudding that sinfully melts in your mouth. Then Figs “Agrodolce” (a sweet and sour marinated figs – I’ll talk about that in another blog entry) to die for, especially if you have it with Prosciutto. The Roasted Beets & Saba was succulent, the Cucumber, Watermelon & Ricotta Salata – so simple and refreshing – and we had our usual assortment of three cheeses that Denis, the bartender/sommelier, recommended with our wine, which was a 2006 Domenico Clerico Dolcetto Visadi Langhe – a full bodied and very tannic Italian red from Piedmont. The grape -Dolcetto – tasted of dark berries, prunes, licorice, chocolate and was velvety in your mouth. Though it’s summer, this red was pleasant and smooth company to our food.

The Spotted Pig, another one of my faves came next. I just couldn’t get myself to stop eating those Shibumi Oysters! From Washington state, these are medium to small in size and are sweeter and creamier than the ones you get on the East Coast. Washed that down with a Harpoon UFO White, which is a white wheat beer, foggy yellow color, easy to drink and refreshing with an orange and spice palate and made in a micro-brewery in Boston, MA.  Interesting how many micro-breweries are popping up in the US. When M arrived, we had another dozen oysters (can you imagine the state I was in by then?!? :-)). We decided to share their Burger (medium rare akeed) with Roquefort accompanied by their delicious Shoestring Fries seasoned with garlic and rosemary (yaani, á la Deedee).

Next day, K and I went Public!  Usually my dinner hotspot, it was the first time I ‘brunch’ there. Of course, we had a pink bubbly. This time it was Taltarni, a sparkling Rosé from Tasmania, Australia. The color is rosy pink and the palate is dry and spicy but refreshing with peach and berries.  We shared a few dishes: a Salad of Herby Lentils with Pomegranate Molasses (they went a little too heavy on the Pomegranate), Roasted Boudin Noir (blood sausage) a strong flavor with nuttiness, and finally Tea-smoked Salmon with spinach and poached eggs (my favorite of all and went the best with the bubbly).

I was a Double Crown virgin – same owners as Public. We were 3 and shared, naturellement! Started off with Oysters (surprised?) and a glass of Riesling, then moved on to a Gerard Millet Pinot Noir 2008 from Sancerre – a little too light bodied, but went well with the Crisp Pork Belly, Steamed Mussels, and Singapore Style Lobster. I would certainly go back there.

Overall, service was fabulous everywhere. It was an orgasmic experience eating out in NYC…. but then again, isn’t it always?

Check out…

July 2, 2010

… this article that Z sent me:

I have to agree with this guy, especially if I want to attribute this to Leboland – though I’m not too sure about his name!?! Ghandi…???

Il muhimm, let’s face it, some restaurants in Leboland have “bible” sized wine menus but they’re mainly for show – to impress our ‘phallic cigar’ totting guys (see my Ma ‘am bifham blog entry), who end up ordering cough medicine because they can’t figure out what else to go for.

The only place that gets credit for their wine menu – so far in my ‘humble’ opinion – is Le Gray. Yaani, at least they have a short description of the wine below the name – just like most restaurants abroad who take themselves seriously.

The author’s “acronym list” at the end is very Americana, but the truth is, restaurants – especially in Leboland – are overloading their menus just to look sophisticated. I bet the servers have never even tried the stuff and for the life of them can’t describe it to you… hence, they can’t sell it to you.

That’s the biggest problem if you ask me! I mean, ‘we’ used to sit our servers down and have them taste and discuss the wines on our list… mind you, our menu had a short but well balanced list.

So, how else do you expect your servers to give your customers a pleasant wine experience with their mediocre food? Oops, did I say mediocre out loud? … I’m terrible!!

Y’all ever had…

July 2, 2010

… a Bison Burger (American Buffalo meat) before? It’s a lean and low cholesterol meat. Usually served medium rare even in a burger. Had mine with blackened spices and blue cheese… darn deeelicious! Y’all wana have a burger less the guilt? Then y’all gotta gofer it!

Good grub, especially when you’re jetlagged and trying to focus on doing your job.

You go to my head…

July 1, 2010

…like the bubbles in a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, Vintage 2002, Brut. Aaaah, again, not sure if it was the company, BUT this was a fantastische bottle. Coincidentally (inside joke), it’s mostly made of Pinot Noir (and another variety of Pinot), the color is golden. It has a complex nose, somewhat on the mineral side, the palate: citrus and spice, it’s a well balance champagne (or wine, if you will) and the bubbles… well, they just go to your head! The Orange Lady makes great champagne, but damn she’s ugly! Perhaps a biased opinion here, but I’m just a sucker for Veuve! It was time we had that bottle.

So MC picked some basil and concocted his special blend… it’s a secret, but I’ll tell you if you promise not to tell on me: crush the basil with rock salt and olive oil in a mortar and pestle… wow, so simple yet the aromas that are released add something wild to your dish. Throw that in with your tomato sauce (olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, pepper, a chili and… some sugar – yes, that’s my secret touch)! If you don’t have fresh tomatoes, I always make sure to keep canned peeled tomatoes in store. Just dump in the tomatoes themselves, i.e. without the sauce. Either shred them by hand or leave them as is and they’ll melt in the pan (don’t forget to remove the pits). Shave some parmesan and sprinkle on top, et voilà!

You go to my head, with a smile that makes my temperature rise, like the summer in a thousand July’s, you intoxicate my soul with your eyes… I adore Billie Holiday! She sings this one with so much style.