Friday, February 1, 2013
The sauce is fairly complex. There's some caramelized onions and shallots, five or six different spices, fish sauce, and sherry -- and probably two or three ingredients I'm not remembering. It's pureed, then tossed with the pasta and some cheese, covered in more cheese and butter-soaked panko, then baked. (Yeah, it's not a low-calorie dish). For the cheese, I used a blend of cheddar and parrano.
It ended up less creamy than I was expecting. Not a bad thing, just different. It was definitely cheesy, and removing the covering halfway through baking gave the top a nice crispiness. I was surprised (though I shouldn't have been) by how much it made; more than enough for my wife and I for dinner, with four containers of leftovers for lunches this week. This is going to be a great dish for potlucks.
Friday, January 25, 2013
In honor of St. Tatiana, not to mention partner Tatiana Brunetti, Mari Vanna is giving a free flute of champagne and a Birdsmilk dessert (pictured above) to anyone named Tatiana. Who is St. Tatiana? According to Wikipedia:
She was the daughter of a Roman civil servant who was secretly Christian, and raised his daughter in the faith, and she became a deaconess in the church. This was dangerous, and one day the jurist Ulpian captured Tatiana and attempted to force her to make a sacrifice to Apollo. She prayed, and miraculously, an earthquake destroyed the Apollo statue and part of the temple.
Tatiana was then blinded, and beaten for two days, before being brought to a circus and thrown into the pit with a hungry lion. But the lion did not touch her and lay at her feet. This resulted in a death sentence being pronounced, and after being tortured, Tatiana was beheaded with a sword on January 25, around AD 225 or 230.So if you're a Tatiana, head to Mari Vanna to celebrate your namesake's beheading. It'll be fun!
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Thursday, January 17, 2013
|Photo by Julia Frost, on flickr.|
Once the pork chop was done brining, we coated it in flour, breaded it, and pan-fried it, also according to instructions from Ruhlman's book. While frying it, I made a lemon-caper sauce and my wife prepared brussels sprouts and roasted potatoes. While the pork chops were thinner than Ruhlman suggested, they cooked perfectly -- if anything, they were slightly underdone. I've always been impressed by how much brining makes pork much more tender and juicy, and this brine added some really good flavor. It's a really heavy dish, though. The lemon-caper sauce was necessary to cut the heaviness with the acidity of the lemons and the saltiness of the capers. The brussels sprouts were a good side, and complemented the pork chops nicely; I'm glad we didn't roast them, as that may have been too much. Similarly, the potatoes were good, but they may have been a carb too far. I really enjoyed this meal, and look forward to trying it again!
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
|Photo by Erwyn van der Meer, on flickr.|
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
I had forgotten, sadly, Japanese restaurant Kushi's plans to start a food truck, so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw them pop-up at Farragut Square on Washingtonian's food truck tracker. On such a dreary, nasty day, some miso soup sounded really good. I walked over to the square when lunch time came around, and I think I made the right choice. Every bit of the meal was very good.
I ordered the pork belly rice bowl and the miso soup. I know Kushi's sushi is very good, but I wanted to try something new. They do have several different varieties of sushi, including a California roll with real crab. I might try the spicy tuna next time. The rice bowl was great, with really sticky rice and tender pork belly. The ginger gave it a nice kick. The miso soup was excellent, with a good amount of miso in it and high quality kelp. Definitely worth checking out the next time it's in your neighborhood.
Monday, January 14, 2013
Ruhlman's Twenty. As the author puts it:
I continue to pare down and isolate the fundamentals so that we can be more free and efficient in the kitchen (important given the fact that cooking food is fundamental to our humanity). All you really need to know to cook basically everything is twenty fundamentals. This is a book for people who want to understand how cooking works, inside the hood as it were (recipes are the body and trim, techniques are the engine). It’s also a book for those who like or need to cook and want to cook better.And that's a very good description. I've made several of the recipes in the book already, ranging from macaroni and cheese to french onion soup and pan-fried pork chops, and they've all been very good. But what they haven't been is for beginners. This book will certainly refine your cooking skills, if you already have some idea what you're doing in the kitchen. And you don't have to be very good -- I'm under no illusions regarding my own skill! But if you're really just learning to cook, there are other cookbooks that are better for you. in any case, I hope you'll enjoy our trip through this book.