Thursday, July 26, 2007
Last weekend I made some Viking-style snacks for another SCA vigil, and tried some new stuff this time. I made a big batch of skyr, and needed to make use of it, so I mixed some skyr with honey, then added some little dried prunes and hazelnuts fried in butter. This worked out really nicely, and includes ingredients common in the archeological record. It was quite good with the barley flat bread. I'm thinking it would be even better filling the barley pancakes. Hmm.
The other new one was some oatcakes, which were just butter, honey, oatflour and rolled oats (and maybe a bit too much salt). Baked until cookie like. They were a lot like simple (salty) oatmeal cookies. Good with herring.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
I just got a copy of the recently released
Sippin' Safari: In Search of the Great "Lost" Tropical Drink Recipes... and the People Behind Them
and it's proving to be quite an excellent book. Jeff "Beachbum" Berry has authored three previous books on Tiki drinks ( Beachbum Berry's Grog Log, Beachbum Berry's Intoxica!, and Beachbum Berry's Taboo Table) and the food that goes with them, and this is his finest work to date.
In his quest to recover the lost art of the faux tropical drink, he's done a truly amazing amount of legwork and research. Sippin' Safari is as much a work of history as it is a drink book. Mr. Berry tracked down an interviewed a number of famous (in the right circles) waiters and bartenders from the old tiki bars and gotten their recipes first hand, doing some detective work along the way. There's a whole chapter on tracking down the Zombie recipe (which I still haven't tried, as it takes a bit of prep), tracking down leads and referencing a copy of a 1937 bartenders notebook. Cool stuff, both from the tiki and research perspectives.
The book is filled with pictures of classic tiki bars, old drink menus, the bartenders and their families, and other interesting details surrounding the original 30s-70's tiki scene.
If you are into tiki, history, or both, this is well worth the read.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
being a recently converted Tiki enthusiast, I've been experimenting with a number of fine Tiki drinks, including the Mai Tai. It's hard to go too wrong with a decently made Mai Tai, but there's still room for both error and improvement. After checking out some of the advice on Tiki Central, last night I tried one with fresh Key lime juice (instead of fresh Meyer lime) and homemade Orgeat (made to this recipe) instead of the commercial Torani stuff. The improvement was quite noticeable, and even Vikki liked it (she's not generally a Mai Tai fan). The Key lime juice was sweeter, and less bitter, and the homemade Orgeat was less sweet, and not so artificially almondy. So altogether:
2 oz. Appleton Estate Jamaican rum
1.5 oz. Key lime juice
.75 oz. Bols Curacao (the only brand I could find)
.5 oz. orgeat
.5 Malibu coconut rum (not traditional, perhaps, but a very nice addition)
Thursday, June 21, 2007
I hit on a winner last night. Even the picky girl liked it. She went back for thirds, even, which pretty much never happens with her unless dinner consists of mac & cheese or snickers bars.
On a large piece on tinfoil, I laid down a thick layer of baby spinach leaves, and on top of that sliced tomato.
Next came a couple of mahi mahi fillets from Trader Joe's (where the prices for frozen fish are super-reasonable). On top of the fish I sprinkled some red Hawaiian salt, and about half a can of thick coconut milk. Chopped onions over the whole thing.
Sealed it up in foil, and baked at 375° for around 40 minutes. After it came out of the oven, I topped it with sliced avocado. Served up with some fried rice with Chinese sausage and sugar snap peas.
Totally a meal I'd do again, especially after the kid's reaction.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
At last night's Tuesday night market, we picked up a mixed flat of cherries, strawberries, gooseberries, red and yellow raspberries, and some boysenberries to boot. I think the mulberries come later in the season. The possibilities are endless, but I like either fresh berries by themselves, with some yogurt, or with barely sweetened home made whip cream. A quick dessert that you can whip up as the mood strikes.
Also at the market was a guy selling game meats (from a ranch in Bend). He had waterbuffalo, bison, elk, and even yak in a number of different cuts. I was most tempted by the elk ribeyes. The elk stew meat started at around $7.50/lb, which isn't too unreasonable, considering the limited market. There might be some Viking food in there somewhere.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
At the Sunday market in Hillsboro this weekend I scored some really nice gai lan ("Chinese broccoli") and some snow pea tendrils. The latter are the stalks that peas grow on, after you take the peas off. They have a very nice flavor, and stir fry well. I stir fried both of the above greens with a little ginger and garlic, some oyster sauce, a little dark soy sauce, and some Chinese rice wine. Just before the sauce went on, I threw in some fresh chow mein noodles I picked up at New Seasons. Quick, easy, and very tasty. So exciting to see fresh veggies coming in.
There's a great blog dedicated to building your own backyard tandoor in an oil drum. Not only is this a cool project, but his food looks great.
Monday, June 18, 2007
I'm experimenting with Hawaiian/Polynesian food a bit, so Saturday night I made some kalbi ribs (not strictly Polynesian, I know, but popular in Hawaii) and a melange of taro, onions and plantains baked in pineapple juice, olive oil and ginger. I was very happy with the results, and it all went excellently well with kimchee. :) We also had some frozen laulau from Uwajimaya. It's one of my new favorite dishes, and I need to try making it from scratch. It's pork and butterfish wrapped in taro leaves and steamed. Extra good. Sunday morning saw a good Hawaiian breakfast of linguica, rice and fried eggs (scrambled for the girl).
Sunday dinner was my new favorite burger recipe, half beef, half pork, seasoned with pepper and alder smoked salt from Whole Foods. The smoked salt makes all the difference. Served up with authentic kosher pickles, and some locally made barbeque sauce we scored at the farmer's market. Good eating. And the local snap peas are coming in, also a welcome addition. Yay produce!
Friday, June 01, 2007
having dined two nights in a row on fresh corn, asparagus, and apricots/nectarines, I'm all revved up for produce season. We should start seeing more and more at the farmer's markets very soon. It takes a while way up North here, but I'm particularly looking forward to berry season. The last few years, our farmer's market has had mulberries, blueberries, strawberries, gooseberries (red and green), black and red raspberries, etc. Nothing better for breakfast with a little yogurt or cereal.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
I've been having lots of fun with fermentation lately, thanks to some very cool books like Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats and Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods. I'm on my second batch of fermented beans, and the 3-4 batch of sauerkraut now.
This morning it all came together in a fine breakfast. I took a "hand made" corn tortilla from Trader Joe's, heated it up with some cheddar cheese, then layered on some of the fermented beans (made with pinto beans and garlic this time), some cortida (Latin American-style sauerkraut), some pickled jalapenos, and some piima cream. Simple, fast, and oh-so-tasty.
Next up... I've got some gingered carrots and some turnips and beets bubbling their way toward pickle-hood on top of my fridge. A few more days until they are ready.
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