Saturday, February 23, 2013

Curried Chicken and Avocado Salad

Saturday 23 February
The remaining two avocadoes were ready today - did we mention that you have to eat ripe ones RIGHT AWAY?  And we still had two chicken legs and thighs from Tuesday's roast.  So at the risk of being repetitious, we made a salad, but mayonnaise- rather than oil-dressed.  It makes a world of difference.
We worked a couple of teaspoons of curry powder into abundant mayonnaise at the bottom of a bowl, and loosened it with a driblet of soy sauce.  The chopped chicken got folded into that, with some diced red onion.  On top went the chopped avocadoes, with a generous splash of the juice of one lime as we gently folded them in. 
There's not much more this needs, other than a tongue to lick the plate clean.

Avocado, Asparagus, and Crab Salad

Friday 22 February
We bought four Haas avocadoes at Trader Joe's on Tuesday, and everybody knows that when avocadoes are ripe, you need to eat them RIGHT AWAY.  Two were ready tonight, and we still had a bunch of asparagus - why not do them together? 
Holt had the idea to slosh the sliced, boiled asparagus (first stems, then tips, as always) with lime ponzu, adding another slosh on top of the chopped avocado, and then some diced red onion and olive oil.  Barbara had the idea to freshen the crab claw meat by tossing it in a couple of pats of melted butter and a squeeze of lemon juice. 

Then they were all tossed gently together in a big bowl and portioned out onto plates, and it was magic.  

Red Beans and Rice Redux

Thursday 21 February
The leftovers from Mardi Gras made a hot and filling meal after a cold walk home in the sleet.

Speakers' Dinner at the Anchor, Over the Rhine

Wednesday 20 February
Rose was bringing in a speaker tonight.  Lauren was bringing in a speaker and her partner (the speaker's, not Lauren's - sorry, Zac!) tomorrow.  They decided to merge the two parties, so nine of us converged on the Anchor restaurant downtown.
This is a new place, in a pleasant spot overlooking the newly furbished Washington Park.  They set a long table for us, but though there were only two other parties in the room, the ambient noise was deafening - not enough cushioning, especially on the chairs.  But the service was brisk enough, and we soon had a choice of fairly reputable white and rosé wine out on the table.
Our appetizers were 6 oysters - there's a selection of three each from the East coast and West coast  - and a couple of tentacles of grilled octopus, unfortunately tough and characterless, though on a nice sunchoke salad.
One of our mains was bouillabaisse, with a nice selection of seafood, though it's hard to confront the little American version with what we had in Marseille this past summer. 
The other was lobster pot pie, with a cute phyllo pastry hat.  The lobster in each one was a bit tough, and the pot pie was a mite skimpily filled.  But on the whole The Anchor is a decent place, especially for a seafood restaurant in the midst of the Midwest, and everyone had a good time.

Roast Chicken with Beets 'n' Sweets

Tuesday 19 February
It's still Chinese New Year, so we had chicken gyoza (potstickers) with soy dipping sauce for lunch, and a whole roast chicken (whole = togetherness), along with the leftover-from-a-while-ago (Feb. 9) beets 'n' sweets, for dinner.

This time we rubbed the chicken's skin with butter, salted it, and gave it 40 mins at 375º on convect.  The result was gorgeous crispy brown skin, and I think that now we're on the tight track.   
Next time, butter on skin again, convect again, but maybe start it at 350º and turn it up to 400º in the last 15 minutes?  It's a work in progress.

Everything from a Salmon: Salmon Cakes

Monday 18 February
We asked Duncan over for the second time of asking for Friday's leftover salmon: salmon cakes. 
On top of the flaked salmon, just a few bread crumbs from Holt's panko-making (based on grating a loaf of frozen white bread and then drying and toasting it a little), minced red onion and celery, a little mayo to bind, and the magic ingredient: a tsp. of Dijon mustard. Pat together, dip in finer breadcrumbs, and brown in oil.
Our side dish was roasted asparagus, with sauce maltaise made with one of the blood oranges we still have sitting around. 
Dessert was Holt's rosemary biscotti and a touch of moscato dessert wine - or the Glenlivet, for those who love the single malts and don't have to drive.