Saturday, November 22, 2014

Salmon Chowder

Friday 21 November
As is his wont, Holt was going to have a group of friends over and cook them a marvelous dinner as a way of celebrating his own birthday.  So Barbara went out and caught (okay, bought) a seven-pound salmon, and Holt prepped it for the feast.  Once the fillets were removed and a few steaks frozen, we boiled up the remains for a chowder. 

A few bacon scraps got sizzled in the pan, and some chopped celery, carrot, and onion joined them.  Then some diced potato and wine jumped in to get tender, and finally the salmon scraps, some tarragon, and milk and cream, until it was rich and lush.    
Usually this is made from leftovers from a whole salmon, but this time we had it first.  Does that make it firstovers?

Holt's Birthday at Salazar

Thursday 20 November
We liked Salazar so much at Barbara's birthday that we went there again for Holt's.  And this time we had a camera.

We couldn't help repeating the prosecco, not to mention the little fried oyster sandwich with kimchi, radish sprouts, and garlic mayo, served on its own little round of log.  
Our crudo was pastrami-spiced hamachi with frisée, pickled fennel, rye bagel chips, and dots of clear pear coulis.  

And we had to try the special of grilled lamb tongue, served with marcona almonds, tiny potatoes and varicolored carrots, on a bed of romesco sauce. 
On to mains: we repeated the crisp-skinned redfish, which came on a pillow of pimenton oil (bottom), sweet parsnip purée (middle), and lentilles de puy (top), with a scatter of chanterelles.  
The other was a tender, succulent angus ribeye with black truffle butter, served with papas bravas and a little casserole of creamy, nutmeggy kale.

Birthday cake was pear-ricotta on almond meringue, feather-light, with a side of house-made blood orange pistachio sorbet.  
Once again, everything was so delicious, so meticulously made and presented, and served with such knowledge and flair, that Salazar confirmed itself as our new favorite restaurant.

Taking a Speaker to Floyd's

Wednesday 19 November
Our department has developed an ugly little habit (which we've learned to call "Dutch treat") of asking its members to take lecturers out to dinner and then stiffing them on the bill, despite the fact that money overflows the Classics coffers.  In addition, our college's financial office is so inefficient that no one has been reimbursed for these or any other expenses for months.  So today we rebelled and took our speaker Isabelle, plus Duncan and Steven, out to Floyd's Chicken. 
This is not really a hardship, as Floyd's serves THE BEST SPIT-ROASTED CHICKEN IN THE WHOLE WORLD, as actually recognized in Food and Wine.  It is also extremely cheap (like our department), though it doesn't serve wine or beer (like our university, where you have to get your dean to sign a release if you want to give the speaker a glass of wine).  
Barbara called ahead to reserve a couple of whole chickens, and our lovely hostess Reine added another half, knowing that five people would each want their own half. 

Indeed we all had the Floyd's Special, half a bird and two sides, which meant that the two of us could enjoy the dolma and pickled vegetables as well as the classic hummus and baba ghanouj with fresh pita.  And though we didn't have wine to make the conversation flow, we all had lots to say, especially after Holt showed the party how to make writhing worms out of the paper covers from the drink straws.  

Chilaquiles Again

Tuesday 18 November

As mentioned last Saturday, one of the great things about chilaquiles is that leftovers are easily nuked, and provide an easy, quick, and comforting dinner on an ice-cold night.

Swordfish with Grilled Vegetables and Bazargan

Monday 17 November

Call it elemental swordfish souvlaki.  We grilled a quartered zucchino, some red onion, and an orange pepper on the grill pan, then did the same to a succulent swordfish steak.  Lots of lemon, of course, and a little olive oil to freshen up the nutty bazargan we made under Claudia Roden's direction last Monday.

Chard Rolls

Sunday 16 November
Some of the rainbow chard leaves we picked last Tuesday were giant-sized enough to make chard autumn rolls, though these days it really feels like winter.

They were stuffed with sausage as usual, but also with some leftover chard with sausage and potatoes from Tuesday, which made them even lighter.  And using the chopped chard stems to support the little rolls as they steam in the pan, and then as a topping afterward, makes this this recipe elegant (in the mathematical sense) and efficient, not to mention damn tasty.