Saturday, March 28, 2015

Last Linguiça from Kroger Brothers

Friday 27 March
Ever since we first moved to Cincinnati (let's draw a veil over how long ago that was) we've been fans of Kroger Brothers in Findlay Market.  We used to love their garlic metts (seasonal), Napas, and other sausages, all well-seasoned, meticulously made, and kept fresh, with lots of turnover.  Expensive, and a long wait, especially on holiday weekends, but worth it.
A few years ago the Brothers sold the business, and we worried.  But the new owners learned the recipes, and things seemed to be going well.  Okay, then the Napas got way too salty, and the bits of bell pepper would sometimes clump up at one end.  There was the occasional lump of gristle in the kielbasa.  The casings on at least one sausage out of three would burst while frying.  We switched to linguiça sausages, which seemed easier to produce, and they were fine...for a while. 
Tonight we fried up a panful of linguiça, and pretty much everything that had ever been wrong was wrong with them.  One burst in the pan, and they were all were incredibly salty, with no other seasonings tastable.  It took lots of mild cole slaw in each bite to make them passable.  And finally, there was a tooth-cracking-size piece of bone in one.  

They should be ashamed to call this stuff Kroger Brothers' sausage.  We hope that the current owners can mend their ways, but in the meantime, we are switching to Eckerlin's.

Grilled Swordfish, Zucchini, and Grapefruit

Thursday 26 March
Swordfish is a natural on the grill, and so are tender small zucchini, sliced up to the stem.  Grapefruit is not so much, but we thought it would be a good citrus accent to both the others.  So instead of lighting up the indoor grill, we tried all three out on a grill pan. 

Brushed the sliced zucchini with olive oil and grilled them first.  
Into the warming oven they went, while the swordfish steaks were brushed with more oil, salt, and thyme, and went onto the pan.  
Once they were done and resting, we brushed the halves of a pink grapefruit with oil and put them cut side down on the same pan.  They stuck a bit, but got a nice char on them anyway. 

You'll need a grapefruit knife at the table to get the sections out, but the meaty swordfish with a smack of citrus was a fresh, unusual flavor, so worth it.

Deconstructed Corned Beef Hash

Wednesday 25 March
There was still an amount of corned beef left over, but the slices were too pretty for our usual default dish, corned beef hash.  So Holt got a cheffy idea: deconstructed hash, keeping all the ingredients separate.
He ran six or seven little Yukon golds carefully (with gloved fingers) through the Benriner, then shallow-fried the matchsticks until they were crisp and brown.
Those went into the warming oven, so that a sliced yellow onion could go into the same pan (we don't want to wash more than one pan, do we?).  
That too came out and went into the oven, which was also warming the slices of corned beef.  
And finally, we used the same pan to fry up a couple of eggs, a natural topping for the hash.

Look - it's Hash Wednesday!

Rigatoni with Mushrooms and Asparagus

Tuesday 24 March

Now that asparagus is in season, we are keeping big sheaves of it in vases of water in the fridge (it is, after all, a flower shoot).  And as we had a pound of white mushrooms as well, we combined the two for a spring pasta.  

The asparagus was quickly boiled in the pot of water (tips last) and then fished out and drained, so the rigatoni could go in.  The mushrooms were sautéed until dark and tender, and then cream, rosemary, and a drizzle of gin (for that juniper-berry boscaiola flavor, we assure you) went into the pan to thicken (a good grate of asiago helped).
The asparagus, then the pasta, got tossed in thoroughly, and that was that - and damn good too.

Crabcakes with Cole Slaw

Monday 23 March
We had a half can of crabmeat left over from Tuesday's puffs, so a batch of crabcakes was a good option for tonight's dinner. 
We had run out of both celery and bell pepper, however, so we made them without either, just some minced red onions and scallions.  Strangely enough, they stuck together better than our usual recent run of crabcakes, so maybe it's the celery that's causing them to fall to pieces as they fry...

In any case, they went very well with a haystack of cole slaw on either side.