Thursday, June 18, 2009

Four Courses, No Cohesion

Jen had a long day at work today. With the whole day by myself I had one mission: turn the fridge's leftovers into culinary delights. Or at least barely edible things.

I started by turning the Montreal bagels in the freezer into a lovely treat with the leftovers from the past two nights' dinners. A little horseradish cream, char, trout, boiled potatoes, and dill made for a wonderful afternoon treat.

As I prepared my mise en place for dinner I wanted to enjoy an ice cold beer. And what was the beer of choice whilst toiling in the kitchen?

Flying Fish Brewing Company released this in April of this year. Their plan was simple: to create a special, limited edition, craft beer for every exit on the New Jersey Turnpike. Sure this sounds like an ambitious project but it is conceivable that they could complete it in the next 100 years. Stephen Colbert's "Better Know a District" series has certainly come farther than anyone had ever expected. However, Sufjan Stephens's overly-ambitious project of creating an individual concept album for each of the 50 states has stalled out at two (Michican and Illinois).

I would recommend that future exit numbers include an alcohol percentage. I had one glass of this and then realized that I needed a lengthy break before my next. Certainly I'm a wuss but I probably should have paced myself a little better.

Last night I fully intended to put cooked red lentils on top of the salad. However, the lentils (which were severely expired) turned into a disgusting mush almost instantly after touching the water. I saved the mush and used it to create a strange red lentil "hummus" with lemon, dill, garlic, olive oil, cayenne, cumin, salt, and pepper. I served it with some crackers as starter.

For the "salad" I used these great jumbo shrimp that I got at an amazing sale price. I spicy boiled them and made a cocktail sauce with some additional dill, horseradish, and lemon. I served it with leaves of the farm romaine.

I'm weary of Asian-style bok choy so I decided to cook up this bok choy with some garlic, shallot, olive oil, salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon at the very end. I also tossed in a few stems worth of the farm oregano at the very end. Somewhere in heaven my Chinese and Italian great grandmothers are putting aside their differences and forgetting the past.

If only Mao Tse-tung and Mussolini could do the same. Sadly both of them are much too stubborn. Boy can they both hold a grudge!

The main course: a delicious ribeye. Sometimes I consider a sauce but other than potentially sauteeing some shallots or mushrooms I think anything else just takes away from the beauty of my favorite cut of meat. A ribeye is such a work of art that it really needs to be enjoyed simply with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

My recent philosophy used to be that sauces are seldom needed if you're working with quality ingredients. Sauces were invented to mask the tastes of rotting meats. While I make a delicious Worcestershire glaze it would just detract from the beauty of this fine steak. I think I'll save that sauce for another time, a time where I am forced to make USDA Select beef.

On second thought, I may just opt for chicken on that day.

No comments: