Monday, May 21, 2012

Chocolate Rain

Today was the rainiest day I can remember. Well, maybe the second rainiest day I can remember. It could be argued that that time last year when our neighborhood was destroyed by a flood was slightly rainier. Also it may be the reason I am now scared when it rains.

I battled against my fears and spent most of the rainy morning out doing errands in a panic realizing the babies could pretty much come at any time now. My panic about babies almost overwhelmed my panic about rain.

Rutabaga Manchego Cakes with Watercress Feta Salad

Being cold and rainy I settled in to make something warm and nourishing for dinner. First, I started off by cleaning some local watercress and cilantro and mixing them together with lime, olive oil, and feta cheese with salt and pepper. I also made these rutabaga cakes with leftover rutabaga from when the babies were the size of rutabaga if you can remember back that far. I added some shredded Manchego and panko to the mashed rutabaga, coated them with more panko, then fried them in a pan. They were pretty tasty considering it was just an excuse to use up leftover rutabaga, Manchego, and panko.

Posole (Pre-Condiment)

I decided to make posole for our main course tonight. This was mostly because I still had some leftover pork from my dinner at The Breslin last week. I started by browning some garlic and onion then adding a little chopped jalapeno, leftover butternut squash, and chopped cabbage. I cooked this down a bit then added the leftover pork (skin and all), chopped tomato, dried thyme, dried oregano, cumin, and bay leaf. I let it cook on the stovetop for a while with some thawed out chicken stock and then added some hominy toward the end.

Posole Condiments

I served it up with shredded cheddar, fresh cilantro, sliced radish, chopped green onion, and sour cream. I would have had some sliced avocado too but unfortunately that wasn't to be. I went to one of our local stores this afternoon to grab some of these accompaniments and I asked the woman there (who half the store is named after) and she told me that the avocados were behind the counter. I found this a little strange but I collected the rest of my stuff, got the the register, then forgot to ask for an avocado. When I was getting ready to plate dinner and remembered about this I was furious. A geyser of curse words erupted in our kitchen, mostly directed at the strange security measures in place at our local store.

I then trekked back out into the rain to go to another local store who also sold avocados (in a more normal location) but sadly they were all rock hard and wouldn't be ripe for at least a few days.

It wasn't meant to be.

Posole (Post-Condiment)

Jen liked the soup. Sort of. She claimed that the pork tasted of boar taint. It definitely did not but I think her pregnancy-induced sense of smell was picking up something from the pork. If it had been boar taint I would have noticed because we had a
very unfortunate boar taint experience this summer in France.

Dogfish Head Theobroma

Since I was cooking a dish which dates back to the Aztecs I decided to pair it with a beer of roughly the same era and civilization, this Theobroma from Dogfish Head. This is based on a recipe found on an Aztec pot from 1200 B.C. Supposedly this drink was consumed for special occasions in Azetc society and is one of the earliest known uses for cocoa.

I had been expecting a "chocolate" beer to be much darker but generally the use of the word "chocolate" in the name of a beer denotes chocolate malt which is, of course, not chocolate at all but rather dark roasted malt. In this case actually cocoa was used and, therefore, the beer maintains a very light color like one would expect in a beer.

This beer also happens to be the subject of one of my favorite Sam Calgione videos where he claims he's getting ready to go on a fox hunt.

The beer had a very nice, but subtle, cocoa taste to it with a slightly spicy finish. I've been sitting on this bottle for a while in the beer cellar and it was nice to finally pair it with an appropriate meal. I'm often very hesitant to try to pair a beer or wine with soup but this beer actually went perfectly with the posole. This was merely a happy accident and had nothing to do with any sort of planning on my part.

After dinner we kept it authentic by watching the ancient Aztec sport of ice hockey.

Go Tenochtitlan Rangers!


Chef Aunt said...

Oh, thank goodness there is such a thing as "boar taint". I thought Jen was saying that the pork smelled like a boar's perineum, and I was wondering how she knew that!


Chef Aunt said...

Oh, thank goodness there is such a thing as "boar taint". I thought Jen was saying that the pork smelled like a boar's perineum, and I was wondering how she knew that!


Unknown said...

Well, I'd imagine a boar's perineum smells just about the same. Boar taint is pretty nasty.