April 30, 2013

Home Cooking: Vegetable Literacy

Been a while since I've had time to post anything to this blog thing I have going here that is hanging on by a thread. Just been too busy with other, arguably more important pursuits.
I did, however, recently pick up the new book, Vegetable Literacy, by renowned vegetarian chef, cookbook author, and scholar, Deborah Madison. Madison has been a player in the world of modern vegetarian cooking for 30 years and her new text aims to be a definitive guide for all things veggie. It's not so much a vegetarian cookbook as it is an encyclopedic tome on most aspects of the vegetable kingdom. It's 300+ pages of solid text that will leave you knowing more about vegetables than you ever though possible. There are a good number of excellent recipes in the book as well.
Like, spring peas with baked ricotta (see below) and fresh bread crumbs. As you can see, I went a little heavy on the peas there, but it was tasty, nonetheless.
The oven-baked ricotta with bread crumbs was a bit of a revelation to me. Once the ricotta bakes for 20 minutes or so, it sets up firmly and you get a goat cheese-like consistency that can be spooned on sandwiches, crumbled over pasta, or just spread on a slice of baguette.
I also made her black quinoa dish, though, I substituted black rice as I simply could not find black quinoa around town. The black rice was a suitable substitute for the dish that also includes chard, pistachios, avocado, and more of that ricotta cheese. The no-frills dressing is made from a mix of lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, and mint. A great spring/summer dish that is more filling than it might seem at first glance. Good for ya, too! 

April 20, 2013

Here and There Eats

Some recent pics of home cooking and more.
Porterhouse cut chops from Pine Street Market on the Big Green Egg.
I fooled around with some duck confit, which I had not done in some time. The pic above in case you'd forgotten what 5 pounds of raw duck fat looks like.
The remnants after reduction.
Duck confit. I used some of this duck to make duck confit tacos with cojita, red onion, and whipped avocado. Good stuff.
I also decided to go vegetarian for a couple of weeks, which led to me making the above picutred no-bake vegetarian enchiladas topped with with carrot sofrito. An interesting dish I got from the recent copy of Food & Wine. Carrot sofrito is a revelation. Make a lot of it, you won't be sorry. It's great on sandwiches and tossed into pasta. It's basically finely diced carrots and garlic simmered in a good dose of olive oil until it's soft with a sauce-like consistency.
Spent some time recently in Rosemary Beach, where it's an easy bike ride in the morning to grab some killer donuts from Charlie's. I'm not a big fan of doughnuts, but these are pretty good.
Food trucks along 30A in Seaside, FL. 
 The Melt Down on 30A.
Tasty Grilled Cheese.

April 12, 2013

Sunday Brunch at No. 246 in Decatur

I've been to No. 246 more times than I care to admit in the past couple of years. I hadn't, before last weekend, been to No. 246 for brunch. Below are some pics of the food. It was decent; though, sometimes I feel like No. 246 is just coasting. Nothing here that was really inspiring.The strongest dish is the one pictured below: wood-fired farm eggs with San Marzano tomatoes and polenta. A nap-inducing mid-day dish.
Quiche of spring peas, ham, and scallions. Eh, not bad, but nothing special either.
The spaghetti and GA shrimp dish that's been on the No. 246 menu since day one. Could we take a stab at a little variety maybe? However, my kid likes it, so we order it...

April 4, 2013

Buford Higway Eats, Part Two

Joined my intrepid tour guide and did a little more eating on Buford Highway recently.
First stop was Gu's for some Szechaun-style Chinese.
We started with some Chengdu-style cold noodles in a sweet and spicy sauce.
Cumin string beans with dried chilis was the highlight for me. Spicy, crunchy, and an almost Middle Eastern flavor profile from the heady dose of cumin. These were fun, and tongue-numbing spicy.
Spicy-crunchy beef was also tasty. The greens here (spinach, I think?) are really a treat as they soak up most of the heat and flavor from the dish.
Not satisfied after lunch number one at Gu's, we meandered over to Chicago Supermarket for some legit tacos. The barbacoa and carnitas were excellent. 
Forget the TexMex slop that you've wasted your time with most of your life thinking you were eating Mexican tacos. The beauty here is in the simplicity of slow cooked beef and/or pork topped simply with white onions and piles of fresh cilantro. A squeeze of lime, a squirt of spicy salsa, and you are in taco heaven. Straight out of a small kitchen in the back corner of supermarket and these tacos will set you back a whopping $1.50-$2.00 each.
Still not satisfied at this point, we made our way over to White Windmill Bakery to pick up some Korean desserts. White windmill was a bit of a revelation and I loaded up on various cookies and pastries. The donuts with mung bean paste, cream-filled pecan cookies, and almond cookies were favorites.