April 27, 2014

Home Cooking, April 2014 Edition

Some recent exploits from my kitchen. Pictured above is wild salmon rubbed with Lapsang Souchong black tea, served over roasted barley and a spinach puree. Two new revelations for me here. The tea, and the roasted barley. More on the barley a little further down the page.
I've never paid much attention to tea. I don't drink it, and I've never really used it in the kitchen. I bought the Lapsang thinking I would try to knock off the Unsung Hiro cocktail from Miso Izakaya at home which is topped with a Lapsang Souchong-infused salt. This is a smoked tea, so it can be used to impart a light oaky-smoke flavor to dishes or drinks. I used a spice grinder to pulverize the loose tea leaves into a powder that I then mixed with salt and rubbed on the salmon before searing. The pulverized tea added a very present touch of that dark smokiness, but it also created a nice thin crust.
My other new revelation is roasted barley, which I used to make "risotto" with vegetables I had on hand: asparagus, some radish that I quick-pickled, and goat cheese. A recent recipe in Bon Appetit promoted the use of roasted barley as a substitute for an easy riff on risotto. The barley has a sturdy texture and, honestly, it's just more difficult to screw up then the arborio rice traditionally used for risotto. Takes a good 45 minutes of stirring and hydrating with chicken stock, but the results are worth it.
 
Enjoyed the warm spring nights this past weekend with some Ad-Hoc-style buttermilk fried chicken along with my friends' wine. I really like the Ad Hoc recipe for fried chicken. The key is a 12 hour brine in heavily salted water with lemon and thyme that creates layers of well-seasoned chicken that stays incredibly moist.
 
I fried the chicken in pork lard this time. In case you needed another reason to love the Buford Highway Farmer's Market.

A holdover from colder nights before spring finally arrived. Slow-braised lamb shoulder over collards, and duck fat-fried potatoes, and topped with pickled red onions. A tasty dish, though best for fall and winter cooking.

April 20, 2014

Recent Eats Around Town and More

Recent updates on some bites in town and around.
The chicken at El Norteno on Buford Highway. I'd not heard of El Norteno prior to my lunch date, EatItAtlanta, suggesting we try it. We shared the plate of chicken above (a whopping $9 at lunch!) as well as a few tacos. The tacos were decent, the chicken was the star. Slow-roasted and grilled until it develops a little crispiness on the skin and the meat is fall-apart tender. Good stuff. The place is kind of out of the way, but worth a visit if you are up in the BuHi area.
More chicken. This time, Peruvian-rotisserie style from Las Brasas. Las Brasas is a gem of a place. I don't appreciate it enough. Years ago, before I geeked-out and started taking pictures of food, I used to frequent Las Brasas. I'm glad they've persevered and are still turning out their inimitable rotisserie chicken. And they do it all in a space that's about the size of my living room. Props.
Strozzapreti carbonara at No. 246. Probably the best thing I've ever had at No. 246. Pea shoot strozzapreti pasta in a cream sauce with farm egg, peas, and tasso. Pretty decadent. Unfortunately, most of the other dishes we had Sat night were misses, but that seems to be my ongoing experience with 246.  Maybe I'm the problem, as the place is always slammed, and everyone around town loves it. Oh well.
Road Eats: The Uovo pizza at Bud-n-Alley's pizza on the beach in Seaside, FL. Fennel sausage, broccoli rabe, chili, and an egg. The egg elevates an otherwise serviceable pizza to something more crave-worthy. Then again, sitting outside and watching the sun set on the Florida coast also elevates this pizza, as well as much of the other average and overpriced food offered in the restaurants around Seaside.
A discovery I made while in Seaside, ice cream from Southern Craft Creamery. I don't usually get too excited about boutique ice creams, but this stuff is the jam. Made on a family-owned dairy farm in Mariana, FL, the ice cream is currently only available on the Florida panhandle. The Salted Dark Chocolate features chocolate from French Broad Chocolates in Asheville, in case you doubted Southern Craft's attention to detail. I wish I could get this stuff around Atlanta.

April 13, 2014

Spring at Paper Plane

I recently stopped by for another spring visit at Paper Plane. Had some of the best food yet and the new cocktails were brilliant as expected.The Counterfeit Rifle above-a tasty, seasonal mix of rye, lemon, benedictine, Amaro, and lemon bitters.
La Reina Subterranea- how could you not like a drink that comes in this glass? A serious Mezcal-based cocktail with Falernum, lime, cane syrup and mint.
Country pork pate with pistachio and pickled radish on the side.
Lamb belly special with field peas, asparagus and pickled strawberries. One of the best things I've had from the Paper Plane kitchen.
Hanger steak with cucumber, miso, and kimchi. Not the prettiest plate, but the steak was well-seasoned, tender, and cooked perfectly. Kimchi was strong.

April 4, 2014

Recent Eating & Drinking

Time for a quick unloading of pics and thoughts on recent eats and drinks around town and at home.
Paid a visit to Miso Izakaya recently for the first time since last fall. It was solid. The Unsung Hiro is an inspiring cocktail that I've been desperately trying to knock off at home. That Lapsang souchong-salt mixture on top is key.
The egg never disappoints.
 The Okonomiyaki with squid and bonito. Excellent.
Smoked trout and potato salad with kale and carrots at Cakes & Ale. Have had some very tasty lunch bowls at Cakes recently. 
I traveled a bit to try some bbq for lunch at the new Greater Good Bbq spot on Roswell just inside I-285. Solid bbq and some very tasty brisket (hidden in pic). Greater Good is worth a stop if you're in that area. I'd go back.
Had a buddy over a few weeks ago and we smoked his Korean-marinated pork belly on the big green egg before crisping it up on high heat to finish. Used the belly in an Ed Lee-inspired rice bowl with fried egg, collards, and spicy corn remoulade.

We made some kimchi poutine again, too. This just doesn't sound like it should work, but it does.

Washed it all down with this excellent, but not easy to find champagne from Savart. Great stuff.