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.

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