No new recipe posts this week–need a breather after the triumph of completing the Winter Section, and rhubarb and fava beans don’t seem to be in supply yet. I did go back and make some of the earlier recipes again this week, with varying results.
Hoisin Chicken: When first made, this recipe called for Cornish game hens. I had half the jar of hoisin sauce left over so I used the same recipe, smushing minced red chile pepper, garlic and ginger on and under the skin of a free-range whole chicken from a local farm. It was coated with hoisin sauce and roasted. This was much more successful on the bigger bird; the spices really permeated the meat. Yum! Of course we made the pickled cucumbers and scallions to go with it. I discovered that you can make half the sauce recipe and it still works!
Cauliflower Gratin: I made this for my book club, and this time I prepared the sauce, cooked the cauliflower, and assembled it the day before. I baked it right before serving. Unfortunately, the sauce ended up a lot more runny, and it had less flavor than the first time. I won’t make it ahead again.
Artichoke Bruschetta: We are addicted to this stuff. I had it for lunch this week, and The Husband had it for dinner last night. It bears repeating: toast rustic bread in oven at 375 (flip halfway through), rub with garlic clove. Saute jar of marinated artichoke hearts and sliced garlic in olive oil until golden. Spread goat cheese on toast, top with artichoke and garlic mixture,season with pepper, and shave Parmesan on top.
Brittle: Back when I had bronchitis I was confused about what nut I needed–I used macadamia nuts instead of hazelnuts as instructed. I attempted to make these with hazelnuts one morning before work, when I woke up at 5:30. You were supposed to toast the nuts in the oven for 30 minutes, then wrap them in a dish cloth to steam for five. Supposedly the skins would rub right off. Ha! I got maybe 1/3 of them off, tried putting them back in the oven, and it still wouldn’t work. I gave up around 7 am to get ready for work. I made another batch of macadamia brittle in 15 minutes, though, and it was as tasty as before.
Random tasting notes around town:
McCormack’s Whiskey Grille is open on Robinson, and it is amazing. Have Mac recommend a whisky, Scotch or bourbon for you, especially if you think you don’t like them. The chicken wings are delicious, too.
Greek Crille Cafe, on Westwood. The owners used to run Su Casa back in the day. The tzatziki sauce is to die for.
Basili’s on Cary Street–their sauce isn’t as good as the place just mentioned, but the soup is damn fine., and you can’t beat the location. It’s good to have somewhere casual to pop into while shopping on Cary Street. I hope to try the chicken souvlaki soon.
I tried a local vegan sausage by Twin Oaks last Saturday morning at the Ellwood Thompson’s Hot Bar. It had stringy, rubbery bits in it. At first I thought,” oh, is that some cartilage? But then remembered it contained no meat. What in the world was it? Rubber bands? Gah.
Funny aside from the week: When I was in the check out line last week, the very young cashier held up the scallions and said, “Green onions, right?” I affirmed that’s what they were, and he said, “This morning I learned the difference between celery, green onions, and asparagus! I feel pretty confident!”
Damn, kid. What have your parents been feeding you the last 18 years?!