Monday, May 25, 2009

Connecticut cookery

As you may have noticed, it's been a good long while since I've updated this blog. Time is to blame. Or the lack thereof. But this blessed weekend afforded me some time, at my family's lakehouse in CT, to sit and ponder and read and, don't ya know, cook like a maniac! I never know how to explain to the people who witness me running around like a madwoman from this pot to that food processor to those cutting boards that, no, I'm not stressing myself out, I'm actually reveling in this and wishing I could do it more often. I suppose that's why I'm in culinary school and counting the days until I can cut myself out of the status quo and insert myself into some fire-breathing commercial kitchen. Hey, one person's idea of a multi-layered hellscape is another's picture of paradise. So get over it!

Now, on with the show:

First we set the stage, in the lovely granite-topped kitchen of my dreams:
Next, breakfast:

This involved a savory caramelized onion frittata topped with thin tomato slices that became perfectly roasted and sweet after a few minutes of blasting in the oven. And, of course, the requisite bacon. Do this in the oven and expect a crispier, deeper flavor than your average stove top variety.

Then came the flame-grilled baba ghanoush,
and after...

What I found was that the traditional tahini, garlic, lemon, and cumin ritual didn't cut it. This delicacy must, at the last minute, be emulsified with a lot of good quality extra virgin olive oil. Rich in fat, but at least it's of the heart-healthy variety! And ooooh the taste.

The normal accoutrements of salad and side...

What we've got: a salad of mixed baby greens and slivered radishes with a balsamic vinaigrette and some oven-blasted, well-salted asparagus spears, first tossed with olive oil and a bit of red wine vinegar so they don't brown.

The average dinner plate looked something like this (please forgive the crappy lighting):
Counter-clockwise from left is the asparagus, the salad, and a medium-rare filet mignon topped with chimichurri sauce, a punchy paste of garlic, parsley, chilis, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt.

And finally, the wacko dessert: An experiment gone completely awry, but I'll share it nonetheless in hopes that I might inspire others to create ridiculously shiny and symmetrical vegan panna cotta that leaves your dinner guests shocked and befuddled!
The results of my cooking marathon might not have been gourmet-perfect, but at least I had a hell of a time! Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to munching on my red bean brownies...