Thursday, July 29, 2010

Who ever doesnt like to win says "its only just a game"

There has been this Culinary Smackdown gaining momentum and I have been a participant on more than one occasion, each time giving it my all only to be bested by somebody better. Well those days are over!

I won the last round of competition which was hosted by the very talented, very charming and very Intuitive Eggplant. You can follow that link to see all the other delicious entries for the theme "summer veggies." As the winner I have now been bequeathed the title of Judge and as the Judge I have to come up with a new battle and a date when it all goes down. I dont know if there are any rules but now that I am Judge I will clear that up right here and now: There are no rules! So without further ado I pronounce The August Culinary Smackdown Challenge to be

- Battle Sandwich-

You heard me right the lowly sandwich but believe you me there is nothing and I mean nothing lowly about a sandwich. Look -here's sandwich now. I dont need to go into the whole Earl of Sandwich sales pitch to enlighten you in any way. You eat sandwiches or you know someone that does. What is a sandwich, a sandwich is any filling between two pieces of bread - that is the only real consideration here, the sandwich must contain some kind of a bread and some kind of a filling so for all you witty ones out there this means that lettuce wraps are out.

As an example I present to you what would be a perfectly fine entry, one with chile and one without.

Thats right, hamburgers and hot dogs are a sandwich and in the same light so would a taco and a burrito fit in just as snuggly. Good luck people your entries are due to be posted on August 23 at which time I will assemble them and pick a winner. Please e-mail me your link when you have your sandwich post up and on August 24th we will see the compilation and see who is the champion.

good old dick dyoung wouldve liked a sandwich throwdown

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Rest in Peace BuffaloDick

My good buddy passed away unexpectedly yesterday and now there is a big gaping hole where he once sat. Richard (Dick) DeYoung also known as BuffaloDick, here on the internets, was a good friend of mine. We spoke at least every other day on the phone for an hour at a time at least. This guy was a man that I instantly bonded with, we both commented the first time we spoke about 3 years ago or so how it felt like we were long lost friends that somehow found each other again. We would have heated debates with him telling me "sure your food looks good but does it taste good" and then he would throw out some kind of "lips on a woodpecker" kind of old saying and tell me how good his tasted. I always threatened to meet him and make him eat some of my "pretty food" - I still believe that someday I will.

You will always be in my thoughts Buff, always! We often sent each other little packages here is a one he sent me a while back...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

big egg pie

You can call this a torta if you are Spanish, a fritatta if you are Italian, an omelete if you are French but what do you call it if you are "plain ol' American?" We have grown accustomed in this melting pot called the USA to mix and match terms freely so it is highly likely that you would use one or all of the terms at some point or another, heck add a crust and its a quiche.

With summer produce bursting at the seams right now, only to become more abundant in the coming weeks, it is exciting to have so many garden fresh vegetables to work with. I took a little yellow onion, some patty pan squash, some zucchini, some squash blossoms, a little garlic, salt & pepper and sauteed it in a mix of butter and olive oil until tender.

Pour in some beaten eggs, a little bit of brie and let it just set on medium heat before transferring it to the broiler for a few quick minutes to lightly brown the top.

Invert on to a plate, let it sit for a few minutes so the residual heat will finish cooking the eggs, and get ready to enjoy.

Slice into the serving size you like and at this point I like a little dijon mustard on mine and a nice Italian Verdicchio (thanks Greg) - add a side salad and you have a lunch fit for a king.

Since I post on Facebook more often than I blog lately I forget about some of the things I put up so here is a mini re-cap - breakfast is a must around here and with the weather so warm nothing beats yogurt and fresh fruit, I even add a little agave syrup 'cause thats how I roll.

Pasta loves pesto and pesto loves pasta, and thats about all I have to say about that! I used sunflower seeds instead of the traditional pine nuts - great flavor and a fraction of the cost!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

little surprises

You know, I was under the impression that soft shell crab season had already come and gone, I saw it for myself in fact, but this was all turned upside down when lo and behold I saw boxes of these soft little beauties all over again. I wasnt going to pass them up this time.
Soft shell crab are a little bit of a delicacy but more than that I think they are also an acquired taste, seriously you have to be ready to chomp through an entire soft crab carcass and as unappetizing as that sounds it is really quite the opposite.

Standard breading procedure but with the addition of cornmeal gives these softies the right crunch. You can have them in a salad or you can have them my favorite way and thats in a sandwich. Sometimes its wasabi mayo, sometimes its chipotle mayo but this time its siracha mayo and some fat slices of tomato on a tasty sesame seed bun. If you have never tried soft shell crab you should, it is sweet crabby sweetness like you cant even imagine.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Electrolux #splits : mini banana bites, you can eat them all or you can split

Kelly Ripa is at it again raising money for ovarian cancer and I want to help. I have first hand experience with this and suffice to say my friend got the treatment she needed and she is happy and healthy, lets make that the case for more and lets find ways to cure it completely so in the long run there is no need for treatment.

Yes its summer and here in New York city its sweltering so why not make banana splits? I took some tiny scoops and coated them in a Scharffen Berger chocolate shell, I placed them on top of nice slices of banana that had a squeeze of lime and then I squirted some raspberry sauce around them to bathe in, the whole thing got a little whipped cream and a cherry. Perfect little banana split bites to eat by yourself or share.

I even made another mini split from an apple banana, just in case you want to eat the "whole" thing. How do you like your banana split?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I got your summer - right here!

ets let the cat out of the bag - candy is dandy but liquor is quicker and the same can be said about summer and winter. There is so much eye candy walking around NYC right now I am fortunate to be jaded. What I can never get over is the fact that summer brings produce. Summer is productive.

Here is a kicked up caprese salad. Tomato aspic, pesto aspic and fresh bufala mozzarella. Take that to the pool and swim with it!

Not enough for you? How about some tweaked stuffed blossoms?

Yup, these bad boys are hooked up. Molcajete bread crumbs and the works.

Delicious with a fresh "salsa" of raw tomato, basil, garlic and olive oil - oh and why not throw in a little salt and pepper. How do you rock your summer? This is eventually going to Intuitive Eggplants summer bounty smackdown.

Would you like to see some contact sheets of the outtakes? Ok why not. You can get an idea how I do things.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Every which way to Sunday

This post is going to be all over the globe, I have a lot to say and I dont want to take a long time saying it. First off I dont know how many of you remember the knife giveaway I hosted through CSN Stores, the one in which Greg from Sippity Sup walked away with the prize, well I had another opportunity through the lovely people at CSN to review a product and I chose the very same knives that were in the giveaway.

Let me just say - I love them! I knew when I chose them for the giveaway that they were good and I was right. The handle feels great in my hand, the weight is perfect, I could not ask for a nicer quality knife for double the price, and believe me I have used and handled a lot of knives, and the bazillion steak knives that are little gems all by themselves make this one fantastic set. So now I have way too many knifes squared. I already have a knife case that I take with me that has about 8-10 nice blades or so, I have a wall rack that has about 10 sharp blades and now I have 17 new edges to have fun with, not to mention the assortment of hunting and camping knives of every sort and size, I like sharp metal!

Summer bounty is just exactly that - a bounty. My garden is producing squash flowers by the dozen on a daily basis, not to mention the various squash that are forming as well. I love being a part of a community garden it makes the hustle of the city seem a little slower when I walk through the gate. Here is a little video from my cell phone (waiting on my camera, I finally ordered one a couple days ago)

Squash blossoms have got to be, by far, my most favorite thing in the summer, second would be the fruits and of course fresh tomatoes. This reminds me, I need to post the recipe for the "chowdah" - I will do that in my next post so please bear with me (or is that bare?)

Risotto with zucchini blossoms and zucchini has got to be little bites of sunshine in every luscious mouthful. Creamy, rich al dente arborio rice and crunchy just cooked zucchini and the lovely texture of the blossom combined with Mexican cotija cheese made this a risotto to be proud of.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Howdy Chowder

Chowder, just the sound of that word conjures up feelings of bliss and happiness. I always associated the word chowder with clams when I was younger and clams were not the most abundant things in my little southern New Mexico town so chowders were exotic. Quite the opposite of chowders humble roots but what did I know.

"Chowder has its roots in the Latin word calderia, which originally meant a place for warming things, and later came to mean cooking pot. The word calderia also gave us cauldron, and in French became chaudiere. It is also thought to come from the old English word jowter (a fish peddler)."
You can read all about the history here. Chowder is typically a rich and creamy soup full of chunks of ingredients that almost make it like a stew. The ingredients usually include seafood, vegetables and cream. Traditionally made chowder has a base of bacon and is thickened up with crackers that have been broken into the base. Today, there are all kinds of variations using everything from seafood and poultry to just using vegetables. In the 1800's American cooks started to make the transition to using clams in their recipes - mostly because of the abundance of shell fish found in the New Colonies. Cooks began experimenting and adding cream to the chowders. They then began to differentiate different and unique types of chowder based on the ingredients used. Thus, other types of chowders appeared such as Corn Chowder or Sausage Bean Chowder or Beef Chowder. Therefore, Chowder doesn't always have to include seafood. It's believed that all kinds of vegetable or meat chowders came into existence because the cook was just using up whatever ingredients he or she had lying around the kitchen.

This is a nice and creamy squash, squash blossom and roasted corn and garlic chowder. Easy to make if you want the recipe you know what to do.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Happy Birthday USA

Who wants popsicles? We make them all kinds of ways. This one is yogurt with vanilla bean, mango and strawberries. I can tell you right now they dont get much better than this. (the lovely hand modeling by Banana)

Dont believe me?

This is proof enough!

Want some red, white and blue? Strawberry panna cotta with blueberry sauce. Have a safe and happy Independence Day.
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