Thursday, September 30, 2010

I'm Eating Good

Me and the man have been cooking at home more and we have had some damn good meals in the past couple of months. A few weeks ago, we went to Pensacola and this great fish market called Joe Patti's. They had just about every kind of seafood you can imagine so we got some grouper and monkfish, which I love but rarely see anywhere. Ben seared our lovely monkfish, served with roasted squash and asparagus and topped with squash seeds he had seasoned and toasted.

I didn't really grow up eating pork chops, I like them, I just never really had them so I never really make them. Plus, we have been eating a ton of scallops and fish and shrimp so when Ben made these pork chops last week, it tasted like one of the best things I've eaten in a while. He made a balsamic reduction with sage to glaze them, then made a black-eyed pea salad with tasso and I made some roasted broccoli which I will tell you about in a minute. It was all so earthy and rich and warm but not heavy at all. Make it. Don't skimp on the sage.

So, about that broccoli. The Wednesday Chef is beginning to be my favorite blog, I just want to be her and vacation in Italy at my mother's house, who lives there naturally, and take whimsical, nostalgic photos. This recipe is actually Melissa Clark's recipe, whose life I also covet because her weekly Times article always has her throwing together random things in a simple and elegant way. I loved this recipe, Ben and I both enjoyed the crisp bits of broccoli and extra lemon squeezed over top. Now I just roast the broccoli all the time, whether or not there's shrimp to go with it. I served this with a beautiful tomato tart with Gorgonzola, basil, chives and tarragon. You don't need a recipe, although you could certainly Google it and find one. Just make your pie crust however you make it, layer the ripest tomatoes you can find over it, sprinkle cheese, a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and herbs and bake it.

Speaking of tomatoes, I read this article in the New York Times and who can resist the end of summer ode to tomato? I can't and since we were driving past a stand that boasted "Tomatoes for Sale that Actually Taste Like Tomatoes," well, I bit. I even went out and bought Robiola, which has a similar texture as Brie but tastes a bit funkier and while I liked it, I did not like the $29.99/lb price tag nor how it made my refrigerator smell. Sub Brie, you'll be fine. I also wanted to bake to tomatoes some, the recipe doesn't say too but they were just so JUICY! I would say to DEFINITELY drain the tomatoes, cut side down. Also, I found the butter to be strange and extraneous so I'll skip that next time. So I out the tomatoes and the chicken on a platter with some toasted baguette rubbed with garlic and oh, how that juice crept into all the shaggy bits of the bread was just otherworldly. I mean it, but I discovered some of the magic disappears as leftovers. Some things improve the next day, this does not, so invite some people over and sop up every bit of juice with every crumb of bread.

One more thing. I bought peaches that taste like peaches from the Tomato guy and made Smitten Kitchen's Peach Shortbread and it is amazing but be forewarned you might eat three pieces in one sitting. My changes:

-I used whole wheat flour instead of white. No one noticed and thus, the shortbread was obviously transformed into healthy food, no matter all the butter I used.

-I used four peaches and not two. I'm sure there is something to be said for a light layer of peaches but I like to overdo things.

-I toasted about a 1/2 cup of almond and chopped them up to add to the topping. I think you should too.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Jazz Mass and Satchmofest

Where else in the world does a city celebrate a jazz legend's birthday with jazz mass and a parade? I'd wager that no other city does it like New Orleans. I went to St. Augustine's for their annual jazz mass to honor Louis Armstrong back in early August. I got there 15 minutes before mass and it was PACKED! Treme Brass Band was the featured guest, how do you love that? The priest sang "What a Wonderful World." It was pretty incredible. Unfortunately, it was about 4000 degrees inside and while I don't quibble with anyone's right to wear or not wear deodorant, I am still kinda pissed at the girl standing next to me who chose NOT to and also chose to fan out her armpits right in my face throughout the service.

After mass, there was s second line out front and all the way down to the Mint where, of course, the music played on and on all day. We sampled an organic daiquiri...

...watching DancingMan 504 work his jelly... ...and ended up at Mona's on Frenchman. I've never been to that location but it was just as good as the Banks Street location. Word to the wise; their iced tea is awful, it tasted like slightly minted water, which isn't awful sounding actually but it sho ain't iced tea. Hummus is hands down my all-time favorite, baba ganoush also wonderful. I thought their grape leaves and kibbeh were sadly lacking but the spreads and dips selection more than made up for it.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Five Favorites

Some other New Orleans bloggers are listing five favorite food items so I thought I'd join in the fun.

-Perfectly pulled espresso
-Lemon ice
-Roasted beets, carrots, brussel sprouts and cauliflower
-Chicken livers with pepper jelly (OK, now I verging on whole DISHES that I like but if I'm going to have chicken livers, that's how I want them)