Thursday, February 21, 2008

Offal Quest

Back in California, my father, lover of all things innards (except brains...he says they taste too much like, well, brain) has instigated, with the help of a local dirt expert, Offal Mondays at K & L bistro in Sebastopol. He has been teasing me with pictures and descriptions of the dishes every week. "Best kidneys since La Grenouille," he'll say. "Oooh, pig's trotters next week!" he'll brag and then make a bad pun about them running late...ha....ha. So since I don't have a regular restaurant that takes my suggestions (all steak tartare, all the time, unless I want a cheese plate instead) I have to take matters into my own hands and go on an offal quest so that I too can get some good guts (and anything else that is pushed off the butcher's table, hence the name) every week. I like offal. Not just because of the awesome factor. I'm not looking to impress people, it tastes good. Also I think I like it because I like to finish things. Example: when I'm eating apples I eat everything. Core, seeds, sometimes the stem. It's satisfying. It's really the only way I'm in any way "green." So why not apply that system of eating to meat? Exactly. I should. If I could afford to buy myself a whole animal to eat I would. But that would require a lot of things, one of them being that I would need to have control over more than just one shelf and one drawer in the fridge, which would also need to be at least a full sized fridge. Yes, obviously I'm living the life.

Here's what I'm thinking:

-calf's liver
-pig's trotters
-tripe (because I need to give it another chance)

First up? Probably liver at Diner next week. Very excited.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Tuthilltown Rye

After researching, interviewing, and having it in mixed drinks I finally tried straight rye. This one is from Tuthilltown distillery, which is currently the only distillery making rye in New York State (they also make a vodka from apples, which I really want to try).

How was it? Bone dry....and light and a tad bit oaky. Very nice on a cold day. I ended up cutting it with some lemon juice because it was the end of the night and I needed something a bit easier to sip on. But I think I could get into the stuff. I can see it being great with some muddled mint, soda water and a touch of lemon juice, like a really dry Mint Julep.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Dylan Moran on Food

Dylan Moran, a favorite Irish comedian of mine, discusses the joys of eating meat....and faces.

Chinatown is the best town

I had a rare free day last Friday and decided to make the best of the warmth and celebrate the new year (Chinese new year that is, hi rats!) with a trip over to Chinatown. I love Chinatown. I think its the closest you can get in New York to being in Europe. Yes, even over the green markets. Chinatown is raw and involves cash only and pushing and yelling and really, really making sure that that baby bok choy is the one you want.

I'm a big Grand St. person. It might just be because it is close to my favorite dumpling place (Dumpling House, which has, sadly in my mind, newly remodeled itself so that now there's seating and therefore more ...well....white people. And it's clean, which is so not fun. But still delicious none-the-less) or maybe it's because it has better fish markets than Mott st, etc. And less people selling things to you. It's much more authentic in my opinion.

One of my favorite ways to pass time is by staring at all the different sea items and trying to guess what the heck they are and what you would ever do with them. I tend to stick to the basics, though one day I'm sure a gooey duck will catch my eye and I'll be adventurous.

On Friday I got this:


Blurry Shrimpy Close-up

All for about seven dollars. There's a pound of head-on shrimp (I couldn't tell you exactly what kind, there were many), a pound of my new favorite green (again, I don't know what it is but it's kind of broccoli rabe ish but not quite), some sort of mushrooms (it's becoming clear to me that I really don't ask many questions), around a pound of grapes (there was a deal on cherries, two pounds for three dollars, but I couldn't justify two pounds of cherries so I went with grapes instead), a tomato (not a great one, but they're insanely out of season), and a can of coconut milk.


Here's something I made with some of the stuff:

It's inspired by a recipe I saw while flipping through an old Saveur but with some of those green things added. I overcooked the shrimp a bit, but over all still good. And if you're wondering, I ate it all. That includes the heads and the shells. I like the shells. I don't know why. Just call me a human garbage disposal or really, really eco-friendly. I like that better.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Lure of the Brown Cocktail

Lately I've been fascinated by the rise of rye within cocktail circles. Sure, absinthe is back, but, in my opinion, that won't last. America doesn't like black liquorish and soon they'll all figure out that you have to drink a heck of a lot of the green fairy before you actually start seeing any. Rye, on the other hand, is a fad that's here to stay. Why?

1. Nationalism. Canadian whiskey has held the place of rye in cocktails since post-prohibition but there was a blip in that trend: the nineteen forties, when rye saw a bit of a resurgence as it was liberally drank by Humphrey Bogart in the Big Sleep. What was happening then? A war. What's happening now? The dollar is slipping (lower than the Canadian dollar) and there's a war. Here's where I can get behind nationalism. Americans should drink American.

2. Taste. Yes, it actually tastes good. Peppery, bit of caramel, a bit more bite than its bourbon cousin. My favorite way to drink it thus far is in a drink I had a bar/mild form of speakeasy (there's no password or anything, it just doesn't look nice on the outside, no offense guys) called Green St. Grill up in Cambridge, MA. The drink is called a Daisy Black. It's Overholt Rye (if I was making one at home I'd use Tuthilltown, just to keep it local), fresh lemon juice and honey syrup. I know, it sounds like a cure for a sore throat, and maybe it is, but it's also delicious. Simple and clean but with a subtle peppery smoke from the rye. And now that I'm talking about it I want one...stupid conventions telling me I can't have a drink instead of toast or coffee for breakfast.

3. It's brown. Now, I don't want to sound like I'm stereotyping here, but if a man is going to have a cocktail, for the most part, it's not going to be an appletini. In fact, most likely, it's not going to be any sort of "tini" unless it's the original martini (extra olives if you're me, I know I'm a girl so it doesn't add to my argument but I'm just saying, you know, in case anyone feels like buying me a drink...lots of olives, big ones). Anyway, rye is brown and when made into its most ubiquitous form, a Manhattan, it is still brown and that's manly. Heck, throw a cherry in there and it's still manly. Why? Because the cherry is not there for you to eat men (sorry), it's there for you to offer to the lady next to you in a suave Bogarty kind of way that could lead to delightful conversation and possible, ahem, relations. Unless that girl is me. I don't like maraschino cherries. I don't understand them. Just offer me olives.