Thursday, October 27, 2011

meritage

this past summer, i had the pleasure of being taken to niagara on the lake by one of the dearest people to me...my best friend. 
she packed us a lunch and took me on a romantic bike tour to different wineries where we excitedly urgently bought up a boat-load of vino (memories of the never-actualized LCBO strike a few years ago - just.in.case.)


standing in the cellar of lailey, a tiny winery with all-natural agricultural practices and a beautiful building lined with silvering white oak, i was getting a little tipsy and already planning the meal i would make to go with their tasty meritage wine. 
*meritage was the name given in the late 80's by some brilliantly creative minds (merit+heritage!?) in the napa valley to these bordeaux-style blended wines.


the lailey meritage, made with merlot, cab sauv, and cab franc grapes, is the kind of wine just aching to be served with mash potatoes and red meat...and so 3 months later, it was!




a soft and succulent, freshly butchered filet mignon cooked rare in a pan full of butter, then quickly set under the oven broiler with a bit of stilton cheese (HEAVEN!); butter blanched asparagus and enokitake mushrooms with salt and pepper; AND a double stuffed pototo! (SALIVATING)


instructions for the double stuffed potato:
-cut a large baking potato in half (1 potato for 2 people, 2 potatoes for 4...basic math, unless you're expecting an un-even number of guests..in which case, just say you're on a diet and skip the potato for yourself).
-bake the potato halves, or if you have a microwave (FAAANCY!) then cook them in there until soft. let cool.
-in a pot, fry some bacon bits (cut up bacon), then scoop out the soft insides of the potato (keep the skins intact for later) and mash the potato guts up in the same pot with the bacon. add sour cream, butter, milk, chopped green onion, salt and pepper, and mix together.
-re-scoop the mash into the potato skins and sprinkle with parmesan cheese, place parmesan-side-up under the oven broiler for a few minutes and take THAT the keg!


isn't it lovely when your memories can be poured into a glass and consumed with steak? 
oh wine! you complete the meals that make my life complete.
le'chaim.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

blue cod tacos

cod is not a blue fish. however, i don't know how to phrase the title of this blog post in a way that is less confusing about the ownership of 'blue'. it's the tacos that are blue, and not the cod fish, though it may sound otherwise.


now that we have that non-issue cleared up, i'm going to talk about these blue fish tacos a bit. mainly just to say that they were delicious.
with:
-freshly made salsa verde
-spicy corn salsa with chopped tomatoes, oven grilled pablano pepper (a large, mild chili pepper-grilled in an aluminum foil-lined baking pan with lime and garlic for flaves) and oven grilled corn (afterward cut from the cob-not cod), sauteed onions, salt and pepper.
-creamy guacamole with lime juice, sliced green onions, salt and pepper.
-cod cooked in a pan with some annatto oil, salt and pepper, and various juices from the creation of the salsas.
-fresh cilantro.



the blue corn tacos were gently heated in the oven so, still pliable, they could wrap their blue corn selves around ALL of the aforementioned goods.




Monday, October 17, 2011

life of pi

every smarty-pants likes to point out whenever possible that the plural of octopus is octopi, but what they probably don't know is that the plural of baby octopi is delicious. so, here's a lesson to all the smarty-pants out there.


baby octopus (i'm so over pluralization) looks freaky when you buy it fresh..apparently it comes frozen too, but would likely look freakier frozen into a pi-cube.

"look into my fake eye"
so, you buy them fresh, and then you wash them, and although i played with it a bit, i couldn't find the beak (ew gross, sea creatures have beaks), and they don't have plastic-y vertebrae like calamari do, so next step...throw them in a pan!



they (baby octopi) like to be seared on high heat almost to the point of charred. and they really like to do this in some annatto-infused olive oil (annatto seeds cooked into the olive oil until it takes on their rusty colour)...they told me so themselves.




they looked cooked and crunchy about 5-ish minutes later, but they were still tender and juicy in the middle and the head was like a little pocket of octopus juice. 
they were really tasty, but the consistency took some getting used to, not the tentacles, the head. 
i'm totally willing and able to try new recipes using baby octos now that we're more familiar friends...i hear they're great pickled!
and this would be a super fun tapas dish, and a good conversation starter if you want to put a smarty-pants in their place and tell them what's really up with octopodes.



Tuesday, October 11, 2011

thanks..and sea-ya!

dear sweet boyfriend of mine,
i'm leaving you for another country. i'm sorry. it's not you, it's me.
i need to be somewhere where the sun shines all year round. where there are beaches and palm trees and plenty of frozen yogurt topping options.
i need to have an adventure.


and thank you. for being so lovely, and for making me this seafood risotto and eating it on the couch with me because my kitchen table (and every other flat surface in my apartment) is covered with crap that needs packing.
thank you for painstakingly adding ladle-full after ladle-full of shrimp broth, butter, and white wine to the italian short grain rice in order to get it that creamy but al dente consistency. thank you for scrubbing the mussels so that we wouldn't get sick, and thanks for cooking them up with onions and garlic and more butter and sea salt. thanks for cooking the shrimp to perfection and then plating the whole thing so elegantly.
thank you.
you are the best.

"how lucky i am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."