Nothing more delicious then crisp crackling pork skin, and seasoned pork belly rolled, yes, porchetta. This wonderful piece of prime Canadian pork belly I got from my butcher at Ridgewood European Pork store. Nothing easier, seasoned with traditional, sage, rosemary, peperoncini, fennel, roll, tie and roast; that is of course you need to let it marinate first!
Quite often when buying food, I have an idea of a dish to make. Recently, on one of the last hot muggy days of summer, I found myself shopping with only flavors in mind. Lobster, cashews, ginger, and shallots. It was as if I were in a dream - or a Graham Greene novel! Soon at home, amid the smells of frying shallots, green chili paste, and cilantro wafting through my kitchen, voila, a plate appeared before me with this exquisite lobster salad.
Perhaps it's no irony that the dish whose name recalls the "oldest profession in the world" is also among the most aromatic and nuanced, its flavors rooted in sea and earth. Below is my hommage to those ladies who made this power packed delicacy of basic ingredients. Oh, the power of love on a plate. Grazie signore.
Rome the empire that built roads and conquered lands, also harvested and sowed their grain to feed a growing empire and army. As a bread basket of grain from far off lands, Rome incorporated new crops; rye, buckwheat, einkorn(emmer), and farro (spelt) - the last hybridized with other wheat which became our modern variety.
The British Museum's exhibit on Pompei recently had a viral video that featured a Roman bread that survived in an oven from the cataclysmic volcanic eruption that covered it. The site also offers a recipe for this loaf from a 79 AD oven. Marie Claude of MC Farine saw problems with it, pointing out that we would not have access to the same flours. Not quite convinced, I mixed my own version, with wheat, barley, millet, rye, buckwheat, farro and durum - all part of the greater Empire's grain supply. Mine is all sourdough, no gluten or commercial yeast need apply!
Flammeküeche. It's sort of the pizza bianca of Alsace. A thin crisp tarte composed of onion, cheese, fromage blanc, and bacon. Here is my latest rendition, using my buddy Domenico's famous flour, with addition of sourdough, beer, and milk. I was pleased with the lightness, and flavor from the home brewed smoked ale!
After trying the delicious chicken liver mousse at Cork Buzz Wine Studio in Chelsea, I decided to make a batch at home. Here's my approach. Basically I just made my standard liver mousse, with flourishes of herbs, shallots, cream and a splash of vermouth (something sadly under-rated). I seasoned it with the basics, threw it in the blender. Then garnished with oven dried-Italian plums and sautee'd shallots splashed with sherry vinegar, I served on a baguette.
I'm back making home made beer. My first efforts were flat. This effort I was more diligent in following directions from my fermentation kit. After a few days short of two weeks brewing in the bottle, I popped one open. Not quite as smokey as the Spanish beer I'd tried before, but very refreshing. Shows you that following directions - however hard for folks like me - often pays off.