Saturday, April 24, 2010

La Bourride

Submitting a recipe from an online inquiry for use in a magazine article/interview gave me the chance to recreate a dish from France that I learned about when I lived in the Langedoc-Roussillon region on the western Mediterranean. I decided on La Bourride... A little sister to Bouillabase... A simpler fish stew that just uses a single fish (usually monkfish). Cod, snapper and tilapia are easy substitutes. The fish is stewed in the soup during the final cooking stage so it needs to be a relatively firm, white-fleshed fish. It turned out great and I realized why I like this even more that bouillabase. I never fawned over fish stews that have too many different types of seafood, so this is the stew for me. A simple soup made with garlic, tomatoes, clam juice and saffron is stewed to release the flavors, the fish is then cooked in the soup until it flakes. Remove the fish whisk in an aioli and ladle the soup over the fish. Fantastic and rustic simplicity at its best. Reasons to love France all over again.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

duck duck duck

The duck cooking class workshop turned out really well. I'd had trouble trying to find a way to use a whole duck for the class. I knew what elements I wanted so it came to me to treat the dish as a kind of salad. And to contrast the sweet pear sauce with something bitter like the dandelion greens. The surprise is the rutabagas! When roasted they become super sweet and caramelized. We braised the duck legs in Moscato and pears, shredded them and tossed them with the roasted rutabagas and dandelion greens. Then reduced the sauce and blended it with the pears to thicken. The breasts were seared, crisping the skin and medium rare on the inside. Not everyone enjoyed the skin but it was prepared well for those that indulge.

The first course was a tart, in the loosest sense of the word. I thought about French tartines where they take toasted bread and pile up ingredients for a sort of open-faced sandwich. We made parmesan waffles, then a spread of reduced portobello mushrooms and topped that with roasted butternut squash. A little wilted escarole was served along side.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

March Wine Tasting

2009 Nuevo Mundo Sauvignon Blanc

Chile, 13.5% alc., Crisp white with great nose and dry finish. Filled with green apple and gooseberry notes. Has a long length and pairs well with shellfish or as an apertif.

Marea Nero d'Avola, 12% alc., Azienda Agrigola Vasari, Sicily, Italy. Typical nero davola. Smooth and rich. A great table wine. Of course have it with pizza, pasta and eggplant parmesan.

Make a comment if you want my recipe for the pork buns!! YUM

Thanks and see you May at Joyce and Guillermo's.

silver lake neighborhood wine tasting

Well, it was another fabulous tasting night for our wine group. Even missing four of our members we still got loud and louche at Luis and Sandy's house up on the Moreno Highlands area of Silver Lake. The theme was organic wines and it was a great variety of wines and the appetizers were amazing. I can take credit for making the pork buns. Based on an idea from Baohaus in NYC, I made up a recipe for making pork buns tasty and portable. Making the buns myself and braising the pork in ginger, garlic, etc.... I even pickled mustard greens to go inside for a nice tangy contrast. If the buns didn't take so long to make I'd definitely make them a part of an appetizer cooking class. Until then I'll add them to the catering menu.
My wine was the unfindable organic Nero d'Avola from Sicily. Vasari is a sustainable agricultural producer in the area and the wine is certified organic. I really like it and the Spanish Celeste red wine and the Neuvo Mundo from Chile. Richard Miyagawa is our excellent "social secretary" and his notes from the tasting speak better than anything I can put together so here it is: