Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Re-Birth in a Hearth

The mothership has landed.

After a tempetuous, trying, joyful, all too stressful semester,
food once again reigns supreme.

without further ado, the blog re-begins!

the home-made escapade

talking to jon about our imagainary cafe, and following my own line of interests, leads me often to want to understand the way things are made. i have a natural interest in brewing, bread-making, wine, cheese, because they go right to the heart of food, and expose one of the biggest paradoxes that eaters face. the oldest and most "natural" traditions are often the least understood and the hardest to master.

so with brewing to come, and cheese and wine way off in the un-forseeable future, bread-making was the first on the agenda.

First a pain de campagne, which came out not too bad in flavor, not too wonderful in texture, with too much of that dense hippie quality!

On the second try I relax, allow the fermentation a bit of extra time, work a little bit more by feel and look than by the recipe, and achieve success. A soft and crusty Italian bread with strong and deep flavor, like a baguette in white bread clothing.

The glorious loaf, with glorious colors!

Dramatic Close-Up!

Holy Holes!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Back in O-Town!

back in oberlin, set for another fine year of dining in north-east ohio and beyond!

tasks include farm visits, pig roasts, homemade ice cream, and drinks at the velvet tango room.

this weekend... it begins!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

This is Rio Grande!

tonight i made a list of my, well, my bounty, after my last functional trip to the market and my last paycheck too :(

though probably infinitely more interesting to me, i still thought this was pretty cool:

3 pounds - pork loin chops
1 pound - grass-fed buffalo bratwurst sausage
1/2 pound - fresh goat's milk feta
Huge-ass delicious radishes
Potatoes (both store bought and tiny farmer's variety)
Baby Red and White Carrots
Japanese Eggplant
Assortment of Yellow Squash and Oddly Shaped Zucchinis
Fresh Basil, Sorrel, and Dill
Assorted Varieties of Peaches, Plums, and the first delicious apple of the season!

So a summer of foodish discovery comes to an end, with various lessons:

-how to find your way around a farmer's market and become an insider (favored food stands, sellers who recognize you, know what's good and when and perhaps even why!)'

-how to be cheap. i mean, in the best way. work the deals, stock up on the carrots and squash and fruit, etc.

-how not to be cheap. splurge on the fresh herbs, the cheese, cookies.

-well, over the summer i've gotten some decent cooking practice, half practical, trying out different techniques and recipes, and the other half sort of spontaneous, working with limited ingredients and limited time. its my weak point, but i'm getting better!

so, without further ado, some eats that you may have missed!

the perfect plum! every week a different variety? i think this is shiso...

butter-braised radishes with chopped sorrel alongside an omelet using fresh basil, just-picked onion, herbes de provence, and feta cheese.


roasted hatch pepper marinated skirt steak with grilled garlic-smothered japanese eggplant

fresh crepes filled with candied apricots and plums

once again, mmmm!

tex devours our bison burgers with a jalapeno-lime aioli

Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Kitchen Invaders

Aspen poses dual challenges for my food-driven soul.

First, cook food, and cook it cheap! This has its advantages, encouraging jumbo purchases, so that in time I will familiarize and improve my technique with eggs (think poaching), pork chops, bone-in chicken thighs, random cuts of meat, and mangoes, which went on sale and are a hell of a lot of fun to eat!

Second, outings. This one I'm having a tougher time with. Sure, a few bars, the occasional trip to Hickory House, but when the first challenge is mildly successful, should I really consider it my journalistic calling to go explore the 8.95 "Best Philly Cheesesteak in Aspen" over at Zane's Tavern? 3 weeks in, the answer is no, but I can't deny the occasional pang of conscience. Perhaps I should try and order it "Wiz wit" and see what happens!

So without further do, some successes with a little help from Mark Bittman's "How To Cook Everything," polished up by yours truly.

The first is linguine with bacon and onions in a light tomato sauce. The catch? The onions and tomatoes are cooked in bacon fat. YESSSS! Topped with parsley and pecorino, this is about the closest I've ever come to a nice presentation.

Now for poached eggs. Extra bacon and tortillas lying around, so I go for it, bacon egg cheddar lettuce wrap. As much as I love BLT's, an exploding yolk puts mayo to shame. Now I just have to learn to not overstuff my wraps!


It might have just inspired me to cook it!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The test of the zilber

Behold, Aspen!

Beautiful recluse-town of celebrities, rich people, australian nature-seekers/shop owners, hippies, drunk fiddlers, other nature-seekers, and poor music students.

ok, its really beyond reason to complain about aspen. every day is beautiful, you are surrounded by mountains and green in every direction, almost everyone says hello, the whole place feels idyllic if a little manufactured, and really, who cares if its a little forced?

however, in addition to the occasional driver who doesn't realize that walker trumps SUV, the only thing i can complain about (and complain i will!) is that i am currently living a half-black from the food and wine festival, dreaming about it, reading about late-night poker/fried chicken contests with mario batali and tom colicchio, perhaps even thomas keller! oh the humanity.

in order to cheer myself up, i went to the public library and picked up "how to cook everything" by mark bittman, and am slowly marking up the pages so i can make my next shopping trip really count.

so the current reading list is:
haruki murakami - the elephant vanishes
michael ruhlman - the reach of a chef
Michael Dirda - Readings
training for the GRES

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

fresh zilberterie!

after a long break i have tons of food pictures (both of the elsewhere-eaten and home-made variety) waiting to be posted!

so i will try to post a bit each day, to catch up after this time of recital/finals/etc.

last week i made an astoundingly simple and ridiculously delicious pasta dish.
ever since dinner at carrie cerino's (with its pasta carbonara with two cooked yolks in the sauce and a raw yolk waiting to be broken on top, i've been fascinated by this idea of texture and sauce. specifically, creaminess without the cream! cream is great, but fettucine alfredo scares me, and i think always will.

so check out this recipe, care of nancy silverton and the nytimes
gimme the recipe, fool!
egg noodles and red cabbage(my substitution - unlimited supply at the dining halls, you know?) in an anchovy sauce topped with two over-easy eggs

oh, and mashing those eggs is fun.

read more about nancy silverton here : feed me pizza!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Philadelphia part 2!

Long overdue post on the rest of the week in Philadelphia!

a storm of eating and cooking!

tacos from la lupe - chorizo, queso, and pork al castor!!!!

we made a 2:30 am trip to pat's, for a half-decent cheesesteak and AMAZING entertainment. nothing like seeing drunk people lit up by neon scrambling for cheesesteaks at 2:30 in the morning.

assortment of hoagies from Lee's Hoagie Shack

The Entree from our dinner - Grilled Black Sea Bass with Parsnip Puree, Sauteed Spinach, and Saffron Vanilla Sauce (made with mussel stock)

The Mussels (from the stock) in a Sauce Gribiche

Green Beans in Red Wine Vinegar Cream Sauce atop a Tomato Tartare

Me and my mom chow down on sushi, udon, and amish-pretzel-dough-wrapped hot dogs.