Monday, August 30, 2010

Shame shame shame...

Chilean Sea Bass

Ok, I have something to confess (hanging Feral head in shame). My favorite fish to cook at home is Chilean Sea Bass. I know, I KNOW! It is not technically on the endangered species list anymore but I probably shouldn’t be eating it. If it was a really dire situation, Whole Foods & Fresh Direct wouldn’t sell it. Right?

It is SOOOO yummy. And I really don’t eat very much of it. And, I’m a very good person. As a New Yorker, my carbon footprint is practically minute. Sometimes I remember to offset my carbon emissions. I recycle, I use green products, I’ve removed myself from mailing lists. I’ve reduced my plastic waste dramatically (since my Lunch post). I carry bags, I shop locally. I tell everyone I know to rent No Impact Man (available on Netflix). Really, I’m good. But I love me some Patagonian Toothfish. I am a flawed human person.

A standard dinner in the Feral rotation is Chilean Sea Bass (broiled), potato (boiled? roasted?), greens (usually sautéed in garlic), maybe a salad. But, alas, I have just “discovered” potato salad. Bittman has an easy recipe with scallion or onion, parsley, and a mustard vinaigrette. I hate mayo, so I never really considered adding potato salad to my repertoire. Until now. Really easy and perfect on a hot day (and for lunches later in the week).

Potato Salad

I’d give you the recipe but I am not a copyright infringer—just a fish killer. And really? You should own at least one Bittman cookbook. JustAwesome swears by the iPhone app, too. Hopefully, I didn’t overcook the potatoes and she likes my potato salad.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Tofu or Not Tofu?

Proper tofu custard from Hibino — YUM!!

The Plan:

• Tofu custard


After taking a tofu-making class back in June, I’ve decided to give it a go at home. I really love tofu custard which is a little easier (um, well) to prepare than regular tofu. Of course, as I sit here typing this, I don’t really know if it is going to work. I screwed up a million little times and I’m pretty sure all of my measurements are wrong. Too many steps? Yeah, probably.

The short of it:

Soak beans, purée, boil with water and then strain through a cheese cloth. That makes soymilk. The milk is then mixed with a coagulant (nigari). Then you pray. If you’re not religious, you think good thoughts at it.

I made milk!

Lesson #1

You have to soak the soybeans (bought in bulk at WF’s. Cost $.75. Organic.) for 10 hours before you make the soymilk that becomes tofu. So my batch will be ready at 9pm? Oy. Next time I’ll do that part overnight. Then I panicked that it was going to go rancid and stuck in the fridge to make the next day. Might’ve just messed everything up right then and there.

Lesson #2

Save the water that you soaked it in. I read that line after I tossed my water. Might’ve just messed everything up right then and there.

Lesson #3

Pay attention in school. My math is really bad. I suspect this is a bit like baking and needs to be exact. Might’ve just messed everything up right then and there.

I think this is actually really easy to make but you need to plan a little better than I can manage these days. And then I was improvising a bit using this recipe plus what I got from the Tofu making class at Brooklyn Kitchen. I will try again if this batch doesn’t work...

A Final Word:

It sort of came out. It looked really gross. I should tell you that in the class only 3 out of 30 portions came out right (mine was one of them!). We ate with dashi, scallions & wasabi.

JA’s opinion:

It looks like curdled snot but tastes delicious, clean, fresh and delicate. I hope Feral tries again.

The Verdict:

I’d rather have someone else make it for me. I haven’t been but I hear that EN Japanese Brasserie makes a really nice one, like, every hour. I thought the one at Hibino in Brooklyn was delish, hot or cold. But I think any upscale-ish Japanese place should do it well.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Curds for Dinner! No whey!

Ever since my very first poutine in Montreal back in ’07, I’ve been hooked. Traditional poutine uses beef gravy (as well as pork fat for the fries), but JA & I do a tasty version with mushroom gravy. A real winter treat. Tonight we are going to turn on the AC (and dust the cobwebs off of our stove) and try yet another version utilizing some of the crazy-colored carrots from the Farmer’s Market.

The recipe comes from a great blog called Everybody Likes Sandwiches, which of course, everybody does. We use frozen french fries. No shame in that. We changed the recipe quite a bit—the first try was too spicy and too thin. The second try was just right.

real poutine from Montreal

An early iteration. I can’t find a photo of our usual which is darker.

The cheese curds are from our favorite cheesemonger. Do they squeak? Probably not, but really yummy.

crazy carrots

Tonight’s veg’d up version. Mmm, mmm good!

The Verdict? It was good but I’m something of a purist. I missed my mushroom gravy. (Not shown)