Monday, February 13, 2012

Poutine: /puːˈtiːn/ (noun) Canadian dream on a plate.

Ah, birthdays. Not that I actually wanted to "celebrate" celebrate... just a night off from cooking, grab a bite with my guys, etc.  So, we went to the Comet Cafe and lo and behold... the specials blackboard pulled me into its orbit with the offering that shone like St. Peter with a halo: Duck Confit Poutine.  Yes, you read that right.  Duck confit + fontina curds + beer gravy + fries = happiness. 

Sometimes it doesn't take a lot to make things right with the world.  Happy Birthday, indeed.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

"Planking"... the other kind.

Yesterday was "Boy2 and Daddy Day"... Monday will be "Boy2 and Mommy Day" since his school is closed for a self-imposed holiday/furlough until Tuesday. Being that it was about 5 degrees outside and we got about 6" of snow, it probably wasn't a bad idea that school was closed. The actual bad idea was that I asked the Husba to go to Whole Foods today because they were having a wild sockeye salmon sale ($7.99lb!!). C'mon... that's a steal. Terrible roads and snow notwithstanding.

OK, I admit I shouldn't have asked him to go clear on the other side of the city just to buy salmon, but they only seem to have sales like this on Fridays (what, nobody works?!?) and well, he was home anyway... I will say that I had the most delicious dinner. Thanks, hon.

I ended up using my standard BBQ dry rub - usually reserved for ribs and other grill items, it was wonderful on the salmon. I happen to have some grilling planks (alder, cedar, maple and the like) so I grabbed the cedar plank and pretended I lived in Seattle again. I used to eat salmon like this all the time but for some reason I've neglected buying this lovely fish since moving to Milwaukee. Let's just say it's probably a bad idea to use the planks indoors (yes, I soaked it) because it completely overtook our tiny house with the smell of burning cedar. And not in a good way. It smelled like my college dorm where everyone would burn Nag Champa and hang Indian tapestries on the walls. Nevertheless, it sure was tasty.

Dry Rub Recipe:

1/4 c internet search
3T googling for BBQ dry rub
1T deciding on whose recipe to use because mine's a secret!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Winter Harvest

Boooo. Two whole posts in 2011. C'mon already - let's get this puppy back in gear!

Now that the holidays are over, I'm thinking fresh. Not "juice cleanse" or "tofu-palooza" fresh, but I haven't been to the Milwaukee County Winter Farmer's Market in about two months so I'm starting to crave some tasty winter veggies. Which, in Milwaukee, means root vegetables or something from the cabbage family. I have a few subscriptions to food magazines and I'm pretty sure at least 2 or 3 have included a Cauliflower Steak recipe this month. Not sure what they're trying to do with that, but I definitely don't need to pretend my cauliflower is steak. Cauliflower is awesome all on its own - whether it's roasted until nutty and crisp around the edges or smooth and creamy in a soup. One of my favorite recipes is from the West Town Tavern in Chicago and involves horseradish, mustard and cream. Which is never a bad thing.

Cauliflower Gratin

2 heads cauliflower
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup minced, peeled shallot
2 cups heavy cream
1 Tablespoon Grey Poupon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cut the cauliflower into small florets. Chop the stems fine and reserve separately. Blanch the florets in salted, boiling water until tender. Drain, shock in ice water and reserve.

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan and saute the shallots until very tender. Add the chopped cauliflower stems and the cream. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer until stems are very soft. Puree in a blender and season the cream with the Grey Poupon mustard, the horseradish, nutmeg, rosemary, salt and pepper.

Mix the seasoned cauliflower cream with the florets. Butter a pan 9"x13"x2" and scrape the cauliflower into the pan, spreading evenly. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese evenly over the gratin.

Bake 350° about 20-25 minutes until the top is golden and the gratin is bubbling. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.