Thursday, December 27, 2007

Lemon drop cocktail

There is a tradition at my brothers house of serving lemon drop cocktails for any reason, I am sure that he being a liqueur distributor and his wife being of Russian decent have nothing to do with it? Anyway they are very good and its hard to count how many you have had.

Olga's Lemon drop cocktail
fresh squeezed lemon juice
simple syrup (50% sugar/50%water dissolved)
good quality vodka (try lemon flavored)

Mix equal parts with ice, shake to chill and strain into a martini glass with a sugar coated rim, serve at once and you better make more quick!

This post is number one hundred!

The idea for doing this blog is my answer to writing a book without dealing with publishing companies, also there is not a clear format to this blog other then food related topics. Maybe one day there will be a book, but for now this will have to do. I have found that I cook more from scratch now then ever before, I get more enjoyment from my own pasta, sauce or breads, its all about the quality of each ingredient.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Posole Soup

Posole soup is a Christmas tradition in Mexico and its becoming one here too, at least at my house. Its a soup of pork or chicken with the addition of hominy. Hominy is corn that has had the outer layer of skin from the kernel removed. The flavor of the soup is like a liquid corn tortilla. The best part is that you have a steaming bowl of soup that you finish with your choice of shaved lettuce, cilantro, jalapeno, avocado, fried tortilla strips, tomato and a squeeze of lemon or lime. I like mine spicy with tons of cilantro and avocado.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Clement Street fish market

Here is some recent shots taken from a fish market on Clement Street in San Francisco. Clement Street is a long street on the Western side of the city and its a big mix of mostly Asian businesses and restaurants. Its known as the non touristy Chinatown for locals. I shop the Clement street neighborhood all the time and this fish market is really good because of the freshness and high volume.High important when buying fish because its not sitting on ice for days waiting for someone to buy it. This market has all the normal tanks of live fish, crabs and prawns as well as a huge display of local fresh fish on ice. By the way the live frogs and turtles are not for pets if you know what I mean.

Ribollita, Vegetable Soup Italian Style

Its the holiday season and everyone is eating a lot of unhealthy foods. Here is a good winter soup that is made for cooking in big batches and reheating.Ribollita is a very rustic Tuscan soup who's name translates to "reboil". Its simply made with diced carrot, celery, fennel, onion and garlic. Saute in olive oil till soft then add precooked white beans and water or chicken stock. Add roughly chopped chard or kale. Simmer for about 30 minutes, check seasoning and serve with crusty bread and a splash of extra virgin olive oil.

Friday, December 21, 2007

My newest kitchen toy

I have been really into making breads and pizza's lately but what I have been lacking is a oven stone to devolp a crispy crust. With a big well stocked restaurant supply store near work it was a easy decision to buy one, they run around $50 dollars and you just put in on the lower rack. I crank up the oven to 500F and wait for about 20 minutes for the stone to absorb the heat.Then using a pizza peel dusted with corn meal I slide the pizza's off and on to the stone. In less the 10 minutes its brown and crispy with the cheese bubbling.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Risotto of Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Sage

Next to making pasta with what ever you can find in your house, a basic risotto is easy. It can be flavored with anything you have on hand. In the Summer it can be fresh corn, peas or maybe asparagus. The long winter season is perfect for comfort ingredients like root vegetables. This risotto was just whole oven roasted sweet potatoes with the cooked pulp removed and added during the last cooking stage of the rice. Finished with fresh chopped sage and shaved Parmesan cheese. Great by itself or as a side to maybe roast pork.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Easy Bread

Some people like the smell of fresh baked cookies, but I love the smell of bread right out of the oven. I always keep a supply of good quality locally ground flour and dry yeast packets for when I want to bake. Having a kitchen aid stand mixer with a dough hook is also a big plus. I most often just make a basic flour, water, olive oil dough, allow to proof once then spread out on a sheet pan, then more olive oil and sea salt sprinkled over the top. Let it proof a second time then place into a hot oven, 15-20 minutes later its bread!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

A Craving for a Juicy Pork Chop

Its rare when I look in the meat case for a dinner idea, normally its some kind of fish or shellfish. There was some nice thick pork chops calling out to me so I took them home. I preheated my stove top cast iron pan while the chops were seasoned with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. The cast iron is excellent for searing meat because it will retain heat. Its the original non stick pan. A dash of olive oil in the pan and it was time to sear.The chops only took about five minutes per side while I sauteed sliced onions and cabbage to go with them. When the chops were platted with the cabbage and quick saute of peeled sliced apples in butter became the sauce. Its a good cold weather comfort dish that is really not as fatty as you would think. So go for it.