Wednesday, January 30, 2019

What I've Been Cooking - 1

People I meet, when they learn of my passion for cooking, invariably ask what kind of food I like to cook. And the answer is "everything" because I love learning new techniques and flavors. That being said, I return again and again to certain favorites, generally Italian, French or American. Looking at some of the main things I've cooked over the past couple of months gives a flavor for how I approach selection of dishes to try and how I like to plan menus.

For the first major meal after Thanksgiving, I made roast halibut with tahini herb butter, a brilliant recipe (intended for cod, which Joan doesn't like) from Christopher Kimball's new book, Milk Street Tuesday Nights (more on this book and the others mentioned herein in a later post). To counterbalance the very interesting flavors of the fish I served Peruvian fingerling potatoes from the great potato grower at the Upper West Side greenmarket sautéed with rosemary,

Roast halibut with tahini-herb sauce and Peruvian fingerlings
sautéed leeks with a little crème fraîche and a simple green salad. Dessert was a baked Winesap apple (courtesy of my idol Jacques Pépin's Essential Pépin) stuffed with wonderful griotte cherry preserves that I buy in Paris.

Continuing with Milk Street Tuesday Nights recipes, I  made Singapore Shrimp the next day, a dish imbued with Southeast Asian flavors, such as ginger, lemon grass, fish sauce, rice vinegar, etc. Easy and very flavorful, if probably not authentic. I served this with Jasmine rice and green beans sautéed with a little soy sauce and Japanese furukake, a blended spice mixture. The starter was artichoke steamed in the Instant Pot. As you can see, I am not married to any culture, even for one meal, but like to mix and match.

Continuing in the same vein, the next day I made (for myself since Joan was in Japan) Moroccan chicken skewers, also from Milk Street Tuesday Nights, incorporating a North African profile to elevate pretty simple skewers of boneless skinless chicken thighs. The following day I continued with Vietnamese meatball lettuce wraps from the same cookbook. Both dishes were successful, particularly the chicken skewers.

Now a new cookbook arrived: Simple, from Yotam Ottolenghi, one of my favorite cookbook authors. I was still alone and took advantage of Joan's absence to have a steak, which she does not eat. In this case it was Ottolenghi's harissa steak, made with skirt steak and a strong harissa sauce. Although it was fine, I found that the harissa marinade dissipated in the grilling of the meat, requiring me to heap raw harissa over the final product.

A couple of days later, it was back to Milk Street Tuesday Nights for jerk-roasted chicken wings (the recipe is for chicken parts, but a lonely bachelor needs his wings): simple and very well spiced, it was worth using the recipe's homemade jerk sauce rather than using store-bought.

Jerk-roasted chicken wings
Next I took a baking interval, as described in the next post.

Bobby Jay

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