Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Joe Beef: Surving the Apocalypse is the hippest cookbook of the season....


When Lynn and I went to Montreal almost exactly 10 years ago we were blown away by the restaurant Joe Beef.   Since then, the Restaurant's owners Frederic Morin, David McMillan along with Author Meredith Erickson have released two innovative, even ground breaking cookbooks which in some ways reset the idea for what a cookbook is and can be. With their latest, Joe Beef: Surviving the Apocalypse; Another Cookbook of Sorts (Alfred A. Knopf Publishing)  the Joe Beef team returns with another cookbook with great and exotic French Caniadian centric fare like Crispy Frog Legs, Lobster Sausage and French Smoked Rack of Lam.

Surviving the Apocolypse would be one of the most interesting culinary offerings of the year with only its recipes.  What takes it to another level is it's DIY spirit celebrating skills that maximize self sufficiency with recipes and instructions to make (among other things)  beef jerky, dry herbs, make syrups and smoked apple cider vinegar so if/when the apocolypse hits you are all set...M&L

(As a treat to M&L followers here are a couple of recipes from Joe Beef STA)



Smoked meat croquettes

Makes 30 croquettes

You will need:
Food processor
Digital scale (optional)
Deep fryer or heavy pot
Deep-frying thermometer
For the filling
¼ pound (113 g) cheese curds
¼ pound (113 g) smoked Cheddar, cubed
½ pound (225 g) Montreal smoked meat (lean), shredded
½ cup (30 g) sauerkraut, drained and finely chopped
1 tablespoon Montreal steak spice
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
½ cup (120 ml) Béchamel Rapide (recipe follows)
2 quarts (2 l) canola oil for deep-frying

For the breading
1 cup (75 g) flour
4 large eggs, beaten
1 cup (130 g) rye bread crumbs or plain bread crumbs mixed with 1 teaspoon ground caraway seeds
Salt
Water
Yellow mustard (optional)
Thousand Island dressing (optional)
1 kosher pickle, thinly sliced

1.     Add the cheese curds and smoked Cheddar to the bowl of a food processer and pulse until evenly crumbled. Transfer to a large bowl.
2.      Now pulse the smoked meat in the food processer until it looks like hamburger meat. Transfer to the cheese bowl.
3.     Add the sauerkraut, steak spice, mustard and béchamel, and using a spatula or gloves, mix well.
4.     Use your hands to shape 30 cylinders into the size and shape of a wine cork. Transfer to a parchment-lined sheet pan as you work. Refrigerate the croquettes for 30 minutes to help them retain their shape.
5.     To bread the croquettes: Set up three bowls, one with flour, one with the eggs, and one with the rye bread crumbs. Dip each croquette into the flour, then the egg, then the bread crumbs. Set aside on a small tray.
6.     Pour the canola oil into a deep fryer or heavy pot. The oil should be 350 F (180 C)
7.     Fry the croquettes in batches of 5 or 6 for 21/2 minutes until golden brown. Keep an eye on the thermometer and adjust your heat up or down accordingly so that the croquettes don’t brown too quickly: you want them to be hot in the center. Use a skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
8.     Serve with your choice of yellow mustard or Thousand Island dressing and slices of kosher pickle.

Note: To make your own rye bread crumbs, process several slices of rye bread in your food processor. Spread the fresh crumbs out on a sheet pan to stale completely. Process again until fine, pass through a sieve, and keep in an airtight container until ready to use.


Bechamel rapide

Makes 2 cups (500 ml) sauce

You will need:
Handheld immersion blender

2 cups (500 ml) whole milk, cold
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ cup (65 g) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (60 g) cold unsalted butter, diced

1.      In a tall jar or container, combine the cold milk, nutmeg, and flour with an immersion blender.
2.      Transfer to a small saucepan, and bring to slow boil over medium heat.
3.      Whisk in the butter: Whisk, whisk, whisk until well incorporated and the sauce visibly thickens—about 4 minutes. Cook to lukewarm, then stir into the croquettes filling (opposite).



QC Spring Seafood Pie
Serves 6-ish
(feeds a family with leftovers for the following day)
You will need:
Ricer
Piping bag with the largest pastry tip
Large Pyrex or Le Creuset baking dish, similar to what you use for shepherd’s pie

For the pommes duchesse
4 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons heavy cream
(35 percent butterfat)
Salt and white pepper

For the velouté
¼ cup (57 g) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ cup (60 g) all-purpose flour
3 cups (720 ml) whole milk
1 cup (240 ml) fish stock or clam juice
¼ cup (60 ml) heavy cream
(35 percent butterfat)
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and white pepper

For the filling
4 ounces (120 g) cooked lobster meat (from one 1-pound lobster)
4 ounces (120 g) whelk meat, finely sliced (typically comes in a jar)
4 ounces (120 g) fresh or frozen Nordic shrimp (aka Maine shrimp)
4 ounces (120 g) bay scallops
4 ounces (120 g) steamed and shelled mussels (from one pound of mussels)
½ pound (225 g) turbot fillet
1 Yukon Gold potato, cut into cubes the size of playing dice
7 ounces (200 g) lardons (bacon slices cut into ½-inch-/1-cm-thick bâtons)
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
1 tablespoon minced fresh chervil
1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

For the garnish
Egg wash (1 large egg beaten with
3 tablespoons whole milk)
2 sets snow crab legs, thawed, and cracked lengthwise (using kitchen shears)
1 tablespoon of Old Bay Seasoning

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C)
  2. For the pommes duchesse: Place the potatoes in a large saucepan with enough cold water to cover them. Bring to boil and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Pass the potatoes through a ricer.
  3. In a bowl, stir the potatoes with the egg yolks, butter, cream, and salt and white pepper. Reserve in a piping bag with the biggest piping tip, such as the classic plain #24 (11/16)
  4. For the veloute: Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the mustard and flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the milk, fish stock, cream, cayenne, and lemon juice, and slowly bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.
  5. Add all the filling ingredients to your veloute.
  6. Butter the inside of a Pyrex/Le Creuset/copper pot. Transfer the filling mixture to your vessel. Inside the dish, pipe the pommes duchesse in a way to make it look like fish scales. If that OTT (over the top), simply pipe in a spiral to follow the shape of the dish.
  7. Brush with the egg wash. Just before putting the dish in the oven, place the crab legs sticking out the dish as if it were crawling.
  8. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the pie is hot inside and golden brown outside. Finish with a dusting of Old bay to garnish.





Monday, November 12, 2018

Greenpoint Fish and Lobster dazzles with great seafood and alluring atmosphere...

Lynn and I got to Greenpoint Fish and Lobster Company in Brooklyn and were dazzled by the great seafood and warm ambiance.  We enjoyed the Baja Fish Tacos which were particularly unique thanks to the citrus cabbage slaw.   Besides being a restaurant, GPF&L is also a first class fish market with the usual offerings of Flounder and Striped Bass but also has exotica such as Rabbitfish, Dogfish and Sea Robins. They also carry in house smoked fish, gravlax and caviar. GPF&L puts an emphasis on locally sourced and sustainable seafood being mindful of where the finfiish and shellfish originate.   
Having said this, Greenpoint Fish and Lobster has a sexy vibe with attractive high top seating, an attractive and freindly staff and a nice wine and beer menu to pair with their menu.  No doubt Greenpoint F&L will be a destination spot for us for years to come...M&L

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Moustache Brewery in Riverhead dazzles with a chic tasting room and creative brews...


We visited Moustache Brewing in Riverhead, NY recently and were dazzled by the architectural quality of the interiors of the place (recently moved into by MB). Lynn and I were talking about how more and more breweries interiors on Long Island are becoming increasingly sleek and aesthetically pleasing.  With its attractive tabletops, flattering lighting and pleasant acoustics Moustache could easily pass for a high end restaurant. 


Lynn and I had a sampler of Moustache's brews and were particularly fond of the citrus laden "Sailor Mouth." and American IPA hopped twice.  We also enjoyed another American IPA "DJ Night." On the other end of the spectrum Lynn particularly enjoyed "Salto Mortale" (a risky step or undertaking in Italian) which had an ABV of over 12% which is brewed in Bourbon barrels with molosses, maple syrup and blackberry; perfect to warm up with on a cold winter day.
There were several other brews we did not have a chance to try including the Nine Pin Cedar Works made from apples from Samascott Orchards in Upstate New York.  We certainly look forward to visiting this jewel in Riverhead to see how their brewery evolves....M&L

Monday, October 22, 2018

North Fork Brewing in Riverhead impresses with creative brewing and hipster vibe...



Lynn and I have good friends who are serious beer nerds and, as a result, we have been introduced to the exploding craft beer scene on Long Island.  One of the lastes venues we have visited is the North Fork Brewing Company in Riverhead. Located at a former Fire Station, North Fork Brewing has the casual vibe that is so appealing on a late weekend afternoon.  The interior had a hipster vibe with its graphics which seem to be partly inspired by hieroglyphics and its over sized versions of classic games like Connect 4. 

The beers are creatively curated with my favorite being "Run The Juice" a New England style IPA with a crisp, citrus bite.  Lynn favored "Dark Side of the Maple" an American Porter brewed with fresh New Hampshire Maple Syrup.  We also enjoyed offerings of "I'm Your Huckleberry" which was a Saison style Farmhouse Ale. 
With North Fork Brewing's great combination of warmth and creative beer craft it will no doubt be a beloved fixture in the Craft Brew scene on Long Island...M&L

Friday, October 12, 2018

Mark and Lynn duck into Homecoming in Brooklyn...



Homecoming is a lovely, beautifully curated spot in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn.  While it is probably best known for its housewares and clothing there is a nice cafe menu with coffee and tea drinks along with a nice selection of pastries.  The barista served up a bracing espresso that helped us get a much needed second wind during our recent trip to Brooklyn...

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Marti Buckley's Basque Country might be the most unique cookbook of the season...

Marti Buckley's Basque Country: A Culinary Journey Through a Food Lover's Paradise (Artisan) is a handsome love letter to one of the most unique and underrated food regions in the World.  The Basque Country straddles the Northern Spain border with Southern France and has its own unique cultures, traditions and cusines.  Ms. Buckley' s blog Travel, Cook, Eat was a major source of information and inspiration when we were researching our trip to the Spanish town of San Sebastian whcih we visited in March of this year. 

Basque Country, near San Sebastian located near the Bay of Biscay is blessed with abundance from the sea and it shows in its seafood influenced bar fare such as Pinxtos which are served as small plates of (for example) sardines, anchovies and the like served typically on small slices of bread, often as bar food.  Inland areas of the Basque Country are typically characterized by fresh and cured meats, vegetables, legumes and salted fish. Ms. Buckley breaks these regional differences and variations down with great skill and affection.
The recipes here fun the gamut from soups to steaks to salads.  Many of the recipes have an undeniably rustic quality refective of the region such as Grilled Sardines, Sauteed Gerinka Peppers, and Victoria Style Fava Beans. 

Ms. Buckley includes asides about Basque culture, history and tradition which help put the recipes and the region's uniqueness in context.  She also includes desserts, and highlights some of of the unique drinks of the regions where red vermouth holds sway as the drink of choice.  One of the drink recipes she  features is an unusual combination of Red Wine and Cola which became our go to late Summer go to beverage.

Ms. Buckley's work counts as one of, if not the most unique Cookbooks of the season and is handsome enough to moonlight as a coffee table book...M&L

Monday, October 8, 2018

A Table in Venice is a love letter to the charms of Venetian Comfort Food...


Skye McAlpine's superb cookbook A Table in Venice: Recipes from My Home (Clarkson Potter) is a love letter to Venetian food and a romantic ode to the pleasures of cooking at home.  Ms. McAlpine has lived in Venice since she was six and weaves her own narrative around the recipes in this cookbook.  Her modest and sweet approach to the material makes this a particularly charming work.  She revisits old staples like Clams in White Wine Sauce as well as more exotic fare such as Poached Langoustines with Saffron Mayonnaise. Ms. McAlpine's work here is a sensual delight with wonderful recipes and one Instagram worthy shot after another. She is definitely a food writer to watch.


Fig And Mascarpone Cake (Torta Di Mascarpone E Fichi)

Serves 8 to 10
The bounty of figs is possibly one of the things I love most about late summer in Venice. We have a fig tree in our garden, and it bears more fruit than we can possibly eat—or so you’d think. We always seem to find a way of finishing them off.
Nothing quite compares to this cake in the heat of summer. While you can make it out of season with dried figs, it doesn’t quite hold the same magic as when laced with luscious fresh fruit; nevertheless, the dried variety produces a pretty fine substitute on a cold winter’s day. Use 12 to 14 dried figs, cut away the tough stems, toss them in a small sauce-pan, and cover with a little over 1⁄2 cup (130ml) milk. Simmer gently on medium to low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until the figs have softened, then let steep in the milk for a further 15 to 20 minutes. Drain the milk and quarter the figs before adding to the batter as you would the fresh fruit.
Directions
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line a 9-inch (23cm) cake pan, preferably springform, with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone, granulated sugar, and eggs until you have a smooth, thick cream. Sift in the flour, baking powder, and salt, and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined. Gently stir in the quartered figs. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until lightly golden on top and a knife or skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. When you press down on the top of the cake, it should spring back nicely. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes in the pan before taking it out to cool. Dust lightly with confectioners’ sugar and cut into slices to serve.

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I (Mark) have written for The Christian Science Monitor, Clear Magazine, Picture Magazine, Film Score Monthly, Dan's Papers, Rue Morgue, In Flight USA and a lot more publications that I can't remember.... My wife Lynn was a model with the Ford Agency and her photography has been featured in most of the publications I have written for...

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