The Highest Form of Flattery

December 15, 2008

One of my favorite places to go after work is the Nolita House on Houston between Mulberry and Mott. Its decor is that of an old time school house and between the great comfort food and the amazing drink specials (tuesday nights are half priced bottles of wine) I find myself coming back fairly often. Every time I make it back I promise myself I am going to order something different but almost every time I find myself diving into the large plate of the lobster and truffle mac and cheese. I’m not even that big of a mac and cheese guy, but there is something about the delicate balance of flavor and texture that simply makes it the best I have ever had. And at the reasonable price it is offered at, it is a must try. So the other night I was resigned to make it myself. I wanted to see how well I could replicate the dish without knowing the types of cheeses or the process that makes their dish so amazing. I made some additions of my own and it turned out great…

Rock Shrimp and Truffle Mac and Cheese

Rock Shrimp and Truffle Mac and Cheese


Wok!

December 9, 2008

One of the best purchases I have ever made is the Wok I bought a few years ago. I thought about writing a post and rating different brands and styles but then I realized that I’ve only ever had one and who wants to listen to me discuss things they can find on amazon.com. So instead I decided to talk about why I love my Wok….

Beef and Ginger Stir Fry w/ Brown Rice

I love all varieties of food and love to try and replicate some of the amazing flavor profiles so mysteriously done in ethnic restaurants. How many times have you tried to make fried rice, or that thai flavored stir fry and have it fall short of your expectation. I’ll be honest, I haven’t come close to mastering some of the more well known ethnic dishes but I will say that I’m getting closer. And the use of my Wok has made a world of difference for one of the many styles of ethnic cooking. One of the most underrated components of a lot of the food we love (the fried rice and the stir frys), is the way the vegetables and the meat are cooked. The use of high heat and a large surface area to quick cook give way to amazing texture/flavor combinations. The quick caramelization produces unbelievable flavor. My wok wasn’t very expensive at all and as long as you maintain them (be careful of rusting), the longer you use them, the more seasoned it becomes and the better food it produces. Point being, if you are just getting started or have been cooking for a while but still only eat your favorite ethnic food when its ordered out, pick up a Wok and give it a shot. You may very well surprise yourself.


The Next Generation…

December 8, 2008

So last night my little brother, Joseph, sent these pictures to me from the dinner he had made for my mom. He has always been experimenting in the kitchen for himself and I have been often amazed by the snack plates and breakfasts he has created for himself. It is an awesome thing to see the evolution in his cooking skills and interest. Seeing my little bro take up a similar passion of mine and find the enjoyment in cooking for others (see my last posting) is truly amazing. To steal a quote from my mom and alter it slightly, “this is why I cook”…the excitement that it inspires.

Joseph’s Homemade Marinara with Hot Peppers and his Famous Homemade Garlic Bread

Joseph's PastaJoseph's Pasta 2



Presents!

December 5, 2008

Its getting really close to the holidays and you can’t help but get swept over by the excitement. Regardless of how you spend the holiday season there is nothing better than that feeling of giving. The more effort that goes into a gift the greater its effect. Which is why theres nothing I love more than cooking for friends and family especially around this time of the year (not to mention I think I get better gifts because of it). So next time you think about spending hours in a crowded store or parking garage searching for that perfect present, maybe head over to your local farmers market or grocery store and come up with a dinner for someone special…Here is an example of a dish I prepared for my family this time last year..

Poached Striped Bass with Couscous

Roasted Pepper and Kalamata Olive Puree over Lemon and White Wine Poached Striped Bass served with Mediterranean Style Roasted Vegetable Couscous


Breakfast for Dinner

December 3, 2008

There is something really great about those nights you decide to have breakfast for dinner. I always thought it was such a treat when I was a kid growing up when I got to have a cheese omelette with bacon and toast for dinner. Breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day and often can be the most balanced and healthy but for some reason I still feel like your doing something a little bad when you have it at night. This dish I made the other night was unbelievable. It had everything you want in plate of food regardless of when it was eaten:

Asparagus and Shitake Mushroom Salad served with a Poached Egg and Green Herb Dressing sprinkled with Bacon

Asparagus and Shitake Mushroom Salad with Poached Egg


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