IMG_0823.JPGLast night I gathered together the necessary dry ingredients for a pile of Nutty Whole Wheat/Oat/Flaxmeal Pancakes, mixed them and set them aside. The following AM I would put together the liquid ingredients (buttermilk and eggs and butter), mix, and do the business.
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IMG_0822-0.JPGJust bought a fantastic book by Nigel Slater called Eat. Published in 2013 in England, its a whole series of simple, ‘fast food’ that can generally be made in about 30 minutes.

We won’t talk about the duck burgers, though.
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I bought some pizza dough today, this special ‘New York’ style from Lamonica’s. So don’t judge–I know pizza like ‘dis guy from da Bronx’ might know ramen. All I know is what I like, and generally speaking, there are enough fairly competent folks out there making pizza that in most cases, I do not judge harshly.
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IMG_5099.JPGIt was time for soup, but it was actually time for Swedish Filmjolkslimpa: the buttermilk and molasses mix with seeds and nuts, rye flour, and whole wheat flour. It was the interest in making the bread again (my wife’s favorite) that decided my making Graupensuppe (German Barley Soup) to go along with it.
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All photos courtesy of Plaridel Award Winner Astrid Barros!
The New York Times has some generally good food writers with folks like David Tanis, Melissa Clark (who looks fabulous in her mid-60s), and others. Quite often their recipes tend to be pretty damn good, even if I need to alter them for my own purposes, and this weekend was a double-hit with Two Beans and Spanish Chorizo with Pasilla/Garlic Sauce and Melissa Clark’s cold Basil Corn Soup.

The casserole was simple enough; layers of corn tortillas, a mixture of cooked pinto and black beans with Spanish chorizo, Monterey Jack cheese, and the deep flavor imparted from dried pasilla chiles and roasted garlic, all tossed into a food processor then cooked down in a reduction of smoky chile flavor and garlic.


As if that didn’t make it, a cool lime zest crema and some pickled red onions rounded out the flavor profile. I made two versions; one with the smoky pasilla and garlic sauce and one without. Wifey found the base one without the sauce, aided and abetted by the crema and pickled onions to be very nice, regardless.

Of course, there were also spicy and non-spiced peanuts as appetizers, two Pico de gallos (one without heat and the other which could have used more heat by half), and a guacamole put together by our guest, B. Chips for all and margaritas with a recipe all applauded.




Still, for me, the real hit was the exactingly simple chilled basil corn soup. With fresh corn scallions, a bit of garlic, a tad of salt, buttermilk, basil, and lime juice all tossed into the blender with a bit of ice, then strained of large bits with a chinoise, a very delicious and easily elegant soup purée was the result, garnished with a couple of thin radish slices and some olive oil. B insisted upon adding a slice of heirloom tomato and that didn’t hurt at all.


Dessert as well came out nicely, a tres Leches de chocolate cake that was served with some mango sorbet. My wife was the solitary voice of mild disagreement thinking that the mango pairing didn’t work as well as the initially suggested tangerine sorbet in the recipe. She could very well have been correct in her view, though the mango worked well enough for the other guests.



IMG_0433.JPGMy wife had just gotten home and smelled what I was cooking in the kitchen (after her requisite “Its so smoky!” and, just in case she didn’t say it loud enough, “Oh, my eyes hurt from all the smoke!“)

Well, what can you expect from a Garlic Rosemary Bread-Crumb Crusted Rack of Lamb, anyway? Yah, I had finally pulled out one of the New Zealand racks of lamb I had bought a month before and decided to give them a go. Not wanting to waste all 8 ribs, I elected to only cook 5 of them and left the other three in the freezer.
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What’s the difference between a hamburger and a patty melt? Primarily, a patty melt has no bun and uses regular bread. It kinda gets short shrift when compared up along the noble burger, but it has its charms.

My version begins with red onions caramelized over 12 minutes, a couple of slices of rye bread lightly toasted, a light spread of German sweet mustard, a piece of gjetost goat cheese, and a sprinkling of fresh oregano.

Oh, and that lamb patty.

It came out absolutely fabulous. To accompany this ever-so-mildly sweet patty melt, I chose a simple salad of celery, apple, walnuts, and cranberries, with a light honey-Dijon vinaigrette.


Morning is often rushed for us, and lately my wife has been sending me little recipes she has found that she thinks might be interesting for me to make. Often, I’ve used her suggestions for my own nefarious reasons (you’ll see).
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IMG_0802-0.JPGNo one really knows where the term ‘slider’ came from, though it’s been suggested that it came from the US Navy where the pitching and rolling of the warships caused the greasy burgers to ‘slide’. Yah, ok. Why not? White Castle had their shtick with the little sliders and even Burger King had their ‘BK Burger Shots’ which…quite frankly I tried a number of years ago and found extremely wanting for too many reasons to explain.
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Photos Courtesy of Astrid BarrosIMG_0800.JPG
Came out really, really well. The pork was braised in heavy cream, buttermilk, three heads of garlic, and a Parmesan rind (and a sprig of Sage) for three hours. Worth all 200 minutes of waiting.

Dinner started with appetizers as ever, with B handling the cocktails making caipiroskas while noshing on bread and Fourme d’ambert, a delightful French blue cheese (wifey never touched it, of course) as well as some La Tur and another nameless French cheese (which my wife wouldn’t touch after one initial foray–she tried, at least)

As the cooking had mostly been done the day before I had more time to spend with our guests so I decided to use the two little duck breasts which I quick-seared and basted with a honey-thyme syrup. Came out great!



Ultimately, I had to prepare a few other items–browning the pork, reducing the creamy garlic sauce, and a quick sautée of the broccoli Raab.




Of course, guests are always a special occasion and so…dessert is always a standard, and our deep thanks to A&B for sharing the dessert with us– by taking half the calories outta the house as leftovers.

I won’t stretch your tongue by saying it in Italian, but its a chocolate and sour cherry cake which came out very nicely.



Nobody eats like this everyday, but once a week…why the hell not?

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