Monday, June 21, 2010

Father's Day: Boullabaisse with Rouille Toast + Angel Food Cake with Whipped Cream and Strawberries

My sister and I wanted to make our dad something special for father's day. We both have fond memories of eating fish soup and rouille toast at the fondue restaurant that our dad and his friends opened in Montreal the year before I was born, so bouillabaisse seemed like a nice choice. As for the angel food cake, it was his favorite birthday cake throughout his childhood.

First of all, I had to get the fish stock going. Unfortunately, neither Whole Foods nor the Santa Monica Fish Market would sell me any fish bones (so disappointing!) so I had to resort to using a few shrimp shells and a couple of bones from the wild halibut steaks that I bought. I used my favorite trader joes organic vegetable stock, celery, onion, carrots, thyme, parsley, white wine and a bay leaf to amp of the flavor. I let the stock simmer gently for about an hour.

In a separate pot, I started sweating some leeks in olive oil.

The fish stock simmering away:

Next, I roughly sliced some fennel, diced about six roma tomatoes and added those to the sautéed leeks along with about a glass full of white whine and a few dried smoked chilis.

This is what it looked like after I added in the strained fish stock, a bay leaf and some saffron.

You could use any mixture of seafood, I used shrimp, mussels and halibut. Make sure to cut the fish into even pieces so they cook at the same time.

Next, I added in a ton of roughly chopped dino kale (not so typical of bouillabaisse but delicious all the same) and let that cook down for a few minutes before adding in the seafood. I started with the mussels, and a minute later added in the shrimp and fish. Stir it around but be careful not to break up the fish. I covered the pot for another minute and then turned off the heat - the fish will be slightly underdone at this point but it should cook through by the time it gets into the serving bowls.

I served the soup with my own version of rouille. I made the mayonnaise with an egg yolk, some cider vinegar, salt and 1 part olive oil to about 5 parts canola oil. I then stirred in some chopped chives and fennel fronds along with some tomato paste and a large pinch or two of sweet smoked paprika.

We used this Alton Brown recipe for the angel food cake and although it turned out well, I will probably cut down on the sugar the next time I make it.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Variation on Succotash with Wilted Dandelion Greens

When I woke up at 6am on my first day back from the big Euro trip, the only thing I could think to do was to make this lemon curd tart with olive oil from gourmet magazine. I had never made it before, but had been thinking about the recipe for a few days. A few hours later, my parents and I took a trip to the new farmers' market that opened a few weeks ago in our neighborhood. The selection of vegetables was very limited but we managed to pick up a few things for lunch and dinner. When we got back home from the market, I prepared a little open-faced sandwich with melted manchego cheese, homemade aioli, pickled shallots, a fried egg and arugula from our garden. I'll post about the tart and the sandwich later, but I was the most excited about what I came up with for dinner.

Recipe for about 5 people

First, I sliced up about a pound of potatoes into bite sized pieces about the same size as the fava beans. I sautéed them in a combination of butter and oil until they were just about finished cooking.

Next, I was lucky to have the help of my mother and of my friend Amanda to peel the skins off of the fava beans. This took us a while, but at least we had some cocktails to sip on. I used about 3 cups of the beans.

Next, I cut the kernels off of three corn cobs.

I diced up 2 poblano chilis, one serrano and one jalepeno, along with about half of a large onion.

When the potatoes were almost done, I added in the onion and chilis. Around this time, I started sautéeing some garlic in olive oil in a large pot for the greens.

After about 5 minutes, I added the corn and fava beans to the potatoes and then maybe 5 minutes later I started cooking the greens (they only take about 3 minutes to cook).

Me cooking:

More butter doesn't ever hurt:

We served it with some chalula hot sauce. It was incredibly delicious!!

The End.

High Class Fancy Meal

After 5 days of eating perfect tapas and drinking cava in Barcelona, I had one of the worst meals of my life on the plane home to Los Angeles. Don't get me wrong, I've actually had some pretty decent meals on airplanes before (I know I should be embarrassed to admit this, but it's true). I used to look forward to the vegan tofu scramble on Air Canada trips to Montreal before they stopped serving the in flight meals on shorter flights. Anyways, the food on my flight home a few days ago was repulsive. The salad was probably rotten and the dressing was a gooey mess. The pasta was stale and was covered with a creamy spinach-y sauce that seemed to have been made with some sort of milk substitute. At least my canned tomato juice with lots of lemon juice helped a little.