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    Hobbiton, the Shire

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  1. ProfessionalHobbit

    2018 Holiday Cooking and Baking

    For Thanksgiving, we had a pork crown roast. The center had a stuffing that consisted of sourdough breadcrumbs onion pork fat chopped pork thyme sage unsalted butter Clockwise from lower right: crown roast; fagiolini e pomodoro; Olney’s squash gratin; stuffing (baked outside of the roast); gravy; roasted potatoes; stuffing (from the center of the roast). Behold a parade of brown food punctuated by the occasional red and green. Was tasty though. Clockwise from lower right: assorted chocolates; chocolate cookies; blueberry frangipane tart; banana cream pie; fruit salad.
  2. ProfessionalHobbit

    Dinner 2018

    These are from dinners in the past few months since it's been a while, right? 60 ml extra-virgin olive oil 30 g unsalted butter 2 large onions 10-12 oil-preserved anchovies 3 tbsp. minced Italian parsley freshly ground black pepper Melt butter in oil over medium-low heat. Add onions. Fry onions until onions are translucent. It'll take a while during which time they shouldn't brown. Maybe 30 minutes. Then add anchovies to pan. Mash with the back of a wooden spoon or with a fork. When anchovies disintegrate, cook for 1-2 more minutes. Stir in parsley. Add in cooked pasta, then toss. Grind black pepper over. Then serve IMMEDIATELY.
  3. ProfessionalHobbit

    Dinner 2018

    1/2 kg ground pork 1/4 kg ground beef* 30 g freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese 60 g dried breadcrumbs 120 ml milk 1 large egg 1 heaping tbsp. finely chopped Italian parsley salt black pepper *I used ground chuck as opposed to sirloin. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. You might have to use your hands. Shape mixture into meatballs using a teaspoon. Place meatballs on a foil- and parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake meatballs for 30 minutes at 175 C. Don't forget to turn them over with a fork at least once during this time to ensure even browning. For the sauce: 1 heaping tbsp. lard 2 crushed garlic cloves 800 g crushed tomatoes salt black pepper a couple of sprigs of Italian parsley Melt lard over medium heat. Add garlic cloves. Brown garlic until it smells aromatic, then lift out with a slotted spoon and discard. Add tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Add parsley. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add meatballs. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Partly cover, then braise for 45 minutes. Serve as is or with pasta. We prefer them without pasta - they are a meal unto themselves. PS. If my cooking has changed in 2018, it's probably been a gradual shift to metric measurements.
  4. ProfessionalHobbit

    Dinner 2018

    1 kg beef 1.5 kg onions, finely chopped 1 carrot, finely chopped 2 celery stalks, finely chopped 100 g pancetta, diced pinot grigio 4 tbsp. olive oil 1 tbsp. lard Melt lard, warm olive oil, sauté vegetables in fats over medium-low heat. Season with salt and black pepper. Then add wine and beef. Ordinarily la genovese is made with a single cut of beef but you can use stew meat as pictured here. It will still taste good. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and cover. Braise for three hours. Stir every so often and add more liquid - either water or wine as you prefer - if needed. I didn't have to but your experience may be different. After three hours, you'll end up with something like this. If you used a single cut of beef, you can take out the beef and serve that as a separate course. Or shred it and add back to the pot. The onion sauce is served with pasta... ...and since I didn't feel like extra work, elected to toss that with some cooked ziti and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
  5. ProfessionalHobbit

    [SF] Benu

    Some nice wines there. I'm not usually a fan of red wine, and I *LOVED* the Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Earthy, gamy with hints of black pepper and cherry.
  6. ProfessionalHobbit

    [SF] Benu

    So we went to Benu for my birthday dinner. There's going to be a lot of pictures - so if you're snacking while eGulleting, you're in for a treat. Thousand year old quail egg, cabbage juice, ginger. Top - pork belly, oyster and kimchi shooter Bottom - marinated mussel, root vegetables Shrimp tempura, jellyfish, seaweed Not my favorite "bite" of the evening but at least it was interesting. I remarked to B "think bacon wrapped shrimp but weirder". Blood sausage, sweet rice, squid ink, shiso. Ginkgo flour "tortilla", matsutake mushroom, pine needles, 10 year old aged pine syrup. This really showcased the mushrooms well although I could have done without the pine syrup. Chicken wing stuffed with abalone and abalone liver mousse. "Shark fin" soup - Dungeness crab, ham, egg white and black truffles. Butter with orange blossom honey and ginseng. Not shown are some sprouted grain rolls. Xiao long bao with lobster coral, house-made soy sauce, vinegar. We drank a Sancerre to go along with these dishes. Monkfish liver steamed in rice wine, with toasted seaweed and chili. Sea urchin marinated in fermented crab sauce, with thinly sliced celtuce. Caviar with hand-pressed sesame oil, sesame leaf and daikon. Steamed Japonica rice. I don't remember what the green dust was. A friend thinks it's powdered scallion. Barbecued quail from Wolfe Ranch. B remarked that this was "the tastiest and largest quail I've ever eaten in my life". For sure. Left: Pickled crosnes and pearl onion. Right: XO sauce, house-made soy sauce. Quail liver mousse, au jus, black truffles. Black truffle steamed bun. Basically a play on Peking duck - stuff the bun with quail, top with condiments and enjoy. Grilled veal short ribs, seasoned with sesame seed, perilla seed and pine nuts. Chrysanthemum leaf and scallion salad. Asian pear and Napa cabbage kimchi. Kohlrabi kimchi. Spicy fermented bean paste with tomato, served with crudités. Short ribs. Then it was time for dessert. Omija sorbet, olive oil. Not too sweet and a perfect palate cleanser. Coconut chiffon cake, honeyed dates Sauternes. Dried persimmons; salted walnuts; sweet rice cakes. Milk pudding, salted caramel sauce, peat. If there was peat essence in the caramel sauce, I didn't taste any. This was just fine. Nice contrast of delicate gentle sweetness from the pudding versus the more intense caramel. Mint meringue wafers. Ginkgo flour cookies. "Little sweet nothings" is the perfect description. Like eating sugar-flavored air. For two people, this cost $1,030.50 not including a 20% tip. Includes wine pairings. We'll be back but I still prefer Californios. Benu 22 Hawthorne Street (Howard Street) SoMa ETA - I just remembered they added the 20% surcharge automatically. But I would have added more. Definitely.
  7. ProfessionalHobbit

    Breakfast! 2018

    You'll notice it's not an omelet or a poached egg though. That was my real point.
  8. ProfessionalHobbit

    California Farmers' Markets

    Each of these is slightly bigger than a golf ball. today: herbs, green beans, plums, peaches, zucchini, squash blossoms, mozzarella cheese, figs, sweet peppers, shishito peppers, garlic
  9. ProfessionalHobbit

    Breakfast! 2018

    This was a couple of weeks ago Roasted plums with juniper berries and gin
  10. ProfessionalHobbit

    Breakfast! 2018

    Continuing my theme of non-traditional, non-egg based breakfasts... Espresso brownies, Cognac-espresso chocolate frosting I had the three pictured with a glass of milk. The rest will be for my husband's bridge club tomorrow.
  11. ProfessionalHobbit


    How timely as we had bought some figs this past weekend, plus our farmers' markets are loaded with them Fig and sweet red pepper salad with mint and crème fraîche Dressing consists of crushed mint leaves macerated in a solution of 1:1 lemon juice and white wine vinegar, into which was whisked some crème fraîche, fruity extra-virgin olive oil, salt and black pepper.
  12. ProfessionalHobbit

    Favorite balsamic vinegars

    The bottle above came with a dropper which I had totally ignored until B pointed it out. I'm at work right now, so will update this post with a pic when I get home.
  13. ProfessionalHobbit

    Breakfast! 2018

    Blueberry galette, rosemary crust. Served with crème fraîche.
  14. ProfessionalHobbit

    Favorite balsamic vinegars

    We managed to score a bottle. Well worth the expense and wait - a teaspoonful of complexity is the best way to describe the taste. Sweet-sharp with notes of oak, black pepper and vanilla. It lingers on your tongue for a few hours.
  15. ProfessionalHobbit

    Dinner 2018

    Pappardelle with Tuscan duck ragu