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Everything posted by ProfessionalHobbit

  1. Insalata di pomodorini e mozzarella con salsa verde Clockwise from top right: vegetables roasted in chicken fat, Romano beans braised in San Marzano tomatoes, BBQ sparerib and cranberry bean hash
  2. We had dinner at one of our favorite izayakas in San Francisco. Liver yakitori, okra yakitori. At lower left, foreground is a lump of roasted garlic. At right is some shichi-mi tōgarashi. Hotate no sashimi -- scallop sashimi, with lime, shiso and daikon radish. Yosedofu -- house-made silken tofu with Meiji soy milk, scallion, bonito, ginger and ume shoyu. Nijimasu no shioyaki -- whole salt-grilled rainbow trout wrapped in a fig leaf, served with lemon and grated daikon. Not shown is a bowl of Japanese rice. The best part is the head, especially the cheeks and eyes. Kamo menchi katsu -- Minced duck croquette, sweet onion katsu, snowy cabbage and radish, hot mustard. '' Natto don -- rice, natto, umeboshi and hot mustard. Not shown is a plate of toasted nori. Izakaya Rintaro 82 14th Street (Folsom Street) SoMa
  3. I had it recently, and it's made very differently at the restaurant I have in mind compared to others. No broccoli, the chicken itself wasn't as deep-fried as in other versions and it was spicier and less sweet. Thanks liuzhou; I used to speak Mandarin Chinese when I was a kid but that got left at the wayside when I came to the U.S. We had roast chicken for dinner. One chicken, rubbed with a 1:1 mixture of salt and black pepper, then trussed and placed on a rack atop diced potatoes, celery and carrots that were similarly seasoned and dressed in 2 tbsp. olive oil, then roasted at 450 F for 1 hour, 20 minutes. Came out juicy, tender and with tissue paper-thin skin. It was awesome.
  4. Leftover penne with tonno sott'olio and tomato sauce, and leftover zucchini and basil soup. And I began prep for tonight's dinner: The chicken was seasoned with a 1:1 mixture of kosher salt and black pepper, inside and out, then trussed and set atop a rack. Coarsely diced Yukon Gold potatoes, carrots and celery underneath that were similarly seasoned and dressed with olive oil. The chicken will eventually roast at 450 for 1 hour, 20 minutes, after which a pan gravy will be made with some thyme and summer savory mixed in. to be continued...
  5. Exactly. Also, chacun à son goût as that saying goes.
  6. Insalata di tonno e fagioli mirtillo rosso, adapted from "Mastering the Art of Italian Cuisine", pages 286-287. Original recipe uses cannellini beans. This version has some tonno sott'olio from last weekend's effort, plus some cooked cranberry beans instead of the cannellini beans. The red onion was blanched for 1 minute in ice water to eliminate any "bite". This is really simple and takes about 10 minutes to prep.
  7. I'm really beginning to think that San Francisco is a city full of mediocre restaurants, and that the number of places that are good to great are not as numerous as the culinary cognoscenti would have us believe. We had heard that Blue Plate was an "underrated" restaurant and worth checking out. Well, we threw away $80 tonight and learned our lesson. We arrived 20 minutes early and were ignored by the FOH for the first 10 minutes while they flitted around attending to other things. The "waiting area" was 5' x 6' and served not only as the restaurant's vestibule but the place where the host's/hostess' cash register/payment center/table management software was located. And there was one other party along with us who had to make do in that limited space while several parties exited the establishment, and while staff carried plates of food to waiting tables. Basically a disaster from the word "go". Bibb lettuce salad with tahini vinaigrette, strawberries, avocado, pumpkin seeds and dukka spices. B pronounced this combination as "unworkable". Monterey Bay squid with charred eggplant, treviso radicchio, chicken skin, harissa and nepitella. The harissa overwhelmed all other elements to the point that it was a one-note dish. Horrible execution and plating. Oyster mushroom casarecce with smoked chicken, with preserved lemon, fines herbes, baby leeks, summer truffles and pecorino. This was probably the best thing we ate tonight...and that's saying something. By the way, B left half of his plate untouched. Grilled escarole with linguiça sausage, balsamic vinegar and burnt orange. This might have been fine were it not swimming in grease. Tri-tip steak with blistered peppers, charred cauliflower mash, burnt onion relish, house-made steak sauce. Someone in the kitchen has a free hand with the salt shaker. Also I get it..."ash" is on trend for 2016 but can we please knock it off with the gimmicks already? The steak itself was fine, the accompaniments were trying too hard. We skipped dessert, paid the check and split. Blue Plate 3218 Mission Street (29th Street) Outer Mission
  8. You and I live in the SF Bay Area which has a culture that can only be described as "food-centric". There are lots of folks all over the country that aren't as lucky. Count your blessings.
  9. They're typical of pasta from historically poorer regions of Italy such as the south. Notice the lack of eggs and dairy in the version I made. I'm thinking primarily of Puglia and Basilicata.
  10. If you make the cavatelli rounder and smaller, you basically end up with orecchiette. We don't have a pasta machine, instead preferring to make the shapes by hand.
  11. One of the traditional preps is cavatelli con broccoli e salsicce ("cavatelli with broccoli and sausage"). I'll do that occasionally, instead preferring cavatelli con cavolfiore ("cavatelli with cauliflower") or cavatelli con cime di rapa ("with broccoli rabe"). The technique is pretty much the same. It's not really a sauce like carbonara or bolognese, so much as it is pasta with vegetables and sometimes meat with a base of olive oil and a battuto/soffrito of onion or garlic and herbs..
  12. That recipe is probably in the Zuni Cafe cookbook -- will have to check it out soon. Thanks for bringing this up.
  13. And now for something a little bit different... 1 1/2 cups AP flour in a food processor. Pulse for 5 seconds to aerate the flour. Slowly add 1 cup VERY COLD water with the motor running on low. The dough will eventually cohere into a ball. Turn out onto a floured surface. Knead a few times. Flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1/2 hour before using. Remove dough from refrigerator and slice off a small section, about 1-inch wide, then slice that in half. Roll both pieces against a lightly floured wooden surface to form tubes slightly skinnier than your pinkie. Cut tubes into segments as long as your thumb is wide. To begin shaping cavatelli, stick your right thumb up and then turn hand so thumb is pointing left. Maintaining even pressure, use thumb to push a piece of dough forward and up, like an airplane taking off. The dough should spring up and form around the curve of your thumb. Use a bench scraper or knife to transfer cavatelli to a baking sheet covered in parchment paper and sprinkled with flour, making sure no pieces of pasta touch. Continue until all dough is used. \ If you're wondering why there are multiple photos that don't look the same, that's because I'm showing you pix from two different occasions when I made cavatelli. It's not something I do often enough which needs to change. Unfortunately now that I'm in my mid-40s, I don't eat pasta as often as I used to. But when I do, this is one of my favorite shapes to make. The amount of cavatelli shown above in the first and third pix is about 3/4 of the total amount of pasta dough I made for that batch. Let pasta dry slightly, 30-45 minutes. Laying them atop a sheet of parchment paper will ensure they don’t stick to the surface they’re resting on.
  14. I used to live in one of those teeny tiny apartments in Manhattan with hobbit-sized kitchens with nonexistent counter space, and managed to turn out multi-course dinners multiple times a week for years. It's just a matter of being organized and adapting. BTW, there's a place where those kitchens exist en masse and whose citizens have endured their living conditions for years long before the advent of meal kits. It's called "Japan".
  15. The prices seem to be in line with what Blue Apron offers. Not a fan of the concept either.
  16. You may recall that I blogged about making homemade tonno sott'olio (tuna marinated in olive oil) over the weekend. I don't remember which thread it was but if you search on one of the meal threads, there's a post about it. Here is one of the jars two days later. Clockwise from left: 2 cups flaked marinated ahi tuna; 1/2 cup marinating oil; 1/4 cup capers; 1 28-oz. can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes; 1 onion, diced; pinch of crushed red pepper flakes; 1/2 tsp. dried oregano; 1/4 cup minced Italian parsley. Not shown is a pot full of boiling pasta. The reason why I made homemade tonno sott'olio isn't because of the fish but because of the oil. That's the secret ingredient. We'll be using the marinating oil to form the base of the sauce and as a final garnish. Let's get to it. You can use regular Italian canned tuna but it just won't be the same, mostly because you won't have all of that extra oil to play around with. Warm 1/4 cup marinating oil in a skillet, add onion and a pinch of salt. Cook for 1-2 minutes over medium-high heat. Clear a space in the pan, then add the capers and toast for 1 minute. Stir capers into onion and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add tuna, dried oregano and a pinch of salt. Sauté tuna for a few minutes while it lightly caramelizes. Clear a spot in the pan and add the crushed red pepper flakes. Toast for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then stir into tuna. Lidia [Bastianich] uses this technique frequently in her cookbooks, I've noticed. Add tomatoes to pan. Crush tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon. Fill can with 1-2 ladlefuls pasta cooking water and add to the pan of sauce. Add 2 tbsp. marinating oil to the pan of sauce. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes while you finish cooking your pasta. Ideally, prepare this sauce as your pasta cooks. It only takes 15 minutes from start to finish. When pasta is done, drain, then add to the pan of sauce. Remove pan from heat, then stir in chopped parsley. Mix well. Drizzle 2 tbsp. marinating oil into pasta, then toss again. Serve immediately. Penne con tonno sott'olio e pomodoro, from "Lidia's Family Table" by Lidia Bastianich, pages 14-15. We served that along with zucchini and basil soup (recipe: http://www.elizabethminchilliinrome.com/2013/07/zucchini-basil-soup/ ), and peaches for dessert.
  17. Ashen -- On Facebook, someone in a group devoted to Italian cooking just mentioned that her nonna makes polpette by dropping them directly into a pot of simmering tomato sauce. She skips the frying step...and now I am intrigued. It's too soon to make meatballs since we just had them last weekend. This is on my "to-do" list sometime in the next month.
  18. I became vegetable-focused as a reaction to the financial crisis of 2008. My income took a direct hit, so it was a challenge to make meals interesting since animal protein was also quite expensive at the time. That's when my interest in Italian food exploded.
  19. For lunch today: Crab Louis, with shrimp and blue cheese dressing. Fried calamari with cocktail sauce and spicy aioli. These were expertly fried and greaseless. Perfection. Steamed mussels with garlic and white wine, served with garlic bread. Lobster roll, with a side of summer squash and coleslaw. Woodhouse Fish Company 2073 Market Street (14th Street) The Castro San Francisco
  20. Hi kayb -- Any kind of fresh tuna should work. I imagine it could also work with frozen tuna but I don't know whether the flavor would be impacted. She doesn't specify ahi tuna in her recipe, but I'm sure it will be fine. Dried bay leaves should also work. We have access to an abundance of fresh bay leaves so that's what I used. Italian food has always been an interest of mine, as well as Italian culture and the language. It's interesting that you thought I was a vegan or vegetarian --- I've never been one even though I ate a mostly meatless diet for several years. La cucina Italiana lends itself very well to someone who may be a vegan or vegetarian, or someone who is "vegetable-focused" as I was for a time.
  21. We had leftovers last night, plus there was also this: Homemade tonno sott'olio (marinated tuna in olive oil). 2 lbs. ahi tuna, 1 cup white vinegar, 6 fresh bay leaves, 2 tsp. kosher salt, and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat so that the liquid is a gentle simmer. Partly cover. Simmer for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the fish goes through to the other side with little or no resistance. Discard poaching liquid.Lay tuna on a rack and air-dry for 2+ hours. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp. salt on tuna. Blot the bay leaves dry and air-dry as well.Turn over the tuna after one hour. Immerse the tuna in a bowl of olive oil, making sure that the tuna is well-coated. Pack the tuna in sterilized jars along with the bay leaves and 1 tsp. black peppercorns. Cover with olive oil, then remove air bubbles by (1) letting the jars sit undisturbed for at least 15 minutes, and (2) tapping the sides of the jar with a knife or spoon so that any air bubbles rise to the surface. Refrigerate for at least two days, after which time the tuna is ready to eat. From "Lidia's Family Table" by Lidia Bastianich, pages 10-11. We'll be having this later in the week, but I wanted to show you the process first.
  22. Ashen -- it's 14 oz. ground beef and 7 oz. ground pork. The tomatoes were a can of crushed San Marzano tomatoes, 1 garlic clove and some basil. Salt, pepper.
  23. Caesar's salad. Polpette al sugo.
  24. today: tuna, tomatoes, herbs (fresh bay leaves, mint, basil), peaches, pluots, Swiss chard, broccoli, zucchini, onion, eggs, bread.
  25. Swiss chard with garlic and moscato vinegar Cranberry beans with guanciale, salsa verde and tomato
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