Monday, May 26, 2008

It gets cold here (in May!). Then, we roast things.

But. first, another quick trip to NOLA*...

Southern Strawberries Juleps!

- crushed ice

- strawberry pureƩ
- Southern Bourbon, like Knob Creek
- simply syrup
- mint

Juleps are deceptively simple: Muddle mint (but not too much), a few strawberry slices and tsp sugar, 2 tsp still water. Add a handful of crushed ice, strawberry pureƩ, simple syrup and bourbon, to taste. Cut with still water as needed. Garnish with mint and fresh strawberry slices. A smooth, sweet taste of sun-drenched Southern goodness. Positively enjoyable!


More comfort food from the chilly city by the Bay

... with Ella Bella Farm Provence Sea Salt.

The micro-climate known as the San Francisco Bay Area has many surprises like eighty-five-degree beach weekends in April while March's lions still extend their paws into Spring. Long-lines at ice cream shops in February. Cashmere, denim and Uggs in May!

When the sun disappears and the skies threaten rain, I roast chicken legs in my heavy iron skillet. Aromatics and herbs that hint at summer and spring and a simple gravy (roasted root veggies, light stock hit with an immersion blender) to warm the bones. Pan-roasting chicken is all about the sear. Start off with fresh, free-range birds and make sure to give it some good brown color before it goes into the oven.

For a more hand-held affair, smoke up the house with an indoor grill. Beef-n-Brie sliders on toasted Ciabatta bread unites local grains & artisan bakers, humanely-handled beef and French brie.

(You can even add caramelized shallot!)


So, what else do you do when the weather runs cold in the Bay Area?
Turn on the heat and cuddle up to that stack of magazines by the bed. Open up the "off-limits" bottle of Cabernet Franc, and shop for cookbooks online. You can even don your favorite pashmina and walk off (up steps, stairs and hills of SF) all that gooey brie.

Still hungry? How about another not-so-heart-healthy cold-weather snack?

Roasted Asparagus and Crimini Mushroom Dressing
with Toasted Double-Cream Gouda on Levain Bread

(Look delish? Send me a comment and I'll tell all: technique & recipe!)

*Check out my previous posts and pics from New Orleans.


Cooking with E Luv.

Monday, May 12, 2008

"Do you know what it means to Miss New Orleans?"*

Here I am again. Decatur Street.
Always my first stop in the Quarter.
Licking my white-sugar-coated-cafe-au-lait lips.
Inhaling the Mississippi at night.
It begins.

Eight years have passed since my last trip to New Orleans. My Uncle Sidney's not up in the loft at his store. That same trumpeter doesn't stand on the corner of the Square anymore.*

I can't help but wonder who's left and who's stayed (despite all the documentaries about it!). All I want is to throw money around because I can't help build houses. And, stay...

I'm eating my beignet. But, I still miss New Orleans.

*(with a nod to Jazz great Louis Armstrong.)

*(Uncle Sidney has been displaced to a condo in Gainesville; I still miss that trumpet.)