Thursday, February 16, 2012

First date and revisions of old favorites

I've included the revised mac and cheese, our first date by ourselves without Atticus and a couple photos of the little man and a video too!

Mac and cheese (revised)
I did re-do a version of mac and cheese (previously posted as elbows I think), and because Erin is trying to replicate things much more these days, I'm going to be more explicit about the process. The first post went something like: make sauce, pour sauce over maccaroni and then bake.
- Melt 1/2 cup butter in pot (big) over medium heat
-Stir in 2 tablespoons mustard seen, 1 teaspoon cumin and 1 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste) as butter is melting

- Stir in 1/2 cup flour and mix for about 1-2 minutes on low heat
- add 4 cups of milk and bring to boil, then keep on simmer while adding 2 cups grated cheese
- Sauce is done!
- Add sauce to cooked pasta (according to package but definitely underdone by 1-2 minutes)
- Mix in any veggies (uncooked broccoli chunks for example) with the pasta and the sauce in a giant bowl
- Pour into baking dish (leaving room for boiling over) and then top with some breadcrumbs if desired and another 1 cup of grated cheese (I like mix of blue and cheddar/parmigiano).
- Bake at 375 for about 30mins

Brunch at Alias:
After brunch, a picture of the boy (we didn't make him wait in the car the whole time):
His parents are notably both delighted at the time the photo was taken as well. They had just had a delectable brunch with two good friends on the lower east side - where Erin had both an ABLT (avocado) and a side of biscuits (with gravy) - it's good to be breastfeeding sometimes. I had a brisket breakfast burrito that was divine with good salsa and a couple spoonfuls of gravy at the end.

Here's also a video of the little dude in the morning (I'm getting ready for work) - he's his most active and happy self in the morning (his mother's chromosomes).

Pretty quiet place on the upper east side - one of the Jean Georges empire. They had a special for restaurant week so we went... it does feel like an apartment when you go in; the service was top notch, polite but engaging. We felt like two kids out on the loose too - I'm sure there was delight written all over our faces.
Started with a bourbon-chili-passion cocktail for me and Erin with a spiced ginger mixer.
The appetizers were impressive: shrimp with a mango-ish puree and roast pumpkin seeds and a goat cheese fondue with endive and roasted walnuts for dipping that was just perfect.
Dinner: Chicken roasted with orange, olives, ginger and coriander and salmon with a truffel-potato puree! 
Dessert: Basil ice cream with a chocolate cake

Man that was good. Something to aim for... I may well try the shrimp and the roast chicken is something I think we could improve on at home too!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Texas food and smiles

Ahh smiles. Finally! In the near future, I will commit to not posting endless photos of our son on the blog and revert to a truly food-themed site (and he is only still drinking breast milk).

This past week we tried a menu from the Homesick Texan cookbook that we got for Christmas. Had some good favorites as well with grilled sausage, sesame broccoli, fried catfish and others rounding out the week but here was the Texas meal:

Grilled Flank Steak with Fried Okra, Texas Caviar and Homemade Biscuits
Here is my recapitulation of the details:
The grilled flank steak is my own recipe - 1 jalapeno, some cilantro, 3 limes, cumin and garlic all go into the marinade and letting it rest for >2hrs is key. The spice cooks off but the cumin, garlic and lime flavor brings out the meat really well I think.
Texas Caviar is a new favorite - basically named because of the appearance of the main ingredient, black-eyed peas. Mix a couple cans of them with some tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, green onion and some spices (cumin for one).
The fried okra was good but a lot of effort for just an ok outcome. Basic breading process but with a twist at the end that was brilliant - roll them in crushed Saltines just before adding to oil - gives a nice crunch.
The biscuits were a flop - edible for sure, but not the fluffy, delicious melt in your mouth taste I was going for. I beat them with a rolling pin and flipped and flipped the dough... next time. This is definitely something that I would like to perfect...