It was stinking hot today, and drippingly humid, but a front finally passed through with a lovely drop in temperature and some sheeting rain chased by much flashing and booming of the sky. And, as if by some miracle, the power didn’t go out, so I get to tell you what we had for dinner. In heat such as this, thoughts of the stove can of course cause suicidal ideations in even the most devoted cook, so I sussed out something virtually raw that nonetheless provided enough protein (and quantity) to make a satisfying meal. The only problem was that I thought of it at ten this morning, so I was tortured all day by visions of cool, crunchy summer rolls and thick, spicy sauce.
Month: May 2012
I had been planning to make this for days, but never managed to get the ground turkey. Eventually I did, and these shu mai were the happy result. Normally I make them with shrimp and/or scallops, but for whatever reason I wanted turkey. I have learned to listen to my desires, for they are often smarter than I am.
It’s been alternately sunny and rainy lately, with a few straight days of each before it changes again. Spring has been pretty perfect so far, though I’m behind on the garden, but that’s pretty much a given. On nice days, we eat lighter food outside on the porch, and on cooler rainy days I try to make heartier things and we eat them inside. At least in theory; this meal was on the substantial side but the day was as nice as they come. Go figure. In any case, it highlights a technique that I don’t see talked about so much, but which makes for a superlative chicken in very little time.
Lamb is probably the meat that loves seasoning the most. Because it’s so assertive, with that lovely gamy richness, it can take some serious spice without being buried under it. And it matches so well with such a wide variety of strong flavors, from garlic and rosemary to preserved lemon and harissa to feta and black olives (and so many more). What I try to do when I cook it is season the meat a particular way and then use one or more complementary flavors in the accompaniments. It’s good fun to play around with different delivery systems and combinations ranging from formal and fancy to fast and dirty, and I never get tired of cooking and eating it. This application fell emphatically in the latter category, but was no less pleasurable for its informality. There’s not much better than a couple of lamb sliders after a long day spent not eating lamb sliders.
It’s always interesting how the addition or subtraction of a couple of flavors can radically alter the character of a dish. In this case, what could easily have been a fine bowl of rigatoni alle vongole instead became, with a bit of modification, a superlative Spanish treat.
This was a simple one, but made exceptionally flavorful by a couple of small steps.…
One of the happier recent developments in retail around here has been the inclusion of local, grass-fed beef in the offerings of a proximate but otherwise lackluster market. The selection is usually limited to a few sirloins and rib eyes, but those happy few vastly exceed the earlier number of zero; I used to have to drive 20 minutes to get any good meat, which necessitated stocking up the freezer on infrequent trips. Now, when the freezer is getting low, I can just swing by and pick something up for dinner without having to plan ahead or make a special trip. What a concept, right?
A lot of my posts are just descriptions of a single meal, which is a logical format for a blog, especially if one is diligent enough to document them regularly. Ahem. Moving on. I thought that this time around I’d show a little more about how unlike my actual approach to cooking the concept of an isolated, free-standing meal really is.