March & April 2016, in food

Belated post… this is becoming a habit! I decided to roll two months into one post in part because I didn’t cook many things in March that were worth nothing.

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fish tacos
restaurant: slopeside grill 
notes: Slopeside Grill is a restaurant literally on the slopes at Steamboat. Fish tacos were decent, and certainly very tasty after skiing for several hours.

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salmon and sweet potato hash with poached eggs
recipe: made up
notes: Really good! I like using salmon as a protein in my hashes. A very nice and filling breakfast to fuel a 40 mile ride.

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banchan, grilled octopus, and a noodle dish 
restaurant: domo
notes: So… I’d been really excited to try Domo for a while, but was just a little let down by it all. The banchan was great, the grilled octopus appetizer was very nice, but I think I chose the wrong entree. 😦 I got a “farm-style” stew which I thought had noodles in it, but it didn’t… and I just thought it was be richer and more satisfying in taste. I love Japanese food because of how “clean” it tastes, but this was just a little too clean and brothy! I’d consider going back, but am not in a rush to do so and would definitely order something else next time.

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cinnamon almond olive oil cake
recipe: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/cinnamon-almond-olive-oil-cake
notes: I mostly made this recipe because I wanted to make a cake and I happened to have all the ingredients on hand. Not bad, but nothing spectacular — life’s too short to make this one again.

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breakfast waffle with poached eggs and pesto 

recipe: none
notes: I really wanted to try eating a savory waffle and I had some leftover pesto sauce, so… boom! I think I like savory waffles more than sweet, but they take a bit more time to prep and create more cleanup afterwards, so I’ll probably mostly stick to sweet waffles.

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coconut cream pie and thunderberry pie

restaurant: thunderbird restaurant
notes: While driving towards Zion, we saw a lot of signs for the Thunderbird restaurant that proudly proclaimed that they were “home of the ho-made pies!” It was just too fun of a sign to resist, and after a few days of eating camp food, we went out for dinner to the Thunderbird on our last night in Utah. The food was… okay. I got a southwestern chicken salad and it tasted like it was pulled straight from the fridge. The pies were a lot better — thunderberry was particularly good (it was a mix of several different types of berries). The coconut cream pie tasted a little too much of artificial coconut extract, but it was still pretty nice.

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pureed pigeon peas with chiles and mustard seeds (kadaghu toram paruppu)
recipe: 660 Curries
notes: I was inspired to start making recipes from my 660 Curries cookbook again, after a long hiatus. I had a bag of pigeon peas and wanted to try them out… this particular recipe was pretty good, though a little basic. I’d make it again if I wanted a dal and didn’t have the ingredients to make anything else.

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chicken with red chiles and coconut milk (thenga paal kozhi)
recipe: 660 Curries
notes: THIS CHICKEN WAS SO GOOD. Everything about it was absolutely perfect. I used 3 pounds of chicken breasts instead of a whole 3 pound chicken cut into parts because a) chicken breasts were on sale, b) they cook a lot quicker, and c) you don’t have to pick out bones. I refer to this recipe as “vinegar chicken” because you marinade the chicken in a sauce that has a significant amount of vinegar, which makes your nose hairs curl a little… but it cooks off to a wonderful sauce. 10/10 would make again.

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triple chocolate mousse cake
recipe: Cook’s Illustrated booklet
notes: I got the Cook’s Illustrated “Best Desserts” booklet as a present in 2015, and it remains one of my most treasured cookbooks. I’ve been wanting to make this chocolate mousse dessert for a while, but wanted to save it for an “occasion” because I don’t like to make desserts so heavy with cream and butter for just myself. One of my coworkers had a weekend birthday celebration so I made this cake to bring for the festivities. It was very, very rich and very, very chocolatey! The white chocolate mousse layer was surprisingly my favorite. Next time… I might make it in a slightly taller springform pan if I can find one, but there’s not much else I’d change about it. It was really hard to get a good picture of the cake — depicted is the last remaining slice in the pan.

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coconut chicken with mustard seed (thenga kozhi) 
recipe: 660 Curries
notes: Not quite as good as the chicken recipe I made earlier, but that chicken recipe is hard to live up to! The sauce for this one was still quite addictively good. Would make again.

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coconut vanilla ice cream with an oatmeal praline crunch and fudge sauce
recipe: Serious Eats & The Perfect Scoop
notes: The Serious Eats recipe is one I’ve wanted to try for a while — unfortunately, I’m not sure if it is a good recipe because my ice cream container was not fully frozen when I started churning so the ice cream base never really froze. I poured it into a container, sprinkled it with the oatmeal praline (from The Perfect Scoop) and stuck it in the freezer anyway, hoping it would still come together. It ended up freezing, though the texture wasn’t great. The fudge sauce was originally intended as a “fudge ripple” through the ice cream, but I wasn’t able to make that happen with the unfrozen base, so I just drizzled it on top instead as a garnish. Still pretty good — I enjoyed it!

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ginger coconut ice cream 
recipe: adapted from The Perfect Scoop (http://andmykitchensink.com/ginger-coconut-milk-ice-cream/)
notes: Instead of using cream/heavy cream/half and half in the “fresh ginger ice cream” in The Perfect Scoop, I followed the recipe link and used coconut milk/cream instead. I also used honey instead of sugar. I was planning to make a sesame honey brittle to mix into the ice cream, but got lazy and never got around to it. I thought this was pretty nice — definitely very gingery. Something about it tasted a little “unfinished”… like it was the beginning of a savory coconut curry dish, and like it was missing something else. I would make again but put in mix-ins… I think that the mix-ins would make it taste more like a true ice cream dessert.

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fragrant ginger shrimp and shallots and curry leaves
recipe: 660 Curries
notes: 660 Curries does it again! I was worried as I was making this sauce that it would taste a little skimpy in flavor, but as it cooked, all the flavors came together. I served this over vermicelli noodles, though honestly it would have been better over rice since the sauce wasn’t very thick and didn’t cling well to the noodles. I did double the amount of ingredients for the sauce because I’ve found sometimes that the recipes in 660 Curries don’t yield a ton of sauce, and I love saucy dishes!

The only thing that would keep me from making this again is the very long and arduous process of peeling and deveining shrimp. Some of my shrimp had the most disgusting, slimy, swollen intestines ever! Apparently it isn’t imperative that you devein shrimp, but I get a little grossed out by the thought of eating shrimp poop chutes, so I do. Now I finally understand why peeled and deveined shrimp are as expensive as they are.

 

 

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