Sunday, January 21, 2007

gravlax

Gravlax

Call me a purist, but I recoil in horror whenever I’m offered anything to dress an oyster. Few things are so perfect and precious as oysters are and to add anything to a quality oyster is just plain wrong, people. As for mediocre oysters, I say why bother?

It has generally thus been with me and salmon. I know that the world is divided into salmon lovers and salmon haters (well, maybe it’s a bit more complicated than people who love or hate a fish, but humor me for a minute here). I’ve always been a fan of the fish for its sheer ability to transform a bagel from ordinary into a feast. But I’ve always felt that lox has unfairly claimed center stage to its less known, but tastier cousin – gravlax.

Nothing more illustrious than just salt-cured fish, gravlax possesses the kind of pure, clean taste a fresh oyster does. It’s delicate to the palate, unmistakably raw, caressed by a blend of sea salt and dill. Put that on a bagel and you have an exotic, celebratory breakfast. And on poached eggs with hollandaise, it’s simply breathtaking.

And the best part of all – making it is a cinch. A third-grader could do it. Someone who’ve never cooked, never mind never cooked fish could do it. All you need is a little bit of patience, for gravlax is a thing of a few days in the making, and a few ingredients.

I must admit though that while I thought my gravlax was redefining sublime, the BF tried it with trepidation, worrying that the fishy might have gone bad and I was en route to giving us both food poisoning. Thus, after having a few pieces, unable to consume a pound or raw, salt-cured fish, the whole issue was put to rest, and then eventually, to trash. Still, had I been home more to consume food, and not stuck in the office (can you see how I haven’t posted in ages?) eating take-out dinners, this salmon wouldn’t have met its maker via the trash bin route.

Continue reading gravlax.

Monday, January 8, 2007

mozarella-stuffed meatballs

Mozarella-Stuffed Meatballs

In the days leading up to me starting my new job, I was in a perpetual state of lamentation like woe is me, when will I ever find time to cook? What’s to become of my blog that I’ve maintained in my two months of leisure? What would I feed the boyfriend if I am coming home at 9 o’clock at night thinking of little besides Lean Cuisine?

In one of those particular stretches of despair, I found myself casually flipping through a Williams Sonoma catalog, wishing I could just wave a magic wand and the entire contents of the store would magically outfit my kitchen. I should be so lucky. Plus, my ant-sized kitchen can barely fit a few pots, nevermind an arsenal of cookware and cutlery. And as I was about to flip another page, regretting my budget and my limited shelf space, I spied a recipe so good, I paused to read it, and made mental note: mozzarella stuffed meatballs!! Bliss, happiness, melted cheese! Can anything be more perfect and breathtaking? And then I got distracted by a photograph of a ladle. And flipped the page.

A few hours later, after the boyfriend, flipping through the same catalog mentioned the recipe to me, my heart was set on making the meatballs. Soon, I promised him, maybe Tuesday. And sure enough he wasn’t about to let me forget. “Is it meatballs night,” he wrote Tuesday morning.

After running my pre-work errands that evening, I stopped at Bazzini to pick up the ingredients. I will tell you now, that I modified the recipe – so if you go and look up the stuffed meatballs recipe on Williams Sonoma website, you will get a slightly different version than I have here. Personally, I think mine’s a lot better, but that’s just me here. I’ll tell you what I did differently. I omitted the parsley and instead finely chopped an onion – I think it gives the meat deeper taste. Secondly, instead of beef, I opted for turkey. I figured with equal parts of veal and pork, beef would be maybe a little too rough in flavor and that turkey would give it a gentler taste, not to mention make it a tad healthier. So those have been my changes. I stand by them and think you ought to make your stuffed meatballs my way.

Meatballs with Mozarella

But then again, you have the right to have those balls any way you like.*

*The author is in no way, shape or form suggesting anything lewd and is shocked and appalled that your mind would even go there. ;-)

Continue reading mozarella-stuffed meatballs.