Last night I made fish. Which is something I rarely get to do. Jennifer rarely eats fish. I had some frozen flounder filets in my freezer that needed to be cooked because I was tired of moving them around to get to other stuff.
I started by using my Pyrex loaf pan for this. To that, I added ½ cup of wine and ½ cup of water. Then I added 4 flounder filets and 4 tablespoons of butter and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice. I added a pinch of black pepper. Next time I will use white pepper because, I dont like to see the black specks. I then put it in a hot oven (400 degrees). The tricky part was waiting for it to start cooking. Again, next time I will heat the pouching liquid up bringing to a simmer first in a saucepot then pour it over the fish and then place it in the oven.
I made Basmati rice while I was waiting and drank some of the wine. I should have used a Chardonnay wine but had none on hand so I substituted Pinot Grigio. I don’t think I could tell in the end but someone else might.
When the fish was done I removed the pouching liquid to a pan and reduced it down so there was only about a ¼ cup left. I made a Hollandaise sauce next but instead of the lemon juice; I used the reduced pouching liquid.
I meted butter into the rice and placed it on the plate. On top of the rice, I placed the pouched fish filet. Then I poured the sauce over the top and served it with a glass of the pinot I used to cook the fish. I was too lazy to make a vegetable. Asparagus would have been my choice.
Good Morning. I have my coffee and my sanity so we are moving in the right direction. Today I think I will search out a new farmers markets for some vegetables and fresh apples.
Update: It is day 22 of the friendship bread original starter. I did a live baking demo on Instagram of this batch. I am posting some pictures (above) of the second batch. Jennifer wanted smaller loaves to take to her class. Three more lucky people will get a crack at this amazing breakfast treat, or is it dessert. If you make it let me know when you eat it and how or when you eat it.
I also went out to eat twice this weekend. Well once we went out and once we brought food in. On Friday, Scott, Ally, Jennifer and I went to the Babylon Carriage House. Babylon is the name of a town here on Long Island. It always creeps me out to be in a town named after a place in the bible. I don’t know why. It just does. Anyway, we started with the autumn salad pictured below. It was, what’s the word, yum-a-riffic. I will be recreating this salad next week at home in my kitchen.
Talking about salad dressing. I have to make several versions of Greek salad dressing. I will being trying to create a new tasty salad dressing. There are after-all hundreds, maybe thousands, of Greek Salad Dressing recipes out there. Some good and some not so good. I am bored with the salad dressings I currently make so it is time for something new. My ingredient list will be: oil-packed anchovy fillets, garlic, egg yolks, Dijon mustard, freshly squeezed lemon (or lime) juice, extra virgin olive oil, canola oil, Parmesan cheese or feta cheese, freshly ground black pepper (or white pepper), salt and maybe some fresh herbs…Cilantro or parsley or watercress. Who knows what I will make but that’s cooking isn’t it? You experiment or make a mistake and *poof* you have something new.
We went to one other restaurant this weekend. It was an Italian restaurant I used to love but the last two times it let me down by over cooking the pasta. That would be bad enough by itself but when said pasta is the main entrée, as in Fettuccine Alfred, it is unforgivable. This was the case BOTH times. Why do I order out anyhow? I’ll tell you. It’s because sometimes I just don’t feel like cooking but if you can’t find a restaurant that can cook as good as you it’s disappointing. At least there is still the Carriage house who has an amazing chef. There is also Emilio’s in Commack. They CAN cook Italian food properly. I will keep going there for now!!
I also had a steak at the Carriage House and Scout brought with him a marvelous wine.
Breakfast today was simple, a cheese omelet, hash browns and toast with butter.
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday. May it be filled with good wine, good food, good friends and good health to you and your family!
Begin by making the Balsamic Vignette. The recipe can be found by clicking the link above.
Wash and destem the spinach before placing it on 6 salad plates. Wash and coarsely chop 1 romaine lettuce heart. Place lettuce on spinach. Peel and deseed one large cucumber. Dice the cucumber and place on the salads. Sprinkle on some chopped candied pecans.
Fry the shrimp tempura. Cut it into thirds discarding the tail. Evenly distribute the shrimp on top of the 6 salads. Garnish with cold mandarin orange segments.
Serve with Mandarin Balsamic Vignette on the side.
Wash and dry the scallops well. Season with paprika, onion powder, salt and pepper on both sides. In a large pan heat 1 tablespoons of olive oil very hot. Using tongs place each scallop into the pan. Do not move and let cook for two minutes to developed a nice seared crust. After two minutes flip over the scallops using tongs and spatula if necessary. Fry an additional two minutes on the other side. Remove the pan from the heat. Deglaze with a splash of white wine (Chardonnay) if you have it. Add butter and garlic to the pan and whisk into the wine getting all the good brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Drizzle your butter/garlic sauce over the scallops. Serve with lemons wedges.
NOTES: Try serving on beet couscous and with steamed asparagus as a vegetable.
This has been a long and delightful weekend, for the most part. The down side is Jennifer is still in pain. We did have company come over on Saturday night. I proceeded to make a repeat of the Valentines dinner I made back in February. At Jenifer’s suggestion, we purchased lobster tails to go with the steak I was already planning on preparing. After I cooked the tails, I was disappointed in their size at $30.00 a pound. They were tiny after they were cooked. Maybe two bites. Next time I will go somewhere other than Costco to buy them. In February, they was much bigger and a better deal. Live and learn.
The main meal was of course the steak. They were sirloin steaks and 2 inches thick. Because my mother in-law does not like seasoning on her steak I purchased her a separate small porterhouse steak. It was about an inch and a quarter to an inch and a half thick. The vegetable I served was creamed spinach. I cheated as it was not from scratch but frozen. The starch was small red and white potatoes. The plan was to microwave them for a bit and then throw them on the grill to finish cooking them and brown them a bit.
I started by washing and precooking the potatoes in the microwave. To accomplish this I placed the potatoes in a microwave safe glass bowl with a ½ inch of water at the bottom. I covered the bowl with plastic wrap so they wound steam and cut a ½ inch slit into the plastic so some of steam could escape. I microwaved them for about ten minutes, just until they got soft. I checked on them every 5 minutes to see how done they were. I then let them sit coved in the bowl while I barbequed the steaks. The potatoes would continue to soften in the still covered bowl.
I seasoned the sirloin steaks with onion powder, garlic powder, coarse salt and fresh cracked pepper. Then placed them on a hot grill. My mother in-laws likes her steak rare, so hers waited in the wings as it would cook faster then the ticker sirloin. I wanted ours to be medium rare and was a bit thicker so I started with the sirloin first. When it was ¾ of the way done I put on my mother in-laws. Mmmm yumm meat on the barbeque. I was so ready to eat. I ran into the house to get the potatoes. When I returned to the steaks the barbeque gas tank would run out of gas just as I opened the lid. No worries I thought. I have one more filled tank handy. I attached the second tank of gas and turned on the knob. Immediately I heard gas seeping out around the connector. I checked the connection and tried again. This time many curse words flew from my mouth. Thinking quickly I ran the potatoes back into the house and threw a cast-iron pan onto the stove and heated up. Lucky for me the sirloin steaks was almost done. I left them in the grill to keep warm and rest and threw my mother in-laws half-cooked steak into the now hot frying pan.
I switched gears now back to the potatoes. I put them back into the microwave but first added butter and seasoning before recovering them up. I microwave them only five more minutes so they were now done. Next, I began heating up the creamed spinach. I retrieved the sirloin from the grill and it was ready to slice having rested nicely in the less then warm grill. I plated my mother in-laws rare steak right from the pan to her plate. By the time the steaks all hit the table the spinach was ready and I served it right alongside the potatoes. The sirloin steak was served sliced and perfectly medium rare.
Scott of course bought two bottles of wine with them. The first bottle of wine was a white wine and he served that as I bought out the steamed lobster tails to the table. The white wine was a Chardonnay and was fabulous. I had made some drawn butter that I put in small bowls to go with the lobster tails. It was an excessive amount of butter for these tiny tails. The lobster was good tasting despite their small size and the wine was perfect. I guess size isn’t everything.
I called my mother in-law over to join us at the table when the steaks were served (she does not eat lobster). We all kept the extra butter from the tails in front of us and used it for the steak. That is when Scott opened the second bottle of wine. It was a red wine from Brian Arden, a Cabernet Franc from Napa Valley. I really need to go to California with them next year. It sounds like they have so much fun touring the wineries. The wine went perfectly with the steak. Even the potatoes turned out to be good but I was disappointed I could not grill them. They just look more appetizing with the little grill marks on them and it gives them a bigger depth of flavor. No matter, I will have to do it again. WHY? Because the lobber tails were not big enough sheeeesh….
I made a simple salad and had some terrific fresh tomatoes. There is nothing like a good steak and tomatoes. Except steak, tomatoes and red wine. The salad was just a bonus for the blue cheese dressing.
For dessert, we had cream filled lobster tails from one of my favorite local bakeries. There were leftover potatoes….hence why I had to do brunch…and make the home fries the next morning!
May the rest of your grilling season be a good one!
Below is the recipe for pulled pork from an Insta-pot that I promised a while back. I use it for tacos, burritos or even nachos.
8 flour tortillas
1 large tomatoes diced
16 ounces cheddar cheese shredded
1 head lettuce (shredded)
1 jar taco sauce or Cholula hot sauce or both
Pitted and sliced black olives (optional)
Guacamole or sour cream (optional)
2 Loins of Pork
1 small can of chili peppers (pictured below)
3 cloves of garlic
1 container of low sodium beef broth
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp Garlic powder
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black pepper
4 tablespoons Olive oil.
Cut the meat into large pieces. Season by sprinkling with onion powder, garlic powder, ground cumin, paprika, salt and black pepper. Let the seasoned meat marinate for a minimum of two hours in a zip-lock bag in the refrigerator.
In a 6-quart or larger Insta-Pot add just two tablespoons of olive oil. Turn on the insta-pot to Sauté and brown the meat in two or three batches. Return all the meat back into the pot. Add an onion that has been peeled and quartered to the pot. Add three cloves of whole garlic. Pour in enough beef broth to almost cover the meat.
Cover and Cook for one hour on the “stew” setting. Move the meat without the cooking liquid to a bowl. It should fall apart easily. Use meat for tacos, burritos or nachos.
SOFT TACOS or BURRITOS:
Add cheese to a flour tortilla, add meat on top, and add guacamole and/or sour cream. Pour on the sauce of your choice (Cholula hot sauce or taco). Top with shredded lettuce and diced tomato. This also goes well with grilled red bell peppers and onion instead of the lettuce and tomato.
Fill a platter with chips. Add grated cheddar cheese on top and melt in oven or microwave. Top with meat, guacamole, sour cream, sliced black olives; or add hot refried beans and jalapeno peppers for an additional extraordinary culinary experience.
This can be paired with a nice old vine red zinfandel or an Icey Cold Modelo Beer.
Enjoy life, stay healthy, and may everyone be kind to you.
Happy hump day! It is time for a visit to wine country. Today, I am going recommend the wine we had with dinner at the Basil Café. We had a Pinot Grigio white wine. Ken and Bebe had brought this same wine with them on Saturday to dinner. I have had this particular wine MANY moons ago at their home.
As with any of the white wines I drink, I like my Pinot Grigio ice cold. A friend suggested I use an ice bucket of half water and half ice. This seems to work very nicely. I find too many places try to use all ice and then can never get the bottle all the way back in the bucket.
This particular Pinot Grigio tastes nicely on its own but I rarely find myself drinking just wine without eating anything. Since white wines are usually enjoyed at the beginning of the meal, appetizers would be best to pair with it.
I have several ideas in mind for summer appetizers and wine. The first that comes to mind is my Caprese salad recipe. Then, there is a fresh asparagus wrap in Prosciutto, since I have prosciutto left from last night. I also like Hormel Genoa Salami wrapped around some nice mozzarella cheese or Bruschetta on garlic crostini. If you want posh, try making Oysters on the half shell with cocktail sauce or fried oysters with a remoulade dipping sauce. Then there is more casual Avocado….well with anything.
I’m getting hungry. I need company and to get to cooking. Let me know what you make, or if you’re living vicariously through me, I want the oysters, clams, or shrimp! I think this will be a seafood weekend. I will see food and eat it!
Until tomorrow, be well, eat well, and cook fresh!
This past Sunday, I went out to the east end of Long Island to “wine country”. It is no Napa Valley, California by any means, but it’s close by and a fun day trip. The purpose for the trip was to pick up Scott’s wine order from the Bedell Winery. I was up for nice Sunday drive, a cold glass of wine, and a bite of cheese. We were also meeting another couple that lives out there.
Our first stop was Bedell Cellars in Cutchogue. This is where we would pick up Scott’s wine and meet Gary and Jenitha. We have all done the wine tour thing together before but have not seen each other since the Covid nightmares. I was looking forward to seeing them again. When we arrived, Scott ordered everything off the charcuterie menu and had it brought to the table, where we sat right on the edge of the patio looking out onto the fields of grapes. The view was breathtaking.
Scott ordered two bottles of white wine. One was the Bedell’s famous Viognier and the second was a lovely Pinot Gris. Just as the wine arrived, so did Gary and Jenitha. It had been well over a year since we had seen Gary and Jenitha, and as always, they looked amazing, all tan and fit. It felt a little like a family reunion with people from a faraway state, like Florida. Now there were six of us. We were all ready for a relaxing and enjoyable afternoon of sipping wine and munching on snacks. The first snack was a bag of this really cool heirloom popcorn called Pipcorn.
The Bedell charcuterie menu has a nice selection of cured meats including salamis and prosciutto that quickly came to our table. In addition, we now had cheese and crackers to go with it. They also have the smallest jars of fig jam I have ever seen. I’m laughing now to myself just thinking about it, as my last fig jam post was with grilled cheese, and that was only yesterday.
The weather was warm with a nice breeze keeping us cool. It could not have been better, unless I was on a boat and was being bobbed gently up and down by the waves splashing again the side of a boat. The breeze just added to the perfect day. We sat, talked, and drank wine while we snacked. Soon, the crowd started to arrive and so did an oyster company with fresh oysters on the half shell. Scott wasted no time in seeing if we wanted oysters next. Alison and I jumped at the chance for fresh oysters. Scott returned, announcing the oysters would soon be here. Then, he asked what wine we wanted next. We all agreed that the Viognier was the way to go.
The oyster woman was at our table just as the next bottle of wine arrived and was placed in the ice bucket. She had more than oysters with her; Scott also ordered us the shrimp cocktail. The oysters were small and looked very appetizing. I was far too busy now chatting and eating to take pictures. UGH, please forgive me. Jennifer ALWAYS makes a face when I start taking pictures of my food. Then I feel bad taking too many photos. I feel like I am making everyone wait to eat while I snap shots of what is on the table. Almost as soon as the oyster woman left, I dug right in and had an oyster on the half shell with Alison. I used just a bit of the cocktail sauce on mine while she used some kind of mixture vinegar and shallots that came with the oysters on hers. The Oysters were off the CHAIN! Then, I had to have a shrimp after Gary said how good they were. They were cooked perfectly and the cocktail sauce was good as well. The cocktail sauce was spicy with just the right amount horseradish and tobasco. Yum. Although, I could ALWAYS use more horseradish in cocktail sauce. Alison thinks I’m nuts when I use that much horseradish. After the shrimp, and a sip of wine, it was back to a perfectly shucked oyster. This time, Alison convinced me to try the vinegar and shallot stuff on top. It was really good! It all went so well with the Pinot Gris wine. I totally recommend getting oysters at Bedell if they are there when you are. Bedell does not shuck the oysters themselves; it was a local outside company. I wish I got their name. Maybe I should call Bedell and ask. The oysters were that good!
Our next stop was the Jamesport Vineyard. We went here mostly for the food and the estate Riesling orange. They have a wood burning pizza oven and the handmade pizza looks like it would be amazing. However, we did not get pizza. We ordered warm olives and the Burrata over salad greens. The olives were very good and the Burrata was yummy! It went with the wine perfectly.
The last place, yes, we hit three vineyards, was The Sherwood House. We came here for something they call a white merlot. The wine’s full name was Oregon Road White Merlot and it had that salty taste, but other than that it was very good. The flavor profile changed when I had the potato chips with it.
Now, about the all these Long Island wines: Bedell and Raphael vineyards seem to be the only two wineries I have found so far that do not have the “Long Island Salty Taste” that I do not like. At Bedell, I particularly like the Viognier, and their other white wines and rosé are very good as well. I keep a few bottles on hand just in case company comes over. When it comes to that distinct Long Island taste that I do not like, at our last stop, a young man put it this way: “it is a salty taste, perhaps from us being so close to the ocean.” Yes, that makes sense now! Here, at our third location, we were eating the local potato chips and the wine was MUCH better!
By now, Jen was in excruciating pain. She had been a real trooper not to complain, but it was time to get her home and put some ice on her back. Thank god there was none of the usual east end traffic heading back to New York City. We were home in record time, about an hour and a half, as Jennifer drove trying to avoid all the potholes and bumps on the Long Island Expressway.
Even though I drank way too much, I didn’t wake up with a headache and Jennifer managed to put up with my chatty drunkenness. A good time was had by all and I am looking forward to seeing Gary, Jenitha, Scott, and Ally soon for our next wine tasting adventure.
If you live in Manhattan or right here on Long Island, it is a nice limousine ride out here. The wine isn’t bad, but really come for the food, atmosphere, and the friendly people. Thank you EVERYONE for a super fun day!
Until tomorrow’s post, be well, drink well, and enjoy life!