Sunday, April 12, 2009

Dead Animals om nom nom nom

Easter's here! Time to get some serious grub on. For those who don't know, I've kept myself on a vegetarian diet for the duration of the Lentan fast, and that went really well. Does that mean that I'm on the fast track to veganism? Not so fast chief. While I have nothing at all against vegetarians and vegans, many of whom I'm friends with and know they can cook some seriously good food, it's not a lifestyle that I'd choose to embrace. True to my ultimate nature as an adventurous omnivore, sometimes I gotta just answer that call. If I find myself over some slain prey in the faint moonlight howling at the sky, that's just how I roll.

But before Bessie the Cow has a nervous fit, I think it's best to put on training wheels. Diving directly into a ribeye and arugula salad might be tasty, but I might not be able to handle it. So to start, let's go light. How about seafood?

I worked a good six hours today to put together a spread that would be gobbled up and gone between me and my wife within less than one. Some people would think this is crazy, but I just love to cook. Some people tinker in garages on muscle cars for years and drive them one day a month. If you love it, half the fun is the journey.

For a salad, I went with an adaptation of something I'd read in a French bistro cookbook about a Basque seafood salad with red peppers. I liked the general idea, but wanted to make a dressing out of peppers instead, and use some neat little things like pearl onions to go with stock-boiled calamari.

I really had fun with the presentation, and this thing tasted great. If I do it again, I might not use arugula though. I think spinach would be tastier greens, as the arugula is a little loud in comparison.

Next was a pouch-steamed filet of sole, with garlic, lemon, fresh thyme & parsley, with a crusty garlic bruschetta. The flavors complemented each other really well, but next time I don't think I'll pair something as hearty as a bruschetta with this fish, because it's seriously delicate and tender. If I pan-fried it instead, different story, but no big deal.

Risotto with lobster fumé and saffron. I took a lobster carapace from one of my wife's previous meals and put that in a pot with mirepoix vegetables and a bouquet garni, which is a little bundle of herbs that work like the mirepoix, to amp up flavor. I strained it, reduced it, strained it again through cloth, and it was excellent stuff. Definitely the best fumé I've made from lobster. I think my risotto craft is definitely improving as I make the stuff, because I loved it. The only downside is that by the time I got to this, I was only a few bites in and then I was full. Oh well, there's always leftovers.

The wine I had with all this was an off-dry Riesling that went well with the sole, but I think it was too sweet for anything else. Dry Riesling would've been better for the salad, and the Risotto could've handled Sauvignon Blanc, because it's big and rich, and wouldn't be crowded out.

All in all, it was a really fun experience to make this sort of food again, and I had a great time doing it. Am I back to murder on a plate every day? Probably not. I like meat a good deal, but I expect it's something best done on a weekend, when you can do it right.

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