April 21, 2009

A New Red Hook Ritual

Once or twice a month Jesse and I delight in taking a shopping trip to Fairway in Red Hook, where we can stock up on bulk goods for cheap, like organic coffee, beans, rice, and so on.

Now we may have found a new ritual to tack onto our Red Hook trips: A stop at Rocky Sullivan's for beer and a snack outside. We'd been to this bar on an assuming corner before and hadn't thought much of it, just a normal working class neighborhood bar. Then I found out about its roof deck, but we weren't able to take advantage of it until the first nice weather hit this weekend. Now we have truly seen the light.

The bar neighbors Sixpoint Brewery, so we were able to get two of our favorite Sixpoint beers, Bengali IPA and Righteous Rye. And Jesse was able to ogle all the Sixpoint kegs lying around. Rocky Sullivan's has a bar menu, but I'm guessing their best food is their brick oven pizza, made fresh to order. We had the margarita pizza, complete with homemade pesto sauce, and it was delish. The crust had a slight buttery flakiness to it, a little like pastry crust, but not too much.

We enjoyed our afternoon snack on their roof deck. We were the only ones up there, and I can't imagine it ever gets too full, so it certainly lives up to its reputation as "serene" I highly recommend checking it out if you're in the hood, although don't tell all your friends because hidden gems are always better when they remain that way!

April 20, 2009

Breakfast Pizza for Dinner!

It's ramp season folks. And what do ramps go with better than bacon and eggs? Nothing!

After reading about Motorino's amazing breakfast pizza which "delivers a beautiful pool of gooey cheese, runny yolk, pancetta drippings, and fruity olive oil", I was inspired to make my own version. The original plan called for goat cheese ricotta, bacon, ramps, and sunnyside eggs, but my sister did the shopping and some of the cooking, so she also added in broccoli raabe for a contrasting bitter bite.

First, you need to make the dough. I really prefer my recipe for pizza with a puffier crust, but out of laziness I went for the thin crust recipe that just requires a whizz in the food processor and a wait in plastic bags in the fridge overnight. It makes six dough balls, so I stuck three in the freezer, to leave us with three personal pies for the three people in my household. About two hours before I wanted to cook dinner, I took the dough out of the fridge to let it warm up.

Next, Lisa fried up a few pieces of bacon and let them drain on paper towels. She poured out most of the bacon fat (to reserve for future use), while leaving enough fat in the pan to sautee the greens.

After preheating the oven as hot as it will go (520 in our case), Lisa finely chopped ramps and broccoli raabe. She sauteed them in bacon fat until softened and then continued to cook covered for another ten minutes until wilted.

Next I assemble the pizzas on cornmeal-dusted baking sheets, slowly building them with crumbles of goat cheese ricotta, bacon bits, wilted greens, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Finally, I broke an egg into the middle and put them into the oven for about 10 minutes until the crust browned on the bottom and the eggs firmed.

Unfortunately, the crust took longer to cook than the eggs, so the yolks had already firmed by the time the pizza was done and alas, there was no runny yolk to coat the pizza in golden flavor when biting into it. But it was still f*in good.

Jesse rued all times he tried to convince me to cook meat or fish for dinner instead, thinking breakfast pizza for dinner sounded lame. Duh! Of course it would be the best thing ever, and once he saw the beautiful pizza and ate it, he realized the error of his ways.

April 17, 2009

The Year of Cabbage

If last winter was the year of kale, then I'd say this winter was the year of cabbage.

It's because last year Garden of Eve kept me stocked with kale all throughout the winter when no one else at the farmers markets had green vegetables. Then this year, I couldn't even find kale regularly. But I could still find cabbage.

Plus this year I first realized how delicious cabbage is when sauteed. Much nicer than in bland braised dishes. Slice it thinly, like you would to make slaw, but then sautee it in olive oil with onions, salt, and pepper, letting the onion and cabbage strips brown a bit over medium heat. Then leave it on low heat covered for about 10 minutes until it wilts a bit. The result is perfectly flavored, tender, but with a nice bite. A great side dish.

Or add it to cooked beans and brown rice with some grated cheese and salsa for flavor, as another version of my "healthy rice and beans", an easy dish that is a Jesse pleaser.

Now that the weather is warming up, hopefully we'll be eating things besides cabbage soon.

April 14, 2009

Scallops with Israeli Couscous and Kale

I sauteed finely chopped kale and onion with onions and garlic, and combined it with simmered Israeli couscous, using the Kitchn's method for cooking this pasta-cum-grain with leafy greens. Then Jesse sauteed scallops in olive oil and herbs de Provence to top it off. Here's what he had to say about it to his friend who gave us the herbs a few months ago:

I used the last of the herbs de Provence you gave me to make seared
scallops with Israeli cous cous and kale and may I humbly say that it
was the closest thing to culinary perfection that I have ever
experienced - in the words of Dr. Seuss "If you never have you
should. These things are fun and fun is good."