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Sip Snap Savor

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Smoked Sailfish

Ted Dasher is many generations deep in South Florida. He comes from a legendary wrecking family and fishing family. He basically IS South Florida.

"Bloodier fish make for a drier smoked fish, so you smoke'em less. Sailfish and Tuna are pretty damn dry. Permit and Amber Jack are not as bloody so they're moister." - Ted Dasher

His guide to smoking is a book from the early 70's. If you'd like to scoop up a copy of the book "How To Smoke Seafood, Florida Cracker Style" by Ted Dahlem, you can buy one here.

Build your brine (this recipe was told to me aboard a fishing boat) and I recorded it many hours later. When I went to confirm the exact recipe some of the ingrediants and amounts changed. So that tells you that you can get VERY creative with your brine. Play and have fun. South Florida style.

Brine: 1 Big Bottle Lousiana Hot Sauce, Whole Bottle Liquid Smoke, Cup of Bronw Sugar, Cup Kosher Salt, 6-Pepper Blend (6 shakes), 1 bottle Worcestshire Sauce, 1/2 Gallon Orange Juice (fresh squeezed), Cup or so of Lime Juice and enough Water to cover all the fish.

For 2 hours at 225 degrees in an electric smoker. Ted uses the Cookshack Smokette MO 025 ($600)

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Friday, June 26, 2009

The "It's ALL about the FISH" Veach Family - Key West, FL

Chippy is consistently voted Best Fishing Captain year after year in Key West, Florida. His two brothers Ryan and Tyson make up the other parts of the super successful Super Grouper fishing squad. These boys aren't messing around.

It may be ALL about the fish, but at this dinner it was all about Chippy's two daughters and his extra special Conch Ceviche. The real stars of the show.

What pairs well with Conch Ceviche? Spanish sparkling wine, Cava and the most beautiful sunset you've ever seen in your life. Et voila!

Mama Veach (above) is a hero in her family and in my book for these pesto palmiere she made before dinner started. They worked really well to cure the grumbles from everyone's tummies. Most of us had been out fishing all day that day ... from 6AM until late afternoon. And after awhile, beer just doesn't fill you up anymore.

The yellowtail snapper we'd caught that day had been marinating in lemon, green onions, white wine and salt & pepper for the better part of an hour. It would be lightly baked and served piping hot alongside fettucine and salad. Simple and Delicious.

Shadow the African Gray Parrot snacked on smoked fish, alongside everyone else. Baked fish, grilled fish, smoked fish, fish dip, breakfast fish burritos. It's ALL about the fish down in Key West.

For dessert we had a southern sweet. Nacho Mama's Banana Cream Pud'n. Something without fish in it? Really? For real? No! Yes, yes, yes !!

Chippy's Conch Ceviche
1. Chop enough conch fillets to make about 6cups of diced conch. Put in a bowl. Add in 1 cup diced white onion, 2 TBLSP lime juice, lemon juice and orange juice.

2. Enjoy!

(Do not add salt to this "ceviche" as it makes the conch taste too tangy. This is a very fresh, local treat)

Mama Veach's Pesto Palmiere's
1. Take a roll of puff pastry and unfurl it on a counter top. Cover it with homemade pesto (ground pinenuts, basil and evoo).

2. Roll the puff pastry into two different directions.

3. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Meanwhile cut the "infinity" shaped puff pastry into 1/4"-1/2" slices. Arrange on cookie sheet.

4. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Remember the puff pastry will double in size.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

You gotta fight. For your right. To PAAAASTAAA!

Lauren Danziger is a trained chef who discovered she had Celiac Disease some years ago. She was despairing about life being over (No More Pasta!) when she decided to put her chef skills to the test. She wanted to create all her favorite foods so life could be colorful and hearty once more. 

"Oh man! When I found out I couldn't have pasta anymore I got seriously depressed!" -Lauren
Thankfully, Lauren has figured out the secrets to beautifully crafted pasta sauces and gluten free brown rice pastas. So really, the world is right again. 

Lauren's Heavenly Pasta Sauce with Brown Rice Gluten Free Pasta
1 lb beef 
1 lb veal or pork 
1/2 bottle red wine (syrah, cabernet) 
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts 
1/4 cup dried currants 
1 small can tomato paste 
1/2 can whole tomatoes, chopped (optional)
 1/2 tsp oregano 
1/2 tsp, chiffanade, basil salt and pepper, to taste  
Salt and pepper the meat well.  
Brown the meat in a pan. Deglaze with red wine.  Add the tomato paste and stir. 
 In another pan, toast the pine nuts and set aside.  Add more wine as the meat
 cooks, along with the currants and pine nuts.  Keep adding wine till the meat
 is cooked and had a purple tint. Add the seasoning, cook for a nother minute
 or two, and serve over pasta.

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Carole Dasher's Alabama Garlic Blue Cheese Dressing

"Don't tell your cardiologist what's in your salad dressing! - Carole

Carole Dasher is THE go to home chef. She tasted a salad dressing at a restaurant in Birmingham, AL some years ago and decided to re-create it at home. After perfecting the composition, she shares her wealth of knowledge here.  

Honey, it's DELICIOUS. Try it with your next salad. 

Garlic Blue Cheese Dressing
(Keeps for 4-5 days in the fridge and serves 6-8 people)

12 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 C white wine vinegar
1/2 C EVOO or salad oil
6 hard boiled eggs, crumbled 
3 OZ blue cheese, crumbled
1/5 C mayonnaise

Add garlic and eggs to a bowl.  Introduce oil and whisk with a fork for 1-2 minutes until well blended. Add vinegar and continue whisking for another 20-30 seconds. Scoop in mayo and crumbled blue cheese. Fold gently. 
Serve with crisp Romaine salad leaves. 

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Manhattan - Lauren's Gluten-Free Kitchen

"I think I oversoaked the lady fingers!" - Abigail Thompson

"Now. Now that's a sentence you don't hear everyday..." - Dana Cooper

If Giggletown was an actual place, then an apartment on 18th Street at 9th Avenue, on Manhattan's west side, would be the epicenter. Or maybe Giggletown is a spontaneously constructed place that occurs whenever more than 5 girls, 5 bottles of wine, music and cheese assemble.

I happen to love any staycation I have in Giggletown. What could be better than a diet of steady laughing, dancing, pasta, sparkling wine and throaty red wine, multiple desserts and more laughing? 

Perhaps knowing everything you ate was gluten-free. Lauren Danziger is a trained chef who discovered she had Celiac Disease some years ago. She was despairing about life being over (No More Pasta!) when she decided to put her chef skills to the test. She wanted to create all her favorite foods so life could be colorful and hearty once more. 

"Oh man! When I found out I couldn't have pasta anymore I got seriously depressed!" -Lauren
Thankfully, Lauren has figured out the secrets to beautifully crafted pasta sauces and gluten free brown rice pastas. So really, the world is right again. 

I won't bore you with all the girl talk. But I drunkenly and sloppily wrote down my notes in my trusty green notebook. And I can't remember why I wrote these two quotes down, but I did. They seemed important at the time. 

"This is the perfect song to do cartwheels to..." - Lauren Danziger
"Lets do cartwheels" - Abigail Thompson

in her own words: Meryl's Antipasta Platter: I started with the Google search button, but let the store inspire me. I picked Prosciutto Romano (standard staple, I couldn't NOT get it), Genoa Salami (debated with the pepper crusted, but went with the original), YOU NEED sweet with these meats, so I was going to do cantaloupe but then I found this fig spread, so I went with that, Gouda (aged at LEAST 60 days - straight form Holland, enough said), Manchego and Bread (Carbs are necesary!!). 

The Pasta Recipe is forthcoming, for now, in true Giggletown fashion. Enjoy a dessert first. Before the main course. 

Abigail's Big Apple Tiramisu

3 eggs seperated
1 cup sugar
8 oz (1 scant cup) mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups chilled strong coffee or espresso
2 tblsp kahlua
Large chunk of Semi-Sweet chocolate
1 pkg. lady fingers

Beat yolks and mascarpone, along with 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl until pale and thick. About 2 minutes. In another bowl beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add remaining sugar. Fold slowly into peaks, beating if necessary to reform peaks. 

In another bowl beat cream until soft peaks form.  Meanwhile in seperate shallow bowl combine espresso and kahlua. Dip Lady Fingers one by one into mixture. COver each side of the lady finger (about 2 seconds). Lay the fingers into an 8X8 dish. Continue dipping lady fingers and lining the dish until the dish is covered. 

Fold whipped cream into mascarpone, fold in the egg whites, slowly. Combine carefully. 

Layer half the whipped mixture atop the lady fingers. Layer more dipped lady fingers, snugly,  on top of the creamy mixture. Repeat until dish is full. Chill for 6 hours or overnight. 

Shave chocolate over the tiramisu before serving. 

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Underground Dinner in Brooklyn (Homunculus)

"Brooklyn, especially Williamsburg, is the epitome of cool and then it leaches out into the world." - Chris, co-chef at Homunculus

I'd fallen down, upon exiting the Subway station, enroute from Manhattan to Brooklyn. I do that. Fall. But I always, always, always get back up again.

And this was no different. As Jamie and I hobbled up the street, we were suddenly greeted by a flurried Ryan Scanlon - one of the co-organizers of Homunculus. Homunculus is an "Eat-Easy" think: "Speak-Easy" mixed with dashes of ingenuity, down home vibes and passion. Lots and lots of passion.

Ryan eyed my bleeding knee and directed me to band aids, ice and wine. In that order. Just as if I were in someone's home I'd known for years. I didn't feel stupid or anything.

Not like the time I fell in front of an 8 foot pop out window in front of 60 or so diners at an upscale restaurant in Montecito, California. This was NOTHING like that at all!

After we were all settled in - I had time to scan the room. A big fish tank gurgled happily. Candles were lit. Aretha Franklin was singing in the corner. Two puppy dogs (Claire and Oscar) were lying at my feet, underneath the mosaic table. People were casually making butter in a mason jar and checking on the freshly baking bread in the oven.

"Fiddleheads?!" "Divine!" "Indescribable!!!!" "You eat the frond." "Its a ... fern. Fern." "You can eat them sauteed with butter! SAW-TAID!" "So Divine" - Chef Medley from the Kitchen

So what exactly IS an underground dinner? It's not a new concept at least not on either coast. Outstanding In The Field and Ghetto Gourmet made the concept famous. Guerrilla Gourmet continues the tradition. Bringing together people, chefs, fresh ingrediants for avante garde dining situations in warehouses, art galleries, private homes and outdoor spaces.

But the idea that just about anyone with a passion for food and a tolerance for hard work can spread the word and bring together communities ... is relatively new in our media-driven-freak-everyone-out-society. You're taking a chance by attending an underground dinner.

A chance you'll meet new friends. Try new foods. Go somewhere new. Let down your guard. Be adventurous. Team Sip.Snap.Savor was lusciously rewarded. Kinton Wines laced our table (the dinner was BYOB/BYOW) along with candles and lively conversation.

"Anything you can get in a store, you chould be able to make. I'm making my own sweater from washing, carding and knitting. The whole shebang. I've made my own sake, too" - Cale, Homunculus

Complete Menu:
Bread - Currant and toasted fennel seed white bread

Soup - Cold Celery soup

Beast plate - Cajuned pork, pistachio, thyme soaked veal pate on crostini
Sherry and Cassis chicken liver mousse on a house cracker
Maple candied bacon with almond butter
Foie gras bon bon on shortbread

Appetizer - Red curry and peanut souffle

Palate cleanser - Strawberry and thyme sorbet

Entree - Beef in Barolo, parsnip puree

Salad - Endive salad with fennel shavings, walnuts, chevre, loft dressing

Dessert - Three Layer Tart - Candied bananas, chocolate and cognac custard, black berries. Side of cardamom ice cream

Care to attend a dinner yourself? Email the fellas in Brooklyn and ask to reserve a spot. $40/BYOW

Mason Jar Butter

Take a clean, Quart Sized Mason Jar with a lid and pour into it Room Temperature Whole Milk or (even better) Cream. Screw on lid. Begin shaking at the jar. At 4-6 minutes you'll notice the milk is thickening. At about 9 minutes of shaking, the cream will start to separate from the sides of the glass. When you get to the half point at 14-16 minutes you'll notice serious solids. At 27-30 minutes it's time to stop shaking and start draining off the excess liquid from your butter. Use cheesecloth to solidly drain your butter and then salt it if you wish. Serve with warm bread.

Currant & Toasted Fennel Seed Bread
3 Cups Artisan Bread Flour
2 Cups Water, 1/2 Cup extra water (reserve)
1 pat of butter
handful of anise seeds
2 handfuls of currants
4 tsp salt
1/2 oz. dry activated yeast
5 tblsp evoo

Activate the yeast in 1/2 cup of water (water should be lukewarm/room temperature). Let stand for 15 minutes. Meanwhile toast anise seeds in a pat of butter, in a pan on stove, over medium heat. Continue toasting until browned.

Mix flour and salt together in a bowl. Imprint a dimple into the center of the dry goods. Add water, oil and yeast mixture s l o w l y and incorporate all ingredients together.

On a floured surface, knead the dough until elastic and no longer sticky. Grease a bowl with a touch of evoo and put the dough in the bowl and cover with a floured dish towel.

Let rise for 2 hours.

Gently remove dough from the bowl and fold it to remove all air bubbles. Return to bowl and cover with floured kitchen towel. Let rise once again.

After 30 minutes, remove from bowl, place on greased cookie sheet (in desired shape), in 350 degree oven for 35 minutes.

Serve piping hot with cool, homemade butter.

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