Sunday, September 24, 2006

Shammi Yummi

(Sounds like some strange Japanese teenager thing doesn’t it?)

So the Shammi Kebab were fried up for lunch. And they are really good. And really rich. They would make great hors d’oeuvres (half dollar size patties…dollop of some sort of sauce on top…) I ate two (recipe makes eight patties.) If you are in the neighborhood feel free to stop by and help me polish them off.

(Did I mention I also made chocolate chip cookies yesterday? This isn’t really remarkable, as many people make chocolate chip cookies every single day. But, after many many years of cookie making, this is THE BEST chocolate chip cookie recipe: Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I follow the recipe exactly except for two points: I put the dough in the fridge for 20 minutes before baking. And I bake them for 12 minutes (this will vary, of course, depending on your oven.) And yes, they will look like they aren’t fully baked. But when they cool they are crispy on the edges and soft and chewy in the center and really just perfect. I also only make half a batch, because they are huge, and beacuse I really don’t need one chocolate chip cookie, much less two dozen.)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Saturday Foodie Fun:
Shammi Kebab (Silky Ground Lamb Patties)

Some people like to party on Saturdays. I’m not really one of those people.
More often than not, you can find me in the kitchen on Saturdays. Gimmie an odd, obscure, and/or complicated recipe and Prairie Home Companion on the radio and I’m a happy camper for a good number of hours.

When my mom and I ate at Rasika during Restaurant Week we had Shammi Kebab, which are not meat on a skewer kebabs, but fried patties made from ground lamb and spices. They had an odd, but pleasant, very fine/smooth texture. I enjoyed them and wondered how they got that texture. I found this recipe: Shammi Kebab.

Ah ha! The texture is achieved by cooking the ground lamb, and THEN putting it through the food processor. (I was proud of my foodie self upon discovering that, besides the lamb and the mace, I already had all of these ingredients in the house.) (Channa dal are chickpeas.)

So the lamb and spices are all cooked and ground and chilling in the fridge. I’ll fry them up tomorrow and let you know how they turn out…

Friday, September 22, 2006

Still eating…

This week didn’t turn out to be quite as extravagant as originally planned. Don’t worry though, it was still rather extravagant. The business dinner and potluck were both canceled. However, Much fun was had with the foodies at the Circle Bistro dinner. There were many many years in which I did not eat red meat. Now, I can’t get enough of those braised ribs…Yum. Click to see the menu:

NJ (who is a very very bad influence) and I are having dinner at Firefly tonight. What we shall be eating is still in negotiation, although the “Porterhouse of pork for deux with twice baked, pork cheek stuffed Yukon potatoes, haricots verts and dried Mission figs” seems to be top on the list.

(Sidebar: This may be a particular habit of foodies which you lay-readers are not aware of: Every effort is made to review the menu prior to arriving at the restaurant. Then, often elaborate, negotiations are undertaken to decide who will be eating what. The cardinal rule is that no two foodies shall order the same dish. That way the maximum tasting experience can be had by all (by the passing of the plates, of course.))

I also have dinner plans at the previously posted about Dino on Sunday (calamari anyone??)

I did actually make it to the gym this week (where I’m quite sure I picked up the germ which is currently making my throat sore.) Next Thursday I have my first shift in the kitchen at Food & Friends!
(How do you think I will look in a hairnet?)

AND! We shall soon return to the previous schedule of me Actually Cooking. All this eating out is hard on the wallet and the waistline. Bring on the Tuesday Produce Box Delivery!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Food and Friends

I know what you all think. And I was thinking the same thing. That this hedonistic food thing that I’ve got going is, perhaps, a teeny, tiny, bit out of hand.

In an attempt to counteract all of this self indulgence I have decided to do some volunteer work. The organization Food and Friends seemed like a natural fit.

“Reverend Carla Gorrell founded Food & Friends in 1988 when a friend, sick at home with AIDS, needed something to eat. What began as lunch for one has become 3 meals a day, for nearly 1,000 individuals, six days a week. Over the past decade, we have moved from a cramped church basement to our own state-of-the-art kitchen and pantry facility and initiated new programs to meet the changing needs of people living with HIV/AIDS in the Washington, DC, metropolitan community.”

I went to the volunteer orientation on Saturday morning and hope to start helping prepare meals in the kitchen next week…

Where am I?

Well, I’m here. And yes, I’ve been eating. Cooking, not so much.
Since the duck post on 9/4 I’ve been running around like a nut and eating all over the place, including:

Lunch with L at Savory Cafe here in good ole Takoma Park. Savory is a nice little loungey coffee shop, that does a fairly good job with food as well. Vegetarian options abound (for those into that kinda thing.)

I had Latino Dim Sum brunch at Café Atlantico with NJ. We had been attempting to experience this indulgence for months and months and the time finally came. And indulge we did. The deluxe tasting, no less than 30 small plates, and 2.5 hours. Things not to miss include: Duck confit with passion fruit oil, Tuna ceviche with coconut, Coconut rice, crispy rice and squid, Cauliflower-Quinoa “cous-cous”, and Potato & vanilla mousse with American caviar. Oh My. (They also do a vegetarian tasting, which does not disappoint.)

This past weekend included Saturday lunch at 2 Amys with ME. If anyone, anywhere, at any time, offers you Burrata di Bufala, eat it. My aversion to Wikipedia will be momentarily set aside, as they do an excellent job of describing this fabulous cheese. Burrata. I usually get the pizza special at 2 Amys and it has yet to disappoint (fontina, tomato, artichoke, and pine nuts this time.) And the bitter orange cannoli are a fine way to finish.

Sunday the grad school gang met for our semi regular dim sum outing at Oriental East. Dim Sum is so much fun. So popular that we line up at 10:30am to get in the first seating when they open at 11. You need to keep your eyes open as they push the carts by, picking what you want before they get annoyed with you “Do you want?!?” Taro Dumplings are my favorite. And the best part? We ate until we could no longer speak, and, after tax and tip, the bill came to $9 each!

This week the eating extravaganza will continue with a business dinner at Tavira Restaurant (I’ve never been), a potluck (if we can get our damn busy schedules straightened out), and the DonRockwell blowout dinner (six courses) at Circle Bistro with AD.

Man, I need to get to the gym…

Monday, September 04, 2006

Duck, straight up:


Very very hot pan
Half of a boneless duck breast, skin on

Method, with help from

Pat duck dry.
Pierce skin of duck all over with a fork and score with a knife to allow fat to drain.
Season duck with salt.
Heat a large heavy skillet over high heat until very hot.
Put duck, skin side down, in skillet and immediately reduce heat to moderately low.
Cook duck 20 minutes, or until skin is mahogany-colored and most of fat is rendered.
Remove fat from skillet with a metal bulb baster or by very carefully pouring it off.
Turn duck over and cook 2 minutes more.
Transfer duck to a cutting board and let stand 5 minutes.
(Duck will continue to cook as it stands until it reaches medium.)
Slice thinly.

Lick fingers.

(I had duck for dinner tonight. I confess to eating it with my fingers.)

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Even the walls.

I’ve been painting my apartment:

The bedroom is “Grape Vine” (green).
The living room is “Cinnamon Cherry” (red) and “Pecan Sandie” (tan/beige).

I swear I wasn’t looking at the names of the colors when I picked them…