April 23, 2007

In the Kitchen with Mr. Tall & Little Miss Contrary, Part 1

I am taking full responsibility for personally abandoning to update this for more than a month! As promised in my previous post, I wanted to share some of the culinary adventures Mr. Tall and I have experienced. I consider myself very fortunate to have found someone who understands (more so, tolerates) my love for all things gastronomy. Mr. Tall knows the drill that we can not dig into our meals until I have photographed the food. He has maintained an open heart and stomach to try things that he might not have tried before, for which I am grateful. He has also introduced me to some of my favorite places and things such as Mama Testa, crock pot cooking, and chilaquiles, which is a Mexican breakfast dish consisting of tortilla chips cooked in red sauce and topped with fried eggs, and copious amount of cheese and sour cream (pictured right). Breakfast of (Mexican) champions!

I do take some credit for introducing him to Thai food and the likes. Our very first date was actually his first "real" Thai cuisine experience. We dined at Spice & Rice, which is conveniently located close to UCSD in Downtown La Jolla. Although it wasn't love at first bite, we reminisced with Thai food 6 months later at my favorite Thai spot, Celadon, in Hillcrest (shh, even though, I have ties with Taste of Thai). I guess, food sort of brought us together since Mr. Tall and I officially connected over a discussion about a favorite artist of ours, The Roots, at an on-campus convenience store/coffee shop where he worked.

Since we both have been working full time for the past year, Mr. Tall and I try to cook at least once or twice a week, and when we're lazy we go out to eat or get take-out about twice per week. One of the things that we have made before and are yearning to cook up again is Beer-Can Chicken and Mashed Potatoes. I purchased a potato ricer a while ago, which according to Jeffrey Steingarten of "The Man Who Ate Everything," is the best method to creating mashed potatoes.

One of our favorite things to do is to pick up a cut of meat, pork or lamb from Bristol Farms and put it on the grill. Mr. Tall is definitely the master of the barbecue grill. One of this best works must be when we grilled up some Porterhouse steaks, served with salad and mashed potatoes, of course. That small segment of Filet Mignon put this cut over the top. On to something a little more rustic: Mr. Tall had a recipe for Pozole. I had tried it at the Old Town Cafe and loved it so naturally I was stoked for this soup.

The pozole recipe turned out a tomato-based broth, stewed with chicken, chunks of tomatoes, and, of course, hominy. Everything was simply thrown into a pot and simmered. It is served with a squeeze (or several for me) and topped with shredded cabbage, cilantro and tortila chips--and hot sauce if you like spicy. Instead of serving it with a Mexican beer, I picked up Phuket Beer from Thailand, which was light and went very well with the spices of the soup. It is definitely one of my absolute favorite soups of all time. I forgot to mention another thing that we have also picked up from Bristol Farms is the lamb kabobs. They are already pre-marinated and ready to be thrown on the grill. The only Bristol Farms location in San Diego is on Genesee near UTC. So, if you're ever in that area or live nearby, I highly recommend checking out their meat department. They also have a very friendly and helpful "sommelier" (I'm not sure what they would be called outside of the restaurant) that will give you handy tips about wine pairing and even cooking tips.

One of Mr. Tall and I's new favorite thing to make is Giada DeLaurentis' pizza that was featured in Gourmet magazine. The pizza dough is really simple and takes only an hour to rise. We also love the topping that Giada featured: three cheese with pancetta and crimini mushrooms. The combination of Fontina, Parmesan and Mozzarella is perfection; pancetta and criminis are fantastic together as well. The first time we made it, we got a bit zealous with the cheese but the second time around we learned and put the right amount of cheese and toppings. The dough is fantastic and, I would say, fool proof. Giada DeLaurentis is not only one of my favorite Food Network chefs but her recipes are also simple and wonderful.

This post is getting a bit lengthy so I shall continue on the next one. Plenty more to come about all the cooking and eating for Mr. Tall and I to share!

Little Miss Contrary


Cherie said...

Keep up the good work.

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