Holy $#^%!!!

Okay, so probably because we’re planning a summer swing through New Orleans, and because there was just a great article about NOLA food in the NYT, and also because I’ve been watching Treme, I just had to cook a little southern food. For some reason, shrimp and grits popped into my head. I’m not sure I’ve ever even had shrimp and grits. But rather than making just regular ol’ shrimp and grits, I made… the Ultimate Shrimp and Grits!

Oh my.

This was so good. SO good. The kind of good that prevents you from being able to hear or speak while eating. And it was pretty easy to boot. You may be frightened by the seemingly large quantity of heavy cream called for in the grits recipe, but I urge you to cast those fears aside and follow the directions. The grits are stick-to-your-ribs filling, but damn good. Plus, you can justify it by eating a small amount. But you will want them to suck up that beautiful sauce from the shrimp and andouille. Hot damn!


That old leftover dashi predicament

I know, I know, a lot of people have the same problem. A container of frozen dashi, solid as a rock in the back of the freezer. It’s been staring at you for months. What to do with it? Miso? Nah. Udon? Been there, done that. How about… Caramelized Salmon with Soba Noodles in a Kakejiro Broth? Now you’re talking!

This turned out well. Very light but tasty. Good thing we had our togarishi, too!

Mad craving for mad chicken

I can’t explain it, but I have had a mad craving for chicken salad recently. Nothing fancy, just a good ol’ fashioned chicken salad sandwich.

Finally! Chicken Salad Sandwiches. Barefoot to the rescue! (I did make one adjustment, mainly because I added a bit too much salt. A sprinkle of sugar, which gives it that je ne sais quoi.)

To quote the attractive nuisance, “that chicken salad is insane!”

Mad craving, mad chicken.

Dillas

The attractive nuisance suggested quesadillas, so quesadillas we had!

With fond memories of our awesome meal at Mesa Grill in Vegas a couple years ago, I whipped up an order of Bobby Flay’s Spicy Chicken, Eggplant, and Caramelized Onion Quesadillas, served with Mixed Tomato Relish. I can see why this would be easier with a grill rather than a grill pan, but the work was worth it. This was a great dish! And the attractive nuisance even said the eggplant was “okay.” Plus, he kept heaping the tomato relish onto his dillas. Mikey likes it!

Dillas. Think that’ll catch? Regardless, we definitely recommend this one.

Bake that

There’s been a lot of baking going on recently…

I finally tried a recipe from Smitten Kitchen, a wonderful site with beautiful photography that I look at often. Technically, the recipe is from Magnolia Bakery. But these cookies were so good, I’ll give credit to anyone and everyone as long as I can have another one. (That is if there are any left. Let’s just say the attractive nuisance loves me a little bit more now.)

Peanut Butter Cookies

I also realized it was time to make our own granola bars. This is primarily because I’m horrified by the wrong ones I accidentally bought at Costco. Making a Costco-sized mistake is painful and lasts a long time. These “granola” bars are really candy bars. What’s up with that?  But in this day and age, you’ve gotta have access to a good granola bar. So we went Barefoot. Naturally.

Homemade Granola Bars

Only sub I made was raisins for dates. (Come on, they’re half for the attractive nuisance.)

Whoa! These granola bars are amazing. They really should be called Whoa bars. Make them. Now!

Fish market madness!

It’s been a big week for us and the Fisherman’s Market. Three trips in three days!

First, we had another Dungeness Crab Fest. (Apparently, Uncle Gene has a recurring case of crabs.)

Next, we tried a recipe for Ligurian Fish Stew (with cod), which turned out to be simple and delicious.

And tonight, we polished off fish stew leftovers with a side of Ping-inspired grilled prawns and a new take on our Momofuku brussels sprouts: cauliflower!

When we were in Portland about a week ago, we had two great meals, one at Ping, an awesome pan-asian fusion joint in Chinatown. We had cool drinks and several great grilled skewers, including a simple grilled shrimp dipped in fresh squeezed lime juice, sea salt and cracked pepper. Amazing. Our second dinner was at Tabla Mediterranean Bistro, which was very different, but also ridiculously good. We’ve had such great meals in PDX, and those two definitely lived up to the test.

Ping-inspired Grilled Prawns

Don’t peel prawns. Coat with oil (I used grapeseed), a squirt of lime juice, salt and pepper. Grill. (I used my kick ass grill pan.)

Sauce: juice of one lime, about a teaspoon of sea salt (I used our fancy sea salt flakes, or what we call “finishing salt”) and about a teaspoon of loosely cracked pepper.

Dip and enjoy. You won’t believe how simple and yet how awesome.

And the Momofuku Roasted Cauliflower with Fish Sauce Vinaigrette turned out great as well. I went the roasting route as opposed to fried. The sauce is slightly different than the brussels sprouts recipe we’ve been using, and I kicked it up a notch by frying cilantro leaves as the recipe recommends. Stand back!