May 12, 2011
Watching the ping pong ball sized hail and having humidity and sweat bead off you does not exactly bring this meal to mind, but I made blintzes and cauliflower cream.
Cauliflower cream was a recent discovery at a restaurant called Victory 44. Megan and I took a field trip to Robbinsdale to sit at a high top and slowly soak up their fare. Their menu changes frequently but M and I had cauliflower cream with agnolotti, charcuterie, beet terrine, crab spring rolls, and coffee panna cotta. The detail I could go into about each of these dishes would be sickening, so focus on what I cooked I shall.
The cauliflower cream is simple. Simmer cauliflower flowerets in milk (a fatty milk – I added some heavy whip) and salt until the flowerets are tender, nearly falling apart. Strain it, saving the liquid which can be reduced. Put the flowerets in a food processor with some salt, pepper, butter, and cream cheese or provolone. Process until a cream, adding some of the reduced hot milk if needed.
The blintzes I made with a mushroom puree (crimini and porcini). The mushrooms were sautéed with olive oil, white wine, parsley, and garlic. Pureed and rolled into the blintzes, these were then browned, cut in half and placed on a bed of the cauliflower cream.
The reason this cauliflower cream is so good is its delicate cauliflower taste, unctuousness and smooth texture. It went well with the earthiness of the mushrooms. The sorrel garnish was to add color, but it did a nice job of adding a lemony sourness to the aftertaste too.
The cauliflower cream I made still did not do the one from Victory 44 justice. If you want a great meal in an unexpected place, try V44. It was fantastic.
May 8, 2011
Megan and I tilled our soil in our garden and seeds are growing in the sunroom of our apartment. The frost subsided and the soil black, we are ready to grow some savory herbs, sweet vegetables, and spicy bulbs. The fantastic part of this: already I have made a meal with spoils from our garden and our kale survived the winter and is nearly ready to pick and sauté.
Planned for the garden we have sugar baby watermelon, butternut squash, beans, carrots, beets, onions, Cherokee Purple tomatoes, tomatillos, blondkopfchen “little blonde girl” tomatoes, and poblano peppers. Planted already and staying put are mint, chives, sorrel, oregano, rhubarb, some pain in the ass bush I can’t remove, parsley and lavender. We’ll probably throw a lettuce in where it fits. The layout is something Megan will plan, with some guidance on sun directionality from the brains of the project.
The next project I am determined to tackle this summer is a Petite Saison. A saison in the traditional style, fermented hot, estery and malty, and balanced with some grassy hops. My first attempt was a fail and produced by first blown bottle. Somehow it became far too carbonated and resulted in one bottle looking like the entrails of a bar fight.
Finally, after reading a post from my brother-in-law’s blog, the craving hit and I had to make some cinnamon rolls. Haven’t had the chance to grub down on these sweet morsels, but if they are anything resembling my mother’s, they will pass my test. The meal tonight was some herb polenta with smoked mozarella. The herbs were fresh from the garden and the accompanying Cherokee purple tomatoes was a nice premonition of the fall. Polenta is a staple in this kitchen. Cheap, main course or side dish, extremely versatile in flavor profile, and creamy. It replaces boxed macaroni and cheese for us ( . . . sort of). They better be good. Don’t have much time for breakfast tomorrow.