Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Cold Zucchini, Onion and Potato Soup

In my never ending quest to use up zucchini, I came across the Barefoot Contessa's recipe for Zucchini Vichyssoise. This intrigued me, but I did not have any leeks.
So I improvised with what I had on hand:

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Cold Zucchini, Onion and Potato Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 bunch of scallions, chopped

4 potatoes, quartered
4 cups shredded zucchini
1 can chicken broth

Salt and pepper

METHOD:
Saute the first three ingredients until they are soft.

Add the potatoes, zucchini and broth and bring to a boil. Cover and let simmer until the potatoes soften. Salt and pepper to taste.

I used an immersion blender to puree everything.

Leave in the refrigerator overnight to chill.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Green Beans and Tomatoes

Have you ever heard the adage, "If it grows together, it goes together"? Well this salad holds true:

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All the vegetables came from my garden!

Green Beans and Tomatoes

1 pound of cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 pound of green beans, blanched, cut into one inch lengths
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Salt
Pepper

Toss all together a few hours before you serve.

YUM

Monday, June 28, 2010

Garden Pizza

This is a pizza with peppers, eggplant, tomatoes and zucchini that we grew.

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And that basil is from our herb garden.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Garden Harvest

About five pounds of Chinese Long Beans:
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And FIFTY pounds of red potatoes:
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Garden Update

Here is a picture from our garden on April 11. This is freshly tilled goodness.

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This is from May 26.

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This is from June 27.

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Blueberry Pie

Once your blueberries come in, it's PIE time:

Blueberry Pie

Blueberry Pie

4 cups blueberries, divided into two two cup amounts
2/3 cup of sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup water
Big pinch of salt

Juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon butter

1 graham gracker crust

Take two cups of blueberries, the sugar, cornstarch, salt and water and put into a three quart pot over medium heat. Stir contantly.

The cornstarch will make the liquid cloudy. Eventually, the cloudy liquid will turn clear and the liquid will get very thick. PAY ATTENTION!

Take it off the heat immediately and add the remaining blueberries, lemon juice and butter.

Pour into the prepared pie crust and let come to room temperature. Refrigerate for a few hours. Serve with whipped cream.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Okay, I have tried four zucchini muffin recipes and this one is it. It is chocolate and rich and fudgy. Also the spice enhances the yumminess of the chocolate.

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I got the original recipe from 101 Cookbooks (Heidi's pictures are AMAZING) but being me, I made it a little bit different

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins Adapted from 101 cookbooks

1 stick of butter melted
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon strong coffee
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 cups grated zucchini

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sifted cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350.

Combine the first eight ingredients into a bowl. Mix well. Dump the next six in and mix until it just comes together. Add the chips. Scoop with a disher into paper lined muffin tins.

Bake for 15-20 minutes.

This recipe made 36 muffins. I am going to pretend they are healthy because there is a 1/12 cup of a vegetable in it. But really, it is a chocolate cupcake with chocolate chips in it.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Uncircumsized

That is what I thought when I picked this:

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Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes is a movie. It is also a wonderful way to eat not quite ripe tomatoes.

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Fried Green Tomatoes

1 green tomato per person, sliced to the thickness of thin sandwich bread
Seasoned flour (this is regular flour with salt and pepper in it)
Egg and buttermilk, combined
Cornmeal

Dip the tomato sliced in the flour, then the egg mixture, then the cornmeal.

Deep fry if you can or fry in a skillet until golden brown on both sides.

YUM.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Avocado Cucumber Soup

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This soup is surprisingly delicious. The original recipe came from Gwyneth Paltrow's blog GOOP. I have modified it because I am a modifier.


Avocado Cucumber Soup
1 ripe avocado
Juice of two limes
Zest of one lime
1 fresh from the garden cucumber
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
2 dashes Tabasco

Whir this all in a blender until smooth. Can be made the night before. If you do plan to make it ahead of time, you may need to add a pinch more lime juice and salt before serving to wake up the flavors.

Made enough for three with leftovers.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Buttermilk Biscuits

So today, Yohboh noticed that his half and half had soured. I wanted to throw it away but he wanted biscuits. And since I am all about using things, I complied.

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Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups winter wheat flour (White Lily is what I like)
1.5 Tablespoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

4 tablespoons butter, cold, cubed like dice
1 cup buttermilk (I used the soured half and half), cold

Preheat the oven to 450

Sift the first four ingredients together. I did that twice to get a nice fluffy powder. Add the butter and mush it with your fingertips. It should look like stone ground grits. Add the liquid and combine until it just comes together.

Pat it out onto a floured surface to about an inch thick. Cut into 12 pieces. put onto a greased baking sheet. Indent the center slightly of each biscuit with the thumb.

Bake 15-20 minutes.

Yohboh ate six.

Makes about a dozen.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's day Dinner

Yohboh wants the same thing for Father's Day and his birthday.

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A giant slab of meat.

All those veggies we grew (except for the potatoes).

Garden Cornucopia

This is about four pounds of green beans and seven green tomatoes.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Cucumber Sandwiches

I was speaking to my mother in law about my plethora of cucumbers. She mentioned a cucumber sandwich was one of her favorite things to eat.

So she came over and I made some:
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I really made the recipe up.

Cucumber Sandwiches

4 ounces softened cream cheese
4 ounces softened butter
1 scallion, finely minced


1 garden fresh cucumber, sliced wafer thin
Two slices of white bread
Salt
Pepper

Beat the cream cheese, butter and scallion together until it is light and fluffy. I used a fork to do this, because really am I going to clean out a major appliance for a sandwich?

Put a thin layer of the butter mixture on two slices of bread. Put the cucumber slices on one slice of bread (do I need to mention that the butter mixture should be touching the cukes?). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put the other slice of bread on.

Cut into fourths and eat with tea and fancy hats on.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bounty

So this is 36 cucumbers and that I picked yesterday. There are also five zucchini.
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Anyone got any cucumber recipes?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Zucchini Muffins

So I am angry at the squash borer. It has killed two of my zucchini plants and now I am putting aluminum foil on to prevent the death of the other four.

But I have picked about ten zucchinis this week so I made these:
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Zucchini Muffins
They taste like a pumpkin muffin without the pumpkin because zucchini does not really taste like anything.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Garden Bounty

This is what we picked today, save for three cucumbers.

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I predict some zucchini muffins in the near future.

Mango Lassi

What do you do when you have nine ripe mangoes?

I make mango lassis:
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Mango Lassi (makes three servings)

1 cup Greek Yogurt
2 ripe mangoes
1 cup ice
1 cup water

3 cardamom pods

Whiz the first four ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour into three glasses.

Crack the cardomom pods and get the little dark brown things in the pod and sprinkle on top.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Park 75 at the Four Seasons Hotel

So a few weeks ago, my friend Netta attended the Blogger's Brunch at the Park 75 at the Four Seasons Hotel. What I failed to mention was that she won a Chef Tasting table at Park 75. We went and I dutifully blog it here. Yohboh and I agree it was THE BEST MEAL OF OUR LIVES.

So when we first arrived, we were given a tour of the garden.

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The Herb Garden

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The pepper plants

And this is executive chef Robert Gerstenecker:
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He was a very approachable, sweet guy. He mentioned he had been with the Four Seasons for 20 years. Isn't that amazing? He does not look like he has lived long enough to have worked somewhere for 20 years. He is very into figuring out how to make things, like kimchee and miso.

So the Chef's Table is actually in the kitchen. Have you ever seen the inside of a professional kitchen? This one was HUGE:
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Also, the Chef's Table is an eight course tasting menu with a wine pairing. As someone who is not really a drinker, I have to say the wine pairing was the most eye opening part. The food itself was wonderful. The wine was delicious. But the two combined into a symphony of flavors in my mouth that at certain points of the meal I was doing a Happy Tongue Dance. Happy Tongue Dance looks like a little Asian woman doing the upper half of the Cabbage Patch but much more uncoordinated.

So let's start with our dining experience.

First course was a Tempura Squash Blossom with a small salad and drizzled with honey from the bees that are in the garden and lemon.
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It was served with a glass of Louis Roederer Champagne.
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I have had stuffed squash blossoms before but the honey lemon sauce gave it a brightness that made this fried dish seem very light. And the wine made for happy bubbles which also served as a nice contrast to the fried flower.

The second course was a Lobster and Corn Soup, which they presented table side.
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It was served with a Pouilly-Fuisse, V. Giradin, Burgundy, 2007. Yes, it is a white wine. Burgundy is a region in France where grapes are grown, including this tasty one. (I did not get a picture of this wine label- BAD FOOD BLOGGER!)

The lobster and corn soup was wonderful. The texture of the soup was rich and silky. The fresh corn nibblets and the perfectly cooked tender lobster chunks were the perfect contrast to the creamy soup. I had never tasted white wine from the Burgundy region before but it was a perfect match for the soup. It reinforced the richness and this was the beginnings of my Happy Tongue Dance.

The third course was the Seared Diver Scallop with Venus Rice and Preserved Lemons.
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The wine was the Vincent Delaport Sauvginon Blanc, 2008.
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The scallop was perfectly cooked. People who do not like scallops have had poorly cooked scallops. This scallop was tender and sweet. The wine was crisp and bright with a nice citrus undertone that was echoed in the scallop.

The next course was a Pork Cheek Ravioli with braised cabbage, Cherry Truffle Demi-Glace with Braised Pork Belly on top.
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The wine paired was the Poppy, Pinot Noir, Monterey County 2008.
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The pork belly was awesome. This dish was the essence of why people love pork. It was meaty and rich and very satisfying. The earthniess of the truffles was really brought out by the wine. Also, I have to say at this point, I stopped cleaning my plate. I realized that we were on a dining MARATHON and I would have to pace myself.

The Chef's Table is interesting beacuse you get to see the activity of the kitchen. Here are Chef Gerstenecker and his Garde Manger Tommy Greer working our next plates. You can tell they work together well.

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The next course was a Crispy Skin Halibut with Heirloom Tomatoes, Spinach, Lemon Caper Vinaigrette and White Summer Truffles served on a bed of risotto.
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The wine was Jekel, Chardonnay, Monterey County, 2007.
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Remember what I said about pacing myself? Yeah, with this dish it went out the window. The bite of all those flavors and textures was the perfect bite of food that I will measure all bites of food with.

At this point, I would like to say that the entire staff of Park 75 was super friendly to our group of enthusiastic eaters. This is the Garde Manger Tommy Greer. Yohboh pointed out he resembled Brian McCann.
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The sixth course was a New York State Duck with Foie Gras and sweet potatoes scented with Saigon Cinnamon.
Duck Breast with Foie Gras


This course had TWO wine pairings.

The first was this sweet wine:
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It was served with the Sebastiani, Merlot, Sonoma 2004.
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This is where I had a revelation. The sweet wine and the foie gras was the best thing that I put in my mouth. I mean, I did not think a sweet dessert wine and a rich unctuous piece of meat would work together. But Craig, out server, recommended this and WOW-it made sense!

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Our superlative server Craig

Some members of our dining party had never had foie gras before. I explained that to me it was like bird bacon. Really, now that I think about it, it is more bird cracklins. We stopped talking to each other to eat this amazing plate of food.

Then we had yohboh's favorite course- the beef course. Pecan Wood Grilled Waygu Skirt Steak with wood Grilled Hen of the Woods Mushrooms with the Park 75 steak sauce.
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Yohboh noticed they were serving tenderloin on the bone. The chef explained how that cut was created and let us sample some.
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In addition, we got some truffle fries with truffle aioli.
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The wine was a Startton Lummis, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2007.
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I love beef. I am Korean, and our word for meat and beef are the same. Yohboh loves beef, did you see the title of this blog? The Waygu steak was sous vide. It was full of flavor and remarkably tender. In fact, it was just as tender as the tenderloin. There were certain people who ate the truffle fries and started acting a little strange and declared the aioli to be crack.

Then we had a selection of cheeses:
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I do not remember what the cheese on the left was (BAD FOOD BLOGGER!) but it was paired with honey. The combination of the two was had a taste reminiscent of butterscotch and I mean that in the best possible way. The middle one was a goat's cheese which was paired with a beet puree and an arugla pesto. The earthiness of this pairing was a great contrast to the butterscotchy honey and cheese on the left. The cheese on the right was a brie like cheese that was paired with fig jam.

We also got a BONUS cheese which was a Brillat Savarin, which is one of my favorite cheeses so again with my Happy Tongue Dance.
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So for our ninth course we got dessert, Creme Brulee with peaches and raspberries and Raspberry Truffle Cake.

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And Inniskillin Vidal Ice Wine, Niagra Peninsula 2004
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This is Mark, the pastry chef posing with his caramel corn,
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And Mark with his pink pastry knife. It is pink for breast cancer.
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I love dessert. I love chocolate. I was actually angry at my stomach that it did not have enough room to finish this.

We dined for FOUR hours.

Would I do this again? Yes, it was an amazing dining experience surrounded by wonderful people. Unfortunately, the wait list for this is long.

If you are interested, a chef's table is 150 dollars per person for eight courses with wines. Up to ten diners can participate in a chef's table. It is recommended you call for the reservations at 404-253-3840. It is not available on Sunday and Monday. Be prepared to be flexible on your dining date, since there is such a high demand.

Here is the open table link if you would like to reserve a table at Park 75.

I was not paid for this post and the effusive opinions of this post are purely mine. I did get THE BEST MEAL OF MY LIFE.