Sunday, November 22, 2009

Tiki Weekend!

We sent the Boy off to his grandparents so we could enjoy a day with our friends from Fordyce. The wives attended Doane College together and have remained good friends since graduation. We introduced them to Mt. Fuji Inn in Omaha many years ago and decided to have a little get together at our place this weekend.

I had the bar ready to go and we made Mai Tai's, Reef's, Captain's Grogs, Flaming Coconaut's, Royal Hawaiian's and a couple I can't remember! I squeezed a mess of limes, lemons, oranges and a white grapefruit in the afternoon so I'd be ready to play bartender. I love playing mix-master as much as I love cooking. The only thing missing was a true tiki bar where I could create my magic like Blair.

We've always enjoyed finger foods while imbibing in tropical drinks so Mindy and I went a bit crazy with food. I prepared two kinds of baby back ribs, a sweet and smokey version on the grill, another with hoisin sauce, ginger, and other asian flavorings in the oven. A large chunk of roast prepared with more asian spices and seasonings in the dutch oven. And a grilled Thai chicken satay with a spicy peanut sauce with red curry paste and a "salad" of thin sliced cucumber/red onion/jalapeno in a tasty vinagrette. We picked up some spring rolls, crab rangoon, egg rolls and dumplings from two of our favorites in the city.
I neglected to take pictures of the food for you so you'll have to trust me that it was all great. I encourage you to enjoy what you like. No matter how silly or ridiculous it may seem to others, if you like it, do it. Then do it again!

Mr. Schieffer did a terffic job scarfing down those ribs and helping me drink those Fog Cutter's with the float of bristol cream sherry on top. Very tasty indeed and I look forward to your next visit so we can sample some of the bottles from the top shelf!

Have a great short week everyone and Happy Thanksgiving!

Have I mentioned that I like food?

Mindy grew brussel sprouts this year and we harvested them back on the 15th. That same day I braised them with garlic and wine vinegar served with a quick rigatoni with sweet chicken Italian sausage. I cut the Boy's serving into more managable slices but left mine whole for that more authentic Italian feel. The sprouts were delicious and I hope we can produce more next year. Sprouts have become a favorite in this household and that's a good thing. Tasty!

I tried a Thai recipe from Leela for another quick mid-week meal the other day. I was sure that the Boy wouldn't even touch it. But to my surprise he scarfed it down and asked for more. Khao Na Gai, thai chicken in brown sauce was quick, simple and tasty. Served with some steamed Jasmine rice and julienned scallion, it was delicious. I will gladly make this dish again. The "Spindrift" in the second picture is an awesome drink courtesy of Tiarre.

We went to the Asian market on the west side of North 27th street Friday night and picked up some items for other dishes I'll be trying. They were out of Kaffir lime leaves and I was bummed about that but excited to have taken the Boy with us and he loved walking the packed aisles looking at all the interesting things.

We had guests over the weekend and hopefully we wowed them with food and drink and I will make that the next post.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

One if by land, two if by sea!

No, we're not having a revolution on West A Street. I just couldn't come up with a better Title for Grilled Scallops with Pistachio Butter and Pork Loin with Orange-Pomegranate Sauce.

I usually sear some scallops in a pan with some olive oil, maybe a little shallot. Then wilt some fresh tender greens and mushrooms with some balsamic vinegar and a touch of salt and pepper. But I had these big sea scallops calling my name Saturday afternoon and with the weather being so good lately (Thanks a lot October!) why not grill them? I sometimes make a sauce for chicken scallopini that consists of finely chopped pistachios, butter and honey. So why not adapt one for the scallops. Just leave out the honey, add some fresh chopped parsley, salt and pepper and you're there. I dried the scallops and seasoned them with crushed red pepper flakes, coarse salt and a drizzle of olive oil. They didn't knock my socks off but they were pretty good.

Today was perfect again for grilling so let's cook some nice juicy tender pork. Made a paste of minced garlic, chili powder, salt, pepper and olive oil. Slathered it on a pork loin and let it sit for a half hour or so. I set up for indirect grilling and used the stainless steel divider to keep some of the heat down. The cowboy charcoal I've been using burns really really hot and the divider helps keep the temp down so the pork cooks slowly and retains a ton of moisture. I had a little over two pounds of meat and after one hour it registered 160 degrees. I brought it inside, covered it with foil and made the sauce.

Orange juice, pomegranate juice, balsamic vinegar and honey. Bring to a boil then simmer for about 15 minutes. The volume will reduce and the product will turn to a syrup consistency. Hit it with a dash of salt and serve warm. I sliced the pork into nice portions and drizzled the sauce over the top. I really liked this dish and will make it again.

Cocktails consisted of Mindy having a "Royal Hawaiian" of pineapple juice, lemon juice, orgeat syrup and gin. While I had a "Voodoo Priestess" of dark rum, spiced rum, brandy, orange, lime and lemon juice, a dash of orange bitters and Voodoo Priestess Spice syrup. The syrup is made from cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, ground allspice and demerara sugar dissolved in boiling water and then cooled.

It was a good weekend. Hope yours was too! Have a good week.