Sunday, July 31, 2011

Gingered Salmon

After Bestie came over a few weeks ago, she was appalled by the lack of food in my fridge so she was kind enough to drive me to the grocery store. I took the time to buy some ingredients for a recipe I wanted to try.  I was flipping through my Food and Wine magazine when I saw the recipe for Gingered Salmon with Grilled Corn and Watercress Salad.  Something about slivers of ginger stuffed in salmon just sounded so good, and even better when I realized it would be cooked on a skewer! Although it was delicious, I made a few mistakes with this one. I’ll point them out and let you know what I would have done differently.

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons canola oil
5 ears of corn, shucked
Four 6-ounce skin-on salmon fillets
20 small slices of pickled ginger
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon honey
1 clove garlic, sliced
1/4 cup of onions, julienned 
1 bunch of spinach

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a small saucepan, boil ½ cup of balsamic vinegar until reduced to 3 tablespoons, about 5 minutes. Let the reduction cool then stir in 1 tablespoon of canola oil.  Heat a grill pan and grill the corn over high heat, turning until nicely charged.  

Let it cool. Using a serrated knife cut the kernels from the cob.  Arrange the salmon fillets skin side down. Using the tip of a sharp knife, make five ½-inch-deep slits crosswise in the flesh of each fillet. Stuff 1 slice of ginger into each slit, then thread each fillet lengthwise with a short skewer.

The first error I made was buying such thin slabs of salmon.  Although this was fresh Atlantic and tasted amazing, I should have opted for larger pieces even if it was previously frozen.  This made it difficult to cut slits deep enough to stuff the ginger and still have room to stick the skewer through.  The next step requires a large, ovenproof skillet. Another mistake! I really need to buy an oven-proof skillet. IMMEDIATELY! Shame on me.

Well, you’re supposed to heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil on the skillet. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and add the fillets to the skillet skin side down.  This was fine until I realized that my skewers were too long! I had to snap them while cooking which was awful. Cook the salmon over moderately high heat until the skin is lightly golden.  That part I got right!  

You’re then supposed to put the skillet in the oven and roast the salmon for about 6 minutes, turning once halfway through.  I put the salmon in the oven but shouldn’t have turned it over! It left the fish looking very unattractive.  While the salmon was cooking, I quickly put the spinach in a hot pan with garlic and onions until it was wilted.

In a large bowl, whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons of balsamic with the mustard and honey.  Gradually whisk the remaining canola oil into the dressing.  Add the corn and the spinach to the bowl and toss to coat.  Transfer the spinach and corn to the plate and top with skewered salmon.  Drizzle the fish and salad with balsamic reduction and serve immediately.

Overall the recipe turned out great. I opted for spinach and I wouldn’t call that a mistake, but I wills ay that because it wilts so much, I really should have had more spinach than I used. I had tons of left over dressing!  It was delicious though!

Hungry yet?

Spicy Vegetable Omelette

I almost didn’t write this post, but I figured it was a good example of how leftovers can work out.  I really have Bestie to thank for this meal.  Her concern regarding my lack of food meant she was doing the most when she was here about a month ago.  After our dinner at Do Hwa, we came home with most of our sides.  The next morning, she whipped up a magnificent omelette with some fresh veggies from Ithaca and some of our leftovers.

6 egg whites
¼ cup Kimchi
4 big leaves of Swiss Chard
¼ broccoli or any other vegetable you have

Mix the egg whites in a bowl, add the vegetables.  Heat a skillet to medium heat and add non-stick cooking spray.  Pour the eggs in there and turn to low heat.  This is a slow cook process because the vegetables are raw.  You want them to still maintain some crispness when you’re done but don’t want them to be completely raw.  After about 5 minutes, the eggs should solidify around the vegetables and the cooking process is over! Now cut in half and share with your best friend :)

We ate it with a slice of toast and it was way more delicious than I anticipated.  The kimchi added a nice spicy bite. Just goes to show you, sometimes you best bet is to dig in your fridge and make something out of whatever is there.

Hungry yet? 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Chocolat Restaurant Lounge

A while back, in my hotel living days, I walked by Chocolat frequently. I was tempted enough that I ended up going to brunch with Ms. R. I ordered the French Toast and was quite happy with they way it turned out.

It was well flavored, rich but not overdone. The glutton in me couldn't help ordering the potatoes.

It was good but not great. Definitely not worth ordering especially when there's a delicious plate of French Toast worth eating. Ms. R ordered the Eggs Benedict.

After my one adventure late last year, I definitely stay away. Apparently she should have stayed away from this one. She noted that the hollandaise sauce was a mess. In short, she said, "I've had better eggs Benedict." Ouch! While we were eating we spied a delicious treat in the form of a Calamari Salad. Though I was tempted, we managed to contain ourselves. But I vowed to return so I could devour the calamari. Several months later, I made good on my promise. This time, I was accompanied to dinner with Ms. K. We started with the Sesame Calamari.

It really was everything I hoped for. Hot pieces of crispy calamari gently placed on a bed of greens and drizzled with a delightful miso ginger dressing and peanut sauce. Wow! This definitely could have been my entree. Every bite was perfect!! We also tried the Shrimp and Crab spring rolls. 

Womp womp! Greaseball central. My fingers were greasy and the wrapper was crumbling. The filling was unappetizing and I couldn't keep eating after a few bites. Before our entrees arrived, we were asked to move tables because they had a party of four coming in and there wasn't enough space. What an odd request. Well we got up and moved.  I guess it’s a good thing that the restaurant was so full on a Sunday night. Eventually our entrees arrived. Ms. K ordered the Beef Short Ribs. It was served with a creamy saffron risotto. 

Apparently the meat was so tender it reminded her of the one her mother used to make. She really enjoyed it. I ordered the Miso Glazed Salmon with bak choy and basmati rice.

The glaze was a little heavy and the rice slightly undercooked. The flavors were good just not perfect. By far the best thing we ate was the Calamari. It was amazing and I could definitely see myself going back for that. Everything else was take it or leave it, including the service. I recommend Chocolat but I think it's best you go there with muted enthusiasm. It definitely seems like a hit or miss on many levels.

Hungry yet?

Chocolat Restaurant and Lounge on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 11, 2011

Stone Street Tavern

After celebrating Ms. O's birthday in style the night before, I woke up famished. Thankfully we had already agreed to head to Stone Street Tavern for brunch. While sitting outside was an option we decided to stay indoors and enjoy a little of the air conditioning. The brunch menu has a lot of options and they had an additional menu with some specials. After spending a little time with the menu, we were ready to order. Considering the size of our group, our food arrived pretty quickly. Unfortunately, it was riddled with errors.

Mr. J ordered the Stuffed French Toast, which he had been raving about since the night before.

He knew immediately that there was something wrong with it. Turns out they sometimes stuff their French toast with bananas. That's called Bananas Foster French Toast. Mr. J's order was corrected and this arrived.

Yup, definitely what he wanted. Blueberries, mascarpone and vanilla sauce. That's what he signed up for.  Mr. M and the elder Ms. O ordered the Huevos Quesadilla.

The quesadilla was filled with cheddar jack cheese, jalapeño, pico de gallo, guacamole and sour cream. It also was advertised as coming with a fried egg. The egg was barely fried it was running all over Mr. M's plate. The waitress told Mr. M that the quesadilla was served with steak fries. Lies!! No fries were delivered. Ms. O's Hangover Burger was served with fries.

The burger was filled with cheddar, bacon, fried egg and onions. Ms. O also asked for mayonnaise and hollandaise. Our waitress forgot - shock! Mrs. A ordered the Omelette Special. The spinach, tomatoes and goat cheese were what made it special but she asked them to hold the goat cheese. It looked really good and I definitely had some food envy.

Mr. A ordered the Bacon Egg and Cheese sandwich. No cheese of course. He seemed to enjoy his sandwich.  

I ordered the Salmon Scramble. I asked for no cream cheese.

Of course it was served with cream cheese. The waitress was just not on it. I would put her name out here but I'm hoping it was just an off day. It was also just way too salty! I could barely stand to eat it. The home fries were good though. The company was great so the meal was worth it. If they got our orders right it would have been even better. They may have just been punishing us for sitting inside instead of out.  Overall I can say I was definitely underwhelmed, not whelmed and definitely not overwhelmed.

Hungry yet?

Stone Street Tavern on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Do Hwa

I've been trying to get a little more variety in the types of cuisine I try when I go out to eat. So when blackboard eats had a coupon for Do Hwa I quickly grabbed the offer. Of course Bestie is always willing to try new places with me so we happily venture to the Korean restaurant.

Located in the village, it was a bit of a hike but on a convenient subway line so it was an easy trip. We walked into the dimly lit restaurant and were initially in the bar area which is separate from the main dining room. The hostess is on the other end of the bar so the poor set up was initially confusing. Once we got past that part, we were seated at the best table in the house. We happily settled in then attacked the menu. We were in agreement about ordering Mul Mandu to start.

The home-style boiled kimchi and shrimp dumplings were incredible. They were stuffed full of shrimp and kimchi. They had a spicy kick at the end of each bite. The dumpling wrapper was extremely light and there was never a point where I felt I was eating wrapper with no filling. I was truly sad when I ate my last bite because it was just that good. While we were waiting for our entrees, our sides arrived.

The entrees are served with seasonal side dishes. It was quite the spread that they brought out for us.  

Candied daikon and squid, jellied mungbean, 

Bean sprouts and broccoli 

then of course the cabbage and kim chi. 

Bestie ordered the Heymul gook su.  

Those sautéed udon noodles with shrimp and squid can be made spicy or not.  Obviously she chose spicy. The udon was remarkable. They were buttery goodness and definitely left sweetness to the spice. The shrimp tasted like it was just plucked out of the ocean, as did the squid. I definitely had a case of food envy! 

My entree the Dak Dori Tang eventually arrived.

The chicken stewed in chili sauce with potatoes and carrots was spectacular. They used dark meat, which made all the difference because the stew was quite filling and I actually ended up eating the rest the next day and it was spectacular.

We were stuffed silly by the time we finished so we couldn't even head across the street to Sweet Revenge. They did give us a slice of a Blood Orange to wrap up the meal.

The meal was incredible. When most people think about Korean food they think about BBQ. While Do Hwa does offer BBQ, you shouldn't feel limited to just that part of the menu.

Hungry yet?

Do Hwa on Urbanspoon