Monday, October 24, 2016

LAW 107; A love affair with cauliflower

Cauliflower has always been one of my favorite veggies, raw or cooked i say bring it on. It is an incredibly versatile player in the culinary games; stew it, fry it, grill it, puree it, bake it, roast it. The list of styles and ethnicities of the humble cauliflower goes on and on.

Last night's entry into the cauliflower sweepstakes will certainly becomes a staple dish here on the Floating Empire. So simple, so delicious; stovetop roasted Cauliflower. Yum, yum, yum. I'm sorry i honestly do not remember which Facebook feed i tracked this down from. When i asked Dr. Google he came up with many variations, but not the site that i remember.

Regardless, it is simplicity it self, and i will share it with you. What you need: a cauliflower, approximately 3 TB of butter, sea salt, fresh sprig of thyme or rosemary, a couple of Tablespoons of red wine vinegar and a stove top safe deep dish pan with lid, preferably of course good cast iron.

Trim the cauliflower in the normal fashion, taking care to slice the bottom end so that it can set evenly in the pan. Melt the butter, throw in the herb, sprinkle the cauliflower with salt, cover, turn the heat down to low/medium low and walk away for at least 25 minutes, perhaps as much as 35. I would err on the side of less time than more. At this point the bottom of the cauliflower will be completely caramelized and smell unbelievably good. The cauliflower is likely completely tender at this point. Carefully flip up over, cover and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes. All you are doing here is adding a nice brown crust to the top. Gently flip back right side up onto a pretty serving platter. Deglaze the pan with a couple of TB of red wine vinegar, reduce and serve over the cauliflower. The site i got this from recommended serving it with a Hazelnut Gremolata, which i made, blithely substituting for everything i did not have, which was pretty much everything in the recipe. It was still recognizable, but of a slightly different species. Honestly i won't go to the trouble the next time i make this, it was simply to good naked.

Although we did indeed consume the entire head of cauliflower between the two of us, it wasn't the only thing on the menu. Our good buddy Justin, fish monger extraordinare of Geresbeck's fame brought in some whole red snapper the other day. This is not an ordinary event and of course we immediately decided that we would feast on red snapper. Since the weekend was incredibly windy we opted to bake it in parchment, Spanish style. Stuffed with lots of lemon slices, shallots, fresh thyme and stuffed green olives. I bedded it in a puddle of tomato sauce, and topped it with a little more. This, in lieu of our first choice, grilling over an open fire. It was good, but nothing beats whole fish on the grill.

We raved about the cauliflower all night long, it was great, it's not often that a vegetable side dish will completely eclipse a really good entree.

More later

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

LAW 106: Dinner anyone?

One of things that fall means if you live on the Chesapeake Bay is the change of emphasis on just which shelled sea creature will grace your dinner table. The tide and the seasons swing inexorably  in a great circle and our dinner plates here reflect that.

In spring we gear up for crab season, waiting impatiently for those tasty little spiders of the sea. Oh but way before summer is over i, at least, start seriously jonesing for oysters. September rolls around, technically it is the start of Oyster Season, but alas, the water is still to warm and the crabs are still abundant.

This past Saturday that all changed. A slipmate came knocking on our door with the offer of fresh caught oysters. We didn't say no! So armed with a bucket full of oysters they had plucked from the Kent Narrows that morning we prepared for an evening of epicurean gluttony.

Venus, oops, i mean Oysters on the half shell

Evidence! This is round one from Saturday evening. As you can see we enjoy our condiments with our oysters, but let me tell you, they were so wonderfully fresh and briny that we mostly just ate them naked. Surprisingly we were incapable of eating all of them Saturday night. We shared the last dozen or so Sunday afternoon with friends and family here in the marina.

Last night we finally got around to grilling the Black Sea Bass that we had been given. Have i ever mentioned that people in marina's take care of each other? We do. Any way the sea bass was a gift from our local fishmonger. He was passing on the bounty as it had been gifted to him.

Yum yum. Fresh sea bass, stuffed with garlic, sea salt, olive oil and fresh herbs grilled over hickory. Oh my, heaven; not to mention the butternut squash, also roasted over hickory and broccoli with garlic, shallots oyster sauce, ginger and yellow bean paste.

Yes of course there were bones! A finger lickin experience.

Somehow we refrained from eating everything in sight. The squash was really big. With astonishing foresight i cut the halves into half. Roasting it all, buy saving the cups for breakfast.

Into the pan!

Anyone for 'poached' fresh eggs? Yes, free range, yes, also a gift from another slip mate. Anyway, eggs and squash Not a bad way to start the day.

Ready to dig in.

Hmmm, maybe we should all just forget about money and live in a gift economy.

For dessert a shot of the Super moon of the other night.

Night shots are so difficult and the moon comes up so fast.

More later,