Monday, April 19, 2010

Skate, tomatoes, & thyme!...

I lurve skate! It's so springy! The fishmonger said it has a 'scallop' like texture but I think it's kinda closer to chilean sea bass (not as fatty) but, not fibrous like scallop, not thin and flaky or stiff like other fish...sea bass with a bit of oomph! I lurve it!

The last time I had skate it was awesome. I didn't know skate breaks down faster than other fish (since it's not! Case in point.) But anyhoo, so when skate breaks down, it releases uric acid from its skin. I hadn't kept it *that* long but uh...when I was eating it I thought to myself, "HRMM hrmm HRMM. this tastes rather...menthol-y. And intriguingly...reminiscent dye -.- in terms of smell." And there you go! The urea translates to a pungent ammonia smell/taste! VOILA!! GENIUS MOVE!

Skate fish, tomatoes & thyme...

I was congested that night and...hadn't noticed anything prior to cooking. Except that the skate fillet had released a bit of liquid in the paper package. Silly, silly, daft, incomprehensibly oblivious fooooool that I am. BRAVAAAAA. Anyway, the sauce I made that time was *the BizzoOomB*! It didn't taste that pungently of Pine-sol and cleaners, esp w/ my kick ass reduction so bow chicka bow wowww I've recreated the dish tonight. With fresh skate!!

I used borsari salt on the skate, sauteed it skin side down with butter & olive oil and garlic for about 1 min, flipped that bitch and left it on for about 40s or so b/f adding the tomaaaters! Which...of course I seasoned with sprigs of thyme and a few dashes of fish sauce! :D :D :D

The first two below show the early. Yummmaaay. Springy springy! The thyme makes it kinda...bright/subtly minty feeling. Thyme and dill! i sure like'em. Rosemary more for roasting, esp mah starches but...I don't care to use them for much else.

Skate fish, tomatoes & thyme...Skate fish, tomatoes & thyme...
Skate fish, tomatoes & thyme...Skate fish, tomatoes & thyme...

I broke the wing in two. A giant brown fan isn't that interesting to look at. The skate wings are pretty massive--about $6.99/lb which is essentially one wing! MASSIVE!! Corrugated looking! Wee! The combo of fish sauce and browned butter added a *lot* more color to the fleshy side of the skate fillet but WHATEBBS i lurve the coloring! You can see the liquids bubbling for a bit up there.SEE? I dunno, I can see how fun it is for me to poke this fish repeatedly and how it has a mild flavor which the texture complements (or at least adds to the fun of the fish, in my opinion). It doesn't flake at all like other white fish, and doesn't come off in chunks or glistens like chilean sea bass. BUT YAY!

I much prefer eating this with soba noodles, kind of like the chicken I make similarly to this but diff seasoning in the sauces. The tomatoes get pretty thick and coats the noodles really well (I for some reason don't really like it with italian pastas--i think b/c the soba has a much cleaner taste, esp the buckwheat!).

I don't want to rewrite the recipe again b/c I'm *lazy* so just...saute & season skate wing skin side down with garlic for 1 min, flip and saute for a bit then throw in tomaters and sprigs of thyme, add water if necessary (depending on how much tomatoes u put in). At the end I kind of leave it on low heat w/ the lid on to steam a smidge to maintain springiness and for the tomato sauce not to reduce too much! throw in some butter last min if u want!! :D

Friday, April 16, 2010

Pulino's with the Moms & Albee!...

A couple wks ago I took Mama Ly to Pulino's for lunch when she visited. A bit self serving since I really wanted to check it out before it got too crazy crowded/popular (note: way too late for that, even lunch service on a weekday was insufferably crowded and with about 20-30 min wait.)

Btw that coral-orangey concoction is Pulino's alternative to orangina which looks like seltzer meets grinadine or something!! Not tasty. Albee didn't drink a drop of it besides the tester sip!

We got the red cabbage salad with pancetta, oranges, honey, pecorino, and sunchokes (yay! long story, post later re: to meal I made entirely of sunchokes). Pretty mild tasting salad--didn't really taste the pecorino, sunchokes were a bit soggy but I guess I just like mine a bit undercooked with some crunch to it.

We tried the Atlantic Cod--mama ly likes her fish! She's not too other foodie favorites (she thought Ippudo was just more ramen! Blasphemy!) so I figured in between fancy pizza pies and sunchokes I'd placate and feed her well with some fish! Strangely it was a bit more foodie than I thought it would be (for her). *sad face*.

It came looking like a cassoulet with octopus braised in red wine, sausage, fregola (kind of like israeli couscous), and fennel. Makes for different flavors than she's used to! Albee and I liked it, but the Moms was right--there was a distinct fishy/game-y smell on account of the slow cooked Octopus. Kind of...not fun once u notice. That shizz lingered!

Other than that, I thought the taste of the sauce fr the red wine reduction was pretty damn good and I ended up buying some fregola for myself at Buon Italia in Chelsea Markets! As u can see, we liked it just fine (minus that smell. BOO!).

Pizza!--Albee decided upon the Salsiccia (we were both torn between that and the Porchetta pizza) but the Salsiccia won over on account of the chiles and broccoli rabe. TASTY! Me likey.

I had a chance to eat Motorino and I feel like Pulino's has this Motorino meets Roberta's vibe in terms of some small plates and pizza (like the Hen of the Woods mushroom dish, some cabbagey things and their meat pizzas--except that Spreck one @ Roberta's was extra awesome in comparison to Salsiccia if u're going for the meats over sauce. Pulino sauce is goooood).

What I really wanted to try were the breakfast/brunch dishes like the kale frittata, the trippa finta all'amatriciana (which is just eggs in red amatriciana sauce: pecorino, guanciale--the sauce which i'm the shizz at making!! :P...and I always love eggs in casserole!) Also wanted to try in the entrees the lamb ragu and scallops. The rest of the pizzas also look interesting but don't vary much! Burrata with beets definitely on my radar for next time. DAMN! need to remember to go in large groups so we can order the entire menu!! :D

There is a sweet pizza section which looks interesting as well, a bit gimmicky but I'm sure I won't be saying that when I'm craving it for brunch!! That's all for Pulino's post. Bar Breton, Pastapalooza, Trufflepaloozza up next! Then Marea (still need to look up our dinner deets!), Relish Diner, and Easter shizz. WOOHOO the prodigal kid returns!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Blue Bottle Coffee and Shiny Things!...

Can we say...summer is here? Or well, springtime with a dash of wack weather and dee-lishousss iced coffee is here?

I know I know, I've fallen off the face of the earth since November with nary a peep and I apologize--but now I'm back! And not to worry, I've been eating and snapping away (and had a photo show of my best foodstuffs!) since then. Good news is I'll be starting my second Masters in Fall 2010 so I'll have *plenty* more time for food photography for at least another 2 yrs! Five yrs if I can continue on w/ my PhD! WOOHOO! But for now I'll start with Blue Bottle Coffee, new spankin'ly opened in Williamsburg on Berry between N. 4th and N. 5th st. And Relish for dinner. and...Pulino's in another post!!

For expediency, I'm gonna not research the coffee & the shop (originating in SF), u can read it on So, I say we gaze further at pretty pictures I took :) Onto other pictures with relevance and substance! like...interior shots and of the machines! :D And human workers!

I don't know much about coffee. I can't really drink it since I bypass the energy boost and go straight to jitters, nausea, and clammy-ness across the board! I get soy chais @ starbux and the blended mochas at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf once in blue moon. I have done espresso shots and some coffee here and there so I can definitely taste the difference and nuances in flavor. Alls I know is, the best coffee I've had is Sant Eustachio in Rome (seriously, and not b/c of my n00b palate but...sweet jebus!) and worst I've had is Champignon on 7th ave b/w 22nd and 21st!! deeeeskusting!

This is the slow drip they do--kind of fun to watch, one might assume this is exactly why they put it right up front by the register with a mere sheet of glass between the plebians and baristas so we can watch the magic happen!
So, again, I know nothing of fancy coffee and equipment--except the machines. mmmMMmm damn those are nice. Anyhoo, I can only suppose these shiny contraptions below are elaborate drippers of sorts. Part of me is reminded of O-Chem lab back in the day when we did fractional distillation with similar looking things, except I spent most of the time making tin-foil hats and watching the beakers boil. YAY education!

The three of us got the New Orleans iced coffee (which had a bite to it! very nice tho, good flavor, we're told it needs milk and some sugar tho, even at home).

The only other ice coffee offered was the Kyoto which when I coincidentally ran into our friend Gary afterwards, who said he got the Kyoto and it tasted not like coffee at all but liquid dried blueberries. My mind and tastebuds are still processing that description. And coming up blank. Kinda grossed out. But not really. Mostly...blank. :)

Some offerings to for at home roasting!...

And thus concludes my official post back. :)

...AAAaaAaannd I leave u with a giant picture of some knobs on the espresso machine and the grinder. And a dirty towel. *the end*.