Once again, this summer, had the privilege of spending a week at the family place in the mountains. This year, the cooking was even more challenging due to the oven not lighting, thus limiting the available heat sources to four burners on top and the small grill I borrowed from my dad. However, with some searching of this blog's archives, I was able to come up with some tasty dishes, though I was once again taken by surprise by some of the appearing/disappearing gear -- this year, no liquid measuring cup to be found. And the local super-market was getting set to close (to be re-opened later this year as an independent or so I hear), so I'm glad I planned ahead and brought many ingredients with me as pickings were sparse.
The night I arrived, my family was conveniently preparing steak, and I had brought along the ingredients for the cucumber relish. It appeared to be much enjoyed by all. And my sister made these great fried-potatoes. A couple more family meals (like barbecued chicken, for which I made a sort of stir-fried summer squash with bread crumbs and parmesan) and then I was left to my own devices for a few days, during which I ate crab claw meat in butter sauce, and made a salad with some leftover porkchop that had been grilled.
Once my guests began arriving, the cooking kicked into somewhat higher gear. I served pear stuffed pork chops, djaj metisha mesla, risotto style orzo, and a marinated London broil. Again, I was reminded of how things cook differently on a gas stove as opposed to electric, especially when one is attempting to reduce. Also, I have to admit the photography is trickier by gaslight.
When Michael and I went to see Emily Bezar in New York we tried out Turkish restaurant Pasha at 70 West 71st Street.
Sigara Boregi: pan fried filo dough filled with feta, parsley and dill
*Etk Yaprak Sarma: grape leaves stuffed with lamb, rice, tomatoes, mint and herbs, served on a homemade yogurt sauce
*Chicken special, marinated and stuffed with rice and currants
I must admit our favorite Turkish restaurant, and still current champion, is the Istanbul Cafe in New Haven. Their sigara borek (an alternate spelling?) is lighter and crisper. And I have to admit that I wasn't enamored of the main dishes (especially since nowhere on the menu did it mention that there were bell peppers in the rice dressing). The food was still satisfactory, the prices reasonable for the West Side, and the decor was comfortable. We weren't entirely impressed with the service, nor with the difficulty in getting our bill since we had somewhere we wanted to be. Overall, I'd give it 3 out of 5 forks.
Culinary-related books that sold to publishers during June-July 2005 (which means most of them will likely be published sometime next year)... I haven't done one of these updates in simply ages which means I'm probably missing things I'd like to add to my collection. Garnered from a variety of sources.
*Chef, restauranteur, and author of the 1-2-3 cookbook series Rozanne Gold's THE NEW GOLD STANDARD, billed as the "only cookbook you will ever need" with 650 classic recipes, to Bloomsbury. Also, Gold's KIDS COOK 1-2-3, a whimsically illustrated children's cookbook using only three ingredients to the same publisher.
*Wine experts Steven Kolpan, Brian Smith, and Michael Weiss's updated EXPLORING WINE: The Culinary Institute of America's Guide to Wines of the World, Third Edition, plus WINEWISE, for anyone seeking more knowledge of wine, to Wiley.
*Food writer and cookbook author David Joachim's THE SPAGHETTI SAUCE GOURMET, giving home cooks more than 200 recipes using this important staple in, to Fair Winds Press.
*Cookbook author and globalgourmet.com founder Kate Heyhoe's GREAT BAR FOOD AT HOME: how to prepare classic and contemporary accompaniments for cocktails, wine, and beer, duplicating the no-fuss, carefree-style of the bar, to Wiley.
*Cookbook author Nancie McDermott's SOUTHERN CAKES, time-tested cakes of the American South, to Chronicle.
*Author of Sweets, Patty McAdams' SWEETY PIES: A Collection of Country Pies and Womanish Observations, celebrating the dessert pie as a symbol of comfort, showing how women form meaningful connections through the sharing of recipes, to Taunton.
*Hostess/Interstate Bakeries Corporation's THE TWINKIES COOKBOOK, a compilation of recipes contributed by real people showing the many ways Twinkies can be used in cooking -- both sweet and savory, to Ten Speed Press.
*Chef from Ohio's Mustard Seed Market and Cafe Bev Shaffer's Brownies to Die for!, presenting 210 recipes, to Pelican.
*Susanne Freidberg's FRESH: A Perishable History, a look at the freshness revolution -- the rise of global markets for fresh fruits, vegetables, fish and meat, and how they have radically changed the culture of food over the past century, to Harvard University Press.
*Ian Jackman's 1,000 THINGS TO EAT BEFORE YOU DIE(T), celebrating the lobster roll from a seaside store in Maine, North Carolina pulled pork, breakfast burritos in a Denver diner, and everything in between to Harper.
*Chef and owner of Prune and author of the 8-week Chef's Column in The New York Times Gabrielle Hamilton's BLOOD, BONES AND BUTTER: A French Culinary Education Off the New Jersey Turnpike, which follows Hamilton's unorthodox culinary education, to Penguin.
*Harold McGee's 20th anniversary revised edition of ON FOOD AND COOKING will be translated and published in Japan by Ehime Joshi Tanki Daigaku (which I think is a University Press).
*Seattle-based chef Tom Douglas' third cookbook on seafood specialities and dipping sauces from his several Seattle restaurants, to William Morrow.
For the record, I think the Twinkie one is just wrong. But Ian Jackman's book might be fun to read. And FRESH also sounds intriguing. Nothing here that I'm eager to own. Maybe next month... Need to start building my Christmas list up.