Hello, mighty followers of The Dumpling Diary! Greetings from Peterborough, land of the ancient Pbo-ians (I will not mention Ewwcastle, Land of Splashpants). Despite the fact Jon and I had bargained for a table festooned with tasty peasant-y delights, we have found ourselves eating many high-grade ingredients (thank you to Kim, Jon’s mother, wary of letting us succumb to starvation), although for one reason or another, without 100% success from our attempts. I blame this on inadequate substitutions. It turns out you simply cannot forego sour cream in any Beef Stroganoff. Oh well. Life goes on.
Despite our several almost-culinary disasters (Oh, I am harsh!), we have gracefully redeemed ourselves with a few gems. Jon got his first taste of an impromptu Rose sauce with our tortellini, prior to racing to an unknown event at the lake, which I can painfully reveal to you as an Eagles tribute band, and thousands of forty-something Pbo-ians clapping veraciously, drunkenly. This town knows how to have a good time. The smiling achievement of a Danish Blue Cheese and Plum salad was a pleasant offset to the Stroganoff (which remains in an upscale, steakified Hamburger Helper-esque state in the fridge). The other night finally saw victory in Red Rice and Balsamic Green Beans, accompanying Pesto Bean Cakes. In the name of all things Holy. Yes!!!
With our arrival in Peterborough came a satisfying membership to the public library, positively littered with Anthony Bourdain paraphernalia, and I am riddled with delight. Finally, as the previous post mentions, I have been able to get my hands on “Kitchen Confidential,” and read compulsively till complete. I don’t plan on giving you the entire lowdown on it, because hundreds of critics have already done as such (Amazon.com?), and it’s just best if you read the book for yourself. For an at-home Bourdainiac or foodie, it’s a highly amusing and chuckle-worthy read. For someone pursuing a culinary endeavour, maybe in the business or in school (such as myself and Jon) it will immediately become, what else, the bible. I know I’m rather (very, very) late in reading “Kitchen Confidential,” but if you haven’t yet, maybe you should too. You are reading this ridiculous food blog right now, after all.
Anyhow, here are some rezz-pees.
Rose Sauce That is Better Than an Eagles Tribute Band
I’d like to note that I’ve made a mockery of traditional Italian Rose sauce with this recipe. I have been immersing myself in books with a twinge of Acadian and Cajun folklore, and have thus been obligated to satisfy these cravings. It turned out well, nonetheless, I think. We used raw garlic right in the sauce (take that, traditional culinary methods!!!), for an extra punch, too.
3 Tbsp butter
3-4 Tbsp flour, as needed
2 cups milk (roughly, and feel free to use some cream in place of milk, if you so desire)
2 cloves finely (finely!) minced garlic
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped finely
½ tsp salt, or to taste
¼ tsp fresh black pepper
1 ½ tsp paprika
2-3 tsp hot sauce (we used Frank’s, shmucks we are.) OR ½ – ¾ tsp cayenne if you prefer.
1 cup tomato sauce
¼ cup parmesan or romano cheese
If you know how to make a béchamel (white sauce), you’re golden. In a saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter, and stir in flour, enough to make a bit of a paste-like texture. Let the flour taste cook out, about 1-2 minutes. Remove pan from heat, and slow stir in milk (unless you’re using cream, you fiend), a little at a time, till the roux (flour and butter) is incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Use a whisk if you have to. Return mixture to heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Stir in all other ingredients at this point, and let simmer about 5-10 minutes.
Crouching Plum, Hidden Danish Salad
About ½ head of red leaf lettuce (or romaine), washed and torn into bite-size pieces.
2 red plums, pitted and cut into sections, about 6-8 per plum
2-3 oz. Danish Blue Cheese, crumbled
¼ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped lightly
2 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
3-4 Tbsp olive oil (depending on how acidic you like a vinaigrette, of course)
1 ½ Tbsp brown sugar
pinch salt and pepper
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped finely (I wouldn’t be opposed to mint, in it’s place, though)
Prepare vinaigrette by mixing all ingredients in a sealed container and shaking vigorously (the container, not your ass. Well, I don’t really care. Do what you want). Mix lettuce and plums, dress with vinaigrette, top with crumbled blue cheese and walnuts.
Balsamic Green Beans
There’s not much to say about this one. I wanted something Southern-y, that did not involve Colonel Sanders. Oh, and it’s good.
4 strips bacon
4 cups fresh green beans, ends snapped
2 cloves (or 1 large) fresh garlic, minced
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp white sugar
salt and pepper, to taste
Parboil green beans in water, 5-7 minutes till still slightly crisp and very green. Shock in ice water. Meanwhile, fry bacon in a skillet, and when crisp, remove and set aside, discarding all but 2-3 tsp of fat, leaving that in skillet. Add beans to the skillet and sauté 2-3 minutes, along with garlic. Next, add balsamic vinegar, sugar, and reserved bacon, and sauté another minute or two. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Pesto Bean Cakes
2 cups (1 can) cooked beans (preferable white kidney or romano)
1 – 1 ½ cups fresh bread crumbs
1 large clove minced garlic
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
3-4 Tbsp walnuts, chopped (preferably toasted first)
2 tsp fresh basil, chiffonade.
4 Tbsp parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp olive oil
flour, for dredging
2 Tbsp olive oil
In a medium sized bowl, mash beans with a fork or potato masher. Stir in remaining ingredients (regarding the bread crumbs, enough so the mix isn’t too sticky to handle), except flour and 2 Tbsp olive oil. Form each cake-to-be into a ball about 3 Tbsp in size, which will allow around 10 cakes. Form each ball into a small “patty,” or “cake,” shape (about ½ – ¾ “ in height and 3 ½ – 4 “ in diameter), and dredge in flour, shaking off any excess. Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat, and add 2 Tbsp olive oil. Fry 3-4 minutes on each side, till golden brown. Serve alone or with an aioli of sorts.
Well, that’s all for now. So, in the words of fabulous old-timey AM talk radio, “Now you know: The rest of the story.”
This is Megohm signing out. We finally have a computer again. Booyachaka.