Sep 4, 2009

This Months Menu High-Lights.....

New This Menu:

Well my friends, the menu change has been a hit! The two page format with one page of appetizers and light entree's along with several salads has been very much of a tasting menu for a lot of you. Thank you!!!

Main Entrees

Mediterranean Seafood Stew - Did you know Gary is half Portuguese? His Mom's family was from the beautiful Azores - an incredible tropical island that we will someday visit. His mom was also the kind of cook that could make mud-pies taste good. She taught me the benefit of Linguisa sausage and the role it plays in Portuguese cooking. Kind of like our bacon. The Linguisa renders its fat, and that is used to saute and other parts of the dish, gathering layer after layer of flavors. We are taking large prawns, cod fish and clams, sauteing them with Linguisa, tomatoes and white onions, finishing them with a great saffron stock and fresh fennel sauce, and serving with a mound of Basmati rice. Wonderful. So good sometimes it hurts.

Prawns ala' Casa Gary and I were fortunate to have gone to this great hotel on the beaches of Mexico. The town is named "Troncones" and it is outside of Ixtapa on the coast. It is named Casa de la Serena (double click the name to take your to their web-site).. Debbie and Mike are great hosts, and have a wonderful place for us to totally "veg" out at. The avocado's are the size of my little nephews head (the 5 year old, not the 18 year old), the fish is caught right outside in the ocean and brought to the front door each morning for us to look at and purchase off the boat, and the people are soooooo laid back (groovey man...), that all you can do is relax. So that is what we are going to do again this January.
But I digress.....the Prawns! The Prawns!!! One day, we ordered 2 kilos of fresh prawns and the six of us looked at the amount of them, and said "there is no way we are going to eat all of these.....we will have to invite the village for an after dinner-dinner to eat the rest." (we are very generous that way.....) But we cleaned them, keeping the shells intact, marinated them in a puree of chiles, limes, mangos and oranges, and then barbecued them on an open flame in the shells and started to eat. Well, let me say this with all honesty: I have never seen Sheri or Sally eat so much in my entire life! The men just sat back and told them to please help themselves, thinking they would just eat a little bit, then tell us "I'm so full::::I couldn't eat another thing!" But nooooo.....our little tank-girls consumed more than their fair share, and we poor guys starved and had to subsist on Gold tequila and guacamole. Well, long story short: they are fantastic cooked in the shells, more flavor than you can imagine, messy but soooo good.....try these....Extra napkins on request.

Salmon Wellington - Fresh Pacific salmon filets topped with caramelized leeks and carrots, rubbed with French mustard and tarragon, wrapped in puff pastry and baked until golden. Served topped with a light Meyer lemon beurre blanc. Dee-lish!!!!

Jerk Pork - The "HOT-HEAD" selection this month. I love "jerked" meats and vegetables, and believe it or not, the first place we tasted it was in Cozumel, Mexico. The influenences of the Caribbean, Mexico, Cuba and South America on this little island made my gastronomical juices happier than they have ever been. Hot. No, I mean really, really HOT and spicy and sweet and aromatic and full of flavors that between sweating and dripping, I was ohhh-ing and ahh-ing so much that I wanted to forget about getting back on the cruise ship and just stay there and simmer away....That good. We are taking our Jerk sauce, made with about 25 ingredients of fresh herbs, vegetables and many spices, pureed to a smooth paste, and then cooking the boneless pork and vegetables until they are tender and full of this wonderfulness that HotHeads crave: a #9 on the heat scale. If you love hot spicy foods, you are in heaven. The nice part about this is it can also be a vegetarian option, as the base is meatless. So there Mr. at last.

Appetizers, Small Plates and Light Entrees

Whoo-hoo! Our best girl-friend Sally steered me into this new region of smaller plates and things to try. She is my food concious, the one in the white robe sitting on my right shoulder while I sit on my left shoulder - usually with red on and horns.....

Stuffed Figs: Fresh figs stuffed with Gorgonzola Dolcelatte cheese, wrapped in Proscuitto, and served topped with a bit of a raspberry and Balsamic "gastrique"... a wonderful slowly reduced sauce thick enough to stay on your plate and packed with flavor. Get them while they last.

Market Pasta: Angel hair pasta, tossed with a bit of butter, fresh chopped Heirloom tomatoes, topped with our house-made pesto sauce. Simple, flavorful and to the point.
Ahi Tuna: Rare Ahi tuna, on a bed of baby greens, topped with an Italian infused Meyer lemon olive oil, served with a red chile aioli with toasts.

Gary's Mac and Cheese: He still amazes me after all these years. Still my favorite version, having tasted hundreds of versions of this confort dish. Macaroni pasta, with minced sauteed wild mushrooms, three kinds of cheese, topped with a crunchy topping, baked and topped with a spoonful of sour cream. What could be better than this?

Torta Rustica: Individual puff pastry pies, filled with sauteed veggies, Mozzarella cheese, baked until golden, and served topped with a bit of a roasted garlic and basil cream sauce. Another vegetable dish that makes you forget about meats.

Italian Sausage Polenta: Italian-style polenta cooked slowly with basil, thyme, Parmesan cheese and diced Italian sausages, cut into wedges, pan-sauteed until a bit golden, and then served layered with our house-made Marinara sauce and topped with Fontina cheese and broiled until golden and bubbly.....enough said.

Salade Nicoise - Lightly Dijon dressed greens topped with steamed potatoes, hard cooked eggs, steamed French green beans, artichoke hearts, Roma tomatoe, caper and Nicoise olives then slices of charred rare Ahi Tuna......see picture above.....its delicious.....

Sesame Noodle Salad - Thin noodles dressed in our own Peanut Sesame dressing, topped with celey, carrot slivers, scallions basil and cilantro, and chopped peanuts, served on a bed of baby greens. Served cold, this is such a hot summer dish!!!

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