Tuesday, January 2

Jan 2: The Inauguration of the Bar-B-Q and other News on the Food Front

I can think of no better way to spend an evening in January than barbecuing, if just for the fact that we live in a place where barbecuing in January is no big deal. Take that places that snow.

Go Baby Go!
Anyway, Greg gave us a fab new barbecue for Christmas (he had witnessed first hand the sad state our previous barbecue had fallen into - in our defense we did find the thing on the side of the house when we moved in and I spent a long day trying in vein to clean it up) and we thought it was high time we broke it in. After all the carbs and cheese that made up Christmas Eve, Christmas and Christmas Post, we were in need of some good ol' fashioned grilled fish. A trip to the downtown seafood market found us picking up some great halibut steaks and scallops for tomorrow (I just discovered I like them thanks to Xinyu).

By the way, the downtown seafood market is way better than Santa Monica Seafood, if just because it brings out a much wider cross section of clientele. Instead of being filled with bourgie Westsiders, this is filled with the real folk who work in the warehouses, live on the streets or are in business suits from working in the high rises downtown. Infinitely better and much more our speed. But I digress.

So now we have a working barbecue and until it starts raining again, we'll be using it regularly. But on to the aforementioned recipes from Christmas. I'll start in chronological order as best I can over the next few days.

Christmas Eve Dinner Menu
Pamplemousse Cocktail (Gourmet Magazine)
Roasted Asparagus (me)
Black-Eyed Pea Salad with Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese (Well Fed blog)
Leek and Mustard Pie (Greens)
Tilapia with Balsamic Butter Sauce (Gourmet Magazine, I think)

Pamplemousse Cocktail
(makes 6)
7 tablespoons water
5 tablespoons pomegranate juice
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons honey
1 1/2 cups vodka
3/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
18 fresh mint leaves

Bring first 4 ingredients to boil in small saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. *can be made 1 day ahead and refrigerated

Combine pom mixture, vodka, grapefruit & lime juice and mint leaves in a large pitcher. Fill with ice. Stir. Strain drink into Martini glasses. Serve!

Roasted Asparagus
I tossed asparagus with olive oil and garlic salt, placed in a roasting pan and set in an oven set to 450. We tossed the asparagus several times during the 15-20 min they cooked. It was served on lettuce and halved pear tomatoes tossed in champagne vinaigrette. Easy.

Black-Eyed Pea Salad with Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese
This recipe is on Grant's blog called Well Fed. You should read this blog for really tasty things. I've liked everything I've cooked from it. CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE RECIPE.

Leek and Mustard Pie
Here's the thing about this recipe. It calls for tart dough, the recipe for which includes Crisco. We didn't have any Crisco and besides it full of trans fat which is, as we all know, as evil as eggs and meat once were but now maybe aren't. At any rate, I searched google for butter pie crust and made up a recipe. I can't even tell you because I also screwed it up but suffice it to say it involved butter, flour, salt, sugar and some ice water. The filling's the thing:

5 cups leeks (1 lb, trimmed) cut into 1/4 inch rings
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup white wine
2 eggs
1 cup creme fraiche
3 Tbsp coarse ground mustard
6 oz Gruyere Cheese
(here the recipe calls for Chives, which I didn't until now notice, but I actually added some Rabini - only because I found it at the farmer's market and was excited because I'd once spent an entire morning trying to track it down for a recipe - I blanched, chopped and added it too)

Get your dough ready.
Wash the leeks well (cut in half to split and get all the hiding dirt out). Melt the butter, add the leeks and cook 2 min, stirring.
Add wine and salt, cover, reduce heat and cook slowly until tender. 15 min. Check halfway thru and add more wine if necessary. Season with pepper.
Beat the eggs and stir in creme fraiche, mustard, leeks and grated cheese (and maybe those greens)
Preheat oven to 375F. Pour custard into shell, smooth top and add the illusive chives.
Bake pie until top is firm and golden brown. (this takes about 45min - 1 hr or about the time it took me to take a quick shower and dry, but poorly style, my hair - hence the ponytail).
Let sit 5 min. Serve. Eat. Go back for seconds.

Tilapia with Balsamic Butter Sauce
I didn't really follow the recipe very closely here so I'll improvise this. Basically I took about 1/4 cup of balsamic and red wine vinegar (I ran out of balsamic, hence the addition of the red wine vinegar) and reduced them with a little bit of butter for about 5 min. Once the vinegar was thick and syrup-y I whisked in about 1/2 stick of butter. This was the sauce drizzled on the fish and in the container beside them.

For the fish I washed, dried, salted and peppered the fillets, heated a bit of olive oil and pan fried them for about 3 min each side. Then I served them with the sauce on a warmed platter.

See how hard that was?


Check back tomorrow for Christmas breakfast - or as I like to call it BreakFEAST!


auna said...

Is it maybe supposed to be 3 *tsp* mustard in the leek and mustard pie? Because I tried making this over the weekend, didn't put in the full 3 Tbsp, and it was MUSTARDY.

Ash said...

Nope, Deborah Madison calls for 3 Tablespoons good quality mustard. The mustard I used when I made this was pretty mild, so I imagine one would use less depending on the strength of the mustard. Sorry it was too mustardy

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