Sorry about the disappearing act. Having a sick baby has meant not much cooking and not much time for blogging for the last several days. I did manage to sneak out and enjoy a great meal at The Little Thai Place on Monday night. That restaurant is, I think, my current favourite take-out place in town. Eating in is pretty good too, though the tables are a bit rickety and the atmosphere is stripmallesque. Their green curry with eggplant, beef and coconut is amazing. I could eat it every day.
Time away from the kitchen got me thinking of lots of things that I've been wanting to try so last night I did a hodgepodge sort of dinner: lots of small plates, all ready at different times as I fit the preparing of them into a schedule of doing dishes, supervising homework, playing with trucks, sweeping, assisting my spouse in the backyard with a garden project he's working on, and helping my seven-year-old prepare for an upcoming Taekwon-Do rank evaluation.
The first one is the dish I alluded to last week, the one I made with the beet cooking water. Presenting...beet jello!
That's caviar and sour cream on top. I was excited to try making this, and it was fun to make, but unfortunately - and this is extremely rare - I didn't actually like eating it. The flavour was just...bleh. It's jellied borscht, which sounds weird, but good. It's a little better with sour cream and dill, even though I love caviar and the caviar was recommended. My picky seven-year-old hated it, which was sad because she dug into it with such relish (thinking it was a typical sweet Jello). My spouse liked it, making this the only food in the world that I really dislike and he likes. It sure looks good though, no?
The next dish is just as weird, and I was just as keyed up about making it. Presenting...crispy avocados!
These are made by dredging avocado quarters in a cornstarch/berbere mixture (and the use of berbere should tell you where I got the recipe from), then in egg whites, then frying them. The result was...sort of okay. Not smashing. So far, I was zero for two in my small plates experiment.
The next dish was not experimental in the least. It was good old grilled peppers: predictably delicious.
I make Delia Smith's Piedmont Peppers a lot, and these were very similar in flavour, but more nibbly, because the peppers are sliced thinly then marinated. The marinade is made of mashed up anchovies, garlic, parsley, red peppers flakes and olive oil. The peppers should be roasted and peeled first. And of course, they taste better the next day.
At this point I was sick to death of small plates and needed something hearty to fill up the bellies so I whipped up some pesto chicken salad (chopped up cooked chicken, prepared mayonnaise, prepared pesto), cut open a baguette and slapped some of the salad down on it. The photos of this do not do it justice, which just goes to show that things that look the best (see jellied borscht above) and are the fiddliest to make are not necessarily the yummiest.