Tag Archives: fun

Riesling Poached Pears

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Now, I’m no baker, but I love dessert. It seems like a meal isn’t complete without a little something sweet at the end. Eventually I want to learn how to make a chocolate tart, soufflé, or something else that’s sweet and fancy, but that’s a question for my friends in the baking program at school.
In the meantime, this is a great dessert for those who want something quick, tasty, and maybe even a little boozy? Booze is a natural pairing with dessert (or any course), and these pears, poached lightly in Riesling, are an utterly scrumptious way to end a meal. I made these for my mother’s birthday, and she loved them, and we decided to save the leftover poaching liquid to use this spring experimenting with cocktails. See, everybody wins.

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Ingredients
1 bottle sweet Riesling [i used some wine I got for $5 at Trader Joe’s]
2 cups sugar [$2]
1 lemon [$1]
5 pears [$5]

Directions
Peel and core the pears using a peeler and melon baller, respectively. Add wine to a pot with lemon peel, the sugar, and enough water to cover the pears. Bring to a simmer and add the pears to the liquid.
The pears should be covered with parchment paper or a lid that will ensure they do not float in the liquid. They must be submerged. I used a lid that was a little smaller than the opening of the pot so it could sit snugly on top of the pears and push them slightly down.
Poach the pears until tender, about 30-40 minutes. Test done ness with a knife inserted into the flesh.
When the pears are tender, let cool slightly in the liquid. Pears can be stored in the poaching liquid until ready to serve, or for up to a few weeks. They only increase in flavor.
When ready to serve, cut pears in half and take a 1/2 cup of the poaching liquid in a saucepan and reduce to a syrup. Top pears with the syrup and whipped cream, if desired.

Enjoy!
-L

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Restaurant Week Bliss: Kitchen

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Restaurant Week was last week, guys. As I have stated before, I love Restuarant Week. Although the prices are a little north of what I usually post, since its still a steal (apps, entrees, and dessert at these places is definitely more than $38 a person) I think it still applies as frugal. This year, there were options in price for restaurant week, but I still decided to try the most expensive (my wallet is a sadist, what can I say).
This time, The Russian and I decided to try Kitchen in the South End. I was super excited before we even walked in the door, because they had pretty much a full menu offering this year, as opposed to just a few options. I also love that Kitchen models it’s dishes on classic recipes, and even dates each dish to its inception on the menu. As someone who is fascinated with food, how dishes are created, and now timeless classics can be enjoyed by our grandparents and grandchildren, this was a perfect choice for a bit of history with my dinner.

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The space is small, but super cozy. You’ll have to excuse my photos, which aren’t the best this time around. I didn’t want to disturb other diners by taking a million photos. You’ll get the idea.
I started off with the oysters Rockefeller, a classic dish. The oysters were huge and juicy, and the spinach mixture on top was creamy and rich, a nice counterpoint to the salty oyster.

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The Russian started with scallops wrapped in bacon (he can never resist bacon, but who among us really can) with grits. The scallops were cooked to perfection, although he thought the grits could use a touch if salt. A minor problem, if it can even be called that. The bacon was perfectly crisp as well.

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Then I moved on to the crispy half duck. This dish sold me on Kitchen. The duck was truly incredible, the fat was perfectly rendered, and the skin was crisp. It was also huge, so I felt like I needed to be rolled home after I finished the dish (The Russian helped of course). The risotto was some of the best I’ve ever had. I’m still thinking about it. Sometimes I’ll just stop for a moment and daydream about that dish.

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The Russian chose beef as his entree and wasn’t disappointed either. His sirloin steak was cooked perfectly and paired with luxurious ingredients, like a piece of seared foie and black truffles. It was decedent.

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We somehow managed dessert. I tried the donuts, which were good but by that point I was pretty done for the night (a bottle of wine and half a duck will do that to the best of us).

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The Russian, who is a bottomless pit, had some chocolate pudding. It was creamy and decedent and somehow light. Not sure how they managed that (witchcraft?). A really nice end to a fantastic meal.

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I was so happy to have discovered Kitchen. You can tell when food is made with love, and love was just bursting out of the dishes. Hopefully they will make another appearance for summer’s resto week, so that they can be enjoyed again by those who couldn’t necessarily afford them normally.
-L

An Awesome Opportunity, pt. 2

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On Sunday, The Russian and I went to Rialto for a cooking demonstration by Jody Adams, the owner and master chef who has been a famed Boston chef for many years. This demo was made even better because Rialto had partnered with Brooklyn Brewery (made even better than the Brewery is located in my native NYC) to create dishes with beer in them.  Awesome.  It was an amazing day, filled with great food, beer, and tips on cooking from the master herself. Here’s some photos and captions that explain how tremendous this day was:

We started with coffee and homemade scones while we listed to Jody explain the class and what would happen next.

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IMG_2401We then learned how to make sausage from chef Brian Rea, the Chef De Cusine at Rialto.  I took lots of notes, including one that meat is best stuffed into the sausage when cold as not to make the fat melt while it is being stuffed into the casing.

IMG_2404Then it was onto the first course, an oyster with a beer granita which was paired and used a light Italian beer that was a collaboration with Brooklyn Brewery.

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The finished product with Adams in the background

The finished product with Adams in the background

I loved how  recipes were included, so I could follow along, take notes, and then try to re–create the dishes later at home (and I will try, eventually).

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We then moved on to clams steamed in the Brooklyn Brewery lager and mussel fritters beer–battered and fried.  Oh man, this dish.  Probably my favorite of the day.  The fritter was exceptional, perfectly fried and chewy in the center, and the clams in that steaming broth with pancetta, tomatoes, and greens was a warm comforting dish that ended up dipping my bread in and sop up all the juices, all etiquette quickly forgotten. The final element was a garlic aioli that was truly sublime and just the flavor needed to marry all the flavors of the dish.

and it was gorgeous.

and it was gorgeous.

I was lucky enough to sit next to Adam’s husband, so not only was the conversation and beer flowing, but we were often visited by the chef herself, and when I was finally bold enough (thanks, Brooklyn Brewery) to speak to her, she was warm and full of advice on how to further my love of cooking.

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I had told Adams about my new job as a line cook.  I decided to put my dreams to work and my love of cooking to the test and obtained a second job as a line cook in Brookline.  It’s only two days a week, so I will actually be adding this job as more of a side project, a way to see if my dreams of owning my own restaurant (or, more likely, food truck) could actually happen.  I’m also going to learn a lot.  I’m super excited and will definitely be documenting my new job and my thoughts of life as a professional chef.

I digress, my apologizes.  Back to the food.

Our next course was a venison sausage with a polenta, grapes, and green tomatoes.  This was paired with the Local 2 from Brooklyn Brewery, and this was my favorite beer.  Unassumingly light for its rich color, super smooth, like butter in your mouth, and flavorful.  I was disappointed that there was not more of this beer floating around (I had probably had enough by this point anyways).

The dish itself was wonderful as well.  I loved the grapes and polenta, and the sausage was so light considering it was a gamey meat.

and, of course, it was gorgeous.

and, of course, it was gorgeous.

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We finally finished with a stout float and a cookie.  By this point, I was so full I was unsure how I would be able to get home.  Everything was so decadent.

I couldn't even finish this. I had given up by this point.

I couldn’t even finish this. I had given up by this point.

I learned so many things about cooking this day, and it certainly won’t be anything I forget anytime soon.  Hopefully seeing chefs of this caliber in the kitchen will be commonplace for me, but for now, I was still starstruck and sopped up lots of good information on how to take my cooking to the next level.  All that’s left is for me to apply my knowledge and follow the path that’s before me.

-L