M. Andrew Gordon

Building a better beet salad…with bacon

In Appetizers, Side Dishes on March 4, 2011 at 9:24 am

This salad combines so many things I love: beets, bacon, smoked cheese, maple syrup, peppery greens.  Salads don’t have to be complicated at all and often I like things simple, say, watercress with some thinly sliced red onion and a simple vinaigrette.  But this salad is, comparatively, a bear to make, if only because it requires roasting of the beets and the baby artichokes.  But the results are worth it.

Baby artichokes have one real advantage over their larger brethren – they can be eaten whole.  Of course, you can’t eat them whole as you buy them.  To prepare baby artichokes to cook, peel off the outer leaves until you have revealed the light green and soft leaves inside.  Trim the stem end and slice the tips off the leaves. At this point, the artichokes either need to be cooked or rubbed with lemon juice as they will brown very quickly.  If you thought apples browned quickly, you haven’t seen anything yet.

Last Minute Substitutions Yield Grand Results

In Beef, Main Dish, Soups and Stews, Uncategorized on March 2, 2011 at 9:40 pm

As I awoke on Sunday morning, I had a hankering for a richly spiced stew, possibly a curry or perhaps some Moroccan-inspired flavors.  That Lena would be coming back from running a 10K in the snow also made a hearty stew seem like a great idea.  Lamb stew really got me intrigued but when I went to the grocery store (I didn’t feel like making a special cross-town trip to a butcher), all of the lamb seemed excessively priced for the cuts available.  Enter the first substitution: boneless beef sirloin filets for lamb.  At this point, my thoughts began to drift back into the curry realm, and I started salivating thinking about beef rendang.  But I am nothing if not stubborn and I decided to try out the beef in a Moroccan-styled stew.

As I started chopping onions and cutting meat, I had every intention of serving this stew over rice.  But when I realized that I had several potatoes taking up space on the shelf, I decided that I’d try my hand at gnocchi.  Substitution number two turned out to be a smart one, as the soft, doughy gnocchi were the perfect accompaniment to this stew.

Leftover Brunch

In Beef on February 22, 2011 at 11:10 pm

On Monday morning, thanks to George Washington having been born on the 22nd, I was left not driving to work but staring into the refrigerator in search of breakfast.  Or maybe it was brunch.  A container of leftover oxtail stew needed to be eaten.  And there was half of a day-old baguette on the counter.

There it was, before my very eyes.  A savory french toast – two pieces of bread with a layer of oxtail stew between, soaked for an hour in eggs and milk – fried and topped with a poached egg.  It was damn good, but I’m sure I’ll never have anything like it again.

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