M. Andrew Gordon

Archive for 2011|Yearly archive page

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.

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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.

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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.

Pickled, or soused, salmon

In Dinner Party, Main Dish, Sauces, Seafood, Side Dishes on February 7, 2011 at 8:30 pm

As I went into the planning phase of last Saturday’s dinner, I kept coming back to a common theme: pickling.  It’s been a hot culinary topic of late, with numerous local restaurants offering house made pickles.  I have also been reading Momufuku, the eponymous book by chef David Chang, and there are a number of delicious looking pickle recipes in that book.  Chang is a fascinating chef and a real proponent of pickling.  In addition, I have been spending my spare time at Lena’s apartment reading East Coast Grill’s Chris Schlesinger’s book Quick Pickles which immediately won me over when I read about a pickled rhubarb that is recommended as an accompaniment for soft shell crab.  So pickling has been fascinating me of late.

One dish that I had been thinking about was a soused fish.  Generally, it is a white fish that is braised in a pickling liquid and or fried and then set in a pickle brine for some amount of time.  Neither of these were quite what I was looking for so, after consulting with the good folks at New Deal Fish Market when I was picking up the fish, I decided to brine some salmon, serve it over celery root puree, and top it with salt-pickled cranberries inspired by a recipe in Momufuku.  Sadly, it was so delicious I forgot to take a picture!  The dish was paired with Blue Point Brewing Toasted Lager, a fairly low alcohol lager with a nice crisp hop finish.

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Brunching Presley Style

In Baked Goods, Dinner Party, Pork on January 26, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Blogging is a labor of love, something that is easy to let slide when work becomes busy, commutes turn into hours-long slogs, life takes unexpected twists and turns, or the holidays make everything busy as hell.  In many ways, it’s not unlike the common refrain about diets being hard to hold onto during the holiday season (though rest assured there will be no pseudo-healthy mumbo-jumbo in the pages of JustAddBacon).  In a nutshell, it is just easy to get distracted from the mission behind blogging.

Since my last post, way back in dying days of autumn, there has been some good cooking that could have made its way on here.  Off the top of my head, I created a savory pumpkin bread pudding, a cranberry ice cream, a pork-plantain stew, savory baked French toast, beef and bean stuffed shells, and a host of dishes for a Tiki-themed dinner party* that were worth blogging about.  Lena and I also ate some awesome dishes, notably half a pig’s head, and had an amazing dinner at East Coast Grill.  There was also a trip to Kentucky that allowed me to delve into some old family recipes.

This past Sunday saw a litany of good food to blog about.  In my ongoing effort to host at least one sizable dinner party per month, I had shaken things up and decided a brunch would be a fun diversion.  What would be even more fun would be creating a menu based on the life and times of Elvis Presley.  Known for his outlandish excesses of his later years – stories abound of the King and his Memphis Mafia boarding his private plane, the Lisa Marie, and flying to Denver for Fool’s Gold sandwiches, a glorified peanut butter-and-jelly with bacon, or flying in dozens of donuts.

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Salmon with Cannellini Beans and Citrus Salad

In Main Dish, Side Dishes on January 15, 2011 at 8:34 pm

One of my favorite pairings with salmon for a long time has been cannellini beans.  Often confused with navy beans or Great Northerns, cannellinis are kidney-shaped with a thin skin and have a pleasant nutty flavor and retain their shape pretty well.  I find the flavor is a nice foil to the assertively sweet flavor of salmon or trout.  In the past I’ve cooked the beans with garlic and onion, but the other night I was thinking about essentially just heating them and adding garlic and onion that had already been cooked.

Starting with a good dose of olive oil, I slowly cooked the garlic and onion over low heat so that the oil just barely simmered.  I added some crushed red pepper for a shot of heat and a slice of Meyer lemon for a little acidity and sweetness in one shot.  For those unfamiliar with the Meyer lemon, I think they are completely worth tracking down for their somewhat unique flavor.  Essentially, it’s a lemon you don’t mind eating.

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