I made a special meal for my friend Larry, who really went above and beyond for me through this whole broken foot ordeal. Not only did he insist on coming over from Brooklyn to the Upper West Side to take (carry!) me to the doctor on the Sunday immediately following my accident (I couldn’t walk at all), but he’s been back to see me every week and has generally been just lovely and attentive, checking in on me every day.
Larry is a big carnivore but also loves seafood so I decided to try my hand at a surf and turf dish. To me at least, it’s a very American dish and definitely a little retro in a seventies kind of way but I thought it would combine two of his favorite things (that I happen to love as well!). I have to say that the combination worked better than I expected. It probably helped that I tried to tie the two proteins together by sautéing the shrimps in a little pancetta (to impart them a meatier flavor) as well of course as olive oil and garlic. This was a small variation on this recipe (he wraps the shrimp in pancetta, I just used pancetta cubes) that I otherwise pretty much followed. I cooked the beef tenderloin sous-vide, following the steps on my past experiment with it – so I simply sprinkled the steaks with salt and pepper and skipped adding olive oil as I had found it to lessen the flavor of the meat last time. The herb oil was a nice bright addition but it lacked something for me – perhaps I will add another herb to the mix next time to give it a bit more humph.
I served it with potato domino, something I had made before but that I improved on for my second attempt – it’s a really buttery, soft yet crispy rendition on potato and I love it. Steamed asparagus, that I quickly plunged in ice water when just done and then set aside and added to the shrimp to warm up, finished the dish off.
For my own meals, I stuck with primarily salads that I wanted to keep interesting. I dipped my toes back into Asian flavors when I made a delicious Vietnamese beef salad. I pan-seared the marinated steak and loved it combined with the deeply savory, fish sauce laden, dressing poured over the very thinly sliced cucumber. It was really fresh, light yet satisfying.
I am a huge fan of tomatoes, which I eat nearly every single day, and always on the look-out for interesting culinary twists on them.
I made this tomato and almond salad as I was intrigued by the trick of making almond oil to intensify the taste. You basically gently (that being the operative word since I kind of burnt mine) sauté chopped almonds in olive oil to flavor it, and of course reserve the browned almonds. The oil is then mixed with garlic, red wine vinegar, lime juice and a little sugar (I used less than the recipe indicates) and poured over a bed of sliced tomatoes and slivers of red onion. I topped it with thinly sliced jalapeño pepper and some torn mint, as per the recipe. Delicious.
The other tomato salad I made was very simple but just as delicious and a little more filling since it contained boiled eggs – I followed this NYT recipe, but opted out of charring my tomatoes and doing the breadcrumbs since I wanted something easy on the fat content that day and it was just a lovely I think than if I had!