Monday, October 15, 2007

The Best-Laid Plans Of Octopi And Men / Go Oft Awry...

Baby Octopi -- So primitive, so delicious. Fer Sher...

Chef Lynn McNeely taught me to boil them with a handful of corks for just 2 minutes so they don't get rubbery.

Apparently this is an old-school Mediterranean trick, as confirmed by a local Greek yaya (granny) here in Astoria...

So, you boil 'em, drain 'em and mix them into a marinade of lemon slices, olive oil, salt, pepper, smashed garlic cloves, chopped parsley, and a pinch of fresh basil, if you like.

Let the little tentacled fuckers sit in the marinade and think about what they've done wrong while you fire up the grill. Grill them with little slices of lemon (charred lemon slices are GOOD) for about 3 minutes (they are just babies, after all!)

Oh Come On.... WHO doesn't want to take these wee fellers home and adopt them???

Then, serve them up to the slavering masses...

Dapper Dan gets his baby octopus on!

In this instance we served them up with some tzatziki and grilled pita. Just like in old country but with the - how you say - indoor plumbing!

The set up-- pickled shallots down front left-- awaiting marriage to some hot wilted kale at the last second... tomatoes for a delicious bread salad...

...bitter cress salad with shaved radishes and matchstick celery root waiting for a fabulous mustard/sherry vinaigrette whipped up by Clamshack,

"...frying" eggplant to drop into the lamb for the last 15 minutes of caramelization in the oven.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa..." I hear you say, "...but you said you were making grilled fish wrapped in Prosciutto!" Yeah. I said it. And then it got cold -- finally, and it just felt like summer was over and I should pack it in. The minute it snaps cold my evolution buttons light up and I want to get out the extra quilt and braise some meat. Which I did.

Hi-tech ZipLoc® Marinating Device.

Busted out some Lamb Shoulder... Tunisian Style, yo. I have not yet been to Tunisia, but it's on the list. The end result of marinating anything with garlic, chili, cinnamon and allspice... Well, it just makes you want to cry. Then you cook the whole business down for 4 hours with tomatoes and veal stock... I mean, COME ON.

Hello, ladies...

Karl made a whole bunch of delicious Brown Veal Stock on Saturday night. And he made LOTS of it, so look forward to its incorporation into the next few meals...

Tomatoes were not really Ready For Prime Time anymore so I skipped the butter and salt idea. Next summer.

Instead we had a tomato/potato gratin with saffron.

The lamb dish had cumin, caraway, cinnamon, allspice, garlic, cayenne, smoked paprika, and a bunch of different chilis in it, but no saffron. So, what could be better than a hint of saffron melted into the cream in the gratin? With caramelized onions, of course.

...and Karl's special Grappa Pear cake, which was a brilliant save using cooked down pears that were supposed to be turned into ice cream. Don't ask. Remember what I said about best plans?

The Butcher's Bill: 22 hungry faces, turned a bunch of people away, which felt terrible. A whole new crop of diners, resulting from the WNYC interview, and one gal brought her dad.

Note the big foreground bowl of insanely hot Harissa sauce. Use only as directed.
Karl says: "It'll burn the hair right off your hoo-hah from the inside!"

Sunday Night Dinner: Uniting the world, one delicious plate at a time!

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