Friday, August 26, 2011

it's that time of year again

late august is prime time for locavores. the selection at the market is phenomenal at the moment & two of my favourite things - heirloom tomatoes & corn - are in season. i made some mid week canapes for a function & one highlighted the beauty of tomatoes. they were little tomato tarts with kale, roasted garlic bechamel & foxhill parmesran cheese.

to make sure the tomatoes don't release too much moisture and reduce the crusts to mush, i like to toss them with some herbs, shallots and olive oil and roast them at a super low temperature to eliminate some water & concentrate the flavours.

this week i also made a giant vat of corn & potato chowder. for this one i stripped the kernels from the cobs & used the cobs to make a corn stock and extract all of the flavour from the vegetable. when taking the kernels off a cob, people often stand it on end and cut down. the trouble with this is that when the kernels tumble down to the work surface, they have a tendency to scatter & wind up on the floor. why not just lay it down in the first place?

this way you spend less time hunting for rogue kernels and ensure they all wind up in the pot.

just cover the cobs in the pot with water, herbs of your choice and let it simmer for about 30 minutes and you'll draw all of the lovely flavour out of the cobs instead of it winding up in the compost.

for months now, i have been waiting for corn to come into season for this exact purpose. for this chowder i made an onion & celery base.

hit it with the corn stock, added cubed potatoes, simmered until they were done and then finished it with a little cream and the fresh corn kernels. for this one i didn't stray from the original, because with corn chowder you just don't need to.

this week i also made a fresh batch of fish cakes (perhaps my favourite batch to date... and my brother's as well), even more fish pies, sesame ginger & chipotle lime bbq sauces and then yesterday i went international.

korean bbq short ribs on the left, butter chicken on the right in their respective marinades.

the kind folks at getaway farm meat mongers (aka graeme) cut short ribs 'flanken' style for me to replicate traditional korean bbq. however, that is where the tradition ends. i marinated them in soy, garlic, ginger, rice vinegar, sambal, miso... overnight and then grilled them ultra quick. 

post marinade.

these caused the neighbours to come sniffing around the backyard.

these are not your typical fall apart slow cooked ribs - but i dig it. they're served with a side of dipping sauce, sticky rice & quick, homemade kimchi.

then there was the butter chicken. i decided to grill before braising it to get a bit of char - since i don't exactly have a tandoor oven in my little kitchen... yet anyway.

then it hit the pot with loads of garlic, ginger, tomatoes, spices, chickpeas & coconut milk. i let it mellow overnight and now i'm going to adjust the seasoning, add some citrus & cilantro and pack it up with some cardamom scented basmati rice.

here goes with the menu:

korean bbq short ribs (getaway farm), sticky rice, kimchi $22

curried chicken (shani's farm) & chickpeas, basmati rice small $10 large $20

fish cakes & baked beans $15

creamy british fish pie $22

lobster mac & cheese small $10 large $24

grilled chicken, sweet potato mash, black bean & sweet corn succotash $24

quiche lorraine (1 left) $17.50

quinoa jambalaya, chorizo, chicken, shrimp $20

shepherd's pie (getaway farm) small $7.5 large $18

sausage & cheese curd penne $7.5

i have three salads this week. first is the southwest-style sweet potato salad with red onion, peppers, celery, cilantro & lime. second is the quinoa but i took it in a moroccan direction this week - roasted peppers, tomatoes, olives, lemon, harissa vinaigrette. and finally there is a beet salad with greens, pecans, pickled shallots and tiger blue cheese. all $5 each.

there will be the usual arsenal of baked goods as well.

also, i'm catering on sunday and still working on the logistics of being in two places as once... hopefully i can be at the market on sunday but there's a possibility i may not be... just come tomorrow if you can.

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