Tag Archives: The Best Fish Tacos

Carrot Jam, Homemade Butter and Booze

5 Jun

The early and heavy spring showers  followed by unseasonably hot weather have turned our Western crops into gold: Summer produce came early and with it the taste of late summer. Stone fruit have been no less than glorious—even the usually crappy conventional market fruits and veg are tasty. My only complaint is pricing: Oranges hover at .99/lb. while in-season, local stone fruit stay at around $3/lb. /grocery and even more at farmers’ markets.
Nonetheless, our local farmers’ market was the usual hustle/bustle social/buying/strolling/sampling scene a few weekends ago and I found myself in the Asian stall offering recipe ideas to a total stranger who wasn’t sure what to do with spring garlic. Mama Mia! What can’t you do with spring garlic?

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Courtesy of “Mark” / Chowhound:

I made a delicious soup from green garlic stalks and young fava beans.

4 cups chicken stock
14 green garlic stalks, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large baking potato, peeled and chopped
1 tsp herbes de provence
1/2 bay leaf
1/4 tsp salt
11/2 lbs young fava beans in the pod, shelled and blanched for one minute
1/4 cup heavy cream

Put the stock in a 2-quart saucepan. Add garlic stalks, potato, herbs, and salt. Simmer over medium heat until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf.

Place the mixture in a blender or food processor and process. Strain out any tough, fibrous bits of garlic stalk. Return to saucepan and add fava beans, heavy cream, and freshly ground black pepper. Bring soup to simmer. Serve.

The stalks give a much milder flavor than the garlic cloves, and the soup has a beautiful light green color and is deliciously redolent of springtime.

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So our plentiful spring ingredients have created swirl and a whirl among my food-lovin’ friends. Maybe it’s less of swirl/whirl and more of a frenzy. A crazy frenzy. I’ll leave out the swear words, but my friend, T, tossed out a morning F-word when I sent him what looked like a delicious recipe for “the best fish tacos” courtesy of a site I recently discovered, Food Republic. He indeed made “the best fish tacos” over Memorial Day weekend. His report:

 “i made a rough approximation of this over the weekend with some old chili paste i had made and stored in freezer with the addition of achiote paste. never used the li’l achiotes before. very interesting taste. i used whole petrale sole in a grill basket over the fire. d made tortillas. we were happy. dig the food republic site too, btw. pretty good stuff! when are we starting some sort of a food biz? design only satisfies me to a point.   -t”
Up to that point, May was really just a flurry. Here are some e-mail exchange excerpts: 
From L: I have some french lentils and I needed a new recipe. This sounds good. Bonus-it has cognac in it! The recipe actually says the cognac is optional but of course it has to go in. One of my new favorite cooking ingredients :-). 
And then, a disaster:
Subject: Boeuf en Croute
“Well here it is. I decided that puff pastry used any other way than for tarts is a pain in the you know what.The mushroom layer was tasty and the meat so so. The bottom layer of the pastry got too soggy and fell apart as Alex and I tried to move it to the cutting board. If you want to stop by while it’s still warm and try some you’re welcome to. If not, you can have some tomorrow.  I’ve got a headache now. Wish I had a Shock Top!  ~ L”
I blamed the entire disaster on the beef (if it’s a cow that suffered, it’s bound to be a problem) and especially the pastry which we continue to buy frozen and complain about. Pepperidge Farms seems to be the best in texture and flavor but it’s not saying much: The competition is horrible. Who had time to make puff pastry? We’re hoping our new favorite French bakery friends will hand over a few squares now and again once they’re open. And while they’re at it, a few tablespoons of the 400-year-old French starter we’ve heard rumors about.
From me to L: “Making the [Earl Grey] lemon bars now. They smell yummy. Don’t have a metal baking pan though so not sure if the crust is going to bake evenly. Like garlic…anything lemon for me. Posted the recipe on FB but will send you the one I have after I save it in my file. “
The bars weren’t as great as I thought they’d be. I used Meyer’s lemons which were too mild although I added extra lemon.  The Earl Grey didn’t stand out as much as I’d hoped. Longer steeping?
Subject: Homemade butter
” Heavy cream + salt = butter. Mmmm. Homemade butter next week? Carrot preserves too? – L “
From me to L: + Aldo’s Pork w/ broccoli rabe sandwiches?  I’ve got the tenderloin/ingredients for the pork. (: And Shock Top?
The homemade butter, in my opinion, was more trouble than it was worth and with the price of cream, more expensive, but REALLY FUN! I discovered I don’t like over-cooked broccoli rabe so the sandwich didn’t work for me + I used tortured pork so what did I expect? The carrot preserves (confiture) was DIVINE.
 
I’d love to hear about your May eating adventures…please post!
 
~Mrs. Paddington
Homemade butter, Aldo’s pork sandwich and Carrot Confiture photos here:

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