Happy (early) Halloween



Table 21

Just a few fun pictures from our anniversary celebration at Table 21 in the delightfully charming Fredrick, MD. So many people have detailed posts so I won’t go nuts here except to say that it was wonderful, though not as good as some other tasting menus we’ve had (Per Se, Alinia, Momofuku Ko, Cinq Sentis come to mind as being better).  That said it was also half the price of most of the others.  And props on the excellent wine pairings. I have lost the list for the moment but they were interesting choices that were thoughtfully paired with the food.


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Sous Vide Mania

We recently acquired a sous vide machine so we’ve been boil-in-a-baging many dinners.  One of the most sucessful experiments so far (other than perfectly cooked steak) has been pork chops.  They come out delightfully tender and flavorful.  Brine them if you want or seal them up with salt, pepper and herbs and toss them in the machine at 135-140 degrees for about two hours.photo 1

When they are done saute in clarified butter or hit them with a blow torch

photo 5and you end up with some seriously beautiful and super tender chops. I served mine with some swiss chard (which I’d never cooked before).photo 2

I just chopped the stems and threw them in with some sauteed Bentons Bacon. photo 3and then added the leaves to cook down. photo 4The final result was a very hearty Sunday dinner. photo

Another Quick Dinner

Things have been hectic around CasadeZuverHaji lately. So the other day I was really glad that I always have some kind of bacon and dried pasta around since there wasn’t much else to eat in the house.  I also had a previously made basil and chive “pesto” sitting in the fridge and some very ripe tomatoes.  I sauteed some guanciale, peeled the tomatoes, and started to cook them down in the rendered fat. I didn’t want to wait for ages and they were pretty watery so I just tossed some pasta right in  to cook with them and added water as necessary. Towards the end I stirred in the chives and basil, hit the whole thing with a splash of cream and topped with some charred cherry tomatoes.  Turned out to be a pretty decent dinner for a “nothing in the house” type of night.

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Persian Food in SoCal

If you find yourself in Costa Mesa go visit South Coast Plaza. The shopping is to die for.  Then head across the street to Darya. I would say it’s the best Iranian food in Southern California. If you’ve been to LA and seen just how many Persian restaurants there are you’d know that’s no joke.  The fancy way to go is the super tender barg (filet mignon).  It’s delicious, but it’s always a little overcooked for my taste. photo (7)I instead prefer the koobideh which is ground meat.  It’s always super moist and flavorful.  But the best part is eating the butter-y, saffron-y rice after it’s soaked up the meat drippings.  photo (2)

And don’t forget to start with the Tadig.  It’s crunchy rice (that develops in the bottom of a pan when you cook Persian rice) served with a variety of stews.  I once read that only a few languages have a word for crunchy rice.  Well, that’s too bad because really everybody should be incorporating it into their cuisine.

Single Best Bite of Food I’ve Eaten Recently

I really think Jaleo gets a bad rap. I know it’s not the trendiest place in the District.  And frankly if you go with a big group or sit at a table the experience can be underwhelming.  But sit at the bar and all of a sudden it’s delightful. I’m not usually a sea urchin fan, but Julia and I went for lunch while she was in town. She is a HUGE uni fan. So we ordered Jose’s version with some finely chopped peppers, cucumber, tomato,  and trout roe. Well I can report that I too am now a HUGE uni fan. This preparation was delicious.  Creamy and redolent of the sea, but with a little crunch from the vegetables and a little zing from  the roe. Image