This dish really came about from a walk around the Ballard farmers market on Sunday. A lot of stands were just bursting with vibrant greens, the most awesome spring garlic that I have ever seen. The star, the complete star is the miners lettuce. I have never used this before, and think it is the darn coolest green I have come across. Visually it is stunning, you get this nice round leaf with this awesome little “flower” (if that is what it is) in the middle. You look at it and think that the leaves might be a little chewy. You pick a leaf off and eat it, and it is nothing but soft, subtle and gentle. Just amazing.
A little while ago now we stopped on the way home from work at Cafe Lago, in Seattle. The place is just down the road from us, so we often end up there. Most Seattlites I am sure will know the place – pretty decent pizza and pasta, and ridiculously high prices for what they serve. The problem there is competition – there isn’t any.. unless you talk of Vios Cafe – another place that does great food, but you pay through the nose for it. Anyhow, I digress.. I had a special there which was a pea ravioli. They had it served smothered in a heavy marinara sauce, which completely overpowered the delicate nature of the ravioli themselves, which actually were little stars.
I have a confession to make. When the people at Kona Blue sent me a fish to play with a month ago, they wanted me to try cooking it a few different ways. I didn’t. We ate almost all of it as the Kampachi Tartare. There was enough left over to cook it, but certainly not enough to try it with a few different methods.
So, I bought some more. Crazy birthday parties out of the way, this weekend I had some time to get to know this fish a bit better, but this time cooked instead of raw. I wasn’t a huge fan of it cooked when I cooked it as skewers, a few posts ago. I found the meat overly fishy in flavor (and I normally really like a good strong fish taste, but this just tasted old), and lacking in texture.
Some may have noticed that this funky Englishman hasn’t been posting that much recently. There is a reason for it, Danika and I were planning a surprise Birthday party for her dad. Well, it was honestly more her than I for most of it – but I did do my bit for food of course!
I wanted to post something earlier – asking people for advice about what to cook, however I didn’t want to screw anything up, because apparently he does check this blog out every now and again.
So I have never cooked for 60 people. I think 16 is the most, and that was more a dinner party thing. I can honestly say that I don’t entirely recommend trying to crank out food for 60 people in a small kitchen with only 3 people making the food. When we were planning it I should have realized it was a bloody stupid idea, however we just got caught up in things.
I have been thinking of sauces somewhat of late. I used to cook a lot more with a French influence, mainly thanks to the simply incredible book French Provincial Cooking, by Elizabeth David. This book is a complete classic. No pictures, and it can be a nightmare to cook from, especially if you are a new cook. Saying that however, this is the book that I really started cooking from. She is so descriptive with her prose that there is honestly no picture that could do the recipes in here justice. She seems like a colorful character, extremely blunt and to the point, with a huge passion and love of French cooking, history, and the people of such an amazing country. This is honestly a cookbook that everyone should have. We aren’t talking haute cuisine here at all – this is basic French food, with tons of character. Everything however is about technique. It was this book that really made me focus on getting things perfect, and not ever sitting back – always pushing forwards, experimenting, and trying to perfect a dish.