Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Paleo Bento 3

Time really has gotten away from me so I've been trying to get my cooking in where I can. I have been seeing quite a few recipes calling for "kelp noodles" recently in my news reader so it's really this weird ingredient that managed to get me off my butt to cook.

I landed on this sesame almond butter kelp noodle. It's very similar to the thai peanut soba noodles I prepared in the past except for the use of kelp noodles. Kelp noodles are a very curious ingredient, they are made of (surprise!) kelp or seaweed and containing about 10 calories for 12 ounces. The noodles are clear and look somewhat like glass noodles used in Chap Che except not nearly as elastic, when eating them they have a distinct "snap" and crunch to them (like a rubber band at breaking point). There is no flavor so they take on the flavors of whatever dish you might prepare. They can be used right out of the package without any sort of cooking (I do rinse them just in case) but I do recommend cutting them into manageable segments as they come in a giant "tangle" making them very hard to toss. For this recipe I cooked the almond sauce and then tossed the noodles into the sauce.  I felt the sesame almond sauce was a bit too overwhelming, but my wife seemed to really like them. These noodles might be better in a noodle soup form like a vietnamese pho, I still have two more packages left so I might have to give it a shot but just from this experiment I prefer the shiratake noodles better.

I've had these "paleo lamb meatballs" on my list of "must try" for quite some time. Instead of using bread/breadcrumbs as a binder the recipe called for the use of plantain chips which was very interesting. I went with a course chop in the food processor but I think it would have been better if I had blitzed them into powder. The meatballs were served with a mushroom sauce thickened with coconut milk and tapioca starch. I think this one is a keeper, we gobbled up the whole batch over the week.

Roasted Mushrooms: The mushrooms were roasted with thyme garlic and oregano and finished with a bit of balsamic vinegar.

To round things out, I took a less successful attempt at a vegetable omelet and turned it into a vegetable egg scramble. Adding a lot more vegetables made this less of a breakfast item and more of a vegetable side dish. I have no real name for this other than rescue scramble.

I'm thankful for finally being able to post some cooking. We've been so busy recently we've opted to try out Snap Kitchen's 21 day challenge. It's prevented me from doing any cooking (since it's all done for us). I'll put up a post about my experience and results but I'm already thinking about how to adapt my cooking and create something sustainable.

Ok that's it for now!

Box Contents:

  • Sesame almond kelp noodles
  • Paleo Lamb Meatballs
  • Roasted Mushrooms
  • Rescue vegetable scramble

Saturday, April 26, 2014

NIB: Barley Swine

We recently took a weekend to explore south Austin and we had such a fabulous dinner that I couldn't help post it. Barley Swine is a small restaurant south of the river, it sits about 50 (my wife counted) and has been quite a hotspot over the past few years. The chef/owner started out with Odd Duck trailer and ultimately opened brick and mortar restaurants, first Barley Swine and later Odd Duck. It seems when Odd Duck opened Barley Swine converted to a nightly prix fixe menu. They offer a wine/beer pairing to accompany each course (which I highly recommend). Above is a picture of the amuse bouche of a sea urchin lettuce wrap with fried buckwheat groats. It was a lovely blend of textures (crunchy and creamy) it was paired with a sparkling wine which offset the richness of the uni.

Our favorite (and first) dish of the evening was this red snapper with strawberry ponzu with toasted quinoa. The pickled abalone mushroom with trout roe and green gaspacho was delicious, the fried kale gives a crunchy texture and the creme fraiche offset the sourness of the pickle of the mushrooms, the fresh mint made for a light and bright flavor. Next was the house made mozzarella with charred onion broth (a take of french onion soup).

Thirteen course is hard to keep in your head so I apologize for not remember all the details. We continued the meal with a smoked ham over mini biscuits over a orange marmalade. The colorful upper right photo is a "duck jerky" with pickled radish salad, we were asked to mix it all up and eat it together. Next was a cold peanut sauce pasta with cucumber and mustard greens. Finally a palate cleanser to get us to the middle of our meal, was a beet salad served with a beet and orange granita and creme fraiche.

We start the second half with a soft boiled tea egg with fried sweet potato. The egg was a beautiful creamy egg (I would guess 139F sous vide). The beautiful green is a sauteed swish chard over a very tender lamb loin. We get some of the surf from a halibut cheek with morel mushrooms and a foam (which I cannot remember what it was composed of).

Finishing things off: Rabbit terrine with fried chives. We head into the dessert with Chamomile panna cotta with pistachio crumble and fennel. Second dessert is a chocolate ice cream with foie gras french toast (it was more complex than I can recall, but my memory is failing me) and a finishing touch (I forgot what they called it) of a fruit jelly with a coconut cookie.