May 31, 2010

Grilled Asian Chicken

Last night we cooked Grilled Asian Chicken from the latest edition of BonAppétit magazine. It was quite good.

We started with some excellent vegetables from Central Market:

From Grilled Chicken and Vegetables

From Grilled Chicken and Vegetables

From Grilled Chicken and Vegetables
then we marinaded them in a chutney and vinegar sauce:

From Grilled Chicken and Vegetables

We then marinaded the chicken in the same sauce:

From Grilled Chicken and Vegetables

and got everything ready for the grill:

From Grilled Chicken and Vegetables

While cooking, we had a couple of glasses of a nice pink Provencal wine:

From Grilled Chicken and Vegetables

The grilling was quite exciting, with all the marinade dripping onto the flames:

From Grilled Chicken and Vegetables

From Grilled Chicken and Vegetables

The grilled vegetables looked great:

From Grilled Chicken and Vegetables

so we had to have a white Bordeaux to go with them:

From Grilled Chicken and Vegetables

It was great!

From Grilled Chicken and Vegetables

May 30, 2010

Homegrown tomatoes

One of Doreen's Board members was kind enough to give her some homegrown tomatoes.

We made a simple summery tomato sauce, based on one we used either from Bittman or Cook's. I can't remember which.

Take a garlic clove, crush it and rub the inside of a bowl. Throw away the garlic.

Cut the tomatoes into bite-size chunks. Rip up some basil leaves (just the right amount) and stir them together with the tomatoes and some good quality olive oil. Add salt and pepper, and some Parmesan cheese. Let it sit while you start to boil the water.

When the pasta is done al dente, drain and add to the bowl .Grate some more fresh cheese on top.

We served ours with a nice White Burgundy.

It was delicious!
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Intelligence Slave

Last night Doreen and I went to see Intelligence Slave, a world premier play that is currently being performed at the Alley Theatre.

It was performed in the small theater, sort of a "Theater in the Round" (though it is square. There is seating on four sides, about 16 seats across, about 6 rows of seats per side. So it is very intimate) and there was just one set.

The play is about a Jew in a work camp, being forced by the Nazis to make a hand held, four function calculator (mechanical. This thing really existed. While they didn't really say why the Nazis would be willing to keep a Jew alive for this purpose, it is because it would be extremely useful for artillery - they would use it to calculate what elevation to set the barrels, and how much powder to put behind the charge). There were only five characters - three Nazis and two Jews - and as you can imagine, the play was very intense.

The Jew who was making the calculator had the hardest part already figured out (subtraction, oddly enough) but was purposefully misleading the Nazis so that they would keep him alive. And because this devise would give the Nazis an advantage in the war effort, and he did not want to do that. But he did want to survive.

The Nazis make a 14 year old math prodigy, recently removed from the Russian Front, work on the project. As you can imagine, the play explores this interaction, and the relationship that develops.

I would guess that this play will start touring, so I won't say anything more about the plot. But it was well worth seeing.

May 23, 2010

Eating at Ocean

There is a new restaurant just down the street from us called Ocean's. It just opened this past week. We generally try to avoid restaurants in the first couple of weeks of operation, but it was close (walking distance) promised some interesting food (Mexican Ceviche) and had margaritas.

So we wandered over about 5:30 on Saturday afternoon. Sure, that is very early for dinner, but we had our lunch/brunch of Trouta's waffles early (about 11:00) so we were both getting a little peckish.

As we walked in, they were just setting up the patio. We were greeted by Randy, the Maitre'd, and said we could sit anywhere. He told us that they just had their ceviches and some tacos and tostadas, and the the whole menu would be coming out in a couple of weeks.

We settle back, got some cold water, ordered a couple of house margaritas, and looked at the menu.

There were about six different ceviches on the menu, a couple of salads, maybe four tostadas and about six tacos. (I did not have my camera, so I have no photos. I am sure that their website will soon have the menu and food pics online soon.)

The margaritas came, and I was surprised by the neon yellow color. We tasted them, and I thought they were very good. Doreen thought them a bit tart, but that is not bad. They are colored by the real lime juice, real orange just, and agave nectar used. The house pour was Jose Cuervo silver, which was fine by us. We must have liked them, as we had five between us.

We settle on two ceviches (Ocean's Cechive, and the second one on the menu. I can't remember its name. Must be the margaritas). They were using flounder as the fish, and both ceviches were great. The eponymous ceviche was nice, crisp and simple. Good quality fish, lime, peppers, and onions. The second one used a chipotle reduction as well as the citrus juice. I liked that one better.

We ordered the Maximiliano Taco (Lobster) and the Ocean's Special (grilled shrimp) tostada. Both were served "open face" with the difference being that the taco was on a crispy tortilla, and the tostada on a soft one.

Both the lobster and the shrimp were excellent. Neither were overcooked, and the remoulade like sauce. These came with french fries (somewhat incongruously.) (The fries were OK.)

Finally, we had a Tres Leches cake for dessert. Too much icing for me, but it was a nice finish.

I hope they make it, as it is nice to have another place around the corner for an interesting meal.

They are also planning on hitting the Montrose Sunday Brunch market. With La Strata gone, and such a nice, big patio, I think they have a chance.

May 21, 2010

Houston: Model City -

More Kotkin love for Houston:

Houston: Model City - "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Money quote:

"Houston, perhaps more than any city in the advanced industrial world, epitomizes the René Descartes ideal--applied to the 17th-century entrepreneurial hotbed of Amsterdam--of a great city offering "an inventory of the possible" to longtime residents and newcomers alike. This, more than anything, promises to give Houstonites (sic) (should be Houstonians) the future."


I stayed home this afternoon because we had to have some air conditioning work done. While I was sitting in the Sun Room, this mockingbird:

was at the window, fussing and fussing. (you can see a video of the fussing bird here)

I thought the reason for all the fussing was Djimmah, who was sleeping peacefully in her spot on the window seat:

But I went outside and found this little guy:

Underneath the window seat.

Blaze left him alone. I hope he makes it. I like mockingbirds, and you can't have too many of them in the neighborhood.
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Palin in Pants

He sounds as idiotic as Governor (Act of God) Perry:

Rand Paul: Obama's criticism of BPun-American' | National | - Houston Chronicle: "

Not one person I have spoken to in the Oil and Gas industry would agree with Paul on this.

This disaster was preventable.

Cacio e Pepi, one last time

So Doreen had the idea to try and combine the two recipes to come up with the BEST Cacio e Pepo recipe.

We did, and it is.

Here is the recipe.

May 14, 2010


Click here to see the progress of my latest batch of sauerkraut, complete with pH.

My MicroBiologist (really molecular biologist) PhD sister supplied me with the litmus paper.

And the end result is delicious!

But it is interesting to see how fast the pH drops at this temperature. (We are starting to hit the 80s with regularity now)

Doreen's Gala

Evening in the Park a moment of high style for conservancy - 2010-May-14 - CultureMap Houston

May 13, 2010

Hermann Park Gala

Here we are dressed up for the Hermann Park Conservancy Gala.
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May 11, 2010

One reason I like to cook at home

Why I Got Kicked Out of a Restaurant on Saturday Night - Diner's Journal Blog -

The Week of Cacio e Pepe

Last week we cooked Cacio e Pepe pasta (Pasta with Cheese and Black Pepper) three times.

While that may seem a bit obsessive, you need to understand that we have been on a search for the perfect Cacio e Pepe since we had it in Rome at a small Cafe called The Trattoria Lilli on our Grand Tour in 2000.

While we have not been to Rome many times, each time we go we make sure to eat Cacio e Pepe at the Lilli.

A couple of years ago we found Amanda Hesser's recipe for Cacio e Pepe in her book, Cooking for Mr. Latte. You can see that recipe here.

It was good, but seemed to have missed a little snap that The Lilli offered us. We made it a couple of times, and then sort of passed it by.

Then a week or so ago, Christopher Kimball had this recipe on his blog.

Now, I find Kimball a little bit fussy, but I really liked the recipe. That is the one we made twice - once where we didn't use the amount of water he specified to boil the pasta (just 2 quarts for a pound of pasta!) and we found the sauce a little thin. We then made it again to his specs and found it much better.

It was no Lilli, but it was good. We will add that to our normal cycle of pastas.