Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sam I Am

This week's Free Range review is Sam's Kid in Fells Point, a funky little joint with terrific pan-Asian food (think pad thai and yakitori skewers and sushi). Dan Dan, a savory ground pork dish with spicy peanut sauce and broth, is worth a trip to Broadway.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Octopus's Garden

Did you know Wegman's Seafood Department sells fresh octopus?

Me neither...until yesterday when I spied two in the cold case.

I didn't get the details of why or how often the store carries them, but a customer told me he was going to poach his in a little stock with a few herbs and vegetables. No acid, he stressed, and oh,yeah, he would throw in a couple corks.


Yes, corks. He didn't know if this was just tradition or the corks actually served some purpose, but they would simmer along with the octopus until it was tender. Then he would cool the octopus in the stock, refrigerate it, and cut it up for seafood salad. Remarkable.

There was one octopus left in the case. I could have bought it. But we had sauerkraut to finish.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Market Haul

I hate to admit it, but I'm one of those people who often shuns the farmers market in the winter. It's not that I've forgotten about it exacty; nor am I actively avoiding it. But winter weather makes reading the paper and having that second (okay, third) cup of coffee on Saturday mornings that much more appealing.

I've told myself that it's less important to go to the market in winter since not all the produce is local, but actually, there's still a lot of local produce (think apples, dairy, greens that are grown in hothouses) and the farms still need our business.

So today's haul:
Stayman apples. One to go in tomorrow's sauerkraut, two to sauté to serve alongside a puffy oven breakfast pancake, a couple for snacking.

Tiny, tiny brussels sprouts. I've stockpiled several boxes of Trader Joe's chestnuts before they're gone for the season. A few sprouts, a little bacon, some chestnuts. Yum.

Thick, stubby leeks. There's a ham bone in the freezer. Now I have leeks. That means soup.

Arugula. 'Nuff said.

Pork chops. Tomorrow's sauerkraut!

South Mountain Creamery Cream on Top Milk. I know, but it's richer than rich. We need an extra layer of fat in winter, right? (Go here to read about my feeding the calves at South Mountain Creamery).

What are you making this week?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Acid Tongue

Is there anything like a grapefruit? That slight petrol scent of the rind; the inner pink that ranges from dull blush to saturated magenta and that bears no indication of how ripe or hard the fruit may be; its sweet-tart, sugar-acid, slippery bite; the way it skirts around the pleasure zones of your mouth; its delicious French name.

In Baltimore, Mars Supermarkets sell these lovely balls of fruit at ridiculously low prices, although I received three for free from Apple Auto with my purchased oil change (that may be a special deal.). Regardless of how you procure your grapefruit, don't let the season pass you by.

Pamplemousse, je vous aime.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Free Range: Sushi Hana

This week's Free Range review is Sushi Hana in the Lake Falls Village at, you guessed it, Lake Avenue and Falls Road.

Pie or Cake?

As I explain here, I was taken aback that people have such strong feelings about their desserts. I shouldn't have been though. I know I'd take pie over cake anyday, particularly a meringue pie, like the one above (though that's lemon and not my favorite chocolate). I want crust and cream and contrast, and, truth be told, it's the best way to eat fruit, in my opinion.

Does everyone have a preference for cake or pie? Perhaps not.

But I bet you do.

Tell me.

Thursday, January 7, 2010