Friday, May 22, 2015

Pure Detroit

Diego Rivera Murals
Detroit Institute of Arts

An afternoon of Pure Detroit started with a visit to the Diego Rivera/Frida Kahlo special exhibit at the DIA. Those monumental murals are part of the DNA of the city, commissioned by a wealthy capitalist at the behest of a highly cultured director of the museum. 

These monumental murals portray the fantastic effiency of industry, the threats it might hold over the long haul, the essential elements of all human endeavor to strive, to nurture, to grow, to build. 

While the Rivera work was monumental, Kahlo's work was intensely person, female, and political. The contrast of the two artists works make the exhibit fresh and curatorial background a great education for what is a strictly iconic work. 

So, what to do after? Go to Go Cash Gold, repurposed in all the best ways, recycling what was the best and the questionable of Detroit; a pawn shop, gorgeous recycled wood. 

The food was bright, flavorful, cooked with personality and care. Gary and I and the two offspring shared, talked, yakked, took in the city, and our tastebuds took a ride with food you just wanted to keep on eating.  Foccacia with peppers and sausage, charcuterie plate with kimchi, pimento cheese, cheese straws, bratwurst.  Deep fried soft shell crabs, fried chicken, cioppino, marinated flank steak and a couple good stiff cocktails and great beer. 

What more could you ask on a day of perfect weather?  Great art, great food, and lots of love. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

The star

Going retro today in preparation for family meal tomorrow. 

Green bean casserole already made.

Next, pineapple upside-down cake. 

I've only made it from canned pineapple rings. Today, using the real deal fresh, hand carved pineapple. Joy of Cooking recipe is a tad complicated but results in a dense, delicious cake that slid right out of the pan onto the serving plate with fruit and caramel sauce intact.

It's been years since this has graced our table. Spring's a good time to bring out an old friend.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

And speaking of breadbags

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Fromage et du vin

We were the happy recipients of Zingerman's Cheese of the Month gift. Installment two brought us French cheeses:  Camembert, Brebis d'Ossau and Comte.

A cheese tasting was in order. With help from Holiday Market, we paired our new arrivals with a Kermit Lynch Graves and a good baguette.

The Comte is sweet, nutty and creamy. The Brebis flowery, milky with a little hint of goat milk tang. The Camembert is earthy, mushroomy with a cabbage-y scent and aftertaste (in a good way) with an unctuous creamy texture.

All the cheese were enhanced by the bright, slightly acidic wine.

What a treat for the gray days of January.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A light dinner

Lake trout, rice and asparagus

After the richness of the holidays feasts and a trip to delicious New York, we were ready for a little lighter fare. Our wonderful local market had a special on fresh caught lake trout. 

After searing in a screaming hot cast iron skilled, the fish went under the broiler with just some butter and salt. The end result was moist and flavorful trout, enhanced with some lemon juice, butter and capers. 

Rice pilaf (the original recipe by Craig Claiborne never fails) and asparagus rounded out the meal, with a crisp Bogle Sauvignon Blanc. 

On a freezing cold night, it was the perfect dinner. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Batard NYC

In NYC for combo of conference and to spend time with darling daughter.  First order of business is check-in and the massive Hilton. There are hordes of historians. Khakis, sport coats, lots of tweed jackets, khakis and walking shoes are the ID.  My husband looks like all of them. Women sensible and chic.

We hightailed it over to a sports bar recommended by the concierge - large TVs to see the MSU game and connect with the darling daughter and the darling daughter of good friends. On the other side of an unexpectedly good burger, great fries and a Rebel IPA we were in good form.

And watched the victory in the hotel room w/ carry out.

Tonight Batard -- top rated new restaurant in NYC and thanks to DD we had a great seating, VIP treatment, wonderful wine and appreciated comps. Braised artichokes with barley and eiswein sabayon, octopus pastrami, shortrib terrine were beautifully composed, brilliant and bright flavors to whet the appetite and a French cremant added just enough sparkle.

Mains are duck breast with natural jus and potatoes w/ capers;  veal "trapezzini" a kind of veal tenderloin Wellington with brilliant pastry and sauce diablo, chicken schnitzel with potato salad and cuke salad. So simple but so dimensional in taste, texture and sauce.

Jonathan our sommelier is wonderful.  Red Burgundy with dinner with a Spanish white Albina with appetizers were perfect matches.  To finish, two tokays for with gorgeous dessert course of hazelnut mousse torte and fried milk bread (aka creme brulee french bread) and a warm runny epoisse with baguette and nut bread.

The food is superb --among the top three in Detroit Food's experience. But the warmth and hospitality make the great restaurant it is.  DD is a part of the trade and her colleagues took such personal care of us with interest and engagement. This is why great restaurants live on - the people, the food and the pursuit of perfection and caring.

Peak dining experience to beat in the next ten years.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Polenta and Italian sausages

So the New York Times Dining section left an impression, from a very basic dish of polenta and sausages. Tried it tonight and it's a keeper.

Italian Sausage and polenta/ NY Times

I have used regular cornmeal for polenta before, but this time I used Red Mill coarse ground corn grits/polenta. Cooking time = 30 minutes.

While that was cooking, I browned and cooked through some sweet Italian sausage, cut in chunks. I cooked two links, only half a pound and used chowed on not even one sausage, didn't need more because it flavored everything. And put a large thinly sliced onion in a pan to caramelize.

Also added in Marcella Hazan's cabbage recipe, long and slowly cooked thinly slice cabbage that yielded such a sweet flavor.

End result was very deep and flavorful and creamy polenta, topped with the caramelized onions, the crisp sausage with a side of sweet and braised cabbage.

Peasant food, to be sure. The whole meal, which was enough for at least six, cost maybe $4. An inexpensive but good red wine rounded out the meal.

But price doesn't always count, does it, when it comes to comfort food on a cold winter night?