I’ve decided to take on Homemade Wild Alaskan Lox.
Good lox has an intense color and a meltingly tender texture. Go to a restaurant and you could pay big bucks for it too. To justify the price plenty of places compose the plate beautifully. Sometimes they’ll include unusual accompaniments which further elevates this simple cured fish to new culinary heights. The visual (and gastronomique) appeal is worth something in my opinion. It really is.
But other times I want lox presented more simply (and more often). I like it with bagels, cream cheese and tomatoes on Sunday mornings. But it also makes a very impressive appetizer on pumpernickel bread, crème fraîche and a spritz of lemon. But I don’t always want to pay $14.00 a bite!
So why not make it myself?
I was in Alaska this summer as the guest of Alaska Seafood (ASMI). We were treated to a cooking demonstration using wild-caught Alaskan salmon. One of the dishes the chefs prepared was gravlox (lox). I was struck by the simplicity. I was further struck by the taste and texture. It’s the same taste and texture that makes very good lox such a (pricey) delicious treat in the very best restaurants.
Making my own lox has been on my to-do list ever since. I suggest you start a to-do list of your own. Here’s a recipe I adapted from Tom Valenti to get you started. GREG
Now I am a pretty good cook– but like most of us I read recipes to get inspired. Good recipes are like good books, they’re hard to put down. I particularly like recipes so magical that they transport me to exciting locations, rich with possibility. These are the recipes that excite me. These are the recipes I turn to on special occasions. But I’ll tell you something. IRL, I don’t always use recipes.
There are all sorts of reasons why I don’t use recipes everyday. Sometimes I make a dish so many times that a recipe is just redundant. Other times I feel like getting my creative game on so I follow my instincts, just to see how good they are.
None of that means I think recipes are irrelevant IRL (in real life). If I thought that there would be very little room for this blog, any of the other blogs I read or even the 8 shelves of cookbooks that tower over each end of the desk where I peck away at this keyboard.
There are exceptions however. Too many to go into. Baking is often an exception. I usually follow pastry recipes or make only small (logical??) adaptations to them. I can’t make good ice cream to save my life, unless I follow a recipe word for word and then make it twice. I blame that strict bugaboo known as science. It’s always lurking– just hoping I lose the logarithm or invert the integers.
But cocktails can be an exception too. I often turn to my bartenders guide IRL even when making something as simple and familiar as a Manhattan. And I’m not sure why.
Beans, beans, the musical fruit
The more you eat, the more you toot
The more you toot, the better you feel
So eat your beans at every meal!
I hate that little ditty. If I were a bean I’d sue.
Though I realize my legal action might be considered a frivolous lawsuit. Because I know full well that it’s hard to prove libel when the scandalous statements are true. Beans make you fart.
You can pretend like they don’t (and I do). But beans make you fart.
They contain the sugar raffinose, which isn’t something we humans are able to digest properly. When these sugars reach your intestine in their improperly digested form, the bacteria in your intestines– whose job it is to tackle whatever crap (pardon the pun) we gulp down our gullets– has to work extra hard to send it packing out the other end. The by-product of all that hard work is gas. But p’shaw. Who cares, right? So what. I love beans. After all, what’s a little flatulence between friends?
Toni Morrison said: “All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was.” I can’t help but think that there is something in this story from Gisele Perez of Pain Perdu Blog that keeps her heart flowing back to the roots of her childhood home. New Orleans has mythical allure, once its waters flow through your veins– dams and levees are pointless. Keeping Cool on St. Anthony Street.
Many of my childhood summer vacations were spent in New Orleans- the city my family left when I was 6 years old- visiting my father’s family. All of my mother’s family had already moved to Los Angeles. When I asked her why they left, she responded “I was the last one in my family to go.”
We stayed between the two houses my grandfather built next door to each other almost 100 years ago in the Creole section of the city. My Aunt Leticia and her family lived in one, and my unmarried aunt, Nanny Marion lived in the other.
Aunt Leticia married the boy across the street, my Uncle JuJune, and after their wedding he moved into the house where she had grown up. Uncle JuJune’s sister stayed in his childhood home with her family, so in the evenings, after washing the dishes, Aunt Leticia would sit on the front porch, cooling off with a glass of lemonade and talking across the street with her sister in law and the other neighbors.
It’s artichoke season in California! So it’s down the hill and off the the Hollywood Farmers Market for this week’s Market Matters.
While it’s true that in California artichokes are available throughout the year to varying degrees, peak season is from March to May with another flush of this thistle like flower in October. That means markets all across the US are filling up with gorgeous green globes right now.
It also means you should get your hands on some.
California pretty much supplies the entire U.S. with artichokes. Our central coast has the perfect climate for them to thrive. So we take the artichoke pretty seriously. So seriously that we started naming artichoke queens to be ambassadors for this tasty thistle way back in 1947 when a young woman named Norma Jean was crowned Castroville’s first ever Artichoke Queen. Yep, the artichoke launched the career of Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe.
I may not be a blond bombshell, but as a Californian I consider it my duty to sing the praises of this very important cash crop. Because a lot of good cooks get flustered when in the presence of artichokes. They are thorny and altogether a bit intimidating. So I’ll throw out a few guidelines on choosing, storing and prepping artichokes. Maybe the folks in Castroville will hear me and offer me Marilyn’s old crown. Who knows? A boy can dream, can’t he?
Shake. Shake. Shake. I’m drawn to the sound of a bartender shaking up a colorful drink. He sets the limpid libation in front of an appropriately flamboyant girl, then turns his back on her just as she begins to speak.
There’s something about his decisiveness that makes me take a seat at the bar rather than ask for a booth or wait by the window. I’m in a rather dependable Hollywood bistro called District. It’s a casual place, with a long wooden antique bar salvaged in France. Small tables run straight down the middle, and there are a few booths along the perimeter. Oh, and just so you know, you want to sit either at the bar or in a booth– this is Hollywood, real estate matters.
As I try to catch the bartender’s eye, I can’t help but think about the restaurant’s name District, and all the connotations it carries. After all this is Hollywood, the entertainment district and movie capital of the world.
I decide to try and strike up a conversation with the bartender, something to pass the time as I await my friends. I can’t tell if I’m entirely too early or they are appropriately late. But like I said, this is Hollywood. Timely isn’t part of the equation.
I started my blog Sippity Sup- Serious Fun Food, because, let’s be honest, I’m obsessed with food and I wanted to share of few of my favorite things. Things that help define who I am and what’s important to me.
However, I very quickly discovered that my favorite things were shared by so many of you for very similar reasons. It took the blog for me to understand that why I cook is just as important as how I cook.
So I thought I’d dig into the archives and bring back examples of Serious Fun Food– the kind of food that defines Sippity Sup and my attitude about blogging. Which will (I hope) prove to you that this blog deserves to move forward in this competition.
Since this is FoodBuzz, and I can be a suck-up when it suits me, I thought I’d present my Serious Fun Food as a Top 9 of my very own. Now these are not necessarily the most popular posts or even the best posts I’ve ever done. But they are a fun, colorful and delicious collection that does a good job of presenting my style, my voice– my blog.
Do you have room for a little dessert? I know you’ve had 6 pancakes in a row here at Sippity Sup. Maybe something sweet is in order. How about crêpes?
Alright, since you asked so nicely! But first how about a little histoire?
A crêpe is a thin pancake. The common ingredients include flour, eggs, milk, butter and a pinch of salt, and (according to Martha Stewart) sometimes beer. Crêpes are usually of two types: crêpes sucres made with wheat flour and served with a sweet filling, and crêpes sales which are usually made with buckwheat flour and filled with savory ingredients such as chicken, eggs, cheese, vegetables or perhaps fruits de mer (seafood).
The type of filling used in either sweet or savory crêpes is limited only by your imagination and willingness to experiment.
I always like to see where words came from so I looked into the origins of the word crêpe. It comes from the Old French word crespe meaning “curled.” As with many words from the Romance languages, the Old French word came from the Latin word crispus.
When pronouncing a French word in the singular with an S after a vowel the S is silent. So through the generations the S was dropped from the singular form of this word, since they weren’t using it anyway.
Here we go. This is the first day in my quest to become a better baker. All the best bakers use weight measurements. So I got myself a kitchen scale. You can get one too if you want to follow along and become a better baker. I chose the EatSmart Precision Pro Scale. I have even added this scale to my OpenSky Shop so it is easy for you to add a scale to your life too. Just CLICK here. To make it even easier, I have a 10% off coupon code you can use. Just type SIPPITY10 in the coupon code box at check out.
There may come a time when my baking skills outgrow this scale (keep your fingers crossed).
But in the meantime I chose this scale because it seems like a great entry-level piece of equipment. You got to learn to crawl before you walk… so I chose a scale that’s easy to use, that’s reliable and is digital. Besides, at $27.99 (even before the discount) it cannot be beat for function and form. Because letâ€™s face it, this scale is sleek and good-looking. Sup! likes that.
I got a load of lemons today.
It’s citrus season is Southern California, and you know I am always up for a little urban foraging!
So that is just how I started my day, sack in hand rummaging through the branches of my neighbors fruit trees. Just so you know, I have rules about foraging. So don’t accuse me of stealing. All my “victims” are either willing participants or silly people who stupidly planted their citrus so that the branches hang out onto public thoroughfares! So you see, these details make my harvest perfectly legal. Still, I never take more than 2 or 3 pieces of fruit from each tree… I do have some scrupples!
But once I was home, I was faced with the decision of what to do with my haul… A dessert popped in my brain. I do like lemon desserts, and considered a lemon sabayon tart. Besides, Sippity Sup has been abondonded by its readership and a pretty dessert always brings the strays in my flock back home. I may still do that dessert too, because I have a lot of lemons. But there is no time to bake today. I have other committments.