"" What's She Eating Now?

Friday, January 27, 2012

... and we're back, with oysters!

I just did the internet equivalent of dusting off my blog -- deleting all of the comments posted by spam sites looking to boost their SEO rankings. At least I think they're spam as I can't imagine Viagra Online, one of my most prolific commenters, was really that into What's She Eating Now.

In any event, just because I have been gone for a while doesn't mean I haven't been cooking up a storm and eating everything in my path. Here is a quick recipe that is easy and fun to make and an entertaining crowd pleaser that will impress your guests: Oysters Rockafeller. It really does not take as long as then lengthy instructions would imply so give it a try.

Step one: procure oysters
Pick up some oysters at your fish market and an oyster knife if you don't own one. Mid-size oysters that are neither too creamy or briny work well, like a blue point for example. For an amuse one or two per person is a good number, for an app 6 per person. If you are not making the oysters right away refrigerate with a slightly damp paper towel placed loosely over the shells, do not keep in a plastic bag as the oysters need to breathe.

Prepare a sheet pan either using salt to line the whole bottom to hold the oysters in place or you can use tin foil to line the bottom and also to create little foil stands to hold the oysters in place. If you're entertaining go for the salt, it is a great presentation.

Step two: make sauce
Take a stick of unsalted butter out of the fridge for later use and pre heat the oven to 400.

Make some bacon and cook until crispy.

Sautee some breadcrumbs in a little butter (or even a little bacon grease) to toast, this step is not essential but it makes it even better.

Chop parsley, watercress, green onion and garlic-- mixture should be mostly watercress but don't be shy with the other ingredients. Exact proportions don't matter, channel your inner chef and do it by feel and taste. Also, you'll see many variations when you look this recipe up. They are all delicious.

Put this mis-en-place aside and shuck your oysters.

Step three: shuck oysters
First make sure all the oysters are alive. If they are open, tap them lightly. If they close they are good. If not, toss them. The ones firmly shut are also good to go.Wipe with a damp cloth to remove any schmutz.

Use a dish towel to wrap around the open side of the oyster to hold it down firmly against the counter. Jam the oyster knife into the hinge of the oyster and work it in until you can pop it open. Keep the knife in and run along the very top, flat part of the shell to separate the oyster as it is connected at top and bottom. Take care not to tear the oyster itself.

Use the knife to separate on the bottom too and place on the sheet pan to wait to be sauced. Do not lose the oyster juice.

Step four: back to the sauce
Melt a stick of unsalted butter in a saucier like this one. Depending on how many oysters you are doing you can melt the butter while you're shucking. Add the garlic first. When you can smell a nice garlicky butter smell add the rest of the veggies. Cook them down a bit then add chopped crispy bacon. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

Sauce the oysters and then sprinkle the toasted breadcrumbs on top. Cook for 10-12 minutes, sauce should be bubbling. Serve, enjoy!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Dream or reality?

Check out this rendering of me sitting on a tomato surrounded by some of my favorite pasta shapes. I have often had dreams like this but I am dying to meet the artist who knew this and brought my dreams to life. If he is a true genius there is a sausage and cheese filling in that ravioli.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Goldman Shacks

Want to know if Goldman Sachs employees get special treatment at Shake Shack? Click through to this great piece of investigatory journalism.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Honey, Get Out the Good Chinet, We Have Company

Some of you have wondered where I have been for the last several months. Some readers emailed asking if I was OK. Others submitted concerns that I may have eaten myself to death. While this would be my preferred way to go, I am alive and well. I was quite busy helping Michael White open Ai Fiori, his newest restaurant in the Setai Fifth Avenue hotel, which kept me from my blogging duties. But before you think I am all schmansy now, I still have not forgotten what "fine dining" means in most of the world, and here in particular in Grand Coulee, Washington.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Lost in Translation, Menu Edition

Among the many things my sister and I share is an obsession with taking pictures of funny english translations when we travel. One of our favorites, which we took together in Japan, was of a sign pointing to the "bus porking."

Back from her trip to the Middle East, sis has added to the collection and made me proud. Please see below the dessert choices one may have in Syria after downing a delicious Crap Salad. Hot love ice cream anyone?

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Alabama Treat

When I was in high school I took the bus to school with a group of rowdy guys from my grade until we were old enough to have cars and then we drove together. These guys would tell dirty jokes, listen to hard core rap and often invite themselves over to my house after school to hang out, whether I wanted them there or not. The particularly frustrating part was that sometimes my mom would feed them, insuring they had no need to leave and more reason to come back. It sounds bad but these guys were also hilarious and fun and good guys at heart and I am happy to still call them my friends all these years later.

In particular, I am happy to have remained friends with Ken Hess (pictured above, perhaps you have seen him on Pitmasters or the Food Network's Unwrapped). Ken is a barbecue chef at Big Bob Gibson in Decatur, Alabama, an award-winning fourth-generation barbecue mecca known for their chicken and pork and the secret sauces they make to dress them. Unfortunately I do not find myself in Decatur, well ever, but I get a chance to sample their food at the annual Big Apple Barbecue Block Party where this year they had a line that stretched for nearly two city blocks. Dan and I walked along side the queue in disbelief until we reached the Big Bob Gibson tent where we spied Ken up in the rig cutting up pork shoulders with a giant knife, pork flying up in the air and for the most part landing back down on the cutting board.

"Schupak!" Ken exclaimed as he saw me and Dan wiggle through the crowd, "Come on up here." Slipping through the barricade and joining Ken up in the rig was a super thrill for this not easily impressed food enthusiast. Just like on Pitmasters, the rig had a huge rotisserie cooker which Ken and the team used to turn out more than 200 pork shoulders for each day of the event (see Ken's 5am photo above, these babies were going low and slow for the entire night). When he took one off to serve, it practically melted off the bone. He felt his way through the meat to remove large pieces of fat and gristle then using a large knife chopped at it like crazy. Once chopped, he mixed in a little vinegar based finishing sauce, then on it went to its potato roll to be topped with barbecue sauce and nestle next to a small compartment full of cole slaw.

I have heard Ken say he has converted vegetarians with his barbecue and after that sandwich I believe it. The pork was tender and flavorful and chopped to perfection with an out-of-this-world sauce, which you can buy online here. As the famous critic Goldilocks might say, it was juuust right. Indeed the sandwich ignited a uniform reaction: big smiles all around. And the cole slaw was no after thought. The cabbage was crisp and fresh and the dressing made it match well as a side to or a topping on the sandwich.

It is such a great feeling to see a friend doing what he loves, and even better to also be a beneficiary! Thank you, Ken, for a delicious meal and a great experience. Who knows, maybe next time in Decatur.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Super Delicious Ingredient Force

It is not often I get excited when something new comes from the folks at Taco Bell, but their new Super Delicious Ingredient Force campaign earns my applause. Featuring 10 taste superheroes, Taco Bell's marketing mavens have created Marvel-esque shorts where this flavor force saves people from eating really un-delicious fast food (this is where you use your imagination that the Taco Bell items it brings to the rescue are indeed the antidote). Here is the first in what their site indicates will be a series of episodes. My favorite characters are Fantastic Rice and the protector of value who wears a helmet while riding his Segway. Enjoy!