Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tagliatelle with Morels

Tagliatelle with Morels

Sherry's folks, who live in Washington State near Mt. Rainier, go foraging for morel mushrooms every spring. Their success varies from year to year, but this past spring they hit the mother lode. What they don't consume immediately, they dry for later use - some of which get sent to grateful non-foragers like ourselves.

Unable to restrain ourselves, we decided to use about a third of our mushroom care package in a single go. Sherry whipped up a batch of fresh tagliatelle and we measured out about an ounce of the dried mushrooms (they are very light):

Tagliatelle with Morels

After reconstituting them in some warm water and then squeezing them dry, they are ready to use just like fresh ones.

Tagliatelle with Morels

Like most mushrooms, Morels have an affinity for butter. We fried them up with a little garlic and salt until lightly browned in spots.

Tagliatelle with Morels

Stir in a few tablespoons of cream, sprinkles of Pecorino Romano, black pepper and fresh parsley and you have a finished sauce, just lightly coating the pasta.

Tagliatelle with Morels

Tagliatelle with Morels. Earthy, nutty and rich tasting. We have a limited supply of morels, but we just may have to make this dish again.

Tagliatelle with Morels

Here is the recipe that Sherry improvised:

Tagliatelle with Morels

Serves 2.

6 ounces fresh tagliatelle
approx 1 ounce dried morel mushrooms
1 tablespoon butter
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
3-4 tablespoons cream
1 tablespoon grated Pecorino Romano
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Rehydrate the mushrooms in a bowl of warm water for about 30 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and squeeze them to remove excess water. Place on a towel to dry a few minutes. (Keep the soaking water for use in other recipes.)

Heat a pan over medium high, add butter, garlic and morels. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and cook until mushrooms are browned in spots. Drop the fresh pasta into boiling, salted water and cook for 2-3 minutes. Reduce the mushroom heat to low, stir in the cream and heat gently 1-2 minutes to thicken slightly. Add the cheese, parsley and black pepper. Slowly add the cooked, drained pasta and toss to coat evenly with sauce. Divide into warm bowls and serve immediately.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ballast Point 12th Anniversary Party

This coming Saturday, Oct 12th, Ballast Point Brewing Company is having had a party and beer festival to celebrate their 12th anniversary. In addition to rolling out a bunch of special beers of their own, the rest of the San Diego brewers will be showing up with some of their stuff as well.

The event is being was held at Liberty Station. More information can be found here.

Tickets are were $35 online, or $40 at the door.

Update: Fun festival. It was a perfect, sunny late October afternoon. For me, the star of the show was (not unexpectedly) the cask-conditioned Sculpin (pictured at the top of the post). I don't think I've ever experienced a better West-Coast hop aroma. Really good stuff.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pulled Pork Grilled Pizza

Pulled Pork Pizza

We recently added another use to our growing list of ways to use leftover pulled pork. We took some leftover pulled pork, mixed it with barbecue sauce and tossed on a pizza with some red onion, chopped cilantro and mozzarella.

A few minutes on the grill and we had a very tasty pulled pork pizza.

Pulled Pork Pizza

We do all of our pizza on an outdoor grill these days. I think it is the best way to cook pizza if you don't have your own brick pizza oven. For more information on grilling pizza, there is a detailed explanation in our post on Prosciutto and Arugula Grilled Pizza.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sardines and Ceviche at Sea Rocket Bistro

Grilled Sardines

This past weekend, Dennis and Elena at Sea Rocket Bistro were kind enough to invite us, along with some other local food bloggers to their restaurant to sample some of their food.

Sea Rocket's focus is on locally-sourced seafood from the San Diego area and Baja California. Where possible, they purchase their fish and shellfish directly from local fishermen.

Of the dishes we tried, our favorites were their grilled sardines, and ceviche. Sardines are fished locally for use as live bait, but Sea Rocket cleverly intercepts some for use in the restaurant. They prepare and serve them very simply: grilled on a stick and drizzled with avocado oil from Temecula. Bracing the fish with your knife and pulling away toward the tail with your fork yields a deeply-flavored sardine fillet.

The ceviche (made in this case with yellowtail), was fantastic. The texture of the fish was perfect, and the addition of a bit of habanero chile gave it some nice heat.

The beverage side of the house emphasizes local offerings as well, with a good selection of local wines and craft beers.

Next time you are in North Park, check them out. They are in the elegant, cozy space previously occupied by the Linkery.

Sea Rocket Bistro
3382 30th Street
San Diego, California
(619) 255-7049

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Smoked Pork Butt

Getting Up Early

That's 5:16 AM - as in *morning* - before it's even gotten light out. I NEVER get up before the sun, never even before 8:00 if I can help it. So, what could ever prompt me to rise so early - and willingly, no less?

None other than the siren call of a well seasoned pork butt just waiting to become barbecue on our trusty little smoker.

It all started one day earlier with a sweet, salty, peppery, savory, herby, chile-laden dry rub. We used the recipe mostly taken from Bruce Aidells' - we posted the recipe last year for the butt we cooked on our gas grill.

Spices for the Pork Butt Rub

After mixing the seasonings in a jar, we coated the meat with a generous dose of the rub and then wrapped the whole thing tightly in plastic. I actually used the entire jar since we were cooking a whole, 7.5 pound butt.

Rubbing the Pork Butt

The next morning, I unwrapped the butt and got it on the smoker at about a quarter to six. We were shooting for a 225°F cooker temp and a target internal temp of about 190-200°F. Last year's butt on the gas grill took about 9 hours. Since we could keep the smoker's temperature lower, I estimated a 12 hour cook time for this one.

Rubbed and Ready To Smoke

... 12 hours later it was at 183°F ... at 13 hours: 189°F. We called this done!

It's really hard to get a good picture of smoked pork butt just off the cooker. It always looks rather charred and black.

Smoked Pork Butt

But trust me, it's anything but burned - that "outside brown" part is fabulous. And check out that vibrant pink smoke ring:

Smoke Ring

We let the butt rest for almost an hour and by then we were ready to pull it apart and dig in. The meat was super easy to shred. All it needed was a few splashes of spiced up vinegar to give it a little twang.

Pulled Pork

Piled on a toasted bun, this was the best pulled pork sandwich we've ever made at home. While gas-grill barbecue was good, the consistent smoke you get with a real fire smoker allows all the flavors to really intensify.

Pulled Pork Sandwich

In addition to pulled pork sandwiches, we use the leftovers in all sorts of other ways - it makes a great filling for pulled pork tacos, as well as sopes. We've even gone a bit crazy and made mu shu pork butt. Oh, and it makes an awesome pulled pork pizza. These leftovers will definitely find good use.

Left-Over Pork Butt

Speaking of leftovers...

Lots of Leftovers

Maybe a 7.5 pound piece of meat for two people was just a little excessive? No way! A freezer full of barbecue is always a good thing.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Pappa al Pomodoro - It's Still Summer In San Diego

Papa al Pomodoro

Just a quick picture to counter all of the pumpkin and butternut squash posts out there that are trying to drag me unwillingly into fall. I'm not ready yet!

Recipe from the Zuni Cafe Cookbook.