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One hell of a steak sandwich

I've been making bread (or rather trying to), and with the help of my dad have finally managed to get it somewhat right. I'd say I have a successful loaf, but now I'm striving for the elusive perfect loaf. I'll let you know if I find it.

In the meantime, I took a fresh loaf of bread tonight and made one hell of a steak sandwich out of it. Here we go…

Half a jalapeño pepper, grated nice and fine.

The steak; fresh ground pepper, and that's it.

Torn up mozzarella.

Fresh baked French baguette.

Torn basil.

Olive oil, butter and jalapeño.

Covered pan for the cookin'.

Fryin' up nice-like.

Warm bread, olive oil, mozzarella, basil, salt and pepper.

Wine (of course).

Steak sliced thin.

A little bit of the drippings.

Now that's a sandwich!



Breakfast of Champions

Mmmm... Bacon, egg (basically done like an omelette, only slightly mixed so there's still separation of yolk and white), and thick bread. Some HP sauce would have been perfect… too bad I didn't look in the fridge until after I'd scarfed it down.



Culinary Center of Monterey

A circle of chefs, ready to slap us silly

Last week I was with a group invited to attend a 'class' at the Culinary Center of Monterey. We had a fantastic time and learned a thing or two along the way. The agenda of the day was to basically cook our own lunch and eat our own mistakes victories. The menu was varied, from French Onion Soup and Tarte Aux Epinards to Boeuf Bourguinonne and Roasted Cornish Hens. I was assigned to the Roasted Beet Salad, the only item on the menu with no recipe. The chef insisted… "oh I don't know, do whatever you like!". Alrighty then.

Beets ready for the roastin'

Assistant chef Claire, poking my beets

The beet salad was a hit among all, even those who normally don't like beets. We washed, peeled, chopped and roasted a shedload of beets, candied almonds and made up a garlic/balsamic/red wine vinegar/honey vinaigrette dressing to go over it all, and it was gorgeous!

Roasted Beet Salad! Imagine red and green…

There was also a fantastically easy recipe for a Fresh Fruit Tart Tatin which I made at home last night… mmmm! Unfortunately it was devoured before I could get the camera on it… sorry. But it's so simple to make; just melt some butter, cinnamon and brown sugar in a pan, drop in some fruit (apples, berries, whatever), and top with a puff pastry sheet cut to fit the pan, drop into a 375ºF oven for 25 minutes… then invert onto a serving tray and serve. Delicious. That was your birthday dessert Alenka, so sorry you weren't here to enjoy it :(



Lillet Blanc

Oh right one more thing and I really gotta go to bed… For those AA dropouts out there, you'll love this one. A Brit friend of mine had made, some time ago, little 'business card' sized cards that had on one side a quote from the original Ian Fleming James Bond story, Casino Royale, and on the other side, the recipe for quite possibly the single best drink on the planet.

The Vesper Martini
The recipe goes like this…

  • 3 parts Gin (Gordons is good)

  • 1 part Vodka (anything pure, no flavored shit)

  • 1/2 part Lillet Blanc (more on this in a moment)

  • Shake ingredients over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass

  • Garnish with a twist of lemon

You'd be amazed at how many bartenders, even with these clear instructions, have fucked this drink up. One notable exception is Bouchon in Las Vegas (Thomas Keller's place, of the famed French Laundry), where the bartender made a perfect Vesper. Or 30 of 'em. So over the course of a week, we drank our fair share of these fabulous concoctions. (Side note: If you do manage to find yourself at Bouchon, do ya'self a favor and order the Salade Frisée aux Lardons et Oeuf Poche (frisée salad with bacon lardons, poached egg & bacon vinaigrette). It's quite possibly the best incarnation of this salad I've ever enjoyed, and it is soooooo good. I've ordered this salad at other famous French restaurants and been disappointed. Keller teaches 'em good here). Where was I… oh yes, the Lillet. So I've been trying to find this ingredient, and I've been told it can be found at BevMo or even at Safeway (!!), but I had thus far failed to find it. Until today. O'baby I found it, at Whole Paycheck Foods. Happy boy.

(Yes that's my scrawny-ass wrist in the photo)