Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sugar Snap Peas with Morels and Mint

Yesterday Lindsay and I cooked dinner for her mother: halibut with Chimichurri sauce, a lettuce and tomato salad with croutons flavored with oregano from Lindsay's yard, and the snap pea dish that gives this post its title. We didn't take a picture of the snap peas, so here's another fish picture to keep everyone satisfied:

Why didn't we take a picture? It's because the peas were the very last thing on the table, after the camera was put away. This was because I completely forgot about them until the fish was almost done. But there was no disaster, since this dish only takes about 10 minutes. All I did was take something that my mother cooks and make the Northwestern addition of morels. For a side dish for four people:

  • 1 pound sugar snap peas, tops and strings snapped off
  • 1/4 pound morels, chopped very coarsely
  • 5 mint leaves, minced or chiffonaded
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbs. peanut oil
  • 1 tsp. rice vinegar
  • salt, pepper

Heat a very large skillet over very high heat with 1 tbs. of the peanut oil. When it's really hot, add the peas and a sprinkle of salt and pepper and leave them alone for about a minute, until they've blistered and browned. Flip them over and cook them for another 30 seconds, giving them an occasional shake. Add 1 tsp. soy sauce, stir, and remove the peas to a serving dish. Put the pan back on the heat and cook the morels the exact same way (another tbs. of oil, another tsp. of soy sauce). Add the mushrooms to the serving dish. Add the rice vinegar, the mint, and a shake of coarse, crunchy salt if you have some.

Dogfish Head Festina Pêche

Dogfish Head, Festina Pêche
Neo-Berliner Weisse brewed with peaches
Milton, DE
4.5% Alcohol
Rating: 4/5

This has a good, dry, peachy flavor (and I usually hate fruit beers). It's got a sharp, acidic tang to it.

Alaskan Raspberry Wheat

Alaskan Brewing Co., Raspberry Wheat
Juneau, AK
6.5% Alcohol
Rating: 2/5

Yick. The raspberry flavor is powerful and not good.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Epic Ales Terrasaurus

Epic Ales, Terrasaurus
Ale brewed with shiitake mushrooms
Seattle, WA
4.5% Alcohol
Rating: 5/5

This is such a weird, delicious beer. The mushrooms give it a rich flavor, sort of like coffee. For its depth it's incredibly light and it never tires you out.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Thursday Night Halibut

Time for another installment of Thursday night fish pictures by Lindsay!

Today's dinner was Alaskan halibut roasted atop potatoes sliced so thin that some of them became chips. The baked potato chips that you buy in a store don't taste as good, though, since they usually aren't drenched in olive oil.

For two people:
  • 2/3 pound fillet of halibut
  • 1 pound potatoes, sliced as thinly as possible (something like 1/8 inch or smaller)
  • 3 heads green garlic, or a few scallions, chopped
  • lots of olive oil
  • salt, pepper

Pat the halibut dry and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Put the potatoes in one layer (or as close as possible) in a roasting pan with some salt and a lot of oil. Roast at 450 degrees for 10-15 minutes, keeping a close eye on the potatoes. Flip them and cook for about another 10-15 minutes, getting them good and browned, and adding more oil if you want. You'll turn the heat down when you start cooking the fish, so don't worry too much about burning them. When they look basically ready to eat, plop the halibut down in the middle of the pan, toss the green garlic on top, and sprinkle some more olive oil over the fish. Turn the heat down to 400 and put the pan back in the oven until the halibut is just cooked through, which took me a bit over 10 minutes. I'm not sure whether fish needs to rest like meat does, but I suspect a few minutes patience will only improve things.

Iron Horse Ginger Hefeweizen

Iron Horse Brewery, High Five Hefe
Hefeweizen brewed with ginger
Ellensburg, WA
6% Alcohol
Rating: 4/5

I went to the Iron Horse Brewery tasting a few couple weeks ago at Bottleworks. It was Saturday and the store was packed. A guy was there from Iron Horse to pour the samples, and he really liked talking about the beer. This meant that the only way to avoid a painfully long wait was to go immediately back to the end of the line after you get your beer. So, I spent my afternoon drinking beer while walking in a large circle.

The hefeweizen was their lightest beer. It has a real ginger flavor without being sweet, and it's a fun, simple beer.

Deschutes Red Chair Pale Ale

Deschutes Brewery Red Chair Northwest Pale Ale
Bend, OR
6.4% Alcohol
Rating: 3/5

Recently it has come to my attention that I rate every beer four. This is a natural thing: the beers I buy are all pretty good, but they're rarely perfect. It definitely makes for a stupid system, though. I thought about rating the beers on a scale of 3.0-4.0--this would satisfy my desire to give everything a decent rating and would match up with the grades for graduate math classes at the University of Washington--but here's what I've settled on: five for perfect, four for excitingly good, three for boringly good, two for PBR, and one if it gives me food poisoning.

This pale ale was good, but I probably wouldn't get it again. It's not at all bland, especially for a pale ale, but I found it a little bit too piney. In any event I think they finished brewing it in April, when I bought six that I still haven't finished.