Showing posts from March, 2013

CSA Weeks 10-14 and their Uses

So after confessing to my negligence in reporting on the disposition of my CSA shares, I promptly went silent for another month. But sometimes, what else is there to say other than "Look at those tomatoes!"

Well, maybe there's a little bit more to say. Even a recipe of sorts.

One of the dilemmas I've faced in effectively using our CSA share is that sometimes we get a plethora of some items, and for others there's not enough to go around. For weeks we'd been bullish on cutting celery, whereas one head of fennel won't go very far. How to address this imbalance? Make soup.

I took a fat bunch of cutting celery (which is more leaf than stalk, but has a stronger, more focused flavor than the customary type), a head of fennel, a handful of spring onions, and roughly chopped and sautéed them in some butter. To add some body I also threw in some jicama that had been hanging around since Week 11. My thinking is that I wanted something in the family of a vichysoiss…

Spring Equinox Dinner at The Dutch

Our upside down seasons here in South Florida are a mixed blessing. On the one hand, we get gorgeous fresh tomatoes all winter. On the other hand, we have no real comprehension of the excitement the rest of the country feels as fresh green things like asparagus, and peas, and ramps start making their first appearances this time of year. For us, Spring is actually the end of our primary growing season. Other than lychees, then mangoes and avocados, there isn't much to look forward to other than six months of running the A/C non-stop.

Last week, Conor Hanlon, chef de cuisine at The Dutch Miami, and Brad Kilgore (last seen as chef at Exit 1 and previously sous chef at Azul), decided to celebrate the turn of season as experienced by the rest of the country. Their collaborative effort resulted in a "Spring Equinox Dinner" that offered a taste of the season's bounty.

(You can see all my pictures in this Spring Equinox Dinner at the Dutch flickr set.)

An elegantly simple sa…

CobayOak Tavern with Chef David Bracha

I will save the long-form version of the story for another time, but the short-form version is this: I've been eating Chef David Bracha's food for a long time, going back to the early 1990's when he was cooking at Norman Van Aken's Stars & Stripes Café in the Betsy Hotel on South Beach. Since then, he's gone on to great success at the perennially packed River Oyster Bar downtown, and recently opened up Oak Tavern in the Design District.

So I was excited for the opportunity to get caught up on his cooking at a Cobaya dinner earlier this month for our palindromic Cobaya #31 on 3.11.13. The menu he assembled for us 35 guinea pigs was a more adventurous take on the offerings at his new restaurant - ingredient-driven, with bold flavors and something of an offal-centric tilt.

(You can see all the pictures from our dinner in this CobayOak Tavern flickr set.)

There is no better oyster bar in Miami than the River, and so I was not surprised that's the item with whic…

McCrady's - Charleston, South Carolina

For at least a couple years, I've been building a proposed itinerary for what I call the Grand Southern Dining Tour. At its most elaborate, it would go up Florida's east coast en route to Charleston, South Carolina,[1] keep going to Raleigh, North Carolina,[2] then possibly head further north to Richmond, Virginia[3] before detouring west to Louisville, Kentucky,[4] then work back the long way to South Florida by way of Nashville, Tennessee,[5] Asheville, North Carolina[6] and Atlanta, Georgia.[7]

Of course, that's never going to actually happen. I just don't have the time to devote to such a lengthy dining and driving agenda. But maybe it can be done in bits and pieces. My first step in that direction was a short visit to Charleston before the New Year, and the first reservation I booked was at McCrady's.

If you've paid any attention to the national food media the past few years, it is extremely unlikely that you've not heard of McCrady's and its maste…