A brief statement of purpose

There are already about a billion food blogs, so what might be a justification of yet another one, and who am I to do it?

What I aim to do in this blog is more than simply provide recipes. While recipes of my own will, in fact, be posted, some of the blog will consist of a variety of comments about restaurants and their practices, food preparation tips, personal annoyances (such as loud restaurants and the epidemic of misspellings on menus), and whatever else pops into my head relating to what we put in our mouths (and swallow, I hasten to add). The whole thing is meant to be somewhat provocative. I hope, if nothing else, it won't be boring. I, of course, solicit reader participation.

As for who I am and why I think I might have something to contribute to public discussions on this essential and pleasurable activity - eating - you'll have to click here.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Calamari steaks, curry coconut vegetables, and black rice

   If you happen to find calamari - which is to say, squid - steaks, here’s something to do with them. But first, you might ask, what is a calamari steak? It’s simply the body of a large squid, not the small ones out of which the ubiquitous fried calamari appetizers are made. The body is split and laid out flat; hence, the name “steak”. They’ll almost certainly be sold frozen. Best to thaw them overnight in the refrigerator. They might still be covered with some ice crystals, so scrape them off with a knife and blot the steaks dry with paper towels. The idea is to be sure they’re dry when they hit the heat so they brown rather than steam. If you’ve never cooked with it before, here is the most important thing to remember: Do not cook it longer than, at most, two minutes per side. Otherwise, it will turn to rubber. 
   Squid itself doesn’t have a great deal of flavor. Like tofu, it’s best considered a flavor absorber, and what better flavor to absorb than a curry-coconut milk sauce? The following recipe is quite easy. Thai curry paste in small jars is widely available in ordinary grocery stores. If it isn’t in yours, I suggest you take your business to a larger, better equipped one. I used red curry paste, but green and yellow would be fine, too. Black rice is also called “forbidden” rice because, as legend has it, Chinese emperors forbade anyone else to eat it besides themselves. It might be a bit more difficult to find, but I’ve noticed that it’s becoming increasingly available. It’s worth searching out because it’s both highly nutritious and tasty in a nutty way. Plus, as you see in the photo, it adds some aesthetic interest on the plate compared with ordinary white rice, which you may use instead if your search turns up empty-handed.
Thai red curry paste, 1 or more Tbs depending on your heat tolerance
Coconut milk, 1  13.5 oz  can
Baby corn, 1  16 oz  can, rinsed and sliced
Green beans, several, trimmed
Shallot, 1 large, minced
Red jalapeños, 2, seeds and veins removed unless you want the heat
White pepper
Scallions, 3 or 4, trimmed and sliced
Cilantro, chopped
Calamari steaks
Peanut or canola oil
Salt and pepper
Forbidden/black rice, 1 cup
Chicken broth
Place the curry paste and the coconut milk in a large saucepan and heat to boiling, toss in the corn, green beans, shallot, and jalapeños, and reduce to a simmer. Add the white pepper and salt. If you’re going to be serving the dish quickly, you should parboil the green beans before adding them to the mixture; otherwise, they may not be sufficiently done.
Cook the rice according to package instructions, using chicken broth instead of water.
If you have a ridged, stove-top grilling pan, heat it on high. Brush the steaks with some oil, salt and pepper them, and put them on the grill pan. Two minutes a side, maximum.
If you don’t have such a pan, use any other pan, although cast iron is preferred.
Throw the scallions and cilantro into the simmering vegetables.
Place each steak on a plate, with the vegetables and rice alongside.

1 comment:

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