A Tale of Three Cities

It has been quite a while since my last post. To some degree I got a bit burned out on blogging and other priorities surfaced in my life — like having a less food-centered life. With regard to the latter, I have been reasonably successful having maintained a weight loss of sixty pounds for about a year. I had lost more than sixty pounds and simple math will quickly reveal that I have put some back on. In the spirit of the glass half full (or half empty in this case) I am trying to stay focused on how much I successfully have kept off rather than the “paltry amount” that I regained. I wake up each morning with the intention of continuing to lose and getting to the gym more often. Some days are more successful than others. I am committed to lose more weight and get healthier. But first…

Christina and I leave tomorrow for a two-week trip that will take us to three great cities — Berlin, Prague and Amsterdam. We did go to Paris for five days in the Fall (I know I have a very nice life. I feel very lucky). But somehow the arc of that trip did not lend itself to blogging. I am thinking that I will blog — perhaps some during the trip — and also upon return as I did with our trip to Lisbon last summer.

In the meantime, by way of an appetizer, I want to share a few images from an event Frog Commissary catered this past Saturday. (Yes, I do still do work.)

This is tiny Banh Mi. A Banh Mi is a “Vietnamese baguette.” For this miniature version, Frog Commissary’s bakery made tiny rolls about 2/12″ long. We cut a wedge out of the top of the roll. Next we squirted some Cilantro Aioli. Then came alternating layers of marinated and grilled skinless chicken thighs (See At Home by Steve Poses Thai Thighs on Page 190.) and Pickled Carrot and Daikon (Page 219) and a garnish of a cilantro leaf.

This is my translation of my mother’s recipe for sweet and sour stuffed cabbage (See Page 234) into Sweet and Sour Meatballs. It’s sort of stuffed cabbage without the cabbage. The container was 3 ounces and it held three half-ounce meatballs plus sauce. (We shared leftovers at home the next day — Mother’s Day — with Christina’s mother.)

There were twenty seven separate menu items, each served in or on a tiny container. Here are golden beet stars and red beet hearts dressed with a ginger vinaigrette, topped with Shellbark Hollow Sharp Chevre (available at the Fair Food Farm Stand at Reading Terminal and the Head House Square Farmer’s Market that opened two Sunday’s ago), crystalized wasabi and a leaf of microgreens. Crystalized wasabi is made with wasabi powder, sugar and water. As the paste dries you break it into small “crystals.” It adds a wonderful accent to beets.

The party included a Tri-color Caviar Station with black Hackelback, green wasabi and red tobiko and a Korean Barbecue Beef Taco. This is the taco.(See At Home Page 94 for a recipe similar to the party’s.) I braised boneless beef short ribs at 200 degrees for eighteen hours. This beef was shredded and a reduction of the braising liquid was added back. The tortillas came from Tortilleria San Romano in the Italian Market. We used a circle cutter to reduce their size to four inches. (Tortillaria San Roman, 915 South 9th Street at Carpenter. They sell corn tortillas by the kilo — about 50 per kilo for $2 —  and they are the best. If you go and buy them, please encourage them to raise the price as I think they are worth far more than they are charging.)

To assemble:
1. Warm corn tortillas on flat griddle to soften and make more pliable. Place two side-by-side in small wooden “boat.”
2. Place a scant ounce of shredded beef on each taco.
3. Add green papaya slaw
4. Add kim chee mayonnaise
5. Add toasted sesame seeds
6. Add a few leaves of ciliantro
7. Garnish wtih lime wedge.

There was some “controversy” that we did not offer forks for the taco at this fancy soiree. But these delectable tacos are meant to be consumed as a piece so you get all of these amazing flavors tumbling in your mouth and not picked at with a fork.

The party was all quite mad and wonderful. We are working on lots more photos from the event to post on Frog Commissary’s website. I will let you know when they appear.

Next stop Berlin. More to follow.

Thank you for visiting.

Steve

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