Our Daily Dinner

Our Daily Dinner

February 25, 2011

100th Blog: Musing and Schmoosing

This is my 100th blog! I confess, I had no idea how much I would enjoy it. First and foremost there is the challenge of what to cook for dinner. I sleep better once I’ve decided on the next three meals. These usually include one new dish, plus favorite standbys like meatloaf, a simple chicken, fish and pasta dish. Cooking falls into two categories: à la minute such as hamburger, or those that require lengthy prep, such as stews, which can be done in advance. Depending on the day, the weather, and my ambition, I’ll gravitate to one or the other. We both enjoy a good meal, but George is fussier than I am. Presentation and flavor nuances are important to him. I like variety and the right choice of wine.

Recent shopping Ventures & Changes

Trader Joe’s*. Granted, it’s a schlep but definitely worth it once in a while. Their frozen Tarte d’Alsace alone is worth the trip. I also like their Truffle Mousse Pâté, made with chicken liver, truffles & mushrooms, Irish Kerrygold Butter*, (see A word abut butter), frozen French Haricot Verts, and reasonably priced spices. The place seems overwhelming. But the staff is very helpful and will accompany you on your quest of assorted items spread over two floors.

“If it’s Monday it must be sushi……” The quality of sushi from the Katari market had deteriorated, and we now order our Monday night sushi ritual from Sushi of Gari.* Their sushi is consistently first rate; their Tofu salad is a gem.

Instead of going to Sandy’s for roasted chicken, I now buy roasted chicken at Chicken Festival,* a hole in the wall Peruvian eatery in our neighborhood. Sometimes their chicken is better than on others. George likes their rice and beans.

I continue to buy Saigon Grill’s Royal Bouillabaisse on Amsterdam Avenue. To make sure that the fish isn’t overcooked, I remove the fish and shellfish pieces before reheating the bouillabaisse. I may also add some shrimps, having cooked them in their shell first and then add the strained liquid to the bouillabaisse.

A Word about Butter

When the beurre noir for our skate dish didn’t turn out right, I suspected it was due to the quality of the butter. Enamored with extra virgin olive oil for the past decade, I had forgotten that you need top butter to make a good sauce. High quality butter has at least 82% butterfat. French butter with Appelation d’Origine Controlee designation such as Beurre d’Echire, Isigny-Ste-Mere, and Celles-sur-Belle fall into this category. So do their American counterpart among them Vermont Butter, Organic Valley, Ronnybrook Farm and the Irish Kerrygold Butter. Unfortunately American butters don’t indicate the butterfat content on their label. So, it’s a guessing game. I’m slowly doing my own comparative tasting. I'll keep you informed. Meanwhile, our sauces and flavored butters are getting better.

*Trader Joe’s (212) 737-8352
Bway & 72nd Street

*Chicken Festival (212) 988-2844
1584 First Ave. bet. 82nd & 83rd Street.

*Sushi of Gari (212) 517-5340
402 East 78 Street
Sushi of Gari (212) 362-4816
370 Columbus Ave (bet. 77 & 78 Sts.)


Robert said...

Congratulations, Helen. Your blog is as fresh as the day you started. Even when I know I probably won't cook a recipe, I always enjoy reading what you have to say about each cooking experience. I would have to say that your fish dishes interest me the most - simple and providing new ideas which I play around with. Looking forward to your next momentous anniversary.

Our Daily Dinner said...


Delighted by your comment. Don't know abou the next "momentous anniversary", but wait for the next blog. I think you may like it.