What kind of café is this? How long has it been since I meal blogged? Too long. I don’t have much to share, as I’ve been experimenting more, and experimentation usually means that I haven’t figured out how to serve the dish aesthetically, because I’m concentrating on flavors, fabrication, recipes and pleasing guests and/or Tina’s tastebuds. I’ve been trying to do more vegetarian dishes, and sometimes the colors are harder to photograph.
If you’re new to the café, I’m aspiring to be a better cook. I cook or prepare meals almost twice a day, and we only eat out about twice a month. Because I work from home as a photographer, I use the commute time to plan and prepare menus. I’ve found that cooking is an artistic outlet, and aspire to be more appreciative of the art of gastronomy, the major religion of the French. Plus, I’m trying to get my blood pressure down, and it helps when I prepare all my meals.
Back to the food. Last night’s dinner was far from vegetarian. It was grilled sirloin with thin-sliced grilled potatoes, which is simple and easy, except for the fact that last night’s weather was windy and humid. Our back porch is on the third floor and there is no wind protection or roof over it. An El train track is about 20 feet from the deck and trains runs about 40 or 50 miles per hour every 10 to 20 minutes on average. At rush hour, a train rumbles by every couple minutes in either direction. When I’m grilling, it plays a role in causing mental instability.
That said, here’s a shot of last night’s meal. Battling the elements is part of the process, and when I get a steak with perfect grill lines and hardly any burned taters, I’m a happy camper. The wind tends to blow out the flames, and I barricade a bunch of chairs around the grill. I also grill at a higher temperature than I would like, because it helps keep the flames lit. But after all that, it was worth it.
Visual Bon Appetit (more below the fold).
Next shot is from my brother-in-law Michael, who is a major contributor here to Le Café. He’d be head chef if it weren’t for the fact that he only cooks one day a week. I don’t remember all the details on this dish, but the shot sure makes my mouth water. It’s tilapia, mixed veggies in Alfredo sauce (Michael includes the broccoli stalks in some of his recipes and it is mm mm good!), and oven-roasted squash. This was a great one. I put his below the fold, because he’s always upstaging me!
This photo I hesitate to post, because it’s hard to get brown to look good across the spectrum of different monitors in the world. But it was my first attempt at making, freezing and reheating beef stew, and I’m really proud of it. So I’m forcing you to look at a picture of it below, no matter how much it looks like I vomited in a pan and took a picture of it. Notice no r25 logo, because I don’t care if it’s stolen.
iPhone Shots; NOT as Pretty, but there’s some solid tips:
Finally, The next three shots are some random iPhone pictures of dinners and lunches past. I share them, because they are simple ideas. I have recipes for each, and would be happy to provide them by request. I wouldn’t show these photos otherwise. They’re shitty. So TRY to look past the iPhone quality at their delicious splendor.
The noodle dish is a fun way to do leftover spaghetti. When I make a spaghetti dish for dinner, I make a little extra and set it aside. For lunch the next day, I fry the noodles in a frying pan at medium heat for about 10 minutes in some olive oil, cheddar cheese and red pepper flakes. You can throw a little pancetta or bacon in there too (already cooked), but I did not do this here. About two minutes from finish, throw on a tablespoon (or more) of parmesan. Oh la la. This photo is disappointingly unappetizing, but I wanted to pass on the little simple recipe.
The meat and potatoes below is a pork chop breaded in panko bread crumbs. The mashed potatoes were done in Silk, instead of cream, with the skins still on the taters. It was just as tasty as mashed taters made with cream or milk. That meal was is GREAT. I wish I would have used my real camera. Mashed taters are good for leftovers too. Don’t forget potato cakes with a breakfast dish!
And finally there’s a salad with mixed greens, radish, carrot, tomato, cucumber and pears topped with couscous. It’s so good. Couscous is one of those items you can buy in bulk and it’s easy to make and use leftovers in salads (like this). It can be warmed up or served cold. It tastes well in olive oil dressings or even ranch.