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Showing posts from August, 2018

A Dublin Cafe

In need of afternoon fortification, I stopped by this coffee house across from Trinity College for a snack. I ended up with a lemony bar that was small enough to avoid making me feel stuffed and flavorful enough to give my mouth a pick-me-up. Next door was this druggist, depicted by James Joyce as the purveyor of Bloom's lemon soap. This neighborhood is full of literary references.

Dublin: Butler's Chocolate Cafe

Butler's Chocolate Cafe is a very traditional chocolate shop, stocked to the brim with all sorts of fancy chocolates. Thanks to its convenient location across from the entrance to Trinity College, I managed to make a stop every day. Here is my first day's loot. The most striking chocolate I tried was the salted caramel. The salt and caramel both came through very clearly to perfectly complement each other. They didn't overwhelm the chocolate; both the taste and the creaminess of the chocolate completed the taste experience.

Dublin: O'Neill

In search of a hearty lunch, I found O'Neill near Trinity College. This pub has a substantial buffet operation, something I'm not sure is true of all pubs. This was my opportunity to try the classic Irish stew. Lamb provides the meat, with root vegetables as a complement. The gravy is hearty. O'Neill's included a good dose of black pepper; I'm told this is not traditional. My lunch hit the spot---rib-sticking and tasty.

Dublin: Matt the Thresher

Several of our conference group wandered a few blocks to enjoy a wonderful seafood dinner at Matt the Thresher. The atmosphere has a bit of early 20th century flair; the service was wonderfully gracious and enjoyable. The meal started with delicious Irish bread. This style of bread is very moist but with a texture closer to cornbread. The flavor was very wheaty and earthy. My sole was outstanding. It gave a seafood flavor that reminded me, for some reason, of excellent clams. It was pan fried, then finished in the oven. The vegetables underneath---asparagus, etc.---were excellent. I also enjoyed a side of lightly creamed spinach. We had to try dessert, of course. This is my chocolate and blue cheese fondant. I'm not sure where the fondant came in but the blue cheese played very nicely with the ice cream and made a good contrast to the chocolate.

Dublin: Breakfast at Kilkenny

I disembarked at Dublin and took a bus to Trinity College. At that point, I was ready for some breakfast. The usual Web resources mentioned Kilkenny as a breakfast spot so I was a little confused to find the first floor occupied by Waterford crystal, artwork, and other examples of Irish design. It turns out they do serve food on the second floor. Their selection was pretty complete with both hot Irish breakfast and a big assortment of breakfast pastries. I went for a scone and a coffee. The scone was rich and crumbly as a scone should be. The preserves were served on a tray, with butter as an alternate choice. My preserves were a perfect match to the scone.

Roswell: Henri's Bakery and Cafe

A visit to Roswell led me to a very enjoyable stop at Henri's. This family bakery has operated at various locations in Atlanta since the 1920's. The proprietor was clearly very proud and extremely gracious. They offer a full range of lunch sandwiches as well as a full selection of sweets. Both of my cookies were delicious. The almond macaroon gave me an intense hit of almond flavor and that trademark soft texture. I think of the cheese cookie as very southern; mine had a soft, crumbly, and comforting texture matched with the bite of cheese.

Fresh Dates for Breakfast

Fresh dates were on sale at the grocery store, two boxes for $5-something. I picked up two boxes of Black Forest figs and a container of ricotta. They made a wonderful topping for my french toast. I usually make figs into preserves so eating them fresh is a treat.

Buttermilk Biscuits for Breakfast

I made use of some of my buttermilk to make a batch of biscuits. Some went into the freezer but a few made their way into the oven for breakfast. I enjoyed them with my peach preserves.

Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese makes a hearty, comforting, pretty quick meal. I started with a roux, cooking some flour in olive oil. I used some of my Mountain Fresh Creamery milk to hydrate the roux. I built the cheese sauce using Cheddar cheese from Mountain Fresh Creamery. I also added a little Parmesan cheese. I like fusilli for its ability to hold a sauce close. I cooked a batch and poured the cheese sauce on top. Unfortunately, I am out of breadcrumbs so I couldn't add them as a topping. Into the oven it went. Twenty minutes later, I had a gooey, milky, delicious meal.

Hey, Georgia Tech, Where Are The Food Trucks

Food trucks have been a boon to the Georgia Tech campus for several years. So what happened to them this semester? I have looked all over campus for food trucks and can't find them anywhere. Georgia Tech Catering hasn't even updated its food truck page for fall semester. Let's hope they come back soon.

Parker House Rolls

I decided to try my hand at Parker House rolls, the classic American rolls from the Parker House hotel in Boston. The dough contains a good dose of milk, making for a pillowy dough. Once the dough was ready, I rolled it out and cut it into rectangles. I dabbed the top of each rectangle with melted butter, folded, and put a little more butter on top. The baked result was soft, rich, and delicious. This roll is a perfect complement to a hearty meal.

Beef Stew

I used some chuck from Tucker Meat Market to make a pot of stew. I marinated the meat in red wine, then used some of the wine in the stew along with beef stock. I cooked the beef for a little while, then added some root vegetables, then finally some okra. I cooked everything in a Dutch oven sitting inside the oven, mostly at about 275 degrees. The entire process took about three hours. I should have done a little more to thicken the sauce; I had counted on the okra but it wasn't quite enough to thicken as well as I would have liked. But overall, the stew was hearty and tender.

Fortified Mashed Potatoes

I had some excess egg whites from a cake so I decided to use them on fortified mashed potatoes. My original inspiration is a French dish served for farm hands, which seemed like a good idea for a hearty breakfast. Here are some slightly mashed potatoes mixed with the egg whites. I used the fluid of the egg whites to help me mash the potatoes more thoroughly Here are the potatoes in the pan. The French dish is supposed to rise thanks to the sealing properties of the egg whites that trap air underneath the potatoes. I managed a few small bubbles but nothing big. And here they are on my breakfast plate. They fully met my expectations for heartiness. They tasted pretty darn good, too. Potatoes and breakfast go together for a reason---the starch combined with the earthy tones of the potato is very satisfying.

Buttermilk Ice Cream Two Ways

I decided to use some of my buttermilk to make ice cream. I used a custard with buttermilk substituted for cream. I split the batch in two: half was chocolate, half was peach. The peach version made use of my peach preserves. I made up each batch. The peach was the winner. The buttermilk's acid matched perfectly with the peach's acid, with everything balanced by the cream. These two flavors were meant for each other.

Fun With Real Milk

A recent trip to Mountain Fresh Creamery gave me a chance to pick up a half-gallon of their wonderful milk. The milk has been pasteurized but not homogenized. Little bits of fat cling around the rim; a brief shake redistributes the fat. I decided to try a few things, the first being hot chocolate. This milk is rich and smooth; the fat makes a great complement to the chocolate. My next stop was oatmeal. A bowl of oatmeal boiled in milk is much tastier than one made with water, even if you add milk or cream after the fact. Slow and low cooking gave me an outstanding bowl of oatmeal and very simple cleanup.

Tomato Sauce and Food Mills

It's tomato time again, which means time to make and can some sauce. This year, I decided to try two new techniques. The first is a trick I learned from Serious Eats---roast some of the tomatoes. I roasted two pans of the Romas, which was perhaps a quarter of the box. Roasting removes some water while giving the tomatoes a richer flavor. I could smell the roasted tomato as I pulled them out of the oven; I could also feel the water evaporating from them. I cooked the remainder of the tomatoes in a big pot. I also sweated some vegetables as add-ins. My second new technique was this food mill. I ran most of the sauce through the mill. I like my sauce to have some texture, so I used the stick blender to blend down some of the skins and tomato husks into the sauce. This jar is the results of my milling---all this tough stuff was taken out of the sauce. This photo illustrates an important difference between food mills and blenders. The blender and its cousin the …

Eating Around Georgia Tech: Catching Up At Nan

Hyesoon and I used a very nice lunch at Nan to catch up. I managed to try two dishes that I haven't sampled before. This is my prik khing tofu, which happens to be my standard order at Top Spice. Nan's sauce is a little more savory and a little less grainy; I like both. Nan serves their dish on a tissue-thin egg crepe. Hyesoon luckily remembered that the tea-infused creme brulee is excellent. The custard is creamy and the tea infusion gives the dish the feel of a Thai iced tea.

Chamblee: The New Himalayas

Himalayas has been a mainstay of Indian food in Chamblee for years. They just moved to Peachtree Road, the main drag of Old Chamblee, across from the MARTA station. Their new place provides an upgraded decor. Their friendly, welcoming service remains. The menu has been simplified somewhat and relies more on a pick-and-choose approach. Those huge, multi-course dinners seem to be gone. I started with papadums and some excellent chutneys. The plating shows their new style. The garlic naan was pillowy soft and nicely scented with garlic. This is my vegetable korma. The preparation seems a little richer than in the old location. The sauce was very smooth and spicy without being overwhelming.

Spudnuts

Spudnuts were a childhood favorite. Making some of my own has been on my to-do list for awhile and I finally got to the task. I used this recipe from Taste of Home. Be forewarned, this recipe makes a lot of dough, equivalent to two loaves of bread. Unless you have a large crew to feed and are blissfully unconcerned about obesity or cardiac health, you might want to try a half recipe. Spudnuts make use of an old baking trick by adding mashed potatoes to make the dough moister. I substituted buttermilk for whole milk. I also added freshly ground nutmeg. I mixed the dough by hand to avoid making the donuts tough. I cut the donuts with my trusty cutter and into the oil they went. A few minutes later, I coated them with a glazed coating made of powdered sugar, water, and a little lemon. The donuts were certainly moister and with a denser, richer body than a regular donut. They didn't rise quite as much as I would have liked but overall this was a very successful experim…