I decided to take a little working holiday this Spring, making stops all over the USA. I visited friends in NYC, saw my cousin in Atlanta, and even explored the West Coast for a bit. All along the way indulging and enjoying some of the local eateries. I also decided to prepare a couple meals for my friends and family per their requests. NYC was the first stop, and with so many options for groceries, I really had to narrow down my menu based on the ingredients required. We decided on Italian, which immediately brought Burrata to mind. Seeing as how it was heirloom tomato season, I knew this would be a favorite. The brainchild of Joe Bastianich, Lidia Bastianich, and Mario Batali, Eataly is a premium Italian goods grocery store located on 5th and 23rd in Manhattan. It's a haven for anyone who enjoys the finer things in life, especially when it comes to quality food products.Dubai Bites, Nausheen Noor mentioned it to me several months back. The idea of Meyer Lemon and Jumbo Lump Crab together literally made my mouth water. I decided to toss these delectable ingredients with fresh pasta in a white wine, butter, and chive sauce, needless to say every plate was licked clean. This dish is a clear example of beauty in simplicity, I used fantastic ingredients and prepared the components meticulously so each ingredient balanced the next.
Next stop was Atlanta, where I found a number of permanent standing farmer's markets all over the city. My cousin and I hit up the Buckhead farmer's market and found everything we needed. I was really impressed with the selection of fresh fish at this particular vendor. My cousin and I had a particular craving for Striped Bass that evening, lucky for her I already had an original recipe in my repertoire that paired perfectly with this mild flavored white fish.
Pictured below is a perfectly Pan Seared Striped Bass with tomato and leek ragout. This flavorful sauce also incorporates golden raisins which added a delicate touch of sweetness, which I paired with spicy kale chips. This combination of ingredients was light and flavorful, and also Paleo friendly (in accordance with my cousin's dietary restrictions). Upon first bite, my cousin was in love and satisfied with her meal.
I thought this dish needed a thirst quenching cocktail to compliment it. So when I came across these luscious Blood Oranges at the Atlanta farmer's market, I realized exactly what I wanted. Since my tomato ragout had a touch of fresh orange juice in it, i though these blood oranges would work well in mimosas. The light and refreshing combination of citrus and Chandon worked magically and elevated the dining experience to the next level.
I also decided to make a more extravagant dish for my cousin as a special 30th Birthday treat. This dish contains all our favorite ingredients, but executed in a "Paleo" friendly way. The dish is coconut curry braised short ribs with spiced sweet potatoes and pickled peppers. This dish was partially an experiment paired with a standard Saba Wahid recipe. I first made my coconut curry sauce with the braised goat legs last summer for my grandmother's birthday party. My cousin and I were craving beef, so I decided to pair the same sauce as well as culinary technique with short ribs. The sauce started out with a basic mirapoix mix to which I added some leeks. After those cooked down, I added the coconut milk, organic beef stock, lemongrass, curry powder, sambal, lime juice, galangal, curry leaves, and salt and pepper. After bring this sauce to a boil and allowing it to simmer for a few minutes, I poured it over the seared short ribs in a deep glass dish and braised it for 3 hours in the oven.
Tender and falling off the bone, this dish was a huge success for my cousin. She especially appreciated the spiced sweet potatoes and pickled peppers I paired with it. This dish was carb free, therefor it was satisfying, but to a point of being comfortably full.
When I get an opportunity to cook for people who really appreciate the effort i put in, I welcome it with open arms. It is not only a passion, but a lifestyle for me, and when I get to feed my loved ones, the smiling happy faces are thanks enough for me.