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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Daniel and the Lions Den

Ok so the cat is out of the bag, the Significant Other, Fruit of my Loins, and the 4 legged pee factory are moving to Newport Beach/Laguna Beach California. It is going to be a bit of a challenge for a Conservative, Right Wing, Gun Owning Republican to move to the heart of the Enemy, but hey everybody has to take chances. Anyway, this will once again kick start my daily activities and hopefully I will be able to share a bunch of new restaurants.

Keep Checking in For new Blogs.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Unemployment and Idle Hands

Well, not that I am saying anything that everybody else doesn't know but the economy is in the crapper and our runaway government is making everything worse and as much as I would like to write a political blog I  think I would end up even angrier than I normally am about the state of the world. Instead I have chosen to keep my blog more whimsical and geared more towards my passion of cooking and especially eating.

As luck would have it my contract with my company ended a week ago and I have yet to have found gainful employment  but I guess that is OK as it has allowed me to get back into the Kitchen and taking my mind off of my woes! OK so I have a Sugar Momma who has actually been married to me for almost 12 years now so there is no worry of getting kicked to the curb at the moment. plus I cook, do the laundry, ironing and run most of the errands so I guess I have become a househusband. Just don't expect to see me in any french maid outfit as I just don't have the legs for it.

This will probably be one of quite a few blogs as I need to get everyone caught up on how I have been eating Tampa and abroad. I was lucky enough to join Katie in Napa and we had a fabulous time with plenty of food and a whole lot of wine. We have visited a few new places around Tampa but most of all We have both been in the Kitchen and experimented with a bunch of new things.

Last week Katie actually made Brioche and we were totally sinful and had a brioche/bananna panini which was to die for. Well I have been back in today and hopefully this will be one of many to get everyone on the same wavelength as I am.  I know some of you feel that cooking is a chore, and sometimes I feel the same way, but to create something that takes your imagination and creativity even if it from a cookbook a sense of accomplishment comes over me and there is nothing better than seeing a smile on someones face when they eat something you have cooked. I truly think that I missed my calling but 5 knee surgeries later and I am and always will be a home cook at Che Knight.

I am going to be doing some traveling that hopefully will keep everyone glued to my every post as I am going to get to do something really cool next month and yes it involves cooking and TV but I can't share yet but I will keep you posted. Watch for some new posts with pictures of Today's cooking as well as some oldies from a few weeks

So stay tuned as I have a lot to share and I haven't given up on the political blog either but I haven't found a conducive way to connect the two as I don't know if "Right Wing Cooking" or "TeaParty Time" have the same flair as "I Ate Tampa".

Cheers and stay tuned.

Chef Patrick


Thursday, May 5, 2011

OU812 - Meatballs that IS

Hello Friends,
I hope this Blog finds you all very well. It is hotter than blazes here in Tampa already! It has been in the High 80's/Low 90's for the last week which means it will be a long, hot summer. Guess what though? It doesn't snow in Tampa so I am willing to put up with it.

Anyway, I have been slaving away for the last couple of days in the Kitchen, touching on my Italian and Southwestern sides. Ricotta Filled Meatballs and Jalapeno/Corn Bisque. Well I am happy to say that both turned out pretty good. Or at least our Friend Nikki, her son Chase and our Son Gage gobbled the meatballs up. It was a bit intensive and I actually enjoyed making them and using the ole piping bag! The recipe called for beef, lamb and veal and if you are lucky enough like I was look in the meat section and I found a package of meatloaf mix that had 1/3 of all three already mixed.

I actually found the recipe in March issue of the Food Network Magazine. Yeah, I know what you are thinking and I actually thought the same thing until I read it and believe it or not it's pretty good. The one thing that Katie and I really like is that they have a picture of each dish as the index at the beginning of the magazine so you don't have to spend all day looking for a recipe you want to cook. One thing about these meatballs is the fennel. It calls for both fresh and toasted fennel seeds. The only thing I will say if you choose to attempt this one, all it calls for is a finely chopped fennel bulb but I would be careful on how much you use. I pretty much used an even amount of onion and fennel which kept it from being to overpowering.

I am putting the recipe down below for those of you who might want to try it.

I attempted my first Jalapeno and Corn Bisque and it was decent but not fantastic so no recipe. I will continue to fight the good fight and find/make/create a recipe for this that is worthy of the Spicy Pickle in Houston TX.

Don't forget to remember all of those in need today! We all quickly forget the tragedy's that happen to others.  I saw a video from Japan and the Tsunami and I read an amazing article from a survivor from Tuscaloosa's Tornado!

Patrick


Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 bulb fennel, finely diced
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 slices white bread, torn into small pieces
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground veal
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 large egg
  • Zest of 1 lemon, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes, plus more for topping
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 bunch parsley, leaves finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 8 cups tomato sauce
  • Cooked bucatini or spaghetti, for serving (optional)
  • Fennel pollen, for topping (optional)

Directions

Put the ricotta in a cheesecloth-lined sieve set over a bowl; let drain in the refrigerator overnight.
Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, diced fennel, onion and garlic. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes; let cool completely.
Meanwhile, put the bread in a bowl, add the milk and soak about 5 minutes. Mix the beef, veal and pork in a large bowl. Add the onion mixture, egg, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, fennel seeds, pecorino, parmesan and parsley. Drain the bread, add it to the meat mixture and mix until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
Mix the ricotta and salt to taste in a bowl; transfer to a pastry bag with a round tip. Form the meat mixture into 24 meatballs (slightly larger than golf balls). Make a 1-inch indentation in each meatball with your thumb, then pipe in about 1 teaspoon ricotta and form the meat around it to cover the cheese.
Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the meatballs and cook until golden brown on all sides, about 7 minutes; set aside. Warm the tomato sauce in a large saucepan over medium heat. Put the meatballs in the tomato sauce and simmer until cooked through, about 15 minutes.
Divide the meatballs and sauce among bowls; serve over bucatini, if desired. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with a pinch each of red pepper flakes and fennel pollen, if desired.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Refinery

Hello everyone! Well Last Thursday Night Katie and I did our Date Night at a local Restaurant that I had heard about called the Refinery. http://www.thetamparefinery.com/ 
I had heard all sorts of great things about this little Gem in Seminole Heights just about on the corner of Florida and Hillsborough.  We actually made a reservation, even though it was Thursday night. They could have seated us without it but if you are going on the weekends or a special occasion with more than 4 diners I would make a reservation. I  believe that I counted 11 or 12 tables inside and then there is a second story balcony bar that has room for more but we didn't make it up that far.

This converted bungalow is truly a gem! With an ever changing menu (check every Thursday) a decent wine list and very knowledgeable staff, oh and a great chef this was a place that we will visit again.  An appetizer of Andouille Sausage Tourchon for Me and Katie had the Korean Barbecue Tostada and two main courses of Mangrove Snapper and the Roasted Chicken followed up by Ginger Vanilla Froyo and a Camino Rosco Terrine made for a splendid meal.

I am not spending a lot of time on the meal itself other than to say that it was great due to the menu change each week. I am sure that you will find something to your liking here and I will say that we will come back.

4 out of 5 !

Friday, April 22, 2011

In Search Of The Elusive Loaf!

Today's post is a bit more reminiscing than it is about anything current. A couple of years ago Katie and I were victims of the recession. An original plan to take our new born son Gage to Dublin to have him baptised turned into a two and a half month journey around Europe. Actually it turned into Patrick and Katie ate Europe. I think we both gained at least 15 lbs and thank goodness that we were walking all over places like Berlin, Vienna, Rome, Florence, Barcelona and Paris because without this bit of exercise I shutter to think what would have been the outcome.

(Some of my future Blogs will include pictures and some of the stories from our train/car journey across Europe)

Anyway, the main reason for today's blog is the lack of pure artistry that seems to be in the US or at least quite a large chuck of it when it comes to the art of baking a great baguette. Now I am not saying that in certain cities, certain restaurants that I have not had a good loaf of bread but I am talking as a whole I truly feel like "Oliver Twist" saying "Excuse me Sir Can I Have Some More", but replacing it with, "Excuse Me Sir Can I have a good one". It seemed that no matter what city Katie and I were in, finding good bread was not a problem. Especially in places like Florence and Rome, all over Spain and of course anywhere in France. Hey you can say that they are rude but they can bake a baguette.

I was watching one of my favorite shows the other day, Tony Bourdains, "No Reservations" and it was a rerun when he was back in Paris and he was at  Le Grenier a Pain.  This place actually won the best Baguette competition and I could see why. 4 am in the morning and there was a line out the door.  I am willing to say that there has never been a line out of the door at Publix or Sweetbay the two Grocery Stores here in Town. Katie and I ate at "The Refinery" last night (review to come in another blog) but there was a great Cuban bakery across the street and they definitely have a handle on the Cuban Bread and the Guava pastry's but we continue to look for the elusive Baguette.

When Katie and I were in Paris with her mom we had decided to go to Notre Dame and luck would have it they were having a Baguette Baking Competition. I was in heaven. A Baguette, some stinky Cheese and a bottle of Water for 3 Euros. Now that's what I am talking about.  It seemed that anytime you saw a normal French person walking through the streets with that beautiful, long, brown piece of loveliness under one arm or in hand with bits being torn off, eaten as they walk. What a great Lunch/Breakfast/Dinner that is.

So, I come back full circle and I continue the search around Tampa for my Baguette. Hopefully one Day I will find it but until then it's Hispanic cousin the ever ominous Cuban Loaf (along with a couple of friend eggs and some bacon) will have to be my South Florida Substitute.

PS.  My hats off to the Mauricio Faedo Bakery for one fantastic Cuban Loaf and great guava pastries.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Smell of An Italian Kitchen or at least a good restaurant.

Well, I know that computers have come a long way in the past 20 years but I wish that they could figure out how to send a smell through the computer. Today's drill has been Classic Ragu Bolognese. The simple act of sauteing onions, celery, and carrots in a little olive oil is one of those magic things that happen in the kitchen. Enough to make the mouth start watering and thoughts of a really, really great Italian Gravy come to mind. This is a recipe that is out of the current May edition of Bon Appetit - now my favorite since Gourmet is no longer with us (moment of silence). For such a basic recipe the complexity of flavors is absolutely amazing. I really wish that we could get a real baguette  here but the secondary attempt from Publix will have to work. We actually had a family sit down dinner tonight (all three of us) which is quite rare as you guys with young children know. Amazingly enough I love it when I actually create a dish that Gage loves or at least will eat.



I am going to make this Sunday nights blog pretty short. I will we your appetite with a shot of the Chile -Braised Port Shoulder Taco's for tomorrow night. I will keep sharing with everyone and always remember that our House/Kitchen are always open for guests and we would love you see/feed you.



Also, Keep an eye out for this coming up weekends Easter Sunday Menu as we are going back to the Irish roots of my wife and going with a Leg Of Lamb from Fresh Market. I will share that experience with you once it happens on Thursday.

Have a great week and remember that your Kitchen is your friend.

Patrick

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Ebony and Ivory Living in Perfect Harmony!

OK sports fans! Well this is the finished product from the Homemade Ice Cream Sandwich experiment. I have to admit that it turned out fantastic. I used the cookbook "The Perfect Scoop" by David Lebovitz for both the Chocolate and French Vanilla Recipes. For any of you that have a Kenmore Stand up mixer I would say definitely purchase the Ice Cream Bowl as it is an amazing attachment.


Things Turned Out Pretty Well thanks to Mr. Lebovitz for some great recipes! Have a great weekend.

Patrick