A Brit, a Yank and a Kitchen

Tuesday, March 27

The Milk Dealer

The below story is a dramatization... its all hearsay and I don't have a clue who it happened to. The pictures above are actors only portraying contraband dairy products.

It was 9pm... and the long waited phone call comes in.

"We are meeting at the gas station at the interstate exit in 10 minutes... bring $37 cash. Look for a white unmarked truck."

Nervous with anticipation for the upcoming transaction.... picking up the contraband that I've been craving for months..... I get in my car in the dark of the night and head for our meeting point.

In the far corner of the parking lot... out of the view of cameras... I see my contact. I pull up and tell him my name.. and he signals me to pull up behind him.

Nervously he glances around and opens a cooler in the bed of his truck.

"Have you tried this before?"

"No.... but I've been wanting to for ages!" I say as I take the jug from his hand. Fresh... raw... grass fed cows milk. Most likely it was still inside said cow yesterday. No factory farms... no big corporate involvement... no federal regulations. Sadly, and rediculously... illegal.... for "human consumption" anyways.

More goodies he reaches for and hands over.... raw cheese.... a dozen pasture hen eggs.. all different sizes and colors. He holds them up like diamonds, showing me how each one is unique and beautiful. A pale green one he points out affectionately, "This one here... these kind are really special, lucky you got one of these."

I hand him my cash and before we're even back in my car he is already in his truck and pulling out to the street.

I feel giddy.... it all went down without a hitch.

We get home and without a blink 2 glasses are pulled from the cupboard and filled to the brim with thick rich milk.

Like a fine wine we swirl... watching the "legs" cling to the sides. We stick our noses in and inhale.... it smells sweet... slightly grassy... like fresh hay in a barn.

Then what we were waiting for... the tasting.

I* took a sip and it was by far the sweetest milk I'd ever tasted... smooth and clean. Again with just the slightest hint of grass. Needless to say this gallon is now almost empty.

I love opening that fridge and seeing that happy jug chilling in there... cream floating blissfully on top.. the way its supposed to. And knowing it came from a happy cow... who grazes in the sun. Why and when did such a God-given natural right become a crime? It is sad indeed.

Its a matter of time before they release the Soylent Green.

*I is actually the family cat.... She has very strong communication skills.

Wednesday, March 21

"Greek" Whole Wheat Pizza

So now that Dave and I are free from our double mortgage payments.. we can start eating like normal people again, and have our fill of all the fresh veggies we want. I dug around a bit online and combined a few ideas for this pizza and came up with this. I was worried all the moisture from the tomatoes and spinach would make the dough soggy... but to my pleasant surprise it didnt, and the crust turned out nice and crisp... just the way we like it. Dave said, "This is horrible, never make it again." Which tends to mean the opposite. ;)

Whole Wheat Pizza dough (I used Boboli)
Several handfuls of spinach
a handful of pine nuts
2 cups of feta
2 sliced and seeded Roma tomatoes
cooked chicken
olive oil
2 t red pepper flakes (or more if you like it)
garlic powder

Preheat your oven to 400. Wilt the spinach in 2 T olive oil, with the pepper flakes.
Toss the chicken with the garlic powder.
Sprinkle a bit of olive oil over the dough, followed by the feta, wilted spinach (with the oil and pepper flakes), tomatoes, chicken, pine nuts and salt.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Monday, March 19

Ulysses Prime Steakhouse

So to make up for the dreadful meal that was the Alamo (and the 6 months of double mortgage Hell).... we decided to try a new spot in town. We had super high expectations, as it is owned by the same people who own one of our other favorite restaurants, "Cafe Margaux". And these expectations weren't let down... at all.

Even though both of the items I wanted to try as an entree weren't available that night (Wagyu beef!)... and even though it was tiny and cramped (quite spacious though if we pretended we were in Paris)... I still believe I had the best meal, and enjoyed myself more than I ever have at any restaurant.... ever.

We started with a bottle of Banfi Chianti.. and the waiter clued us in on Margaux's upcoming Banfi wine tasting dinner.... bonus.

For starters I ordered Duck Foie Gras.... I honestly didnt even realize duck foie gras existed! But although it was quite diminutive in comparison to goose... it was every bit as good... and perfectly prepared... Crisp outside... soft, buttery inside... served atop sliced figs and toasted Challah. I could have just sat there and gourged myself with that all night... seriously. Dave ordered lobster bisque... and unfortunately I cant say I tried it... as that meant I would have to share my precious foie gras... and that was definitely not gonna happen.

After finding out that I couldnt get my highly anticipated Wagyu filet.... I opted for the wet aged beef filet. All sides are a la carte.. so I ordered some sublime little chippolinis in a goat cheese bechamel. I didnt realize it until it arrived, but all steaks come with a whole roasted lobe of garlic. Yea... definitely NOT date food. Its a good thing Dave is used to my funk. ;) As for the steak. O-M-G. Its hard to believe steak this good can even be found in Brevard. My knife only needed one gentle pass and it just slid through like butter. It doesnt even need to be mentioned that it was cooked perfectly. Steaks at Ulysses are always served with 4 different sauces to sample.... not that they need it... but it is fun to taste the different flavors.

They create their own desserts at Ulysses. This impressed me very much... it seems so many restaurants... especially in our town.. opt to serve thawed frozen sponge cakes and horribly waxy cheesecakes. I almost went for their banana cake they were serving.. until I found out there was peanut butter in it... why... WHY? So instead I had the challah bread pudding... I dont know why I suddenly have this complete obsession with bread pudding... but it was every bit as good as I was hoping it would be. Dave ordered a flan... but I was honestly too distracted by my own pile of sugary goodness to glance more than twice at his plate! ;)

And just when I thought it couldnt get any better... the waiter absolutely floored us when he wrote on a card with our cheque the number and website that is their source of meat (!!!)... so that I could fulfill my Wagyu craving. Whataguy!

So if you for some freak reason ever find yourself in the Space Coast area of Florida... and want a truly wonderful dining experience.... there is absolutely nothing that can even touch Ulysses.... I'd even say its better than any of the fine steakhouses I've been to in Orlando. So there ya go.

234 Brevard Avenue
Cocoa, Florida 32922

Wednesday, March 14

The Alamo Mexican Kitchen

The whole experience was so bad that I'm not even sure where to start.

I dont think the fall of this restaurant is its lack of being "authentic"... but that the quality is just BAD.

The tortilla chips were not the golden, crisp warm chips you would expect from an authentic restaurant.. they were so pale and palid I wondered if they hadnt come straight from a bag.

The salsa, though it was fresh.. was so runny there wasnt enough substance to make it stick to the chip.. I was tempted to ask for a straw.. but didnt because I was at this point in fear of our waitress, and I'll tell you why-

A table of eldery people were sat near us... and were for the most part ignored except that they were given drinks. After sitting for some while they asked for their waitress, as they had been sitting there for some time (and it was no exageration, their drinks were already half empty). From the other side of the restaurant comes charging out their waitress, who yells half way across the place, "You dont have to start a commotion!! We are on a rotation here, and you arent the only people in the restaurant!" No way to treat a customer if you ask me... especially one who really wasnt that angry to begin with. If it had been me I would have walked out at that moment. But being that they were elderly with a handicapped person... leaving was obviously not a simple solution. So they opted for asking for a different waitress...

Drama over I decided to focus on our own meals that were just arriving.

Sorry so dark, I was trying to be incognito! ;)

The side items seemed pre-plated, so that the entrees could be plopped down in the center. The refried beans were covered in a thick dry crust... the cheese on the rice well melted and rehardened to cause an unpleasant clump. Daves "Albertos Special", which was supposed to be a beef and potatoes dish... had no potatoes to speak of. The diced tomatoes used as a garnish on my tamales had obviously been sitting out for quite some time and were so dry they literally disolved on your tongue. Not pleasant.

The fried ice cream, not fried at all, but rolled in a corn flake honey concoction... a cop-out I've seen plenty of times at cheap Mexican joints.

We will not be returning. Its fascinating that this place has been in business as long as it has (40 years!)... maybe it was good once upon a time.. but its sad that they are riding on old reputation alone.

5885 S Us Highway 1, Rockledge, FL 32955
Tel: (321) 632-2549

Friday, March 9

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

I am pretty much a purist when it comes to Carbonara. No cream.. simply the power of the raw egg.

I'd actually never made carbonara until Dave's brother recently visited, and proclaimed it is his favorite dish. Of course... I made my mind up then that I would make the best carbonara ever. So I looked to the Silver Spoon... who else would give me the most authentic and wonderful recipe ever?

I've made it several times since now... deciding it is also now one of my favorite dishes (not to mention one of the easiest!) .. and now have a recipe I stick to and now have memorized.. not that there is much to it...

You will need:

half a pound of pancetta, cut unto little cubes
2 T butter
half a cup of grated Parmesan
half a cup of grated Romano (I sometimes use Romano only... cause I like it so much)
3 eggs, beaten
enough spaghetti for 2 servings

Melt your butter and fry up the pancetta in it til its as crispy as you like.
Cook up your pasta in some seriously salted water.
Combine the eggs and the cheese.
Toss the spaghetti into the pan with the pancetta. Toss.
Remove from the heat.
Add the cheese egg mixture and toss again.

*Homer drool*

Tuesday, March 6

The Paradox

I just thought I would share what turned up in the break room at the office today.

It gave me a good chuckle.