With the weather as nice as it's been it's hard not to be trying to put summer dishes on the menu. However, it is still spring, and corn and tomatoes are still a good way off. I've been trying a new lamb dish, grilled sirloin with parathas and mint-cherry chutney. Whenever lamb is on the menu, in any form, there is always someone who wants mint jelly. So, this could satisfy their mint craving while introducing a new flavor. The problem is the parathas. They're labor intensive, which is not always a bad thing, but I haven't come up with the perfect one yet. They should be flaky and little puffy. mine have been denser, more like chapatis. I don't know if want to use that much labor producing something less than stellar so I'll be rethinking this dish.
Today I'll try halibut wrapped in rice paper with nasturtium butter. I'll probably use some black olive puree and some form of hummus, maybe one with white beans instead of chickpeas. The rice paper is nice because it keeps all the moisture from the fish inside and still provides crunch.
As always I hunger for Southern food (one day I'll have to have a down home cafe) and our current tilapia dish with its pecan crust and spicy greens is already in that camp but I'm heading more in the hush puppy/cornbread direction. I still need another outlet for the pecans. We use them in our spinach salad and it would be nice to have another dish that incorporates them. Plus they are probably my favorite food of all time. My grandmother had trees in her yard in Texas and pecans have thin enough shells for small hands to crack. I get them shelled now and it's hard to resist eating the entire can.
Oysters will be coming off for a while and I'll retire the green pea pancakes since the English peas are getting woody.
Last night we had soft shell crabs with Vietnamese dipping sauce and sauteed pea shoots. We sold almost all the crabs I ordered but I'd hesitate to put them on the menu as the supply will probably be erratic.
Still going through the new books but had a serious setback on the reading. Another friend was doing spring cleaning and offered up 5 box loads of magazines. I was inclined to pass but when she mentioned many years of Martha Stewart Living I bit.
I love that magazine. I'm not too big on Martha herself, with that steely WASP look and legendary bitchiness, although I think she got a raw deal. Insider trading? Who the hell on Wall Street isn't an inside trader? Anyway, the magazine grabs me. The typeface is elegant and the articles are typically more informative than any of the other lifestyle mags. The gardening and decorating segments manage to modernize old-fashioned styles without making them kitschy. Yes, they're selling an unrealistic dream, and yes it's easy to poke fun at. So what?
At heart I think I'm a 19th century guy making the best of 21st century life. And now I have to drag my 19th century ass under the house to clear our clogged drain.