Beef Panang

I sometimes just wander in the Asian section of the store for awhile to see what they have. There is a surprisingly good amount of Thai ingredients here for Bermuda standards. I was specifically looking for dried lime leaves that day. I wanted to put them in a coconut soup (coming soon.) From behind, I hear “Can I help you?” It was a little Thai girl that I had never seen working at this store in the past. This surprised me because I know the butchers very well, have talked with the cheese guy for a half hour before, and have even gone drinking with Mark, the produce guy. “You usually have dried lime leaves here” I said. This led into a conversation of what Thai dishes I had made in the past and what she cooks for her roommates. “Come back Wednesday, and I will bring you some fresh lime leaves from my backyard!”

Beef Massaman Curry

My favorite meal to order when I get Thai food changes all the time. I have to say that right now it is massaman curry. I love this stuff! To me, it is a perfect mix of Indian and Thai. It has the lighter and thinner coconut broth of a Thai curry, but has the pungent deep smells and flavors of Indian curry. The best way I had this dish was at Brown Sugar café in Boston. It was stewed and the beef had so much flavor! The meat was falling apart. This is the way we made it for some friends this past Friday. We got the recipe from chez pim. NOTE: I know I promised the new website would be up a few times already, but trust me; we are working hard on it! I feel that I can now say with confidence that the new site will be up on Friday!

Chickpea Curry

Mandi has been on a chickpea kick lately. We thought chickpea curry would be a healthy and quick weeknight dinner to make so I set out online to try and find recipes. Traditionally, chickpeas are used in a curry dish called “Chana” or “Chole”, but I don’t have access to some of the more exotic ingredients in this recipe (asafetida and dried mango powder) so I decided we would just wing it. Our end result was delicious. I used dried beans because they are better for you, taste better, and are cheaper than canned, but if you want to make this quicker and easier, go for the cans.

Pork Belly Risotto

When I was in New York recently, I went to an Italian restaurant called Bocca. I had a really delicious octopus appetizer, but my meal was the best part. When I saw short rib risotto on the menu I knew I had to get it. This is probably Mandi’s ultimate menu find and she would have gotten it had she been there. It was really tasty and as I was eating it I was also studying the flavors so I could bring it to her like a Pachuca Sunrise.

Now, I know I have been making a lot of slow cooked and braised meats in the past month or so, but like Jacques Pepin, I make no apologies for my food related activities. During this time of the year, I CRAVE this type of food. It is warm, comforting, and makes you forget about everything else. This meal was a real winner and was actually pretty easy! (I know I say this all the time and no one agrees with me.)

The dish from the restaurant was short rib, but I just made short ribs twice recently, and also there was some really fresh and delicious looking pork belly at the store so I made the swap. Another difference was that the star of the dish at Bocca was Barolo wine. At home we used Chianti and though we used a lot, we could have put it a little more to intensify the flavor and color. Even with these two subs, this dish was fantastic and I urge everyone to make it!

Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Grapes

And we’re back! Happy New Year everyone. January 2009 is a very exciting time for The Food in my Beard. Later this month I will be rolling out the new website backend and design just in time for the site’s first birthday! Stay tuned because last night I dreamt that I was a seagull flying above the ocean. Then I dove down into the water and swam with the dolphins. I was two animals at once which means good things are coming… good things are coming. (I’m not THAT weird, it’s a Grandma’s Boy reference)

Anyways, back to the post at hand. New Year’s Eve was a very casual and small event for me. In fact, I was only with the design team! We got together at Mt. Snow in Vermont and cooked a nice dinner and had a really chill night. When we were trying to figure out what to make earlier in the week, I looked up some lucky things to eat. Many people say black eyed peas on New Year’s Day is lucky. We went with pork because a pig can not look backwards and therefore this symbolizes looking forward in life. It is also lucky to eat 13 grapes on New Year’s Day. We got a recipe with grapes in it for New Year’s Eve, and then ate our 13 grapes after midnight. This is a truly retro recipe, the paper I was reading it off looked like it was 40 years old, but like any classic, the flavors went together beautifully. Over time this recipe hasn’t aged and if you make it today you will be pleased.

Chimichurri Flank Steak and Paella Style Rice

I don’t know how this meal came about. I suppose it was mostly inspired by a meal we had at a new restaurant in Bermuda. The place is called Latin. The food was delicious but it was highly overpriced (even for Bermuda). For example I got some paella with like a half portion of skirt steak on it and it was 25 dollars! Skirt steak is one of the cheapest cuts of meats so the whole thing confused me. Also the 13 dollar drinks were a bit much. Anyways, Mandi and I decided to take some of these flavors home and enjoy them for half the price. I’m calling this paella STYLE rice so some purists don’t jump down my throat yelling about it not being true paella.

Ceviche Sushi

I’ve made sushi before, so if you need to know how to make the rice and roll it up properly, check out the older sushi double post. Today I just wanted to share with you all a few rolls I made that came out pretty good. One of them I think was pretty innovative and something I have never seen before. It came about because we didn’t have much selection of fish for our sushi. The salmon looked best, but when we opened it, it didn’t smell as fresh as it could have been. I threw some lime and orange onto it with onions and ceviche’d it and the resulting rolls tasted great!

Failure-ish: Chicken Tikka Masala Pizza

It’s hard to call something as delicious as this a failure, but really we were unable to do what we set out to do so in my mind I mark it with an F. The goal was to make chicken tikka masala and put it on a raw naan dough. Cook that dough in the pizza oven and basically have an Indian pizza. The main problem here was that naan dough does not have the stretching capabilities that the pizza dough we make has. It is unable to hold all of those toppings and was falling apart in the oven. We should have done the trick of grilled pizza where you cook it on one side, flip and add the toppings, but we did not think of it at the time.

As my really O.G. fans would know, I made chicken tikka once before, but it wasn’t that good. The naan was crap and the flavor was bland. Now that I am a little more experienced in Indian cooking, I found this to be easy and much more delicious. I suggest this dish to anyone (just not the pizza part).

Sushi Extravaganza: Part 1

I sort of wanted to make sushi for awhile, but hesitated for 2 main reasons. For one, I thought it would be kinda hard and not really turn out as good as it is in restaurants. The second reason was that I was worried about raw fish at home. I have cooked with “sushi grade tuna” before and I seared it, so I knew that stuff was pretty good but for some reason I still had reservations. Finally the opportunity came along and I couldn’t be happier with how things turned out. It wasn’t all that hard to do, and the taste was amazing. Far better then most places on the island. One way to judge how much we liked it was that normally at a restaurant we drench the rolls in soy sauce and wasabi. I found myself barely dipping these rolls into the sauce because the taste alone was just so great. Today I am going to show you the set-up, and the first roll. Tomorrow will be the 4 other awesome rolls we made!

Fresh Herb Khoresh

Nooshin was up this past weekend so we decided to cook Persian food again for her. For one, cause we liked it last time but weren’t 100% satisfied with the outcome, and two, because Mandi never ended up cooking it when she went out to visit Noosh in LA. This meal was awesome despite the fact that we did not have 2 major Persian ingredients; dried limes, and fenugreek. If you have access to these things, you should use them to make this dish even more authentic! Another great thing about this meal is that it is easy. It does take a bit of time, but it isn’t hard and you are greatly rewarded for your time.

Thai Grill and Basil Fried Rice

Ive been craving thai flavors every day for the past 2
weeks.  The problem is the thai place
here is very limited.  It is so awesome,
but there isn’t a ton to choose from.  In
a totally unrelated note, I’ve been seeing grilling on food network and on the
blogs every day.  This time of year,
grilling is the hot topic.  I love
grilling, but I am always seeking out things that aren’t the normal grilling
fare.  I decided to marinate some steaks
in a green curry paste, grill and serve them with a thai style basil fried
rice.  Searching on google for basil
fried rice, I found this awesome video of two women making a great fried rice
exactly how I wanted.  We used the Jamie Oliver green curry recipe we usually use for thai recipes to marinate the
steaks.  I had really wanted to use a
flank steak for this meal, but apparently Bermuda was out of flanks steaks and
I had to settle for the more expensive and, IMO, less delicious tenderloin.

Post Beach BBQ

This is probably our favorite after beach BBQ.  We make it after a long day of beach when you
need something hearty and flavorful, yet light and summery at the same time.  My parents were down visiting and we had just
gotten back from a long day at the beach. Click below for more