The Weekly Ration: Vol. II

Ok, I know, I said weekly and this is more like bi-weekly, but let’s be real, I don’t have many readers yet so I can’t imagine anyone is missing it too much, except maybe Dream who loves to review what we ate in pictures.

I can’t even remember which order we ate things in at this point! (I promise I’ll do better next week.) So, to start with I want to review a new restaurant in our neighborhood called Heritage We were so excited to check this place out because it’s right up the street from us in a beautiful old warehouse, and they are cook with tons of local ingredients. Unfortunately, it was a fail on all accounts. I think Dream put it perfectly when he said “it’s obvious that this is a restaurant run by people who run bars.” I’ll give them these few things.

1. We aren’t really big beer people so we didn’t try any of their huge list of brews.
2. The warehouse itself, the outdoor space and the music was stunning.
3. I always see bread as just a conduit for great butter, but in this case the bread and the butter were both delicious and worth trying.

But, it went downhill from there. First, my drink. I ordered the Strawberry Letter #23. It was made with tequila, strawberry puree, jalapeño peppers and rhubarb. Problems: The rhubarb totally overwhelmed the drink and it was overly sweet for something with tequila and pepper. Bummer, but the waitress was lovely and switched out my drink for a tequilla on the rocks. When in doubt, keep it simple.

The next few things we ordered were totally over salted. We got the Beef Tartare, Brisket with Smoked Cabbage and Egg, and a special salad that consisted of Shrimp, Crab Claws, Locals Peas and a radish Dressing. The brisket had a nice smokey flavor and the ingredients in all of the dishes were certainly well-chosen, and I might even say they looked pretty. However, they were trying to accomplish too much with each dish. The salad was covered in mayo (if it’s fresh seafood, why would it need mayo?), and the Beef Tartare had a bit of a gel-like consistency, which is never good. Here are some pics from the meal. It looked pretty enough.

In the end, we hightailed it out of there and headed to our “old Standard,” where I can tell you the burger, beers, and service are absolutely world-class.

So what did we eat at home this week you ask? Well, I’ve got you fully covered in the recipe department! Let’s start off with some options for breakfast, or in this case a great, easy lunch to take to work. I’ve been making this version of a Tortilla Espanola for years, but I usually sub-in green onions for regular onions because my stomach tends to handle them better. You can’t go wrong either way.

For dinner, my two favorites this week were a Veal recipe I picked up a million years ago from who knows where and have adapted to our tastes, and a great summer recipe of Pasta and Clams. To begin with, Veal. I want to make it clear that I don’t support the inhumane killing of baby cows so I really only purchase this in the summer, at our local farmers market, from farmers we know are willing to disclose their process. I encourage you to try to do the same. IMG_4624

We also picked up fresh clams at the Farmer’s Market. Seafood is always best when you are able to get it hours after it’s been caught. (This used to be very tough for me in Colorado, so you middle of the country people I feel your pain.) One important tip remember is to put your clams in a bowl of fresh (non-salted) water about 30-minutes before you want to cook them. The fresh water causes them to release any sand they are holding onto which makes for a less gritty dinning experience. Below are the recipes for both of these great summer dishes. Bon appetit!

Veal Chops with Tomatoes and Saffron Orzo

Ingredients

  • 4 (1/2-inch-thick) veal chops (rib or loin; 7 ounces each)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped (omit if garlic bothers your stomach)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 (10-ounces) containers grape tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 1/2 cups orzo (10 ounces)
  • Scant 1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 ounce finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Directions

  1. Pat chops dry and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  2. Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté chops, turning over once, until golden and just cooked through, 6 to 7 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Add garlic to skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring, 30 seconds. Stir in wine, tomatoes, rosemary, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper and simmer, gently pressing on tomatoes until they collapse, about 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cook orzo with saffron in a 3-quart saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain well in a sieve and return to saucepan, then stir in butter and cheese.
  5. Reheat chops in sauce and serve with orzo.

Linguini and Clams

Ingredients

  • 24 Littleneck Clams, soaked in freshwater
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped (omit if garlic bothers your stomach)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Fresh cut parsley to taste
  • Linguini of choice (I use the bionaturae brand of Organic Gluten Free Pasta. It tastes exactly the same!)

Directions:

1. Put butter and oil in pan and heat over medium-high heat.

2. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for about 1-minute.

3. Add wine, salt and pepper and clams to the pan. Cover and simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes or until the clams are all open.

4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta as directed, and drain but do not rinse.

5. Pull the clams out of the pan once they are done and put them on a separate plate.

6. Put the pasta in the pan with the wine and clam juice mixture and stir on low heat for about a minute until everything is combined, adding parsley for color.

7. Spoon the pasta into bowls or onto plates and top with clams.