Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Hybrid Hangover Remedy; The Bloody Oren

Ahh tomatoes. An American icon and blessedly good to eat. The tomato is one more reason to love the summer. Red, luscious and lusty, Tomatoes are loaded with Lycopene . A powerful antioxidant. Tomatoes turn quickly, especially if you keep them in the refrigerator. They are a warm weather fruit and the coolness of the fridge expedites deterioration so keep them on the window sill or chill just before using. Bloody Mary mix is easy to make and its delicious without the booze. Its great in the morning whether you're fighting off the effects of a long night celebrating or simply as a wake-up jolt brought to you (in this recipe) by the zing of Sriracha and the twang from umeboshi's.

The Bloody Oren, named after Oren Ishii from 'Kill Bill', uses japanese pickled plums and the plum vinegar. Robbie Swinnerton boasts that umeboshi's are the culinary equivalent of taking a cold shower. "The abrupt, searingly tart, tangy salty taste jolts the eyes open, shakes the stomach awake, sandpapers off any staleness from the taste buds, and gets the day off to an unforgettable start." The umeboshi's "powerful acidity has an alkalinizing effect on the body, neutralizing fatigue, stimulating digestion an promoting the elimination of toxins. In addition, umeboshi is said to help the liver process excess alcohol and be an antidote for food poisoning" (1). I have tested out the hangover claim and I have to say its damn good. Comprable to the "Hair of the Dog" method.

2 Large Jersey or Beefsteak Tomatoes
1 Cup Water
2 Umeboshi
1 Tbls Umeboshi Vinegar
1/2 Tspn Sriracha
1/4 Tspn Celery Salt
4 Celery Stalks, skinned
1/2 Tbls Worstechire
3 Tbls Lemon Juice
2 Scallions

1. After you've skinned the celery and trimmed the scallions put the tomatoes, umeboshi, celery and scallions into a food processor. Puree. Strain that through a fine mesh sieve. Reserve 4 Tbls of the tomato/scallion/ume mixture.
2. Add the remaining ingredients plus the 4 Tbls of reserved puree into the mixture and shake.

Tomato-Blueberry Bruschetta & Carrot Miso Canapes

The two titans of the summer season; blueberries and tomatoes are in abundance at all the farmers markets right now. I wanted to make some bruschettas for a party I was having and did not want to do the usual tomato, garlic, onion thing. Blueberries were close by and I was up in Maine a few weeks ago, tasted the first of the season on a hiking trail, and decided to roll with it. The combination was delicious. Garlic and blueberries though? First I blanched a bulb of garlic. Then I roasted the hell out of it, used three cloves and saved the rest. It was the right balance. The Fleur de Sel lends a subtle enhancement to the herbs de provence.

Tomato-Blueberry Bruschetta

1 Baguette
2 Tomatoes
1 Pint Blueberries
Juice of 1 lemon
3 Garlic Cloves, Roasted
Fleur de Sel
Herbs de Provence
Extra Virgin Olive oil

1. Slice the baguette into thin slices. In a small bowl, mix ½ cup olive oil and a few generous pinches of the herbs de province together. Lay bread slices on a cookie sheet. With a cooking brush or spoon, drizzle the mixture over the toast points evenly. Toast in the oven until golden brown. Allow them to cool on the side.
2. Wrap up the 2 cloves of garlic into aluminum foil, sprinkle with olive oil and roast at 500F for 10-15 minutes.
3. Dice up the tomato into small cubes. Drain excess water.
4. Halve or coarsely chop (depending on time and how fancy you want the bruschetta to look) the blueberries.
5. When the garlic is finished, puree it with the lemon and some olive oil.
6. Mix all the ingredients together except for the Fleur de Sel and spread on the toast points. Sprinkle salt onto the bruschetta.

Carrot Miso Canapés with Diced Scallions

I recently went to a David Chang chef demonstration at FCI. The kitchen at Ko was painted as a chef’s dream where new flavors are created using a myriad of techniques spanning Asian, Spanish and French cuisine. He’s not too far off the mark given the uber-positive reviews of culinary heavyweights like Ruth Reichl. One of the flavor combinations Chang’s team uses at Ko for vegetables is an equal mixture of sherry vinegar, miso and butter. It’s one of those tastes that when you taste it is branded into your gustatory memory. The combination is simple and brilliant. For canapés though it is too strong. So to dilute the intensity of the flavors I added a pureed carrot and almond milk. It makes a great spread for anything. Even as a sauce for pasta.

1 Tbls Butter
1 Tbls Sherry Vinegar
1 Tbls Miso
1 Large Carrot or 2 small thin ones
3 Tbls Almond Milk

1. Bring water to a boil. Peel and trim the carrot. Boil until soft.
2. Slice baguette and toast. Reserve and set aside.
3. Dice the scallions thinly and on a bias.
4. Heat up butter and Miso. Whisk together. Once melted and combined whisk in sherry vinegar.
5. In a food processor add all the ingredients except for the baguette and scallions. Puree.
6. Spread the mixture on the toasted slices and garnish with the scallions.