Friday, October 12, 2007

Things I Want to Make

This is a running list of the dishes/techniques that I need to work on or try for the first time. These are either to fill in gaps in technique or just things I want to make becase I like them a lot and have never tried them. Now that I've tackled two of my big phobias, sauces and pie crusts, the next steps aren't quite as clear.

  • Lemon Ginger Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust - I've made this once and a) it cracked and b) the crust was a soggy mess. But, my god, it was tasty.

  • Gnocchi - Our friend Joe Gray made this once when we were at their place and it was the most amazing thing ever. I've never made fresh pasta before, but I finally read a recipe for this in On Being a Cook and it looked reasonable. So, I'm going to give this a shot.

  • Grilled Beef - I just generally need practice on this. I have no good instinct for doneness of beef and this is just one that calls for repetition.

  • Tuna & Salmon Tartare - I didn't realize until Top Chef that this is apparently a way overdone dish in restaurants. I guess I don't eat out enough at fancy places. I don't care - I love it. I had Tuna Tartare for the first time about a year ago at the Magnolia Cafe in our old neighborhood of Uptown. Then, last Spring, in Paris I had Salmon Tartare. I love sushi, as it is, so seasoning the raw fish is a bonus.

  • Smoked Salmon with Lentils - I had this appetizer in Paris at Pascal. It was bascially just what it says, smoked salmon with a side of lentils. But it was memorable for the smooth and delicate taste. It wasn't until I started looking seriously at olive oils that I realized that was a key ingredient.

  • Smoked Salmon Ravioli With Lemon Cream Sauce - Yep, more salmon. I just ran across this in an old review of the East Side Cafe, a restaurant owned by a woman I went to high school with, Dorsey Barger. When I was travelling for W.W. Norton (my Willie Loman year), getting to eat there was an oasis in an unending desert of despair. This is all I know about the dish: "Although plenty of cream gives the dish body, it tastes light and perfectly summery. The al dente ravioli pockets come filled with smooth ricotta, ribbons of Napa cabbage, and salmon accented with dill. The lemony cream the dish bathes in is further brightened by a slightly sweet relish topping of red bell pepper." Awesome, huh?

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