Monday, September 28, 2009

Central Market

The last of the Central Market for awhile. I may a few left but not much. Below is a meatloaf with Hatch chiles in it. They handled it too much and it was compacted but nice flavor. I resorted to my favorite the meatloaf sandwich.
This a bison burger smothered in blue cheese. If you like the taste of this meat it is for you

This was an ancho and coriander marinaded double lobe boneless chicken breast. It turned out quite tasty.
Can't say the same for the chipotle lime marinated one. The one above was done from frozen and seem juicy. The one below was dry and tasteless

Saturday, September 26, 2009

La Truffe Sauvage

It only seems right in my world that since I ended my birthday celebrations at La Truffe Sauvage last year I begin it here this year. So that's what I did. Below is the bread basket with cracker bread and whole wheat

Dry Cured Spanish Serrano Ham with Belgian endive, tomato & black olive tapenade. This combo may seem strange but it worked. The slightly bitter endive complemented the salty sweet ham with the tapenade adding an additional flavor note and salt.

Insalata Caprese ripe tomato, fresh buffalo mozzarella, toasted pine-nuts, extra virgin olive oil Parmigiana Reggiano. This worked everywhich way. Sweet and acid tomato, flavourful milky mozzarella, crunchy pine nut, basil pesto, salty cheese. It was great

Pot au Feu de Poisson et Fenouil braised seafood stew with fennel, Littleneck clams, Gulf shrimp, sea scallop, Maine Lobster & fresh fish, served with garlic croutons and red pepper aïoli
with a side of spinach & goat cheese polenta. Traditionally a pot au feu is a hearty beef stew. This was a hearty seafood stew. It had all the base ingredients of a bouillabaisse except the traditional fish. I feel that is why they did not call it that. The clams were a bit small and got lost in the broth. The scallops sitting on top of potatoes were delightful. The shrimp sitting over stewed sliced fennel were just over done but not too much. The fish under the lobster claw was a great piece of salmon. The broth was tomato heavy and heavily seasoned. I ate the seafood dipping it into the broth. The croutons with the rouille went into the broth, I smashed the potatoes and finished it with the polenta. All was made into a thick porridge like consistance which I ate with relish

Flourless Chocolate Cake three ingredients combined to create an incredible chocolate experience Excellent as usual and you can tell by the plate I let slip about my birthday.

I also got a lagniappe. A desert that Arthur Durham has been working on. It is a Baba au Rhum. A rich egg cake soaked in rum simple syrup set an a creme anglaise and topped with Tahitian vanilla whipped cream. I am a chocolate person but this was way better. Flavor burst out all over.
As usual you get a truffle as a farewell gesture. Exquisite

I am going to Houston for a couple of days for my actual birthday. However I still have several places I am hitting here.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Phil & Leona's

Below is "Breakfast Rice" or as my mother called it "egg rice". An item I grew up with. Old rice sauteed in bacon fat with a beaten egg added to it and the bacon bits put back in. A Phil & Leona's you have a choice of bacon, sausage, link sausage, ham or turkey. You can also get a combo of all the meats. I went with the traditional bacon. It also contains green onions. It was good. I have had my eye on this dish for awhile but either I forgot about it or it was not the right time. This morning it all came together. They have made some minor changes on the menu but most of the dishes are still available.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Yet more Central Market

This is a habanero/mango marinated piece of salmon that I cooked in my tabletop appliance. Quite tasty. I usually get at least one of the value added fish for a quick meal.

This is a piece of line caught coho salmon. This piece I pan sauteed with some mesquite seasoning. I then finished with a mayhaw and chipotle glaze. Really Really good. As I am sure you have figured out I like sweet and spicy
This piece I poached in a combination of water, fish sauce, honey, steens cane vinegar and sirachi sauce. After poaching I topped it with some of the hatch chile salsa. Also very good
This is some key west pink shrimp that I did salt and pepper style. I love this style of Chinese cooking. I recently ran across a recipe. It was dead simple so I gave it a try. I went a little overboard with the salt and pepper but it was still delicious. This is definitely a keeper. Just toss the shrimp in cornstarch and wok until a little pink. Then add a mixture of garlic, kosher salt, black pepper and pepper flakes.
This is a piece of rock fish just plainly grilled. I tend to buy fish I have never tried. Sometimes it works and sometime not. This was not a success. Very little flavor
Below is a pub cheddar and jalapeno burger that I picked up at Albertsons on Ryan
On a toasted hatch bun with some melted blue cheese. Not bad at all
Below in a hamburger with Hatch chile. Moist and delicious
Lastly I fried some of the rock fish in a batter. That seemed to work good. Nice fish burger. I made a lot of batter so I also did fried red tomatoes and some sweet onions not pictured

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Central etc

Hatch chile salsa from Central. The Tzatiki on the right is a yogurt product that is traditional has cucumber. At WalMart near the yogurt they have some with different things in it. This one has sundried tomato Out of the jars
Tortillas with Hatch Chiles
Out of the bag
Tortilla cut in sixths and fried for dipping in the salsa and yogurt

Since they were thick they puffed up so I doused some of them with honey like sopapillas. Nice contrast between the sweet and spicy.
A crab cake with hatch chiles. Only breading was the panko crust. Interior 90% backfin 10% sauteed vegetable. I pan sauteed it but I think it would have been better deep fat fried.

Below is a salmon burger with hatch chile. I did not have buns so I use a tortilla to make an open face burger. I deglazed the pan with nuoc cham then sauteed the tortilla. Quite tasty
Diver scallops. Heated my cast iron for five minutes on high. While it heated a made a sort of dressing/sauce with olive oil, nuoc cham, and a bit of mayhaw jelly. I heated in a little pot by putting it in the pan. When the jelly had melted I took it off. Then a thin layer of oil in the skillet and the scallops in. Seared until nice and golden then turned over to sear on the other side. I removed them and deglazed with the dressing/sauce heating until reduced to a glaze. It was sweet spicy an excellent compliment to the scallops which I had cooked just the way I love them

The Landing at Contraband

The Landing at Contraband
1103 West Prien Lake
Lake Charles, LA
11:00 AM to 10:00 PM Seven days a week $3 to $33
Situated in the defunct Bennigens little except a sign change and a clean up has been done here. What has improved is the food and service. I received stellar service on all my visits. However I must advice you I was recognized and acknowledged. At lunch they offer an abbreviated and less costly menu. However it comes in the regular menu. If you want dinner at you can do so. It is available all the time.
The first thing that hits the table is a breadbasket of garlic bread served with butter. My last time in they were using a different bread. It was softer than the previous. First foray was a group thing. Three appetizers were ordered for the table. The Contraband Cakes consist of four mini cakes that you can order in shrimp, crab or crawfish. We ordered shrimp. They were delicious with great shrimp flavor. Next was Fried Green Tomatoes. Thinly sliced, lightly battered and not greasy, these were a hit also. Shrimp and Okra hushpuppies completed the trio. A bit unusual but very tasty especially if you like okra as I do. The chopped shrimp and okra seemed to be in the middle with the hushpuppy batter surrounding it. The best thing was they were made from scratch.
Various people at the table ordered the two soups on the menu, Creamy Tomato and Chicken and Sausage Gumbo. I seldom see tomato soup on a menu. Maybe as a special but not as a regular item. It proved quite nice with a creamy texture and a tomato punch. The gumbo with its dark roux, thin broth and smoky flavor satisfied my soul.
My internet friend went for the Veal Chop. Bone in and pan braised in wine and peppercorns they place it over spinach and finished it with a wine reduction. I got the bone, which was exquisite. My enthusiastic friend and engineer friend opted for the Pork Chop. Bone in also and grilled this came out topped with caramelized apples. My taste proved succulent and tender. My royal friend went with Marinated Duck. A breast marinated in orange and grilled. It was sliced and fanned over dirty rice. The piece I got was tender with orange flavor bonus. My sister ordered salmon. You can get it one of four ways: grilled, blackened, pan toasted or cedar planked. She chose the latter with steamed vegetables. My taste showed moistness and a light smoke flavor. I had to go with the New Orleans BBQ Shrimp. I received a bowl of boiled peeled tail on shrimp in a broth and half loaf of French bread. While OK it was not my ideal BBQ shrimp. The shrimp should have been head and tail on and cooked in the broth. The broth was too spicy almost to the point of being inedible, not a winner. The rest of the entrees stood head and tail above this.
Next trip was lunch. I ordered Crab Fondue. This proved excellent. Big crab flavor with a distinctive cheese presence. The rye toast points were needed to stand up and compliment these strong but fabulous tastes. Would order it again in a heartbeat. I then went with a Shrimp Burger. This proved to be a huge Contraband Cake. It worked just as well as the smaller one with great shrimp flavor. The bun was excellent and fries small wedges crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle. For dessert I got a Tiramisu Cake. Not bad but I prefer the classic. By the way all the desserts come from Terra Cotta down the road.
Last time in I went with the Scallop entree. Eight perfectly cooked scallops over dirty rice. The menu had a list of sauces, toppings and side items to add to your meal. I got two sauces I had never seen before, Cajun Cream and Hot Sweet Pecan. The Cajun one was sausage and tasso poached in cream. The other one was pecan pieces in maple syrup and kind of oily. The cream worked well with the scallops the other less so. I was quite happy with the scallops plain, crusty and sweet. I ate a Chocolate Eruption. Basically chocolate and white chocolate mousse with a chocolate cake crust. Quite nice if you love chocolate. It is big enough to share.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Chicken Sauce Piquant (Donald Link)

This is a half recipe of it. I bought what I thought was boneless thighs. They were of course bone in. I hate to waste so you might see some denuded thigh bones in this. I took them out at the end and ate them as a cooks treat.

Below is the ingredients
Mise en place with spices mixed and tossed with the chicken then the flour added and tossed

The chicken pieces frying.
The flour not incorporated in the chicken is used to make a roux after the chicken has fried and been remover. Then the onion, garlic, and poblano put in for a saute.

The fresh and canned tomatoes and herbs added in

The chicken broth and herbs follow

The final product after 40 minutes of simmering

My plate. I have never done sauce piquant. I like this recipe because of the seasoning and flouring of the chicken pieces. This gives them a nice spice bite along with a little crispy texture. This spice plus the hot sauce flavors the gravy. Mine came out a little thicker and I left it that way for the time being. If I want it thinner I will add some stock

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Smothered Pork Roast (Donald Link)

It was destined to happen. I had one large port roast (bone in shoulder) and a pork roast dish totally suited for it.

Below are the ingredients
Mise en place
Seared pork roast.
Onions into the roux
Everyone in the sauna. Then into the oven for 3 hours

Halfway thru
The roast out of the pot. The gravy was a little too thin for me so I reduced by a good third. The meat did not lend itself to slicing and I did not want to shred so I cut it into two bite hunks

Then I put it back into reduced gravy so it could soak up some flavor

Here it is. Tender and succulent with lots of onion flavor. My ideal

Monday, September 7, 2009

The True Mexican House

While she is not offering everything she start offering more than tamales during the week. These days tamales, enchiladas, and tacos can be gotten as an each or a meal. Also beef or pork fajitas her style along with some pastor item. Pastor is a specially seasoned pork that originated from Mexico City where she is from. Below is a four pack of the tacos pastor. The pork marinated in dried peppers, spices and pineapple juice. The taco is the meat, pineapple chunks, onions, cilantro and a squeeze of lime if you like. You can also add salsa roja too. Since this lady hails from Mexico City I am assuming this is the real deal

She also does something with the pastor meat called a gringa. We would recognize it as a quesadilla. Two flour tortilla with cheese and pastor meat heated on a griddle until ooey gooey.

For a little taste of Mexico come on down. She is on Common St behind the university next to Balls.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

More Central Market

This first item is not from Central but rather a coupon purchase I made. Processed cheddar with bacon in it. It is not too bad.

Here is a sliced Hatch Chile Cheddar bread from Central. Thinking what I am thinkingVoila. Grilled Cheese sandwiches. Really nice. The bacon smoky flavor with the pep of the chile and sharpness of the cheddar really made this a treat

Below is Rosa Salami. It is like Mortadella except the meat is not emulsified. It is like andouille in that pieces of pork shoulder is stuffed in a casing with pork fat and pistachios. It is well seasoned and a little spicy. In fact I like it more than mortadella. I made some sandwiches with the Hatch bread, ate most out of hand and it would up in my special breakfast dish with eggs and corn tortilla strips