Olivia Dish

Archive for January, 2011|Monthly archive page

Out of Teppan, Into the Fire

In Florida, Restaurant on January 22, 2011 at 11:00 pm
Onion volcano

A teppanyaki standard-the onion volcano

“You know it’s bad when we’re excited to eat at a Japanese steakhouse.”

My colleague, Honey Pannacotta, had summed up the situation perfectly. We were on assignment in Orlando, Florida, based in a hotel across from the entrance to Universal Studios. The work had been grueling. We were grateful for any respite, any small comfort. Even a Japanese steakhouse.

The restaurant was chilly, so we asked for a table in a warm spot. The hostess took us literally. We were seated ringside, around a giant hot griddle.

Honey is a former Food Network host who has eaten at many of the nation’s best restaurants. She’s also traveled quite a bit of the world. “Have you ever been to one of these before?” I asked her.

“Once when my daughter was young. How about you?”

I had, when I was a very young 22. A boy took me there on a date. I was appalled.

But tonight, more mature and secure, I was looking forward to some silliness and stir fried vegetables. I hadn’t seen many vegetables in the last 72 hours. And with luck, perhaps there would be a gong.

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My Darling Clementines

In Homemade, Sweets on January 16, 2011 at 10:54 pm

Standing by to make citrus reticulata sherbetus

Clementines are that bit of sunshine that gets you through the winter, I’ve decided.

For years, when I’ve spent winter weeks in Paris, I’ve loved that I could buy bottles of deep orange clementine juice at the corner grocery. At home, clementines are everywhere come December, in their cute little crates, making them a great fruit treat to take to a dinner host (surpassed for me as a “hostess” gift only by the pineapple).

I’d bought a crate for myself and had been enjoying daily salads made of sunflower sprouts tossed with clementine wedges and toasted almonds, drizzled with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Then a family crisis forced me to be out of town for some weeks. When I returned, the clementines needed to be consumed or we’d have to just say goodbye.

Before the crisis, I’d though I might try making clemoncello–a variation on limoncello with clementines. But I wasn’t in the mood to bother with it. Life had already become too difficult, at least for the moment.  I was exhausted just by the thought of trudging over to the liquor store to buy Everclear.

So I decided to make a simple sherbet with my aging clementines.
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Variations on a Snow Cream

In Beverages, Homemade, Sweets on January 10, 2011 at 8:21 pm

A bowl of snowy goodness

I’ve never understood the attraction of snow cream. In my experience, it always turned out a watery, milky mess.  Once I tried pouring maple syrup over snow, the way they did in Little House on the Prairie (the book is one of my major culinary influences, by the way), hoping to get some kind of frozen candy effect. Nothing.

snowy backyard

A snowy day in the South is always a holiday.

Over Christmas, my mom was recalling the joys of snow cream in her youth. “We didn’t have ice cream all the time, so it was a real treat for us,” she said. Today, we have plenty of snow to burn, so I decided to set past disappointments aside and give it a go. I mixed sugar and a bit of vanilla bean into milk. I scooped up a big bowl of snow from my backyard. Then I combined to make a slushy. It was pretty decent, sort of a milky granita.

Which got me thinking about other possibilities.  How about espresso and snow?  Or bourbon and snow?  A day of experimenting lay ahead…

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