September 14, 2009

Sunday night dinner parties...

Have become scant with Cole’s culinary departure to France, but luckily, Chad still enjoys homecooking adventures after a long week of cooking at JG.

After our pizza brunch at Motorino, we took a trek through Bushwick, Brooklyn sight-seeing some of Chad’s favorite treasures. It’s quite a different experience to walk through Brooklyn leisurely. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve always been wary of venturing outside of Manhattan. I love knowing exactly what direction to head when I exit the subway just by looking at the street and avenue numbers. Brooklyn is different—streets have real names and blocks aren’t always rectangular shapes. However, walking through the borough with my smiling friend really made a difference. The sunshine definitely helped, but Bushwick streets suddenly seemed cheerier and friendlier.

Over the week, Chad had salted some cod for a salt cod brandade (a puree of salt cod, milk and oil) he used to cook at Hugo’s Restaurant back in his hometown Portland, Maine. I was fortunate enough to pop in at the right time. There's an indescribable joy of preparing your own meal and consuming it afterward. There was nothing fancy about it just simple ingredients, simple cooking, and some good chatter while eating over the cutting table. I love this recipe because it's something you can save in a jar and eat over the week as a meal or as a snack with some crackers or bread.

Salt Cod Brandade
Adapted from Hugo's in Portland, Maine

12 oz cod
12 oz potatoes
6 oz extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch thyme
2-3 bay leaves
2 heads garlic, peeled
milk to cover cod
pinch of crushed red peppers

Cover cod in salt for 6-8 hours. Remove salt and dry cod overnight. Roast potatoes in a preheated oven. Combine cod, evoo, thyme, bay leaves, garlic cloves, milk and red pepper flakes in a medium saucepan. Bring cod mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Gently poach until garlic is soft. Strain cod into collander reserving the milk mixture. Slice potatoes length-wise and scoop potatoes into a large bowl tossing the skins. Remove thyme and bay leaves from cod mixture. Add cod mixture to potatoes and mash with hands or a spoon until potato chunks disappear and cod shreds apart. Add milk mixture to adjust consistency. Season to taste. Serve brandade over toasted bread with lemon wedges, red onions, chopped parsley.

Garlic, thyme, olive oil in the pot.

Cod and crushed red peppers for some color!

The cooked product.

Our version of brandade isn't a true puree. Instead, it was mashed with a spoon courtesy of my hands.

Chad and his handy, carpenter roommates literally built a cutting-board-island-table-thing in the middle of their kitchen. It's great because they prepare food right on top and eat over it like a communal table too. Multipurpose, yes!

P.S. This entry is dedicated to Jo-Wei Ann Lin who insisted that I post more often for her office hour entertainment. <3>