We’re getting to that time of year. Store windows flaunt fall fashions and home good stores have nothing but the dregs of patio furniture and are now hawking dorm room apparel and locker adornments (do kids really buy this stuff to decorate their lockers? When I was in school, I tried to spend as little time as possible at my locker, although I still have nightmares that I’m back in school and have forgotten the lock combination). But summer is not over! It is not time to put away the shorts and deck chairs! It is not time for apple and squash recipes, as much as I love them. I say raise your forks and reclaim summer!
If you’re as ready as I am to enjoy every last drop of summer that we have left, then I think you’ll really enjoy this shrimp, pea, and rice salad with mango chutney vinaigrette from The Feed, bought to us by none other than America’s Test Kitchen. Joseph and I first made this last summer and were instantly hooked. It’s everything you want out of summer. Bright, light, fresh, and most of all, a whole lot of fun. Oh yeah, and so, super easy that you’ll be out on the porch sipping your sauvignon blanc in no time.
This is another one of those recipes that I passed on to Joseph and helpfully suggested that he could make it for me if he wanted. Actually, I found this recipe through the same Food 52 e-mail as those killer ribs, so I’m clearly onto something, because these shrimp burgers were pretty amazing too.
While Joseph was in the kitchen working on the shrimp burgers, I was sitting on the couch resting my knee (recuperating after knee surgery) and perusing David Lebovitz’s blog. On a recent post he talks about how he’s learned that the French don’t really eat a lot of garlic, but he likes it so he was grating raw garlic into his salad vinaigrette. One of the readers yelled in ALL CAPS in the comments about how she couldn’t believe that Lebovitz was putting two whole cloves of garlic in the vinaigrette. All I could think was Lady, it’s a good thing you’re not coming over to our place for dinner. If you are similarly inclined, you may just want to skip this post and read about how I met Chef Jonathan Waxman last weekend instead. If you love garlic as much as I do, then stay tuned because we are bringing it.
Well, I hope we didn’t lose too many people there, because it’s not like these shrimp burgers are obnoxiously garlicky, they’re just garlicky enough. And while you do roast an entire head of garlic, you don’t actually use all of it in the recipe. We weren’t going to let that leftover freshly roasted garlic go to waste, however, and ate it straight up. Sure, we could have slathered it on some bread or something, but who am I kidding? I like obnoxiously garlicky food. It’s just a good thing I was working from home the next day because I’m sure I was still exuding garlic from every pore.
If you had told me 15 years ago that one of my absolute favorite foods was eel, I would have laughed and told you you were out of your mind. I mean, who eats eel? That’s just craziness. today, freshwater eel, or unagi, is absolutely one of my favorite things. When we go out for sushi, I always save a piece of unagi nagiri for last so that I can end my meal with that perfect bite.
I’m a sucker for sauces and condiments and I just can’t get enough kabayaki sauce, the salty/sweet barbecue-like sauce it’s basted in. After your tongue gets a hit of the kabayaki sauce, you bite through the crunchy exterior to find that it’s melt-in-your-mouth succulent and smokey on the inside. It’s a wonderland of flavor and texture and once I finally tried it, I knew that unagi and I were going to have a very strong lifelong relationship.
We finally had some decent weather this past weekend and I was absolutely desperate to get out of the house. We’d never been to New Bedford, a town hailed for being one of the most important whaling ports in the 19th Century, so we made the one hour drive down from Boston and checked out some sites that Joseph had picked out.
The highlight was definitely Margaret’s (actually across the river in Fairhaven), a small, unpretentious seafood restaurant that we picked based on strong Yelp reviews. It was packed but turnover was fast enough that it seemed that no one ever had to wait. They had yummy focaccia at the table waiting for us before we even sat down which is both delightful and dangerous for someone who loves bread as much as I do. We both got seafood plates that had slightly different content, but pretty much the same sauce. The food – especially the huge, sweet, and plump mussels – was delicious and the prices were friendly on the wallet. Simple food done well, amazing prices, awesome service. If you’re ever in the area, I definitely recommend stopping by.
We also stopped by Lydia’s, a Portuguese Bakery, for some somewhat unmemorable pastries. We knew nothing about Portuguese pastries and had no idea what to get, so that may have been the problem. Next we headed to Sid Wainer & Son, a specialty food wholesaler with a retail store open to the public where you can get a $300 jar of winter truffles and enough free food samples to constitute a small lunch. Make sure to bring a jacket if you want to peruse their well-stocked cheese room.
Next was Travessia Winery, an urban winery that sources most of their grapes from a vineyard in Massachusetts. The Pinot Grigio and the Chardonnay are well worth skipping, while the Vidal Blanc and especially the red blend Jester, whose grapes are sourced from California, are tastier. Mostly I was just glad that you saved $2 off the tasting by opting out of getting the “free” glass. Anyone want any winery wine glasses? We have enough to stock a small restaurant.