Hello All,

Long time, no speak.  I have been working a lot this summer. We have catered 5 weddings along with doing our Regular Bite Clubs and various other events. Sorry, I have not given much attention to the blog.

We have a Bite Club dinner this weekend.  We are making a parsnip potato gnocchi that were are going to pan crisp.  We are going to serve the crisped gnocchi with lobster and fried shallots in a corn and leek broth.  So, I have been practicing getting the correct texture down for the gnocchi.

Last night, we made dinner for our neighbor. Dinner took a total of an hour to prepare.  We have been using the pressure cooker lately so, the beans were done in 30 minutes. Amazing to take a bag of dried chickpeas and have them finished in 30 minutes.

The menu last night was:

1)Fried Squid with Chickpeas in a smoked paprika and vinegar sauce

2)Parsnip and Potato Gnocchi with Blood Sausage

3)Branzino in a tarragon sauce with roasted tomatoes served over green beans.

My problem is, I photograph the prep but, when it comes to final dishes. I rarely remember to photograph finished dishes. Anyway, here are a bunch of photos from dinner, of course, not one photo was taken of the plating. It’s also really annoying to cook with one hand and shoot with another

Here is what I got!

Portuguese Blood Sausage. It is out hanging in my butchers shop. So, it is precooked, perhaps, lightly smoked. I ate some raw, it was delicious. Not mushy at all. A little rice in it.

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Peeling squid for the squid and beans:

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Gnocchi: You can see a bowl of last night’s gnocchi in the background. I just felt like doing another round as I am making 32 servings on Saturday.

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Branzino:

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Quick three course  dinner.  Cost was like 25 bucks for three people.. If we had the same thing out to dinner it would have been most likely,  a lot more dough. we got to sit at home and I wore my sleeveless harley davidson shirt I bought in Sturgis.

Love this video. Someone put together this beautiful song by using Mr Roger Clips.

Valenca Restaurant

665 Monroe Ave
Elizabeth, NJ 07201

(908) 354-4024

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I don’t know why lobster is so expensive in restaurants.  Or even if it is anymore? I know in some spots in Chinatown, you get two lobsters with a choice of them being cooked three way different ways, for only 20 bucks.   This is a great deal. 

So yesterday, i am at my fish guy and the price of lobster was 7.25 bucks a pound.  How could I resist. I picked up two lobsters for around 20 bucks.

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This is some really traditional Yangzhou Food.. This restaurant has been open for many years and has been in many locations. This is where our host had her graduation celebration, when she was getting out of college.

We started with a plate of these rice cakes.. It was something like gaubao I think she called them.. They were these rice crackers on a plate and along comes a sizzling pot of some clear starchy liquid with a mushroom ginger broth that was poured over it.. Giving the rice cake that half crunchy half wet consistency.

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So two weeks ago, I was in China, then, last week, I spent 8 days in New Orleans. It looks like  I am done traveling for at least the next three weeks. Then, it is on to Atlanta and Chicago but, for these next few weeks, I am going to enjoy them.
I have one wedding to cater in two weekends from now so, I kind of have an easy schedule coming up. Hey, I am not complaining.
But, I arrived home late Saturday Night. Yesterday, I spent the day gardening, doing laundry, took a trip to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, checked out this food truck ralley which was pretty lame, watched Portugal beat up on the Dutch and made a little pasta.
I enjoy eating out but, moreso, I enjoy cooking in my home. Out of the last 30 days, I have spent 22 of them on the road.  Which meals, 3 meals a day out in and around.
Over the last day I managed to eat every meal at home. The cost of these meals? $3.99. I went out and bought some strawberries. Besides that, all of the meals either came from my garden or my freezer.
Yesterday, I started with pancakes with strawberries and homemade whipped cream. Then it was a simple grilled cheese for lunch, followed by homemade tagliatelle for dinner.
If you read my blog, I am sure you are tired of my plates of pasta photos. I am sure they all look the same. I have pasta dough down to brain autopilot. A certain amount of flour, a couple of eggs, roll around for a bit and it’s done. Then sheet it out, then run it through the cutter. Obviously, I do other things but, this is my tagliatelle routine.
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What do they say, victory has many fathers but, failure is a bastard. A friendless bastard.

So now it was time for lunch. The Chinese are really on top of lunch. If it were up to me we would work through lunch. I love to eat, don’t get me wrong but, when it comes to business, i have no time for food. I am not up for a multi course affair. I brought power bars and can soldier through..But, the guys I have encountered are very regimented. Lunch is at 12 or 1230 and they start to complain and get cranky if you don’t stop working. You can certainly use this to your advantage if you are negotiating at this point. “Just give me the nickel and we can go to lunch” sort of thing.

So we are literally in the middle of nowhere. We have driven down these dirt roads through places that look like they have been hit by bombs. i am really not looking forward to eating lunch. It also scares me that we are in this rural area that has lots of farms. There are also these standing swamps where I see all these people fishing in. I am hoping that we are not eating what is being grown and fished here.. Everything is covered in this film of dust and grime.. even the vegetables.

We walk into this huge empty building and there is nothing indicating it’s a restaurant. We notice this shady sort of pile of dishes with this crude hose sticking out of a wall. I am shaking my head, as I am getting really scared. We go upstairs and sit in this empty room with a lazy susan. I have no idea we are in for.

You know, the usual.. More cold goose:

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We had a fairly large party the night before. I wish I had taken photos. i made agnolotti with veal and pancetta, in a butter and sage sauce for 9 people.  In addition, we started with a smoked salmon fritatta with creme fraiche, herbs and caviar.  We finished off dinner with pork ragu over polenta.  A  delicious meal.

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