Saturday, September 15, 2007

Fisherman's Paradise : A Review

I've been getting more and more picky when it comes to restaurants. What I hate is paying inflated prices for something that I could do at home and could probably do better. An example of this is the Pisces restaurant in Moncton where the surf and turf came with a double boiled and cold half lobster. Yesterday we went to another seafood restaurant here in Dieppe and it blew the competition out of the water.

The Fisherman's Paradise is a bit fancy in decor. Yet it's not like fancy chain fancy. It's more of a local, small-town fancy. The waiters wear a white shirt and the bartender has a black vest over his shirt. The lights are low but everything rings as unpretentious. We walked in in our jeans. The woman at the table beside us was wearing her black dress in front of her equaly darkly clad and moustachiod husband. We didn't receive any worst service than what they did.

What really made the Fisherman's Paradise a definite regular destination for me was the food. Once again it wasn't fancy for fancy's sake. There weren't any grand presentation that taste like crap. I took the Captain's Plate which included a baked fillet of sole with cheese sauce, baked stuffed shrimp, breaded scallops wrapped in bacon and breaded fried clams. As you can see, Red Lobster has nothing on these guys (there are no restaurants of this chain in this part of the country...they would go out of business in a week with competition like this). Every piece of seafood had it's unique taste and presentation. The sole's cheese sauce was rich. The stuffed shrimps were perfectly cooked and the stuffing was really delicious. The scallops were crispy and tasted fresh like only fresh scallops can be. The fried clams were lightly battered which didn't make them greasy. As an added bonus, the salad that came with the plate was mind blowing. It was what you would expect from a salad but with homemade croutons and a chunky, sweet, homemade blue cheese sauce. The meal finished with some nice cheese cake, the kind with the filling whipped up and the crust hidding granules of crunchy sugar.

I couldn't recommend the Fisherman's Paradise enough. I know my words probably fall short of describing how good it was but being the not-easily-impressed-restaurant-goer that I am, just saying that I recommend it is already alot. Really good food and typical Maritime easygoing.

Messy BBQ Ribs

I'm no barbecue expert. I don't have any cookbooks that deal directly with the cooking process nor do I have that much imagination when it come to that very manly grill. This might be why I was suprised to see that the recipe for ribs asking for this fatty meat to be cooked for 1 hour and a half to 2 hours.

Surprise aside, the ribs turned out delicious. The only thing I find with ribs is that restaurants always make them better. I don't know if I don't trim them properly or what it is I do. They're good, tender, and in this case sticky but they're still not great. I know that there are several grill afficionados out there so feel free to give me some rib tips....rib tips....I made a funny :)

For now I'll have to post this recipe I took from the 2002 edition of Better Homes and Gardens' New Cook Book. The sauce would also be great for any barbecue.

Glazed County Ribs

1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup cider vinegar or wine vinegar
1/4 cup mild-flavored molasses (I used maple syrup)
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsps chili powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
my optional extra: 2 tbsp chipotle hot sauce
2 1/2 to 3 pounds pork county-style ribs

1. For sauce, in a medium saucepan combine ketchup, onion, vinegar, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, garlic, chipotle hot sauce and 1/2 cup water. Bring to boiling: reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes or to desired consistency, stirring often.

2. Trim fat from ribs. For a charcoal grill, arrange medium-hot coals around a drip pan. Test for medium heat above pan. Place ribs, bone sides down, on grill rack over pan. (Or, place ribs in a rib rack; place on grill rack.) Cover and grill for 11/2 to 2 hours or until tender, brushing occasionally with sauce during the last 10 minutes of grilling. (For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Adjust for indirect cooking. Place ribs in a roasting pacn (see above picture) place on grill rack, and grill as above.) Pass remaining sauce with ribs.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Simplest Tomato

As always, simple is best. Having produce that's in season also helps because it's only in the dead of winter that it's time for stews that cover up the fact that you might not be cooking with the freshest of ingredients. While perusing through the farmer's market this weekend, I couldn't help but notice that almost every vender was selling what I'd been anticipating all summer...tomatoes!

And the ones I bought aren't just your average beefsteak tomatoes. I got myself a nice little basket of bright red roma tomatoes. Even though they're fantastic on their own with just a touch of salt, I had to bring in a bit of variety. But not just variety for varieties sake like in all those fancy restaurants (ex: I saw one of Wolfgang Puck's recipes for celery soup that had 24 karat gold in it...WHAT'S THE POINT!?). This preparation is simple, let's the beauty of the produce show and is taken from Michael Smith's show Chef at Home.

Simply chop fresh tomatoes into cubes, splatter with good quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar and that's it. Simple and delicious. To give it a bit more of a spin you can throw in some feta and fresh basil. I've tried it a few times with kalamata olives (thus basically short of cucumber which would make it a greek salad) but to really let the tomatoes shine it's best to go with the basics. And that's better than any $500 meal any day.

24 karat gold....I don't get it....I just don't get it....