Monday, June 25, 2007

Tried & True: Bistro Aix in Historic San Marco

House made potato chips with warm bleu cheese

Precursor to another gallant evening: Heirloom tomatoes

Salmon Tartare et truffle oil

Grilled Tuna, whipped potatoes, baby spinach, lemon-garlic butter & chive oil

Shrimp Tagliatelle: fresh cut pasta in a light tomato cream sauce with fresh herbs & shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano

New York Strip with mushroom ragout in a popover with local arugula

Memoirs of Yorkshire pudding exquisite is that?

Recently my dining whereabouts have been both questionable and adventurous.

Upon taking an inventory of my "pending to be posted" warehouse of restaurant profiles, food excursions, cook outs and other food related oral history -I can guarantee there is an ample storehouse to rant, rave and blog about.

Meanwhile, time has been the bandit so far these past summer months as well as other beach, ocean and eating influenced excursions.

Local dining reviews by other nearby publications neighborhood establishments have always been biased and overtly pedestrian - often cringe inducing.

Bistro Aix is located in the historic San Marco area of Jacksonville and one of those spots that I can somewhat find any relinquishing connection to fine dining with a bit of in your face attitude that slightly resembles previous jaunts along Beverly Drive back in my SoCal days.

Then there is the setting, lighting, always great parking, short turn to after dining sweets, alas Peterbrooke Chocolate and of course the type of food that edges toward fine tuned comfort food with an ample twist of Mediterranean - Southern comfort with an LA-ist drive!

Bistro Aix
1440 San Marco Boulevard
Jacksonville, Florida
Tel. 904. 398. 1949

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

As low as you can go: Lowfat Recipe of Kimchi Stew aka Kimchi Jjigae

The Lowfat Version of Kimchi Jjigae.....

It's my birthday month....It's my birthday WEEK......

Watch me while I still try to conquer the world with one fell swoop in just thirty days.

I thought to hold you over a bit with a favorite comfort food via Korean style.
I have several splashy restaurant posts I cannot wait to blog about.

But this week -this month - it's so little time - so much to do, so much to see, and so much to EAT!

Besides, I've prepared this heartwarming dish often enough; especially when I get the craving for salty, spicy and a dire need for the world class fiery wake up call to set the strength of my blood straight!(?)

Usually an extremely spiced laden stew will do it or a triple play of Coppola's Godfather I, II, and maybe III with a bit of closure from Scorsese's Goodfellas is a good wake up call.

With that said here's my first lowfat version of Kimchee Stew or officially said: Kimchee Jjigae.

My mother's recipe always included Taegee Gogi (similar to bacon - fatty pork rib meat). Which is yummy, but I'd rather do without the heaviness of the fat. Then I tried another version via my mom's suggestion also. She would CUT the fat off the bacon - literally trim the fat off. What fun is that?

The traditional version also incorporates a good amount of sesame oil which I find too heavy.

I've also minimized the preparation time by cutting back on some steps without risking to lose the intensity of the dish.

If you dare to let me know the end results!

Lowfat Recipe (Version 1!) Kimchee Stew aka Kimchee Jjigae

Ingredients & Prep:

1. prepared kimchee, napa cabbage version, approx. 2-3 heaping cups, slice 1 1/2" in length2. One 14 oz. package of soft tofu, first slice the entire tofu in half. You will have two wedges of tofu. Slice the tofu approx. 1/2" thick, creating uniform squares

3. 3 garlic gloves finely shredded

4. approx. 1" piece of fresh ginger, peel skin off and slice ginger in half

5. 1 Tbsp. sesame seed oil

6. 1/4 cup mirin or white wine

7. 3/4 cup water

8. 1/2 lb. Canadian bacon or lean ham, finely shredded about 1/8" thick

9. 4 green onions, tops & ends trimmed, slice 1 1/2" in length and shredded

10. 4-6 small mild korean chile peppers (optional)

11. 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

12. 1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds

- In a large sauce pan over low heat, add the sesame oil and half the shredded garlic

- Place the sliced tofu in a circular pattern in the center of the sauce pan

- Add the kimchee - place the kimchee surrounding the tofu

- Insert the two slices of ginger inside the kimchee

- Pour water and wine over kimchee and tofu

- Top tofu with toasted sesame seeds and ground black pepper

- Bring to boil, cover and reduce to a medium simmer for 15 minutes. Then a slow simmer for 10 minutes.

- Add remaining garlic, green onions and korean chili peppers over tofu

- Cover and low simmer for 5 minutes

- Serve with white rice

Enjoy and watch out for the hidden ginger - its purpose was to intensify the flavor not to eat!