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Dinner at the Plucky

  • Posted on July 27, 2009 at 6:13 pm

We finally made it back to the Pluckemin Inn for a long overdue dinner since the new chef took over. We’d been to the Tavern and come in for lunch, but had not been back for dinner until tonight.

I’d been wanting to go back for a couple of reasons- I’ve been dying to try Chef Juan Jose Cuevas’ food and they also put my favorite summer cocktail, the Watermelon Red Hot, back on the menu. Yum! (I had two tonight.) After chatting at the bar for a few minutes and ordering our cocktails the hostess took us to our table. Upon perusing the menu for a bit, the Husband and I come to a conclusion- it’s unquestionably tomato season. A good thing for me, not so good for him. Fortunately, they don’t mind serving much of the tavern menu in the dining room so we weren’t worried about filling in some holes.

The amuse buche was a tomato/vegetable water which was very tasty, just as light and cleansing as you would expect from something that was probably picked from the garden mere hours earlier.  The only slip up tonight was the service. I ordered three courses, the Husband two, and they brought both of my starters out first, without bringing either of his. I started with the NJ heirloom tomato salad, basil, clear melon broth and tomato sorbet.  There were about 5 or 6 different varieties of tomatoes with fresh basil leaves in the broth and a scoop of the tomato sorbet. The tomato salad was incredible but the tomato sorbet was just outrageous. I can’t really describe what it was like but I just wanted more, it was really remarkable. I then had the grilled day boat sea scallops, with watermelon, chilis, mache,  Castel Vetrano olives. Personally, I prefer my scallops with a bit more of a sear than these had, but that’s just me (and the Husband!) but these were still quite tasty. The sauce had a bit of a kick to it. I didn’t see any olives and thought it had grapefruit, but I could be mistaken.

The Husband finally got his risotto, organic zucchini risotto with parmesan,  sot-l’y-laisse & squash blossom tempura. We learned today that sot-l’y-laisse is “chicken oysters”. I’m still not quite sure what -that- is, but it was two very tasty little morsels. The squash blossom wasn’t a big poofy piece as you often see, it seemed like this was split in half so it fried flat.

The Husband also got a crab cake, a consistently tasty treat from the Tavern menu. The tempura asparagus that came with it was apparently so tasty I never got a piece! (And that says something for someone who doesn’t really like vegetables.) I had the John Dory, fennel, preserved tomato, white eggplant caviar & ratatouille jus. I didn’t taste the fennel in it, but it was still tasty. The eggplant caviar was creamy and didn’t have the seedy texture you sometimes get with eggplant.

We didn’t get dessert, but two small chocolate chip cookies (still and consistently some of the best we’ve had) and two coconute macaroons were delivered with the check.

All in all, a delightful dinner. We’ll definitely be back to the Plucky with the new chef at the helm, just after tomato season.

weekend roundup

  • Posted on June 15, 2009 at 11:18 am

The short version: The Birthday Girl was sufficiently spoiled, the food was delicious and far too much, and I’m exhausted.

The longer version:

dinner for one

  • Posted on June 9, 2009 at 10:13 pm

The Husband is preoccupied coding tonight so dinner tonight was just for myself, though I did a couple of other things in the kitchen as well.  First, by request, I baked some bread. Then, by necessity, I baked some salmon. Then dinner.

dinner: teriyaki soy pork tenderloin

  • Posted on June 1, 2009 at 9:59 pm

I made pork tenderloin for the first time tonight. I’ve actually never cooked pork before at all. I didn’t grow up eating it, and it was just never something I thought about cooking. Recently, we’d enjoyed it when the personal chef did it for us, in a port wine and date sauce. The Amish market had a coupon for it so I figured what the hay. And the Husband loved it, so it was worth it.

dinner: panko wasabi cod

  • Posted on May 29, 2009 at 4:49 pm

One of the reasons I decided to start writing this blog is to keep track of my cooking adventures. When I was working, the Husband and I had decided that it was a worthwhile investment for us to have a personal chef. Once every three weeks or so, he would deliver meals and sides we could stick into the freezer. As I’m sure you can imagine, this was not a cheap service and with neither of us working, it was the first thing that had to go. I still have some meals left in the freezer, but am hanging on to them for those nights I know I’ll need them.

So the long and short of it is that I have started cooking again. Earlier this week I made chicken soup with matza balls. For the very first time. It didn’t turn out too badly. The matza balls were great, and I intend to keep that recipe. The soup could use some more work so I’ll probably spend some time after the summer tweaking the recipe. I think more salt and less time so the chicken doesn’t practically disintegrate would be a good start. More dill, too.

Tonight I’m making cod. Panko crusted wasabi cod to be more precise. I would have made it with roast potatoes but I don’t have enough space in the convection oven, since it is just toaster oven sized. But damn we love that thing! When we replace the oven, I want a convection one. I hate, hate, hate turning on the oven in the summer. Considering it’s already in the mid-70’s……yech.

Recipe to be adapted from Epicurious’ posting from Gourmet, August 2006.

UPDATE: Dinner rocked! We have a new way to make fish. I cute the cod into 3 pieces and laid them out on a shallow baking sheet lined with foil. Preheated the convection oven to 400. Brushed the cod with a wasabi aioli that’s been hanging around in my fridge and then topped with panko crumbs. Turned them over and did the same on the flip side. Turn the convection oven down to 375 and put them in until the the thickest piece started to flake, which was about 16 minutes or so. Turn on the broiler and brown the panko to get it crispy, another 2-3 minutes.

Next time I think I’ll make my own wasabi sauce and use more wasabi. It really just needed some more kick.