Robert Rosenwald’s Blog miscellaneous thoughts and recipes

March 25, 2013

Fish Sauce

Filed under: Uncategorized — @ 5:07 pm

It wasn’t all that surprising when I recently learned that not all fish sauce is created equal. I used to just go to one of the oriental markets in the valley and buy whatever fish sauce had a nice looking label and seemed priced well. I was reading a wonderful book, Communion: A Culinary Journey Through Vietnam by Kim Fay and she talks about a fish sauce tasting that she attended. This started me thinking and after further investigation I discovered Red Boat Fish Sauce and am blown away by the difference. Check it out if you can find it. It is available in Mesa at the Mekong Market. Disclaimer: I have zero financial or other interest in Red Boat or in Ms. Fay’s book, but I am married to the owner of The Poisoned Pen which is the link I posted for Communion.

November 13, 2010

Turkey Stock

Filed under: Uncategorized — @ 9:09 am

Before Thanksgiving every year I make Turkey stock. About 3 weeks before my favorite holiday I buy one of the 12-15 lb. loss-leader cheap frozen turkeys that most supermarkets offer – around $.35/lb often with a minimum purchase. Defrost for a week, and then rinse, pat dry, rub with olive oil and roast it in a 400 degree oven for about an hour until well browned outside (but uncooked inside). Let the bird cool. Cut up and throw the pieces into a stock pot and cover with water (about 1 1/2 gallons). Chop up a couple of carrots, a few stalks of celery, and a couple of brown onions leaving the skin on. Throw in a bay leaf or two and a few peppercorns. No salt. Simmer for about 18 – 24 hours and drain. I wind up with about a gallon of superb stock to use in gravies, for moistening dressings, and just for general stock uses.

April 26, 2010

Using the Romertopf again

Filed under: Uncategorized — @ 1:08 am

It’s an interesting experience to trade houses with a friend, especially when his is in southern France. Specifically in the Dordogne–the foie gras, walnut, and truffles capital of France. We got here last Monday, only a day late due to the volcano but were fortunately rerouted to Toulouse from Paris so we ended up closer to our planned destination than originally booked. The next day our friend, writer Laurie R. King, joined us for several days, and on Wednesday we went to the market in Sarlat. We came home with, among many other exquisite items, a couple of duck breasts, some fresh fennel, a bag of dried cepes (porcinis if you prefer the Italian), various sausages, cheeses, wines, and a couple of confit d’oie (goose legs that had been confited). So last night, I decided it was time to cook the duck breasts. I found Janice’s Romertopf and remembered that I haven’t seen mine in quite a while and made a mental note to hunt it down when we get back to Scottsdale. If you’re unaware the Romertopf is a clay pot cooker. You soak it in water for about an hour or so, empty it, throw in your food, put it into a cold oven, turn on the heat and come back in an hour or two and voila–you have dinner. I salted and peppered the duck breasts, reconstituted about an ounce of the cepes, cut up a head of fennel and cubed 4 small white potatoes. Into the Romertopf went the fennel, the mushrooms chopped up, the cubed spuds and them the duck breasts, skin side up, to top it off. Cover on the Romertopf put into the oven and turned heat up to 375-400 (they use centigrade over here and it was around 200) and left it untouched for a little over an hour. Took off the lid, made a few slashes in the skin of the dusk breast, and then turned the broiler on for about 10 minutes to crisp it up. Over the course of the hour’s cooking the Romertopf, into which I had put NO liquid, completely filled up with juices and the fat from the duck. The potatoes, mushrooms, and fennel cooked in these juices were sublime, as my brother-in-law, Gary, would say. The duck breast wasn’t too shabby either. After draining off the liquids and cooling them I am left with about 1/2 cup of duck fat. Gee, I wonder what I should do with that?

February 2, 2010

Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Shallots

Filed under: Food — @ 8:29 pm

Brussel Sprouts

I really like Brussel Sprouts. My wife, Barbara, hates them. As a child, when she was served them, as soon as her parents looked away, she’d throw them behind the refrigerator. There was a healthy surprise for all when they finally moved.

Because Barbara doesn’t eat them I usually make them for myself when I’m home alone, like tonight while Barbara has a booksigning down at the store. A simple preparation I did this evening was quite good hot and will be excellent cold.

1 lb Fresh Brussel Sprouts, picked through
2 Lg Shallots, sliced medium
1 1/2 Tb Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tb Balsamic Vinegar
3/4 Tb White Wine Vinegar
Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450° F.  Parboil Brussel Sprouts in well salted water for about 2-3 minutes. Drain and dry. Combine with Shallots, salt and pepper, 3/4 Tb of Olive Oil, and Balsamic and mix. Pour mixture onto a baking sheet covered with tin foil and spread out in one layer. Roast in oven for about 20-30 minutes stirring once or twice to promote even browning. When done combine hot sprouts with remaining oil and Wine Vinegar. Eat some hot if you want and cool the rest. It is really quite tasty.

March 3, 2009

Pork Tenderloin stuffed with Cherries and Ginger

Filed under: Cooking Tips,Food — @ 10:43 am

I came across a recipe by Chef Charles Wiley in the AZ Republic (which may be the worst newspaper in a major metropolitan area in the country) for Roast Pork Loin with Sun-Dried-Cherry Compote . The Sun-dried-cherry compote is shown below. I decided that with some slight modification it would make an excellent stuffing for a Pork Tenderloin. I used 2 bags of dried Montmorency cherries from Trader Joe’s. I made the compote, scooped out about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the cherries and shallots and, after draining the juice back into the compote, I caramelized the cherries with about 1/2 cup of crystallized ginger and some fresh thyme. Sliced a couple of pork tenderloins nearly in half horizontally, filled them with the caramellized cherries, and tied them up. Covered with some dijon mustard, rolled in some ground nuts (I used Macadamias, but almost any would likely be good) mixed with breadcrumbs, thyme, salt, and pepper. Refrigerated for a while. Browned all sides in a cast iron skillet and finished in a 425 oven for about 20 minutes. Served with compote on side – excellent.

4 tablespoons butter
1 cup shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup Port
1 cup chicken stock
2 cups sun-dried cherries, pitted and cut in half

February 20, 2009

Tomato Paste Epiphany

Filed under: Cooking Tips,Food — rlr @ 12:12 pm

I’m sure this isn’t original but it suddenly occurred to me a while back as I was throwing away yet another opened can, from which I had previously used 1 Tbsp some months ago, of tomato paste with little green fury things on top that there had to be a better way. Viola! I got out the plastic wrap and extracted about three scoops each of about 2 Tbsp of tomato paste from the newly opened can, put each 2 Tbsp scoop into a plastic wrapped bundle and threw it into the freezer. And when I next needed tomato paste I actually remembered my freezer pets.

October 23, 2007

The last Volvo I will ever buy

Filed under: Uncategorized — @ 7:32 pm

Well, I’m back.

I have owned approximately 8 Volvos over the course of my 62 years. I currently own 2 Volvo V70s – a 2000 and a 2004. I was about to trade in the 2000 for a new XC90. Unfortunately the plastic case on my remote for the older car broke (the other plastic case had broken about 3 years ago) so I could no longer attach it to my key chain. As a result of being forced to pay $260 for a new remote (which I don’t need) rather than $10 for a new $2.00 plastic case to house my old remote electronics in (which is all I really need) I have decided to trade in my old Volvo for a Lexus and to never buy a Volvo again. I’m sure someone can justify nickel and diming customers but not to me. It’s a shame. If this is what Ford brought to the table congratulations on losing a loyal customer.

August 19, 2007

Barbecue (often spelled Barbeque) for dinner

Filed under: Food — @ 2:51 pm

Many years ago, before I met Barbara and got involved in mysteries and publishing I did many, many things. I used to refer to myself as “a jack of all trades and master of most.” In case you haven’t figured it out, I’m a Gemini that also has Gemini rising – a double Gemini, in other words. At any rate I love to cook. It has been a lifelong passion (I started when I was eight years old) and I’m pretty good at it. So I made the classic mistake of thinking that because I love to cook I’d love to be a restaurant owner and for a year I was the owner of Moe’s Ribs in Santa Fe. We served good barbecue but BIG MISTAKE. Owning and operating a restaurant is a very different thing than cooking. Regardless, I still think that good barbecue is about the best food in the world. And when I mention barbecue I mean PIG. When a Texan says barbecue he means beef. Now a barbecued brisket of beef can be damn tasty, but it ain’t what I consider to be barbecue. Every state in the South has what it considers the best barbecue. My daughters insist that Tennessee barbecue is the king. I, having eaten at Arthur Bryants in Kansas City when Arthur was alive, contend that Kansas City leads the way, though KC sauces can sometimes be a little sweet. So I took a little walk around the web and came up with a few places that anyone who’s a vegetarian should avoid but you, gentle reader, might enjoy. An excellent essay on Tennessee barbecue and an interesting discussion of Carolina barbecue. There’s a great deal written about Kansas City barbecue. And South Carolina and Georgia barbecues are represented at the above links. And just in case you’re wondering how I got to this subject, I smoked a very well-seasoned pork butt earlier today, made a Carolina style sauce and am finishing the butt by braising it in a slow oven as I write. Tonight we’re going to have a pig pick (pulled pork) for dinner. Sorry you can’t be here.

July 30, 2007

Why I started this blog

Filed under: Uncategorized — @ 2:45 pm

Who cares. Mainly I started it as place where I could bitch about small annoyances that I know I can’t get redressed anywhere without spending a disproportionate amount of time on. But also I was curious about the nature of blogging. Do people just find these things? Do I care whether anyone reads it or not? I don’t think so but maybe. At any rate I have never been one to maintain a journal of any sort and so now, at 62, I guess I’m giving it a shot.

July 28, 2007

Why we won’t publish an author who previously self-published

Filed under: Uncategorized — @ 5:38 pm

We publish approximately thirty-eight new books per year. Of those roughly thirty-three will be second, third, or fourth novels by authors we originally published. Thus we have around five openings per year for authors new to our list. We have had remarkable success with authors we introduce partly because the media are very forgiving of debut authors. They are always looking for new talent as are the library buyers–our main customer. Among our other main customers are independent booksellers and independent mystery bookstores both of whom do a brisk business in modern first editions. An author can be a virgin only once. So, when we publish an author who previously self-published, we lose all sales to the collector market. What’s more the reviewers will often ignore or be much more critical of a second book, especially from a self-published author. Whether fair or not, the perception is that a self-published author took a shortcut and didn’t go through the full editorial process that any “real” publisher exercises. That editorial process includes substantive editing, copy editing, and proof reading–three very different types of editorial work that every manuscript we publish receives. We receive nearly 1,000 submissions per year and can accept less than one-half of one percent of them. If we have to choose one manuscript between two or three new-to-our-list writers we can’t afford to choose the previously published author. And because it costs us, on average, nearly $50 for every manuscript we evaluate we are unwilling to to look at material from previously self-published authors. Fair? No. Might we miss a great book? Absolutely. We are imperfect. We’ll miss some great material, but we’ll continue to do the best we can. So, my hope in writing this is that at least one person who is thinking of self-publishing as a way to break into the business reads this and thinks about it very carefully before so doing. Is it always wrong to self-publish? No. You may have written The Bridges of Madison County, but then again there may be a reason that no “real” publisher has accepted your manuscript.

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