Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sailabration Events

So what are you doing for the Sailabration on September 13th? Waterfront Kitchen is having two parties, both with harborside seats for the fireworks.

Sailabration Spectacular Cocktail Party

There's no better place to party during Charm City's Star-Spangled Sailabration Spectacular than with us on the harborfront promenade at Waterfront Kitchen. Stoked on great food and drink, surrounded by friends, you won't have to ask, "Oh say, can you see?," when the fireworks start. They will be bursting in air in full technicolor directly overhead. Join us for a great party. We're celebrating the good life, Chesapeake style, in this land of the free and home of the brave.

Party: 7:30-10:30 p.m. Fireworks: 9:30 p.m. Cost: $59.

On the Table
Buckets of Housemade Celery Salt & Cayenne Pepper Potato Chipswith Blue Cheese Dip
Buckets of Sweet & Spicy Applewood-smoked Bacon

From the Grill
Brown Sugar and Espresso Marinated Flank Steak Sandwiches
Grilled Onions, Housemade Steak Sauce
Soy, Orange and Ginger Marinated Pork Loin Sliders
Asian Slaw
Maryland Sweet Corn, Old Bay Butter

To be Passed
Mini Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Spicy Chicken Satay, Hoisin Dipping Sauce
Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Brioche Pizzas

Local Beers and Wine

For tickets: EventBrite.

Sailabration Spectacular All-American Wine Dinner

Could there be a more fitting way to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Francis Scott Key's national anthem? We don't think so. Join Chef Jerry Pellegrino for a five-course, eight-wine All-American Wine Dinner, with seats on our harborfront promenade and a spectacular fireworks display overhead. Yes, it's the very same harbor from which the Star Spangled Banner was penned. And no, we won't mind at all if you break into a patriotic chorus or two during dinner. That's what the entire celebration is about.

Dinner: 6:30 p.m. Fireworks: 9:30 p.m. Cost: $159.

Chef’s Amuse
Domaine Chandon ‘√©toile’ Ros√©

To Start
Pan Roasted Rockfish
Chanterelles, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Corn & Thyme
Peter Michael ‘L’apris Midi’ 2012 (Sauvignon Blanc)

Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
Sweetbreads atop a Veal Crepenette
Braised Fall Greens, Griottine Cherry, Sweet Potato
Martinelli ‘Bella Vigna’ Pinot Noir 2012
Martinelli ‘Zio Tony Ranch’ Pinot Noir 2012

Great Napa Cabernet
Fall Spice Braised Beef Short Rib
Truffled Potato Cream, Grilled Figs, Braising Jus
Axios 2003
Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Robert Foley Claret 2010

The Undeniable King of Syrah
Pan Seared Foie Gras
Plum & Rosemary
Sean Thackrey Orion 2010

To Finish
A Study in Chocolate

For tickets: EventBrite

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Summer Shrimp Salad

I love when dinner ideas come to me while I stroll through the supermarket. It was a warm summer afternoon and I was in the mood for something cool and refreshing. That means nothing fried, nothing with red meat or particularly carb-laden. I lingered in the produce section for inspiration and spotted plump heads of Belgian endive. I thought, "I love endive salad!" A few feet later, I saw ripe red watermelon and a similar thought came to mind. "I love watermelon salad!" A walk past the seafood counter and, you guessed it, "I love shrimp salad!"

Ordinarily I'd make shrimp salad with mayonnaise, celery, and Old Bay. Endive and watermelon are similar in that both work nicely with a balsamic vinaigrette and some sort of cheese, like feta or bleu. And walnuts. Walnuts go with everything. (My apologies to those with tree nut allergies.) Why not just make an endive salad that just so happens to have both watermelon and shrimp? And, just to be different, use a mustard vinaigrette in place of the balsamic. Anyway, balsamic vinegar makes the endive look like it's old and turning brown.

Once I peeled the shrimp, I tossed them in a quick poaching liquid made up of lemon juice, a bay leaf, and peppercorns in plain water. I found some Knorr shrimp bouillon cubes in the cupboard and tossed half of one of those in, too. (Knorr seafood bouillon cubes are commonly found in Asian markets, like H Mart.) The shrimp cooked quickly, and once they were done I set them aside to cool a bit while I worked on the dressing. Mr Minx was called in to dice the watermelon.

While there were a few steps to the process, the dish came together pretty quickly. By the time the chopping and dressing-making was complete, the shrimp were cool enough to handle. I tossed everything except the cheese and walnuts together and put them in the fridge to cool completely. Once it was chilled, all I needed to do was to fill the large endive leaves (optional - I thought it would be pretty) and sit down to eat.

Summer Shrimp Salad

This would be great with crab, too.

1 bay leaf
5 peppercorns
Juice of half a lemon
Half a Knorr shrimp bouillon cube (optional)
1 tablespoon of salt (divided use)
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
5 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/2 shallot, minced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 heads Belgian endive
1 cup diced watermelon
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
3 tablespoons chopped toasted walnuts
Bleu cheese crumbles

Put 3 cups of water in a 2 quart saucepan and add bay leaf, peppercorns, lemon juice, and 2 teaspoons of salt. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and reduce to a simmer. Add the shrimp and cook for 3 minutes, until shrimp are opaque. Turn off heat and allow shrimp to cool in the liquid. When cool enough to handle, drain the shrimp and cut each into 3-4 pieces. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Combine the dijon, honey, rice wine vinegar, and shallot in a small bowl. Whisk in the olive oil. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, or to taste. Toss half the vinaigrette with the cooled shrimp.

Thoroughly rinse and dry the endives. Cut the stem ends off and set aside 8 - 10 of the largest leaves. Chop the remaining endive and place in a bowl. Add the watermelon, parsley, and walnuts. Toss with the remaining vinaigrette. Add the shrimp and toss again. Season with the remaining salt to taste.

Spoon some of the salad into the reserved endive leaves. Mound the remaining salad in the center of the plate. Sprinkle all with bleu cheese.

Serves 3-4

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Monday, August 25, 2014


We've been getting some fabulous peaches from the local farmers' markets this summer, big juicy beauties. Sadly, I'm allergic to peaches (plums, apricots, cherries....). It comes from an overdose when I was a kid. My Dad used to work in Philadelphia, and on his way home from the office, he'd stop at a PA roadside stand and bring home half bushels of luscious peaches. Mom wasn't a baker or canner, so we ate the peaches raw by the bowlful. After two or three summers of indulgence, I could no longer eat stone fruits without feeling weird. My eustachian tubes would feel swollen and my eyes would itch, and I figured it was best to just give up the fruits rather than risk potential anaphylaxis.

Thankfully, it turns out my allergy is to raw fruit. Once it's cooked, even a little bit, I'm good. Because of my allergy, I nuked the sliced peaches for 2 minutes and let them cool before putting them in the blender. You, of course, can use raw peaches. White or yellow will do. White peaches are a bit sweeter than yellow, which can be a little tangier. I used yellow because I thought white peaches (which become pink when cooked) + cilantro = the color of barf. Yellow peaches and yellow peppers work much better with the green of cilantro. Of course, you may choose the omit the cilantro, if you're one of the unfortunate who think that it tastes like soap.

By this point, after I've posted so many tomato-less variations on gazpacho, you probably think I'm allergic to tomatoes, too. I am happy to say that's not the case. I just like variety.


2 yellow or orange bell peppers
1 pound ripe peaches
2 medium cucumbers
1 handful cilantro
3 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
Pinch cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

Roast the bell peppers over an open gas flame, under the broiler, or on a grill, until skin is blackened all over. Place peppers in a paper or plastic bag, close bag, and allow to steam. When cool enough to handle, remove the blackened skin, stem, core, and seeds, and chop peppers into chunks.

Peel peaches and cut into chunks.

Peel cucumbers and chop.

This recipe makes about 2 quarts, so you'll probably want to make this in two batches. Put half of the ingredients into a blender and puree. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Do the same with the remaining ingredients.

Refrigerate for several hours or overnight to blend the flavors. Eat chilled or at room temperature.

Serves 4-8.

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Peach Mostarda

The farmers's markets had a plethora of peaches in July, and I was happy to buy them. Sad thing is--I am allergic to stone fruits. Fortunately, the allergy is peculiar in that if I cook the fruit, even for a short time, whatever compound within it that makes me itchy is neutralized. This means microwaved peaches, but once they cool down, I can barely tell they've been cooked. And they're still tastier and fresher than canned peaches. (I chop them and put them in a bowl before cooking them...I don't recommend microwaving a whole peach. I haven't tried it, but I can imagine an explosion might ensue.)

Sometimes I buy more fruit than we can eat out of hand (or out of the microwave), so that means getting creative. One batch of white peaches inspired me to make a mostarda, an Italian chutney-like concoction of fruit flavored with mustard. After checking out several mostarda recipes online, I decided to concoct my own. What I really wanted to do was make the pickled mustard seeds I had read about in David Chang's Momofuku cookbook. Since prepared mustard has vinegar in it, Chang's seeds (which he confesses to have stolen from Tom Colicchio) are like the ultimate whole grain mustard. Why couldn't I combine them with peaches to make a savory-sweet condiment?

So that's what I did. I made the pickled mustard seeds first, then I combined the peaches with more vinegar, some sugar, and powdered mustard to make a quick-and-dirty mostarda. Added the mustard seeds to the mostarda and voila! a lightly crunchy condiment that adds a bit of punch to a simple grilled chicken breast or pan-fried pork chop. That's how I served it the first time, as a sauce over a simple salt-and-pepper-seasoned pork chop.

Peach Mostarda

1/3 cup yellow mustard seeds
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided use
3 firm ripe peaches
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon powdered mustard

Combine the mustard seeds, water, vinegar, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small heavy saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook, stirring often, until the mustard seeds are plump and tender, about 45 minutes. Add a bit more water if they look like they're going to dry out. They'll be plump and resemble caviar when they're done. Remove from heat and set aside.

Cut an X in the skin of each peach and blanch them in boiling water for a minute or so to loosen the skins. Peel peaches and cut into large dice. Combine the brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, and powdered mustard in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the peaches and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Simmer for 10 minutes, until peaches are tender. Remove from heat and set aside.

When both are cool, add 3 tablespoons of the pickled mustard seeds to the peaches. The remaining pickled mustard seeds can be stored in a covered container in the fridge indefinitely. Both can be served with meats and cheeses, or used as a sandwich topping.

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