I love to create in my kitchen on weekends, take a bunch of photos, and then recreate the yumminess in posts here in the Glover Gardens Cookbook blog. Alas, there are no kitchen creations to post this weekend, as I have an early morning flight for a business trip tomorrow and am busy preparing and packing. I do have a recipe to share, though: Churrasco’s chimichurri sauce. Have you had chimichurri before? It is sooooo good – a foodie-worthy sauce that is very simple to make. Churrasco’s is a Houston-based South American restaurant chain, and they deliver the real South American goods. “Churrasco” means beef, or more generally, grilled meats, in both Spanish and Portugese.
That green sauce on the steak is chimichurri sauce, and it is wonderful. Fresh, green and garlicky in its olive oil base, it brings a brightness to the steak. I can’t get enough chimichurri, and it is good on so many other things! Scrambled eggs, fajita tacos, grilled chicken, as a dip…the possibilities are endless. In addition to topping steak with it, Churrasco’s serves chimichurri with dried plantain chips as an appetizer.
Whenever I go to Churrasco’s, I bring home plantains and chimichurri sauce, to continue the South American party at home.
There are lots of chimichurri recipes out there, but I am loyal to this one from Churrasco’s, published in Food and Wine magazine. Simple and delicious, it has only four ingredients and can be made in less than five minutes. Although the recipe calls for curly parsley, flat-leaf parsley is also excellent, and you can substitute cilantro for a different south-of-the-border flavor.
2 bunches curly parsley, thick stems discarded
1/3 cup garlic cloves, crushed
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Combine all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Refrigerate, but allow to come to room temperature before serving.
Here’s a link to the recipe in Food and Wine, which also has instructions for the steak. Another of my finds at Churrasco’s was the Pisco Sour.
I thought, erroneously, that there might have been enough cat pictures out there to satisfy cat picture needs for generations to come. And then I posted a picture of my cats in this blog (see Two Live Cats and a Talavera One). From the views and clicks, apparently new cat pictures are still very much the thing.
So here you have a haiku inspired by Godfrey, a 6 year-old tuxedo cat (and family member) who nibbles on his tail, is afraid of his shadow, and is also the sweetest lap cat EVER. And of course, some pictures, too.
Haiku for Godfrey
Godfrey, in repose:
because the world doesn’t have
enough cat pictures.
Godfrey is named after the lead character in My Man Godfrey, a wonderful screwball comedy movie from the 1030s. Read about it here. We watched the movie, about a millionaire posing as a “forgotten man” and accepting a job as a butler, the night before we welcomed Godfrey into our family. And of course we had to name our new tuxedoed family member after the William Powell character. You can see the resemblance, can’t you?
He was younger than me, and I treasured him like a brilliant little pet. He was sweet and shy and peculiar. There never has been, and never will be, a person like him. He is gone from us now, but lives on in our hearts.
When Steve was 5, he submitted a poem to Highlights magazine (a children’s publication), and the whole family was proud and astonished when it was published. I have always loved this poem for its clarity and directness and simplicity. I have been accused of helping to write it, but I will only admit to being an 8-year-old editorial consultant.
The Bee Poem, by Steven Harvell, Age 5
I am a bee, so look at me:
My stripes are yellow and black.
They’re on my head,
And on my neck
They’re even on my back.
A few months ago, I shared A Little Music for a Sunday Evening with you, a recording that the last remaining millennial at Glover Gardens had used for music college auditions. It helped him to get into the University of Texas at Austin’s Butler School of Music with a scholarship (woohoo!!!). And now he has done a big band arrangement of the same tune as part of a college assignment.
For your Saturday evening listening pleasure, here is the University of Texas Jazz Ensemble performing Jefferson, an original composed by my son (the keyboard player). He named Jefferson after a hamlet in Colorado, where we have a small cabin that we call Little House in the Rockies. The nature and views are truly inspirational. Click the arrow on the picture below to view the recording.
You’ll definitely see a lot more of these kinds of posts as we begin to spend time in the Texas capital and enjoy the vibrant and diverse arts and music scene.
And if you’re really into music, you might want to revisit the earlier post and view the original recording of Jefferson, which is a completely different arrangement of the same tune with a really different vibe: A Little Music for a Sunday Evening . I think you can already see the impact of the studio arranging course.
The five basic flavors – bitter, salty, sour, sweet and umami – are supposed to make our taste buds celebrate like it’s New Year’s Eve in Vegas when they are appropriately combined. The Five Tastes and How to Cook with Them provides a high-level overview of the five flavors. I find that concept more and more intriguing, and am thinking about the five flavors now when I create new recipes.
Why am I talking about this? I wanted to give it a try and had it in mind to make a kale salad with the (marvelous) nut butter and honey from our local farmers’ market. One of my favorite vendors, Just Pure Flavors, makes all kinds of great nut butters (like Bacon Jalapeño Cashew), and I’ve been itching to create a recipe that features these interesting flavors and smooth texture. So I looked up all kinds of variations of each of the five flavors to decide how to create my 5 Flavors Kale and Nut Butter Salad with Pineapple, Almonds and Tomatoes. It was fun picking the representatives for each of the five flavors (and a little nerve-wracking – would they work together?):
Bitter: the kale
Salty: the nut butter, some salt, the almonds
Sour: the lemon juice
Sweet: the honey, the pineapple, the tomatoes
Umami: the fish sauce
Some say the sixth important flavor is…fat. I can go with that based on the pleasure of the unctuous feel of a fat-laden bite – think about the creaminess of avocado, or the velvety glide of a hollandaise, or the glorious silkiness of Alfredo sauce, or the guilty pleasure of the bronzed turkey skin with its undercoat of fat.
And beyond the 5 flavors, I know that a recipe like this needs some crunch, and some onions and garlic. Doesn’t everything need onions and garlic? For the crunch, because I thought this would be special dish, I chose Marcona almonds. They are Spanish almonds which are blanched and then roasted in olive oil and tossed with salt. You MUST try these almonds, even though they are on the pricey side. And in this salad, as an important part in the symphony of flavors … wow. The onion and garlic provided their own muted back-of-your-mouth bite, balancing the 5 flavors and the crunch of the almonds.
In addition to the grape tomatoes, which provide a lovely color contrast, I used pineapple for some of the sweetness because I had a fresh pineapple on hand, but I think that almost any fruit in season would work: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, kiwi or star fruit, apple, pear, apricots, cherries, mango or papaya. OR – and this would make it a holiday-appropriate dish – you could use dried cranberries, cherries, golden raisins or even chopped prunes. This shouldn’t be a salad that is relegated to spring and summer meals, because it is a really refreshing side for a heavy soup, stew, or big ol’ grilled meats. Or that Thanksgiving turkey. I’ve just decided to put it on the Turkey and Gratitude Day menu this year.
The verdict for this recipe-in-the-mind transformed into a Glover Gardens kitchen reality? It turned out all right! I mean it was really, really good, so good that the vegetable and greens-averse Grill-Meister even liked it. I felt like I just won Chopped.
Ingredients (Serves 6)
1/2 tsp. fish sauce
1 tbsp. good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. local honey (from your farmers’ market!)
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. nut butter (I use Just Pure Flavors’ Bacon Jalapeño Cashew Butter)
1 large clove garlic, finely minced
10 grape tomatoes, sliced
1/4 cup diced red onion
3/4 cup diced fresh or canned pineapple
1/2 cup Marcona almonds
Generous pinch of salt
Several grinds of fresh pepper
1 small bunch of kale, about 4 cups, chopped
Combine all ingredients except for the kale and stir until well mixed. Put the kale in a medium bowl, add the dressing, and mix. Transfer to a clean bowl and serve.
Note: Marcona almonds are expensive! So if you are not in the mood to splurge, use cashews, or toasted pecans, or even peanuts.
We only get about 6 weeks of California-like weather here in Southeast Texas each year, and we are smack in the middle of the 2016 fall issue. Gee whiz, it’s so beautiful! I had to whip up a quick haiku to honor it.
Haiku: Autumn in Southeast Texas
The leaves are falling, but the flowers are still blooming: October’s party.
I hope you enjoy the pictures! Look for the bold little lizard shedding his skin in the October sun.