Category Archives: mccall’s Meat and Fish

Trio of Sliders + Beet and Romesco with Sauce Gribiche

This is actually a meal I made a few months back but failed to post. It was my mom and dad’s anniversary (back in March- eek, time flies!), and when I asked them what they’d like me to cook for them, they responded with a surprising, “sliders,” having enjoyed some mini burgers I’d made for them a couple of years back.

Wanting to mix things up a bit, I opted to make a trio of sliders- an Asian-inspired salmon slider, a traditional American-style burger and a Greek-style lamb one made with McCall’s Meat and Fish Company’s beautiful lamb Merguez sausage which I simply cut out of the casing and formed into patties. In fact, I got all of my protein at McCall’s since proprietor Nathan always has the freshest, tastiest meat and seafood along with his willingness to answer questions and give helpful advice. It’s a win-win. Continue reading

Rabbit Terrine

Ok, how many of you read the title and thought of Bugs Bunny?  Perhaps you had memories of a cute, fuzzy childhood pet…possibly named Hoppy or Money Da Bunny (ok, maybe you didn’t but it’d be a cool name, ok?) to whom you’d feed carrots and cuddle with after school.  Maybe the word “rabbit” instantly takes you to the scene in Fatal Attraction when the little girl is running to her bunny cage to greet her beloved pet just as her mother walks into the kitchen to a mysterious pot of boiling something and they scream in unison as one discovers the rabbit missing and well, you know where it ended up.  Don’t worry, this post isn’t about any of those things, so if you hate Bugs Bunny or that scene in the movie, you’re safe.  If you feel weird about eating rabbit, well…don’t say I didn’t warn ya!

My father has been making terrine a part of our annual family Christmas meal for the past few years.  He’s also in charge of the roasted pork loin from which we make many delicious sandwiches, the house cured gravlax with homemade Dijon sauce as well as a big pot of lobster bisque, which is REQUIRED at our party, as he learned the hard way.  One year he decided to skip the bisque in favor of a lighter, more health-conscious butternut squash soup and our guests were literally crestfallen when they saw the swap-out.  After all, there is no way squash anything could be a substitute for chunks of lobster stewed with stock made from its own shells, a dash of cognac and copious amounts of milk and cream, right?  Anyway, since Papa has to make so many items for our big party I figured I’d volunteer to make the terrine, and he obliged.  I mean, does it matter that I’d never made a terrine in my life and this was for a special occasion?  I ignored everything I’ve ever read about never experimenting for a big party and stubbornly forged ahead.

I knew I had my secret weapon in Nathan McCall, butcher and chef extraordinaire.  After a lot of research I’d decided on a mousseline style rabbit terrine I’d spied on a blog called The Chubby Cook.  Unlike the blogger, I wasn’t going to break down an entire rabbit myself (I’m not queasy, I just didn’t think I’d have the time!) so I enlisted Nathan as I ordered one rabbit, with all of the meat removed, 2 loins intact + the reserved bones.  When I picked it up, all nicely wrapped in brown paper, Nathan and his wife Karen smiled, wished me a very happy holiday and I was on my way home to start the terrine!

When I opened the package, I was, once again, reminded of how lucky I am to know such skilled artisans as Nathan and Karen.  Those bones were cleaned perfectly and the two loins were beautifully intact.  I actually kind of felt guilty since it must have taken quite some time, and I know how busy they must have been during the holidays!  Anyway, I put the meat in the marinade I’d made and stuck the bones in the oven to brown, so I could make stock for a sauce.

The terrine was actually pretty east to put together- the marinated meat and a few other ingredients went into a food processor until smooth, then half of that mixture was poured into a pancetta-lined terrine mold.  I placed the two seared loins down the middle and covered them up with the rest of the mixture, folded over the overlapping pancetta and baked it in a bain-marie.  After it came out of the oven I weighted it down for a few hours before putting it in the fridge to cool.

The sauce also came together easily- and although the rabbit stock takes time to make, let me tell you, IT IS WORTH IT.  The roughly eight cups of water cooked down to two cups of rich, rabbit stock which I then reduced down to 1/2 cup.  That demi-glace, some chopped mushrooms, roux and salt/pepper made the most flavorful gravy/sauce I think I’ve ever tasted.  So even though it may seem crazy to brown the bones, then simmer those bones + onion, carrot, bay leaves, peppercorns and celery in a pot for hours to get the 1/2 cup of reduced stock (demi-glace) to make the sauce, you will not be sorry.  All of those flavors come together to make an incredibly rich, delicious sauce that you could pretty much just eat out of the pot with a spoon.  YUM.

The terrine turned out so well, I think I may make it again next year…or maybe before that!  I love finding the two loins in the middle of each slice- it looks beautiful and adds a nice, meaty texture.  Special thanks to The Chubby Cook for the recipe, as well as answering a couple of emails when I had questions while I was actually making it- how’s that for dedication?!  Also to the McCall’s who make it so easy to get top quality meat and fish which is really the basis for any good dish.  Oh- and I have to give it up to the amazing folks at the Eagle Rock Italian Bakery who, in addition to supplying amazing Italian food and staples to the neighborhood, expertly sliced the pancetta for this terrine…it doesn’t get any prettier!  Check out this meat doily made of the pancetta:

See the two rabbit loins in the center?

How was your holiday?  Eat anything spectacular?

Meat ‘n Potatoes!

This dinner is from a couple of months ago, and I’ve been eager to share it with you, so here it is!

Our friends Henry and Jenn came over for dinner, and I know Henry loves his meat and potatoes and Jenn loves pretty much all food (like me!) so I decided to pick up some beef from McCall’s (yes, I realize I’m beginning to sound like their spokesperson but their meat/seafood is THE BEST!). I saw some Flintsones-sized bone-in rib eyes so I snatched those up, then went to the Farmer’s Market for some Yukon Gold potatoes and other veggies.

First of all, check out these babies. I mean, c’mon:

Here’s what we had:

The Girl + The Fig dried fig compote, goat cheese from the Cheese Store of Silverlake and some pepper water table crackers. The cheese was pretty dry and chalky, which was a tad disappointing.

Mixed green salad with heirloom tomatoes and fresh corn:

White on Rice Couple’s Todd’s amazing, incredible, life-altering Potatoes Au Gratin. I’m not overexaggreating. He and Diane were nice enough to invite my sister and me over for dinner a few months ago and they served this to us and let me tell you- it’s CRACK! It only has six ingredients, but Todd’s signature “break the crust” method keeps the potatoes tender and creamy while the top gets golden brown. We ate a pretty nice chunk out of it but still had some leftover; I’d take a spoon and eat it cold right out of the tupperware every day for the next four days. Not even kidding. It’s THAT good. Who needs chocolate or other such silliness if you have this?! Check out his step-by-step instructions on the method here so you can make it this weekend. Heck, make it today. NOW.

Here are those two, fat rib eye steaks, seared to get a nice brown crust and cooked to medium rare. They were delicious and the four of us polished it all off, easily. I think personally, I prefer a cut where there aren’t as many ribbons of fat- I know I know- it’s the best part but I guess I’m more of a filet mignon, skirt or flank steak girl myself. It was indulgent and delicious regardless. I only wish I would have plated the dramatic steaks in a more, er, dramatic fashion. Should’ve used my giant cutting board, but we were all so hungry I think we just wanted to eat!

Plum and almond tart. My plum tree literally exploded with plums this summer so I had plums coming out of my…um, front yard. This was one of the last things I made; I think I’m good on plums for awhile now! We served it with caramel gelato.

A wonderful time was had by all and once again, McCall’s didn’t let me down with the high quality meat they sold me for this dinner. Another thing that’s great about McCall’s is the husband-wife team of Nathan McCall and Karen Yoo are happy to answer any questions you have about their product, recommend ways to cook or order something in advance if you have a special request. “Enthusiastic” wouldn’t begin to describe how both come across about their business- you can see the commitment to quality, customer service and a joy and love for food/cooking in their faces. They rock!

Here’s what our dinner table looked like just before we sat down to eat. I’ll spare you the “after” photo!

More to come…..

Father’s Day Dinner: Trio of Sliders

I wanted to take a little break from our vacation posts and toss in the Father’s Day dinner I made for my dad this past weekend.

I always think long and hard about what to cook when my parents come over for dinner because they love and appreciate food so much (where do you think I get it from?!) so I want everything to be perfect. Even though I’d emailed my dad and asked if he had any requests, he simply put, “surprise me!” as he usually does when I’ve asked him in the past. After days of mulling it over I finally felt good about a menu I’d put together in my mind (homemade Swiss chard/ricotta ravioli with pomodoro, fried calamari salad, roasted asparagus) when my husband J said, “SLIDERS!”

Now sliders aren’t something I think of for a special occasion dinner, nor were they something I’ve made before. Sure, I’ve grilled up a few hamburgers in my day, but truth be told it had been awhile. Although it was Father’s Day, J rarely requests something so specific and was really rooting for the sliders idea so I wanted to find a way to fulfill his wish while satisfying my need to make it special for the occasion. I called my friend Dylan for inspiration, and he suggested making several different kinds of sliders- use different meats, toppings, etc- go decadent with truffle oil or different cheeses, etc. That conversation definitely pushed me in the right direction and after a few minutes, we’d decided on a Trio of Sliders.

I bought the house hamburger from McCall’s which was nicely marbled with fat, ordered 2 ounce brioche rolls from Euro Pane, stopped at the CheeseStore of Silverlake for some cheeses and grabbed some fresh produce and quail eggs at the Silverlake Farmer’s Market and was good to go. I spent about an hour making my caramelized onion jam (with a touch of thyme, something I love in onion jam) and got the rest of my mise en place together before putting all of the elements together for dinner.

Here are the three kinds of sliders I made:

The “Drago Centro” Slider- J and I go to Drago bar at least twice a month and order off their small bites menu, and their Kobe Beef Sliders are our favorite so I tried to recreate it in these. Arugula, fontina and sautéed mushrooms (I used brown instead of the king mushrooms Drago uses):

The Blue Slider: Caramelized onion jam, Dijon mustard, arugula and St. Agur blue cheese. The exceptionally creamy St. Agur went so well with the sweet onions and the mustard cut the richness of it all. Probably my personal favorite of the night.

The Bacon/Egg Slider- White truffle oil, arugula, Nueske smoked bacon (also from McCall’s) and topped off with a sunny-side up quail egg. Once we sat down, we all broke the yolk and let it run over the burger….it’s like breakfast for dinner, but much more luxurious. I loved this one as well, and the quail eggs were surprisingly easy to get open without compromising the integrity of the yolk.

To balance out the rich sliders I just served a green salad, and a plate of blanched asparagus and crisp radishes with some Provencal aioli for dipping.

All of the sliders were delicious- in large part due to the high quality of the ingredients. The ground beef at McCall’s is a mix of Angus and chuck and was super flavorful and moist. The ladies at the CheeseStore of Silverlake were so helpful in the process of choosing just the right cheeses, the Silverlake Farmer’s Market had some amazingly peppery arugula, bright asparagus and fresh radishes, and Euro Pane baked up the lightest brioche rolls. So thank you to all of the staff for making my Father’s Day dinner possible!

Not only are you supporting local business by shopping at specialty stores, but it’s a fun and educational way to shop and you can avoid the neon lights of a supermarket altogether.

What did you do for Father’s Day?

Mongolian Barbecued Lamb Chops with Chinese Mustard Sauce

Ah, LOST. Last Sunday marked the end of six seasons filled with mystery and adventure, sometimes confusion, dare I say a bit of frustration but mostly amazement and real attachment thanks in large part to the incredible characters that made up the heart of the show. I’ve watched LOST since day one and have grown to love Jack, Sawyer, Kate, Charlie, Faraday, Hugo, Juliet, Desmond, Jin…even Vincent, Walt’s loyal dog. Speaking of Vincent….when he laid next to Jack……..oh…my….tears.

Anyway, sorry to anyone who doesn’t watch LOST, but let’s face it- even non-fans of the show knew last Sunday’s finale was a major event in television history. J and I had been anticipating it and planned to watch it in the comfort of our living room. Such a momentous occasion called for a special meal, so I flipped through my new cookbook (I know, I know… I bought another one!) called Big Small Plates, by Napa chef Cindy Pawlcyn. If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile you know of my love for tapas- small plates- so the minute I saw this book showcasing appetizer-portioned food packed with tons of flavor, I knew I had to pick it up. There are so many wonderful recipes, but the Mongolian Barbecued Lamb Chops with Chinese Mustard Sauce caught my eye…and I knew just the place to get my lamb- McCall’s!

I called to see if McCall’s had lamb, and they mentioned they had a nice, California baby lamb rack- perfect. I know I’ve been posting quite a bit about this place but it’s really a cook’s dream. Beautiful meat and seafood carefully chosen by two food-loving chefs who are passionate about what they do. They always ask what you plan on making, remember you from the last visit and ask how your dish turned out, and often have suggestions on what to cook with your purchase if you’re in need of some inspiration. I never thought that going to a butcher shop would be fun, but any visit to McCall’s is not only pleasant, it’s educational to boot.

The recipe was pretty simple and I had almost all of the ingredients necessary. I didn’t marinate the chops overnight since I didn’t have that much time- next time I’ll start the day before. I also used a grill pan since my grill still hasn’t gotten a nice, spring cleaning quite yet.

The chops were beautiful, tender, succulent….there’s something about eating meat right off the bone that is so satisfying. J and I polished off the whole thing, and we’re not embarrassed to admit it!

For sides, I had an idea to make green chile mashed potatoes, so I just whizzed some diced green chiles with a few cloves of roasted garlic and butter. These were seriously incredible- since the chiles are broken down to a liquid puree, you don’t really even milk to get a nice, smooth consistency. They were slightly tangy, smokey and had just a small kick which went well with the sweet Mongolian BBQ sauce on the chops.

Green salad with Japanese sweet onion dressing:

Roasted asparagus with salt & pepper- simple but delicious.

My plate:

J and I sat through the entire 2 hour retrospective, then watched the 2 ½ finale….I know there were mixed reaction to the way LOST ended but I, for one, thought it was a beautiful tribute to a show I’ll miss very much.

In 24 hours, we’re off to visit my sister in Ireland and also hop over to Portugal for a few days! If you have any Lisbon or Porto recommendations please post them in the comments!

Bon Voyage!