Monday, June 28, 2010
Living the Rich Life.
As I stepped off my private jet, I walked over to my Aston Martin V8 Vantage and realized I didn't feel much like driving so I had my chauffeur pull up the Rolls. We pulled up to my lovely 18th century French castle and I looked around for K, whom was sitting in the Japanese garden having tea. I pulled out a thick roll of $100 dollar bills and my lighter, lighting the money on fire. We laughed and laughed. "I love to burn money, because I am so filthy rich." I said.
Okay, and then I woke up. No we are not rich. If I was that rich I'd donate a lot of it to charities or I'd buy everyone in the world a Coney Island hot dog with all the fixins cause I'm classy like that. But alas, K and I get by just fine and as for the way we eat, sometimes I feel pretty rich. You don't have to be wealthy to eat well. Some people spend their money on going out to the club, or gas for their stupid gas guzzling Hummer. (btw, Hummer drivers are selfish, ignorant, f**kwads). We spend our money on pretty clothes and yummy food.
Caviar is an interesting thing. One of the most expensive foods in the world. Calling it salted fish eggs doesn't quite have the allure as the word caviar but essentially that's what it is. There are four types of "true" caviar and they only come from a dwindling population of wild sturgeon in the Capsian sea. In order from rarest down are: beluga, sterlet, osetra, and sevruga caviars. Sadly, due to overfishing, it is no longer responsible to be buy true Caspian caviar. People still want their luxurious fish eggs and more local, sustainable "caviars" are appearing on the market. Salmon roe has become pretty popular (the Japanese and Russians having been eating it forever) and Idaho trout roe and Montana whitefish are delicious and affordable substitutes for the wild sturgeon eggs.
A few places such as the Mote Marine Aquaculture Park in South Florida are trying to help create a more sustainable (farmed) sturgeon that will be not only harvested for caviar but for the tasty fish itself. I'm sure a lot of caviar purists would detest American farmed caviar but eventually they'll have no choice (not necessarily American but definitely farmed) if wild sturgeon over-farming practices aren't dealt with.
Caviar feels very much like a special occasion treat to me. Kind of like Champagne & truffles. Last week, my lovely wife K proposed to me to get re-married for our tenth anniversary next year. She slipped a beautiful 1930s deco diamond ring on my finger and I turned bright pink and teary with happiness. To celebrate I purchased some beautiful, sustainable Golden Whitefish Caviar, harvested from the west side of the Great Lakes. The eggs are buttery and clean tasting with a beautiful golden apricot color. I also had some beautiful Smoked Coho Salmon from local Loki Fishery & homemade crème fraîche. I made some lovely Yukon gold potato blini, adapted from an awesome Thomas Keller recipe, and popped open a bottle of our favorite Spanish cava (sparkling wine). It was an incredibly romantic and luxurious celebration. Here's the thing, your date never has to know that you didn't spend a fortune but you'll impress the hell out of anyone with a spread like this. While I was sitting there eating "caviar" and drinking "champagne", with a gorgeous ring on my finger and the most beautiful girl ever next to me, I felt like the richest princess in the world.
Buy sustainable caviar from here:
Seattle Caviar Company
Dean & Deluca
Yukon Gold Potato Blini
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes (or red bliss potatoes)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tablespoons crème fraîche, at room temperature
2 Tbsp garlic chives, minced (regular chives will work)
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a large pot of boiling water, cook the potatoes until fork tender. Drain potatoes and return them to the pot. Quickly mix the flour into the warm potatoes, then whisk in 2 1/2 tablespoons crème fraîche. Whisk in the eggs one at a time until the batter is smooth. Add more crème fraîche if needed.
Holding the whisk with some of the batter over the bowl, the batter should fall in a thick stream but hold its shape. If it is too thick, add a little more crème fraîche. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Spoon between 1 and 1 1/2 teaspoons of batter onto the skillet for each blini. Cook until the bottoms are browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Then flip them and cook the second side, about 1 to 2 minutes. The blini should be evenly browned with a small ring of white around the edges. Transfer the blini to a small baking sheet and keep warm. Wipe the skillet with a paper towel between batches. Serve the blini as soon as possible with smoked salmon, crème fraîche, and caviar.