Monday, August 30, 2010

Sip of California

So I bought a cheesecloth yesterday, and was inspired to make something using this nifty fabric.  For those who don't know what a cheesecloth is, it is a gauze-like cloth used primarily to separate the curd from whey when making cheeses, but also used to strain sauces and stocks, make tofu, and even to bundle herbs....basically to separate liquids from pulp

Since it was Jessica's birthday, we ended up going to Half Moon Bay, a quaint beach town tucked away between SF and Santa Cruz.  With gorgeous scenery, you can't help but be inspired to cook some CA inspired cuisine.

I decided to make Scallops!  So using the cheese cloth, I decided to make TOMATO WATER.  Quickly described, tomato water is the liquid left from strained pureed tomatoes.  I decided to integrate more flavors that could play an ancillary role to the wonderful tomato.  I added a shallot, some garlic, and of course the basic salt and pepper.  Using a decent amount of salt I believe is crucial in making this tomato water since the salt will help draw the liquids from the "not so ripe" tomatoes.  I blended everything together, and poured the tomato pulp into the cheesecloth over a large strainer and bowl.  Let this drain for at least 30 minutes, and you're left with the essence of tomato, and its flavorings, almost like a consommé.

For some garnishes, and sticking with a California themed dish, I decided to use some fresh corn off the cob, sautéed on high heat with oil, salt and pepper.  To finish I added finely minced garlic, and fresh lemon zest for a twist!  I also added a brunoise (small dice) of cucumbers marinated in white wine vinegar, and some thinly sliced avocado on the base.  All of these flavors:  corn, garlic, lemon, cucumbers, avocado, are great bold flavors of CA cuisine.

I then added some well seared scallops to top the dish off.  You get a certain meatiness from the scallops, rich fatness from the avocado, sweetness from the corn, and crunchiness from the cucumber....separate they are great ingredients, but together they are California.  When combined with a small "sip" of chilled tomato water, you have the perfect "sip" of California.  I'm eager to share this for people, since I think this could be something special!


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