Eating Humble Pie - על כן גודל הפילה
Living in New York one can purchase just about any exotic cooking ingredient or find a restaurant that serves absolutely fabulous cuisine in any and all flavors. You may have to travel to Queens but hey - it's worth it. Here by the sea there are thousands, if not tens of thousands of Israelis who have travelled the world, have eaten and enjoyed all sorts of food, have spent copious amounts of time in Thailand and India - but can't seem to import the necessary ingredients for preparing these dishes. I can't even put words to how disappointing Indian and Thai restaurants are. And don't even consider Mexican. I don't even bother to try any more.
So in response to limited availability I schlepp as much as I can from New York. I can buy underwear here, but try finding hominy. Ludicrous, I know (my schlepping).
All this has put me in mind of a restaurant on the upper west side called Ruby Foos. I don't know if it still exists but we used to go there often because it had a very large menu and when relatives came to town, everyone could find something they wanted to eat. Ruby Foos described itself as serving Pan-Asian cuisine. Alway amused by this I typically and annoyingly expressed in and mock-shock "Where exactly is Pan-Asia".
Needless to say, they served sushi, cold sesame noodles, thai curry, pho - you name it. Not especially good, but not bad either.
Last week I went to the butcher and fell for the נתח הקצב (Butcher's Choice). Everyone know that this is last week's stock that didn't sell - sort of like the special on the menu at a restaurant - but I bought it anyway because it was just the right amount of meat to make steak teriyaki.
For years I have used a marinade recipe that came from the Japanese husband of a friend of mine. She didn't like to cook and he did. He shared a few tricks with me and I am eternally grateful. The marinade is simple but as I began to make it, I realized I was out of a few ingredients. So I improvised. Then I went to look in the cupboard for Japanese rice. Didn't have any. Next on to soba or some sort of Japanese noodle. Found only one small bundle. Decided to rip open a pack of Ramen and combine the two.
Next I decided to pickle some carrots and cucumbers. Out of mirin and out of sake vinegar. Used Chinese cooking wine and sherry vinegar and some sriracha. Washed the lettuce. BBQ'd the meat and had "Asian Salad" for dinner. Had to eat my words.
I will probably not make fun of Ruby Foos again.
The next night I made Chicken Piccata. I had all the ingredients. Served with saffron linguine in a zucchini-sweet potato sauce.
Ahh, the ways the sea here can change your mind about adapting to the reality on the ground.