Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ceviche! Acidic Fish and Romantic Compatibility

Last night the Mister and I ate fish and mixed seafood ceviche at Ceviche House in Warr Acres (NW side of Oklahoma City).  Ceviche components can vary greatly, but it is typically a South American preparation of fish "cooked" in the acid of lime juice.  I use it as an example of denaturing proteins with changes in pH (rather than heat) every semester in my intro classes and I receive blank stares.  Last night the ceviche was very "bright", almost overwhelmingly so, and quite tasty.  The Mister's big dish of fish ended up being a bit too much of one thing; the soft texture of the fish calls for some contrast, which was provided by shrimp, mussels, calamari, corn nuts and some hominy on my plate.  A different use of acid than anything in my daily life.
We'd been talking about eating ceviche since I started acid year.  Last night seemed like a great opportunity because we had a babysitter and were heading into "the City" for a knife skills class, but as of 5:30, we thought we had been thwarted, again, and were happily eating Thai food next door to the closed Peruvian place.  The Mister inexplicably rushed us through the Thai meal and as we were pulling out of the strip mall, we simultaneously realized that he was under the impression that our class was starting a half hour earlier than it was and the ceviche restaurant was now open.  So we parked and had second dinner immediately after first.
That this is a fairly mundane story reflects how well-suited the Mister and I are for each other.  Most of my readers nodded through the previous paragraph and found nothing particularly unusual about us driving an hour and a half each way to take a knife skills class, eating highly-seasoned ethnic food, or calmly turning a miscommunication into a chance for bonus food. 
I'm aware that in the world at large, this combination might not be exactly normal.
Thanks to the Mister for sharing spicy brightness with me wherever we can find it.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Double Vinegar Could Choke A Man

Watching Top Chef last night, the Mister and I downed two shots of vinegar based on comments about acid and brightness from the judges.  I started with the very nice balsamic, which is smooth sweet and sipable.  The Mister started with the Spanish red wine vinegar.  He had hardly recovered when he had to take a shot of the sherry vinegar.  It's a good thing that we didn't need to drink every time balance (of which acid is a big component) was mentioned-- we would have ventured to the ume plum, black Chinese or coconut vinegar and the Mister might still look slapped and out of breath.
Next up on acid investigation: in cooking, differences between tart, acidic, citrus, sour and bitter.
When Gail suggests that I dish really needs acid, I don't think it's straight pH that she is talking about.  Pepsi is as acidic as most vinegar, but I don't think that's what she means when something needs a little acid.
How do you use these words when discussing food?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Next Week on Top Chef: The Vinegar Drinking Game

 Next week (or whenever we get around to watching it), the Mister and I will be watching "Top Chef" and doing a shot of vinegar every time Gail Simmons mentions acid; be it for brightness, for contrast, for balance, or just because a dish needed it.
Yep, that's what wild and crazy professor parents with a selection 18 vinegars do on a Thursday night.
Join us if you dare.