December 29, 2006

K&K December 2006

kith and kin
(1) One's acquaintances and relatives.
(2) One's relatives.
[Middle English kith, from Old English cith, kinsfolk, neighbors.]

Word History: Kith is obsolete except in the alliterative phrase kith and kin, which originally meant “native land and people” and first appeared about 1377 in Piers Plowman. Kith comes from the Old English noun cith, “knowledge; known, familiar country; acquaintances, friends.”
It's one of those unfortunate realities of life that the older you get, the harder it is to keep up with all your friends. I blame it on the pressures of maintaining gainful employment in a free market economy.

To combat this, years ago, the old high school gang started getting together for dinners periodically, to make sure we kept in touch with one another and stayed current on each others lives. J called these our "Kith and Kin" dinners... I'd never heard of that phrase before, but after learning of its meaning, it seemed perfectly appropriate. These are get-togethers among close friends, and they ensure that we'll always be "known" and "familiar" to one another.

Fast forward several years to the end of 2006 -- the K&K's live on! Lots of changes though: some of us are married, some of us have kids (!!), and some of us (yours truly) are moving out of the area. Lav and I wanted to host a K&K dinner at our still relatively new home for the first time, so we put this menu together as a way of celebrating friendships and the start of a new year.

roasted beet salad
arugula, mint, cashew

squid and clams
parsley "pesto" with ginger and lemongrass tea broth

porchetta "sandwich"
fresh mozzarella, avocado, basil, shaved fennel

18-hour braised shortrib
carrot, peas, melted red onion, celery root puree

vanilla panna cotta
kumquat, kiwi

There are a lot of things in store for us as we prepare to relocate to Seattle in 2007, and it's coming faster than we expected! It'll be tough to leave our friends and family here, but we're also looking forward to the spectacular adventures that are sure to be in store for us in the Pacific Northwest! In a small way, this was a perfect way to close out a fantastic year -- great friends, good food and drink, excellent times. Rest assured, we'll be flying back for future K&K's!

December 11, 2006

Menu for Hope III: Great wine and olive oil, anyone? (Code UW07)

Hey there...

Are you a fan of all things related to food?

Do you want to help out those who are less fortunate?

Well it's your lucky day! This holiday season will play host to Menu for Hope III, a fantastic fundraiser that represents the collaboration of food bloggers around the world (literally). A bunch of bloggers have donated items, and you can test your luck at winning the items by buying raffle tickets.

This year, the money raised will be donated to the United Nations World Food Programme.

Click here fore the main Menu For Hope III page, hosted on Chez Pim.

Here at Fifth Flavor, we're happy to be offering the following prize:


This lot includes two bottles that are very special to me:

- 2002 Medlock Ames Cabernet Sauvignon, Bell Mountain
- L.A. Cetto estate-grown olive oil, Baja, Mexico

This is the inaugural vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon from Medlock Ames, a fantastic, young winery in Healdsburg. According to the winemaker, "This dark and intense Cabernet exhibits the classic plum and blackberry aromas of the Alexander Valley, but is enhanced by an exotic spicy quality we find characteristic of our vineyard. The dark fruit core of this wine is balanced by firm structure and rich dense tannins that last with the finish." A huge, dense wine for those in the mood for a well-made, new world Cabernet, made by a winemaking team with a real passion for their craft and their product.

The estate-grown olive oil from L.A. Cetto is a delicious, well-rounded olive oil. The texture and mouthfeel is absolutely unctious, with a luxuriously rich, fruity flavor and a long, buttery finish. This oil works fantastically for a light, quick saute, as a dipping oil, or as a finishing touch for savory dishes. I picked up this bottle during a trip to Mexico's wine country in Baja (a wonderful area... definitely worth a trip!), so it was personally imported into the country... legally, of course!

Estimated value for this lot is $50.

You can also view prizes from your specific region by going to our regional Menu for Hope blog hosts on this list:

US West Coast: Becks and Posh
US East Coast: The Amateur Gourmet
US (the rest): Kalyn's Kitchen
Canada: Cardamom Addict
Europe and UK:
Latin America: The Cooking Diva
Asia Pacific/Australia/New Zealand: Grab Your Fork

Here's what you should do...

1. Go to the donation page at

2. Make a donation, each $10 will give you one raffle ticket toward a prize of your choice. Please specify which prize or prizes you'd like in the 'Personal Message' section in the donation form when confirming your donation. Do tell us how many tickets per prize, and please use the prize code -for example, a donation of $50 can be 2 tickets for UW01 and 3 for UW07.

3. If your company matches your charity donation, please remember to check the box and fill in the information so we could claim the corporate match.

4. Please also check the box to allow us to see your email address so that we could contact you in case you win. Your email address will not be shared with anyone.

5. Check back on Chez Pim on January 15 when we announce the result of the raffle.

If you are able, PLEASE donate to the raffle... and tell all your friends to check out the prizes that are available so they can donate as well! Good luck!


December 10, 2006

roasted beets

I love roasted beets. Especially when they're in a good salad. Especially when that salad has creamy, decadent goat cheese and good drizzle of rich olive oil. Just keepin' it simple.

Yet aother one of those things that I hated as a kid. Go figure.

December 4, 2006

unintended fusion

One of my favorite one-dish meals is spaghetti e vongole... it's super easy to make, incredibly inexpensive, and absolutely delicious when you can get your hands on some fresh, sweet clams. I like this dish to have a soft-handed garlic flavor, with a relatively substantial spicy heat.

Tonight, we went with some impromptu modifications to the traditional recipie. Instead of chopped tomatoes, we did a fine dice of baby bell peppers, and rather than pecorino romano or parmesan, we topped the pasta with a light chiffonade of basil and lime zest for a lighter, zesty element. The basil and lime flavors were a natural pairing with the sweet clams, and to our surprise, they lended a fantastic southeast asian flavor profile to the dish... a sort of fusion-by-chance. The dish still matched nicely with the crisp (but substantial) Burgundian chardonnay we had on hand -- which we also used to steam the littleneck clams.

Lastly, one of our favorite things to do with pasta these days is to mix it with breadcrumbs toasted in olive oil... a little trick we've copied from a bucatini dish we loved at A16. The breadcrumbs are a fantastic way to make use of two-day-old baguette remnants, and the combination creates an awesome, lightly crunchy backdrop to the mouthfeel of al dente spaghetti. Small ribbons of prociutto round out the flavor of this dish... although it can be a bit saltier than bacon or pancetta (so adjust seasoning accordingly depending on the accent).

Technorati Tags: ,