Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Scallion Eggs + Sweet Cumin Carrots

Two eggs beat individually with some chopped scallions. Low heat in small pan to create two omelette discs. Hand cut carrots into small matchsticks. Pan on med-high heat. Toast cumin seeds and red pepper flakes. Add carrots and minced garlic. Cook until soft and flexible. Season with salt and brown sugar. Done when sugar is caramelized.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Marrying Leftovers After a Wedding

I was so occupied with the process of getting food out that I didn't get any photos! Sad face.

Overall, the wedding cocktail hour was a success. It was a huge adrenaline rush and things didn't go exactly as I would have liked, but I think it was important that we were able to adapt and respond quickly to the unexpected. Not bad for my first catering gig. I wouldn't have been able to do it without the help of Jess and Kenzie. People loved the fresh salsa verde on the pork al pastor tacos, as I expected. Unexpectedly, I got a lot of positive feedback about the veggie version of the brat bites, where I subbed in some carrots intensely flavored with cumin and garlic.

I also had the opportunity to help with setting up a very cool light installation in the top of the tent. Tree branches, Christmas lights, paper lanterns and lots of cable wire. A huge testament to the creativity of Erin and Michael and their dedication towards making a reality of their vision. You can see more of their work here at hi note.

So that's that. They sent me back to Atlanta with boxes of leftover beer, wine, and more food from the dinner. Which was amazing. The reception caterer knew where it was at. And that brings me to somehow finding a way to use leftovers.

Cabernet Sauvignon + Salsa Verde + Aromatics + Beef Back Ribs = Tasty Tacos

I got the ribs from the store. They're cheap and are great slow cooked, so after a quick sear, a saute, a deglaze and a low simmer, I was able to set it and forget it. They turned out ridiculously tender and packed with flavor. The acidity of the wine and the tomatillos broke down into a nicely sweet sauce with just the right amount of tartness to balance with the fattiness of the meat. Memorial Day weekend, anyone?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mexican Breakfast

Maybe the title is a little presumptuous. At any rate, the wedding is this weekend and I'm in the final stages of testing the tacos. Lots more prep to do in the coming days.

Here's what I had for breakfast this morning using some of the food I've been making: pork al pastor over fried eggs with salsa verde, sweet onion and cilantro. Half an avocado sprinkled with some salt for good measure.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Bastardized Hainan Chicken (Salad)

A Hainan chicken meal is usually a lot of rice, a lot of chicken, and maybe a little cucumber. And cilantro. I've been trying to shake things up at home a bit, so I turned this into a salad, even adding some rice vinegar to the ginger scallion oil (gasp!).

No bones, no rice. I would've added cucumber and cilantro if I had any on hand, but I didn't. And I'm okay with that because it was still delicious.

  • 4 chicken thighs, trimmed of fat
  • 1 knob ginger, crushed
  • 1 bunch scallions, cut into 2" pieces
  • salt

In a medium pot, fill halfway with water, add the ginger, scallions and salt. Bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, fill another medium pot halfway with water, bring to a boil and add the chicken. Boil for 1 minute and allow the frothy stuff to float to the top. Discard the frothy water, rinse the chicken, and then transfer to the first pot with the rest of the ingredients. Add fresh water so that there's at least 2 inches covering the chicken.

When it returns to a boil, cover the pot, turn off the heat and let the chicken poach undisturbed for 15 minutes. If the chicken isn't yet done, repeat this step.

Remove the chicken and allow it to cool and then pull it apart into strips. The basic stock can be strained and saved for another use.

And now for the ginger scallion sauce.

  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped scallions
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar

Combine the ginger, scallions and salt in a heat proof bowl. Heat the oil in a saucepan until a single piece of chopped scallion dropped in the oil sizzles and bubbles violently. Carefully pour the oil over the ginger scallion mixture and stir. Add the vinegar and stir again.

At this point, the ginger scallion sauce is more of a dressing than merely an oil. I tossed the chicken in it and then plopped a bunch of that over some fresh green lettuce. I'm still getting through the sweet pickled chiles I made months ago, so I added a few of those as well.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Ripening Avocados at Home

I've been snatching up avocados whenever I see them for a good deal, even if they aren't quite ripe, yet. The trick is to also buy bananas or any other climacteric fruit and then store them in the same container to accelerate the ripening process. A brown paper bag works.

These avocados were a little on the firm side when I bought them yesterday evening and after a night with the bananas they ripened up really well. So much so that the remaining avocados are now quarantined in the fridge so they don't die on me by tomorrow.

By the way, this combination above- fresh avocado and fried egg on buttered toast sprinkled with salt and pepper... it's a divine breakfast that can be made in about five minutes.