Monday, February 14, 2011

Ramen Quickies

This one took 15 minutes and it's almost a complete meal. As soon as I get home, I put a pot of water on the stove to boil. Then I put all my stuff down. Chop up some carrots and get those going on another small saucepan with some garlic, red pepper flakes and cumin seeds. Water boils. Add Shin Ramyun instant ramen. The good stuff. Toss carrots. When the ramen starts to pull apart easily, turn the heat down and crack an egg to "poach" for a few minutes. Finish carrots off. Finish ramen/egg off. Bowl. Add leftover acorn squash from the fridge. Food.

instant ramen with cumin carrots, poached egg and roasted acorn squash

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Fried Eggs on Pizza

[Just based on what food I've photographed and posted thus far, I think it's pretty evident that I'm in love with eggs- poached, fried, scrambled... yeah.]

My wonderful friend Anna hosted her own birthday party last night with "make your own pizza," as she's done for the past three years. She makes the dough and the sauce- the guests bring toppings. Also, "The keg has been ordered. If you want other beverages, please don't bring them. I need you to drink PBR." Pretty epic, haha.

Johanna getting praise for her most excellently rounded pie dough

I brought my tiny saucepan, lid and a dozen eggs! Two years ago when I did this, there was a rather tepid response, but something was in the air last night. Maybe I just had the technique down or eggs have been more prevalent in cuisine, but the other guests could not get enough of it. I didn't know most of them and they just kept coming up to me randomly in between my swigs of beer, "Those eggs..." Lol. Almost comical.

fried egg on pizza!

But yeah. You see this in a lot of pizza places abroad... France, Italy... the runny yolk goes really well with a subtly spicy tomato sauce. It drips and gets all over the place, but then you just take the crust and mop it all up. Yum.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Move Over, Rachel Ray

I am swamped with school work. I still want to cook, though, and it is how I unwind. Picked up some random stuff from the store on my way home and figured out the perfect thing to make: the noodle thing. I can never remember what my family calls it but it's like a ragu of chopped or ground pork with mushrooms, carrots, onions, dried tofu, garlic, etc... I don't remember exactly what's in it and that's exactly the point- I don't care!

a meal for well under ten bucks with plenty more for the week
This is what I picked up from the store, in total under ten bucks. I don't have dried shiitakes at home, so I figured that the fresh shiitake/crimini/oyster blend on sale would do fine. Ignore the ginger- didn't need that. Also, no dried tofu. Oh well.

Put a pot of water on the stove to boil for the pasta (what ought to have been Chinese egg noodles, sometimes called wonton noodles, kinda like the noodles you get in lo mein). Chop everything up. Start with the garlic and pork. Brown. Add everything else. Cook. Add some dry sherry, tamari soy, cracked pepper and a little sugar. Let simmer, covered, to caramelize a bit. DONE.

the noodle thing with slices of roasted acorn squash

I served it up with some slices of acorn squash I had roasted over the weekend and chopped cilantro. Flavors are great- soy/garlic/meat with a little sugar marries extremely well. Onions and carrots have a natural sweetness, so not much more sugar is needed there. Oh, and I chopped up a Thai chili that I found in the fridge and added that. Talk about awesome improvisation in under a half hour. I can't help but be smug right now.

And now, back to my thermo hw.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Chicken Bouillabaisse

On Friday, a bunch of us got together to attempt Ina Garten's recipe for Chicken Bouillabaisse. What a fucking pain in the butt. We were already off to a late start making the damn thing, but the recipe takes another 2h20min to make. It may have taken closer to 3 hours. By the time it was done, we were all full from snacking on bread, cheese, hummus, desserts...

And then there was the issue of making the rouille, which is essentially a mayo. I'm bad at this and without Rob to fix it, there wouldn't have been a rouille. Sigh. All in all, it did taste quite good. Especially with some crusty bread to sop up the sauces. And it's also good to know that Pernod is good for something in the kitchen.

Chicken Bouillabaisse

Tip: The recipe says to halve the potatoes, but it may be more appropriate to slice them in half inch slices to expedite the cooking time.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

RECIPE: Magic Sauce: Ginger Scallion Oil

My only memories of enjoying this sauce outside of my own making it is when my family in New York went to Chinatown or Flushing. We would go enjoy some dim sum and then shop in the markets for the week's provisions. Almost every shop sells their own house-made roast pork, fried pig, roasted duck, and soy sauce chicken (jiang you ji). It's an experience of smells with funky fish at one end of the store and savory meats at the other. We'd always bring home some roast pork and soy sauce chicken and it's the chicken that always came with ginger scallion oil.

Soy sauce chicken is a deceptively humble name for something that is reliably delicious and always available at the Chinese market (folks who don't like bones, stay away). A whole chicken is poached in a bath of soy, sugar(s) and spices to yield moist meat with a subtle, complex sweetness, fragrant with anise and peppercorns- it pairs divinely with the ginger scallion oil, which my friends in Atlanta and I have endearingly called "magic sauce."

ginger, scallions, salt: before being hit with hot oil

It is, in fact, an oil, so it's greasy, but don't let that stop you from enjoying this with fatty foods. When married, the brightness of the ingredients really shines and complements many meats. I don't think I've ever hosted a party or dinner where any of the sauce was left- and I make a lot. Some recipes will also include some combination of soy, mirin or vinegar, but this recipe more closely resonates with my childhood memories and I think its simplicity is key. Peanut oil is ideal, but expensive, so to be perfectly honest, I often default to canola oil just because it's cheap and in my pantry.

  • 2 tbsp finely grated ginger (ideally "microplaned")
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped scallions, both green and white parts
  • 1/2 cup peanut oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Combine the ginger, scallions and salt in a heat resistant bowl, like Pyrex. Place the bowl on a kitchen towel at least two times the footprint of the bowl. This will prevent hot splashing oil from damaging any tabletops.

In a small saucepan, heat the oil on high heat until the surface begins to shimmer or when a small sliver of scallion dropped in the oil begins to form bubbles. Be very, very careful at this point.  Using an oven mit (you want to protect your hands, wrists and forearms), pour the oil directly from the saucepan over the ingredients in the bowl. It will sizzle and splash! Exciting.

And delicious. Let it cool before serving.

Goes great with my Poached Chicken. Recipe [here].

FAIL: No Chinese New Year Plans

Here's a first. I have no Chinese New Year plans. It's this Thursday! I usually fly home to New York or Zhen and I would host a party. No such luck this year and I'm ridiculously busy with school. Maybe I'll crimp up a bunch of these babies for a pot luck this weekend. Something must be done.

my perfectly crimped pork and chive dumplings. totally modest.