It's been another hot one. I really don't feel doing a long post, so here's a round-up of things we've recently consumed....or made for other to consume.
Shio Koji is a staple in our household. The Missus especially enjoys those Smoked Shio Koji Wings, so I had to get this when I saw it Marukai. Made some karaage - recipe 1 from this post. Added just a tablespoon of the Shoyu Koji. Gotta be quick on this as the stuff burns rather quickly. The ginger tones and koji really balance out. Used 100% pure potato starch and baking powder for the coating. Flavor was mild, probably due to the 5 minutes marinade time since I was in a rush, but the Missus said the texture really great. Might try to do some kind of teriyaki with the koji.
Dinner has been kinda boring....because of the warm weather.....
Been enjoying it though.....
During my last trip up to the SGV, I stopped by Lien Hoa for roast duck since I wasn't going any further than Rowland Heights. Strange thing about this roast duck....I swear, the Missus enjoys the fried rice I make with the 'jus more than the duck.
While on the theme of strange....the Missus loves the way I make Katsudon......but here's the kicker....She likes it saturated or even cold! So after making this beautiful chicken katsu....from brining the chicken breasts to using premium panko....She'll sometimes not eat this until the next day!
I'm still feeding the folks that work with the Missus. Here's some smoked wings....I made two types of BBQ Sauce.....you gotta have some fun, right? I made a white BBQ sauce - Alabama style. The Missus said it freaked out some of the folks.
For some reason the folks that work with the Missus really enjoys my Kimchi Fried Rice.......
So there you go.....hope you're keeping cool. Meanwhile; I'll keep noodling around.
The problem being....having the Missus tell me what She wants in the morning, then going out and shopping and the prep. Not bad if you're making one dish; but what about three? In less than 40 minutes with prep.....
Added the sauce with some minced cilantro before service. The Missus said these were the best lamb chops I've ever made....
Served with some stir fried broccolini with an oyster sauce glaze.
Every week, I buy one of these.
Twice during the week, I mince, along with minced water chestnut, scallions, five spice, and some cilantro and the Missus has a nice salad topping; or something for lettuce cups.
The last two weeks have been interesting; the Missus started by asking for some simple stir fried tofu and veggies with black bean.
Which culminated in Her wanting my version of fish with black bean sauce......it's basically oil velveting, though without the egg whites in this case. The Missus really loves the seared tomatoes and sliced jalapenos.
I ended up making this three days in a row. I went and bought a pound and a half of fish from Catalina Offshore thinking I'd make this once, then we'd have two other meals....it didn't quite work out that way.
When I visited, Tommy told me to try a make something with a Box Crab. It was quite lively when I arrived home. I decided to just put it in the freezer for 20 minutes, then simply boil.
The Missus basically destroyed this in 10 minutes....though She did share the brains with Sammy....lucky dog! She did say that the flavor is really good, but you have to be prepared for the especially hard and thick shells.
Catalina Offshore Products 5202 Lovelock St. San Diego, CA 92110
I haven't done one of these in a while, so here goes.
It always amazes me that the Missus can eat the same dish over and over again for weeks on end. For Christmas; along with cooking for Her potlucks the Missus wanted my oxtail soup. So I obliged Her. She requested that I add some daikon this time around. Man, She ate it for 5 meals in three days! As much as I love oxtail soup my enthusiasm was really waning at the tail end. So I bought some Sun Noodles and made this for me.
And had for two of those meals.
Heat the bowl......add the greens....
In go the noodles......
Top with da' good stuffs.....
It seems the Missus just didn't get enough beans when, by request I made kind of Cassoulet. The weekend after New Year, She wanted Red Beans and Rice. I've adjusted my recipe a tad, perhaps one day I'll update....anyway, this was good for another 5 meals.
Currently, the Missus is a bit obsessed with a sauce I through together after grilling some lamb. Duck Fat, Avocado Oil, Harissa, Cumin, Cayenne, Ghost Pepper Salt, Salt, Pepper, Black Vinegar and most importantly Sichuan Peppercorn. It's that suan-tian-ku-la-Xian with a nice dose of "ma". So we've been eating a lot of lamb; in the form of merguez patties and lamb meatballs....that sort of thing.
That sauce goes great with lamb and I went through an entire tube of harissa having to make this four times.......
One of these days I'll post recipes for Balsamic Brussel Sprouts that I sometimes make four times a week for the Missus's lunches that I often alternate with Kelaguen and Finedene......
Remember I mentioned that the Missus requested a restock of the duck confit and a cassoulet for New Year? So, well that actually happened.
The request kind of threw me at first.....after all duck confit is a two day process for me. But as usual, in the end the Missus got what She wanted. Not a traditional "cassoulet" by any means as I portioned things out and heated them in the a gratin pan.....but that just meant more crunchy toppings. And on the second day, I added some collard greens to the whole thing (photo above), I also posted a photo to Flickr. Which leads to this post. I'd kinda gotten distracted making this dish and hadn't taken a whole lot of photos, so was just going to wait until I did this again. But "Hao" who comments every once in a while saw a photo of this on my Flickr page and asked if I'd do a post. So here you go....not quite, but kind of cassoulet.
A couple of items to note, I had just completed making a batch of my duck confit, so I had duck fat at hand as well as confit duck legs. Second, I've seen recipes that call for clove, but since I cure my duck legs with Chinese 5 spice, I figured that there's be that light hint of clove-cinnamon flavor in the background. On New Year's eve, I went out looking for beans. I'd seen Flageolet beans at Whole Foods, but when I got there it was no Bueno. So I ended up with organic Navy Beans, which worked out well. New Year's day saw me running around looking for the rest of the ingredients and I just improvised when needed. Everything was done in between getting called into work.....
So while this might just set you over the edge....remember, it's "kind of cassoulet". After all, I tend to think of cassoulet as being a rustic, peasant dish, something that uses preserved meats and beans. And no, I didn't use a Cassole either.
You might look at the steps and think this is difficult, but it's not....in spite of all the steps, which are just simple strategies and techniques to get the most of what I had, this wasn't too hard. There's a good amount of idle time as well.
Kind of Cassoulet
1 - 1 1/4 pounds Flageolet or Navy Beans
1/2 pound pork belly 1/4 pound pancetta 4 confit duck legs 1 pound pork sausage - preferably Garlic sausage, but what the heck, I used mild Italian Sausage. If you've got an inside line on Toulouse style garlic sausage in San Diego - let me know!
2 medium onions 1 whole bulb of garlic 4 cloves of garlic 6 sprigs fresh thyme 6 bay leaves 1 Tb whole peppercorn
4-5 Tb duck fat 1 quart stock (the good stuff, preferable made at home - veal or chicken) 2 cups white wine - I like something with a nice acidity 2-3 Tb Concentrated Tomato Paste
Salt and Pepper to taste
Part 1 The beans - Soak the bean overnight in enough water to cover by at least 3-4 inches - Drain the beans - While the beans are draining chop the pork belly into cubes - Brown the pork belly over medium-low heat to render fat. Browning will help the pork belly keep it's shape during cooking. After all, we all love biting into a nice piece of pork belly, right? - Drain half the rendered fat from the pork belly, then add 2 Tb duck fat - Add well drained beans and cover with water and combine. - Create a bouquet garni (so fancy shmancy) of 3 sprigs of thyme, 3 bays leaves, and peppercorns. Add to the pot with 4 garlic cloves - Simmer for about an hour or so until tender, but still slightly firm - remember, you're going to be cooking this again.
Part 2 Meanwhile, while the beans are simmering, the meat - Set oven at 325. - Dice the pancetta - Prick the pork sausage, this will allow the fat to render. - Chop the onions and the peeled cloves of the entire bulb of garlic. - In a large Dutch Oven, brown the whole sausage, then remove. - Add the remainder of the duck fat to the pot - Add the pancetta and brown. - Add tomato paste, onions, and garlic. Stir and let soften. - Meanwhile, slice browned sausage into slices - Once the onions and garlic are fragrant, add the sliced sausage back into the pot. - Add the two cups of white wine and bring to a simmer - Add the stock and bring to a simmer - Create another bouquet garni of 3 sprigs of thyme and 3 bays leaves and add to the pot - Give the whole mess a good stir, then add the duck confit. If you want the legs to stay whole....be gentle - Place in the oven and let braise for an hour or so, checking once or twice and giving a gentle stir
Part 3 Putting it together - Once beans are ready drain into a colander, reserving the bean liquid. Remove the bouquet garni. - Remove the braising meat pot from the oven and turn the temp up to 350 - Add beans and pork belly to the braised meats. - If more liquid is needed, top off with bean juice. - Give a gentle stir and return to oven for another 30 minutes. Remove the Dutch Oven, taste and adjust flavor with salt and pepper. - Return to oven until the beans reach the desired texture.
Part 4 So here's where I do something a bit different
2 slices uncured bacon cut into lardons 2 Tb duck fat 1 Tb finely minced garlic 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley 1 cup panko
-Add duck fat and bacon to a cold pan. - Over medium heat brown and render the fat from the bacon - When the bacon is almost browned, add garlic, then parsley - Add panko and stir letting the panko absorb all the oil
-Heat oven to 350 - Add the desired amount of cassoulet to a gratin pan - Place in the oven until the cassoulet is heated through and starting to bubble - Remove the pan from the oven and turn the temp up to 450 - Top the cassoulet with flavored panko and return to oven - Remove when the panko reaches a light brown color
The first day it was pretty much straight up. The second time I put it together and added come collards which the Missus enjoyed, so you might want to try that.
The Missus can eat this in one sitting! Amazing.....
Nijiya Market 3860 Convoy St Ste 109 San Diego, CA 92111
So I was over at Catalina Offshore a couple of weeks back.....giving Tommy a hard time as usual. Anyway......while waiting for my salmon, Tommy pointed at some rather fragile looking, almost translucent pieces of fish and told me, "this is louvar....get it....you won't be sorry....." It seems that Louvar is a prized, but very rare catch, youfind it doing a Google search on "Cadillac of Fish". The fish just seemed like it was going to fall apart, but Tommy assured me that it firms up well when cooking. I decided to do a simple straight up saute......let sit in ginger and Shaoxing, simple season, dust with potato starch, then into the cast iron. It browned up really well....it was super moist, mildly sweet in flavor, super tender, so moist....sorry.....it as just so moist.
I should have taken more photos, but there's only one.
I haven't done one of these in a while....so here goes. Stuff I've made recently.
I picked up some nice Bay Shrimp at Catalina Offshore as an impulse buy....without anything in mind. So I ended up making at smoked spicy mayo Louie salad with avocado....really nice with all the hot weather.
And paired it with a nice Edamame - Smoked Corn salad....
One of our favorite things lately is very simple.....a nice heirloom tomato and good quality mozzarella topped with 18 year old balsamic and Arbequina Olive Oil.
You really don't need anything else.....
Remember, the XO Sauce we got as a gift from the Missus's friend? Well, we recently got another batch....so I put the Big Kahuna to work and made some Shrimp Fried Rice....it was delici-yoso.....
Funny thing was....I forgot the bean sprouts. I didn't want to waste, so I made a stir fry dish using Serrano peppers from the yard, black vinegar, and Finadene (I'll get to that post soon).
For some reason, this really hit home with the Missus and was fairly close to comfort food to Her......so I've made this about 5-6 times since! Bean sprouts....sheesh....
Of course there are the old standby items.....
So Faye, this is what the stovetop smoked salmon is really supposed to look like.
Tommy told me he got really busy and kind of forgot about the salmon he was making......
And finally, some breakfast dish I don't even remember making....it must be recently since the picture is dated less than two weeks ago....must've have been tired and on auto-pilot.
Man, it wasn't the heat, but the humidity that was pretty bad for a while there, eh? I'm from Hawaii and it still drove me crazy. And I just saw that we're in for a bit more the next couple of days.
One of my favorite dishes during our recent trip to Spain was Salmorejo, a thick puree/soup made up of tomatoes and thickened by bread. It's the bread that makes this look almost like a thick carrot soup.
It is served cold, like gazpacho, but is much richer and thicker. It was one of my favorite items in Spain. It's usually topped with finely chopped Serrano ham and coarsely chopped boiled egg. I really didn't feel staying the kitchen and boiling some eggs so I went with some finely chopped prosciutto ends; which you can buy at Bristol Farms. They sell it cheap. It's hard and waxy, but does well as salad topping when chopped finely. I added some cucumber and red onion and a few small, thin slices of Serrano peppers from the yard.
Here's a photo of my favorite version from Madrid (I'll get to the post one of these days):
It was much more refined than what I made. I based this on a recipe from the late Penelope Casas' fine cookbook; 1,000 Spanish Recipes. It's an easy recipe. And a refreshing dish....of course, the more ripe the tomatoes, the better the flavor.
1 1/2 (approx) Cups Country Bread (I used a leftover baguette) crust removed, cubed
1 1/2 pounds very ripe Roma tomatoes, peeled and seeded
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup Arbequina extra virgin olive oil or something that you enjoy
1 tsp white wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Finely chopped Serrano Ham Hard Boiled Eggs Coarsely Chopped
1 - Soak the bread in water for about 3-4 minutes, then squeeze dry
2 - Place tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, and half the bread in a blender/food processor.
3 - Start the blender and add in the olive oil until smooth
4 - Slowly add in the rest of the bread until the desired texture is reached
5 - Season with salt and pepper to taste
6 - Refrigerate at least an hour - I've found that this does taste better the next day.
To serve, ladle into a shallow bowl, top with ham and eggs, add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
It took us 21 hours to get back to San Diego. The next morning it was time to restock. Among the stops was Nijiya. I was shocked to see truffles in the produce case. I probably shouldn't be surprised as over the years Nijiya has had seasonal items like fresh chanterelles.
So no, that's not a turd. It's not super fragrant, not like what we came across in France. It was 8 bucks for something that works grated on the microplane over eggs.
Which gave me the idea of doing a locomoco....but it couldn't be just any loco....
Sooooo.....long story short, ground wagyu from Bristol Farms, I have frozen veal stock in the freezer, dried porcini in the cabinet, shallots on the counter.
And all those basic skills everyone who cooks should have; how to cook an egg, how to make a burger, and how to make a simple pan sauce. Shave truffle on egg and...say no more.....
So it was time to "go loco, or go home"! Or maybe....go take a nap?
So here's the deal.....there are times when I think Tommy at Catalina Offshore will actually recommend something as a bit of a challenge. Something I haven't heard of....with some hint....in this case it was "the texture is like pork....but the flavor is mild".
I'd really never heard of Cobia....this version was wild caught.
What Tommy told me was "the texture is like pork....the flavor is mild...so go for it smart guy....."
So what I did was a nice seasoning with Kosher Salt, Spanish Paprika, granulated garlic, fresh ground pepper, and Turkish oregano.
The glaze was Balsamic Vinegar and Agave Syrup.
After seasoning, the fish was coated with potato starch(katakuriko) then pan fried.
At the end, you remove from heat and add the glaze.