I haven't done one of these posts in a while. To be totally honest, work has been crazy busy, so I've been making the same thing over and over for the Missus.
The weather has also been kind of wacky.......95 degree weather in the middle of November had us eating stuff like this.
Salads with pickled eggs; charcuterie and cheese plates.....tomatoes, radishes (though the Missus still can't figure out the deal with radishes and butter), and the like.
Sometimes with a nice glass or two of wine. Our visit to Burgundy really ramped up the Missus's love for wine and I really enjoyed the whites from that area. One in particular that makes an interesting story........more on that in a later post.
Then overnight we got rain and now it seems like fall. Which made the Missus want some Suan Cai Yang Rou. The cooler weather means it's time to start making Suan Cai.
At the end of my smoke session; smoking tri-tip for the Missus's Thanksgiving potluck, I looked through the fridge and found some tofu and cauliflower, which I love smoked. I'd recently purchased some La Rou and decided to do a simple stir fry with vegetables.
That smoked tofu tasted really good in this one. I'll be doing that again the next time I use the smoker.
We recently tried some roasted duck from a newer place....that too will be a future post. It wasn't very good; but for some reason, the drippings had some nice flavor. So it was duck fried rice time.
Funny thing, the Missus wanted all of this for lunch this past weekend. After I returned home from working half a day to catch up on things.
So the Missus got Her wish and I got all of this done pretty quickly, most of it is prep.
Other than that it's been pretty routine. Except for maybe this thing.
One evening I really didn't want to go out and eat....strange, I know. I picked up a chicken breast on the way home....even stranger because, other than for chicken katsu, I'm not a big fan of chicken breast. I could have gone for the easy out....Katsudon, which the Missus would have surely enjoyed, but I decided to just cook whatever. I made a balsamic reduction and did a simple, brined, then pan seared chicken breast with a balsamic sauce.
The thing that was fun was the other "stuff". Having broccoli and cauliflower on hand; I ended up ricing the veggies. I then rendered lardons of bacon using the fat to cook the riced vegetables, with some shallot, garlic, and scallions. Sort like funky fried rice.
It was delicious....though what do you expect......there's bacon in this, right?
I'd been waiting a while to post this little recipe. First off, it basically a rehash of my Red Cooked Pork Hock/Oxtail recipe. Secondly, it had been pretty darn hot for a while there. Since it finally feels like fall, the time seems right.
So yes, I did buy one of those Instant Pot 7 in 1 cookers. Mainly because our pressure cooker crapped out a couple of years back and I got tired of spending the entire day making Da Boyz food. I'd rather make the chicken-carrot-rice thing in a pressure cooker. What happened was interesting. I got the Instant Pot during Amazon Prime day for around $69. The Missus loves Her red cooked meats and one weekend requested that I make some short ribs. And so it came to pass....for 8 of the following 10 weekends I made this, only stoping when we left on our trip.
And while this is basically my red cooked stove top/braised meat recipe; there are some differences I made for using the Instant Pot. First off, I ended up reducing the water, because there's very little evaporation, so too much water waters things down. Second, the Missus loves mushroom in this; so why not add the strained mushroom soaking liquid as another layer of flavor. Third, because I wouldn't be there removing scum; after marinated the beef for about 15-20 minutes, I dusted it with cornstarch and browned. The Instant Pot has a saute setting which is great for softening vegetables, but it really doesn't do much for meat. Plus, the pot is quite small and I'd have to do more batches than if I did this on the stovetop. Fourth, the pressure in the Instant Pot is about 11 - 12 psi, versus a conventional pressure cooker, which, if I recall comes in at about 15psi. This means that cooking time takes a bit longer. Also, things are pretty easy with the Instant Pot, when finished you can do a quick release, check, and do another short session if you need to.
This may seem like a lot of steps but it really isn't and is rather quick. It's all about organization. Be careful not to overfill your instant pot!
I enjoy this over noodles; a pseudo niu rou mian for me.
Red Cooked Short Ribs Instant Pot Style:
3 1/2 - 4 pounds English Style Beef Short Ribs sliced to a 1 1/2 - 2" width 12-14 dried shiitake mushroom soaked in 1-1/2 cup warm water 2/3 Cup + 2 Tb Soy sauce 1/3 Cup Dark Soy Sauce 1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar 2/3 Cup + 2Tb + 1/4 Cup Shao Xing Wine 5 cloves garlic roughly chopped 1-2 1/2" knobs of ginger smashed 3 Star Anise broken in half 4 Scallions - white part only, roughly chopped 1 piece dried tangerine peel broken in half 1 2-3" cinnamon stick 1 Red Serrano Pepper sliced 1/2 tsp Ground White Pepper 1 Tb Granulated Garlic 1 Tsp Five Spice 1 Tb Ground Sichuan Peppercorn 2 - 3 Tb Corn Starch 1 Cup strained mushroom soaking liquid 2 - 2 1/2 Cups Water 2Tb Avocado or similar neutral flavored oil 1 - 2 Blocks Tofu 6 - 8 Boiled Eggs Steamed Bok Choy
- Soak the dried mushrooms in 1 1/2 cup warm water - In a pan rub the ribs with 2 Tb Soy Sauce, 2 Tb Shao Xing, Ground White Pepper, Sichuan Peppercorn, Granulated Garlic - let marinate - Prep and combine garlic, scallions, and Five Spice - Prep and combine ginger, star anise, tangerine peel, cinnamon stick, serrano pepper - In a bowl combine 2/3 cup soy sauce, 1/3 cup dark soy sauce, 1/2 cup dark brown sugar - Strain about 1 cup of the mushroom soaking liquid - Dust the short ribs with corn starch and start browning in oil on the stove top in batches. - Once the beef has completed browning deglaze with 1/4 cup Shao Xing wine. - Use the fat and liquid from the beef (do not add burnt bits) to the Instant Pot and set on saute - Add dry ingredients and saute until fragrant - Add the garlic-scallions to the pot and saute until fragrant and soft - Add 2/3 cup Shao Xing wine and bring to a boil - Layer the mushrooms on top of the spice and scallion mixture - Add the mushroom soaking liquid - Layer the beef ribs in even layers - Add the soy sauce mixture - Top off with water. First using only 2 cups, then more if necessary. Do not use more than 2 1/2 cups. Adjust and mix the beef if necessary - Cover and set to 45 minutes high pressure - Once complete do a quick release of pressure. At this point, use a wooden skewer or similar item to determine how tender the beef is. If more time is necessary set to high pressure for 10 more minutes - Once done, you may find that some of the bones have come out of the meat remove them. You can skim off excess fat if desired. This gives you more room to add the drained tofu and boiled eggs. - You can put on slow cook for up to 20-30 minutes before serving. Though it's actually better the next day.
The first dish that comes to mind when I think about Chamorro style dishes is Kelaguen, specifically Kelaguen Manok, the chicken version of the dish which is what you'll find in all the Chamorro/Guamanian restaurants in the greater San Diego area. After making the drive up to Guahan Grill a couple of times early last year with the Missus, She asked if I could just go ahead and try and make the stuff already.
So I did....after a couple of tries, I had it kind of dialed in. The Missus has a couple of coworkers who are from Guam and they make Kelaguen a lot....mostly using leftover rotisserie chicken and...ick, boiled chicken! After trying things a few different ways; I've settled on boneless, skin on chicken "legs", actually quarters, grilled over hard wood charcoal. Again, this is "kind of Kelaguen"...... I noticed that versions I've had here in San Diego lacked coconut. My solution was to use organic, non-sweetened coconut flakes and a tablespoon or so of coconut oil, which adds to the moisture, and provides for a nice fragrance. I use skin on chicken because it tends to preserve the moisture of the meat.
Even with all of this; I noticed that I could not get the lemon flavor dialed in; it just never came out the way I wanted. That's when one of the Missus's co-workers told Her that everybody "back home" uses "Yours Lemon Flavored Powder"! Which I wasn't able to find here, but you gotta love it; I actually found it on Amazon. I was a bit dubious about this stuff...looking at the label, "Ingredients: Citric Acid (Trehalose), Natural Lemon Flavor, L-Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Sodium Citrate. Made in Japan." Hmmm......
But in the end, this is what I needed to make the Kelaguen taste right.
At the same time, I was trying to put together the classic sauce/condiment for the kelaguen; Finadene (Fina'denne). After going thru a couple of iterations, I found that rather strangely, since I've said not to use said shoyu for sauces; Kikkoman actually worked the best for me. Along with Distilled White Vinegar and one other item to give it just a bit more umph; Spiced Sukang Maasim (cane vinegar). The slight spice and sour gave it a nice kick. As for the chilies....I've used everything from Chili de Arbol, Thai Chilies, Red Habaneros, Scorpion Peppers, to Ghost Peppers......it's all good! Actually the Missus is partial to white ghost peppers.
So now the Missus's Guamanian coworkers actually request that I make this; so I guess it's got their seal of approval.
The Missus really likes to saturate Her Kelaguen with Finadene. And I've actually used the Finadene in other dishes....even stir fried bean sprouts which come out like namul on jet fuel.
Kind of Kelaguen:
The Chicken 1 1/2 lbs of skin-on boneless chicken quarters salt black pepper granulated garlic one lemon sliced in half ghost pepper salt (optional)
- Season the meat side of the chicken with salts and black pepper - Season the skin side of the chicken with salts, black pepper, and granulated garlic - Grill over charcoal. Squeeze the juice of the lemon over the chicken while grilling - Once the chicken is cooked, remove to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
1 Tb coconut oil 1-2 Tb shredded coconut 2-3 stalks scallions sliced 1 Tb Yours Lemon Flavored Powder diluted into 2 Tb water salt, black pepper, and sliced chilies to taste
-Remove the chicken from the bowl reserving the juices; the objective is to conserve all the flavor you can. - Remove the skin from the chicken and consume later....it tastes really good fried up. - Chop or mince the chicken to your desired texture and add back to the bowl with the juices from the chicken - Add coconut oil, coconut, scallions, and chilies and mix - Add the lemon flavoring mixing well. - Season with Salt and Pepper to taste.
I'm going to give you what I started with when I decided on my final array of ingredients for the Finadene. Think of this as being a 1:1 ratio of soy sauce to vinegar. I think it's a good starting point. You can adjust to your taste from here. Actually, you might like to add some calamansi juice to replace some of the vinegar.
Fast Finadene: 1/2 cup of Kikkoman Soy Sauce 1/2 cup Distilled White Vinegar 2 Tb Spiced Sukang Maasim 2 stalks of scallions sliced 1 small sweet onion thinly sliced sliced chilies to taste
-Combine ingredients. Taste and adjust flavor as desired.
So what to do after pickled celery? Which the Missus loved so much....well, I had to actually go to the market and buy more celery....just to buy celery, something quite rare in our household. So now, the "hearts are for braising", the stalks are for pickling. Then the Missus said the magic words, "can you make some pickled eggs". It seems after all these years, it has come to fruition, I love pickled eggs, I mean, really enjoy them. The Missus, on the other hand hasn't been too keen on them. But now, I was all in. And this recipe turned out well. This time around, I went ahead and bought some pickling spice. The Missus really enjoyed the flavor that clove gave to the pickle....so I'll probably be revising my other pickle recipes soon. You can always add beet juice if you want those nicely colored pickled eggs.
The eggs were delish; and a dozen doesn't go very far in this household.
1 dozen boiled eggs 4 cups distilled white vinegar 2 Tb Kosher Salt 2 Tb Pickling Spice 1/3 Cup White Sugar 1 Tsp Mustard Seed 1 Small Vidalia Onion - quartered - but not cut all the way through (optional) 2 Chilies (optional - I used some Chili de Arbol from the yard) 2 cloves of garlic (optional)
- Wash and sterilize 2 ball jars - Combine Vinegar, salt, and sugar is a pot bring to a boil and then remove from heat. - When cooled add Pickling Spice and mustard seed - Place 1/2 of optional items into each jar - Add 6 eggs into each jar - Top off with pickling liquid and spices - Seal, cover, and refrigerate . Leave for 2 days before eating.
For some reason, it really went nicely with that nice tomato/mozzarella salad with basil.....some Maldon Sea Salt and a drizzle of Arbequina Olive Oil and it made for a nice light dinner on one of the recent hot days we've had.
Here's something you might not know about the Missus...She hates celery. Now, I can get away with using the leaves in a stir-fry; but for some reason She just doesn't care for the flavor of celery. She does however, really enjoy pickled items. So last weekend, the Missus wanted some white beans and ham hock....now I use the "Cajun Holy Trinity" as the mirepoix for that dish. So what to do with the leftover celery? The Missus had just asked me why I hadn't made my easy pickled onions in a while (because I've been busy at work and basically lazy on the weekends). So, I just used that base recipe, added some sugar, more salt, and some mustard seed. Also had half a Vidalia onion and of course some chilies from the garden. I did peel and do a quick blanch of the celery.
Well, turns out the Missus loves these....and I like them as a nice addition to a salad.
Slight spicy, with a touch of sweetness and salt, this is pretty darn good.
Easy Pickled Celery:
1 cup distilled white vinegar 1 cup water 2 tb sugar 2 tb Kosher salt 1 tsp black peppercorns 1/2 tsp mustard seed 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
peeled celery stalks cut to size 2-3 chili peppers (optional - I used some Chili de Arbol from the yard) 2 cloves of garlic 1/2 small Vidalia Onion - quartered - but not cut all the way through (optional)
- Wash and sterilize a ball jar - Combine vinegar, water, sugar, salt, red pepper, and peppercorns in a pot, bring to a boil and then remove from heat. - Add peeled celery to pot to lightly blanch - Place celery (and whatever else) in jar, add celery seeds, top off with pickling liquid - Seal, cover, and refrigerate . Leave for 2 days before eating.
Man, Cathy posted on Van Hoa last year. I hadn't been in the Vien Dong strip mall in a while, so I was surprised to see Van Hoa is now Banh Cuon Ha Long:
My good friend "YummyYummy" told me it's owned by the same folks as Song Huong....and honestly, I'm not a big fan of their Banh Cuon....so it might take me a while to check them out.
4016 54th Street San Diego, CA
Pho Duyen Mai:
I surprised to see Pho Nhu Y was gone when I drove by the other day. I kind of stopped going when they ceased to serve Bun Mam there. In it's place was this shop.
Again "YummyYummy" came through....apparently this place has ties to Pho Ban Mai, so I'll be checking them out soon.
5375 Kearny Villa Rd San Diego, CA 92123
Trinitea on Balboa:
Driving into the parking lot of Tropical Star, I noticed something a bit strange. They'd tried to open a kind of coffee shop a while back....I guess that didn't do too well. It's now the latest location of Trinitea.
It just seems weird to have the gigantic "Tropical" sign looming above the shop....which basically doesn't have a sign. I'm sure they'll fix that soon.
6167 Balboa Ave San Diego, CA 92111
What we've been eating to beat the heat:
We finally got some decent ripe Roma tomatoes recently, so we've been enjoying Salmorejo. Man, I'd forgotten how good this is.
It's been a strange couple of weeks; unseasonably humid, hot, not very comfortable. And what we've been eating at home was just as strange.
The Missus has been craving my Red Cooked type dishes...in this heat! I've made either red cooked short ribs or red cooked oxtail four times in the last four weeks. And each time we've gone through a dozen eggs to boot. Go figure!
I also noticed that some of the stuffs we've been having just reminds us of Spain.....
BTW, I really enjoy that Dry Sparkling Cucumber Soda.....
Other than that, it's been fairly normal around here......
"It will be nice that you'll have a couple of days off to rest." So said the Missus, before She gave me the list of items I needed to make for Her potluck. The Missus usually works on the Fourth of July and I'm kind of used to making something for the potlucks She organizes. But man; I've been beat. But I guess it's a compliment that nowadays folks request their favorite items. Still I think it's quite interesting, the stuff that I make that they enjoy; like my Red Beans and Rice or my Chili. Too hot right now for that; but I was shocked that they wanted more Kim Chi Fried Rice!
Great thing about living in San Diego, you can grill just about any month of the year. I've been told that there's been a dearth of cooking/recipe type posts over the last two years....I guess I've been kinda lax in posting these. Though I've posted on most of the dishes I make regularly over the last 10-11 years. Anyway, here's a wrinkle on the recipe I use for Teri Beef and my Local Kine Teriyaki Chicken.
When putting together these type of recipes, I think in terms of ratios.
Anyway, I've started buying a pound or so of sliced Berkshire pork shoulder from Nijiya on "Meat Day" along with a pound and a half of boned chicken legs. I then do a grill session and make Kelaguen with the chicken legs (I know, I know....recipe one of these days) and Teri-Pork with the sliced pork. I also grill whatever the heck I can find....even cabbage.
Yes....cabbage. Since I grill over hardwood charcoal, and even throw some soaked oak/hickory chips on the coals, everything tends to have a nice touch of smokiness. The Missus loves the pork and the tofu....and even the cabbage! I make little Bi Bim Bap type bowls for Her to take to work, topping the whole mess with a couple of fried eggs.
Anyway, back to the pork. While this is basically the same as my other "Local Kine Barbecue" recipes, there's a slight twist. I use sliced onions and gochujang.....I buy stuff made from soybeans.....don't buy the stuff that lists wheat as ingredient number 1. Another key point....this can get messy, removing the sliced onions before grilling and all. But you can use cheesecloth to bundle up the onions. I also found that pork can handle a bit more sweetness and that granulated garlic(good quality stuff) works better than minced/grated garlic with this recipe. Lastly, like grilling the teri beef, if you're not careful, stuff will fall between the grill grates. As I've mentioned many times before, I use Aloha, Yamasa, or Tamari for these type of recipes.
Teriyaki (Barbecue) Pork: 1 - 1 1/2 pounds thinly sliced pork (shoulder or loin - it should have a good fat content)
1 cup Aloha or Yamasa Soy Sauce 1/3 cup dark brown sugar 1/3 cup agave syrup 2/3 cup mirin 2 tb granulated garlic 1 tb ginger juice 1 tb Gochujang 1 tb Sake 1/2 medium onion sliced thin
Optional Stuffs: 1/4 c minced cilantro 1 tb good quality sesame oil Ground cayenne or sliced chilies to taste
- Combine marinade ingredients - Separate slices of pork and place in gallon ziploc bag - Pour marinade into the bag - Gently mix - Marinade 4-6 hours, no more than 10. - If grilling remove 1/2 cup of marinade and heat until boiling. Remove from heat. Use to baste meat. - Wipe off onions and cilantro if using. - Cook.......
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.