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
Bluegrass Soy Sauce and other stuffs at Catalina Offshore:
I don't get to Catalina Offshore quite as often during winter months, so I was surprised to find Bluegrass Soy Sauce on a recent visit. I know Catalina has been bolstering their retail sales floor; I regularly buy Salt Farm's Ghost Pepper Salt from there, but was really pleasantly surprised to find Bluegrass Soy Sauce. If you've never tried the stuff, check it out; deep flavors, a hint of sweet, perhaps a bit more salty....no don't use it in a marinade....try it on some tofu. From what I've read, Kentucky non-GMO soybeans are highly prized for miso and soy sauce makers in Japan.
There's now a bunch of other stuff as well.
It was great browsing around....even if Mr Grumpy....ummmm, Tommy wasn't around to entertain me on this day.
Catalina Offshore Products 5202 Lovelock St. San Diego, CA 92110
The Missus shops at Trader Joe's a lot. In fact, this might be the one place She'll go on Her own......everywhere else....I do the shopping. That is, so long it's a familiar TJ's. She has problems with unfamiliar set-ups and it drives Her nuts. It has to be the same Target, the Sprouts.....you know what I mean? Rite Aid in our neighborhood did some redesign. Five minutes after entering the place, She had to leave....couldn't find anything was the issue. The new PB location was a challenge at first, but She's gotten used to the set-up......I recently went along....if I go to TJ's it's usually on the weekend and I'm on a Mission. This time, while the Missus went and got Her stuffs, I had a chance to browse and I found this.
Good stuff! I've seen this local line of salumi at Siesel's and Venissimo, but here at TJ's it was $4.99. Makes for a nice addition during the last two days when the weather has been more April than January.
I know, it's usually Kirbie that gives us updates on this stuff.
My current favorite beer? Paris of the West by Almanac.
While much lighter than most Quads, which I think is rather misleading, I like the balance of stone fruit, sweet, mild hops, with a nice earthiness, this is so drinkable and balanced for my taste. Even the Missus likes it with blue and washed rind cheese.
Just to show you, I can be sucked in by "cute" labels.
And this was an interesting one for me.
Not quite sure what to think........it was indeed briney and the tart flavor combined with that was interesting to say the least. Wasn't quite sour enough for me. Still, it's great to have such an interesting beer.
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.
mmm-yoso!!! is a food blog. Three friends share the writing responsibilities here. Kirk, who is busy with work right now, Ed(from Yuma) who is busy with retirement right now and Cathy, who is blogging this post for you right now.
I've written a good portion of the posts on this blog about local Markets and Grocers, usually mentioning that most have in store restaurants...and then showing you some of the meals from those restaurants.
This Indian grocery store doesn't have a hot foods area.Located on Miramar road, just West of the 15 between Black Mountain Road and the North entrance to MCAS Miramar, the signage caught our eye.
The "Simply South" advertisement of 'fresh batter made here' is why we began shopping here regularly. This very clean, well stocked, quite large Indian grocery has been here since 2011. There's a good selection of fresh produce, yogurts, pre-packaged naan, a whole aisle of just coffees and teas and malt beverage drink mixes and an open refrigerator of various roti. Rice of all types (and brands) along the far wall, frozen foods(35 doors) along the entire back wall.Other brands of dough (in addition to the Simply South brand) for making fresh Dosa, Idli and Uttapam are also sold in the refrigerated area. Sweets and kitchen/household items are also sold here. There are also aisles of sauces, spices, mixes and snacks, none of which did I take photos...it's almost overwhelming for someone who doesn't know brands. I must say that everything I have purchased here has turned out to be very good...but I've spent a lot of time reading the labels for ingredients.Beverages (Indian beer in the refrigerator), syrups...pretty much a regular grocery store...with the most interesting area in front of the cash registers. Yes, I'm pretty certain the words "Kwality Ice Cream" on the storefront signage caught your eye in that second photo. The Founder of Kwality, a Food Technologist and Flavorist, pretty much began the company while studying at Rutgers University. The photo above, my first taste of 'pistachio nut' had such a complex blend of other flavors (saffron, cardamom and others) all complementing the nutty pistachio flavor.This Falooda Drink for $6 is probably the most wonderful and decadent flavor blend I've had in a very long time. Falooda noodles, watercress seeds, rose syrup, rose kulfi and malai kulfi. The flavor mix was refreshing and cooling and so very different.
The ice cream here makes shopping so much fun.
Cash & Carry 9252 Miramar Road San Diego 92126 (858)566-4819 Open Mon-Fri 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sat-Sun 9-9 Website
A few night back, I met my good friend Candice for dinner....she had been wanting to check out Iron Pig Alehouse in PB. It was a decent meal, hopefully I'll get around to doing a post, but in case you're wondering, Kirbie pretty much hit it on the head in her post, the wings were our favorite item. I brought some home for the Missus who thought they were good....however, She also said, "I think you can do better...." So guess what I did this afternoon? Anyway, I tried three versions of smoked wings, one with a simple seasoning, the other with my "chicken rub", and for the last....well, I decided to go outside the normal playbook a bit and used my Shio Koji Chicken marinade.
Guess which one won out?
It was a pretty simple and quick smoke in my WSM. I used a combo of cherry with a bit of pecan. When the wings were done, they looked quite similar, but the shio koji wings had a very pronounced savory fragrance, think miso-wine.
I decided to give the wings a quick deep-fry....for the shio koji wings, it was about 90 seconds....the sugars cause it to turn black fairly quickly. I'm going to try to figure out how to get these a bit more crisp without burning.....
In the meantime......
The Missus said this was maybe some of the best wings She's ever had. The shio koji adds that amazing savory flavor, a touch of salty-winey-miso like flavors, and also sealed in the juices. It's also got me motivated to start cooking new stuff........thinking a bit, trying different things again.
The best compliment....."I'd pay money to eat this....ummm, not from you of course, but I would....."
Shio Koji Marinade:
1/3 cup shio koji
1 Tb grated garlic
1 Tb ginger juice
3 Tb mirin
1 Tb hoisin
- Marinate 4-5 hours
- Remove from marinade and smoke at 250-275 for 1 1/2 - 2 hours
- Remove from smoker and deep fry in 350 degree oil for 1 1/2 minutes
Grab a couple of cold one's....this is great beer food!
It's been good getting back into the old routine here after our trip. That of course, would mean my weekly trip to Catalina Offshore.....and of course, running into Tommy Gomes. This time around, Tommy asked me if I'd ever cooked White King Salmon.....heck, wasn't that really expensive stuff; like what Alain Ducasse and Daniel Boulud are serving at pretty hefty prices? And I have a chance at it? A nice center cut piece to be exact.... Tommy, did you miss me??? I'd never cooked this product before and I asked Tommy what the difference was between this and regular wild king salmon. His response, "it's different, kind of hard to put a finger on it, the mouthfeel is definitely different, give it a try...." Which is precisely what I did.
I'm sure you're wondering what this looked like, right?
Ever see salmon that looked like this?
Yes, this is King Salmon, the same species as your run of the mill Onchorhynchus tshawytscha, also known as Chinook Salmon. What causes the lack of pigmentation? Apparently a genetic mutation that causes an inability to metabolize astaxanthin. According to the Alsakan Department of Fish and Game, "research has shown the white kings and the red-fleshed kings are identical in composition of lipids, moisture, protein and omega -3 fatty acids". Different sources state that this mutation occurs in anywhere from 1% to 5% of the population. White King Salmon used to be destined for canning or the smokehouse; but perhaps, like Patagonian Toothfish, aka Chilean Sea Bass a name change from White King Salmon to Ivory King Salmon brought about a larger demand?
Bottom line, does the taste and texture any different from regular wild King Salmon? Some say yes, but the described differences are all over the board and contradicting. Some say no.
So here's the drill; I first went with a simple pan saute, with a quick dill infused olive oil to finish and some stir-fried vegetables.
Wow, this was good, to us it was quite different from the usual King Salmon we get. It's not quite oilier, but somehow richer, reminding us of King Clip in the way it flaked. The flavor was quite a bit milder and the typical salmon flavor was a bit more faint, it also seemed to have a slightly sweeter finish. This was outstanding fish.......
So, the Missus decided that I should figure out a way to crust this, adding pepitos to the whole thing. Easy to say from where She sits when I gotta make this stuff! Anyway, toasted and coarsely ground the pumpkin seeds. Panned seared the simply seasoned salmon; added a smear of dill mustard as "glue" to hold the pepito crust, finish in a hot oven.........holy smokes......
This was my favorite preparation; it had it all, great texture (man that skin had gotten a texture like chicharron), the combination of nuttiness, dill, and mustard did really well, not interfering with the flavor of the salmon. In fact, it just seemed to add the correct instruments to the band.
Of course I had to come up with a different version for our next meal. The Missus wanted something really tender and steamed. I had to grill off some other items for Her, so I went with a version of en Papillote on the grill. My usual M.O. for this would be to add some wine for moisture and flavor....unfortunately, the current diet the Missus is on allows no alcohol of any kind, to drink or cook. So I went with a few slices of lemon on top, a healthy squeeze of lemon juice and a couple of tablespoons of Grieben Schmalz.
After 20 minutes, the Missus had Her favorite preparation. This was nice, everybody brought something to the party; the schmalz laced with caramelized onions added some nice sweetness along with the thin sliced zucchini, the tomatoes and lemon juice a nice contrasting acid, the onions a mild sweet pungency....the schmalz and juices from the fish had rendered over the vegetables.
Simpler is often better, as is the case when using salmon belly. I saved that cut to have with a nice salad, salt, pepper, and the Big Kahuna raging.
Melt in your mouth salmon belly.....a nice final dish.
So, if you skipped to the end here and want to know what we think; I'd say buy it if it's fresh.....if I don't get to it first!
I'd been reading about what an amazing flavor enhancer Shio Koji was for a couple of years. Apparently it really delivers that "sixth flavor". This fermented product made is from rice, inoculated with aspergillus oryzae, a "domesticated mold" used in the making of sake, miso, and other products, with salt added. The enzymes in shio koji; proteases,breaks down the proteins to amino acids, of which glutamate, has a major part of delivering the "umami", lipase breaks down fats, and amylase, which breaks down starches into simple sugar. There's apparently a lot going on here.....
So naturally, when I saw something marinated in Shio Koji on a menu, I couldn't help but order it, which turned out to be a terrible mistake. It left me disappointed and let's be frank, kind of pissed off.
How could something that has been raved about in Japan over the last couple of years be so....well....weak? So on one of our trips to Nijiya, I bought a bottle. The Missus thought I was nuts. This mildly grainy, gluey substance did what?
It does taste like salty, crude, rice wine.......the stuff you'd make in a jail cell......
I went in blind and decided to grill some chicken wings......
Here's the first recipe:
1 1/2 pounds chicken wings 1 cup Shio Koji 1 Tb Garlic Powder 1 tsp ginger juice togarashi
I marinated about 6 hours, then grilled.
One thing for sure......this thing will burn quickly if you're not careful. The wings were really tender, the skin actually got somewhat crispy, the flavor was good. A flavor like mild miso marinade, so complex, perhaps a tad too salty......I went overboard with the shio koji....but as salty as it seemed, we weren't bothered with any of the effects of too much sodium. It could have been sweeter, but man....we were hooked!
The Missus wanted me to do this again....the next day! This time I wanted a more well rounded flavor, without drowning out all the wonderful "umami" from shio koji....which is pretty hard to do. So here's the marinade for the same 1 1/2 pounds of chicken wings. Marinaded overnight.
1/3 cup shio koji 1 Tb grated garlic 1 Tb ginger juice 3 Tb mirin 1 Tb hoisin togarashi
This time, we decided to really push our luck and grill over bincho!
I should mentioned that I don't put togarashi in the marinade. I sprinkle it on right before grilling. Man, this stuff goes really fast and I had to be on top of it. In the end, there was some char....which by the way, is delici-yoso....
Other than having to really be on top of the grilling, this stuff is a total no-brainer......
After our first foray into wings, I went to look for other uses and told the Missus that folks are using shio koji for salad dressing, and you know what, the Missus really got into it.
It does make a really good dressing, with balsamic vinegar, sesame oil, and I don't know what else the Missus puts into the salad. I hate fruits in my salads; but man, the strawberries are really wonderful in this....even the chia seeds! Sorry to say, the Missus can't even tell me portions and such......otherwise I'd give you a recipe. But we had salads three days in a row......
Why isn't everyone using this?
I guess the next step for us is to make our own shio koji, right?
Whew, today we started our "spring cleaning" and I'm bushed. On days like this, the last thing I want to do is whole bunch of cooking....so I decided to make some Hamachi Kama(Yellowtail "collar"), the portion of the fish that surrounds the front fins near the fish of the face. It is also one of the most prized items in various sushi bars and Izakaya. In fact, many times it is not even on the menu, and reserved for "regulars", or only served on request.
There's lots of rich, juicy, meat around those bones.......and the crisp, salty skin, is delici-yoso!!!
I happened to have some Hamachi Kama I bought a week ago in the freezer, and have always heard that there's nothing to making them. So after thawing in the frig, I just made them!
I can't give you a recipe, because it's just Da' Kama and Alaea, the unprocessed seas salt that is mixed with red clay which enriches it with ferrous oxide. The Hawaiians used to reserve it for important feasts and ceremonies, and the salt was said to hold special medicinal properties. Alaea has a mellower salty taste, with a touch of sweetness.
After rinsing and drying the Kama, I seasoned generously with Alaea(no' scared, okay!), and used the toaster oven to first bake for about 8 minutes, than I toasted them for a few cycles.
The result was a surprise...it was very good, very moist, rich in oil, not overly fishy, and even the Missus thought it was good. And the Kama had only set me back about 3 bucks at Marukai! I had heard that there was nothing to it, and there was.........Too bad the only sake I had in the house was pretty lousy.
Well, not too thrilling, but the rest of the evening means some Ibuprofen, and rest...my aching back!
I'll be back tomorrow with a new restaurant! Kampai!