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?
It'll take longer to read this post than to actually make this. But first, a word from our legal department:
Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness.
Now that we got that out of the way....yes, I use raw eggs...well, egg actually, for this.
I also use an immersion blender and a Ball Jar.
The eggs are either pasteurized or the best we can find - pasture raised and all that. I also use whole eggs, which makes this much lighter than just egg yolks. As for the science; if you love that kind of stuff, get Harold McGee's classic - On Food and Cooking.
I've read where having all ingredients at room temperature, but I've done this with cold eggs and mustard and the results has been fine.
If you've been reading my posts on Portland, you should know that it would only be a matter of time before I made this. The Missus loved the Radicchio Salad at Tasty N Alder so much, we went twice. The Missus wanted to go on our last morning as well, but they opened a bit too late so we ended up somewhere else. I knew that Chef John Gorham, has a cookbook out named after his Spanish inspired restaurant; Toro Bravo. Taking a quick look at the Amazon page for the book; I quickly saw "Radicchio Salad" in the index....so guess what? I bought the book. The recipe for the salad at Toro Bravo is different from what is served at Tasty N Alder. The book version is dressed with a vinaigrette....though I like the idea of macerating onion in the vinegar for added punch. I'll surely use that idea later on. It also uses a tapenade and is served with baguette. The version at TNA is dressed with mayo with slices of bacon; they call it lardons, but it's a pretty wide slice of bacon. All was not lost however, as there were two take-aways from the recipe in the book; using a microplane to grate the manchego cheese, which makes it light as air and which allows the cheese to incorporate itself into the dressing adding another layer of flavor. The second, soaking the radicchio in ice water to remove some of the bitterness. This was key. The Missus had never taken to radicchio because of its bitterness. In addition, I decided to make my own mayonnaise, a light, whole egg version.....which I call my "three minute mayo".....like it says, it takes about three minutes to make and is very light and creamy. I also mixed in 3 tablespoons of rendered bacon fat for that extra kick. I'm thinking you can add some anchovy, or some extra acid component if desired. The Missus enjoys this version.
So here's what I made......four times in ten days!
This is what we had twice at Tasty N Alder.
Radicchio Salad (Inspired by Tasy N Alder):
3 slices thick cut bacon
1/4 Cup Mayonnaise (I make my own very light version with whole eggs)
3-4 Tb Rendered Bacon Fat
1 tsp Agave Syrup Salt and Pepper to Taste
1 Radicchio (about 3/4 pound)
1 cup Manchego Cheese grated with a microplane
2 boiled eggs crumbled (optional)
- Cut radicchio into four and remove core portion. Cut into 1 inch pieces. Separate leaves and soak in ice water for 30 minutes
- Slice bacon into 1/2" wide slices. Cook slowly to render off bacon fat and let bacon crisp. Let bacon fat cool but not harden
- Combine mayonnaise, bacon fat, agave syrup. Taste and add salt a pepper as necessary. Chill.
- Drain radicchio and spin dry in a salad spinner. It's important to get the radicchio faily dry. This will let the dressing coat it evenly.
I recently mentioned being able to take time for a proper lunch on weekends again. Some of this means doing "component cooking", which is creating parts of dishes that can be put together in different combinations.......stuff that I used to do in a previous life a zillion years ago. Anyway, this is based on another recipe, used to create a sauce that keeps for a week or so and can be used in different ways. The one thing I've learned is to start this in a cold pan, versus dumping all the stuff with butter into a hotel pan over a couple of burners, which is what used to take place way back then. Maitake....or Hen of the woods mushrooms and shimeji mushrooms keep their shape and earthy flavor throughout the process, so this is a good sauce for composing dishes....like say....a Pan seared monchong, smoked potato-brussel sprout saute, maitake - porcini sauce, kinda thing....
Like I learned in my "hannabudda days" of cooking....it's all about prep, though I didn't realize it at the time.
Maitake - Porcini Sauce:
1 head of Maitake (Hen of the Woods) Mushroom, cleaned, trimmed, and separated 1 head of Shimeji Mushroom, cleaned, trimmed, and separated 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushroom 2 cups warm water 2-3 tb Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2 tb minced shallot 1 tb grated garlic 1 tsp dried oregano 1/2 tsp dried thyme salt(truffle salt?) and pepper to taste 3 tb Creme Fraiche
- Steep porcini in the warm water for 20 minutes - Place maitake and shimeji mushrooms into a cold pan - Turn heat to medium high - Allow the mushrooms to carmelize for 3-4 minutes mixing occasionally - Remove porcini mushrooms from soaking liquid - Strain porcini liquid - Add Olive Oil and shallots to pan - As mushrooms soften, add porcini, garlic, oregano, thyme - Once fragrant, add 1 1/2 cup of the porcini soaking liquid - Lower the heat and reduce by at least one-third - Taste and add salt and pepper - Remove from heat and thicken with creme fraiche
No, I'm not calling it "dat kine" Barbecue, because a certain company has trademarked that name. But, much like my Teri Beef recipe, most folks back home have their own version of this.
Over the years, I've come up with a certain formula for this; one-third cup sugar, one-third cup sweet alcohol, one-third cup of a syrup type liquid to one cup of Aloha Shoyu. Oh yes, there's one-third cup of water....grated garlic and ginger juice. The water prevents the product from getting too salty....I've left chicken to marinate in this for up to 36 hours.
Each of the "sweetening" component will add its own little imprint on the dish. Currently, I'm enjoying things a bit sweeter, going with Dark Brown Sugar, Mirin, and Agave Syrup. There's even more you can do with this "base" - like adding guava jelly (perhaps a future post), fish sauce (delici-yoso).....
You get the picture, right?
Local Kine Teriyaki (Barbecue) Chicken:
1 1/2 - 2 1/2 pounds chicken. I prefer boneless legs/thighs. Note that you can double-triple, the amount of sauce. I've done as much as 12 pounds of boneless skinless thighs with four times the marinade. Think in terms of volume rather than weight. You want to make everything is covered by the marinade.
1 Cup Aloha Shoyu
1/3 Cup Sugar - Dark Brown/Light Brown/Turbinado/Palm/White
1/3 Cup Mirin/Vermouth/Dry Sherry/Bourbon
1/3 Cup Agave Syrup/Honey/Mulyeot (Korean Malt/Corn Syrup)/Maple Syrup
1/3 Cup Water
1-2 Tb Grated Garlic 1Tb Ginger Juice
Other Stuffs: 1 Tb Good Quality Sesame Oil, 1-2 Tb Sake ,1/4 Cup Fish Sauce, Scallions
- Combine All ingredients except the water and chicken
- Remove 1/3 cup of the combined sauce
- Add water - Add chicken
- Marinate 6-12 hours
- Grill or saute
- Use the 1/3 cup removed earlier to baste/drizzle on/or to put on rice.
Over the last....well, almost ten years now, I've posted quite a few recipes. You'll notice that the number has gone down over the years, because, well, I've pretty much posted on "almost" everything I made as a kid and young adult, and after maybe 150+ recipes where do you go? You'll notice as the recipes diminished, the plain "cooking posts" have increased.
Anyway, there are about 15 or so recipes that get a bunch of traffic; many of them are "local kine" recipes, standards back home in Hawaii. Around this time of the year, I start getting a few hits for my Nishime recipe from back in 2006. Sheesh, do you even remember what you were doing in January of 2006? Nishime is somewhat of a pain to make.......but it's a labor of love I guess and it's a favorite during the holiday season back home....at least it used to be. Not sure about nowadays.
There aren't that many changes. I've just incorporated steps that just seem to make sense to ramp up the flavor. Mom really never went as far.....she probably was as tired of making this every year as I get. The one step missing is the one to make kombu maki. I just tie the kanpyo into strips along with the konbu nowadays....who knows, maybe after reading this, the Missus will request the return of the konbu maki. Also, note that we now will sometimes use chicken thighs, instead of just pork. But we have added pork/chicken bones to the recipe.
Anyway, version 2014 looks pretty much the same.
The flavor has been bumped up a bit. And yes, I still don't buy the frozen premade araimo/satoimo, gobo, or konbu maki. All have preservatives which change the flavor.
Nishime - version 2014:
1 pound sliced lean pork, boneless, skinless, chicken thighs, or a combination of both 1-2 pounds pork bones or a chicken carcass quatered with boiling water poured over to descum 2-3Tb canola/grapeseed/avocado oil 4 cups water 2 - 36" Strips Nishime(not Dashi) Kombu(Kelp) 1 Strip Kanpyo (Dried Gourd) 2 Packages Shirataki 2 Cups Daikon cut into wedges 1 Cup Carrots cut using a rolling cut 2 Cans Takenoko Tips(Bamboo Shoot Tips) 2 Stalks Gobo (Burdock Root) 12-15 Satoimo/Araimo/Dasheen(Japanese Taro) 6 dried Shiitake mushroom 1/2 Cup Soy Sauce 1/4 Cup Sugar 1/4 Cup Mirin 1 Cup of reserved, strained mushroom liquid 1 Cup of kombu soaking liquid 2 Tb Sake 1/2 Tsp salt 2 Cloves Garlic Minced
- Place one large pot and one medium pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil.
- Soak dried mushroom in warm water for 30 minutes
- Soak Kombu and Kanpyo in water for 20 minutes.
- Cut Gobo in half; and scrape "skin/bark" off of root using a spoon. Immediately place in water to prevent discoloration.
- Place whole Araimo in large pot of boiling water and blanch. (Blanching makes the taro much easier to peel)
- If the smell or slight bitterness of Bamboo Shoots bothers you, pour half the boiling water from the medium pot over Bamboo Shoots, drain, cut into slices lengthwise.
- Open the packages of Shirataki (yam noodles) and place in a colander. Pour the rest boiling water over Shirataki to remove the "smell".
- Rinse Kombu and Kanpyo, and strip lengthwise if wider than 3 inches. Tie into knots at 2 inch intervals. Reserve 1 cup of Kombu soaking liquid
- Cut Gobo into 1/2" matchstick lengths. Parboil in water for several minutes (I use a microwave for 3 minutes on high), reserve ½ cup of liquid.
- Remove the Araimo from boiling water, rinse, peel (Be careful if cutting the taro, it is very starchy and slippery), and place in water to avoid discoloration.
- Cut Daikon into "wedges", cut Carrots using a "rolling cut".
- Mince garlic.
- In a large pot or Dutch Oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and pork/chicken/bones and lightly brown
- Add water, all the vegetables(except Shiitakes), sugar, sake, and mirin. Bring to a low simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
- Remove mushrooms from soaking liquid and slice in half. Reserve 1 cup of soaking liquid. Add to the pot.
- Strain mushroom and kombu liquid.
- Add soy sauce, taste and add salt as desired.
- After 15 minutes, taste, and add mushroom and gobo liquid as desired.
- Simmer until daikon is translucent, but not falling apart.
- As with most stews, this tastes better the next day.
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 quite strange....or maybe not. Since our return from Japan, the Missus has been wanting me to make Japanese food. Some things, like Nishime are a pain. The Missus has requested Sukiyaki the last two weekends.......not super hard; a bit of prep. I was taught to make it a certain way and I still stick my guns...if you get Sukiyaki for less than $15-25 pp, it's not going to be very good.
Anyway, I really wasn't going to do this post, but Frankie needed some emergency dental surgery, so I've been kind of preoccupied this weekend. So how about something short and sweet like this? It's still the same as what I posted on in 2006....some things just don't need to be changed.
It's about understanding all the facets, the prep, how flavors work, and timing. I always make the sauce; the Warishita, the night before.
1/2 Cup Soy Sauce 3/4 Cup Mirin 1/2 Cup Sugar 1/4 Cup Water 1/4 Sake 1/4 tsp Dashi No Moto(optional) 1 clove garlic smashed (optional)
Combine Warishita ingredients(except for dashi no moto) and bring to a boil while stirring, turn down heat and simmer for 3-5 minutes to burn off alcohol. Remove from heat and add dashi no moto, if desired. Remove from heat and cool. Let the sauce "rest" at least 20 minutes, or over night.
Nowadays, I always make a double recipe. The Missus will occasionally ask me to change the recipe and I do....knowing perfectly well She'll say to change it back the next time. The warishita may seem sweet, but the flavors of the meat and other ingredients will buffer that. The flavor of the tofu is not the same without that much mirin.
1 lb Thin cut rib eye or sirloin 2 Medium Round Onions sliced 2 Packages Shirataki(Yam Noodles), open packages and place in a colander. Pour boiling water over Shirataki to remove the "smell". 1 Block Tofu drained well - I wrap a paper towel around the block of tofu to drain then place a plate on it for a few minutes, and cut into 1 inch cubes 1 Can Bamboo Shoots - If the smell bothers you, pour boiling water over Bamboo Shoots, drain, then cut into slices lengthwise. 8-10 Fresh Shiitake Mushrooms 1 Bunch Enoki Mushrooms (optional) 2 Bunches Watercress, or 1 bunch Shingiku (Edible Garland Chrysanthemum) 1 Bunch Green Onions(green parts only), cut into 1 inch lengths 4-6 Eggs or quail eggs
1. Lightly oil the bottom of a Tetsunabe (Iron Pot),do not use a donabe(earthenware pot). You can also use a large heavy bottom skillet. Place on a tabletop stove.
2. Arrange items in a single layer on the bottom of the skillet.
3. Heat skillet over medium heat. Pour half of the Warishita over ingredients covering the meat.
4. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 3-5 minutes.
5. Add ingredients and sauce as they are depleted.
6. If you desire, pick out ingredients and dip them in lightly beaten egg right before eating.
Quail eggs seem to work well for us nowadays.....
Oh and we even tried out that Wagyu from Japan in addition to our wagyu sirloin. We have a marble slate that we often use to keep meat cold for grilling and such.
We just dipped this into the warishita as it boiled....not too long or it'll disintergrate.
And as before, I take inspiration in one of the few items I still have from my Mother. This little booklet was published before I was born and has such charming little sections as how to properly wrap your obi, 'The Japanese Smile", flower arranging, the furoshiki, New Years customs....quite a bit for a tiny 69 page booklet. It was written by "Fumiko"....just one name.
As for when it was published....I'd say before 1959....
Definitely before I was born....... The recipes are dated, which means it was based on what was available in Hawaii at that time....mirin for instance, was very hard to get. Anyway, just flipping the pages gives me inspiration....it's part of my roots, my heritage.
As for Sukiyaki, it's all in the prep and presentation....I've made it for 2 and a few years back for 30, it's all the same. If you haven't made this, I hope you give it a try...
In retrospect, I shoulda thought of this when I made Gobo Salad back in 2008. We bought a bag of the stuff in one of the market in Kuromon Market in Kyoto. I really loved it and just ate it plain, though I think it was intended as a garnish for salads and other dishes.
The Missus requested that I make this when I got back....and She loved it so much that I've made it four times so far. Nothing fancy here........
All you need is a single, firm stalk of gobo.....the best way to peel it is to use a spoon to peel. I usually worry about how quickly gobo discolors, but don't worry in this case as since you'll be deep frying, you won't have to worry about that.
Once the gobo is peeled....I usually do a half at a time. It's much more easy to manage.
Anyway, you can give it a quick rinse, pat off excess moisture and fry in 370 degree oil.....the Missus oil du jour is Avocado Oil.......you need about two cups.
I fry in batches, it takes about 2 1/2/ - 3 1/2 minutes, depending on how crisp you like your chips.
I remove from heat, then lightly salt with Himalayan Salt....but I'm sure good number of flavor combinations will work.
The frying really brings out the mild sweetness in the gobo, it's good fiber, you can control how crunchy you want the gobo.......... Plus, I'm sure you can find a number of ways to use these.