el Bulli, food trends, molecular gastronomy, Restaurant reboot

El Bulli Takes a Nap

Ferran Adrià, of the much acclaimed and lauded, El Bulli, announced he will be shutting down the restaurant from 2012-2013, according to the New York Times:

“With a format like the current one it is impossible to keep creating,” Mr. Adrià, 47, told reporters at the gastronomic fair Madrid Fusion. “In 2014, we will serve food somehow. I don’t know if it will be for one guest or 1,000.”

Does this signal an end to “Molecular Gastronomy”—though, I felt it’s popularity was waning over the past two year–or is he just pushing the restart button?

Either way, it gives me exactly four years to save up and get a passport.

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daring cook challenge, satay, thai

Satay

Showing up a week late to the Daring Kitchen’s monthly ‘Daring Cooks Challenge’ I decided to follow through on this months challenge: Satay.
This is a dish I order as often as I can when we go out to eat. Sure, it’s fun to eat things that come on sticks, but it’s really the peanut sauce, served on the side for dipping, that tends to draw me in.
Because I fell outside the time frame, therefore not contributing, I made modifications to the recipe that was given, which follows:

Satay Marinade (longer version)

Ingredients:

1/2 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 T ginger root, chopped (optional) (2 cm cubed)
2 T lemon juice (1 oz or 30 mls)
1 T soy sauce (0.5 oz or 15 mls)
1 tsp ground coriander (5 mls)
1 tsp ground cumin (5 mls)
1/2 tsp ground turmeric (2-2.5 mls)
2 T vegetable oil (or peanut or olive oil) (30 mls)
1 lb Chicken (16 oz or 450g)

1. Mix well.
2. Cut pork into 1 inch thick strips (2-2.5 cm thick), any length.
3. Cover pork with marinade. You can place the pork into a bowl, cover/seal and chill, or place the whole lot of it into a ziplock bag, seal and chill.

Cooking Directions (continued):

1. If using wooden or bamboo skewers, soak your skewers in warm water for at least 20 minutes before preparing skewers.
2. Gently and slowly slide meat strips onto skewers. Discard leftover marinade.*


3. Broil or grill at 290°C/550° F (or pan fry on medium-high) for 8-10 minutes or until the edges just start to char. Flip and cook another 8-10 minutes.

**I added 1cp greek yogurt and doubled the amounts above. I also, to make it more Thai, added 2TBS Fish Sauce.

I marinated the chicken for 8 hours

and now for my favorite:

Peanut Sauce

Ingredients:

3/4 cup coconut milk (6 oz or 180 mls)
4 Tbsp peanut butter (2 oz or 60 mls)
1 Tbsp lemon juice (0.5 oz or 15 mls)
1 Tbsp soy sauce (0.5 oz or 15 mls)
1 tsp brown sugar (5 mls)
1/2 tsp ground cumin (2.5 mls)
1/2 tsp ground coriander (2.5 mls)
1-2 dried red chilies, chopped (keep the seeds for heat)

Directions:

1. Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl. Add soy sauce and lemon, mix well.
2. Over low heat, combine coconut milk, peanut butter and your soy-lemon-seasoning mix. Mix well, stir often.
3. All you’re doing is melting the peanut butter, so make your peanut sauce after you’ve made everything else in your meal, or make ahead of time and reheat.


The recipe came out as well as any I’ve ordered in restaurants. After making many peanut sauces, I realize now that they were missing the acid of the lemon juice to cut through the weight of the peanut butter. The chicken was phenomenal, slightly tart and spicy with a good bit of char. Definitely a recipe to be made again.

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fried oysters, lunch, pickles, Po Boys

Po Boys and Pickles


I met up with Kate this afternoon for a bite to eat at one of Portland’s newest eateries, Po’ Boys and Pickles. To say that I got giddy when I first read this place was opening is a severe understatement.

As you may have gathered from a few recent posts I fell hard for New Orleans when I was there over a year ago. And for all of the food that we had, there was only one Po Boy eaten and, truthfully, it was part of a very disappointing meal. Originally, the Mrs. and I had reservations at Stella!, for what was going to be a late anniversary celebration. But, as our luck would have it, she came down with a sinus infection on the way to NOLA and the airline lost–and thankfully found–our luggage. Because we had arrived in shorts and t-shirts, and didn’t have the money to buy new clothes, we were greatly outside of the dress code. So, with a miserable girlfriend at my side, we wandered around Bourbon Street for dinner and found our way into Desire Oyster Bar.

The food was horrible, especially the Turtle Soup that was so salty it was rendered inedible. My Po’ Boy was picked apart and left mostly uneaten, the breading bland and the sandwich came sans dressing making it a gummy mess. This could have been taken care of if our waiter ever reappeared after dropping the food off, but he didn’t, until he brought the check an hour later, and his non-existant tip reflected that. Everything we ate in NOLA was amazing, except this meal and I left feeling that, while we had eaten like kings, I had missed having a bit of true New Orleans food.


But, getting back to the here and now and the Po’ boy at hand. From the first bite of the Oyster Po’ Boy($6.95 for the regular or ‘shortie,’ as it’s called in Louisiana) I knew this is what I had missed out on. Packed with fat, spicy fried oysters, dressed with roasted red pepper mayo, lettuce and tomato, this was a perfect sandwich. I don’t believe it was served on the traditional Leidenheimer bread, instead this seemed more like Italian, but it didn’t matter. I inquired later, as I ordered another for myself and a shrimp for my gf at home, as to why the mayo instead of a remoulade and was told that the owner preferred this dressing and, as I reflect on it, I think the remoulade would have drowned out the oysters.


I also ordered my Prailine Bacon ($1.50) on the side. It was sweet and crunchy and wonderful, but would have been a bit odd on the sandwich. I recommend, for your first time there, get it on the side and treat it like a candied snack.


The Sweet Potato Fries ($3.00) were good, but definitely were underwhelming compared to everything else had. The spicy vinegar (see below), that was noticed after our meal, would have really given a bit more life to the fries.

For a brand new place this meal was flawless and quite filling. The only bad part about it is that it’s so far up Forest Ave., directly across from Susan’s Fish and Chips. But, I’ll be making the trek again and quite soon.

Po' Boys & Pickles on Urbanspoon

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comfort food, new orleans, red beans and rice

New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

I found myself chuckling when I read Erik, of PortlandFoodHeads, had made a tasty looking Jambalaya this past Sunday. On the other side of town, around the same time, I was surrounding myself with three different pork products(smoked hock, ham and Andouille sausage) trying to channel my own bit of southern comfort food.

My choice, red beans and rice, was definitely a far cry from what I was making a decade ago as I tried to stretch an overly meager paycheck. Back then there was no glorious smoked pork bits and I was notorious for under cooking beans, mostly out of impatience towards soaking them overnight. Thankfully, I’ve gotten a bit better at the patience part.

A quick Google search sent me to a recipe from Emeril, from the FoodNetwork.com. I have to say that I usually steer clear of anything with either his or Rachel Ray’s name on it, but I do hold a bit of optimism towards his recipes from his adopted hometown of New Orleans. And, to be honest, it was a pretty damn tasty pot of beans and mashing them at the end of the recipe was a bit enjoyable.

The Andouille Sausage was from Niman Ranch and both the smoked ham hock and ham were from Whole Foods. These three, especially the Andouille, made the dish. The heat from the cayenne in the sausage was more than enough to keep the Franks in the fridge. The long simmering time melted the smoked hock meat, which had some nice ‘bark’ on it, off of the bone and were my favorite bites.

Red Beans and Rice
* 1 pound dried red beans, rinsed and sorted over
* 3 tablespoons bacon grease
* 1/4 cup chopped tasso, or chopped ham
* 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
* 3/4 cup chopped celery
* 3/4 cup chopped green bell peppers
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* Pinch cayenne
* 3 bay leaves
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
* 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
* 1/2 pound smoked sausage, split in half lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
* 1 pound smoked ham hocks
* 3 tablespoons chopped garlic
* 10 cups chicken stock, or water
* 4 cups cooked white rice
* 1/4 cup chopped green onions, garnish

Directions

Place the beans in a large bowl or pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Let soak for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and set aside.

In a large pot, heat the bacon grease over medium-high heat. Add the tasso and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the onions, celery and bell peppers to the grease in the pot. Season with the salt, pepper, and cayenne, and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft, about 4 minutes.

Add the bay leaves, parsley, thyme, sausage, and ham hocks, and cook, stirring, to brown the sausage and ham hocks, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Add the beans and stock or water, stir well, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender and starting to thicken, about 2 hours. (Should the beans become too thick and dry, add more water, about 1/4 cup at a time.)

Remove from the heat and with the back of a heavy spoon, mash about 1/4 of the beans against the side of the pot. Continue to cook until the beans are tender and creamy, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and remove the bay leaves.

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miyake, new years, satiated

The End of 2009

Omakase 7 tasting @ Food Factory Miyake–with extras (as I could remember…there was a lot of friggin’ food). Corrections are more than welcomed (coughJoecough)

1)Amuse Bouche: Sardine marinated in Mirin, chilled and topped with sesame seeds

2)Kumamoto Oyster with pepper and scallion


3)Maine Shrimp Three Ways:
Ceviche w/Avocado
Sashimi w/roe
Mirin and Sesame



4)Scallion wrapped with Toro
Lobster tail sashimi w/garlic oil and chive sprouts
Big Eye Tuna sashimi
Salmon on lemon

5)Saltwater Eel w/brown butter, lemon and almonds.

6)Eggplant in brown butter with chicken mixed with tama miso.


7)Teriyaki Swordfish w/Taro gnocchi and dashi braised veggies


8)Scallop w/lobster on kewpie mayo w/miso and wasabi
scallion oil

pickled white asparagus


9)Black cod w/enoiki and shitaki mushrooms

Salmon with tomato

Japanese Snapper w/pine nut salad
Blue fin tuna w/shallot

10)Yuku Creme Brulee


Fin.

While this was one of the shittiest years in recent memory, it was highly cathartic to end 2009 sitting at a table at Miyake. Over the course of two and a half hours, seated in the back corner with my partner, sharing pot after pot of tea, we ate away all the grief of 2009. It was one of those meals that you have trouble articulating after it’s finished. One of those “you had to be there” moments. Simply, it was my last meal of 2009… and it’s best.
Miyake on Urbanspoon

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chicken and dumplings, comfort food, hot sauce, shitty heating system

Last Home Cookin’ of 2009

On a day where the heat never came on in our apartment, and the temps dropped down into the negative, I decided to make a meal that would make up for our shitty landlord: Chicken and Dumplings. Wanting something more than boiled chicken and Bisquick, I came across this recipe:

Chicken and Dumplings from Foodnetwork.com
Ingredients
Roasted Chicken:

* 1 (3-pound) whole chicken
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
* 1 lemon, halved and juiced; halves reserved
* 1/4-cup fresh chopped herbs, such as thyme, parsley and rosemary
* 1 onion, halved
* 4 garlic cloves, smashed
* Fresh whole herbs, such as rosemary, thyme and parsley sprigs

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove the neck and giblets from the cavity of the chicken and discard. Rinse the chicken under cold water, inside and out. Pat dry thoroughly with paper towels. Season the body and cavity of the chicken generously with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, mash together the butter, lemon juice, and chopped herbs. Rub the herbed butter all over the chicken, as well as under the skin. Put the lemon halves, onion, garlic, and whole herbs inside the chicken cavity, for added flavor. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Place the chicken, breast side up, in a roasting pan fitted with a rack. Roast for 1 hour until the meat is no longer pink. When cool enough to handle, shred the meat, discarding the skin and set aside. Reserve the bones for chicken stock.
Chicken Stock:

* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 2 carrots, cut in large chunks
* 2 celery stalks, cut in large chunks
* 1 onion, halved
* 1 garlic bulb, halved
* Reserved chicken bones
* 2 quarts cold water
* 4 sprigs fresh parsley
* 4 sprigs fresh thyme
* 2 bay leaves

To prepare the stock, coat a large stockpot with olive oil and place over medium heat. Add the vegetables and saute for 3 minutes. Add the reserved chicken bones, water, and herbs; simmer for 1 hour. Strain the stock to remove the solids and set aside.
Dumplings:

* 2 cups flour
* 1 tablespoon baking powder
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 2 eggs
* 3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk

To prepare the dumplings: sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs and milk together; pour the liquid in the dry ingredients and gently fold. Mix just until the dough comes together, the batter should be thick and cake-like.
Supreme Sauce:

* 2 tablespoons butter
* 1 tablespoon oil
* 1 tablespoon flour
* 1/2 cup diced carrot
* 1/2 cup diced celery
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 bay leaves
* 1/4 cup flour
* 6 cups chicken stock
* 1/4 cup heavy cream
* Freshly ground black pepper, for garnish
* Chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

To prepare Supreme Sauce: In a Dutch oven, melt butter and heat oil over medium heat. Add carrot, celery, garlic, and bay leaves. Saute until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour to make a roux. Continue to stir and cook for 2 minutes to coat the flour and remove the starchy taste. Slowly pour in the chicken stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition.

Let sauce simmer until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 15 minutes. Stir in heavy cream.

Fold the reserved shredded chicken into the sauce and bring up to a simmer. Using 2 spoons, carefully drop heaping tablespoonfuls of the dumpling batter into the hot mixture. The dumplings should cover the top of the sauce, but should not be touching or crowded. Let the dumplings poach for 10 to 15 minutes until they are firm and puffy. Season with freshly cracked black pepper and garnish with chopped parsley before serving.

It was very reminiscent of chicken pot pie with a biscuit crust, though I would have adjusted the stock and roux to increase the sauce volume. Also, the addition of Franks Red Hot was vital..it needed heat and, as seen above, it got a good dosing of it. Definitely one to be broken out again as we get further into winter.

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