Monday, October 17, 2005

Worst food ever

I should really say "food" in quotes because I don't think what I'm about to write about can really qualify as food.

- a tablespoon of sugar
- a tiny tiny pinch baking soda

- a lightly greased metal saucepan (non-stick is best) or a metal ladle.
- a chopstick or bamboo skewer
- a slick surface (try a silpat or some foil wrapped around pan, lightly greased)
- another slick surface (see above)

I actually have a kit my sister and brother-in-law purchased for me.

This thing is called a "dargona" with a long "o" or "poki" (not like the Hawaiian poki -- if you couldn't tell from the ingredients, there is something weird with you).

How to "cook":
- Melt sugar over low heat. You really want it low so that you don't accidentally look away and burn the sugar. Keep stirring it with your stick.
- Keep cooking until your sugar caramelizes to a nice light to medium amber.
- Remove from heat and immediately stir in the pinch of baking soda.
- Stir just until your caramel has turned light and fluffy, probably like 2 or 3 seconds tops.
- Slam stuff out onto slick surface #1 and then press with slick surface #2 to about a milimeter or so thickness.
- Optional: Use your stick to play with the leftover goop in the pan and spin neat-o sugar web.
- Optional: Use cookie cutters to lightly press a pattern into the flattened sugary goodness.
- Eat.

This is probably one of the worst things you could eat. It's as bad as pure sugar, but the caramelizing and "fluffing" stages make this even more delicious than plain sugar, so it's highly addictive. I make this maybe twice a year, except it's more like a quadruple recipe. It's sick, I tell you.

Hmm. I bet this could benefit from the addition of a tiny bit of butter. Yum.

Fish run amok

We had a big sushi party on Saturday. We probably had around 12 people for dinner. Joe brought home a crazy amount of salmon (I'd guess 2 lbs) and tuna (a ridiculous 4.5 lbs -- an estimate), as well as some cooked shrimp. Seppo and I provided a pound of hamachi, two unagi, some vegetables and pickles, nori, wasabi, spicy sauce (for spicy tuna), and sushi rice. Uyen and Charles brought profiteroles and some really sick and rich double chocolate cookies. Klay and Nana brought crab claw meat, avocados, and ice cream (no, not served together). Colin provided grilled asparagus and sliced peaches (and not for dessert -- gasp). Hee.

It was an insane amount of food. We really should have taken some pictures. We had so much leftover fish that we asked Uyen, Charles, and Long to come over for dinner on Sunday. They brought mashed potatoes and peas with proscuitto. Yum. We ate ourselves silly and we STILL have a couple of tuna steaks and an unagi in the freezer.

Uyen says she's going to have a Vietnamese rolling party soon. I am going to hold her to it.

Monday, October 03, 2005

dressing up ramen

This entry is also known as a filler entry. :D Ramen, while not high concept, high class food, can be a nice, easy meal, especially if you dress it up a little.

One of my favorite variants is the following:
1. Boil slightly more water than usual.
2. Drop in a few frozen dumplings. Boil for 2-3 minutes.
3. Add ramen noodles and soup packet.
4. At finish time minus 30-45 seconds (from what it says on the package directions), drop in an egg and swirl it around. Lower the heat immediately. If you like the light ribbons of egg, slightly beat it before adding to the pot. I like it slightly poached, so I just drop it in and swirl it around a teeny bit.
5. When egg is almost completely set, dump out in to a bowl full of chopped scallions.
6. Top with some crumbled dried seaweed.

Once in a while, I just drop in some frozen peas into the plain ramen. Generally, quick-cooking veggies like sprouts or spinach make a good addition. I like to squeeze some lime or lemon in with some basil and cilantro, pho-style sometimes.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

braised short ribs

stewed short ribs 1

Step 1: Wash and slash the short ribs. Salt liberally.

stewed short ribs 2

Step 2: Add water just to cover and put on high heat. Watch it to see when it just starts to boil and the meat juuuust barely starts to cook and turn slightly brown. You'll see blood seeping through the marrow and float to the top in gross gray grainy blobs. Remove from heat then dump out the water and wash in cold water. My mom told me to do this and I was like, "Huh?" I think now that it was to wash away all the gray blobs of what used to be blood and to remove some of the fat as well, as it floats to the top and congeals in the cold water.

stewed short ribs 3

Step 3: Into the pot that now only holds the meat, add some potatoes and onions, and turnip too, if you have it handy. This is where the recipe became frustrating because getting a recipe from my mom is impossible. I was instructed to add "a little" soy sauce, "some" mirin, "a few" lightly crushed garlic, "a bit of" sesame oil, "some" ginger, and "a little" sugar or corn syrup. I appeared to have done ok proportion-wise, but I didn't use enough of anything. I should have doubled or tripled the amounts I used. I also used too much water. I think you are supposed to only add enough water (or broth) to come up maybe a centimeter or so on the side of the pot, but I added enough to almost cover. This caused the dish to become more of a stew rather than a braised dish. Dang.

stewed short ribs 4

Step 4: Bring the stew to just below a boil and lower to a simmer. After maybe 20 minutes, I added some carrots. Well, the carrots are really optional. My mom never uses them. I simmered on low for about 1.5 hours and found that I need to go for at least another hour, which I did. It was fairly tender, but it really should have gone for another hour or two. So I would advise cooking for roughly 3-4 hours for maximum enjoyment.

My mom cooks this in the pressure cooker. In the pressure cooker, you are pretty much done in 20-30 minutes and are guaranteed meltingly delicious meat and potatoes. Curses. I should get one.

alton brown's fried chicken

On September 24th, Seppo made some fried chicken.

fried chicken 1

He soaked the chicken overnight in buttermilk and something else. Hopefully, he will edit this entry with the proper details.

fried chicken 2

An unfathomable amount of Crisco (with 0 trans fat but lots of other fat) was melted and heated to between 350 and 375 degrees.

fried chicken 3

The chicken was dusted with a seasoning mix consisting mainly of salt, paprika, and some other stuff that, again, hopefully Seppo will comment about. It was then dredged in flour and left on the rack to crust up just a little bit before going into the oil.

fried chicken 4

That picture is scary, but a large part of life is scary, my friend.

Colonel Seppo

Seppo cooked everything in about 5 batches, I think. It was extremely moist and flavorful. Fried chicken that has soaked in buttermilk definitely wins over fried chicken that hasn't.