Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Turkey Stock

Thanksgiving is over but the leftovers are still in full force. It gets a bit tiring eating the same things over and over again, but I'm Asian and things can't be thrown away in my house. When I was young, my mom even told me that for every grain of rice left in my bowl, there would be one acne/pock mark on my future husband's face. Did I want to have a hideous husband? No? Then eat every bit of that rice. I can't wait to pass this on to my kids. And for once, it's not just my mom being crazy! Pam of Daily Gluttony or Rants & Craves and Amy Tan of The Joy Luck Club has also mentioned it.

Seeing the carcass of a turkey being thrown away is wasteful as well. There are still little bits of meat left on it. All those bits have to be picked off, otherwise you are being wasteful and will go to hell. For real. And then you make turkey stock.

turkey and veggies to be simmered

stock after simmering for 2.5 hours

a hearty pot of jelly stock

After simmering and making the house smell delicious for 5 hours, I got about 10 cups of stock. And look how it turns into jelly! That's because the bones simmered so long that the cartilage breaks down and the marrow seeps out. Broth jelly is as flavorful as you can get. Also, I was wasteful in throwing the vegetables and simmered turkey meat away. But my parents had me eat them before and they're horribly bland, rubbery and tasteless after being simmered for 5 hours. I did save the carrots to feed my puppy.

Turkey Stock
makes 2-3 quarts

1 turkey carcass
2 stalks celery, quartered
1 large onion, quartered with skin on
2 carrots, quartered
6 sprigs thyme
1 tsp whole peppercorn
1 bay leaf

Combine all ingredients in a stock pot and cover with waterabout two inches of water (2-3 quarts depending on how big the stock pot is). Bring to a boil over high heat and skim the foam that rises to the surface. Lower heat to a med-low simmer and simmer 4-6 hours with the lid off, stirring once an hour.

Turn off the heat and let everything come to room temperature. Skim off any fat that comes to the surface (there should be about 1/2-1 cups worth, maybe a bit less). Strain stock well into another pot. Use within a few days, or freeze in individual containers.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

ink. - Part 2

After the first time at ink., which ended up at the Kaiser Permanante on Sunset, I was a bit apprehensive about going back. Will I never get to eat at this elusive restaurant? Also, I was booking a reservation for the Saturday after Thanksgiving - what if he wasn't even there and was away spending time with his family? Of course, I didn't even consider the second part until I was sitting outside the restaurant waiting for the doors to open.

Luckily, I glimpsed Michael Voltaggio as soon as I walked in. Also, since we had the first reservations of the night (at 6pm), it was an opportune moment to choose where to sit - somewhere with a clear view of the kitchen AND good lighting. I'll also admit that I got totally fan-girl and asked the Chef for a picture, but it's too embarassing and I can't post it because I don't think I look that great. I'm grinning like an idiot in it though.

Since we had three courses last time we were here, we opted not to repeat them and focused on the other dishes. I love when I get to order food!

tea service

silverware service

bigeye tuna, parsnip-sesame cream, grapefruit, soy gel

beef tartare, horseradish, hearts of palm, sea bean chimichurri

brussels sprouts, pig ears, house-cured lardo, apple

lamb neck, chickpea poutine, yogurt curds, chive purée

octopus, cream of dehydrated potato, black olive oil, lemon

skate wing, mushroom oatmeal, matsutake, brown butter-mushroom broth

beef short rib, tamarind bbq, turnips, potato

pork cheeks, charcoal oil, macaroni and cheese, leeks

lamb loin, red curry, nante carrots baked in salt, fried and sticky rice

apple, crème caramel, burnt wood sabayon, walnut

peanut butter, milk chocolate, coconut, banana

What an amazing meal. I coincidentally ran into a friend, Rachel, at the bar while she was waiting to be seated and afterwards she said everything was delicious as well. The apple dessert was just as good as everyone raved it would be, although I really had wanted to try the grapefruit curd. By the time the meats rolled around at the end, we were stuffed to the brim. We only just managed to get dessert down. I wasn't a big fan of the brussel sprouts (too salty), the octopus (too bit tough) or the lamb loin (the heavy curry and coconut flavors just didn't work for me) but all the other dishes I'd eat over and over again. Especially that brown-butter mushroom broth with the skate wing - I know there mus tbe a ton of butter in it but I ended up eating the rest of the sauce with a spoon. There was oatmeal in it, so it's pretty healthy right? Fiber!

Can't wait to go back and try the grapefruit curd and squid spaghetti. Hopefully I can snag a seat when the omakase menu starts up. They had originally said a month after restaurant opening but as of the end of November, no omakase yet ...

8360 Melrose Ave, Ste 107, Los Angeles, CA 90069

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Part 3

Doesn't cranberry sauce cooking look so holiday-y? The sugar looks just like snow.

There is no Thanksgiving Part 2. We had a work potluck but the savages at my office totally tore into everything before I could even whip out a camera. It was utter chaos and destruction. So now we roll to Thanksgiving Part 3. I totally need to crash diet when this is all over. I discovered today on an only weight website that if I want extreme fat loss, I can only consume 920 calroies in a day. What?! That's only about 4.5 macarons!

Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving day was prepared by yours truly. Me. By myself, watching a marathon of Disney movies on TV. For some reason, I really like watching Disney movies while I cook. Not the lame ones, like Air Bud, but the "animated masterpiece collection." I have a ton of them on VHS at my parent's house and I'm amassing quite a few on DVD as well. Luckily, they were playing on TV so while I cooked, I watched Aladdin, Beauty & the Beast, and Snow White. Good times. Around 6pm everyone gathered to eat - and I realized that my high-top table from Crate & Barrel only has two bar stools to go with it. Thanksgiving dinner in front of the TV it is! We watched "30 Seconds or Less" while we ate. So cozy.

turkey brining 2 days ahead in the cooler - had to McGyver the fridge a bit to make everything fit inside

upskirt beauty shot of a brined and stuffed turkey - sexy

cider and sage brined turkey

carved turkey

homemade cranberry sauce - orange peel, apple cider, cinnamon

canned cranberry sauce - Oceanspray, jellied

mashed potatoes

creamed corn

Ms Cubbinsons stuffing with mushrooms, cooked separately

Ms Cubbinsons stuffing with mushrooms, from the turkey

curry roasted broccoli and cauliflower

smashed sweet potatoes, candied pecans, marshmallows (note to self: don't leave this in broiler unattended, as it results in the blown up marshmallow spillage on the bottom left corner)

sage gravy

papas rellenas, courtesy of Kavita

fried plantain chips, courtesy of Kavita

more sweet potatoes, courtesy of Brother

Japanese tamago, courtesy of Brother

fruit tart, courtesy of Kavita

pumpkin cream pie

bad picture of the table, but it was loaded

Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving! And no one got trampled or pepper sprayed at the Porter Ranch Walmart (or anywhere else) during the Black Friday sales. I had two friends at that Walmart and they reported that not only was a crazy woman (with her kids) pepper spraying people, there were also fist fights over the TV sales. USA! USA! USA!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to the who blogging world, food or personal or otherwise! This year I'm thankful for my continued relationship with my family and especially my friends, who have been there for me in more situations than I can name. I'm thankful my 16 1/2 year old Maltese puppy is still alive, though she almost passed away in May. And I'm thankful that Boyfriend has gotten a new car so I could stop riding around in his old one.

Even though my parents are in Taiwan to see my dad's parents, I'm still making Thanksgiving dinner for Boyfriend and Brother. And a few other friends are joining us, who are not able to spend today with their families. Tis the start of the holiday season, and the only holiday I'm getting with Boyfriend this year - he is going to be in Boston to see his family from December 18 through Janurary 5th. Ask me out while he's out!

Thanksgiving Dinner for the Lonely:
Cider-Brined Turkey with Sage (13.5 lbs!)
Ms Cubbinsons Cornbread Stuffing with Mushrooms
Sweet Potatoes with Candied Pecans and Marshmallows
Curry Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower
Creamed Corn
Mashed Potatoes
Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce (canned)
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Pumpkin Cream Pie

Oh did I mention I'm making all of the above myself? Boyfriend is working and Brother is at home playing either (1) Uncharted or (2) Starcraft 2. What are you doing/eating for Thanksgiving? Or what did you do/eat for Thanksgiving, depending on when this post is read.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Bar + Kitchen Part II

My first visit here was for DineLA and it was crazy crowded. The manager told me he had 72 reservations for lunch only, as it was the last day of DineLA. My co-worker Sona was unable to go for lunch at the time so I promised her we'd definitely go back.

When you walk in to the O Hotel, you make a right and see a hostess podium for Bar+Kitchen, but there is no one there. Since the restaurant is shaped like an L, the waitresses or host can't see around the corner and notice people standing there. We waited for about five minutes before someone peeped around the edge and were able to seat us. As we had lunch, we saw this happen a bunch of times, where people ended up wandering back into the restaurant area after waiting at the hostess stand for too long. Akward setup.

complimentary (Armenian) pickled veggies

kitchen burger - bacon, gruyere, shallot jam, arugula

croque monsieur - fresh roasted turkey, havarti, apple bacon jam

The food was good, but so heavy and pretty buttery/oily. The menu has a lot of tapas items which would be good for a happy hour, but hard to eat during lunch. The tater tots, however, were fantastic - incredibly crisp (double fried?) and garnished with a hint of truffle oil. I would go back just for those. But other than that, there aren't a lot of choices on the menu. It's definitely more worth it to go for DineLA.

Bar + Kitchen (O Hotel)
819 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90017

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Walking Dead S2E6 - Mussels with OS Sauce

One more week until the mid-season finale! Then no more zombies until Febuary 2012 ... such a long time to wait! At least this will be back on before Game of Thrones and Mad Men. Is it me or is Andrea a cuh-razy bitch? I hate her so much. Everything about her annoys me - her self-righteous attitude, her cockiness even though she totally sucks, her whining for a gun all the time even though she doesn't know how to use it, her seduction (if you could even call it that) of Shayne after she all of a sudden became a head-shot killer of zombies ... ugh. Also, girl-who-slept-with-Glenn shouldn't be going all crazy on preggers Lori and yelling at her for almost getting her and Glenn killed because they went to town for her. Isn't she the one who was defending the barn and its inhabitants to Glenn and pretending the zombies were harmless?

Since it was pouring rain this Sunday, I had no real huge itch to make a crazy time consuming dinner, but was still in the mood for something delicious. The Momofuku cookbook had just the thing ... Mussels with Oriental Sauce. Shortened by David Chang to Mussels with OS Sauce, beause his kitchen staff was not pleased at having to say the word "oriental" over and over in the kitchen when their boss was a Korean guy. This dish is really easy to put together, and great with a salad and bread.

Mussels with OS Sauce
from Momouku Cookbook
serves 4

4 to 5 lbs mussels
1/3 cup dajiang bean paste or white miso
2 Tbps finely chopped ginger
2 Tbps sherry vinegar
2 Tbps chopped green onion
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup dry sake
1/2 cup julienned green onions
2-3 tsp grapeseed oil or other neutral oil

Put mussel in a large bowl and clean them by scrubbing and removing the beards. Refill the bowl with water and throw in a handful of either flour or cornmeal, to encourage them to spit up their sand. Let soak for 10 minutes, then drain and rinse well. Drain again. Discard any open/dead mussels.

Combine miso, ginger, vinegar, green onion and garlic in a small bowl. Smash together well with a rubber spatula.

In a large, wide saucepan, heat oil over high heat until hot but not smoking. Add in mussels and stir for 1 minute. Pour in sake, cover pot with lid. Steam until all the mussels have opened, about 5 minutes. Push all the mussels to one side of the pot and add miso paste, mixing to combine with the pan juices. This should happen very quickly. Toss the mussels a few times to coat with pan juices and remove from heat immediately. Discard any unopened mussels.

Ladle mussels into deep wide bowls and top with julienned green onions and a good dose of Sichuan black pepper.

* If no good mussels are available, use clams instead.
** To store mussels before cooking, pour them into a container and cover with a wet paper towel. Keep in refrigerator until needed.

We finished dinner with a good cup of Starbucks Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate, made at home for a fraction of the price! Thanks to Vanessa for sending me a picture of it from Target. It was pretty good, though of course getting one in a seasonal paper red cup just tastes different ...

But when it's pouring outside, my own ceramic red cup will do. I'm extremely paranoid about this cup breaking (the "tall" size for ceramic red cups has been discontinued) and have forbid Boyfriend from using it.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Food Porn IX

raspberry crème brûlée @ Paul Martin's American Bistro

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Walking Dead S2E5 - Seven Chile Chili

One more week until the mid-season finale! The barn!! I hope you know what I am talking about ... this show is great.

Since there were rumors that we would have rain all weekend, I opted for comfort food. The weather guys predicted rain on Friday night, all day Saturday and Sunday with a thunderstorms. I think it rained for a few moments on Saturday night and then every other minute of the weekend was gorgeous. Shouldn't we have better weather predictions now that we're in 2011?

What better comfort cold weather food is there than chili? It's comforting, hot, spicy and delicous. Plus, you can garnish it to your specifications. The one I opted to make was just straight chiles, beef and a bit of onion. No beans or any filler. Boyfriend said that was how chili was supposed to be. Try hitting up a Mexican market for the chilis (Valumart or Los Toros Meat Market are close to SGV/Pasadena). If you're truly desperate, you can go to The Spice Station in Silverlake, but you will definitely be paying a major premium. These are the seven chiles being used:

And here are all the chiles after I removed their stems and seeds, which took a lot longer than I thought. Definitely try to keep the dry chiles from cracking and breaking when you are seeding them; it takes a delicate hand. Also try not to inhale too deeply or touch your face with your hands. OMG IT BURNS!!

Seven Chile Chili
from Lisa Fain's The Homesick Texan

6 dried ancho chiles
2 dried pasilla chiles
2 dried guajillo chiles
2 dried chipotle chiles
4 dried chiles de arbol
4 pieces of bacon
4 pounds chuck roast, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 large white onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup coffee
1 bottle of beer (I used Bud Light)
1 Tbps ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground clove
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tspn cayenne
1/2 tsp grated Mexican hot chocolate or unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
4 dried pequin chiles
2 Tbps masa harina
Garnishes: shredded cheddar cheese, chopped onion, sour cream, cilantro, saltine crackers, pickled jalapenos, extra Tapatio, etc

Remove the seeds and stems from the dried chiles. In a dry skillet heated on high, toast the ancho, pasilla, guajillo, chipotle, and chiles de arbol (all chiles but the pequin) on each side for 10-15 seconds. Fill the skillet with enough water to cover chiles. Let the water begin to boil and then turn off the heat and soak the chiles until soft, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy pot such as a Dutch oven, fry the bacon on medium heat. I didn't use the bacon, but just threw in a tablespoon or so of bacon fat that I had in the fridge (yea you read that right, I have a tupperware of reserved bacon fat chillaxing in my refrigerator). When most of the fat has rendered, remove from the pan. Leave the bacon grease in the pot, and add about 1/3 of the beef. Cook on each side until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. mkae sure you don't crowd the pan, as you want to get a good sear in the meat. Remove the browned beef from the pot onto a plate.

Leaving the heat on, add the diced onions to the pot and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes, using the onions to scrape up the browned beef flavor bits on the bottom of the pot. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the beef back into the pot, crumble in the bacon, and add the coffee, beer, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, clove, allspice, cayenne, chocolate, 3 cups of water, and salt. Turn the heat up to high.

While the pot is coming to a boil, make the chile puree. Drain and rinse the chiles then place them in a blender along with the pequin chiles and 1 cup of fresh water. Puree until smooth, then pour the chile puree into the pot.

When the chile begins to boil, turn the heat down to low and simmer uncovered for 5 hours, stirring occasionally. Taste it once an hour and adjust the seasonings. If it starts to get too dry, add more water. After 5 hours, scoop out 1/4 cup of broth out of the pot and combine with the masa harina. Pour the masa harina mixture into the pot and stir until the chili is thickened. I skipped this step, as the chili was plenty thick enough. Let the chili simmer for another 30 minutes or so. When done, serve with your preferred garnishes.

Mmm so thick and meaty! Even though so many chiles are presented, the chili was less spicier than I thought it would be. I wish there were more people around to eat it. I managed to get a bowl of it down before it was too spicy for me, but I'll admit I'm a wuss when it comes to spicy foods. Boyfriend actually added extra Tapatio to his. We finished with dessert ...

Sprinkles cupcakes! Chocolate marshmallow, salted caramel and pumpkin. They're not generally my favorite but I wanted to try the salted caramel flavor-of-the-month. They weren't bad but there was a bit too much frosting on them, and I couldn't scrape some off like I usually do since the sea salt was sprinkled across the top of the forsting. I wish they would use 1/3 less frosting - then they'd be the perfect cupcakes.