19 October 2013

Why So Snooty?

Well, it's been a while kids, but I am now checking in with the folks after living three months in România.

I was perusing the meat aisle at the Carrefour at Piață Unirii, and was wondering why this hunk of meat was so cheap (ca. $0.60). Then I realized it was half a pig's head. I literally laughed out loud (LOLed), and said to myself, "You're buying this even if you're going to throw it out your window onto the street when it starts to stink up your fridge."

So this is what I did and this is how I done it:

I put its bisected head in my one multi-purpose saute pan.

I threw some onion, leaks, turnip, carrots, garlic, black peppercorns, bay leaves, and thyme in to keep head company.

I salted its head like a hater.

I turned its head over to check out the dental work.

Then I let it melt out for three hours under the lowest flaming burner on my stove.

I pulled the head out, strained the gelatinous "juice," pulled the meat from the skull, tossed some teeth at people outside my 8th floor window, laughed, put the pulled skull meat into a Pyrex glass container, poured the cooled juice over the meat, and let it sit in the fridge for a week too afraid to touch it.

Demolded the block of head meat today and laughed when I remembered that I intentionally cut the snout off to do this.

Wincingly sliced the block of gelatinous misch-masch of meat and took a slice in the mouth.

Verdict:  It was okay.  Needed more salt.

after-note:  The office street dog will have a block of a treat on Monday.

07 May 2013

What?! Do I Look Korean?

No.  No I don't, but that didn't deter the kids at various east coast and southern elementary schools sometimes telling me that my lunches smelled like gook food when my ma would pack something Vietnamese in the lunchbox.  I didn't know the meaning until I asked my brother what it meant.  I won't go into the Maryland teacher telling me that maybe I shouldn't "act that way."

I didn't really know what it meant until a few years back when a friend taught English in Korea and told me his students were confused as to why "guk" would be offensive if used towards them because it simply means "person."  "Megukin" is an American while "hangukin" is a Korean, and "waygukin" means foreigner.  In the end, my friend told his students that if any westerner calls them that, they should punch them in the face.  In my own masochistic manner, I wish I knew this as a kid, so I could nerd out on them and say, "why yes, it is 'people food.'"  Then I could have gotten punched in the face for being the wise-ass new kid in addition to getting spit on in the jungle gym for being the new Asian kid.  Poor me...

Last night I decided I wanted "people barbecue," so I got to marinating spicy pork since I can't swing an outing to Rancho Cordova for proper Korean barbecue.  There were two bunches of still firm broccoli that were sitting in the fridge for maybe a week, so the side was already decided--oldest veg gets cooked first.  In spite of it not being a native vegetable to Korea, many Korean sauces or dressings have similar ingredients varying by different combinations or omissions thereof, it'll have to do, and the broccoli would just have to deal with having Korean flare.

Whisk together the following ingredients:

3 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp crushed chili flakes - the deep red Korean kind of which your mom brings you a massive bag
2 clv garlic - minced
1 in piece of ginger - minced

I let this sit for about an hour before adding the broccoli.

Steam one bunch broccoli for 3-5 minutes, shock in an ice bath, drain, and toss in the dressing.

The night before combine the following for the marinade, which is actually more of a paste:

1 tbsp crushed red chili flakes
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp crushed toasted sesame seeds
2 scallions - chopped
2 clv garlic - minced
1 tsp ginger juice (thanks, mom for the X-mas Jack Lelane juicer)
1 tbsp onion juice (I didn't want to juice a whole onion, so I juiced a large shallot)
some black pepper - just for the flavor.

The original recipe from a Korean Mother's Cooking Notes calls for boiling the meat first, coating the pork and then "grilling" on a heated pan.  As I am megukin, I said fuck that, I'm grillin' this shit like uh murican. Marinated it raw and straight to the flaming hot grill, which cooked through in a total of 6 or 7 minutes; flipping once.

Short rest, chopped, and served.

Oh, the other bunch of broccoli?  Well, I didn't cook and eat it all this afternoon.  What am I, some kind of broccoholic?  I can only handle broccoli in so many intervals, so pickling it was to be.  Other than kimchi pickles, which are actually fermented pickles, I've noticed Korean vinegar pickles are fairly tame or rather sparse ingredient-wise compared to what some jerks are doing when pickling produce. *cough cough*  I went lazy and grabbed this lady's recipe because she had a semi-entertaining video.

Here are the ingredients that you heat to dissolve the salt and sugar and then pour over the broccoli party:

5 c water
1/2 c vinegar
1/4 c salt
1/4 c sugar

I threw in a clove of garlic for jerkiness.

18 July 2012

What What (In the Yudt)

In my what?  Okay.

The title of the blog is slowly becoming a misnomer.  Mostly for the fact that I rarely collaborate with others on food (nor write for that matter).  At times it's more like Eats with Skipper, which is what nearly every Wednesday for a good month or so was.  It started with my trivia group meeting at Maya's Taqueria for the $1 taco happy hour before heading off to trivia because we, sadly, had bored of the Shack's regular menu.  It's good food but after two years of almost weekly attendance, it was no longer something to look forward to. After a few weeks of pre-trivia visits to Maya's, I threw it out that I should just make tacos for us before trivia, and it was a done deal. The first couple times were traditional Mexican-styled tacos, but then I decided to see what I could make work in taco form and then make my friends eat it.  With that, I give you the banh mí taco eaten by Dennis Yudt pictured below.

It's your standard taco-sized white corn tortilla but with the ingredients of a traditional banh mí variation set inside: grilled lemongrass chicken, sliced jalapeño fruit, and do chua pickle mix.

Before grilling the chicken, marinate it at least four hours with the following blended ingredients:

2 stalks lemongrass
3 cloves garlic
1-2 inch piece ginger
2-5 Thai chilis (to taste)
6 oz coconut milk (about half of a can)
Juice of one juicy lime
3 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs fish sauce
2 tbs brown sugar

For the do chua (which just means "by souring" and pronounced "doh joo-uh"), I added sliced celery to the conventional daikon and carrot simply because it was in the refrigerator, and I didn't have cu kieu or pickled shallots on hand to "french" it up.  First draw the water out of the sliced vegetables by tossing them with about a teaspoon of salt, and leave the mix in a colander for 5-10 minutes.  Then rinse and pat dry.  Make the following brine mixture, and allow it to absorb the brine for about an hour by rule of thumb for quick pickling:

1 cup water
1 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup sugar

I've found that 30 minutes is enough time before using it.  This can be used for a few days, but I don't like the texture after three days.

Finally, you go and buy a $100 mandolin, adjust it to the slimmest slice setting, and slice one jalapeño and frugally divide it among your friends' tacos.

No great shakes unless you like banh mí, that is.

06 June 2012

Being Sloppy

It was some months ago when a friend mentioned that he and his wife had sloppy joes for dinner.  While the topic turned into a conversation about slo-joes, it got me thinking of when the last time I'd had a sloppy joe.  It'd indeed been a while and during the discussion of my long overdue sloppy joe, we talked about how to improve it.  It mostly concerned talk of the blown out bun or the slide out lap-landing slop that presses out the back end of a roll that planted the seed of a sloppy joe pizza.  It made sense and was the perfect solution, as the sloppy joe would be spread out and the cheese would hold it in place.  

I set upon it:

Melt 2 tbs butter.

Brown 1 lb of ground beef.

Remove beef and saute:2 small red onions3 small carrots2 stalks celery    All diced, ja?

Blend your own tomato puree (5 tomatoes) and toss together with the sauted vegetables into a pot.

Add browned beef, cider vinegar, brown sugar, garlic & mustard powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne.
Bring to a boil, reduce, and simmer on low-medium heat for 30 mins.

Then get interrupted, place in fridge, leave apartment, forget that you were going to make a sloppy joe pizza, and eat open faced sloppy joes for the next 3 days.  Wha-wha.

11 May 2012

Get into Goetta

Shortly after I got my sausage making attachment, my friend Mooch, who's from Cincinnati, asked me if I ever made goetta.  I told him that I'd never heard of it and if he didn't stop making things up, I would give all of his socks to the homeless in the neighborhood.  Once Mooch said, "It's really good," I was out of there and on my way home in the Celebrity already looking for sock candidates.

Not being one who enjoys a tale being spun straight to his face, I understandably got back home still enraged.  The Skipper rage, as always, was short-lived, and I was made the fool once I looked up goetta (pronounced "gedda") and found that it is indeed real.  It's only massed produced and distributed around Cincinnati in the form of packaged tubes or stuffed sausages.  There are even vending machines that you can buy it out of.  Maybe that's just for Goettafest though.

Apparently, ze Germans brought it with them when they settled in the Cincinnati area, and it was a way to stretch meat.  It ends up looking like scrapple, but it doesn't have the pork scraps or corn meal, rather it's mostly steel-cut oats and ground meat.  I've just been calling it Cincinnati meatloaf when people ask me what it is, which is dumb because I have to explain what that is.  

In a gesture of redress, as well as in recognition for his upcoming 40th birthday, I made a batch for Mooch distilled from the very few recipes available online.

1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork
1 tbs thyme
1 tbs sage
1 tbs rosemary
1 chopped onion
4 clv garlic
5 c steel-cut oats
3 qt water (filtered if you got it, brah)

Brown meat with the herbs and s/p.

Add onions and garlic.

Add oats.

 Toss oats in meat mixture to coat and heat until oats begin popping

Forgetting to take more photos, I dumped the oat/meat mixture into the pot of boiling water and let it simmer down for two hours while stirring it about every 15 minutes as to not scorch the bottom oats.  After two hours pour the mixture into loaf pans and allow to cool before chilling in the refrigerator for an hour.  After the goetta is set, plop the loaf out and slice.

It's traditionally fried in bacon grease and eaten for breakfast, but it grilled up nicely last weekend.  I don't like to burn myself out on food by eating it every day, so I sliced it, wrapped it in foil, and froze it to eat at my leisure.

End product

Just reading the ingredients list makes it seem pretty bland, but it has a great hearty taste and texture.  The outside fries/grills up crispy while the inside remains very moist with a texture that I can only describe as slightly overcooked oatmeal with the individual oats occasionally popping in your mouth similar to the way barley does.  It's fine as is, but I have it with whatever random hot sauce I grab off the shelf.

29 April 2012

An Easy Leek

For a while Farm Fresh to You was delivering a load of leeks with every delivery.  I'd mostly added them to my broths because it really punches up the flavor of them.  They also work well in a few different soups, light and heavy.

The most basic is the potato-leek soup:

1 tbs butter
1 stalk of leek
2 minces cloves of garlic
4 small potatoes diced
1 sprig thyme
6 cups vegetable broth
Chopped chive to garnish
Season to taste with salt/pepper

Warm pot to melt butter and saute leek and garlic.

Add potato and thyme and season.

Allow leek to wilt and add broth.

Stick blend (or blend normally), ladle to bowl, and doll up with chive.

Done, duh.

28 April 2012

So Long

So long have I not posted.  It's hopeful to me that I won't let such a long period to pass without posting again because I have been cooking: cooking and photographing, just not posting.  Allow me a little catch up.

Here is a Ukrainian version of borscht:

1/2 head of cabbage
4 small roasted beets, diced
1 can of diced tomatoes, or fresh if in season
2 small cubed potatoes
1/4 lb sliced cherries
Juice of one juicy lemon (1/4 c)
1 large diced carrot
1 large chopped onion
6 c vegetable broth (not pictured)
Salt/pepper to taste
Olive oil for sauteing 

Heat up the broth to a simmer and saute the rest of the ingredients.

Combine it all in the pot of broth.

Get a close-up photo of it.

Simmer for 30 minutes, and serve yourself and your friend a bowl.

This was a nice light quick (1 hour prep/cook time) borscht recipe and lets me take advantage of my friend's lemon tree instead of using the usual red wine vinegar that's normally called for and forgoes the sour cream topping.