Saturday, August 23, 2008

scrambled eggs

I love scrambled eggs that are still slightly runny. I know traditional ones have small curds, but I kind of like big, silky curds.

scrambled eggs and chives on english muffins
These were really great scrambled eggs. I added some chopped green onions, and undercooked them slightly. Set on a piece of salami and english muffin, this makes a nice little dinner, I mean breakfast, sandwich. Another fried tomato makes an appearance. These were last of my mom's garden bounty.
[eggs, english muffins, green onions, tomato, butter, salt, pepper]

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

egg muffin

This is a much fancier version of the classic egg muffin sandwich.

breakfast sandwich
This was excellent. We actually had it for lunch, but I suppose it's more of a breakfast-type sandwich. Unfortunately, I can't remember what type of cheese that is.
[proscuitto, soft cheese (brie-ish, but not brie), egg, english muffin]

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half english breakfast

Running low on ingredients - this would be the "low-cal" version.

half english breakfast.
Toast, sausage, fried tomato.
[toast, sausage, tomato, butter]

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Friday, August 15, 2008

embellished

A slight embellishment on yesterday's sandwich

salami, spinach, and tomato sandwich
After yesterday's sandwich, I decided that a warmed version would be equally tasty. I pressed the ingredients (with the addition of balsamic vinegar and olive oil) and grilled it.
[spinach, salami, tomatoes, ciabatta, goat cheese]

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

simple

Sometimes a simple sandwich is all you need.

salami, spinach, and tomato sandwich
We had some olive bread, arugula and salami, plus some yellow tomatoes, so I decided that the quickest lunch would be an open-face sandwich. Simple and tasty.
[spinach, salami, tomatoes, olive bread]

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

bacon salad

I had some goat cheese that we weren't eating quickly enough, so I decided to speed up the process by making breaded goat cheese croquettes. I based my final set loosely on Cook's Illustrated's version (only I fried instead of baked).

baked goat cheese salad with bacon
The goat cheese turned out nicely, warm and tender on the inside and crispy on the outside. The cheese discs went into an egg dip followed by a roll in panko, a few minutes in the freezer and into the hot oil. Spinach greens and a basic vinaigrette pulled it all together.
[spinach, bacon, goat cheese, egg, panko, salt, pepper, vinegar, olive oil]

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

lychees

I didn't know lychees could grow in Southern California, but my mom handed us this bunch that a friend of hers grew in their yard. They're so beautiful when they're fresh!

lychees
They were plump and juicy, and it was hit or miss with the seeds. Some were huge, others were tiny.

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pork for 20

We were hosting another birthday party for the Y family and I decided to expand the Chinese parents' horizons by making cuban pork. At least it wasn't spicy. I made enough for my family to have it for dinner the next night.

cuban-style pork with mojo sauce
It doesn't look that tasty, but it really was tender and delicious. There was just enough fat on the pork butt to keep it juicy. Brining and slow roasting is a nice combination, but it means you can't really just whip this up for unexpected guests. And the mojo sauce was just awesome. That needs to be a standard condiment on our fridge.

Cuban-Style Pork Roast

INGREDIENTS
Pork and Brine
-1 bone-in, skin-on pork picnic shoulder (7 to 8 pounds)
-3 cups sugar
-2 cups table salt
-2 medium heads garlic , unpeeled cloves separated and crushed
-4 cups orange juice

Garlic-Citrus Paste
-12 medium cloves garlic , peeled and coarsely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
-2 tablespoons ground cumin
-2 tablespoons dried oregano
-1 tablespoon table salt
-1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
-6 tablespoons orange juice
-2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
-2 tablespoons olive oil

1. TO BRINE THE PORK: With sharp paring knife, cut 1-inch-deep slits (about 1 inch long) all over roast, spaced about 2 inches apart. Dissolve sugar and salt in 6 quarts cold water in stockpot or large bucket. Stir in garlic and orange juice. Submerge pork in brine and refrigerate 18 to 24 hours.

2. TO APPLY THE GARLIC-CITRUS PASTE: Process garlic, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper in food processor until they reach consistency of coarse paste, about ten 1-second pulses. With machine running, add orange juice, vinegar, and oil through feed tube and process until mixture forms smooth, wet paste, about 20 seconds. Remove pork from brine and rinse under cool running water; pat dry with paper towels. Rub paste all over pork and into slits. Refrigerate pork while oven is preheating to 325 degrees with rack in lower-middle position.

3. TO ROAST THE PORK: Place pork with skin side down on wire rack set over rimmed baking sheet or in roasting pan with rack. Cook, uncovered, 3 hours. Flip roast skin side up and continue to cook until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of meat registers 190 degrees, about 3 hours more, lightly tenting roast with foil if skin begins to get too dark.

4. Transfer roast to cutting board and let rest 1 hour. To carve, first remove skin in one large piece. Scrape off and discard top layer of fat, then cut pork away from bone in 3 or 4 large pieces. Slice each piece against grain into 1/4-inch slices. To serve skin, scrape excess fat from underside and cut into strips. Drizzle Mojo Sauce (see related recipe) over pork just before serving.


Mojo Sauce

INGREDIENTS
-4 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 4 teaspoons)
-2 teaspoons kosher salt
-1/2 cup olive oil
-1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
-1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
-1/4 cup fresh orange juice from 1 to 2 oranges
-1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
-1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Place minced garlic on cutting board and sprinkle with kosher salt. Using flat side of chef's knife, drag garlic and salt back and forth across cutting board in small circular motions until garlic is ground into smooth paste.
2. Heat olive oil in medium saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic paste and cumin and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
3. Remove pan from heat and whisk in remaining ingredients. Transfer to bowl and cool to room temperature. Whisk sauce to recombine before serving.

Recipe from Cook's Illustrated magazine.

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Friday, August 08, 2008

homemeade pita

I had just made a batch of hummus, and for some reason I felt inspired to make my own pita bread rather than running to the market.

whole-wheat pita
I'm quite amazed at how easy these were. And how well they puffed up, although you're seeing the deflated wrinkly version.
[whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, olive oil, salt, yeast]

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

tacos

Why make tacos when they're so readily available anywhere in Southern California? I guess it's mostly for the challenge. But I'll have to say, my tacos, while good, can't keep up with the trucks.
asada tacos
It seems rather lame to have to turn to the New York Times (shame on the LA Times for not taking advantage of their own local cuisine) to get a great asada recipe. This comes from the local El Parian. And it's very, very, very good. I didn't make the chile pasilla salsa this time, but will definitely try in the future.

INGREDIENTS
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 pounds flap steak (see note)
- 2 limes, quartered (optional)
- 2 avocados, peeled and thinly sliced (optional)
- Cooked black beans (optional)
- 1 cup Oaxacan chili pasilla sauce (recipe here) (optional)
- About 12 small tortillas (optional).

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill. In a small bowl, combine the salt, black pepper and garlic powder. When the grill is very hot, place the meat on the grill, fat side down. Sprinkle half of the salt mixture over the meat and cook until nicely browned, 6 to 9 minutes. Flip and sprinkle the remaining salt mixture over the meat and cook for another 6 to 9 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees. Let rest for a few minutes, then thinly slice against the grain and serve with lime wedges, avocado slices, black beans, Oaxacan pasilla sauce and tortillas, if you choose. Serves 4 to 6.

NOTE: If you cannot find flap meat, substitute hanger or skirt steak and cook for about the same amount of time or until it reaches 140 degrees.

Recipe adapted from El Parian in Los Angeles. Published in the New York Times, July 27, 2008.

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Saturday, August 02, 2008

summertime, 3

One of the best things about summer is the abundance of amazing peaches. Oh wait, I said that in the last post.

peach "pies"
I was browsing around online and this really caught my eye because it barely touches the peaches. They're roasted, just till tender, and then set onto pastry. It's a beautiful presentation, and really showcases how great ripe peaches are. No disguising, no gelatin, just yummy peaches and fresh cream.

INGREDIENTS
Pastry Rounds
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 2 tablespoons ice water

Filling
- 4 large peaches (about 6 ounces each), sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar, plus more for sprinkling

DIRECTIONS
1. Make the pastry rounds: In a food processor, pulse the flour with the sugar and salt. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Drizzle the water over the mixture and pulse just until a dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat it into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 425°. Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time and keeping the rest refrigerated, roll the dough between 2 sheets of wax paper into a 4-inch round. Refrigerate the pastry round and repeat with the remaining dough.

3. Arrange the pastry rounds on a baking sheet and bake about 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer to a rack and let cool.

4. Make the filling: Butter a large rimmed baking sheet. Spread the peaches on the sheet and sprinkle with the granulated sugar. Roast for 15 minutes, or until the peaches are soft and slightly browned at the edges; let cool.

5. In a medium bowl, beat the heavy cream with the 1 tablespoon of confectioners' sugar until soft peaks form. Place 4 of the pastry rounds on plates. Top them with half of the peaches and half of the whipped cream. Lay a second pastry round on the cream and top with the remaining peaches and whipped cream. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar and serve immediately.

Recipe by Eric Moshier from Food & Wine magazine, July 2002

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summertime, 2

One of the best things about summer is the abundance of fresh figs.

grilled pizza and figs
We organized a playdate for our friends' kids (ok, the kids are way to young to actually know what a playdate is - it was more of an excuse to get together with their parents), and had some grilled pizzas. L&E brought over some figs from their neighbors tree, and those were amazing. The pizzas were good too. Nothing you haven't seen before. [Mozzarella, tomatoes (from my mom's garden), basil.]
[grilled pizza with mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil, figs, green salad with nectarines and almonds]

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summertime

One of the best things about summer is the abundance of amazing peaches.

belgian waffles with fresh peaches and whipped cream
This was sort of a last minute decision to have waffles, the whipped cream was left over from a family gathering involving more waffles.
[waffles, peaches, whipped cream]

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