Sunday, December 20, 2009
My mother-in-law's kitchen: eggs purchased from the woman who collected them, natch. The yolks, and the salmon colored scrambled eggs that result, put me off the first time. Here's a typical yolk, and a lighter one like I'm used to.
In Hebrew, a man gets hit in the eggs, not the balls.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
I figure no better welcome to Israel than oranges picked a few minutes before from the tree in the neighbor's yard. These were a little more tart than I like, so dusted with coarse crystalline sugar.
Note the poser japanese knife with the holes in the blade to look cool. Poor edge, poor balance, plastic handle. My mother-in-law does not care about knives. Ick. I koshered my santoku so I could give these oranges the jewel like cuts they deserved; they still bled everywhere.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Here's the tail of a pollock I filleted... ended up not being crazy for the taste -- maybe I'm just spoiled - and I ended up putting some in chowder, and frying some down for yam pla dook foo (see entry 'exploded codfish'). Anyway, I thought it was a striking picture. The knife is a Deba, roughly a small japanese cleaver (thick blade) that seems to walk through bones and joints that stymie larger knives.
I don't cook beef much (except for hotdogs, aka EZ protein rations), but roast beef ends were on sale at Market Basket. Here they are two ways: as a simple stir fry with green beans (ginger, garlic, sesame oil, a good light soy sauce) and better yet, a cast iron platter with sauteed mushrooms, two over easy, and roast beef hash. Rrrrrr!
Friday, November 20, 2009
There was this kid's magazine when I was little, Jack and Jill, that had a food page, and more than once they recommended a hot dog with peanut butter. My kids wouldn't eat a fried hotdog, preferring the blemishless skin of a microwaved dog, and I couldn't throw them out. Slapped them down on a fresh roll with natural peanut butter, and -- inspiration -- that sweet thai chili sauce that's perfect for this, basically a hot pepper and garlic jelly. And generic diet cream soda, they should ban that stuff.
They're not half bad, and I didn't have to throw out the hotdog or hide it in my next batch of stuffed quahogs. If you think it's wierd, I bet you wouldn't flinch at a beef satay. Unless you're a vegetarian in which case, yeah. It's gross.
Thank goodness for the new market basket... now I have thai chili peppers within a five minute drive... the red are considerably hotter; this made a pretty display and three levels of heat. I'd estimate them to be 125, 000, 175,000, and 250,000 Scoville units respectively. The title is the name for these in Thai, translated as mouse shit (or rat shit) peppers.
Why settle for blacked salmon when you could have some of my 'charred beyond recognition' salmon? Actually, most of it was great, but I did have a cast iron plate directly on coals, and the piece that was over a hotspot, well.... I palmed that one off on myself. I tend to like things burned anyway. Salmon dusted with some barbecue rub or other. I think they're mostly the same (salt, cayenne, onion, garlic, etc) but this one did have humorous copy on the side ('stimmalates the flesh...') Forgot to get a final picture in the rush. Served with a chili pepper/sushi vinegar/lime/fish sauce dressing. Incidentally, this salmon was cooked on scrap wood from the construction site next door.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
You know what I mean. Do regular people bother to do this?
The shells are from a nearby processing facility -- I'm not saying which in case they stop leaving the shells out where i can get them. The clams are chopped surf clams from intershell -- actually not the same species that provides the shell.
Bacon-fried turkey (so I can at least tell the wife I have not brought pork in the house), fish stock, bread crumbs, browned onion, chopped clams. Broil and eat with hot sauce. These were damned good, and I have to make more.
This week's New Yorker has an article on Johnathan Gold -- the only food writer to win a Pulitzer -- ending with the owner of a Thai restaurant he put on the map thanking him with this dish Bret (nrnfoodwriter.blogspot.com) showed in Bangkok back in 98. Gold seems thrilled, but I can't see how he didn't find this one before.
Bret observed that learning this dish changed my life, and he's right. It's the Thai love for balancing flavors stripped down to bare bones, and experimenting with it taught me a lot about balancing flavors. This one is a little ersatz. I didn't have toasted unsweetened coconut, so I fried up some noodles, and used sweet onion instead of buying shallots that were four times as expensive. Palm sugar syrup to top. Good eats.
Well, it's better than 'floundering around'. From the docks down the street. I think it would be better to prepare them singly, though... the structure of the fish kind of got lost. I don't have an 'after' picture, because it was shabbat.
Fresh whole cod from just down the street, did a pretty mediocre filleting job and split it with Betsy. I dropped the fillets onto a sizzling hot cast iron dish, sprinkled with caramelized mirepoix, and put under the broiler until just done. Don't need nothing but a slice of lemon after that. Wicked yummy.
Hot, Salted in-shell edamame, some for dinner and some packed into my wife's lunch the next day. I buy them frozen in chinatown. Probably some nasty genetically modified, pesticided god-knows-what in there, but that's probably unavoidable and they're tasty.
I save the least scrap when I trim chicken. When I've saved up enough -- often coinciding with cleaning the freezer -- I make a broth by boiling them with the requisite vegetables. I used this batch to beef --well, chicken -- up some soup my wife thought was only buillion. She said something about 'this is why I can't be vegetarian'.
Fresh cut pineapple with salt/cayenne dip. I'd normally put some sugar in that, too, but this pineapple was at peak sweetness, just about to turn past fresh. It's good with barbecue rub, too, if you can stand the onion. Shout out to the memory of Richard Haley, who pre-humously came up with the tag line. It's hard to do it the other way.
Dur. Damned if I'll pay $1.00 for the ones from the Y vending machine when these can't be much more than a dime each. A double batch disappears in about a day and a half if I don't ration them. The stringiness while mixing has a definite sci-fi movie feel.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
The playground closest to my house has ocean on two sides at high tide. When my kids were smaller, I kept a saturday night special of a fishing rod tucked in the stroller, a snub nosed child's model strung with 12 pound test. Anyway, one day it was high tide and the mackerel were just slamming off the playground, and the baitfish were so packed in desperation that I caught them by hand. I managed to get two - of course, someone probably could have kidnapped my kids while I tried -- and brought them home victorious, double jogger in one hand and bloody fish in the other. My wife, who thinks fish come in little plastic packages, was satisfyingly disgusted. I tried to filet them, which was silly. Where I live, fish this size are called 'bait'.
We were talking about Israel, and I had this beautiful pomegranate from Market Basket, and one thing led to another, and... anyway, it was delicious, but don't start into one of these babies when you still have to get the kids ready for the bus.
Don't tell the folks at nintendo. The 'before frosting' picture looks amazing, but it's actually a package each of Duncan Hines vanilla and chocolate ($1.00 each, god knows when they actualy boxed it), so it's crap. But a fun and cheap medium. I'm sorry I outlined him only in pink, meant to do dark blue later but never had the time. Cakachu looked better, back in August. Used chocolate syrup to outline him.
Fresh haddock, breaded and fried, the night I cooked it, and the next night as leftovers. Eaten from the plastic container I nuked it in -- probably shouldn't do that -- with a side of mayo mixed with sriracha, diced fresh green thai chilis, and a little rice vinegar. Just too hot, which is perfect. Wife tried some and said 'are you crazy?!'
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
It was either that, or 'The Man From Miflard'. Miflard: 'Make It Feel Like A Real Dinner' (duh). This is important firstly for socializing little boys (especially PDD ones with the attention span of a collembolan), and second for making something like a hot dog and white rice feel a little more special. I always have a dish of green olives and sliced, good dill pickles for the kids. Maybe some sliced orange. Frankly, they may not eat it, but the formality is reflected in good behavior.
For the grownups, maybe fancy it up with a variety of olives, crudite with house dressing for dipping, and an avocado salad. Some raw vegetables and knifework and viola, Miflard!
Sunday, October 25, 2009
My kubana, known on two continents. Kubana is an overnight bread, made for a low oven the night before the sabbath. I made my first as a surprise for my homesick wife years ago... in the wee hours of the morning, she said 'is that kubana?' My mother in law was shocked I could find a recipe on the internet. It's sort of a monkey bread, balls of dough dipped traditionally in ghee (I use margarine) and baked in a sealed container to survive 12 hours of heat.
Anyway, this one here is part of a traditional Yemenite breakfast, with hardboiled eggs, salad, and s'chug (pictured chili pepper and spice paste, ch as in 'ach') made specially for me in Israel (no cilantro, wicked hot peppers) by someone's grandmother. You can tell this breakfast is authentic by the gesture of the hand on the right, either demanding an explanation or telling someone off. Notice also my jar of srirachi, or "Chinese s'chug".
OK, so I started getting carried away. The boys thought it was funny, and we had a neat, if brief, side discussion. I think I could do two more iterations, maybe if I chilled it first to harden it, but the joke's been made. This isn't about my cheesemanship.
Turkey Bacon Lettuce and Tomato, except turkey bacon -- the kind that comes in strips that sort of resemble real bacon -- turns me off. These are turkey cold cut ends (cheap at market basket) julienned and deep fried to cracklings.
It makes for a perfectly tasty TBLT. It's an approximation, just as the turkey I use is an approximation of Kosher, which my wife would prefer. End of the turkey cracklin's served as something like pancetta, on leftover linguine with olive oil, a little salt, and chopped fresh green thai chilies.