Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bunnies!

Not a lot to report with the little guys these days, but a few adorable pictures. I love how my little toothless lops just completely zonk out in the cave... ears flopping over... completely oblivious.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sunday Cookbook Adventures: Momofuku 48-hour Short Ribs

This recipe wasn't at the top of my queue initially, but shot to the top of my queue immediately when I bought myself a new toy: the Sous Vide Supreme. I'll rave about that as it comes up in the post, but let's start with the food...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Everyday Yumminess: Corn Salad

Possibly the best thing about summer is corn coming into season. I can't get enough of fresh, sweet, delicious summer corn... I was having a hard-core green bean craving heading into the weekend (which has never happened to me before... but the heart wants what it wants...) so I went looking for something that could combine these two vegetables. What I stumbled upon was a quick and easy recipe for Warm Corn Salad with Green Beans, Radishes, and Fresh Thyme.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sunday Cookbook Adventures: Scallop Fest

I did something a little different with my cookbook adventure this weekend. I could pretend it was inspired by something clever (like this great article), but in reality it was sort of random. I needed to drive out to Sherborn to pick up 70 pounds of hay for the rabbits at (the totally awesome) Sweet Meadow Farms, and it just so happens that the place where I buy kick-ass diver scallops is directly on the way home from there. This was clearly a sign from above that I should be cooking scallops this weekend. I couldn't decide which scallop dish to make, torn between a simple-yet-elegant recipe from the Gourmet cookbook and a somewhat-fussier recipe from the Momofuku cookbook. Not in the mood for tough decisions, the easiest solution seemed to be to make both. This sets up a bit of a competition: Who will win? Mainstream cooking magazine (with a few modifications from me) or fancy-pants restaurant cookbook?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sommelier Smackdown!

After a brief hiatus, Sommelier Smackdown made its triumphant return on Thursday. Ben, Joe, Ben's Special Lady Friend, and Joe's housemate met up with me at Gordon's for the event. Paul Turano and Anne Moynihan from Tryst were back as our chefs, and Brahm Callahan from Post 390 (below, right) returned as the reigning champion sommelier. His challenger was Todd Lipman from Bin 26 (below, left).
Brahm had quickly become one of our favorite contenders at these events, so we were glad to have him back. He manages to be incredibly knowledgeable about wine without coming off as a pompous ass about it. I don't like to post negative things about people here, so I won't comment on Todd's personality. Anyway... The menu was pretty awesome, as has consistently been the case with Paul Turano at the helm...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

My Parents' Visit: Food, food, food, and more food...

I dropped my parents off at the airport today after a really nice visit of a little over a week. They did a lot of tourist stuff in DC before they got to Boston and the weather was pretty gross, so it was a relatively uneventful visit in terms of ever leaving my apartment... but there was a lot of good cooking and many competitive games of Scrabble. We made some good progress with bonding the rabbits while we sat out on the porch in a few hours of bearable weather. Charley really likes Rico now, and just needs to figure out how to express it in an appropriate way. Rico is being extraordinarily patient with him, and things continue moving in the right direction...
My Kaffir Lime tree is not only not-dead, but is actually thriving. My parents spotted a couple small places where new grown was just beginning to show when they got here, and there are now 8-inch branches in those spots. (It's grown even more in the day since I last took pictures, actually...)
Check out these two shots of the same growth two days apart:Pretty impressive, no? I'm psyched... Oh, and speaking of impressive: I learned that my dad has artistic talent other than music (who knew?) when he impressively replicated the Ad Hoc at Home cover on my kitchen chalkboard (since that book spent so much time in my kitchen during the week)...
Aside from that, most of our activities revolved around cooking great meals (and tracking down great ingredients at Russo's, Blood Farm, and H-Mart). Here's a look at the Culinary Week in Review. On Friday, I had to work all day and decided it would be a great time to take my parents up on their offer to cook me dinner. We went with the simple-yet-delicious Donna Hay Classic of Grilled Chicken with Warm Lemon Couscous.
On Saturday, I thought the traditional "Welcome to Boston" meal of Lobster and steak was in order... We picked up four lobsters (from the left, they are Bob, Mr. Pinchy, Bob II, and Mr. Pinchy II), three for dinner and one for seafood sausage later...
A little grilled corn, some perfectly grilled Blood Farm Rib-eye, tender and delicious lobster, and a bit of (Amish) butter... You can't really go wrong with that.
On Sunday, which was, coincidentally, the Fourth of July, we decided to make the World's Greatest Fried Chicken. (Very patriotic of us, don't you think?) As the name suggests, it was pretty effing awesome....
On Monday (pardon the recycled picture...), we enjoyed dinner of Totally Awesome Seafood Sausage from my kick-ass Charcuterie cookbook...
Tuesday featured a trip out to Blood Farm, and a dinner of Pork Shoulder Steaks cooked sous vide and accompanied by the Momofuku Homemade Ranch Dressing and some charred zucchini and onion. It was the bomb, and will definitely enter the summer rotation...
We were hoping to do the Marinated Skirt Steak recipe from Ad Hoc at Home on Wednesday, but Blood Farm was out of skirt steak so we ended up having to use flank steak instead. The marinade was amazing, and my dad grilled the steaks perfectly. so they were tender and delicious. My mom, meanwhile, made a fantastic batch of homemade biscuits that we topped with the Bay Leaf Butter that I whipped up... Along with some grilled asparagus, this was a great reminder of how great simple food can be.
Speaking of Bay Leaf Butter, Thursday morning featured our foray into the world of Momofuku's Homemade English Muffins with Bay Leaf Butter, which we then converted into some awesome Eggs Benedict for a late brunch. As I mentioned in the linked post, they were pretty much the best English muffins in the history of English muffins...
Because that wasn't enough culinary awesome for one day, we completed prep on the Ad Hoc at Home Pork Belly Confit recipe for dinner. The broccoli rabe with chili flakes and garlic was a perfect side dish, and the pork belly recipe will serve as a good starting point when I tweak it (from oven-baked in a vat of fat to cooked sous vide while surrounded by a thin film of fat) in the future. Oh, and it was really really delicious, too...
Finally, Friday was the day we would assemble our Momofuku Bánh Mì. Because the baguette was still in the process of completing its final rise when dinner time rolled around, I pulled some steamed buns and pork belly out of the freezer to impress my parents with a quick, zero-effort appetizer of Momofuku Pork Buns...
From there it was on to the main event: Momofuku Bánh Mì. Not sure if my parents loved this as much as I did, since they don't have the same memories associated with these flavors that I do, but I thought it was pretty great and a fun dish to prepare.
So, there you have it. A week of vacationing at home with some culinarily adventurous guests. I think the moral of this post for any friends reading it is something along the lines of "Come visit me! I'll cook you yummy food!"... Then again, it would probably be easiest if you just move to the Boston metro area instead. Think about it...

Sunday Cookbook Adventures: Momofuku Bánh Mì

As I've rambled about before, Bánh Mì is one of my very favorite foods on the planet. I first fell in love in Melbourne when I discovered a AU$3 sandwich called the Vietnamese Pork Roll at the Vietnamese Hot Bread Bakery a block from my apartment. I ordered this sandwich pretty much at random one day, as I realized while walking home from the tram that I was starving to death, and proceeded to have it blow my mind. From that day forward I stopped for one almost every week, and since I left Melbourne I often find myself craving a nice, crusty, pork-y Bánh Mì.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Sunday Cookbook Adventures: Ad Hoc Pork Belly Confit

Since first cracking open Momofuku, I've cooked my share of pork belly. I like David Chang's slow-cooked-in-the-oven method, which he notes is similar to a confit, since the pork belly bastes itself with its own rendered fat as it slowly cooks. I love Thomas Keller's sous vide method, with the beautiful flavor of the brined pork and the meltingly tender meat that results. Not content to stop at two solid techniques, though, I decided to check out Thomas Keller's Pork Belly Confit recipe from Ad Hoc at Home.

Sunday Cookbook Adventures: Momofuku English Muffins with Bay Leaf Butter

Flipping through Momofuku the other day, I saw that David Chang gives a recipe for English muffins... which are one of my favorite vessels for delivering poached egg and Hollandaise from a plate to my mouth. He also includes a recipe for Bay Leaf Butter, to be used on the English muffins, which rumors had indicated to be completely fantastic. Turns out the rumors about the butter were true, and also that these were the best English muffins I've ever had.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sunday Cookbook Adventures: Momofuku Pork Steak Update

Back in April, I made the brilliant-yet-easy Momofuku Pork Shoulder Steak with Ranch Dressing recipe. I was in love with the pork shoulder steak as a cut of meat, but the meal didn't feel complete... I came back to that recipe this week to show my parents how delicious pork shoulder steak can be...

Sunday Cookbook Adventures: Ad Hoc Fried Chicken

I'll be honest: I find the design of Ad Hoc at Home to be fairly obnoxious. All of the chalkboard sketches and pictures of Thomas Keller grinning like an idiot? Yeah. I could live without those... I guess the idea was to make a cookbook that was more accessible and/or less intimidating, but that's really not what I'm looking for when I turn to Thomas Keller. I'd flipped through the book a few times, but always got irritated and gave up on looking through it before I found anything I wanted to cook. Nonetheless, word on the street was that the fried chicken recipe is awesome, and my friend over at jun-blog had made the recipe at home with impressive results. (The recipe is included in his post, by the way, if you'd like to try this at home...) My parents are in town visiting, so I figured it would be a good time to try the recipe out. (I don't want to fry a whole chicken for myself, and I don't like experimenting with new dishes for people who aren't family or the close-friend equivalent of family...) In the end, it turns out that even Thomas Keller's most annoying cookbook has some great recipes...