Hot Pink Sauerkraut

This was our first attempt at making our own sauerkraut and it came out beautifully. It is hot pink because we used half purple cabbage and half regular green cabbage. We also added shredded carrots and caraway seeds. I accidentally went a little heavy on the caraway; it was strong, but still tasty. "Less is more" next time. I found this to be great in a salad or as a great sandwich topping.  We used a German-style ceramic crock to ferment this in, but you can use almost any container, even these jars. If you want to more about making your own kraut, I suggest you read anything by Sandor Katz.

Glorious Egg Noodles

We may have a slight addiction to these egg noodles in their simple but satisfying broth. This is one of my favorite "hangover" foods; so good it feeds your soul. I don't even need all the fancy toppings, just give me the noodles and broth and I'm set because they're both so good! In San Diego, we used to go to Minh Ky on El Cajon, but we discovered Tim Ky in Mira Mesa is almost as good.  I believe we posted about Minh Ky before, but these two bowls of goodness are from Tim Ky. I wonder if anyone else adores these egg noodle soups as much as we do.

Falafel

This is the first time we ever made our own falafel. I was intimidated but it was surprisingly easy. Aside from the fact that deep-frying at home sucks, that is. We also discovered that the fresh parsley makes a big difference in the flavor and they tasted much better after we added some. These are also great paired with homemade tzatziki sauce. There are lots of recipes on the web, so I thought I'd point you to one rather than try to reinvent the wheel. We made lots of tzatziki when we got dill in our CSA box. Anyone else have advice on what to do with copious amounts of dill other than chopping and freezing them?

Japanese Curry

On my last day home from work, I made this bowl for my fiancee. We both had a standing curry craving. The base is Takikomi Gohan (mixed rice with age[fried tofu], carrots and mushrooms). On a friend's suggestion, we cut a full portion of S&B Golden Curry Extra Hot with 1/3 of a package of Vermont Curry for some sweetness. I topped it off with an onsen tamago. A great weekend treat!

With the instant curry I feel like I can never get the meat tender enough as it doesn't braise long enough. For the next batch I think I will braise the meat separately before introducing the vegetables and the roux mix.

We then invited our friends over for Japanese beer and curry night. We discovered this astoundingly delicious Koshihikari Echigo beer at our neighborhood Korean market.

Makan Makan!

Roti canai

Roti canai

Bak kut teh

Bak kut teh

CURRY PUFFS!!!

CURRY PUFFS!!!

Makan means 'eat' in Bahasa Malaysia.  I have been searching relentlessly for good Malaysian food in the US. We got the idea from going to this place from watching the last season of The Taste. Team Anthony Bourdain went here, and if you know anything about him, you know he knows his Southeast Asian cuisine, so it had to be good. So far this is the best Malay/Indonesian restaurant I’ve found in SoCal, maybe even in the US. Above, you can see the roti canai, bak kut teh, and my favorite… curry puffs!

Fred's Market - Southern Food

Fried Fish Sliders

Fried Fish Sliders

Fred’s Market is a small chain that we found in Florida. They have the most amazing southern buffet and they have a great deal where they give you a discount if you eat everything on your plate. It’s awesome that they reward people for not wasting food at the buffet.  The dish pictured here is fried fish sliders and sweet potato fries. It was very yummy!  I hope you can make it to a Fred’s someday.

Dunder BOMB

Look at that glory

Look at that glory

It's massive!

It's massive!

Holy moly, this sandwich was insane. Occasionally, we liked to go to trivia night at a wonderful place called Mr. Dunderbak’s. It is a German restaurant and biergarten. This is a picture of their epic sandwich called a Dunder Von Bomb. In between the bread is fried egg, potato pancakes, pork schnitzel, bacon, onion rings, and spicy sauce. It was over the top, ridiculous, sinful, and oh so delicious! Good thing we don’t do this often!

Dinner for Two

filet.jpg

My boyfriend made this for me as a welcome home dinner after we’d been apart for a while. It was a very memorable meal!  It had such light, delicate, refined flavors. It was bok choy, a white fish filet, some delectable Jasmine rice and cherry tomatoes with fish sauce.  We discovered that simply tossing raw cherry tomatoes in fish sauce makes an amazingly delicious side dish or appetizer. Also, the fish is dressed with a coconut sauce that my boyfriend made with lemongrass, galangal, and other aromatic spices.  

We also paired this with one of our favorite drinks - koi shiso.  We discovered it’s existence in Hawaii. It’s flavored with red shiso, which is one of my favorite flavors ever!  It’s being displayed here in our fancy decanter and glasses that I bought for my boyfriend as a gift from Korin.

Que Bonita Bonito

Oh man, this is one of my favorite pictures. I like to make dashi the traditional way, with bonito and kombu, and this is how I make use of the bonito after using it for stock.  For those who have no clue what I’m talking about, look here.

With your leftover bonito, take a small amount and try to pull it apart into as many individual pieces as possible, but don’t fuss too much if they’re stuck together.  Lay them out in a thin layer of a large dry pan and heat them on low heat until they are dehydrated again. Then add in equal parts soy sauce and mirin to taste and keep heating on low until almost all of the liquid is gone. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve over rice. It’s a crispy, delightful furikake!  

This recipe came to me by way of one of my best friends who is Japanese-American and who currently lives in Japan, and I am a dope for not visiting her yet! >.<

Nasi Lemak Lover Zhong Zi

While not being traditional at all, these were quite fun to make.  We had an abundance of sweet rice that needed to be used up so we decided to make some zongzi ( 粽子). Instead of traditional filling though, we filled them with some really spectacular-tasting curry chicken.  We found the recipe here on Nasi Lemak Lover’s blog (I do love nasi lemak).

Unfortunately our zongzi didn’t come out as good as the chicken did because our assembly skills need work.  Later I will post more about traditional zongzi because we got a good tutorial from my boyfriend’s mom. I still don’t have it down though.  I think I need another lesson!

Ono Grinds

So it’s not the greatest picture but it’s the only one I have of our spread at Ono Hawaiian Foods in Oahu.  This was a couple years ago now, but I remember the pork being very salty, the poi (grayish sludge on the top left) being very bland, and the raw onions being too strong for me.  However, the little white squares next to the poi, which I think are haupia, were very delicious and light. Also, the piece of beef under those tomatoes in the bottom left was also delicious.  Personally, I am not a fan of most traditional Hawaiian cuisine, but it’s purely due to personal preference.  I highly recommend trying it out and seeing what you think for yourself. =)

A Baking Fool

I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since I started this project of maintaining my own sourdough starter and baking artisan loaves in the style of Chad Robertson at Tartine in San Francisco!  This is the loaf I pulled out this morning and it’s the most beautiful one I’ve baked yet.

This loaf is very significant to me because it’s the first time I upped the percentage of whole wheat in my dough. This was a 50/50 mix of whole wheat flour and unbleached AP white flour.  It was also the highest hydration dough I have ever baked.  I normally stay around 75-80% hydration but this bread was somewhere around 90 or 95% hydrated!  I was aiming for 85% but accidentally added too much water when I was measuring it.  On top of that, the chopped green chile I added was sitting in it’s own liquid since it was previously frozen, so it added even more water.  I was afraid the dough was ruined but I decided to press on and I’m so glad I did!  Deeeeeeeeelicious!!!

Tartine Trinity

Last February I read Michael Pollan’s book Cooked and it really set me on fire! It’s by far one of the most inspirational books I’ve ever read. One of the results of reading the book is that I immediately went to work learning how to make Tartine-style sourdough bread.  After about a month of trial and error, here are some of the first loaves that actually started to turn out well.

I decided to make a trinity of loaves for last Easter’s dinner. In the lower picture, from top to bottom: a sunflower seed loaf, a pine nut loaf, and a plain loaf.  Boy oh boy were they good! I have to thank my boyfriend for buying me the Tartine cookbook as a gift!

Midnight Snackin'

Here’s a funky late night snack —

I took some of my mom’s leftover potato salad, mixed in some spicy Indian snack mix (fried chickpea flour and the like, I bought it from a Patel Brother’s market), put it on some toast and sprinkled it with paprika. The snack mix gave it a good crunch for contrast, as well as a nice kick.

Mmm mmm it sure was delicious, but then again maybe I am a bit quirky.  All I can say is, don’t knock it ‘til you try it.

Sun Noodle Fun

We saw a wonderful post on Umamimart about his recreation of the ramen burger in New York:

Motoism - Ramen Burger

He used noodles from Sun Noodles, which are a family company that makes noodles for Momofuku, Segataya, and many other top ramen joints in the US.

Bon Appetit profile of Sun Noodles

Well, no ramen burger this week (it will be done!), but we had to try Sun Noodles. It was quite easy to find in our local Japanese grocery stores, and it had the simplest packaging.

This here is their Tantanmen. We used chicken broth instead of water with their sauce packet, and added nori, a poached egg, scallions, spinach, and shiitake. It was mind-blowingly good for homemade ramen. We’re still going out for tonkotsu, but this makes many lesser ramen joints irrelevant.