Archive | March, 2010

Cooking with Ty

31 Mar

That’s the title of a new show we propose to the Food Network. According to Sauza, “It could be a cooking show where people randomly jump onto the set to steal the food and Ty has to fight them off by kicking them repeatedly.”

But last Saturday the only kicking Ty did was to kick off a cooking party with a bunch of Next House peeps to celebrate their helping her move to Next. As there was a large but uncertain number of confirmed guests, we scrambled to come up with a ton of different veggie dishes to complement Ty’s favorite curry. We only had one meat dish (my chicken drumsticks) and the rest of the food was still so filling and satisfying that you couldn’t tell.

Christine made a delicious and simple cauliflower bake. I haven’t eaten cauliflower in a long time and I think the simplicity of this dish makes it even more appealing.

Cheese Crusted Baked Cauliflower

2 heads cauliflower
1 cup grated cheese
salt and pepper

Line a baking tray or cake pan with aluminum foil. Preheat oven to 375. Cut cauliflower head into small chunks, about bite sized individual branches of cauliflower. Spread the cauliflower over the pan. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top, then sprinkle a thin layer of cheese. For a regular 8×12 cake pan, there will be more than enough to cover the bottom of the tray twice, so season one layer before putting the second layer on.

Cover the pan with aluminum foil. Bake until the cauliflower is tender but not mushy.

Time procrastinated: 30 minutes
To prolong procrastination: bake further until mushy, then mash into mashed cauliflower. Use as a mashed potato substitute.

I’ve recently been reading one article in GQ magazine over and over. It’s one of those “10 things you need to know” lists, but it has to do with all the essentials in the kitchen. One of them is how to make stock, and I’ve pretty much taken every bone leftover from chicken dinners and saved it to make stock. The other is how to use onion, celery, and carrots, the “trinity of home cooked flavor”, to flavor everything. The last is how to braise meat. And so I wanted to experiment with all of these things for the chicken drumsticks. Because if you don’t make drumsticks interesting, they just turn out to be boring, cheap drumsticks. But I made a dish of beautiful, improv, open braised drumsticks.

Red wine and thyme braised chicken drumsticks

1 pack of drumsticks (about 6 or 7)
1 onion
1/2 package celery heart
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup red wine
Garlic powder
Sea salt
Pepper from a peppercorn grinder
Adobo seasoning
Dried Thyme
Olive oil

Heat a baking pan on the stove with a generous drizzling of olive oil. When oil is hot, place the drumsticks in the pan side by side. They should almost cover the bottom but not be overcrowded.

Season the drumsticks as they are cooking by grinding sea salt and pepper directly on top. Also add garlic powder, adobo seasoning (optional), and thyme. Turn each drumstick so the seasoned side cooks, and season the other side.

Cook each side for a few minutes until the chicken is slightly brown and cooked on the surface. Then drizzle red wine over the chicken and let it fry on the pan for another minute.

Preheat the oven to 325. Cut and peel the onion and celery into rough chunks, and toss into the baking pan with the chicken. Pour in the cup of stock and move the whole pan into the oven. Leave the chicken uncovered, braising for about 1.5 hours.

When serving, place the drumsticks onto a plate, then if you wish you can use the drippings in the pan (along with the rest of the veggies) to top the chicken as a glaze. They can also be saved to use in future chicken stock.

Time to procrastinate: 2 hours
To prolong procrastination: Take the remaining bones and drippings and make more chicken stock.

Other pictures of the cooking can be seen at my photo blog:

Next House Dinner Photos

San Francisco International Chocolate Salon

24 Mar

This week is MIT’s spring break, so I’m home for a six days of stuffing my face. First up? The San Francisco International Chocolate Salon. Tons of chocolatiers from near and far came to offer samples and sell their wares. There were dark chocolates, milk chocolates, white chocolates, marshmallows, truffles, caramels, toffees, and everything in between. In other words, a dream come true.

Unfortunately, I’d left my camera in my dorm room back in Cambridge, so all of these pictures were taken by the lovely Anne.

The day started with a stop at the Socola booth. Socola, which means “chocolate” in Vietnamese, is run by two sisters in Oakland who hand-make all of their chocolates. I absolutely LOVED Hot Lava, the truffle with raspberry pate de fruit and champagne. The raspberry flavor dominates the truffle, and the champagne flavor is much more subdued. I bought a 12-pack with Hot Lava, Give it to me Guava (guava pate de fruit), Jasmine Tea (with err…jasmine tea), Shakesbeer Stout (Rogue Brewery Shakespeare Stout), and Vietnamese Ca Phe Sua (Vietnamese espresso with condensed milk).

Next up was arguably the best chocolate I ate all day. Kika’s Treats had a new product — a dark chocolate palm sugar caramel that was mindblowingly delicious. The caramels were chewy with a very deep flavor and, luckily for me, they weren’t too sweet. Apparently, everyone else at the salon thought so too, as their sample tray was almost always empty. They also had caramelized graham crackers, which were great as well. I really wanted to bring some home with me, but at $9 for a pack of 3 caramels, the price was too steep.

These passion fruit caramels from Amella Caramels came a close second as my favorite chocolates at the salon. Passion fruit is, in my mind, the world’s most wonderful fruit, so I might be a little biased. The flavor in these caramels was a bit too much, completely overpowering the taste of chocolate wrapped around them. Amella had a bunch of other fruit caramels as well, but we didn’t get a picture of their display. This is the caramel that I bought.

Cheese samples from Marin French Cheese was a welcome savory break. Their brie was especially good, and I discovered that goat cheese is most definitely Not My Thing.

These guys from Edible Love Chocolates came in full costume with a big velour tent as their display–intense. I tried their absinthe truffle, which was waayyy too strong for my tastes. I’m sure Bobby would’ve liked them, though.

I don’t particularly remember many of the other chocolates because after about an hour of tasting, my brain had just about melted from chocolate overload. Following are a few more pictures from the event.

Clee, Anne, and me with all of our loot and the glorious warehouse behind us. Even though we brought back so much chocolate, I don’t think I’ll be able to eat one for another month. Sad, but it’ll be helpful for cutting weight, I suppose…

spring rolls

5 Mar

Christine Chin (Big Christine) came over the other week and we made spring rolls. I don’t remember what the occasion was, but we just really wanted to fry up some crispy veggie spring rolls.

Spring is on its way Rolls


For Filling:

4 carrots
1 large stalk celery
4 eggs
1 egg, separated into white and yolk

For Dipping Sauce:

2 cloves garlic
Soy Sauce
1 green onion, chopped

Julienne or dice the carrots and celery. If possible, use a slicer to cut them into long thin strips. In a wok, heat oil until it starts to sizzle, then quickly stir fry the carrots and celery, adding salt and pepper to taste. Remove them from the heat when carrots are starting to get tender.

Scramble 4 eggs and the extra egg yolk, and make into a flat omelette. Remove from heat and slice the egg into strips.

To wrap the spring rolls, place a small bunch of the carrots and celery in the middle of a wrap. Top with a few strips of egg. Take two opposite corners and fold them toward each other so the tips overlap a little bit. Then, fold the wrap in half by bringing the other two corners together. From there, roll the middle toward the corners until you have a nice spring roll.

Hand model: Christine Chin

Take egg white and dab it on the edge of the wrapper so that it sticks together. For thicker and crunchier rolls, use two wraps for each roll.

When you’ve filled up a tray of spring rolls, heat up oil in a wok until it starts to smoke. There should be enough oil to cover a bit more than half of the spring roll. Fry the rolls for about a minute until the skin begins to crisp, then turn them and fry the other side. When both sides are crispy but not burnt, take the spring rolls out of the oil and let the excess oil drain over a paper towel.

Mix together the sauce by adding chopped garlic and green onion to a cup of soy sauce. add a tablespoon of gochujang for spiciness, and some sugar to taste.

Hand model: Anye Li

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