Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Miso Catfish Sous Vide

I have to learn how to get the fish out of its sous vide package in a prettier fashion. In any case, here is a picture of the sous vide process:

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Little Dumpling Squash

To mangle The Beatles:

Little dumpling, it's been a long cold lonely winter
Little dumpling, it feels like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it's all right

So cute:

Halved the little dumpling squash lengthwise and scooped out the seeds. A little olive oil, salt, peppper, crushed red pepper, cinnamon and into the oven for about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, my sous chef browned some ground beef with salt, pepper, and soy sauce. Drained and reduced the juices and sauteed shallots and maitake mushrooms (also called "hen of the woods"... my "that looks weird, I want to eat it!" purchase at Ranch 99). It was pretty good... mild, a little nutty. Reintroduced the beef to the mixture with cooked rice and cilantro. This was the stuffing for the halved squash.

I finely chopped some cilantro leaves and stems and roughly chopped some mint. The cilantro went into the dressing my sous chef was putting together (olive oil, lime juice, red chili and garlic sauce). The dressing and mint dressed the stuffed squash. Sweet and spicy.

Pictures for Surfsister, but I think I need Soul Brother #1 to take the food photos. The little dumpling looked better than this photo and tasted way better, too:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Braised oxtail stew

I find Alton Brown entertaining and useful. He used short ribs for his stew episode, but I'm partial to oxtail... especially as I horde the small bits of vertebrae in preparation for another round of beef stock.

Seared oxtail and beef stew meat before coating it in a mixture of tomato paste, paprika, oregano, thyme, rosemary and braising it in the oven at low heat for 4 hours.

Two days later (because I didn't have time to finish on Sunday), I sauteed onion, carrots, potato, leeks, peas in beef fat before dumping the braised meat and liquid into a stock pot to soften the vegetables and serve.

Saturday, November 08, 2008


Tried out the recipe in Gourmet magazine. Pureed Parsnips with sauteed brussel sprout leaves. The combination of textures was fun. The snap of the brussel sprout leaves and the mellow flavor was good with the aromatic puree.

I think, though, I like roasted parsnips better than boiled. I like how the parsnip caramelizes when it's roasted.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

It's best not to reply

The best and worst thing about Facebook is that people from your past somehow come into your present. It's been a while since I checked in on Facebook, but this morning, while standing in line at the polls, I surfed the web on my phone and logged into Facebook to read some "status updates" - most people writing their support for Obama. One of my Facebook "friends" - a woman I knew in grade school and was in marching band with in high school, a girl who was my best friend for a couple years in junior high - was supporting McCain. Luckily, she lives in New Jersey, so her vote doesn't count (I say that jokingly as someone who has spent too many months playing with electoral maps).

Anyway, Pandora's box was open. After Obama's speech tonight, I couldn't resist getting online to check in on the status updates of my Facebook "friends." And there was her status update: "[Facebook friend] says the downfall will begin."

Seriously? I wanted to reply. Seriously? Do you think we're all going to become Communists? Or wear burkas? Or worst of all, become Communists wearing burkas?

It's best not to reply. It's late. I'm looking to pick a fight because I'm wired in such a way that I stand off from emotions and look ahead and worry. The McCain campaign revealed too many insane people who call themselves American. The crazy Halloween scrooge lady who wouldn't give candy to kids unless they supported McCain. Joe the Plumber who is voting against his interest and whose only reply to being questioned is, "Look it up yourself. Look it up and see why I believe what I do." "Terrorist"-shouting men calling to "kill him!" And not the least of all... Sarah Palin.

I live in the same country as these people. These radically religious, incurious, anti-science people share the same American citizenship as I do.

Tonight, it's best not to reply.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Roast duck and kabocha squash

I've been trying to overcome my fear of autumn/winter squashes. I've always loved how they looked, but feared that they tasted too much like a pumpkin which I've never really been fond.

So, inspired by a recent Jamie Oliver show, last night I did a riff on his warm Asian salad of roast duck and pumpkin with kabocha squash. I basically wandered the Santa Monica farmers' market after not surfing (because of fear of rainwater contamination from the first storm of the winter). I looked for interesting squash to try out. Besides the cool name, I liked how it looked like a pumpkin but wasn't.

Really lovely and sweet with a sweet potato texture after roasting in salt, pepper, and crushed red chili. The edges were nice and caramelized and it was a good counterpart to the duck. Threw it together with a spicy soy sauce lime vinaigrette, cilantro, and mint.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Sous vide

Last night, I was feeing a little like autumn, so I rigged up my own sous vide apparatus for a catfish with brussel sprout leaves. I dressed it with olive oil, shallots, thyme sprigs, and a couple cloves of crushed garlic (removed when served).

Instead of using a crazy expensive silicone wrap, I realized that I had bought Reynolds oven bags when I had a coupon and was curious as to what it was. It's been forgotten in the back of my bottom drawer until I learned about sous vide preparation. Worked beautifully.

Accompanying the fish were roasted parsnips and sauteed chanterelle and brown mushrooms.