Monday, February 23, 2009

Garlic roasted crab and seafood risotto

Dungeness crab. My first time killing things with eyes. What guilt I had was washed away with dinner.

Risotto -- much better texture than my first attempt the other day, not mushy at all. Killed clams for this dish, but they don't have eyes, do they?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Mushy, but tasty risotto

In my first attempt, I totally overcooked the risotto last night. It was fine... then it wasn't. I learned that the arborio likes to keep cooking even when you take it off the heat. Tasty, though.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Caramelized onions

I made some caramelized onions for the first time yesterday. I was folding dumplings and shu-mai, and I parked myself at the kitchen counter so I could periodically stir the onions.

As the onions seemed to melt into a delicious reddish-brown goo, I wondered aloud to my husband whether it was done. He was pan-frying some sweet potato ravioli I learned from watching Ming Tsai.

"Smells good. I think it's done. What's next?"

"This is it. I caramelized onions. That was the point."

"I thought you were working off a recipe!"

"Yeaaaahh. A recipe for caramelizing onions. That's the point. I wanted to caramelized onions."

He shook his head. He obviously doesn't get how my obsessive nature applies to food. Sure, I have ideas about putting the onions on steak maybe doing something with potatoes in the pantry. But obviously, an ingredient that takes 4 hours of periodic attention is something you prep ahead of time to keep in your fridge for a week of experimentation to come.

Already, I love me some caramelized onions with some scrambled eggs.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Dongpo Pork

Sunday's experiment was a dongpo ro (braised pork belly). Here's the recipe I kind of used.

The boy (who has some strange aversion to fat and skin) even liked it.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

100,001 wontons

Last Friday I took an Asian shellfish class mainly because I saw salt and pepper shrimp (one of my favorite Chinese restaurant dishes ever) was on the menu and partly because I wanted to check out this cooking school. We paired up and drew from a bowl to see which dish we'd be preparing that evening. I was crossing my fingers for salt and pepper shrimp, but I would have been more than happy to do garlic roasted crab, too.

Just my luck?

My partner and I drew Scallop and chive dumplings. It's not like I haven't made hundreds or thousands or HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of dumplings before. We tried to trade, but everybody was happy with their draws. So, my goal became: fold these little fuckers as fast as I can and then watch every other station cook their dish.

More luck?

I also happened to partner up with the one Taiwanese-American mother of two in the world who has never folded dumplings in her life, so no help there. My BROTHERS can fold dumplings.

When the instructor called the rest of the class over to demo the folding process, I was already out the gate and on auto-pilot while she carefully pleated her dumpling on the cutting board. Sure her dumpling was beautiful, but I'd already finished three by the time she was done. I don't think I made a friend.

To add to my annoyance, the two assistant instructors actually came over to me and asked me to show them how I was folding the dumplings. (Someone give me my class fee back!)

The dumplings tasted good (although, I question the recipe's instruction to use a food processor on scallops - puree anyone?) and I got to observe and eat all the food including giant portions of crab, so yay.

Gordon Ramsay at the London Hotel

Went to a Restaurant Week special prix fixe last night.

1020 N. San Vicente Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069


Choice 1 - Confit Beet Salad - with ricotta cheese, beetroot dressing and crispy endive
Choice 2 - Wild Mushroom Veloute - with sauteed mushrooms and chive cream
Choice 3 - Rabbit and Smoked Bacon Ballottine - with vegetable piccalilli and toasted brioche

Choice 1 - Jerusalem Artichoke Risotto - with artichoke chips, black truffle and sherry caramel reduction
Choice 2 - Crispy Pave of Sea Trout - with white cabbage and pickled ginger, kohlrabi and celeriac cream sauce
Choice 3 - Braised Ox Cheek - with port wine, horseradish creamed potatoes, glazed turnips and braising jus

Choice 1 - Chocolate Savarin - with malted milk emulsion, salted caramel ice cream and caramel powder
Choice 2 - Creme Fraiche and Quince Panna Cotta - with gingerbread ice cream
Choice 3 - Kabocha Pumpkin Chiboust - with chestnut cream and green tea gelato

Dinner also includes: Steamed Bamboo and Shiitake Mushroom Chawanmushi amuse and "Pre-Dessert".