Slow-Poached Eggs

DSC_0090This is a pretty straightforward process that I learned from the Momofuku cookbook. The result is an egg that is evenly soft poached all the way through. From whites to yolk. The texture is creamy, almost gelatinous.

They are great in a bowl of ramen, but, also wonderful for breakfast on top of grits, ham and sautéed kale. Or eat them soft boiled style.

The idea is to cook the eggs in their shell for 45 minutes in water that is at a consistent 140-145 degrees. So, keep a bowl of ice nearby in case you need to cool the water. And the eggs should never touch the bottom of the pot, where the temperature is high, so, I use a steamer basket. For more details or just for fun check out the Momofuku cookbook.

Tools and ingredients

6 eggs
steamer basket
4 quart pot
cooking thermometer
water
ice

  1. Place open steamer basket in pot.
  2. Bring water to 140-145 degrees.
  3. Add eggs.
  4. Cook for 45 minutes. Checking the temperature frequently, lowering with ice as needed.
  5. Serve immediately or store up to 24 hours
  6. To serve, just crack egg into a small saucer and tip over to discard the loosest parts of the whites.

A Bowl of Tonkotsu Miso Ramen

ramen3

David Chang is out to torture us! We were glued to the screen as Chef Chang heartily slurped away through bowl after bowl of ramen on Mind of a Chef (season 1). His unabashed enthusiasm and his bliss inspired envy in our bellies and watered our mouths. With each episode featuring this hot, delicious Japanese noodle soup, our craving grew stronger. Having no ramen joint in Tucson, I was left with no choice but to concoct my own bowl. I drove myself to the local Asian market to buy ingredients to make a pot of my own.

My intention was to make the Momofuku broth, but, on this particular grocery run, they had run out of chicken backs. So, I improvised the recipe below based on what was available: pig feet and pork necks. Miso was added for umami and bacon at the very end for a distinct smokiness. I used kombu and dried shiitake to layer the flavors and a combination vegetables to deepen the broth. I waited until the end to taste, season, add to and refine the broth with what I had on hand. Goodness ensued. This is our favorite homemade broth thus far.

Fresh ramen noodles are non-existent at Asian grocers in Tucson, so made my own (see link for recipe). I’ve tried substituting Chinese wonton style noodles before. They’re too thin and soft and don’t quite have that bite. If you can find it, a suitable substitute for homemade are the noodles from refrigerated ramen packages. They usually come with their own broth seasoning. Just toss the seasoning and boil the noodles according to package directions and use with your broth.

Making ramen is a time consuming process, but, a satisfying one. So, if you haven’t watched Mind of a Chef, I recommend watching it on Netflix while your broth is stewing away. It’s inspiring, funny and entertaining.

Tonkotsu Miso Ramen
Makes 4 large bowls

1 recipe of Serious Eats’ Chashu Pork, reserve all liquid
1 recipe Ramen Noodles from norecipes.com
Slow-poached eggs

Suggestions for Ramen garnishes
Thinly sliced greens of green onions
Julienned ginger, very thin
Thin slices of fresh shitake
Enokitake mushrooms
Thin slices of Japanese fish cake
Sweet corn, cooked
Butter
Nori
Slices of bok choy or other Asian greens
Thinly sized Charshu Pork
Slow cooked eggs

Tonkatsu Miso Broth
2.5 lb pork feet
2.5 lbs. pork neck bones
1-4”x5” sheet of kombu seaweed
1 ½ cup of dried shiitake mushrooms
2 carrots, peeled, trimmed and halved
2 small onion, halved
1 leek, trimmed of greens split length-wise and washed
1 dozen whites of green onions (save greens for garnish)
2 slices of bacon (I use Nueske’s Applewood smoked)
2-5 Tbsp. white miso
¼ to 1 cup of braising liquid from Chashu

Before starting broth, do steps 1 in ramen noodle recipe, so your dough has time to rest. Let it rest at least 4 hours, preferably overnight before rolling out and cutting. I also start cooking the Charshu pork while the broth is simmering (step 10 below).

Cooking the broth

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a rimmed cookie sheet, place pork bones in one layer. Roast for 30 minutes.
  3. While bones are roasting, fill 10 quart pot ¾ of the way full with water. Add kombu and bring to a boil.
  4. Turn off heat and let flavor steep for 10 minutes. Remove and discard kombu.
  5. Add dried shiitake mushrooms to pot, bring back to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
  6. Strain and discard mushrooms.
  7. Add bones and fond from cookie sheet to pot and bring to a simmer. I deglaze fond with a couple ladles of the hot cooking liquid.
  8. Add carrots and cover.
  9. Roast onions, leek and scallion in pan or over stove until lightly charred and add to broth.
  10. Cover and simmer for 2 hours.
  11. Remove vegetables and strain liquids into a bowl by pressing pieces through a strainer. Pour liquid back into pot. Discard vegetables.
  12. Cover and simmer for additional 4-6 hours.
  13. Add bacon, boil for 30 minutes, uncovered.
  14. Season with ¼ to 1 cup of liquid from Chashu Pork and 2-5 Tbsp. of miso according to taste. Add a little of each at a time, let the flavors blend for a minute or 2, then taste.

Assembling a bowl of ramen

  1. Boil ramen noodles for 1-2 minutes until al-dente, strain and add to bowl.
  2. Layer your choice of garnishes.
  3. Pour boiling broth over and serve.

Banh Mi Tacos

Banh Mi in Vietnamese translates to bread. Just bread. But, we’ve all come to associate it with Vietnamese sandwiches. A concoction of your choice of meat with pickled daikon and carrots, crispy cucumber and fresh cilantro. So, Banh Mi Tacos (Bread Taco) should really be called Banh Tacos. Potato, po-ta-toh. Whatever you choose to call it, it’s delicious!

This recipe came out of a happy accident. We were making regular Banh Mis and ran out of baguette, but, had a bag of small tortillas. I’m sure someone, somewhere must’ve of thought of this before, however, this was a revelation to us. And it turns out we prefer the taco versions to the standard Banh Mis. There’s a higher filling to starch ratio which makes for a more satisfying, chock-full-of flavor bite.

The Char siu (Chinese BBQ pork) in this recipe will not be red as you would expect from your Chinese restaurant. That hot pink color comes from red dye which I’ve chosen to omit.  It taste yummy just the same! The pork does need to marinate overnight, so plan ahead. And the pickling of the vegetables should be done the night before as well. Though I’ve done it 3 hours before serving with success.

Use a sharp blade when it comes to julienning the veggies, it makes a difference in the texture. If daikon is not available, substitute with five thinly sliced radishes.

Chinese BBQ Pork
1 pork tenderloin
2 tablespoons honey

Pork Marinade
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine/sake
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice
1 teaspoon minced garlic

Pickled Vietnamese Vegetables
2 medium carrots, thinly julienned
1 small daikon, thinly julienne
Salt
Pickling juice
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup sugar
½ tsp salt

Tortillas, toppings and condiments
1 dozen small good quality flour tortillas (I used Alejandro’s)
1 peeled, seeded and thinly sliced cucumber
cilantro, washed, leaves only
mayonnaise
Siracha or thinly sliced jalapeno peppers (optional)
Maggi seasoning sauce
Fresh cracked pepper

Pork and pickled vegetables

  1. Mix pork marinade ingredients.
  2. Trim tenderloin of any silverskin. Add to marinade and refrigerate overnight.
  3. In a bowl, mix carrots and daikon with 1-2 Tbsp. salt. Let sit for 10 minutes, this will draw out their liquid.
  4. In a container with an airtight lid mix pickling juice ingredients until all is dissolved.
  5. Rinse carrots and daikon to remove salt. Dry with paper towels.
  6. Add vegetables to pickling juice and refrigerate. Pickles should keep for at least a month.
  7. When you are ready to cook pork, remove tenderloin from marinade and set aside, reserving marinade.
  8. Mix honey with 2 Tbsp of pork marinade and brush tenderloin with mixture.
  9. Pork can be grill or roasted. To grill, turn grill to high. Grill tenderloin, turning every 3 minutes (covering in between turns) until internal temperature reaches 155 degrees. To roast. Turn oven to high broil (500 degrees), broil in oven proof dish for 15-20 minutes, turning every 5-10 minutes until internal temperature reaches 155 degrees.
  10. Let tenderloin rest for 20 minutes before slicing for sandwiches.

Assembling Banh Mi Tacos

  1. Warm tortillas on stove, in a pan. 30 seconds each side over high heat. Wrap warmed shells aside in a clean towel until ready to use.
  2. On each tortilla, run a bead of mayo and Siracha (optional) down the center.
  3. Top with slices of pork.
  4. Sprinkle pork with Maggi seasoning.
  5. Add a layer of sliced cucumber.
  6. Top with a little pickled vegetable.
  7. Layer with cilantro leaves.
  8. Pepper and top with jalapeno (optional).

Rhubarb & Co. Galette

Rhubard and Co. GaletteI’ve been trying to get in the habit of using up fresh foods in my kitchen before they go bad. A self-inflicted Iron Chef challenge. “Allez cuisine!” I found that it’s been a great way to challenge and expand my culinary skills. Today, my ‘secret’ ingredients were one ripe peach and a stalk of rhubarb. Really not enough fruit to make much of anything. But, luckily, I had a partial bag of frozen organic blueberries leftover from our Saturday morning pancakes too.

Taking inspiration from my friend, new mother and pastry chef, Sarah and a couple of blogs about galettes, I came up with the recipe below. Sarah was sweet enough to give me some pointers (that I noted in my recipe) after I tasted and became enamored with her ginger peach galette. Her pastry was a perfectly flaky, tender crust filled with slightly sweetened, spiced slices of peach with subtle bits of candied ginger interspersed throughout. The ginger and pepper elements in the recipe below are a take on her version as is finishing with the tart with turbinado sugar (aka sugar in the raw) to give it a little spark.

Lining the bottom of the galette with the almond meal mixture was influenced by the Rhubarb Galette recipe at Tasting Table. I liked the idea of bringing a nutty flavor in and keeping the bottom of the galette from getting soggy. I chose to incorporate the ginger in this layer of the pie as well. It’s less sticky to chop candied ginger into a flour/almond meal mixture than by itself.

The crust/pate brisée is an adaptation of several recipes and their techniques. I’ve struggled with making the perfect pie/tart crust for years and am finally coming close to mastering it. The Cook’s Illustrated recipe in the The Science of Good Cooking, The Food Lab’s post about the Science of Pie Dough and having Sarah video Skype with me while I was making this challenging dough, (Sarah directing, “No, not wet enough!”) has helped me come a long way. I doubt that Sarah is available for the masses via video chat, but, I’d highly suggest you check out the other sources. And I’ve convinced Sarah to let me video her techniques soon. I will share her wisdom!

Thankfully, this impromptu galette turned out delicious. Otherwise, this post would’ve been about the galette that might have been. The tart rhubarb was a compliment to the mellow berry flavor of the blueberry and peach. The ginger added a nice spice and the almond meal a subtle nuttiness. I’ll be making it this new recipe again soon. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we did.

Crust
8 oz. (1 1/2 cups) flour
4 oz. (8 Tbsp./1 stick) butter
2 Tbsp. vegetable shortening
½ tsp. salt
Equal parts cold water/vodka
1 beaten egg for brushing
Turbinado/Raw sugar

Almond layer
3 Tbsp. almond flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. candied ginger

Filling
1 cup rhubarb, sliced
1 cup peach, cubed
2 cups blueberry, frozen
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. corn starch
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. cinnamon
A couple cracks of fresh pepper
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. Chambord or other raspberry liquor
1 tsp. lemon juice

Preparing the crust
Plan this part ahead as the dough will at minimum need to rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Preferably 2 or more for a tender crust. Sarah rests hers overnight for optimal tenderness. Also, all your fats and liquids should be ice cold. Freeze you butter and shortening as well your vodka. Though the vodka sounds like an odd choice. It’s tasteless and will cook off, but it will not encourage gluten development (like water), so it’s a great way to make the dough more pliable while avoiding the peril of a leathery shell. And the word on the street is work your dough as little as possible for a tender, flaky crust.

  1. In your food processor, pulse ½ (4 oz./1 cup) of flour and salt together.
  2. Add cold shortening, cubed butter and pulse for a few seconds until only lentil size pieces of fat remain.
  3. Add the rest of flour and pulse a couple of times to incorporate.
  4. Turn dough over into a large bowl.
  5. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp. of ice-cold water and 2 Tbsp. of cold vodka over mixture and fold in with a spatula. If dough is still dry and crumbly, alternately add water and vodka, 1 Tbsp. at a time, gently folding until dough has just come together. Dough should form into a ball easily, but, not be sticky.
  6. Shape dough into a round disc, about 1” thick and let rest in fridge for 1-2 hour or overnight.
  7. Flour your counter generously and turn out cold dough.
  8. A tip from Sarah for unfrayed edges: with the palm of your hand pound the edges of your dough disc. Forcefully pound then turn dough to a new section and work your way 2 to 3 times around.
  9. Another Sarah bit of wisdom regarding rolling the dough: roll only in one direction. Going back and forth will overwork your pastry.  It’s best to roll gently, turn the dough 1/8 to ¼ turn and repeat until desired thickness and size is achieved. The goal is to gently but quickly roll out dough without too much pressure. This should keep your dough flaky and tender and ensure a rounder shape.
  10. When dough is approximately a 13” plus round, trim excess to make a nice circle. I used a 13” pizza pan over my dough and trace around it with a knife.
  11. Check and repair any holes or broken edges so that filling doesn’t leak.
  12. Place your dough round on a cookie sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment paper. Let rest in fridge while you’re putting together the filling.

Assembling the galette

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degree with one rack on the bottom and one in the middle. If using a Breville Smart Oven, which I did, use bottom rack and bake on the parchment-lined pizza pan provided with oven.
  2. On a large cutting board, combine all the ingredients for the almond layer (almond flour, sugar, flour and candied ginger). With a large kitchen knife, chop ginger finely into mixture. Set aside.
  3. Place blueberries, peach and rhubarb in a large bowl.
  4. Sprinkle the rest of the filing ingredients (sugar, corn starch, salt, cinnamon, fresh pepper, vanilla extract, Chambord and lemon juice) over the fruit and with a spatula gently fold in, so that mixture is evenly incorporated, being careful not to bruise blueberries.
  5. Remove crust from fridge. Sprinkle almond mixture evenly on the bottom center of the shell, leaving a 3” edge.
  6. Top almond layer with fruit mixture, spreading evenly.
  7. To fold in edges of crust: fold, turn 1/8 of the way, and repeat until a nice pleat is achieved or roughly gather edges in for a more rustic look.
  8. Generously brush edges with beaten egg, getting wash into folded creases (this will help folds to stay put).
  9. Sprinkle exposed galette crust with raw sugar.
  10. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes on the lower shelf of your oven to ensure a crispy bottom.
  11. Turn oven down to 350, move galette to center rack and bake for an additional 30-45 minutes until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly.
  12. If fruit looks dry on top, use a pastry brush to spread liquid part of filling.
  13. Let galette rest for an hour on baking sheet or gently slide pastry over onto to a cooling rack and cool for a crisper bottom.
  14. Serve by itself, with fresh whipped cream or ice cream.

THE toaster oven…

Breville-Artwork

I had a cheap Oster toaster oven forever!!! It was a remnant of my starving student days. To say that it toasted or was an oven was a gross exaggeration. On the toast feature, it burnt one side of my bread and lightly warmed the other. And I’m not sure that you can consider something an oven if it never accurately keeps temperature. The Thing made me sad every time I used it. Being frugal, I couldn’t bring myself to throw away something that was still ‘functional.’ But, the Thing would NOT die. And I willed it. I didn’t clean it for years. I let crumbs, grime and crud build up hoping to somehow make it suicidal. Yet, it lived on.

A couple of years ago, after close to 10 years of unhappy ownership, I finally gave the Thing away. A friend who is in grad school now utilizes it. She cleaned it up. After she raised an eyebrow, it was explained that the yuck was a result of my murderous plans. It still works to this day… Well, kind of.

So, I ponied up the money for a new toaster oven. This time around, I had the means to buy something of quality. I researched and shopped around. Finally, I tentatively handed my 20% off coupon and my money to the Bed Bath and Beyond cashier. And ka-shing! I bought a toaster oven that cost five times what I originally paid for the Thing. The Breville Smart Oven (1800 watts convection) was going home with me!

So. Much. Money. Is it worth it? YES! Absolutely!

It is beautifully designed. The oven body is stainless with knobs that click just so when you are setting it. The backlit blue information screen is clear and easy to understand. And a sweet little ding tells you when it’s ready or done. I would say that it is a compact oven with a toaster feature. Not the other way around.

Being a household of two, we use it almost daily. It’s much more practical than heating up our full-size conventional oven and keeps the house much cooler. This mini oven is big enough to cook food for four, maybe more. It’s dependable and heats up very evenly and I trust it with any task that I would use my regular oven for. We use it to broil tandoori fish (four fillets at a time), make delicious whole roasted chicken, to bake pies and quiches and the list goes on.

The Smart Oven comes equipped with a pizza pan and broiler tray/cookie sheet. Truthfully, I haven’t used any of these items for what they are intended for. I prefer to bake my pizza on a preheated stone or cast iron pan. The quality of the pans provided are better than average. But, I personally like the non-stick cookie sheets from Williams-Sonoma. I had bought some for my regular oven and liked the quality, so I bought the small ones for the Breville. They are great for roasting vegetables and clean up very easily. You can also buy a small Silpat that’s perfectly sized for this sheet. It works out great for baking small batches of cookies. We have gotten in the habit of freezing pre-measured cookie dough and baking 2 at a time for a snack.

But, don’t throw those pans away. I recently used the round pizza pan to bake a large galette in the Breville!

Last, but, not least. It’s great for warming and crisping back up day-old fried chicken!

About-art-2

I have a great love for food. But, fried chicken and me? That’s a whole other thing. I eat it with joy. If it’s on a menu? I’ll likely order it with conviction, ignoring all other options. It’s a done deal! Southern fried, nuggets, wings? I love fried chicken in all its forms. That being said, not all fried chicken is created equal. But, that debate is for another day…

Fried Chicken Anonymous was my fiancé, Billy’s idea. I had been looking for a name for my yet-to-be-created blog. And the a-ha moment came about as he was watching me eat re-heated (oven, not microwave! I’m not a savage!), day-old Thomas Keller fried chicken. I was so happy, I was knocking my knees together gleefully. It was clear at that moment that I had a problem. Though I won’t be giving up fried chicken, the name is amusing and stuck.

I love my fried chicken, but, I am passionate about other foods as well. I’ll be writing about cooking, eating (where to), cooking gear, cook books and the occasional fried chicken. And maybe I’ll write about something else now and then if inspiration strikes.

Note that I’ll be writing about books and gear that I use and love. I don’t get paid to do so. Just my own personal recommendation based on experience.

Feel free to contact me if you should have any questions or comments.
Sincerely,

F. C. Anonymous