Saturday, August 14, 2010

Chicken Katsu Curry

Chicken Katsu Curry is a dish that has long been a part of my memories growing up (no, I'm not  When I was a child, my parents took me for art/math classes...I wasn't dumb nor artistically very gifted, but it seemed like these extracurriculars could yield something in the future.  So there was this restaurant that served katsu curry as their signature dish, or maybe it was a Japanese curry restaurant...I forget....anyways, I grew up eating this dish as reminder of those hours spent slaving away over algebra and painting lessons in middle school...

Basically if you buy a packet of Japanese "curry blocks", it's fairly simple to make this delicious dish if you have solid cooking fundamentals (how to make rice, how to sauté, how to deep fry, how to hard boil, etc).  The key for a great Japanese curry is getting the right consistency....not too runny, but thick enough to coat the back of a spoon....adding the hard boiled egg brings about a richness and fattiness, and the crunchiness from the panko really accentuates the tenderness of the chicken cutlets....message me and let me know if you want a recipe or techniques on how to make this....

A perfect small plate of food!


Breakfast...not just another past time

Often breakfast is the best meal of the day.  And on weekends, it is the BEST meal of the day.  It's the meal where you can have savory and sweet, salty and pungent all on the same plate.  You can't ask for much better!

So a good tip with bacon is that you can cook off mass amounts in the OVEN, yes I said oven.....this  method keeps the bacon straight, and doesn't splatter everywhere like when you do it on the stove top.  Preheat your oven to 400F, get a cookie sheet pan, or anything oven safe and flat, lay your bacon out without overlapping, and throw that sucker into the oven.  Around the 10-12 min mark, you should be checking the bacon for whatever "crispiness" you desire....11 min usually give you a crisp with a bit of meatiness left, and 13 min will give you mostly crispy....if you have extra thick bacon, adjust the times by 2-3 min each. You can get anywhere from 6-8 pieces of bacon done each sheet tray.  Onto eggs....

I started sauteing  a cubed up fresh Spanish chorizo sausage.  Chorizo has a smoky and spicy flavor so it adds a great depth of flavor to any base you are creating.  Sauté the chorizo for about 8 min till you have crispy edges and the sausage has given off a beautiful orange oil.  Get some eggs from the fridge and let them sit out for 3-4 minutes before scrambling them.  This helps break and distribute the yolks easier.  In a bowl, crack the eggs and add s&p to season.  Optionally you can add a splash of milk to the eggs to give it a smoother finish.  Beat the eggs till you get small frothy bubbles.  Add eggs into the pan with the chorizo and turn off the heat on your stove top.  Stir the eggs around outer to inner and vice versa.  The residual heat from the pan should cook the eggs through.  You'll know you're eggs are cooked perfectly when they barely start to come together and become should have the consistency of soft pillows, and not a rubbery mess.

Top your eggs with a scallion sauce made from one bunch of scallions cut and cleaned for the blender.  Add 2 garlic cloves, s&p (salt and pepper), the juice and zest of one lemon....turn the blender on and drizzle oil in...voila...tangy, savory all in one sauce.  I add tomatoes marinated in white wine vinegar (5min) on the eggs also to bring out the brightness and acidity of the fruit....try it out, and let me know what you think.


Friday, August 13, 2010

Warm Chocolate Cake

Warm Chocolate Cake is one of those comfort foods that I usually crave unexpectedly!  It's like you're walking around putting things away in your come across some semi-sweet chocolate...check....see some apf (all purpose flour)...check....eggs....check.....confectioner's sugar....check....only one thing that runs through my mind at this point....Warm Chocolate Cake....(the actual recipe actually consists of a few more things :)

So making these at home is very cheap and the recipe that I use usually yields 6 or so it's great for a small dinner party....the great thing also about this is that by subtracting a few minutes of cooking time, you can get a very rich, all consuming MOLTEN LAVA CAKE....I like leaving these in the ramekins since taking them out requires a bit of finesse, and breaking it would ruin the presentation and leave somebody's cake an it rustic, the future I'd like to play with perhaps maybe adding some toppings or textures throughout the batter...maybe some toasted nuts for texture, or even some crumbled maple glazed bacon on top

Pair this with some fresh whipped cream, or some vanilla ice cream and I'd say you'll feel satisfied...


Thursday, August 12, 2010


I have yet to meet a person who does not adore the potato.  For something so basic, it can be transformed into masterpieces in textures and flavors.  I made these on a whim, inspired by my trip to Gregoire's in Berkeley, where they are known for a "more uniform looking" potato puff.

I was excited to make these, and surprisingly turned out better than I could have imagined.  It's always fun also to buy new gadgets and tools to make new eats.  Went to pick up a potato ricer, and I was off to the race track.

I normally have a very well stocked pantry/refrigerator so all I needed was actually the ricer.  In this recipe included obviously a potato, eggs, butter, parm reggiano, s&p (salt and pepper), apf (all purpose flour), nutmeg, and some oil.  No frills, nothing that would require a Michelin reviewer to come, but some good old solid flavors that everyone loves with potatoes.  The key to making these was the execution and the method to which you cooked the potatoes.  This is definitely a must for any appetizer since you can do all the mise en place (prep) ahead of time, and brown them off to order in mass quantities.  Add a remoulade or even a citrus vinaigrette on the side, some chopped Italian parsley for garnish and you have yourself a potato party.

I would say this is a perfect bite of potato.


Recipe Book

So this is the most important item I Recipe dad got this for me I think at the LACMA, with the intention of using it for notes, daily musings, etc.  It turned into my recipe book!  Inside is where I tweak what I make, edit recipes or ideas, and clarify in my own abbreviations and jargon, techniques and pitfalls.  Recipes inside range from Korean Short Ribs (Galbi), Sweet Potato Biscuits with Cinnamon Butter, Braised Pork Belly, Red Velvet Cupcakes to simpler things like roasting Asparagus, making spinach pesto, and poaching fish and eggs.  To call it an amalgam of recipes would be foolish.  If/when I don't exist anymore, I believe this book would be something cherished.  It would be a glimpse into the calm of a tempest storm.


First Post

So after sharing  my delights with family and friends, and the incessant reminders to have an organized medium to share my eats, it is only appropriate that I finally start something "online".  With that said, this should be a good canvas  to share a passion in my life....FOOD!

I can safely say that I have always had food on my mind.  As far back as I can remember, I would always come home from school and guess what my mom would leave on our kitchen table as a "snack".  Sometimes, looking forward to this was the best part of my day!  What is funny is that as a child and teenager, you take for granted "home cooked" meals since they are just there.  You come home, lay about lazily watching whatever your favorite afternoon cartoon may have been at the time (i.e. Batman, Inspector Gadget, Brady Bunch), do a little homework, and POOF, dinner was there.  Home cooked meals came out of thin air, and as quickly as they appeared, they were gone just as swiftly.  You say, "thanks Mom" and you're I know everyone says there mom is the best cook, but I didn't realize this till much further on, when I didn't have a mom around nor a kitchen table to see what food would appear.  Let's fast forward a bit...

My passion for cooking was born initially out of necessity in college, where limited budgets forced you to not eat out as much....because you couldn't!  Trying to split your twenty dollars for the week on dollar items at your everyday fast food chains quickly made me realize that there had to be a better solution.  Why don't I try to make something at home?

When you first start to cook, you DON'T know ANYTHING!  Let's be real.  You can watch a cooking show a hundred times, but it's not the same as actually executing what you deemed as "possible" or "easy".  How do you know how long it takes to cook a juicy chicken breast?  How would you know when something is "seasoned" well?  How could you even fathom that mayonnaise is just an emulsion of oil and egg yolk, with perhaps a touch of acid?  Trying to navigate the pantheon of "terms" and "techniques" is futile in the beginning.  But I kept at it....

Thousands of attempts later brings me to where I am today...still a cooking novice according to many people, but far from inept.  Perhaps I can share a glimpse of my journey here, and stumble upon some great eats that I someday, I hope, you all can enjoy!