Saturday, April 19, 2014

Korean Spicy Pork

A spicy (well, by Korean standards) stir fried dish of pork with vegetables, similar to dak galbi.

1 1/4 lb pork loin, trimmed and thinly sliced
a medium onion either quartered and thinly sliced or cut in to thick slices (see note)
2 small zucchinis, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4" slices
3 cabbage leaves, trimmed and chopped into roughly 1 inch squares
3 green onions, chopped
1 C chicken stock

6 T koch'ujang (Korean red pepper paste)
4 T koch'u karu (Korean red pepper powder)
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 T corn syrup
2 T sesame oil
2 t grated ginger
1 T mirin
2 T chicken stock
ground pepper to taste
2 T sugar
2 T soy sauce

Mix together the marinade ingredients, then add the pork; allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes.  Heat a little oil in a wok or large non-stick skillet and stir fry the onion until it starts to wilt (or see note about not adding it until after the pork goes in).  Add the pork and marinade mixture and stir continuously until the pork is close to done.  Add the rest of the ingredients and cook, stirring frequently, until the zucchini is just done.  Adjust the seasoning as necessary.

Note: I thinly slice the onion and cook it before adding the pork because I don't like big crunchy pieces of onion.  For a more traditional version cut the onion into bigger pieces and add to the pan shortly after the pork.

Orange Chicken

One of the Americanized dishes that seems to be served in every Chinese restaurant around.  Definitely not something you would see in real Chinese food (it's far too sweet), but having grown up eating it it has a special place in my heart.

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
dried peel of one orange in 3-4 large pieces
handful of dried chiles
4 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 C orange juice
1/2 C chicken stock
2 T chinkiang vinegar
3 T soy sauce
2 t sesame oil
1/2 t toasted and ground Sichuan peppercorn
1/4 C brown sugar
2 t corn starch mixed into 2 T water
pepper flakes/cayenne/chopped fresh Thai chiles to taste
1 t fresh grated orange zest (optional)
salt to taste
corn starch for dredging
Vegetable oil for deep frying and wok frying

2 egg whites
1 T soy sauce
1 T shaoxing rice wine

Beat together the marinade ingredients and add the chicken.  Set aside while you make the sauce.  In a bowl combine the orange juice, chicken stock, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, Sichuan peppercorn, brown sugar, orange zest, and pepper flakes.  Heat 1 or 2 T of oil in the wok over high heat, and blacken the chiles and dried orange peel; add in the garlic and briefly stir fry it until fragrant.  Before the garlic can burn, add in the bowl of sauce ingredients; bring to a simmer and allow it to reduce by about half.  Finally add in the cornstarch mixture and simmer until it thickens up.  Adjust seasoning if necessary.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and dredge with corn starch.  Deep fry small batches in 350 F oil until golden brown and the chicken is just done.  Toss the chicken with the sauce and serve with rice.

Thit Bo Xao Dau (Vietnamese Beef and Green Bean Stirfry)

A simple and quick stir fry of beef and green beans that ends up being quite tasty.

1 lb lean beef, sliced thinly across the grain (flank steak works well)
1/2 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 medium onion, quartered and thinly sliced
1 t grated ginger
1/2 C chicken stock
1/2 T soy sauce
2 T fermented black beans
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T fish sauce (or to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
1 T vegetable oil
dried chiles to taste (optional)

1 T Shaoxing rice wine
1/2 T soy sauce
2 t cornstarch

Combine the marinade ingredients, then add the beef.  I usually just let this marinate while I'm prepping the onion, garlic, and green beans.  When everything is ready heat the oil in a wok and sear off the chiles (if you're using them; they aren't authentic), then add the beef and stir fry quickly until just done.  Remove from the wok and set aside.  Add extra oil if necessary, then stir fry the onions and garlic until the onions wilt.  Add the green beans and ginger and stir fry for maybe a minute.  Add the stock, black beans, and soy sauce; bring to a simmer and cover, cooking until the green beans are done, roughly 4 minutes.  Add the fish sauce, check the seasoning, and serve with rice.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

French Toast Stuffed with Orange Spiked Cream Cheese

The first time I had stuffed french toast was as a kid at a little place called Muriel's in Newport RI on a family road trip, and it was much like this with orange spiked cream cheese.  It turned out the Muriel's, a completely chance stop off at a tiny restaurant, was amazing.  We drove a hundred miles out of our way to eat there again, and found out that she'd won the chowder cook off so many years in a row that they asked her to stop competing.  It's been long enough that I don't have an accurate memory of her french toast, but even so I'd put my version up against hers any day.  I like to serve mine with kumquat syrup.

Cream cheese mixture:
8 oz softened cream cheese
2 T sugar
zest of half an orange, grated and finely chopped
2 T triple sec
1/4 t vanilla extract

Mix all of the ingredients together, and allow to blend.  I like to make mine the night before, stick it in the fridge, then soften it again in the morning for use.

French Toast:
2 C half and half
4 eggs
1/2 t vanilla extract
pinch of cinnamon
1 T sugar
1 T honey
zest of half an orange, grated and finely chopped
salt to taste

1 large brioche, cut in 3/4" to 1" thick slices

Combine the ingredients except for the brioche and butter and whisk thoroughly.  Set aside for 15-20 minutes to blend flavors.  With a paring knife cut a slice in the edge of each piece of brioche to allow room to stuff it without going through.  Stuff or pipe each slice with the cream cheese mixture (you don't need a ton of it, just get a fair amount in without tearing the bread).

Soak the stuffed slices of brioche in the custard mixture for 5 minutes, turning once; while this is soaking melt butter in a skillet.  Cook the french toast a couple of pieces as a time until golden brown on both sides.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Kumquat Syrup

A citrus syrup with notes of ginger and star anise, perfect to go with stuffed french toast (recipe to follow).

50 kumquats, thinly sliced (roughly two pints), I find it easiest to halve the kumquats lengthwise to remove the seeds, then thinly slice
4 C ginger ale
2 C water
1.5 C sugar
1-2 star anise

Combine the sugar, ginger ale, water, and star anise, and bring to a simmer to dissolve the sugar.  Add the kumquats, and simmer until it reaches the consistency of warm maple syrup, about 45 minutes.