Kikuichi, Claire and The Gangster Whisk

•June 16, 2011 • 1 Comment

 

As many of you close to me know I am smitten with kitchen stuff, (especially whisks) and a good knife is right up there on my list.  So Imagine my excitement when, right in my home town a kitchen specialty store opened up called Spoon and Whisk….  Great for my kitchen, maybe not so great for my bank account, because not only can I barely drive by the place without stopping, but its like right next to the beverage center with all the craft beers (more to come on that btw) and the Green Grocer.  Anyway, For my 30th birthday on sunday I was gifted an absolutely GORGEOUS Kikuichi knife… It’s certainly the finest blade I’ve owned, handmade by the people who know how to handmake a serious blade.  And so, of course I needed to go and get a special cutting board to use it on.  Well when I walked in there and mentioned the Kikuichi, Claire, the girl who works there immediately knew the knife and remembered selling it, and we ended up having a lot of fun chatting about this and that for a while, she was a doll and very enthusiastic about all things culinary.  So I ended up getting this DOPE whisk with some sort of captive ball in it (for my upcoming french macaron/merengue escapades) a knife-and-eco-friendly Epicurean cutting board, knife sharpener (NOT for the japanese steel) and a great spatula that im sure I’ll have for life.  This place is my proverbial candyshop, and I cant wait to go back and blow my rent money on a Le Creuset dutch oven….  And btw i still havent used the knife.  It came with a Miyagi-esque bandana to wear while you use it.

I want that Dutch Oven……

Back in the kitchen.

•May 26, 2011 • Leave a Comment

 

 

Well as some of you may or may not have noticed, I’ve been out of thh area and have not been updating in a while… and much has changed!  And by “much” I mean many things in my life, but as far as the food blogging community is concerned, the ones pertaining to what you will be reading here are probably the most significant: 

For one, I am back in the kitchen and have many pages worth of ideas sketched out that I cannot WAIT to get cracking on, pretty much limited by my budget and time at this point;

A sweeeet new macro lens that I’m getting used to, so expect plenty of food porn in the forthcoming weeks;

A kind of new-found obsession with desserts and baking, not sure exactly how this came about…  but we will be playing around with that.  I never really learned the fundamentals of baking, so this should be interesting, because my capabilities are nowhere near my imagination right now;

 a few new toys in the kitchen;

 a new site in the works!

 Some plans to take the culinary photography thing in a new direction;

And also some new features I plan on having on this blog.  Probably be working my way through some Bobbly Flay stuff, and a few baking experiments will be fun when the weather changes.  Not to mention my Mom has every Bon Apetit and Gourmet magazine since 1990 (literally), so I’ve been pulling some seasonal ideas here and there.  Hope that everyone is still with me and maybe we’ll pick up some new followers along the way.  Nothing like a few months of being away from the kitchen to rekindle the flame…  its gonna be a great 2011!

The best falafel I’ve ever had…..

•July 20, 2010 • 1 Comment

So if you know me then you know that I’m a food whore.  And one of my favorite things ever is good falafel.  I dont mean the box crap you get at the store either…  Whenever I travel to a major city, I love to google around and try and find the most legit spot for this and that, and one of those things is always falafel.  So in my travels (which are not extensive) I’m fortunate to have found that the best ever, in my opinion, is right here in Troy NY!  The place is called Marmora Cafe.

But it’s not just the falafel I’m after..  When you get the platter, it’s loaded with all sorts of other good stuff.  Pita, couscous, all sorts of different types of hummus, some kind of potato salad, a feta spread and a slammin baba ghanousgh (a cold, vinegarey roasted eggplant), and if you ask for it (which I always do) extra pita.  The gentleman that owns the place might be the nicest guy I’ve ever met, and for that reason I haven’t worked up the nerve to ask him for his recipe yet, but it’s fluffy, green, crisp and covered in sesame seeds before its fried, and then topped with homemade tahini and some fresh cilantro.  It’s worth the trip!  Also, try the gyros, and make sure to tell him that Jay sent you.  He probably won’t know who your talking about.

My latest obsession: Noodles.

•July 6, 2010 • Leave a Comment

As you know I grew up in an Italian family, so pasta is no stranger to our table.  But with the exception of holiday dinners (or sometimes when we were just bored) we usually had box pastas.  I usually find pasta dishes boring to be honest, and rarely do I order them at a restaurant.  And I can tell you if I do, I never get that crappy shoelace-looking box spaghetti.  Ugh, lame…

Well my ideas on noodles in general changed not too long ago when I started reading David Changs Momofuku, The cookbook/story of his now famous noodle bars and other restaurants in NYC.  He’s all about ramen, and until I read this I really didn’t get it.  As with most Americans, my knowledge of ramen didn’t extend much past the 20 cent bricks I lived off of during most of my 20’s.  Fast forward to about a week ago to when I picked up Oishinbo. Let me tell you, it was a history lesson and a spark of imagination for me….

Oishinbo(Ramen and Gyoza) is written as a Manga style comic strip, and it’s all about  the cultural and historical significance of ramen in Asian culture.  The role of a ramen house in daily life of most Chinese and Japanese people is something i can’t liken to a diner or coffee house in america or anywhere else.  Also delving into the method of noodle preparation and all sorts of good stuff, It got me going on an already momentous plunge into noodle obsession.

I picked up some fresh, yellow lo mein noodles(yes i know, lo mein is not a ramen noodle, but the yaki-soba noodles at my local asian market sucked) and made noodles as per Changs recommendations.  firm, fresh, lightly boiled noodles in a tamari and oyster sauce flavored duck stuck, garnished with a poached egg, grill-seared pork belly slices, crisp, roasty nori sheets, shaved scallion and a dash of toasted sesame oil.  I will tell you what.  It was so satisfying and delicious that if I didn’t have to roast a god damn duck every sunday to make this stock I’d eat it every day.  My preparation is below, if you have the patience I seriously recommend trying it.  The  combimation above is seared ribeye and broiled tofu.

Stock:  Roasted duck carcass, celery, onion carrot, peppercorn, water.  proceed as with a normal stock, and reduce a little if you like.  put aside enough stock for your dinner and add tamari(or any premium soy sauce) and oyster sauce.  for 3 cups of broth I added about2-3 tbsp soy sauce and 1-1.5 tbsp oyster sauce.

pork belly:  Remove skin. Put in a roasting pan, preferably one they fit snugly in.  450 degrees for 45 min to an hour, basting periodically, then 250 for another hour.  Remove, let cool , then slice into half inch thick slices.  Sear quickly on blazing hot grill to add some marks.

noodles:  Fresh lo mein or alkaline noodles.  Cook as directed, then rinse.

Eggs: Poached, runny yolks only.  I like to use the saran wrap method.

Put noodles in individual bowls, top with egg,  nori, scallions and pork.  Add whatever you want, really.  Pour hot broth over preparation and serve immediately.

Texture Recipe Collection Updated!

•May 10, 2010 • 1 Comment

What I consider to be the definitive hydrocolloid recipe collection has now been updated and is free for download in Pdf. format!  When i first discovered in interest in using hydrocolloids in the kitchen this was a big first step for me.  I plan on showcasing some of the techniques in this collection in the forthcoming months in my new kitchen, once it’s set up and operational :-)  While some of the compounds and ingredients in these recipes are not readily available I got my methocel and gelatin from Terra Spice Company.  Please feel free to share any of your personal experiences with me, because most of mine have ended in failure.  You can download it here.

Foraging for wild food. Again.

•May 5, 2010 • Leave a Comment

If you regularly read my posts, you know that I’ve been in search of teh elusive Morel mushroom for some time now.  And with the exception of an accidental stumble when i was like 18, long before i had interest in them, I have yet to find any.  Totally lame.  But this is the prime time of the year, and we had a heavy rainfall yesterday, so I’m returning to the northerly location where i once saw them pop up.  Apparently the “number one rule” of mushroom huunting is that you never tell anyone where to find mushrooms, especially morels.  Well whatever I haven’t found shit so, I’m goin to lake Moreau State Park up north of saratoga to take some pictures and look for the elusive fungus without much hope.  And since Jeremys work schedule got changed I’ll be going alone.  Kind of a sad scenario?  Not really, I’m kinda looking forward to some solitude :-)  Maybe grab the new MGMT album for the ride.  Wish me luck!

Duck bacon roulade with cranberry stilton and toasted pumpkin seeds/lemon broiled brussels sprouts

•May 4, 2010 • 3 Comments

 
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