Feast 21 – Soup and Salad

September 28, 2009

Well, here is a little nod to Xtna and her penchant for soup and salad. I really wanted to keep the focus on the soup that i was making today and i felt that if i made any other main course it would distract from it. So, the natural addition to round out the meal was a salad. I wanted something that was varied enough to stand up to the soup (just you wait) but still nice and clean so as not to detract. I opted for a version of a salad Nicoise. It’s a tasty salad with many variation but i tried to keep it as traditional as possible. I was unable to get chervil so that is one thing you could definitely add that would be a nice addition to my recipe.

Salad Nicoise, ready to eat

Salad Nicoise, ready to eat

i started with a bed of red leaf lettuce, added some fresh green beans, trimmed and some thinly sliced green bell pepper. surround with one boiled egg and a tomato cut into eights. dress this with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. lay some anchovies over top and you are ready to eat. gotta love salad, its quick easy and delicious. i may be a little anal retentive but to ensure optimal serving temperature, i chilled the lettuce, tomatoes, anchovies and salad plates in the freezer for about five minutes right before building the salad. i wanted everything nicely chilled to balance the hot soup.

The soup that i wanted to make is almost a french onion soup. i say almost because, well, there are no onions in this particular soup. what, you say? how can it be french onion soup without onions? well, i think anyone who has ever read this blog knows that i have a very strong affinity for garlic. so, i decided to make a french garlic and shallot soup. and it turned out damned good if i don’t say so myself.

so that's what 6 heads of garlic looks like peeled...

so that's what 6 heads of garlic looks like peeled...

I’m sure i am sounding like a broken record but this is yet another recipe that i have taken from Alton Brown and modified. Sure, french onion soup is french onion soup but i want to give credit where credit is due. i really enjoyed his version with vidalia onions when i made it about a year ago (seems like a lifetime) so i knew it was a solid start for my experiment with garlic and shallots. two minor variations that i went with and that is to exclude the cider and to use just beef broth instead of a mixture of consume and chicken broth. i am quoting his original recipe as i think it is well worth the effort to make, if you want to make it as i did today, exclude the cider, double the beef broth and use 5 shallots and 6 heads of garlic in place of the onions. also, i used rounds of sourdough topped with gruyere for the lids. make sure not to make the lids too thick or they will be difficult to break apart with your spoon.

Shallots on the cutting board

Shallots on the cutting board

i was a bit nervous about this dish as the bowls i was using for the soup specifically say not to use them under a broiler. i took a chance since it was only for a brief few minutes they would be exposed but was half expecting an oven full of soup to clean up. I took the precaution of running the bowls under hot water before filling and broiling to avoid the temperature shock of going straight from cabinet to broiler. it may or may not have helped but it certainly didn’t hurt.

here is the original recipe, make the modifications above if you want to make it as served during this feast. As always, if i am out of line for quoting the recipe, please let me know and i will remove it. i simply don’t want to take credit for work that isn’t mine, i modified it but it is firmly based in Alton’s recipe.

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown

Ingredients

10 Sweet onions (like Vidalias) or a combination of sweet and red onions
3 tablespoons Butter
Kosher salt
2 cups White wine
10 ounces Canned beef consume
10 ounces Chicken broth
10 ounces Apple cider (unfiltered is best)
Bouquet garni; thyme sprigs, bay leaf and parsley
1 Loaf country style bread
Ground black pepper
Splash Cognac, optional
1 cup Grated Fontina or Gruyere cheese
Preparation

Trim the ends off each onion then slice from end to end. Remove peel and finely slice into half moon shapes. Set electric skillet to 300 degrees and add butter. Once butter has melted add a layer of onions and sprinkle with a little salt. Repeat layering onions and salt until all onions are in the skillet. Do not try stirring until onions have sweated down for 15 to 20 minutes. After that, stir occasionally until onions are dark mahogany and reduced to approximately 2 cups. This should take 45 minutes to 1 hour. Do not worry about burning.

Add enough wine to cover the onions and turn heat to high, reducing the wine to a syrup consistency. Add consume, chicken broth, apple cider and bouquet garni. Reduce heat and simmer 15 to 20 minutes.

Place oven rack in top 1/3 of oven and heat broiler.

Cut country bread in rounds large enough to fit mouth of oven safe soup crocks. Place the slices on a baking sheet and place under broiler for 1 minute.

Season soup mixture with salt, pepper and cognac. Ladle soup into crocks leaving one inch to the lip. Place bread round, toasted side down, on top of soup and top with grated cheese. Broil until cheese is bubbly and golden, 1 to 2 minutes.

French Garlic-Shallot Soup, right out of the broiler

French Garlic-Shallot Soup, right out of the broiler

this was an amazing soup. the shallots and garlic gave it an intensely sweet and sharp taste. for those of you that have indulged in massive amounts of garlic, you can only imagine the aftermath. i’m not going to get scatological on you but let’s leave it at the fact that i really wished i could get far away from myself after my body started processing it. it was absolutely worth it though, i would do it again in a heartbeat. and yes, i peeled all my own garlic, drop those accusing fingers. no shortcuts to the 48 feasts.

27 to go.


48F Supplemental – Bar Food

September 28, 2009
VIP, exterior at night

VIP, exterior at night

Well, in my never-ending search for things to do, i have became the captain of a pool team for a local bar. We aren’t that good, truth to be told but we enjoy playing and there is a bit of beer involved. As such, i have spent a bit of time in our home bar, the VIP club. I like it there because it is devoid of the constant pressure that is prevalent in most other places downtown. They have girls that work there but they are friendly without being overbearing and they respect the fact that we are there to drink beer and play pool, not to chase after them. However, being a frequent flyers at the VIP, Eddie and i have established a friendly relationship with the owner and the employees. and how better to show your appreciation for good service and friendly attitude than to make a bit of food.

Me with Yumi, owner of the VIP

Me with Yumi, owner of the VIP

At some point, i believe that i really need to get Alton Brown a fruit basket. I know that i have a lot to learn but it seems like every time i turn around i am using a technique that i learned from Alton off of his excellent program, Good Eats. Please, if anyone bumps into him, let him know that my hat is off and he has my appreciation. For this particular meal, as i was focused on bar food, i chose the quintessential bar food, chicken wings. The lesson learned from Alton is that if you steam the wings first, you cook out enough of the fat that you won’t end up with a smoking mess when you try to broil them to crisp them up. It’s a valuable lesson and i have used it to very good effect several times now. I have my limitations here as mentioned in the past so given my lack of steamer pot, i went out on a limb and used that ever so useful tool of the bain marie and they still turned out great. same basic principle but the wings did dry out just a tad more than they would in a steamer pot. not enough to stress about so if you happen to be stuck in south korea without a steamer pot, feel free to give it a shot.

Eric with Sunny and a flower vendor

Eric with Sunny and a flower vendor

I decided to make three different types of wings because it’s dirt simple to make multiple sauces and just toss a portion of the cooked wings with it. It would be almost lazy to make a single sauce but if that’s your thing, go for it. You can make just about any flavor combination you like, just cook it down to a slightly thickened sauce and toss the wings in the sauce after broiling them, i use a large tupperware container because its nice and contained and i can shake the hell out of it to coat the wings. Today i opted for Sesame Ginger, Mango Habenero and traditional Tabasco and Garlic. In a slight change, i am not posting any pictures of the food itself but instead interweaving pictures of the people who ate the food. I hope you enjoy the slight deviation. Eric, Brad, Yoon and Eddie shoot on the VIP team with me. Not pictured are Rob and Jon, Rob went home to early and Jon didn’t come out because of prior engagements.

Brad with two of the VIP girls, not drunk just badly timed photo

Brad with two of the VIP girls, not drunk just badly timed photo

i cheated a little and used a mango habanero sauce i found on the net with slight modifications. i upped the habaneros to 4 because i wanted just a little (ok alot) more kick. i also upped the garlic to 4 cloves because garlic is good and good for you.

Mango Habanero Barbecue Sauce
Source: Recipesecret / Kitchenwitch

3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1 habanero pepper, diced with seeds and ribs removed
1 teaspoon diced garlic
2 cups diced mango
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 1/4 teaspoons salt

Place a 1-quart saucepan over medium high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and habanero pepper and cook until the onions are translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic to the pan and cook for 30 seconds. Deglaze the pan with the lime juice and vinegar. Bring the pan to a boil then reduce the heat to medium. Add the sugar, mustard, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt to the pan. Continue to cook the barbeque sauce until the mangoes are very soft, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the sauce to cool for about 15 minutes. You can leave the sauce chunky like this, or puree the contents of the pan in a blender on low speed for 1 minute, if desired. Reserve the sauce until ready to use. Sauce will keep up to 10 days in a non-reactive air-tight container in the refrigerator.

Eddie with Eric and Sunny in the background

Eddie with Eric and Sunny in the background

For the Sesame Ginger Sauce, i mixed and cooked down the following ingredients until it was slightly syrupy. after pouring the sauce over the wings, i sprinkled on about a 1/4 cup of toasted white sesame seed (dry toast them in a hot pan until they start to brown and smell nutty).

1 cup Soy sauce
1/2 cup White distilled vinegar
3 tablespoons Honey
thumb sized piece of ginger, finely minced
2 tablespoons Oriental sesame oil

Me with Mina

Me with Mina

For the traditional Style, i melted 4 tbsp butter in a pan and added 6 cloves of minced garlic. pour in 1 cup of Tabasco and cook down just a bit. Toss with the wings. a twist or two of black pepper is nice to finish them off.

Me and Yoon

Me and Yoon

as i was worried about the wings being hot when i got them to the bar, i sealed them in disposable aluminum cake pans with foil and left them in a 275 degree oven until just before i was ready to leave. this both kept them warm and cooked the sauce into the wings a bit.

Eric shooting with Sunny watches

Eric shooting with Sunny watches

I stand by the fact that one of the nicest things you can do for people is to feed them. Good food is made better by the sharing and it was nice to see everyone happy and well fed. i don’t want to spoil them so i won’t do it too often (stray cats and all that) but i will definitely make some food for the bar at some point in the future.


Feast 20 – Mexican Food

September 21, 2009

late post, my body needed sleep and i just slept for an unreasonably long time. still feeling hazy and half asleep but luckily, i authored the majority of the text of this post at work yesterday!

It shouldn’t surprise me but yet again, the dish that I spent the least time and effort on turns out to be the stand out dish. I would like to credit it to my culinary acumen but I don’t have that confidence. Instead, I think I would credit it to the fact that simple preparations with good ingredients make for the most enjoyable dishes. This is evident in the prep I do for Brussels sprouts. Tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper, roasted in a cast iron skillet and you are done. Easy. Simple. Delicious. No complicated prep, no delicate sauces, just good ingredients prepared in a way that accents the natural flavors. There is a lesson to be learned.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy complex dishes with deep flavor nuances. They are both fun to make, a bit challenging and very satisfying. But, it seems that the crowd pleasers are usually the simpler dishes. Makes me wonder if I am overthinking some of my dishes and that perhaps I should experiment with more Spartan cookery. Avoid gilding the lily so to speak. A bit of soul searching is in order I believe.

Ok, philosophical meanderings aside, this week, I made a wonderful selection of tex-mex sort of dishes. The centerpiece was the tamales. Tamales are a staple in our family for the winter holidays. Its fairly typical of Hispanic culture as I understand it and I have been lucky enough to marry into it. Due to my interest and the fact that I can be relied upon to actual go through the work, I have taken up the mantle of making the tamales for the extended family whenever we all get together. I usually make three or four dozen for those occasions but for today, serving two, I made a dozen, split between two types.

The first type of tamale I made, the bulk of the work for this meal, was a stewed pork tamale. This was a two day endeavor with the time it takes to properly slow cook the pork to the desired tenderness. I started with a three pound pork roast in the crock pot on top of three quartered onions. Add to this one bottle of beer, salt, pepper, oregano, 6 bay leaves and 8 cloves of chopped garlic. Meanwhile, soak 3 ounces of dried ancho chili peppers in hot water, held under with a small plate. Soak these for about 30 minutes or until they soften. Drain the chilis, reserving the soaking liquid. Stem them, remove as many of the seeds as you feel like taking the trouble with and toss them in the pot as well. Set aside one cup of the soaking liquid and pour the rest over the pork. Add 2 cups of chicken broth, a bit of brown sugar and a touch of balsamic vinegar. Cook on high in the crock pot for four hours and then switch to low for 10 more hours (overnight in my case). You want to turn the pork over a few times throughout the cooking. Your first indication that it is getting to a good point is when it starts to fall apart when you are turning it. The next morning, turn the crock pot back to high and cook for an additional three hours, stirring often to reduce the mixture a bit. It should look really dark brown and angry at this point. Drain and set the meat aside to cool, picking out the bay leaves.

pork roast in crock pot, ready to cook

pork roast in crock pot, ready to cook

The second type of tamales was the dish that I alluded to in the opening paragraphs. It started with just a notion, no real direction, just a thought of where I wanted to go. I wanted to capture a bit of the chili relleno flavor in tamale form. To this end, remove the stems and seeds from 6 anaheim peppers (yup, they don’t have poblanos here, be patient with me, I am trying. Chop a large onion and sweat down the onion and peppers in a pan with a bit of olive oil. Cook the hell out of them until they are nicely translucent and the onions have caramelized. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool. We will be adding some standard Mexican mixed cheese to these when we roll them. Yet again, no queso fresco here which would have been my choice for this dish.

For the tamale dough, mix 3 1/2 cups Masa Harina, 1.5 tablespoons Salt, 3 ½ cups Chicken broth and ¾ lb Lard or shortening. Combine well and using a hand or stand mixer, mix to make a very consistent dough. Set aside.

The assembly is always the most time consuming part of this dish, luckily I was only making a dozen, six of each type so it was relatively painless. You want to soak your corn husks in hot water for about an hour before starting to make them more pliable. This will ease the rolling process significantly. Working one at a time, spoon enough dough to cover your corn husk and spread a couple of tablespoons of mixture in a line in the center. Roll tightly and fold the end over . place these on a rack with the seal/fold facing down.

Again, I am working with limited resources here so I don’t have my steamer pot. I decided that I was going to work around this by using the oven and a bain marie to steam them. Simply put, this is a pan of water under your rack of tamales in a 325 oven for about 45 minutes. Worked like a charm by the way and I am likely to use this method for small batches even when I get back to the real world and all my stuff.

You could make a sauce for these but it would be extraneous in my opinion. They are tasty enough without.

Alongside this, I decided on a simple salad and some Mexican style rice. My rice is not traditional but it turned out really good so I am not going to argue with success. take 2 cups of rice and brown it in a bit of oil over medium heat until it starts to smell a little nutty. meanwhile, start a pot to boil with 2 1/2 cups chicken stock and the reserved one cup of pepper soaking liquid with a twist or two of salt. add the browned off rice, 1/2 a cup of frozen corn and a 3 oz can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. return the mixture to a boil. cover and reduce heat to low, cook until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. fluff and serve.

For the salad, I chopped an avocado, 3 tomatoes and 6 small cloves of garlic (which, incidentally, I grew in my backyard) . add to this a handful of chopped cilantro, a twist or two of salt the juice of one lime and 2 thinly sliced fresh jalapenos. Toss well to combine. Chill and serve.

Unusual for me but this particular meal would not have been right without a dessert. And no dessert other than flan could fit this meal. I will quote below the recipe that I use, adapted from one that was found in a book years ago that I don’t remember the name of unfortunately. Over the years, I have made this my signature holiday dish and am very proud of it. Its not terribly complicated and any one can make it, it make take an attempt or two to get the caramelization of the molds to work out just right. Don’t be discouraged, eating this dessert is the best thing you could ever do for yourself. Really. It’s that good.

sugar caramelizing for the molds

sugar caramelizing for the molds

Flan

Ingredients

3/4 cup Sugar

1/4 cup Sugar

1 1/2 cups Milk

1 14oz Can sweetened condensed milk

3 Large eggs

4 Large egg yolks

1 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract

Preparation
Measure 3/4 cup sugar into small saucepan, dribble 1/3 cup water around and over sugar to moisten, and set over medium-high heat. let mixture come to a boil and reduce heat to medium. swirl pan over heat until syrup is a dark brown color but not quite burnt. pour syrup into bottom of round glass pan.

molds filled with caramalized sugar and ready for flan

molds filled with caramalized sugar and ready for flan

heat oven to 325 F

in a medium saucepan, combine sugar, milk, and condensed milk. Bring to simmer. in a bowl, whisk eggs and yolks until liquid. slowly whisk in warm milk mixture and add vanilla. pour into glass dish over syrup.

bake the custard in a pan of simmering water that some 2/3 of the way up the side of the custard dish. bake for 60 – 70 minutes until barely set in the middle. let custard cool in pan of water and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours. turn over onto a serving plate to serve.

you can also make it in a bunch of small containers instead of one large one.

The above cut and paste was from my recipe library at mealmatter.org an excellent recipe and shopping list management site. I recommend it without hesitation.

tamales, rice and salad ready to eat

tamales, rice and salad ready to eat

This meal was great, not only because everything turned out well but because it gave me the chance to introduce Eddie to both Tamales and Flan. The tamales turned out fabulous with a nice texture and flavorful fillings. He said that if he had ever had a tamale before that it was not memorable enough to make an impression, most likely drowned in a cheap sauce at a cut rate Mexican restaurant. These, homemade with care, showed him what the dish was supposed to be like and that was enough for me.

Ok, here is where a little conceit sets in. I served the flan with some coffee (French press of course) and didn’t even have to look at Eddie to check reactions. Flan is just that good and I have made it enough that just looking, I knew the texture and flavor would be right on. It was love at first bite and I guarantee that it will not be the last time he has flan.

flan on serving plate

flan on serving plate

That’s 20 down and 28 to go. I can’t say that its flying by but it is passing that indomitable force that is time. I am excited that soon we will be at meal 48, the nominal halfway point of this separation and project. More is coming and I can only hope that they turn out as well as this meal did.


Sneak Peak – Mexican this weekend

September 17, 2009

i’ve roughed out a menu and plan on doing tamales (2 types), mexican style rice, an avocado and tomato salad on the side and Flan for dessert.

commence drooling.


Feast 19 – Ode to Pork

September 14, 2009

well, you’ve heard it here first, there is no problem too big that it can’t be solved by throwing a little more bacon at it. lets face it, there are a few ingredients that make just about anything better. chief amongst these in my lexicon are cheese, chocolate and lovely lovely bacon.

This week’s meal was an ode to pork. no doubt about it. i’m reminded of an episode of the simpsons where they go out to a chinese restaurant and Lisa is faced with menu problems because everything is served with pork. i’ll admit, i’m ok with that.

I decided to go for a german theme this week. centered around the idea of the jaegerschnitzel, i quickly moved forward to spaetzle and oddly enough boiled cabbage. i know its not traditional, more likely you would find a sauerkraut of some sort but it just sounded really tasty so, like many things in life, i just went with it.

Cabbage, Boiling Away

Cabbage, Boiling Away

due to spacing limitation on my stove and the fact that i only have one large pot in this godforsaken country, i opted for the crock pot as my prep method for the cabbage. learning my lesson from the greek beef a few weeks back, i built in a bit of extra time to allow the dish to fully develop before dinnertime. this means starting the cabbage around five hours before you plan on eating. the preparation is deathly simple, slice a whole head of red cabbage, 1 large onion, 6 cloves of garlic, 4 strips of bacon and a pound of smoked sausage into your crock pot. pour over a can of beef broth, liberally salt and pepper and turn the crock pot on high for the aforementioned five hours, mixing often to ensure both even cooking and a nice even blend of ingredients. you want the cabbage to start getting soft but to still have a nice bite to it. soggy cabbage is decidedly not the aim of this dish.

the jaegerschnitzel is pretty straightforward as well. often in my cookery, i make the mistake of following a recipe too closely although my instincts tell me that my particular tastes would be better served with a bit of deviation from the norm. this was certainly the case with this dish. the main body of the recipe is a wolfgang puck recipe with deviations to my taste. however, the original recipe calls for 2 cups of red wine in the sauce, which i went with and it turned out amazing but i would have preferred a bit less wine. i will probably change the wine/stock ratio if i make it again.

i’m always a bit uncomfortable when i talk about the origins of the recipes that i am cooking. it should be obvious that i am not authoring them all myself. i am modifying along the way but the body lines are definitely rooted in a recipe found either on the net or in one of my cookbooks. on the one hand, i feel i owe it to the people i am borrowing from to mention the provenance of the recipes but the flipside to that is that i worry that by quoting the recipe and mentioning the origin in the same post that i may be violating the intellectual rights of the original author. with that, i add my standard disclaimer, if i am in any way in violation of any originators rights or if i just offend their delicate sensibilities, please let me know and i will sanitize the material to remove anything that may be protected material.

pork in the casserole

pork in the casserole

ok, with the schnitzel, i believe that pork is your meat of choice. there are arguments for beef, veal, lamb or even turkey (i love you sweetheart but, no, it’s just not right!) but for me, pork will always be the first option. it doesn’t hurt that its relatively inexpensive either. i started with four boneless pork loin chops and pounded them flat with my meat mallet. season with salt and pepper, dredge in a bit of seasoned flour. brown the pork in a bit of olive oil until nice and colored on both sides. move these to a casserole dish. i fried mine off in batches due to the size of my pan, be sure not to overcrowd, it slows down the cooking.

vegetable mixture for jaeger sauce

vegetable mixture for jaeger sauce

in the same pan, sweat down 1 chopped onion, one thinly sliced carrot and one thinly sliced piece of celery. once these are nicely cooked, transfer them to another pan and deglaze the first pan with 2 cups of red wine (again, in retrospect i would have used just one cup to de-emphasize the wine flavor. add three bay leaves to the wine and cook down until reduced by half. remove the bay leaves and pour the wine over the vegetables in the other pot. add to this a can of beef stock and heat of medium high heat. add 6 large sliced mushrooms and a bit of thyme and parsley. i wasn’t happy with the consistency of the sauce, i prefer a thicker gravy-like sauce so i also thickened it with a tbsp of flour but be cautious of that, if you don’t get it blended in well you will end up with lumps. once the sauce thickens, pour over the pork in the casserole and run it into a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.

Spaetzle, after boiling and pre frying

Spaetzle, after boiling and pre frying

the spaetzle was one of the most intimidating dishes i have done in a long time. it’s deceptively simple but its a dish that i really enjoy so i didn’t want to do it poorly. i have to say, i was not properly equipped to make it. in order to form the dough properly, you need to have a spaetzle maker or a potato ricer. i had neither and tried to use a slotted spoon to press the dough into shape but this worked poorly. so, i ended up with a very rustic solution, i dropped small pieces of dough off the back of a fork in strings to form the pieces. it worked rather well and honestly, i will probably just do this in the future.

my stove takes forever to heat up a large pot of water but that is the starting point for the spaetzle. you need a large pot of salted water at a boil. while your water is heating, mix together 1 cup of flour, 2 beaten eggs and 1/4 cup of milk. add to this a couple twists of salt and pepper and a quick dash or two of nutmeg. mix well and let sit for about 15 minutes. when you have your water up to temperature, drop small pieces of the dough into the boiling water and cook 3 – 4 minutes. they should float up to the top when they are ready. work in batches, not overcrowding and drain the pieces into a bowl. when you are done with all of the dough, melt a large knob of butter in a skillet adding three or four chopped pieces of bacon. once the bacon starts to cook, add in your spaetzle, stirring to coat the pieces on all sides. cook for a brief moment or two until the spaetzle starts to get golden and then serve alongside the schnitzel and cabbage. share and enjoy.

Plated and ready to eat

Plated and ready to eat

overall, this was a really nice meal. eddie added a bit of roasted eggplant hummus and a bottle of pinot noir so everything was as it should be. unfortunately, we ate all the spaetzle during the meal so i have none to go with the leftover schnitzel and cabbage.

i’ve been planning the next 29 meals, i am really excited about some of the upcoming feasts. i don’t want to give too much away but i think people will be pleasantly surprised and inspired.


Feast 18 – The Video

September 8, 2009

okay, managed to borrow a cable and master the video for Feast 18… it turned out ok, i’m definitely an amateur when it comes to video production but its watchable. my camera is definitely showing its age, it may be digital but its 10 years old now. i use a wide angle lens for the field of view but that leaves some artifacts in the corners, shadowed areas. if i film another, i will stick to the basic lens i think.

if anyone would like a copy of said video, drop me a line at greginkorea@hotmail.com and i will hook you up. include a good mailing address, even if i know it, just so i can have it handy to post the packages. this one is on me, i want to share!

oh and cath, you don’t get a choice, this one was pretty much made with you in mind.


Feast 18 – The Lost Weekend

September 7, 2009

It has been one of those weekends where at the end of it all, you ask yourself “where did it all go?” the time, the contents of my wallet, where did it all go?

Four day weekends have their positives, no doubt about it. in addition to a trip to Seoul (for the electronics market and that bastion of western culture, Hooters), i have shot many a game of pool, drank more than a few beers and also managed to find the time to perform a cooking demo.

okay, nothing major, i just decided that it would be fun and instructional to invite Eddie over and let him see the entire process, start to finish, of making a meal. Oh, and to up the ante a bit, i videotaped the entire thing. That’s for you Cath, i can’t be there in person to show you how to cook these things but hey, instructional video is the next best thing.

so, a few hours later, Eddie and i are left with a very nicely done steak and portabello mushroom pizza and about 80 minutes of video for me to digitize and burn to DVD. well, thats the good news. the bad news is that i seem to have misplaced my firewire cable so i have to track one down, hopefully tomorrow, to get this video thing rolling. it is in the works though and i even hope to have a few clips posted into the blog as well. for now, here is my recipe for homemade pizza. it’s something that i have been working on for a few years and combine a few different techniques into the whole. the sauce isn’t a traditional smooth tomato sauce, its more of a chunky vegetable sauce but it works for me. i use a blend of smoked gouda and mozzarella cheese for the topping and mozzarella inside the rim of the crust for that tasty stuffed crust appeal. since this is Osan, Korea, i was unable to get duck breast so instead seared some beef round steak and sliced it thinly in the same manner as described below for the duck. Also, since i was videotaping, the pictures fell to the wayside, i have one of the completed pizza but you will have to wait for the video clips for the additional details.

This one is really simple, i hope all of you try it at some point.

The Finished Product

The Finished Product

Duck and Smoked Gouda Pizza

Ingredients

For the Dough
3 1/2 cups Flour
2 tbsp Yeast
1 tsp Salt
2 tbsp Olive oil
1 1/4 cup Warm water

For the sauce
4 tbsp Olive oil
1 Large yellow onion, diced
6 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Sweet red bell pepper, diced
2-3 Small chilis, minced
6 Medium sized tomatos
Majoram
Parsley
Basil
Oregano
Salt
Pepper

For the toppings
2 tbsp Olive oil
2 small beef round cuts
Salt
Black pepper
1 large portabello
1 lb fresh mozzarella for the stuffed crust
1/4 lb Smoked gouda, shredded
1/2 lb Mozzarella, shredded
Parmesan

Preheat oven to 375

Preparation

The Crust

Sift flour and salt into large bowl. make a well in the middle of flour and pour in yeast. drizzle olive oil around edge of flour. pour water over olive oil. Mix with a spoon until dough begins to stick together into one mass. dump bowl onto a floured surface and knead for ~5 minutes. pour 2 tbsp olive oil into bowl and place dough in bowl to rise, turning dough to coat all surfaces with oil. cover with towel and place near oven to rise 1 hour or until doubled.

The Sauce

Heat oil in saucepan and cook onion, garlic and peppers until soft. puree tomatoes in blender and add to onion mixture. add spices to taste and simmer down until thick, usually around the time the dough is done rising.

The topping

heat oil in heavy pan. place beef on a cutting board and cover with salt and pepper. pound beef with flat side of a meat mallet until salt and pepper and infused in the flesh. repeat on both sides. cook beef in oil for a few minutes per side until done. thinly slice beef and set aside. slice mushroom and set aside.

Putting it all together

Roll the pizza dough out to cover a pizza pan or pizza stone. roll the edged out until the overlap the edge of the pan by about a 1/2 inch. make a circle of cheese around the edge of the pizza and fold over the excess crust, sealing with the base of the pizza to make a rim filled with cheese. top with oregano, basil, parsley and parmesan. blind bake for 3- 5 minutes.

pour sauce onto pizza crust and smooth out evenly. Top with meat and mushrooms, cover with cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes until nicely browned.

let stand a few minutes, cut and enjoy.