Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tongue Racking

peanut butter cookies + Wise Onion & Garlic chips = liver

yeah thats the flavor combo i experienced today. is it true?

Friday, July 17, 2009

On My Mind

beet ravioli
fennel soup
adding coffee to cereal
salmon jellybeans
corned beef
dessert mofongo
deconstructed pastelitos
monochrome dishes
squid & olives....still
maduros & bleu cheese
scallops & tamarind
america's perception of food (quantity vs quality)
strawberry tartare
beet steak

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Four Course Snack

Next time you're in a gas station, even if you're using a credit card, please pay inside.
At least every once in a while.
Because you will stumble across some new invention of a snack or drink or horny goat weed that'll make you scratch your head and your throat, and contemplate contributing a few dollars of your gas money towards a bag of chips.

The brand: TGI Fridays
The flavor: Rice & Beans (lightly salted or chipotle)

Okay. First of all, the extent of snack manufacturer's reach has crossed a new threshold and this is just the beginning. The science of trying to condense a complete dish of multiple components into one chip flavor is becoming parallel to the ultra fine dining morals of molecular gastronomy. The difference is in presentation, price, quality and perception. I bet if you dropped two of these chips on a large white plate with some raw fish and a dollop of anything you can charge $16+ for it and fool most of the world.

Basically, these don't taste bad at all. Part of me cringes at this idea, but they do impart distinct flavor with a creeping spice and that floury texture that you get from making fresh tortilla chips.

This sparks all kinds of ideas also. Making entire dishes out of various packaged snacks.
Imagine if you ate these Rice & Bean chips with some pork rinds and Funyuns. Would it conjure up your finest Cuban culinary fantasy? Lechon Asado with Onions and Moros.

Make that trip to Walgreens more worthwhile.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Simple Pleasures

Rolling citrus across the counter and feeling the pulp loosen inside it's skin before you cut & squeeze.


How many people here eat more than one bowl of cereal?
Wait....Let me rephrase that.
How many people here do NOT eat more than one bowl of cereal?

We are obsessed with cereal. This weird scientific idea that becomes a snack, appetizer, dessert, midnight tapeworm feeding, and most importantly, the start to our day. Somehow it contains most of the nutrients we need, although disclaimer says to enjoy as "part of a complete breakfast". But who does that, really?

Which brings me back to my first point; we probably would be eating only one bowl of cereal if it was with a complete breakfast.

This is all besides the point. What I really want to talk about is a fun way to expand your palette and sow your domestic oats.

Instead of eating two separate bowls (as you can imagine I enjoy variety) of different flavor I've decided to start mixing my cereals.

I've found some great combinations this way. So far the best being Banana Nut Cherrios & Golden Grahams
As unsophisticated as this may come across, there are actual flavor profiles in these combos that create new flavors in themselves. Seems to be the fundamentals of food or at least, dishes anyway.

Try your own combinations: Froot Loops & Lucky Charms, Frosted Flakes & Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds, Cocoa Puffs & Peanut Butter Capn Crunch.

You get the idea, try and combine classic flavors that mesh well (ie. Chocolate & Peanut Butter)

see you in the morning.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Simple Pleasures

Separating the skin from meat and having it pull back so easily, leaving a clean slate of protein.

The other night

Grilled Squid . Garlic Oyster Sauce . Fennel Ceviche

I came home at about 3am on friday night. I had this stuck in my head all day. So i pan-grilled some squid when i got home and did a quick ceviche of shaved fennel, celery and onion. Added fennel fronds and chives. Made a sauce for the squid with lots of garlic, oyster sauce, rocoto paste, sweet soy sauce, rice wine, cumin & coriander. This was actually a great combination between to warm squid and cold ceviche. The spice of the sauce with the acidic bite of lime juice. It needs some adjustments however. I think the sauce can benefit from tamarind paste, and I originally wanted to add artichokes, grapefruit, cilantro, basil, mint and possible apple or carrots or daikon or jicama to the ceviche/salad.
Maybe we'll see an update on this dish in the future.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Simple Pleasures

Cooking is an action with a reaction.
There are certain skills imposed and tried to get the right consistency, flavor, time and texture. To most these seem to be a chore, for the real fun is the finished product. True, however I always look forward to the simple pleasures of cooking, or often forget about them as they come up from behind to tickle me. Seems a bit childish, but there is such a giddy satisfaction involved in the most mandatory of actions. It's a mixture of assurance that you're doing something correctly and excitement of what's to come.

Cutting an onion against the grain just so that you feel the layers slice and crunch through the knife until it hits the chopping board.

Smashing garlic and peeling back the skin in one fell swoop.

Hearing the sizzle of the first product to hit the pan.

Peeling back the skin on vegetables after they've been blanched or roasted leaving a perfect orb of produce.

Flipping over the piece of fish to see the skin golden and firm and the flesh flaky.

Cutting beef, duck or pork to reveal the perfectly moist red interior.

Coating anything in flour.

Smashing spices in a mortar & pestle

Testing noodles for doneness.

I'll probably contribute more as i discover them.
If you have any that you love, let me know.

I'll keep you posted....literally

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Papa a la Huancaina

Beets Dill Goat Cheese

Friday, July 3, 2009

Salt & Pepper Squid & Olives

A mind-blowing dish.
A flavor unmatched.
A dry texture that seems beyond science considering the battered & fried application it's given.
I have dreams and nightmares about this dish.
The dreams are of me eating it.
The nightmares are of me trying to replicate it.

Deep-frying has always been one of my biggest challenges. How do I keep it from getting soggy? How do I finish it golden brown on the outer without undercooking the inner? Why does the batter separate so easily? How do I not make it greasy?

Salt & Pepper Squid answers all these questions, yet I don't know the answer.
The internet isn't as useful as it seems.
I tried to match this dish tonight. I made a Szechuan peppercorn tempura-like batter with toasted salt. But it still ended up soggy, greasy and it separated from the squid itself a bit.
The flavor's were on point.
I served it with garlic-sauteed chives and chili's plus kalamata olives. Olives are a great pair with squid. Well specifically prepared this way. It's also a good way to cut down the grease on your palette.

I'd love to further this discovery:

Salt & Pepper squid with....
Nicoise Olive Waffle + Garlic-Nut Syrup + Chives+Chili Butter
Kalamata Tapenade + Mashed Eggplant + Basil+Lemon Confit
Stuffed with Sticky Rice + Chorizo + Raisins + Spanish Olives

But honestly, this dish should almost not be tampered (despite my tendencies and temptations to do so). It speaks for itself, simple with a large garnish of garlic, cilantro and jalapeno. If you've never had it, please go. I'll tell you where!

King Palace BBQ & Seafood Chinese Restaurant
163rd St & NE 3rd ave

Lung Gong
8th St. & SW 119th ave.

Tropical (Dim Sum)
40th St. & SW 84th Ave.

*these are all in Miami, by the way.

Taste it and you tell me otherwise. I dare you.