Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Trip To The Farmer's Market

Black Radish

These beautiful, charcoal-hued roots look like they're still in the ground. But they taste wonderful. Spicier and meatier than your average red radish. It's like biting into a piece of jicama that has been marinating in horseradish all night. It actually gives off the same tongue-numbing effect that sichuan peppercorns have. Sprouts a whole new garden of ideas. Substituting traditional sichuan flavors with black radish. Maybe cleaner tasting versions of sichuan dishes. Although I haven't much desire to toy with such a perfect cuisine. Well, here are some off-the-top ideas anyway.

spicy lamb's tongue salad with black radish, fennel, chili oil, tomato, cilantro
salmon ceviche with black radish, anise oil, kalamata, yuzu, nori
dehydrated black radish chips------>fish & chips
black radish raita
black radish on oysters with apple
black radish cream.^
served with roast beef
rice with shrimp paste, coconut, black radish, coconut milk, pistachio

Friday, September 25, 2009


Oxtail Napoleon
Cassava Beurre Blanc
Trio of Russian Smoked Fish
Pickled Garlic Chips
Pumpkin Seed Brittle
Stuffed Tentacles
Lemongrass Broth
Pumpernickel Pretzel
Pumpernickel Crepe
Shortbread Pudding/Sauce/Puree

Monday, September 21, 2009

What's In The Fridge?

PorkChop.Kimchee.Mashed Potato.Tamarind Gravy.Avocado Ceviche

Three different acidic elements help cut the fat of the pork and the richness of the mashed potato. Kimchee brings fermented spicy flavor, tamarind has a cutting acidity, and the avocado ceviche provides citric counterpoint. Actually, the pork and kimchee alone make a great combination. I originally wanted to mix coarse mustard in the potatoes and intended more of a tamarind jus that ended up a gravy, but still proud of it. I would've preferred either a tenderloin or pork belly for this dish, but as the title suggests, I was feeding the recession and emptying out the fridge.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Recommended Reading

Dear Mailman,

You hold my nerves on end. Your 9-5 brings citizens pain, joy & junk. But when that brown package decorates my doorstep, I dismiss pain & junk.

The bills can wait and so can Puff Daddy's sample fragrance (although jet-skiing in a tuxedo while naming your cologne after Martin Luther King Jr. is quite intriguing). My latest arrival is Rick Stein's Complete Seafood. A complete and thorough guide to preparing, cooking and serving fish and seafood. The past 4 books purchased have been my most helpful culinary guidelines. Oprah may or may not agree, but I'm pretty sure these are some of the top books of the past few years.

Alinea Grant Achatz
This restaurant in Chicago has been at the forefront of "molecular gastronomy" and at the forefront of labeling it a misnomer. Yes, it is kind of a tired term. It's just food, folks. The difference here is experience and presentation and, in my opinion, Achatz does it the best. Proven more by releasing a cookbook to show that plenty of these can be done at home. Although a lot of recipes call for acetate, liquid nitrogen, Ultra-Tex 3 and sodium alginate (to name a few) there's plenty to attempt with common ingredients. I never really try full recipes from this book (or usually any book) but it's great for learning new techniques and turning your brain on it's side. (I'm also working on a list of places to buy these supposed far-fetched ingredients sans the internet). Plus, visually it makes a great coffee table read. Some of the best dishes I've ever witnessed.

Happy In The Kitchen Michel Richard
Michel clearly has a unique and dedicated love for his craft. This book has an easy playfulness with such dishes as "Low Carb-o-nara", "Virtual Eggs" and "Carrot Risotto". But every recipe i've tried from this book has turned out pretty successful. I mean it got me out of the weeds with my short rib problem. Plus, the "Faux Gras" is a great cheaper pate that is delicious (it also calls for a whole stick of butter)

Complete Seafood Rick Stein
Just received this one. I knew I had to purchase this immediately after flipping through it at the bookstore. It's one of the handiest fish and seafood guides I've ever seen. Thorough in it's visual demonstration, it even breaks down the break down of different fish for different use (broiled, raw, grilled, baked, wrapped in puff pastry) plus a complete index of where the seafood swims and it's visual identification.

On The Line Eric Ripert
Another sea-centric recipe log with half the book dedicated to the flow of an upscale, Michelin-rated, well-tuned professional kitchen. (Not just any, Eric has been acclaimed by most to be the best seafood chef in the world). Aligned with the dish conception process and a typical day, well, on the line. But besides that the recipes are awesome. Almost overwhelming, you don't know where to start. Every dish seems meticulously well-crafted and goes through many mouths before reaching the diners'. This kind of attention to detail is the greatest part of Ripert's rapport.

Other selections to soon be delivered by you: Charcuterie Michael Ruhlman, Michael Mina Cook Book Michael Mina, Under Pressure Thomas Keller, Il Viaggio Di Vetri Vetri/Joachim

Thank you, postal provider. Someday I'll invite you in for dinner.



Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Short Ribs.Mushroom Polenta.Leek Salad

This dish will never defeat me again! I finally have it. I give many thanks to Michel Richard's book (which, if you have not taken a look at, please do). Submerged in a whole bottle of wine, plus enough chicken stock to finish covering the ribs. Added to that: carrots, onions, leeks, thyme, rosemary, clove, anise, bay leaves. Then, threw in a 275 degree oven for 2.5 hours. Tender, silky, beautiful. I had tried braising meat at least 5 times before, every time discouraged from dried out overcooked meat. This is a simple dish, but I'm going back to basics! Fundamentals are fundamental after all, aren't they?

Two things i recommend for braising (contrary to many cookbooks & recipes I have read time and again):
-Make sure your meat is COMPLETELY submerged in whatever liquid it is you are using to braise.
-Use the oven. It's a much better way to control your temperature. The stovetop never seems to do the right job.

Next to tackle are oxtails. I actually grew up eating them, and prefer them to short ribs. Maybe make a caramel from the braising liquid serve with a risotto. Ultra rich!
It'd be great to make Philly Cheesesteaks with this meat. Melt a blend of strong cheeses or maybe some brie on toasted brioche.

See you soon!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Trailer Treasure

Lately, NW 17th Ave. has become my latest highway. I've almost got it memorized and will soon be able to determine intersections solely by their surrounding businesses. But there is something keeping me on my toes. Preventing that drive down south from monotony.
Taco Trucks.
Sounds simple enough. A half-size trailer pumping out quick, flavorful meat slathered on soft, floured vessels like a one-man or one-woman factory. Keep in mind that this is fairly new to Miami. There's always been a struggle for authentic, let alone, delicious Mexican fare. These trucks are little pods of light and hope down the narrow tunnel that is: Mexican food in Miami.

I remember one taco truck, specifically caught the mouths of many and was even awarded best Mexican by the Miami New Times. It used to be parked at Douglas Park on weekends and occasional weekdays. It's very confusing, actually. The truck proprietors decide at random when to show up. I suppose that's part of the adventure, hunting them down. But now there's a truck on 28th and another on 19th, both on 17th ave. Plus, there's also new restaurants sowing their seed and almost getting overwhelming. This is a fairly recent boost. I have yet to try 90% of these establishments, but am ready, willing & able.

One taco truck was mediocre, didnt have much variety and I think was actually owned by a Dominican family. (I wish they were serving Dominican food).

Why don't more people jump on this bandwagon and open a wagon of their own? The cultural variety thriving in this Magic City should expand to more than hot dogs and tacos. At least in the late night, portable sense.

If this continues, I'm going to base every move I make on where the trucks are setup. So I can just go downstairs and gnaw on some tender, spicy pig organs nestled between crisp radish, bright cilantro and raw onion.

Dreams soon to become reality!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

NYC Feasting

It's been a while.
I was caught with a nasty virus (ironically might've been food related) for about a week.
Then I took a lovely trip to New York City to play a few shows and gorge in the boroughs.
My stomach was playing double dutch with my tongue on every corner of every street and I don't think I ever repeated a meal or dish. (Although I ate a lot of stomach and smoked fish)
Here's a list of dishes had during my plump and lush visit to the Big Apple. (however, I never bit off more than I could chew)

Cold Sichuan Ox Tongue & Heart
Asam Laksa
Briased Goose Web & Sea Cucumber
Crispy Squid Tentacle
Fruit Salad with Squid & Shrimp Paste
Malaysian Curried Pancake
Duck Web Salad
Lychee Martini
Salt & Pepper Sardine (?)(whole tiny fish) [Dim Sum]
Shrimp Dumpling [Dim Sum]
Crispy Taro Dumpling [Dim Sum]
Scallop Dumpling [Dim Sum]
Braised Chicken Feet [Dim Sum]
Mees Rames (sp?)
Gado Gado salad

Flushing & Jackson Heights
Curry Fishball on a stick
Peking Duck Pancake
Sichuan rare beef soup
Yaks Butter & Salt Tea
Tibetan Spicy Tripe
Mango Lassi
Lotus & Preserved Egg Dumpling
Winter Melon Pastry

Cold Smoked Butterfish
Cold Smoked Turbot
Cold Smoked Salmon
Beet Salad
Beet Casserole
Carrot Salad
Pickled Tomato
Caviar (Sturgeon)
Pickled Apple
Raw Clams (Coney Island)
Plum Cordials
Pickled Garlic
Corn Dog (Coney Island: delicious!)
Half Sour & Sour Pickles
Russian Raisin Malta
Black Currant Soda

Smoked Beer
Spicy Bloody Mary
Goat in Okra Sauce
Goat in Eggplant Sauce
Ivory Coast BBQ whole fish w/ various condiments
Cecina Tacos
Chicken Mole Tamale
Duck Hash
Zucchini Flower Pupusas (Loroco y Queso)

Fig-infused Vodka
Dirty Martini

Veal Tongue in Horseradish Sauce
Cold Red Borscht
Various Cabbage slaws (Cole Slaw/Sauerkraut/Red Cabbage)